Tag Archives: China

​Staying healthy in China

Since being in China, I have had numerous colds, walking pneumonia and recently another chest cough. Between the dirty hands and nobody covering their mouth when coughing or sneezing, I am more surprised that I haven’t been sicker!

In the earlier winter, I made the smart choice of taking a multi-vitamin every morning.  I know that this helped me stay relatively healthy.


Then pneumonia hit me in April.   Thankfully the school has a very good doctor who got me on the right meds and I felt better after a week or so.
Last week, another chest cough started.  I think it was partially allergies and partially a cold. In any event, I headed to my friendly pharmacy in search of cough medicine.  And I have discovered a whole new world of medical treatment!


The pharmacist/nurse gave me Chuanbei qingfei tangjiang – a natural remedy for dry coughs and chest problems.  I have to say that, while it is sweeter than I expected, it has almost gotten rid of the cough!  I have a couple more doses but I am so impressed with it!!


Combined with me making ginger “tea” (get ginger root, peel and chop up pieces into water, boil for 20 minutes then let steep ~ and drink hot) and drinking hot water with honey before bed ~ I can’t believe how much better I feel!!   And the ginger tea has done wonders for my IBS issues too!!


I have turned over a new Chinese leaf ~ as much as I can, natural methods are the way I am going now.

The teachers of Livon

I have written a lot about the students I have taught over the past year, but not much has been said about the teachers who have helped me.

The primary teachers at Livon have been incredible. They have been helpful, generous and so very sweet. From assisting me in my classes, to helping me translate Chinese, and so much more ~ they have made my teaching experience very memorable.  I will miss them but I know that I have made some lifelong friends.


George ~ my Saturday assistant

Michael ~ an amazing young man and a lifelong friend

Mark ~ grade 3 and 4 assistant

Summer ~ grade 3 and 4 English teacher

Cassie ~ grade 1 English teacher

Winnie ~ grade 1 English teacher

Emily ~ an occasional assistant

Peter ~ my official liaison

Pamela ~ an occasional assistant

Ariel ~ an occasional assistant

Emma ~ grade 2 assistant

Lily ~ the head teacher of primary and one of the sweetest women I have met here

Sherry ~ grade 1 English teacher

Tesia ~ grade 1 English teacher

Naomi ~ grade 2 English Teacher ~ she was like a daughter ~ same age as my daughter!  Note the teary eyes…

Nancy ~ grade 1 English teacher and an amazing young woman!

Rainbow~ grade 2 English teacher and so much fun!  She always was so involved in my lessons!

I will miss them all!!

Chopsticks

Forks and knives are not easy commodities to find in China. If you go to a Western restaurant, then they will provide you with them (ex. Pizza Hut).

But usually you are given chopsticks. Wooden ones, disposable ones ~ I have even used metal ones!  Only once though ~ they are NOT easy to use!

When I first arrived, I was very self-conscious about using them. Was I holding them right? No I wasn’t haha.  Were people staring at my ineptness? Yes and taking pictures too!  That doesn’t make one more self-conscious at all!  One day I will ask why they insist on taking pictures of foreigners eating.  It is very disconcerting!

After a few weeks of eating at the school with only chopsticks available, I became much more comfortable with them.

So now, 10 months after arriving in China, I can say that I can eat everything with chopsticks!  Except soup… haha.  I can pick up a single piece of rice with my chopsticks!  I can pick up a piece of chicken and easily eat it. 

One more thing I have succeeded at while in China ~ eating with chopsticks!!

​More adventures in food…

I will miss some things about China ~ the children, the teaching and the FOOD!!  Today I ventured over to a new restaurant that opened close to me. I presumed, correctly, that the owners were parents of one of the kids I taught and I was right! Two of my favourite Grade 1 students!  


It was a new style of restaurant for me.  You have a “buffet” where you can add whatever you want in a bowl. You then take it to the counter, they weigh it, cook it in hot water and serve it with a side of rice (good thing I love rice haha).


I made the choices of tofu, glass noodles, mushrooms, mystery meat (it looked like bacon), corn, crab meat and some greens (it was a mixture of unknown greens). It was delicious!!!  They added some peanuts to it after it was cooked.  All of this for the equivalent of $2 Canadian!

I have broken through the fear of the unknown food and I am really enjoying discovering new food!! Now if only I could get used to the loud eating..

​Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on me!!

Awww the sun.  It’s a glorious thing.  It gives you a bronzed look, necessary Vitamin D, a sunny spirit and an overall great feeling.  Sunny days, anytime of the year, always put me in a great mood. 


But at 5am??  I am trying to get used to the very early sunrise here in Northeast China.  I just need to adjust my evening routine to accommodate my early waking hours.

With the early sunrise also comes sounds like birds chirping and some that are not, what I consider, normal sounds for these hours.  Children’s voices outside at 5:30am, people walking and talking (loudly), the cars honking (why???), and the sounds of spitting outside my window.   If only I could sleep with my window closed! 

Awww yes, the glorious sounds of spring and summer are upon us.  Its time for me to start walking early in the morning and take advantage of the early sunshine!

​Grade 4 ~ Monday morning madness


There is only one Grade 4 class at the school. They were my first class to teach each week ~ Mondays at 8:55am.  The class never started on time, my time was always short with them, and that was disappointing for us.  Despite the time constraints, we always managed to have a fun class. 

There is so much potential for the brilliant minds that are in this class.  I could have actual conversations with some of the kids and they were able to understand me and communicate with me.


They were a class of chatters but I still was able to connect with them.  They were a tough class to teach some days. Tough in that they were the most distracted of all the classes. Their classroom was in a corner away from the others due to renovations in the school.  Their interaction was mostly with each other so it was understandable that they chatted.


They were engaging when I had an interesting game or activity to do, they liked asking me questions about Canada and they also liked giving me a hard time about my minimal Chinese. I did manage to surprise them on occasion with some new Chinese words though!  They were very intent on teaching me Chinese!


Some of my favourite lessons with them were Scattegories, Scrambled Sentences, and Charades.  The charades was a very rambunctious game that came at a price of a broken ruler (not on one of them ~ on a desk~ oops!!)


I enjoyed the time with them and I can sense that there are going to be a lot of very successful students in that class.

As with all the students I have met and taught at Livon, I will miss these kids very much!!  It has been such an amazing experience teaching all these kids.

Grade 3 ~ the reasons why I love this career

If someone asked me what my favourite grade was to teach in China, this was it. Grade 3 without a doubt. These kids were awesome.

They were fun to teach, they were funny, they understood a lot, I could be silly with them but they also knew when they had to listen. One loud bang of the giant yellow ruler and they knew it was time to stop and listen.

Playing with them at lunch time (what time is it Mr. Wolf!), eating lunch with them every day, bonding with them outside of school at the playground ~ these are the kids that I will miss the  most. 

There are only two Grade 3 classes, each with 36 students, so it was much easier to get closer to them.  These kids ~ oh these kids ~ I will miss their laughter, their questions, their smiles, and their generous nature.   The snacks they would feed me, the high fives in the hallway, and lots of hugs.  

Albert, Frog, Yoyo, Sun, Sam, Terry, Derek, Nick, Coco, Cici, Angel ~ these are the names that immediately come to my mind but I will remember every single one of them.  (I wish I was just making those names up….but I’m not. Those are their English names!)

The Grade 2 students may have made me a better teacher, but the Grade 3 students showed me how much I truly love this career I have.  

Shine on kids, be the stars you are all destined for and know that I am going to miss you all so much!!