We’re Staying Put

So… my assumption was correct. Our Uni won’t allow us to transfer our semesters over to someone else. Before, the office said that that’s no problem, we were able to do that… so I have no idea what made them change their minds. Thank god we didn’t book  flights or anything before we found this out!

It’s sort of bad on their part though. Either it’s a yes or no from them… don’t be playing us around.

I’m not really too disappointed by it, I half expected it to be honest. I’ll miss the family but I really had no clue what I was going to do once I arrived back home. It might have been difficult to find a job, I wasn’t sure about courses that I wanted to do. Also, with my fiancee only being able to stay for a maximum of 3 months, I’d have to be without him for a couple of months.

So now we have to sort out a new job here….aaggh so I’m not rid of teaching jobs just yet unfortunately.

And anyway I do want to continue my Chinese studies here. I know in Ireland I wouldn’t do a tap of study… so at least I’ll have studied an extra semester here. Oh and MAYBE do the HSK Chinese language test!

I like to think that everything happens for a reason… so hopefully I’ll find a few good reasons why we had to stay longer here.

再见

爱玲

Just About Coping

After 3 weeks of returning to Chinese class… I’m still very stressed with my class. My listening teacher is fine (she talks far too quickly and basically speaks to us like we are Chinese; so she’s just too fast for us) but it’s my first teacher where I’m struggling.

Every week she reads a story to us and we have to listen to her. Then she asks each and everyone of us to answer a question about the story.  Because she’s talking for like 3/4 minutes, I get the beginning bit… but after that it’s just gibberish. She speaks very fast and I just can’t grasp what she’s saying quick enough.

So I’ve realised my listening is quite poor in comparison to some others, so I really need to improve my listening ability.

Today, she asked me 3 questions about the story and I didn’t know the answer to any of them. So that wasn’t good!

She’s a great teacher though. She puts you on the spot and you have to answer. So you need to pay attention. I just feel my Chinese isn’t high enough for her class.

But I’ll stick with it though. I realise I remember the grammar and vocab more though compared to my last semesters classes. I actually can’t remember much of anything from that book! So that’s something anyway!

再见

爱玲

Trying To Think Of The Positives

Still not knowing whether we can leave China in the summer… I’ve decided to think of the positives of staying another few months here. I miss my family so much though. I know that with every year that passes my Mum and Dad are sadly getting older…

But anyway…. I have to try and think of the good if we  have to stay here.

  1. I can continue to study Chinese.

I really love Chinese. I really do. If my Chinese was perfect I’d like to teach it in Ireland. But of course I don’t have a teaching degree, plus my Chinese is definitely nowhere near to fluency… but I’d like to do that.

2. I can continue to eat proper Chinese food.

I love that I can walk literally two minutes outside my apartment building and I can easily find a restaurant. We are extremely lucky to live next to great amenities; bus stops, metro, my favourite Coco shop (they sell all different sorts of milk teas and that).  We are spoiled with where we live. Plus the food is great and so cheap. On average we spend about  €8 for a meal for the two of us- this consists of 2 main dishes plus 2 bowls of rice.

3. We still have the option of being able to travel.

We have barely even travelled through South East Asia, and we’d love to visit Japan and New Zealand… so at least we have the option that we could do that. With my money situation and lack of job though, at the moment it’s not possible. But I know if we went to Ireland it would be much harder to travel. So it’s nice to know that we could possibly visit these places.

4. We live by ourselves.

Although I dislike our neighbours, we enjoy living in our apartment. I have the freedom here, whereas in Ireland, my Mum and Dad will be there and I think I’d miss my freedom more.

5. I’m independent here.

I don’t have to rely on anybody to bring me here or there. I have my bike, the great bus system, plus the new metro about 10 minutes walk from us. I don’t have to worry like I do in Ireland “Dad will you bring me to town please… Dad can you pick me up…?”  It’s nice to know that I can go anywhere.

6. The feeling of being safe.

When I walk in Ireland and in my town, I’m always wary. I just don’t feel 100% safe. Here however, I could walk in the city at 3am and I’d feel fine. In Ireland you would see a group of teens that just don’t look safe to be near, but here I’ve never seen that. I’ve never been afraid to walk past a big group of people. In Ireland though, especially if they are pretty drunk, I’d be more conscious of them and maybe cross the road.

I’m never afraid here, and I love that. ha the only time I’m truly afraid is when I’m in a taxi and they are driving recklessly!

7. Rent is cheaper.

I am shocked at how expensive rent is in Ireland. It’s unbelievable how people can actually afford to. In Dublin, the capital of Ireland, the average cost of rent in a normal area is  €1,530pm for a 900Sqft furnished accommodation. I definitely can’t afford that.

Unfortunately rent in Chengdu is always increasing, but at the moment we pay  €242pm. It’s a basic apartment; no mod cons, crappy sofa, no proper table… but we wanted a cheap place.. and so far it’s fine. I actually think it’s not worth the money but it’s near the metro, so of course our landlord upped the price.

In our community,  €400/ 3000元 will get you a decent big apartment. So rent is much much cheaper than in Ireland.

8.Living in general is cheap.

We know we won’t starve here. Everything is just so cheap here. Well except for restaurants and bars which cater for foreigner’s!

9. Wages for foreigners are high

Teachers are in high demand here… so that means that they will pay huge amounts to foreigners to come and teach. I’m fed up of teaching, but when that’s pretty much the only high paying job for us here… I’ll most likely have to find another teaching job. But anyway, wages are high… sometimes ridiculously high for teachers who are too lazy to teach well.

So I think I’ve found some positives of staying in China… if we end up needing to stay!

再见

爱玲

 

Everything Is Stressing Me Out

I’m beginning to become so so annoyed at China and everything it has to do with it. Nothing seems to be going to plan…. our uni may not let us transfer our semesters to someone else; all we need to do is for the person to give us the money instead of to the school. That’s the only difference. Because the Uni already has our money, the person taking over our semester just gives us their money instead.

I have no idea why, because at first they said that once we could find someone that would be willing, no problem. But now we find out that maybe that’s not possible. I’m just so angry. I really don’t want to lose out on about 700euro. Plus I’m stuck here with no job and with stupid neighbours.

And that’s another thing that is driving me mad: our neighbours.

A few months ago we had to deal with the neighbours below us listening to the tv until 1am. I had to go down to them twice and tell them to lower the volume. The second time they didn’t even bother to answer the door to me, just talked through it.

NOW, we have the upstairs neighbour at it. Plus, from about 2pm to 5:30pm, they have 3 people drilling into their floor with machines… so we can barely hear ourselves during this time.

Then, last night they had their tv on so loud that I had to put the volume on my laptop to the highest… and I could STILL hear them.

I’m just so fed up; people have no respect or regards for their neighbours.

Then my company where I used to work still hasn’t replied back to me about giving me a recommendation letter, yet they want us to go in and sign some forms for something. I’ve worked with them for 3 years yet they don’t have the decency to write back to me. They can’t be bothered about why I left and what were the problems. Nope… no ‘Oh I’m very sorry Aisling that you feel this way… maybe if you’d like you can come to the main office and we can discuss what made you feel you had to leave.’

Nada. No email whatsoever about actually caring.

And when I do go and meet the to fill those things in, I’m going to tell them how I feel. They can’t treat their employees that way. All the things I did for them; having loads of resigns, happy students, I wasn’t a hard teacher to work with, actually doing my job while others did nothing-lost students but still got paid a huge amount for being a crap teacher… yet that apparently means nothing to them.

I’m just in a ranting mood today. All our plans are slowly being unravelled, and I have no idea how everything will pan out.

I love China.. don’t get me wrong. But my heart was set on leaving in the summer. I just want to leave now.

And we might be stuck here for another 8/9 months.

I’m just stressed out. I hope everything sorts itself out. And these neighbours quiet down. Or I’ll have to make a trip upstairs next time!

再见

爱玲

Saying Goodbye To My Students

Having just finished my last day of work, I’ve sadly had to say goodbye to all of my students. I’ve been extremely lucky… most of my students were great. 1 boy was a bit of a pain, but I honestly never dreaded having to go in and teach a class. I know there are a lot of teachers in my campus with some horror students!

So because I had lovely students, that’s more of a reason why I’ll miss them! Also having to lie that ‘I’m leaving in a few weeks’ makes me feel bad. But if I stayed, I would have had to say goodbye to them in a few months time anyway though.

It was tough saying goodbye to the oldest student I had. When I moved to another campus, she moved with me. So I’ve had her for about 3 years I think. (She’s the one that calls me fat), but apart from that she was a brilliant and kind student!

After my last class her Mum and Dad came in, gave me a Prada gift of a small purse (Prada no less!) and we said our goodbyes. (I gave her a card but I felt bad that they gave me a quite expensive gift) I also got a picture of me and her together which is nice to keep! I think the whole family was sad about me leaving… but I know the teacher that will take over is super nice and I know my student will be fine with her.

She even shocked me when she sent me this:

Unfortunately my reading of handwritten characters isn’t the best so I need a Chinese person to help me translate some of it, but I’m so happy that she took the time and energy to write this for me. It’s so great to know that she enjoyed having class with me and that she felt comfortable with me.

It’s nice that you build this relationship with your students. I only had her once a week, but in that hour you do build a bond and relationship. She (and all my other students) knew they could joke in class and have a laugh with me. Once we just get a bit of work done as well!

Another one of my students who is 14years old also gave me a keyring! She is super nice. Her Mum and Dad said that their daughter liked me a lot and will miss me. I also got a photo with her and the Mum. It’s nice to hear these things… that I’ve had an impact on their lives, no matter how small it was!

It’s such a pity though that I had to leave them because of the company. I loved all my students and they definitely weren’t the reasons why I left. It really is a shame.

I remember when I finished my internship at the University that I taught at… I wondered will I ever see any of my students again. Unfortunately I haven’t seen any since. But I often wonder what they are doing or where they are. Maybe I pass them on the street all the time and I don’t even know it!

Thankfully I’ve gotten some of my students wechat number (sort of like whats app) so we can communicate by that. Some also said they would love to visit me in Ireland! That would be nice!

But anyway, I’ll miss them all. But at the end of the day I’d have to leave them one day…. just thought I would have them just a little bit longer…

再见

爱玲

 

Recap Of My First Day Of Semester 5

Tiredness has befallen me! With our rude and disrespectful neighbours listening to loud loud music until 1:45am last night…. I was not exactly hopping with energy this morning only having gotten 5 hours sleep.

All this crap is just making want to leave  China as soon as possible.

But anyway, I managed to make it to class on time and not fall asleep! And I tell you, I definitely won’t be able to day-dream this semester!

Reading and writing is our first class, and in comes the teacher. I was expecting her to greet us and then start with the story and grammar… but no…. she doesn’t touch the book but instead starts to read a passage from a book about Chinese culture and what gifts you should give your friends/ girlfriends/ boyfriends/ friends girlfriend and so on.

She told us to listen to her and then she will ask us questions based on the passage. What?? No easy class of reading??!! This is not a speaking and listening class teacher!!

And she meant it…. asking each student a question about the passage… most of us didn’t understand all of the passage or didn’t understand what she was asking…. but we all got through it in the end! PHEW!

After the break it was then that she started the book… but oh no… it wasn’t all that easy. Once she finished going over some of the words, she asked each of us to make a sentence with one. (we didn’t even get to pick the words we wanted to use aka the easiest!)  With me, my problem with new vocab is that I don’t know how to use it in a sentence properly, so I didn’t really know if I would say my sentence correctly. Thankfully though I did!

So that wasn’t exactly a relaxing class. My last semesters reading and writing class was much much easier! Oh the memories!

Onto the next class: Listening and Speaking. And I really don’t like this class. My weakness is speaking… I don’t particularly enjoy speaking Chinese ( I know, that’s a bad sign when I want to learn it!) but I need to get over my fear of speaking!

Our next teacher seems nice, but she spoke quite fast for me and used too many new words… so it was difficult to keep up with her sometimes.

In this class we had to introduce ourselves, where we are from, our hobbies, and what we want to learn/ achieve in the class.

So when she got to me I said I don’t have a lot of confidence so I want to gain more confidence in speaking and listening. She then replied in Chinese “Oh come up and stand in front of the class and speak…that will help your confidence!”

Haha funny joke teacher.

The rest of the class went smoothly enough. At one point she unexpectedly said “aì líng, nǐ kěyǐ dú dì èr gè wèntí ma?”

“Aisling, can you read question two?”.

What??? Did I just hear my Chinese name being called out?? I definitely wasn’t expecting this! Calling on me to read??? That’s a first! Thankfully though I was sort of paying attention so I figured out what she wanted of me… but yeah, I definitely can’t switch off in class now.

The good old days of Level 5 is definitely over!

And then…..I heard my listening and speaking teacher mention the dreaded word presentations and getting up in front of the class and speaking about a topic. 

Oh no, I definitely don’t want to do either of those…. No no…

Teachers…just let me sit quietly and ignore me please! I’ll be a good student and won’t disturb you while you are attacking the other students with your gibberish….I promise!

再见

爱玲

Back To School Tomorrow! 我不要去! (I don’t want to go!!)

AAAGGHH….School.Tomorrow! Forget.Everything!

My Chinese has literally disappeared since not attending University. Today was the first time that I opened my books which we will use from tomorrow onwards. . and the first two characters are 从前 and I forgot what they meant. The first two characters!

So that’s definitely not a great start, plus it’s not even a difficult word! It means ‘previously;formerly;once upon a time’ by the way.

Also, getting up earlier than 9am has been a struggle for me lately… never mind having to get up at 7am! I think once this week is done I’ll be used to the early morning… it will also be good to get into a routine again!

Usually I’m really excited to be going back. But this time around not so much. I think it’s due to the fact that my last semesters teachers didn’t put too much pressure on us in class. My reading and writing teacher just went through the story, grammar and vocab, while I listened and took notes. It was an easy class and I knew she wouldn’t ask us anything.

Then my listening and speaking teacher spent most of the time chatting to us, so I wasn’t too worried about having to speak. Good for my listening though!

But now I’ll be having new teachers… and they might actually expect me to do some work in class!  Oh and talk Chinese!

Oh and I also have to laugh at our Chinese books sometimes. Some of the stories in them are quite strange! For previewing my text for tomorrows class, I found out that this weeks lesson is about a donkey which fell into a well…. obviously the owner has no idea how to get it out…. so he decides (because the donkey is old) that he’ll abandon it…. and fill the well with soil.

So he’s going to kill the donkey!!??!!

To me that’s an awful way to deal with this situation! haha I have no idea who came up with this story.

img_0622

The story in question

Thankfully though, the donkey found out what the owner was doing, and was clever enough to stand on the soil as they threw it in, so finally there would put enough soil in the well so that the donkey will be able to escape.

So, it ends well at least!

But I’d definitely find a new owner If I was the donkey!

img_0623

Poor donkey, nobody wants him

But anyway…. that’s the sort of thing we learn in Chinese class!

I wonder what other weird and wonderful stories I’ll be learning in the next few week!

再见

爱玲