Our last few days.

In less than a week we’ll be back in China. I’m in mixed emotions with this. I’m looking forward to returning to our apartment and knowing that that space is ‘ours’; instead of living in my parents house. Second of all, I can’t wait to get back to Uni and start studying again. Finally, I’ll enjoy eating the Chinese food again!

But of course I’m going to miss home and Ireland. The lack of people here, my Mum’s cooking, the green fields, and of course my family and friends. I know I won’t be back to Ireland for a while, so my two nephews will be even bigger!

When I decided to move to China for the internship, I never thought I’d be living there for the next few years, so I didn’t really think about family and them visiting me. I do now though! It’s a pity I live too far away from them. If I decided to move to somewhere in Europe perhaps, it would be different. But I may make the most of being in China when I’m there; visiting other countries and studying Mandarin.

Since arriving back from Paris, my oldest nephew is always asking when are we going back to China. When he see’s us leaving, say to go to town, he always asks ‘Where are you going?’ ‘Are you coming back?’ It breaks my heart when he asks these. Because soon I’ll have to say ‘No, we won’t be back’.

But we’re enjoying our stay here, relaxing and enjoying time with the family! Back to the madness of China soon though!

再见!

Aisling.

The romantic city of Paris.

We’ve spent a lovely (and hot) week in the lovely city of Paris. We decided to visit as Rafa’s sister now lives there with her boyfriend, so naturally it was the perfect time to see her. From the rain filled Ireland to the blue sky of France, it was a great welcome! Although my excitement for the sun dwindled a little when I got burnt. My poor Irish skin can’t stick the sun.

But it was a great wee holiday! I’ve been to France a few years ago, but when we were in Paris, we  didn’t get to go sightseeing as it was just a stop off. So this time round we made sure I got to do the touristy things.

During our week, we were staying in the La Defense area. Booking our room with Air BnB, we found a great one that was near to the metro, plus there was a Monoprix near to us aswell. Here they sell French pastries. Oh how I wish the Chinese would adopt these instead of their horrible pastries they make.

So we did the touristy things; went up the Eiffel Tower, visited Disneyland, saw the Mona Lisa, visited the Notre Dame among more. But of course, there were queues….everywhere. The longest wait was for the Catacombs, which took 2 hours….outside, in the sun. We’re glad we visited it, but it was a long wait!

The two things I didn’t exactly like about Paris were

1. It’s cleanliness.

Although I loved Paris; its architecture, winding cobbled streets… what struck me was the amount of cigarette butts that were littered all over the streets. The bins didn’t seem to have the option of putting the butts in the bin, so naturally everyone threw them on the street. So the cleanliness of the city was a bit of a disappointment. It’s such a beautiful city, you would think they would make more of an effort to make it even more beautiful. In comparison to Chengdu, they have an army of cleaners; sweeping the streets and the bins are never overflowing. In Chengdu it’s much cleaner. But anyway it’s still gorgeous.

2. It’s so expensive.

We visited a touristy area in Paris and I came across a menu with deserts being priced at 12euro!  Everything is so expensive! The only place for food that is cheaper than all the restaurants is McDonalds. I’m sure there are cheap places to eat, but with being tourists, we didn’t know these areas. Coming from a country that is extrememly cheap, to arriving to one of the most expensive really puts into perspective how lucky we are to be able to eat and travel cheaply in China.

**Also a tip for anyone visiting Paris and using the metro system. When we were buying tickets, Rafa’s sister used the Spanish version to order the tickets. But she quickly noticed she was being charged more than what they are usually priced at. She switched back to the French version and they were cheaper. So they charge more for tickets when you use the Spanish/English version. So if you can, try and use the French version so you’re not caught out! That’s if you can understand French!

So we arrived back in Ireland to the cold and the clouds, but it’s good to relax. We walked quite a lot in Paris. But I enjoyed my time immensely.

( I will try and post pictures, but our internet here is not very good here so it may take a while)

再见!

Aisling.

My visit to Ireland (so far)

So it’s been 2 weeks since I arrived home! Weather is of course being unpredictable; sunny one minute, rain the next. Some things have changed our holiday plans with an accident of a family member a few days prior to me coming home, so that put me down for a few days. The family planned on travelling around Ireland and sightseeing, but with the accident that hasn’t gone to plan.  The main reason to visit was to spend time with the family and go with them to places. So now it’s mainly just me and Rafa that go to places. But the accident could have been a lot worse so we are lucky.

Later today we head to Paris to visit my boyfriends sister and boyfriend. Apparently the weather is much nicer there. Then we are back in Ireland for another week.

Our plan to study Chinese has also stopped. Due to being busy with my nephews, and sadly our lack of interest. It’s amazing how being away from an environment where everyone speaks Mandarin, our interest in it has dwindled. I suppose now, we don’t need to speak it, so we don’t need to learn it. I’ve studied a bit and I’m forgetting quite a few characters, so we’ll have to study a lot when we return!

I’ve also been seeing many relatives. With me being home, and with my family members accident, I suppose they can ‘kill two birds with one stone’ as they say. But it’s nice to see them!

Food wise, I’ve been treating myself quite a lot, chocolates, jelly sweets, crisps, take-aways.  Mum has nearly everything on the food list I made for her done. And luckily, my clothes here still fit me!

I’m looking forward to going to France and visiting Paris again.

再见!

Aisling.