Category Archives: China

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

    8a07a6ae63ad80ecdad4f5502a54d280af97a06e

  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.
    b4c9606645d4787f96559e3a1e88c77634fe62d0
  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.
    1f0e9d2aab734f2bdf0fa227efd8a7fb529b83c7

 

  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.
    7bf9fcd80f01addbdeb533c4bcd796c212ae40c7

 

  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.
    f5819b8dec4a007d1e4068d870f15ae3edc817e1

 

  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.

Advertisements

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

 

9012c1d53e3a78ea87d300c6f8ed2f7a8804854f

Lovely mothers and a grandmother of students

117d06a624cfab9c99c0fe69cedc26117dd3f2c5

Owner of my favourite cafe

b7cd6bb799d0d07327aa457bfaf5e32b2ca3451b

Owner’s wife of the cafe

fd73b2747b9faf2ed2b19582b22f594c68aa7261

Two sisters out for dinner

20170402182218_IMG_0175

The dancers at night

20170430133734_IMG_0296_1493543008041

Dancing at Nanhu Park, love the costumes!!

IMG_20170704_192741

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!!

073

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.

075

The twisting machine – my favourite!!!

 

 

080

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.

36e9cc5f06b5ace27e4e1b9d080a43e8436c91de

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.

f604e4fd9036153bd20a0d375ad3043448555fa9

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.

9f661896a3bb9b7bb2cd4a79ed71c45509f3a817
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).

5307d8120b72bff299e73246a9db9f3041cbbdac

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!

Community gardens

After a very rainy day yesterday, with temperatures dropping to the mid-teens finally, (and a decent sleep last night), the sun shone brightly this morning, and I decided to head out for a coffee and then a walk. 

 

The area of Changchun that I live in is very nice.  It’s a new community, with new buildings going up, and new shops opening.  The school I taught in is only two years old, and they are already improving it.  The population is exploding.  I enjoy walking in this area and feel safe at night walking too.

 

Today, I was on a mission.  I had seen the community garden back in May and it was starting to grow.  Some small unknown plants (a gardener I am NOT!) were sprouting at that time, and I had kept telling myself I needed to go back to see it.  Well I was not disappointed this morning!!

 

The growth in just two months is incredible. The sunflowers are tall and beautiful.  The corn stalks are up and there is corn for picking.  Eggplants are still small but they are coming along nicely.  And the tomatoes!!   They are all still green but my goodness there are hundreds of tomato plants!!!  I hope to get back to pick some fresh tomatoes before I leave, but I am not sure if they will be ripe enough for picking by then.

 

This community garden is a fantastic idea!  Anyone can come and pick produce from there.  You don’t need to pay for anything.  It is there for everyone.  And while I can recognize corn, eggplants and tomatoes – I have no idea what else is growing but there is a lot growing there and in abundance. 

 

This is a project that should be undertaken in all cities around the world in my opinion.  It is a great community project, everyone gets involved.  I saw at least four families there today weeding, and cleaning up the area.  Some were picking the eggplants – although I don’t think they were quite ready to be picked.  But who am I to say that – like I said I am not a gardener.

 

It is a fantastic idea to make the community stronger, and healthier, and to get the children participating in something that is good for them, their neighbours, and the environment!!   The children love telling me about it when they see me – they tell me what they have picked or planted and that they spend their time there with their grandparents and parents.  It really is an incredible thing to see. 

And this is another thing that I will miss about the area that I live in – the community and family feel.  The generosity and kindness that I see in these people to each other.