In The Way

Going to China!


Valerie and I are preparing to move to China for one year to become Kindergarten English teachers. We have our stuff packed, our finances in order, and are pretty much ready to roll. As much as you can be ready for this sort of thing.

Our flight leaves Wednesday morning at 1AM on August the 20th. We should have a VPN when we get to China, so I am hoping and planning to blog every once in a while with pictures and things. This will be our main blog site during our trip, so please, subscribe via e-mail, add us to your feedly, or just check my (David) Facebook, where links to this blog will be showing up.

One thing about moving abroad are the neverending questions. Questions, questions, questions. They never end. Most of these questions were asked directly to Wesley and Marissa. There are many that I have not included as well.

I thought I’d compile all of the questions I have asked of Wesley and Marissa Lawton, or of the school, so far, along with some concise answers.

Here they are:



  1. What is the time difference? About 12 hours, depending where you live. So 7AM in Wuhan is 7pm in MI, give or take an hour. Wuhan is 12 hours ahead, so 7PM on Friday night is 7AM Saturday in Wuhan, China.
  2. What is the weather like? Hot and coldwise, it is like St. Louis. So below freezing in winter, very hot in the summer. However, it is also a tropical monsoon area, so lots of rain during summer, and more sun during winter.
  3. What is your apartment / living situation like? It is two bedroom, and supposedly has an American style bathroom and shower, and we will be in a high rise apartment with an elevator. But we will know better once we are there.
  4. How much are plane tickets? Well, we got our tickets for around $710 per person, for one way. So round trip would be at LEAST 1500 per person. And that is purchasing them like 2-3 months in advance.
  5. Are you certified teacher? To Chinese standards, yes. But in reality, not really. We completed an online TEFL course which took about 40 hours, plus $200 or so per person. It was officially a 140 hour course, but definitely did not take that long. It was really easy, and I learned a little bit about grammar.
  6. Did you have to get a Visa? Yes, we got a work “Z” Visa. We used a website called Chinese Visa Express so that we didn’t have to make 2 visits to the Chinese embassy.
  7. What is the work like? We will be Kindergarten teachers teaching English. I am really looking forward to it, and I expect it will be a lot of fun.
  8. How much stuff can you bring with? For both Valerie and I we get: 4 giant checked bags, 2 carry ons, and 2 personal items/small backpacks.
  9. Are there any foods that are impossible to get while there? Cheese is really hard to get. So is Mexican food.  But apparently you can use a website called TaoBao, which is like Amazon, to order cheese and refrigerated American dairy products delivered straight to your door.
  10. Are there big spiders or other creepy crawlies? Not really. Or so they say.
  11. What is the pay like? We will be getting paid around $18,000 per person for the year, plus healthcare, housing, and meals at the school, as well as flight reimbursements. While not the most amazing pay, it is much better pay than the US Peace Corps or other similar “Volunteer” experiences. We expect to use a good chunk of the payment to pay off our student loans.
  12. Do you have access to fresh fruit? Yes.
  13. Is Facebook blocked? With a VPN, no.
  14. Can you buy coat hangers and umbrellas in China? Yes. They are made there.
  15. Do you need to speak Mandarin to survive? No, and yes. Valerie and I are both hoping to study, and take lessons, while in China. At this point in my life I can count to 10, say hello, thank you, and my name is David.

Thanks for reading, everyone! I look forward to continuing to update you on our newest adventure!




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3 thoughts on “Going to China!

  1. David — I’m living in Beijing for the next two years. Let me know if you ever come up here and we can hang out.


  2. Linda Rhyne on said:

    A friend of your parents from Church of the Cross back in the 80’s.

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