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article imagePhoto Essay: Li Shui, China Special

By Lonna Lisa Williams     Sep 30, 2013 in World
My first glimpse of China was at Li Shui, southwest of Shanghai, where I began teaching children at a private Chinese school.
After 2.5 years in Turkey, my Turkish husband and I flew off to southeast China (not very far from Shanghai) where I had been offered a job teaching English to children at a private school.
A long flight from Istanbul to Abu Dhabi to Beijing brought us to Wenzhou where we were met by school representatives. They drove us 1.5 hours to the small city of Li Shui (which means "beautiful waters"). We wound northeast-ward beside mountains and along a river, listening to Chinese music in the comfortable sedan. Green shone everywhere as trees and lush vegetation mingled with waterways, light rain, and afternoon sunlight. I was surprised to see many Christian churches as well as Buddhist temples (things rarely found in Turkey). Old-fashioned Chinese buildings with tiered roofs trimmed in red and gold nestled beside tall, steel-and-glass buildings. Like Turkey, China seemed a land of contrasts.
The school was enormous, with 3000 students from first grade through high school and a campus that reminded me a little of San Diego State University. Our guides showed us our new, furnished apartment, and we stowed our luggage for our fist night in China. Over the next 2 weeks I taught first and second-graders in brightly decorated classrooms, ate Chinese food at the campus cafeteria, and explored the river walkway across from the school. The school staff were polite and helpful, glad to practice speaking English with me.
My first impressions of China were positive, and I looked forward to exploring more of the vast country as I vowed to stay out of politics and write only about China's places, culture, and people.
The airport in Beijing  China
The airport in Beijing, China
A Christian church near the river at Li Shui  China
A Christian church near the river at Li Shui, China
Li Shui Foreign Languages Experimental School by a river in southeast China
Li Shui Foreign Languages Experimental School by a river in southeast China
Residence halls and running track at Li Shui school  China
Residence halls and running track at Li Shui school, China
Inside my new school apartment
Inside my new school apartment
Lonna Lisa Williams teaches English to children in Li Shui  China
Lonna Lisa Williams teaches English to children in Li Shui, China
Some Chinese students misbehave
Some Chinese students misbehave
A Chinese girl carefully colors her English assignment in class
A Chinese girl carefully colors her English assignment in class
The school hallways are lined with English
The school hallways are lined with English
There s a river walkway outside the school
There's a river walkway outside the school
The river walkway leads to an ornate old Chinese gate
The river walkway leads to an ornate old Chinese gate
The gate features Chinese lion statues
The gate features Chinese lion statues
Fishermen relax beside the gate
Fishermen relax beside the gate
Past the gate is the old city of Li Shui
Past the gate is the old city of Li Shui
and colorful Chinese houses
and colorful Chinese houses
Heading back toward the school through the gate
Heading back toward the school through the gate
More about Li Shui, China, School, River, Gate
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