After a very long winter break, school is back. I missed my students very much and they missed me too! I impressed them with my growing knowledge of the very difficult language of Mandarin! Seeing the students again was the highlight of my week. Dealing with adults ~ not so much.
The daily struggle of not being fluent in the language can be so frustrating. Miscommunication is the biggest problem. Arriving at school to teach, getting into the first class only to be told then that grade 1 classes were cancelled for the morning ~ its a problem. The teachers each assume that the others have told me, when in fact no one has. This was just one of several miscommunication issues of the week.
When you are abroad, its always good to remind yourself to be patient and not expect things to run smoothly every day. And every time something like this happens, I remind myself that I am here for the kids, they love me and I love them.
Second semester is here, and I am so happy to be back !! I will just remind myself every day that seeing the kids smiles and getting hugs is worth every issue I need to deal with.
This is my final blog for 2016! I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!
This has been an incredible year for me. I started 2016 in Ostrava, Czech Republic with new friends, I traveled to London, Berlin, Paris, back to Canada for 5 weeks and now I’m in China. Every city I went to made me realize that I am just one small person in this world. But I know I can make a difference to some and I am determined to do that!
I am so grateful that I have had such amazing adventures in 2016, and 2017 is going to be just as exciting because I am going to make it as exciting as I can!
I have made so many friends across this big beautiful world and I cannot wait to meet more amazing people.
I wish everyone a truly happy new year. Here’s to 2017!! Make it as exciting as you can!!
I have lived here for 4 months now and have started making a list of tips. Here is the first set of tips.
1. Pedestrian rules ~ there are none. The pedestrian has no rights, even at a crosswalk. So when you see a break in traffic, do not be afraid and just GO. You will end up in the middle of traffic but you won’t be alone. So take the risk and go!
2. Punctuality ~ again there doesn’t seem to be rules about this. Of course it is always better to be punctual or, for me, early. You will end up waiting regardless. There is no sense of urgency here, except of course if you are in a car.
3. The weather ~ the summer here is hot and humid, the winter is cold. But there is not a very long autumn season. When the Chinese people tell you to be prepared for the cold because it comes quickly, listen to them! They are NOT kidding. The cold comes fast and furious.
4. Smog ~ if you have lung issues or severe asthma, don’t even consider moving to this part of China. It is not good for the lungs. And I have discovered that it is worse in the winter months.
5. Food ~ aww the food. It is delicious, and there is a wide variety to choose from. But, if you have a food allergy of any kind, do some research before booking that ticket. Anyone with celiac disease will not have it easy.
I will add more tips but this is a good starting point. China is an amazing place to be, just remember to keep an open mind and watch out for the cars!!
When I moved to Europe in 2014, I knew that I would not be the same size as I was in Canada. The women in the Czech Republic are tall, slim and have skinny legs and small feet. I am none of those. I have always been a plus size woman and had accepted that in Canada. In Europe, I felt even bigger because the sizes are so different. My size 10 feet became size 42.
So I am now in China, and had to shop this week for winter attire. They do not even carry women’s shoes or boots in my size. Good thing I like black hiking style boots for winters!! And winter coats – well in Canada I’m extra large – here I’m 3xL. Yeah thanks for the confidence booster China.
On the plus side this week – my students guessed my age as 33 – hahaha thanks guys!!
Living in foreign countries is already challenging – it became more challenging this week!!
Well, I had been warned that the cold weather comes quickly here – and they weren’t kidding!! Thank goodness for hoodies and warm pants!!
Winter is my favourite season so I look forward to experiencing winters here in northern China. In January there is an ice festival in Harbin, which is not far from here. I am excited to go!!
My challenge now is to find a suitable winter coat and boots – I am having to get men’s boots since Chinese women don’t have giant feet – one sales lady looked horrified when she saw my foot size. Aw well, its just another challenge to overcome in this very interesting country I am in!!