Two Mexicans in China

We have been busy lately, with my boyfriends Mum and Dad coming to visit; bringing with them plenty of Mexican food, nuts and my favourite spicy watermelon lolly pops. Oh and a very good quality Tequila with them!

So far they have really been enjoying their time here; walking around the area of our community, going to Walmart and Carrefour, and having a wander in and around Chengdu.

While we were not working, we brought them to a few famous places… we definitely had to bring them for some Chinese tea in a tea house, so they can experience the relaxed nature of Chengdu people.

High on the list was of course food! So far, they have both really enjoyed everything that Chengdu has to offer; hot pot, rabbit, different varieties of dishes… all they really liked.

This Monday we will take them to Kunming, a city that is south of Sichuan province. Here we will spend 5 days where will we have a look at the city, then we will go to Dali, a supposedly quite attractive ancient town. Although I have heard it is very touristy, but that’s no surprise in China!

They still need to go and see the famous pandas, and there are a few more places where we would like to bring them if we have time. Coming back from Kunming, we will have another few days in Chengdu to go to more places.

Because the weather here is becoming colder and colder, that of course brings more smog. Thankfully there have been 2/3 days where the weather hasn’t been that bad. But I suppose they have been warned about the smog so they knew what they would expect!

There are some things that they have been surprised about; such as people appearing more rude than in Mexico. But they have also been surprised about our life in Chengdu and I think they figured out why we have been living here the past few years and what has kept us here.

So all in all, I think their holiday has been going well so far!

再见!

爱玲

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Tackling Spanish

Tackling Spanish

For the past 1.5 years my head has been tortured with learning Chinese… now I’m not saying I don’t enjoy learning it, of course I do… just sometimes you need a break from all those thousands of characters once in a while!

Since meeting my boyfriend and visiting Mexico and his family, I’ve become more and more interested in learning Spanish. In Secondary school and Uni I chose to study French instead of Spanish, so I’ve literally had to start from the basics with Spanish. haha now that my French has completely disappeared, (not that there was much in the first place) I don’t think I’ll have any trouble mixing the two languages up!

I’ve started using an application called Anki, where it makes flashcards and what not for you… I’ve been using it for my Chinese also, but to be honest it’s very hard to use,for me anyway, it’s a bit too technical! I’ve ended up having to delete my whole Spanish deck of words and download it again, as I messed with the cards and didn’t know how to rectify it. So it does take some time to get used to and know how to use it properly.

In comparison to Chinese… I must say I remember the vocab much easier in Spanish. No characters to learn, no tones… just a straight up spanish word and thats it!

My pronunciation needs work on though, as I still pronounce letters like in English.. oh and the ‘r’ sound still annoys me.

And because my head is also in ‘Chinese mode’, whenever I see a Spanish phrase like ‘Does he want a t-shirt?’ and I need to think a second for the answer, instinctively the Chinese translation of it will enter my head.

But I have to say, when comparing the two languages.. I really do appreciate some things about Chinese. The grammar isn’t as tricky as say English or Spanish. There are no conjugations or gender specific words. The language is also a bit more concise.

What I also enjoy about Chinese are how words are literally translated:

fridge = ice box (bing  xiang/冰箱)

computer = electric brain (dian nao/ 电脑)

yogurt = sour milk (suan nai/酸奶)

And don’t get me started on the literal translations of animals!

dolphin = sea piglet (hai tun/海豚)

kangaroo= bag mouse (dai shu/ 袋鼠)

giraffe= long neck deer ( chang jing lu/ 长颈鹿)

These are just a few of the interesting translations!

I think every person studying Chinese gets a laugh when they find out the translation of different things in Chinese!

But anyway, back to Spanish!

As I’ve only been studying for about a week now, I know I’ve only barely touched the surface of this language. When I start to learn the grammar properly and the conjugations is when I might begin to tear my hair out!

Having had a week off from Uni, I’ve been studying more Spanish recently, so I’ll have to try and stick with it when Monday comes.

It’s nice though to be able to switch with the two languages…. I can have a break with Chinese but not feel bad, because I’ll be learning Spanish… I won’t feel lazy because I’m still technically learning!

So I suppose Chinese and Spanish has their own merits and why I like them!

再见

爱玲

Figuring Out The Future (And Becoming Scared)

Myself and my boyfriend have been thinking more and more about the future lately. When we should leave China, what to do after, maybe do a course on something, moving to Mexico (so I can learn Spanish)…. and the more and more I think about it, the more I realise how comfortable I am here in China.

But I know I can’t spend my life here… unless I want to teach ‘He is big, she is small’ for the rest of my life.

It’s scary though… I’ve been reading more and more about Ireland and it’s rent crisis: rent in Ireland has increased every month… for 50 months straight.

There is just no way I can afford to rent in Ireland. At the moment I can’t see how I can get my life going…. rent is too expensive for me… I can’t afford a car…. never mind paying for it’s insurance.

I should have already started setting up a pension… plus god knows what the situation is when I return to Ireland and can’t get a job…If I can apply for the government to give me a supplement or is that all to do with tax…. with which I haven’t contributed to for over 3 years.

I’m just so unprepared for everything.

I’ve read that the top paying salaries in Ireland are engineering,accounting, law and being a chief director…. and I have absolutely no interest in those types of jobs whatsoever. So that’s me out of earning a great salary.

Plus I would like to have kids one day….ideally when I’m 30. So only 4 more years left!

I feel like whatever we do we wont have options; In Mexico my boyfriend will find it difficult to find a job, and if he does, it will be low paying.

For me, I’m back again teaching English… just this time in a different country.

However in Ireland, where my boyfriend would like to live one day… everything is just too expensive, plus where will we live if we can’t afford to rent?

I’m scared for the future because I’m not prepared. I honestly don’t know how I’m going to live my life when I can’t afford to.

We both need to do some serious thinking and try and begin to sort out both of our lives.

再见

爱玲

 

 

The end is nearing.

My time in Mexico is almost at an end. We leave on Monday morning at 7am… meaning having to get up at a ridiculous time, and arriving back in good old Chengdu on Tuesday night. . . then work on Friday.

I’ve decided to go and buy a Spanish book so I can try and keep up with learning it in China. I know I’ve decided to study Mandarin too, but since coming to Mexico I’ve become more and more interested in learning Spanish. The thing that hit me the most with wanting to learn Spanish was because of my boyfriends relatives.

We were at breakfast last week with a few of his Aunts. They were chatting away in Spanish and laughing, and I was thinking ‘I wish I could understand them, they seem like such nice people and its a shame that I can’t get involved in their conversations.’ Of course they would talk to me in English, but it’s hard to truly express yourself when you have to be aware of how fast you’re speaking and the words that they may not understand… so its not really the same.

I promised them that when I visit again I will be able to speak to them in Spanish. Although I have no idea how long that might be, but I want to have improved my Spanish when the time comes.

My boyfriends Dad doesn’t speak English so that in itself is a reason to learn it.

At the moment I’m just learning simple Spanish, with little idea of grammer. When I ask Rafael about something in Spanish.. he explains the grammer side, which scares me… quietly telling him I don’t want to know. . . . Spanish grammer scares me, because I have no idea of it. I think I am doing great learning the vocab… but making an actual sentence…….. I have no idea.

So now I’m just enjoying the time that I have left here; the sunshine, the warmth… and trying VERY hard not to think of the return to Chengdu.

It’s not that I don’t want to go back…. well actually it is. I don’t want to go back to the cold, smoggy weather. . . and work.

But I know I’m making it out worse than what it will be like. I know I am. It’s never as bad as it seems.

Aisling.

Mexico in Pictures.

Here are a few pictures that I took during my time in Mexico.IMG_4967

So, I’ve encountered my fist venomous spider in Mexico, and it happened to be a BLACK WIDOW. Of all the spiders I could come across, it had to be this one! We found it in the garage. And I belong in the category terrified of spiders. It’s scary though, to think that such a small thing has the power to kill you in a matter of minutes.

It also makes me think what other insects and reptiles there are in Mexico that are dangerous. In Ireland, the only thing we have to worry about are wasps and bees. Thats it.

 

IMG_4975

This picture was taken in a museum in Cuernavaca. A thing I noticed was that there was no information in English. There was a a little just stating the overall main point about each room, but there was no English explaining each artefact, which I was surprised about.

IMG_5002

During the week, we headed to a theme park called ‘La Feria’ in Mexico City. It was a great day, where I went on loads of rides, and I even got a small, no a TINY tan. That tan has now decided to hide unfortunately.

IMG_5016

The last pictures see’s us visiting the zoo, again in Mexico city. Just like the museum, all the information about the animals was in Spanish. No English!! So that again was surprising. But the zoo was good, where one of my favourites was the black bear ( It was enormous, I can’t believe how big they are).

So after all the hectic days, my body couldn’t handle it all, meaning I’ve got a LOVELY cold now. We have just over one week left in Mexico (cry), so I hope we get to see a lot more of the area but also, I hope this cold will go away too.  Or I will not be a happy bunny.

Aisling.

 

 

It’s a new year!

Happy New Year to everyone. It’s amazing how time flies by. Also, this year means I’ll soon be in my mid-twenties!

I hope this year will hopefully be full of good things…… hopefully more travelling, meeting new people, improving my Mandarin, moving from my apartment to my boyfriends, ( no more having to take 2 busses and the subway to his almost 1 hour away), and to work in a new company.

But my parents have always said to me ‘once you’re happy, that’s the most important thing’. When I make a wish, my wish is just that I am happy. Once you are happy, nothing else matters. So I hope I’m going to be very happy this year.

Although I had planned on celebrating New Years with my boyfriends parents and his relatives, I ended up becoming sick with the cold, meaning me and himself stayed at home. Although I didn’t mind, it’s only once when it’s New Years, but I suppose everything happens for a reason. So not a particularly good start for the year; health wise.

Mexico wise, I’m dreading going back to China. Weather will be terrible, it will be cold, I have to work, everyone staring at me, still not understanding any Chinese…. but I am missing Chinese food, so I’m looking forward to that.

When I go back to work, I have to make up for the weeks I took off for Mexico, so about another month. I should be finished in February but unfortunately now I wont finish until the middle of March.

So the plan;

January: start work again.
Feb: move out of my apartment.
March: start University and finish job. Look for a new job.
July/August: visit home.

There are two weeks where I study mandarin and work at the same time, which I am dreading. This means for two weeks I will get no lies ons, as I will study from 8:30am to 12:00. Then I will have to travel 1 hour to work, because by this time I will be living with my boyfriend. Even on my days off I will have to go to Uni.

2 weeks of misery.

But the bright side….. visiting home in the summer, which I cannot wait for!

I cant wait to see my new niece or nephew, my current nephew, my sister, mum and dad, eating my mums dinners (yum), and showing my boyfriend around Ireland.

So I hope this year will be good. Last years was up and down, as was everyones, but I think this year will be good!

Well, I’ll try and make it so.

Happy New Year Everyone, I hope everyone has a great year.

Aisling.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Merry Christmas to everyone. This Christmas has been much better than my previous one; working, feeling very very alone, and not being with the people I love.

This time round is much different. I had a lovely Christmas meal with my boyfriend and his family, received some lovely presents, and just generally feel much happier than last year.

I know last year I posted that next Christmas I would definitely be home to celebrate, it hasn’t happened. But I’m happy where I am.

Although I miss the celebrations at home; food, films, atmosphere, christmas lights… and just generally being with the family and watching my nephew open his presents… being where I am is a whole lot better than last Christmas.

But It’s hard very hard missing Christmas, every expat knows the feeling. People who never missed a Christmas with their family might think that it isn’t that hard; but it is.

Christmas only happens once a year; where your family get together, have a lovely dinner and just relax with the people you love. A whole day dedicated to that. Being with family, and hopefully, with no arguments. So when you’re living in a different country it’s just not the same, and it never will be.

Maybe next Christmas I will be home to celebrate with my family, and with my new niece or nephew who will be arriving into this world in February. Maybe I wont. But being away from home during Christmas makes me remember the past 22 Christmases where I WAS at home, and how wonderful they were and how I will cherish the lovely memories with my family.

And how, when I do go home for Christmas, I’ll have to buy presents for an extra member of the family.

They’re going to be spoilt rotten by their Aunty.

Merry Christmas.

Aisling.