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Walking in Shelbyville

Posted Monday, October 8, 2012, at 9:39 AM

I have never been abroad, so my first impression of America was this: it was far away in distance and close in heart. It was far away because it took me about 15 hours to arrive here by plane; it was close because when I stepped on the land of America which is a new place to me, I was deeply touched by the familiar feeling of "home".

After the tough examinations and intense training at Hanban, I became a Chinese teacher at the Confucius Institute (CI) and was assigned to the CI in Middle Tennessee State University to teach Chinese language. When I arrived here, my tiredness and drowsiness were driven away by the hospitality of Cheryl Harris, Cynthia Jones, Mindi Dewitt, and Dulcie Davis who met me in the airport.

Stepping out of the plane, I saw them waving to me in the distance, holding a yellow banner with red words "Welcome Wang Dongmei to Thomas Magnet School."

I walked towards them eagerly and took the beautiful flowers they passed to me. One thing I needed to remember was that they had been waiting for me for more than 3 hours since my plane was delayed. I felt so warm and moved at that moment. Later I went to my host family's home, Ms. DeWitt.

I am prepared for the new environment in America and have realized some possible difficulties that I will have to face here, such as different time zones, food, homesickness, cultural shocks and of course English language. To be honest, I am ready and quite excited for my new job which will be introducing Chinese language and culture to my wonderful students.

The second day I arrived in Shelbyville, I felt refreshed and got up very early. One of my colleagues, Kathy, took me to lunch. On the way, I was full of joy when I saw the beautiful scenery of Tennessee which was totally different from Hangzhou where I came from. It is so peaceful and quiet here! The vast grasslands with white fences and exquisite houses, which are typical of American rural scenery, are beautiful. Shelbyville, a quiet town, looks like a painting of Nature. To my surprise, I like food here, too, such as salad and potato skins which I ate at Legend's. I am so pleased that I have three years to enjoy all kinds of local food.

I will be a Chinese teacher in Thomas Magnet School which is an excellent primary school. The principal, Mrs. Davis, showed me around on the first day of my work and I was profoundly impressed by the different styles of decorations of each classroom, vivid and lively teaching ways of the teachers, and the lovely and active pupils here. Knowing that I would be their Chinese teacher, the students all greeted me in Chinese "Nihao" which made me so welcomed and moved. When they told me that they learned "Nihao" from TV, I felt their curiosity and interest about China and Chinese culture and I am determined to offer them more chances to know my homeland--China.

I've been here for only 3 weeks, and my new friends have helped and supported me a lot. They become my new family and I want to thank them again: they are Cindy, Cheryl, Mindi, Ms. Davis, Janice, Missy, Janet and her family, and Leandra and her family.

A new day will begin and embracing the brilliant sunshine we will move forward together.

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Welcome, Mei! I hope you enjoy all of your experiences here. Take a little time to get acquainted with our backyard wildlife!

-- Posted by wildwoman on Wed, Oct 10, 2012, at 7:56 AM

I also welcome you to Shelbyville and the United States. I hope you have a wonderful experience staying here and that the students learn alot about China and its culture and while doing so, I hope you learn alot about us and our way of life. I think that is the best way for two countries to truly understand each other when situations like this occur. I hope you always feel welcomed during your stay here and that you get to enjoy what we have to offer here like the beautiful parks we have in the area and especially the great southern food (we definitely love to share food with new people). :-)

-- Posted by jaxspike on Tue, Oct 9, 2012, at 12:11 PM

Welcome to Shelbyville!! I love the Chinese culture and language. Would you be willing to teach some conversational classes to adults as well? I'd love to learn!

-- Posted by cherylrichardson on Tue, Oct 9, 2012, at 12:08 PM

Welcome! I am truly pleased that you have joined us not only as a teacher, but a blogger as well.

I hope all your students absorb all you have to offer. It is an excellent opportunity.

-- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Oct 9, 2012, at 8:36 AM

Welcome to the USA and to Tennessee. May your stay be filled with much pleasure.

-- Posted by leeiii on Mon, Oct 8, 2012, at 4:00 PM

WELCOME to Shelbyville, Mei! So many of us are very happy to have you here to work with our school children and our great school system. You will make many, many friends in Shelbyville.

Again, WELCOME to the USA and Shelbyville.

-- Posted by Mi on Mon, Oct 8, 2012, at 1:38 PM

I will be looking forward to reading your blogs!


-- Posted by bbbluebird on Mon, Oct 8, 2012, at 11:49 AM

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From Shanghai to Shelbyville
Dongmei Wang
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Dongmei Wang was selected as a teacher by a team of local educators who traveled to China to interview candidates. Wang, 41, is considered key to the formation of Chinese culture programs at TMS and throughout the county. Wang holds a degree in Chinese literature from Kaifeng College; a bachelor's degree in broadcasting and hosting and a master's degree for college teachers, both from the Shanghai Theatre Academy, China. In addition to being an instructor at Qianjiang College of Hangzhou Normal University for many years, she has also served as a professor at the Zhejiang University of Technology and the Zhejiang Jiangnan TV Arts College. She's a recognized face on television in her region, working as a hostess, planner and editor of television programs in Kaifeng and Suzhou.