Under different circumstances, Ashley and Nika aren’t sure if they would have been so close. Ashley is extroverted and adventurous, while Nika is more cautious and thoughtful. But in fact they are a perfect pair, exploring all Ningbo has to offer. They board buses with no destination in mind and wind up all over the city. Together they have developed a “Ningbo bucket list,” which includes such items as attending a soccer game, picking fruit, and cheering at a Chinese basketball game. (They completed the last one quite easily – one of Nika’s friends from home plays for a Chinese team.)
Ashley and Nika teach at the Haishu Foreign Language School in Ningbo. Haishu was only built three years ago and the campus feels like the set of a CW drama, with beachy colors and lots of flowers even in winter. Since the girls work together, they often sit in on each other’s classes and give each other tips, or make lesson plans together. On Fridays, when Ashley’s classes are particularly rowdy, Nika watches and lends moral support. “It was one thing for me to tell her about it,” Ashley says, “but it was completely different for her to see it. I felt supported.”
All in all, though, the two feel comfortable at Haishu. Between the appreciation they get from the school and their strong friendship, Ashley and Nika are growing roots in Ningbo.