A One Way Ticket Outta Here

flight-sky-clouds-fly.jpg

So we’ve finally done it…. there’s no going back! Our one way flight out of China is bought, and for once, we don’t have a return ticket!

We were struggling on finding a flight out of Hong Kong, but we found a direct one from there straight to Dublin. Unfortunately it’s rather expensive as it’s a one way ticket, but at least it’s sorted! Cathay Pacific launched direct flights in the summer from Hong Kong to Dublin so I think it’s great that Dublin airport is offering more and more direct flights to places. It’s 13 hours so the time isn’t too bad either.

Because we have little time in Asia we really wanted to visit Japan before we left. So after China we are going to spend 2 weeks travelling around Japan and then go to Hong Kong for our flight. Flights from Japan were more expensive.

I think I’m really going to miss China when I leave though. It’s been my home for 5 years. But now I’m just fed up not being able to do things by myself. I need to go to a country where I can actually speak the language! That’s one thing that I’m looking forward to, well, until I go to Mexico….. then it’ll start all over again!

So we still have to organise some things before we leave, like sending things home, selling our bikes, sorting out money and things like that. But it’s nice to know that we’ve at least started to say bye bye to China!

Aisling

Advertisements
Things That I Do To Study Spanish

Things That I Do To Study Spanish

Duolingo

Who doesn’t use Duolingo when learning a language. I’m nearly finished my tree but I keep forgetting to do it everyday, so I need to stick with this one more. But it’s a good starting point for learning.

Youtube videos

There are quite a few videos on how to learn Spanish, but I particularly enjoy the channel ‘WhyNotSpanish’. She is really nice and she explains things clearly and simply. I really enjoy her channel.

whynotspanish

Another channel I watch is Extra en Español. A Spanish tv show for  learners. It’s a bit cringe-worthy sometimes but it’s useful for your listening!

extraspanish

Irish Leaving Cert Spanish Past Papers

For my Leaving Cert in Ireland, I studied French (which I totally forget). These exam papers are the important exams for entry to University. You have ordinary level (which is a lower level) and higher level. Here they have stories that you read, fill in the questions, and then you have an email/ letter you must write.

You can find the website here; Leaving Certificate Sample Spanish Papers

So on the Ordinary level which I’m doing now, for the email/ letter which you have to write, what I do is first say it to my fiancé. He will help me fix any mistakes. So I will practice saying it aloud a few times, then I will write it down. I think this is useful for me.

Sample Spanish books on Kindle

I really enjoy learning Spanish by reading. Before going to sleep I would usually try and read a few pages of a Spanish book that I have in my Kindle. There are lots of spanish books on Amazon, but of course you need to pay for them. But I figured out I could simply download a  free sample of whatever book I wanted, then I could read and practice using the samples. Sometimes they give quite a few pages of the book, so that keeps me going with my reading practice!

Speaking with my fiancé

I try and talk with him everyday in Spanish, and when we are on the bus going somewhere. But of course we always revert back to English!

Anki Flashcards

I used Anki flashcards for when I was learning Chinese, and it proved quite useful. For spanish, I use Anki and a method for learning languages. I will explain it.

For Nouns, first I will write the alphabet A-Z. I will have two of these. One will be for men, another for women.

So for example, the word government, el govierno.  El is going to be for male. So all nouns that begin with el will be male. All with la will be female.

Ok, so for el gobierno, what I do is think of a male with the name beginning with G, because gobierno begins with G. I think of George Clooney.

Now I need to think of an image of George doing something related to government. I picture him in my head holding a placard with the words ‘Shut your gob you government!’. (In Ireland people sometimes say ‘Shut your gob’ to someone to stop talking’).

So I try and remember that scene until it’s easy to remember. Then when I see the word ‘el gobierno’ I can picture George Clooney holding the placard and shouting!

I’ll give you another one. La bufanda. Scarf.

I picture Beyonce holding a scarf and saying BOO to all her fans. So Boo to her fans. La Bufanda!

This is a good way to memorise words. I’ve only started doing this so I’ll see in a few weeks if I’ve retained any of these words!

Also for verbs, because they don’t have a gender, I just choose a fictional character and do exactly as I done with nouns.

I think this method of learning is called the ‘Marilyn Method’.

My problem now is that I lose motivation sometimes, and then I spend a few days not learning anything. Plus when I’m working the last thing I want to learn is study! So I need to try and practice everyday!

Aisling.

Their English & My Spanish

pexels-photo-880776.jpeg

I’ve been dabbling in Spanish for the past few months, but I’ve only really been putting an extra effort in it since I came back from Mexico. I can have a basic conversation and I say I’m about A2 right now. I can understand more than what I can say. So I think I’m gradually getting better with it! I don’t think my pronunciation is bad, but I need to learn the conjugations and what not. Plus increase my vocab.

As I teach English to Chinese students, I’ve been meeting up with every student and asking them “Where are you from?” “Where do you want to visit in China?” “What country do you want to visit?” and ” What do you do in your free-time?”.

Simple enough questions. But I noticed that so many of my students have atrocious English! Some of them don’t even understand “Where are you from?”.

I actually realised that I can speak better Spanish than they can speak English…… and they have been learning English since they were 4 years old!

I understand English is similar to Spanish, but these kids have been learning it since they were little. They really should be more fluent. Plus many, if not all of my students get basic tenses wrong. they would say ‘She get’, ‘Yesterday I go….’

Like this is very basic grammar, but yet they struggle. In Chinese they don’t have tenses. So for ‘I eat’ is ‘Wo chi’/ 我吃.

‘I ate’ is ‘Wo chi le’/ 我吃了.

You add ‘le’ 了 and it changes to past. So there is no conjugation needed in Chinese. So I do understand that changing tenses and what not is difficult for them, but come on, it’s not as if they only started learning English!

I think a huge part is how they are taught it at school. They are made to learn long boring passages in English from their books, and it’s just not useful for them. They don’t do enough/or any speaking in class, and they focus too much on grammar. So the way they are taught doesn’t exactly help them.

Plus many just don’t want to learn English. They don’t plan on leaving China, so why should they bother? Personally I think they are crazy; they are wrapped in their own bubble here and they have no interest in exploring the world. They are taught that China is best…. so why would they want to leave that?

Many know that English is important, I’ve asked them. They all say “It’s an international language and it’s very important to learn”…… but many just don’t learn it.

So when I compare my Spanish to my students’ English, I’m definitely progressing faster than them!

Aisling.

My Wish List

Things I Want To Try:

Macaroons– I’ve visited France twice and I’ve never tried these. I’ve always thought they would be hard and crunchy all the way through, but now that I’ve seen how they are made, I definitely want to try them now!

pexels-photo-311025.jpeg

Slurpees– DONE! I’ve actually tried these in Mexico the last time I visited and they are exactly what I imagined! I’ve tried a cherry flavoured one and a blueberry one, so I can’t wait to go back and try more flavours.

IMG_E9908

Pickles– Now the only time I’ve had pickles is when they are on a McDonalds burger, and they are horrible! But I always wondered is that what all pickles taste like, or are they different. Apparently everyone in the US loves them, so I’d like to see what the fuss is about.

pickle1_grande

 

Skiing– I’d love to try skiing. I sometimes think ‘Maybe I’ll be a natural at skiing, I’ll just get on the snow and I’ll be naturally good and will have a great talent for it’. Haha that’s what I think anyway! I’d like to see if that’s actually true!

freerider-skiing-ski-sports-47356.jpeg

Things I Want To Buy:

A dog– I’m mad to get a little dog, but at the moment it’s just not possible. Not knowing where we are going to live after China and what our plans are, we don’t want to have a dog with us and having to worry about paying for flights for it. When we are settled then we’ll get one.

pexels-photo-406014.jpeg

A coffee maker and proper coffee– I enjoy drinking coffee, and I would love to buy a fancy coffee maker/ press and good quality coffee. If I had lots of money, thats what I would indulge in. It makes all the difference when it’s good coffee!

pexels-photo-977876.jpeg

An Instant Pot– I’ve read online that these things are brilliant. With me being a bad cook, and the fact that I don’t particularly like cooking….. I think I would definitely use this.

instant

A Good Pair of Expensive Boots– My Mum bought me a good pair of boots about 7 years ago, and I still have them today. I’d like to get another pair, as I feel that buying a good quality pair of boots will last you for years.

pexels-photo-266840.jpeg

Maybe in  a few years I will tick some of these off!

Aisling

I only work 12 days each month. Sounds great no?

pexels-photo-325924.jpeg

Since arriving to China, I’ve worked in Universities and private language centres, and each has their advantages and disadvantages.

For the job I have now, which is in a University, all 11 foreign English teachers work only 3 days a week…. and that is a full time job here!

So 3 days a week, plus winter holidays off and summer holidays off. So it’s a ridiculously low work hour. Our salary is a little lower than say in a private language centre, but I would happily work 3 days over 5.

That is why in the University I work, there are teachers who have been here for 4+ years, and will most likely stay for the foreseeable future. Free apartment, free internet, my card is topped up every month for food at the canteen (at the moment I’ve about 75euro in my card from the University), they pay half of our electricity and water fee, they don’t care what we teach and don’t ask, and we get bonuses for this and that. So it’s seems like the perfect job, doesn’t it??!!

But we still plan to leave. There are so many benefits to this job, but I really can’t wait to leave. I know most people are like “Oh my god why are you leaving that???? You only work 3 days a week!!”.

I just feel like we are done in China, and I just can’t see myself here another year. This semester 4 classes out of 11 are very bad. The students are very lazy, have a bad attitude and I just couldn’t face that again for another year. I don’t enjoy teaching, I don’t enjoy the fact that the student’s don’t give a shit about what I say. I feel I’m not getting anything out of teaching, so although there are great benefits, I really just want to find something that I enjoy doing, if that means working 5 days a week. So be it. I think once you enjoy doing something, it won’t matter how many days you work.

And plus I don’t want to be here for another 5 years doing the exact same thing. I know we’ll never get this amount of benefits from a job again, and I’ll be grateful for the time that I worked 3 days a week and earned good money. But we all have to leave our comfort zone.

Most of the teachers here are planning on staying on to teach…. so I feel that they are going to be here forever (or until they can’t get a new visa)… but I just can’t do it. I feel like I would be stuck; unable to leave because of all the perks of the job.  It’s very tempting to stay, but I really want to move onto a new chapter in my life!

Which hopefully won’t involve teaching!

Aisling.

 

Who is rich in China? Don’t ask me!

pexels-photo-462368.jpeg

From living in China, I’ve quickly realised that material things matter to many many Chinese people. Whether it’s a new pair of shoes, a new bag, getting their hair done every week, looking great…. people here need to look….. well, rich.

One thing that I dislike about China is their need to persuade to others that they have money. They need to have nice clothes, they need to have an iphone, preferably and Iphone6+ and newer. They need to have that fancy car. It’s a constant battle to appear rich and that you have money for these things.

So it’s quite difficult to spot the people who are generally well off, and the people who are on an average wage here.

We found an example of this when myself and my fiancé went for food at our local dumpling restaurant. Now this restaurant is small, not very modern and it’s a typical hole in the wall style of restaurant that you see all over China. There’s really nothing fancy about it at all.

So we order our food and we wait, while the owner (we guess he’s the owner) is starting to leave. He has taken a shine to us and always cheerfully welcomes us in. As we wait we see him and the wife leaving, and in such a surprise to us, they get into a big, new jeep that was waiting outside.

We were both really surprised about this! How can he afford a jeep when he runs this small hole in the wall restaurant that only serves like 6 types of dumplings??!! We thought that he wouldn’t be making that much money. Maybe we are totally wrong and he actually makes a tonne of money from his business! Now we are in doubt about the whole thing!

We do know that people take out loans to buy whatever they want here, so he could have taken out a very big one for his jeep! That’s the problem here; so many people take out loans for cars and phones and what not so then they appear to be very rich, but in fact they have taken a loan for all these material things. That’s how it’s difficult to figure out who is well off and who is not.

I don’t have a car, an iphone 6+ or anything else fancy really, except for my macbook air laptop…. but at least I’m not drowning in debt! My family taught me “If you don’t have the money for it, then don’t buy it”.

Plus, I’d rather spend my money travelling!

Aisling.

 

They simply don’t care

pexels-photo-765228.jpeg

So I’ve started back teaching again for this semester. I just had my second week of teaching and I’m really not enjoying it.

The majority of my classes are so lazy, don’t want to do anything, and just don’t want to be there. I just hate having to teach a class, asking them a question such as ‘Have you seen this film?’ and all 30 students just stare at me and not say a word.

Like they can’t even be bothered to reply either yes or no. That’s what really drives me mad. I feel like they don’t care what the hell I say. I’m not important enough to be given a reply. Last semester I had much better students. Pretty much all of them were girls, and I really got on well with all of them. So now I’m stuck with lots of boys that don’t give a crap about English, and are only there because they have to be.

My class this was week was that I was explaining the rules, then we did a listening exercise, and finally I played a game with them. So do the boring stuff first and then the game. But many classes just didn’t seem bothered with anything. Ok the game was a bit better, but I just feel so demoted. I really can’t be bothered teaching these students, and I feel I’m going to dread every week.

I even told them “Guys please answer my questions, it makes me feel bad when no one answers”. Still nothing.

So I don’t know what to do. I feel like I’m accommodating for the students, whereas it should be them accommodating for me. I’m here to teach them English, but all they want to do is play games and play on their phones…. oh or sleep.

During the break one girl came up and said the class is boring. Jesus all I did was the rules of the classroom and a listening activity. There was even a video they could watch!! So I can’t understand how they are bored with just that???? Oh yeah she loved the game after the break, but I need to try and teach them something?!

These kids are 18 years and over. I can’t remember every thinking that my class was boring. Maybe it was but I’d never say it to my teacher?!? I just got on with it and listened to them.

These kids don’t even bring a PEN to class. One of my classroom rules was ‘Bring a pen, notebook and textbook to every class’. Like I actually have to say that to them, but I do. Lots don’t bring a pen or notebook, and some with no notebook just write in their textbook instead.

Like they only need 3 things!!! Sometimes I feel like I’m teaching children. Or worse, they bring a bag with absolutely nothing in it. Or I hear the famous “I forgot my things”.

How lazy can they be?

I miss my old students. I could have a laugh with them. But with these ones, I’m pretty sure half of the boys stay in their dorm rooms all day and night huddled by their computer just playing video games. No interaction with the outside world at all.

Last semester I had great plans to teach, but now I really don’t care. The students don’t care, so why should I? I feel like I’m wasting my time, especially when they don’t even answer me.

I can’t wait to be finished with them. Other teachers are planning on staying another year, but I just can’t. It’s too demoralising for me. I want a job that is meaningful, instead of being a clown and a comedian in class.

So I’m trying to figure out the easiest method of not teaching these students anything, more games (and even a few classes weren’t too bothered with the ones I played already)  and showing them films (I’m already planning on showing one next week), so I can save myself a few weeks of trying to teach them something.

I hope the next few weeks will be better, only 15 more weeks (yay….)

 Aisling