Category Archives: China

How do you cure the travelling blues?

It’s a warm rainy winter day here in Canada – yes you are reading that right!!  Today hit a record temperature of 17 degrees Celsius!!  Rained all day – but it felt good to not have to wear a heavy coat today!  It was a blue feeling day though – I am missing Prague a lot lately.  The beautiful sites, my friends, walking through the gorgeous scenery.

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I know the feeling will pass, as will as my missing of China.  Yes, I miss China (I NEVER thought I’d say that!).  The quirkiness of the city I lived in with all its crazy signs, the food (okay – this is really what I miss the MOST about China!  Why can’t I find a noodle place here???).  It was quite pretty in the area that I lived too – and I miss the sparsely decorated apartment I lived in.  The solitude.  I like my alone time very much.

 

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So how do I cure the travelling blues?   I scope out hotel websites, Wikipedia for different countries to travel to and read about, look up flight information for the best deals – does it help?  A bit – at least for a while.  If the sun would shine a bit more when I was off work, I would be less melancholy – I would be able to get outside and walk.  Take pictures of new areas.

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Life in Canada is good – I am happy to be back.  But I will continue to have the travelling blues until May when I will head to Ottawa for a few days!  In the meantime – I will dream of the beaches of Chile, the beauty of Prague and the food of China!!

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Things I will miss about China

 

In three days, I will be on a plane heading to Chile.   It’s been an interesting year, with many ups and downs.  I am happy to say that I have come through all of the ups and downs as a stronger, more determined person.

 

Despite having things I won’t miss, there are definitely things I will miss about being here.

 

  1. The kids. The kids I have taught this past year have taught me so much – they taught me that I have more patience than I thought I did!  They have shown me that I am a good teacher and that they have learned confidence in themselves, which has made me more confident in return.  The hugs, the shouts of Louisa in the streets, running up to me to say hi – I am going to miss them so much!   Can I bring them with me?  Maybe a few?  haha32debf354b8bc33b992f971b40528ea552064386

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  2. The food – I am definitely going to miss the food here!! Noodles, dumplings, beef and rice, chicken and rice, tofu, the produce – the list just goes on and on.  The food was delicious and cheap – my two favourite things!!   I will be on the lookout to try Chinese food wherever I go, just to compare.  I will be happy to compare it to what I have had here.
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  3. The generous nature of the Chinese people – at least where I live. I don’t know what it is like in the southern part of China, but for the most part, the people I have met here have been so generous and so kind to me.   I have really been lucky with the people I have encountered.
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  1. The greenness of this area that I live in – such an odd thing to say but they really keep my area nice. There are lots of trees, a beautiful park area to walk in and have picnics, and of course the community garden.  I am sure I will find beautiful areas to walk in once I get to South America, but I will miss that about this area.
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  1. The friends that I have made here – Zero, Cinderella, Nancy, Cassie, Blaze, Michael and so many others – teachers and friends – they have made my time here very special.
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  1. Nanhu Park – Changchun does not have a lot of touristy places to see. Nanhu Park is a big and beautiful park and lake in the middle of the city – it was a nice escape and made the city almost seem like it was smog free.    It was a great place to walk.20170430131353_IMG_0288_1493542960445

 

  1. The school – Livon was a special place to teach. The school looked like a mall.  Lots of modern amenities.  The atmosphere was great.  I was very lucky to have been placed in the best school in Changchun!IMG_20161215_120321_HDR

 

 

I am sure that, as I continue on with this journey of mine, I will realize how much I miss other things about China.  It is inevitable to happen but these are the things that I know I will  miss the most.

People of Changchun 2

Pictures of new friends, colleagues, and people I have come across during the year of being here.

 

20170430131620_IMG_0289Playing at Nanhu Park

 

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Lovely mothers and a grandmother of students

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Owner of my favourite cafe

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Owner’s wife of the cafe

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Two sisters out for dinner

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The dancers at night

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Dancing at Nanhu Park, love the costumes!!

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Playground near my home – a wonderful family oriented area!

Exercising – it hurts!

Okay, so maybe it doesn’t hurt.  Just when I haven’t done it in a long time!  Exercising and losing weight.  Both have been a never ending battle for me all my life.  I walk a lot!  And I eat a lot – which is why I walk a lot haha!!

Walking machine?  Like a treadmill – I think!!  It’s a great workout for the legs and cardio too!

 

Here in China, they take exercising to a whole new level, and I have hopped on that bandwagon!  They get up very early every day, and they get out to walk and do exercises at these machines.  They do Tai Chi (I think…) in the parks, and they dance in the evenings.  I don’t do the dancing, although before I leave I want to see if they will let me join in !  But I have been exercising!!

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I don’t quite understand what this machine does, but I use it once a week.

 

There are exercise areas all over the city – and I am very lucky to have several spots near my home so that I really have no excuse not to be exercising.  I do still come up with excuses (it’s human nature to do that isn’t it?), but since the weather has cooled down lately, I have been getting out every day and using these machines.  Plus I walk at least 30 minutes every day around the area, usually in the evening.   And it has been working, because I have lost weight – my clothes are definitely looser and I feel better.

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The twisting machine – my favourite!!!

 

 

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For the arms – and yes it works!!  My arms feel much stronger!

The halls of Livon

The United Experimental School of Ahsju and Livon is the name of the school I have taught at this year.

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This school was amazing for so many reasons (the students, the teachers) but the sheer size of this school was incredible.  It looks like a shopping centre.

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From the cafeteria that can seat at least 800 people to the auditorium that seats over 1,000 people, to the size of the classrooms ~ I have never seen an elementary school this size before.

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There are 5 floors, the first being the library, the offices, the cafeteria, auditorium, and the special classrooms. The remaining floors are all classrooms for grade 1 up to grade 9.
It is only two years old so it mostly comes with modern amenities (except modern toilets ~ thank goodness they have handicap toilets for those of us who don’t like squatting).

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It really is a sight to see!!  I am so proud to have been part of this school!

 

Saying so long to new friends

I am an outgoing person.  I will strike up a conversation with anyone, pretty much wherever I am.  If I see someone who looks like they probably speak English, I always say hello!  And that in turn has the person saying hello back, and we start a conversation – where are you from?  What are you doing here?  Almost always it is another teacher!  I have met people here in Changchun from South Africa, Australia, Morocco, USA, Canada and of course China. 

 

Chinese people can be very friendly once they get over their nervousness of trying to speak English.  About a year ago (end of August 2016), I had decided to explore Changchun and got on a bus not knowing where it was heading to.  I stayed on until the end, and discovered a beautiful park.  I wandered through it, and hoped my GPS on my phone would help me find my way back.  No such luck.  I did find a street that I recognized, but I had myself so turned around that I had no idea what way to go.

 

 Instead of panicking, I decided to wing it and just wander around until I found someone who might be able to help me.  I knew where I wanted to go and I knew the Chinese name for it. So off I went.  I remembered in the Czech Republic, my instincts always said ask a younger person because they will in all likelihood be studying or have studied English – and they will understand.  Well, I approached a young man at a bus stop, and asked him which bus I should take.  He understood me enough to be able to point me in a direction that would get me there.  I said thank you, and crossed the street to the other bus stop.  About two minutes later, he was there tapping me on my shoulder.  He had found an easier way for me to get to my destination, and walked me to the right bus stop.  We exchanged numbers and off I went.haha

Well, this very nice young man has become a very good friend of mine.  Zero is his English name (I cannot pronounce his Chinese name).  He introduced me to Cinderella and Nancy, and the three of them have all become very good friends.

 

Tonight we all got together and had a nice dinner together and then went to KTV, to say so long (I never say good bye!), and enjoy each other’s company one more time as a group.  They are all wonderful young Chinese people.  The two ladies are Chinese English teachers, and Zero works with computer software for schools (that’s what I understand anyway!).  The generosity (and I use that word a lot here in China but it’s so appropriate) of these people is overwhelming.  I am going to miss the three of them very much.  Zero wants me to come back next May for his wedding (sorry but I don’t think that is in my plan!). 

 

It’s amazing how getting lost in a foreign country can help you find lovely people that become close friends! I am very grateful for becoming friends with these three people.  It has made me enjoy my time here very much!