Tag Archives: people

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.

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People of Changchun

People here love taking photos of foreigners, and they are very open about it. They don’t hide the fact that they are taking a picture of you eating, or talking, or just simply sitting down enjoying the day.
I also love taking photos, and recently started taking pictures of some of the people here in Changchun. The faces are from all walks of life, which makes it so interesting for me. Street vendors, shoppers, workers on a break, students ~ so many faces, different struggles, but all human like you and I.
No matter where we are in life, remember, we are all human, and we all go through struggles and through joys. 

​Grade 2 ~ oh the challenges!!


Grade 2 kids ~ these kids are so smart, they are gaining confidence with their English, and are very inquisitive.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked how old are you (answer is always older than you), are you okay, where do you live, what’s your phone number, and the list goes on.


They love games ~ Teacher Says is their favourite.  Its been challenging to keep them interested and motivated but I have succeeded.  


I definitely have favourite students ~ I would be lying if I said I didn’t. Leo, Tom, Hardy, Ang Lee, Lucy and Ella are the ones that I love seeing every day.  


Seven grade 2 classes, average of 40 students in a class ~ a lot of inquisitive children who are always excited to see me!  They love feeding me their snacks too (usually with their hands right into my mouth ~ no wonder I had so many colds!).  

The unabashed hugs, taking my hand and leading me into class, the excited faces when I stand at the front of class and say “Teacher says stand up!” ~ those are the moments I will miss the most.


These kids have made me a better teacher with their questions and their eyes lighting up when they realize they can understand what I am saying.  Their quick minds, short attention spans and endless fidgeting made it challenging, but I can say that I came, I saw, I conquered!!

Friendships and the internet

We all have friends, near or far, that are dear to our heart.  We have new friends we meet when we travel and live abroad. We have old friends from another time in our life who we will keep in touch with on occasion. Then we have our best friends, who, no matter the distance, can make us feel like we are sitting together, having a coffee and exchanging our days even when we are an ocean away.
I have many friends all over the world ~ in China, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Australia, South Korea, Great Britain. And of course in North America, particularly Canada. I have met many of my friends from traveling and on the internet. But there is one friend who is my dearest friend and, thanks to the internet, we have become closer than I ever thought possible.
We were best friends in high school, inseparable. College came and we remained close until men entered our lives and we both moved to different areas of Ontario, and started our families. We kept in touch for a few years but, as it happens as we marry and move around, we drifted apart. 
Fast forward to my 40th birthday and my mother invited her to my party. We reconnected and kept in touch through social media but not as often as I had hoped.
Last summer, when I headed to Canada for a visit before coming to China, we spent an afternoon together. And something clicked. I think all the struggles we had during those years had kept us from being close. However, we matured and with that, came a brand new light in our friendship. 
Since then, we talk almost every day, sharing what is going on in our lives, counseling each other with hard decision making, offering comfort in a difficult time when needed. I value her friendship now more than ever. I look forward to hearing her voice messages, to hear what’s happening in her life and sharing my life with her.
Friendship doesn’t have to be face to face to be close. Thanks to social media, we are all just a click away. And I am so grateful for that day last summer that reconnected me with such a great friend.
We should value all the friendships we have. Life is too short not to!

For the love of food!

​”There is no love sincerer than the love of food.”  George Bernard Shaw

Food. I love food. All kinds of food. Growing up in Canada, I ate the usual food. Hamburger, chicken, vegetables. Nothing overly exciting but I enjoyed it all. 

 
Once I moved out on my own, got married, etc.. I discovered a whole new world of delicious food. 
I have tried many Czech dishes and many Chinese dishes. But which cuisine is the best?  This is strictly my opinion but here are my comparisons:

1. Czech dumplings v. Chinese dumplings. No comparison. China wins hands down. The dumplings are little pockets of heaven with so many different fillings to choose from, including fruit, handmade while you wait. They melt in your mouth, dipped in soy sauce and garlic, and fill you with happiness. Czech dumplings don’t do any of this.
China 1 ~ Czech 0

2.  Czech coffee v. Chinese coffee. 

Another easy choice. Czech wins. The coffee is rich, aromatic, hot and served in adorable cafes. Chinese coffee is mediocre at beat.
China 1 ~ Czech 1

3.  Soup ~ this one is more difficult to choose. Czech republic has delicious soup ~ garlic soup, potato soup, mushroom soup, all so unique and so delicious. The garlic soup has such a distinctively bold taste yet does not leave you with garlic breath. The potato soup and mushroom soup are flavourful, and filling, and a perfect way to start a meal. China has noodles. Big beautiful bowls of chewy noodles bathing in a delicious swirl of broth, laden with vegetables and an egg. The egg confused me at first but oh my goodness it makes the soup even more delicious. This is a tie for me ~ kudos to both countries for making stupendous soups.
China 2 ~ Czech 2

4.  Produce ~ this is another easy one. China surprised me by having such an astounding variety of produce. Fresh juicy watermelon in the summer, sweet mandarins in tbe winter, with a glorious assortment of other fruit available. Vegetables abound. Leeks, potatoes, pumpkin, squash, onions, mushrooms (okay Czech has amazing mushrooms too). The availability of so much good produce is one reason why I have managed to stay so healthy here. China wins this one.
China 3 ~ Czech 2

5.  Breads and pastries ~ this is close for me. Czech has pastries, from apple strudel to chocolate filled croissants, cakes and cookies everywhere ~ well it is Europe. But don’t dismiss China. They have very good bread ~ soft buttery bread. They have these custard filled tarts with the pastry so light and flaky they melt in your mouth. Wafer cookies, fruit filled cakes ~ all so delicious. Czech wins though for this one big reason ~ chocolate. Need I say more?
China 3 ~ Czech 3

6. Signature dishes ~ this is the deciding category. Czech has sausages. So many mouth watering sausages, on chewy rolls with mustard, sizzling and popping in your mouth with that first bite. My mouth is watering just thinking of this!  Czech also has svickova, a dish containing meat, with bread dumplings, cranberries and whipped cream, with gravy poured over it all. It’s not a healthy dish but it is delicious. Even the dumplings are good served this way (probably because it is drenched in gravy!).  Czech is famous for its meat dishes ~ all kinds of meat. Pork knuckle, beef brisket. All so very good!!  China also has a wide variety of dishes to try.  Dumplings and noodles of course. Ma la tong. Chicken with peppers and ginger served with rice. Rice dishes! Pork, beef, fish (I am not a fan of the fish dishes though ~ too bony for my liking). They all have their own unique quality and taste. And all served with vegetables.  This one is going to China. With the healthier dishes and the wider variety to choose from, it is definitely the winner.
China 4 ~ Czech 3
China has a healthier cuisine, but I still miss the Czech coffee and pastries.  

Memories…

It’s been a quiet week for me. Winter break has started for the kids and so I don’t get to see them every day. But it’s alwaye so nice when I do ~ the little boy this week on the bus who tried talking to me and when the bus was crowded, he took my hand, smiled and asked “ok?”. These moments will forever be great memories of China for me.

Since it’s been quiet, I have been going back in time with some old friends and remembering so many great times we had. Reconnecting with old friends is such a lovely way to pass the time away, especially when they are such amazing friends who I know will be forever in my life.

As my wall tells me every day, life is short. Break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that made you smile.

Memories do just that ~ they make me smile.