Starting the Day Right

Day One

With only four hours of sleep behind me after a full day of travel, I was wired. This is most especially true after you read even the main page of this blog. It would be several hours before anyone would be up whom I could call, so I worked at unpacking my bags and making use of my slow Internet connection. I had an e-mail waiting for me from Karen, the other business teacher, who was to arrive around the same time as I. Rochelle and I had met Karen once, during one of our briefing sessions with Tony Mallette. She was a stout, sixty-five-year-old retired education administrator with a PhD in some field of education, who held dual Canadian and American citizenship. Although she had spent much of her latter career in Canada, she was more American than Canadian. She was to be my teaching partner during the first semester, up until Christmas when she would return to her home in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

Karen e-mailed from her apartment somewhere nearby but I didn’t know where she was or how to contact anyone to help find her. She didn’t have the luxury of a phone. I replied that I would track her down as soon as I made contact with someone from the school. I knew we would both need to do some shopping to stock our respective living quarters. I had absolutely nothing in the apartment to eat. I recalled Dennis saying something about taking everyone out for supper but that would be several hours away.

After a few attempts at mastering the local phone system, I was able to track down Dennis, who sent Ted to fetch me from my apartment. As Ted escorted me into my first daytime look at Shenyang, I saw that my building was one of several identical buildings with multiple entrances each. I tried to memorize which building was mine and which entrance I would need to return to. I could see this might be a daunting task to the uninitiated, especially after dark. A short walk took us to a building that Ted referred to as the hostel. This was a building that housed teachers for the Shenyang Institute of Technology. Ted also showed me the communal eating hall, where we could buy very inexpensive meals—breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We strolled to the end of the first-floor hall, where Ted knocked on a door, and Karen emerged, happy to see a familiar face. She had been held hostage in the hostel since her arrival, not knowing how to get out and not being able to communicate with anyone.

The three of us continued the walking journey to the school that would consume our daytime hours for most of the next year. The total distance from my apartment to the school was not much more than a kilometer and a half, with the hostel, where Karen was housed, located about midway between. Although Karen was staying in the modest hostel, she did have the luxury suite, which was a one-bedroom unit with a sitting room, but no kitchen. Occupants of the hostel used the on-site cafeteria for meals.

Sino Canadian Institute

The building that housed the Sino-Canadian Institute, the name given to the joint venture between SAIT and the Shenyang Institute of Technology, and the name emblazoned on the red banner atop the six-story building, appeared in the middle of the large campus grounds. The campus, which was home to over four thousand students, was enclosed by a three-meter-high concrete wall, and everyone had to enter and exit the grounds through one of two guarded gates. A circular road, which was to become one of my regular running routes, connected all the buildings along its two-plus kilometer route. Our school was housed on the fifth and sixth floors of the building. Between this location and the apartment, Rochelle and I would get lots of exercise walking to and from and up and down.

School Garden

Dorms

Toilets

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