PhD Journal-Week Two -7th October 2019

This is my second entry into my Public PhD journal. Week two of my PhD at Central China Normal University(CCNU), Wuhan, China.

The transition from a working person to a student comes with various changes. As a working person in Malawi, I had a domestic worker who did most of the chores. As a student, I have to do everything by myself. I have to cook, clean, do the dishes, laundry, grocery shopping etc. This has not been hard for me, because I was aware of the change, and I was trained by my mother to do all these. This is where I say, chores are not women skills, these are human skills that each person, regardless of age or gender should have.

My sleeping pattern is now coming back to normal. I am now waking up at 7:00 Am China time. This now comes with some benefits. When I was jogging at noon, I did have much to see except the buildings and discovering new routes, but now I can see what some Chinese folks do in the morning. I have on two occasions met older men and women do ‘Qigong.’ Qigong is a centuries-old system of coordinated body posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for health, spirituality, and martial arts training. I Plan to join them one of these days. I hope they let me.

The Chinese food has been me keeping since I arrived in China, but now my appetite is almost gone. This is something that usually happens to me when I am in a country with different food culture. I usually get my appetite back with fruits, but this time it is not working. Which leaves me with the next remedy, nsima with Kapenta. Now on a project finding ‘ufa’ or ‘iwisa’ to prepare my nsima. Word on the street is, they are some shops close by that sells yellow corn flour. At this moment, I don’t mind whether the floor is green, pink or orange, all I want is nsima.

Since I arrived I have been hearing about Taobao, Alipay, and Wechat. You know how you are the only one who seems to be doing transactions in cash while your friends are using these cools systems. I had to get myself on these platforms too. I have managed to configure both Taobao and Alipay. The Wechat payment mode seems to be acting up. I must say, these platforms are convenient and efficient.

Using Taobao has not been easy, especially because the app is in Chinese. There is a place where you have to put your address, and I had to ask the Chinese lady at our reception to punch in the address on behalf. Why? It is in Chinese, and in my 7 days, my Chinese has not graduated yet. To operate the platform, I have been using google translator mainly. You take a screenshot, run it through google translator to get what’s been written. I have also been privileged to chat with one supplier who talked to me in English. That was easy.

Unlike the student accommodation I had at Abacus, in the UK, the student accommodation at CCNU, in China, does not provide a fridge, cooker, kettle and all those other cool things you need. This means you need to buy a hotplate, a fridge, and kettle among others to get your life sorted. The good thing is that these items are affordable. Secondly, you need to pay a certain amount for electricity if you would like to use the kitchen to cook. You put this money in your student card. Similarly, you have another card you use if you want to have a hot shower. And you have to top with money too. The good thing with accommodation here at CCNU, China is that you only get to clean your room, unlike Abacus, where you did clean your room and public places like the corridor and kitchen.

This entry will not be complete if I don’t talk about my reunion with my brother at Sibusiso. Hearing that I was in Wuhan my brother came all the way to give me a tour of the city. He gave me a Wuhan Metro system orientation and experience. Now I am set to travel by bus and train.

Sibusiso wanted to show me one view of a bridge. We asked around and a good Samaritan from the street gave us the directions.

‘Take the bus any of the following buses, number 535, 803 or 561, and drop at stop number 5.’

We got onto bus number 535 and did as instructed. We dropped off only to realise that this is not where we wanted to go. We then realized that the people thought we were going to the Temple of lord yu. We did the tour of the place and then we went to optics valley square where we toured the place and had dinner.

Before we parted ways, we had to go to one supermarket. One thing that I found surprising was that they were selling live fish. You know how you sell live chicken, at a market. Yes! That one.

‘Here you can buy a live fish or one that is prepared already, is it up to you.’ –Said Sibusiso

The pictures below give the highlights of the adventure.