Chengdu is becoming more expensive

Chengdu is becoming more expensive

Having lived in Chengdu for nearly 4 years now, we’ve been noticing that Chengdu is sadly becoming more expensive. Of course it’s still incredibly cheap to live here, with regards to food and that… but I’ve definitely noticed that the cost of living is gradually becoming higher and higher.

One thing that I’m sure every expat in Chengdu is aware of is how rent has increased in price. With the new metros popping up everywhere, that of course means that the rent nearby these metro stations will go up. Our rent has increased by 200yuan a month, and this is only because of the new metro that has opened up nearby us.

Also, today we visited a jiaozi (dumpling) restaurant for lunch, and we saw that they have upped the cost of their portions by 2元 (€0.26). I know it’s not by much, but it’s still an increase… every little counts!

Here in Chengdu, if you want to buy some foreign products, most foreigners head to Metro. This is a huge supermarket which sells a lot of foreign products in bulk.. like milk, cheese, Chinese products and so on. We haven’t been there in ages so we decided to go and have a look around!

And of course the prices have went up there too!

Since coming here, foreign teachers salary has been getting higher and higher, but I wonder is this the same for Chinese workers? Have their salaries increased I wonder?

But anyway, that’s the reality of living in a constantly growing city like Chengdu! I wonder is the rest of China getting more and more expensive or if it’s just here?

What will the cost of living here be like in 5 years time… Will there be anymore expats living here, or will they have all decided to move on to somewhere cheaper? China is an attractive place for foreigners to live because of it’s low cost of living… but if it increases, I’m pretty sure many will leave!

So we’ll have to keep an eye on what else has gotten more expensive!

再见

爱玲

Where Is The Time Going?

I’ve suddenly realised I only have 6 weeks left of studying! Time is flying by at an amazing rate! When I was in Ireland my Dad would say to me ‘When you get to my age, a week just feels like one day’. And the more I get older, the more this is starting to apply to me.

So anyway, we have two months of holiday until we start back to our next semester in September… and we’ve no idea what are plans are.

As my fiancés sister and boyfriend were coming to China for one month, this time last year we were busy planning our travels around China.  So we knew we would be busy during the summer… but for this coming one, we really have no plans.

My fiancé may have a job opportunity during the summer, so we may travel to a city nearby for work… but pretty much that’s it. With our lack of income, we can’t exactly plan on doing anything too exciting or expensive!

I’d have liked to have gone home for the holidays, but it’s just too expensive. So I guess we are stuck in Chengdu for a while! Maybe when we get jobs we might visit a city in China…Qingdao perhaps? My private Chinese teacher is from there so I’d like to visit it, plus it’s supposed to be a nice city!

But anyway, the weather here has been fantastic, so both of us don’t mind staying here for a bit!

再见

爱玲

 

How China has outpaced Europe

I’ve read recently that McDonalds is now introducing a delivery service for it’s customers in the UK. Wow!!

Actually in China…. this has been happening for quite a while now! When myself and my fiancé just started dating, we would sometimes order a McDonalds. It was so easy! Log on, order your food… and bam, it should be on the way to yours pretty soon! The delivery people are usually on electric bikes; so they can whizz past all the traffic.

But anyway, China has certainly outpaced Europe with some things! We have found a Chinese phone app called 饿了吗?Hungry? and we are so happy we have figured out how to use it! As the app is all in Chinese, you do need to know some characters before you start using this.

When you open the app, restaurants nearby will pop up. Each restaurant has pictures of the food, so even if you don’t know the Chinese characters, you can easily find out what dish it is. So you click the food you want, and then you pay. My fiancés bank account is linked to his Wechat account, so the money is taken directly from that. Wechat is Chinas equivalent of WhatApp.

Then it’s done! With some restaurants, we can actually see the delivery driver on our map driving in real time. He picks the food up, and then we can see him (the blue dot)  driving to our community, parking the bike, and then we know he will be here pretty soon! It’s so easy and cheap! And we have become so lazy!

Usually we get discounts for ordering online. Plus, the food at most takes 45 minutes to arrive. Sometimes even half an hour!

I know in Ireland at least they have started delivering food, but in China it’s been here around for quite a while! China may be backwards with some things, but with technology it really is advancing!

再见

爱玲

Are There Incentives To Move Back To Your Home Country?

Are There Incentives To Move Back To Your Home Country?

The longer I’ve been away from Ireland, the more I’ve become interested in it and whats going on with regards to the government, jobs and so forth. Lately all I’ve been hearing is how it’s  becoming more and more expensive, rent is sky high, car insurance costs are ridiculous…. and it’s really made me analysis where in the world I’d like to one day settle down in.

At the moment, I can’t see myself living in Ireland. As much as I love my country, it’s just too expensive. To be honest, the only incentive to move back home is my family.

I read a few days ago of a woman who returned home after living in Canada, and she was quoted €4,000 for car insurance!!!! That is absolutely ridiculous!

You can read about her story here: Quoted €4,000 on car insurance for expat

But unfortunately that’s something that I might need to pay if I move back home! That’s even if I can afford a car in the first place!

It’s things like this that make me reconsider moving back home.

Another thing I feel annoyed with is that any Irish people not living in Ireland cannot vote. We need to be living there, and even if I returned home…. I would need to have been living in Ireland for at least a year before the vote date. So any referendum that’s happening, even if I return home to vote. . . I’m not allowed.

You know I get why people feel expats shouldn’t get a vote; we’ve been out of Ireland so we shouldn’t be able to dictate how it’s run. But I would like to move back one day. Ireland is still my home.  Just because we don’t live there doesn’t mean we don’t care about it. It was the lack of jobs that made me leave in the first place!

Another thing is, when my fiancé and I get married, he can only stay at most 3 months in Ireland. So say we decide that we want to live in Ireland for 1 year, and then move to Mexico for a while… unfortunately theres no way my fiancé can stay in Ireland for that amount of time. Even though we will be married! The country wants to make sure he plans to stay and live in Ireland for the foreseeable future. Only then will the government give him a stamp to allow him to stay. So even that makes us not want to move there.

It feels like if I return home, the only good thing is that I’ll be near my family. At the moment, there is absolutely no incentive to return home. And it’s awful to say that….

I know I like to give out about China, but if feels more welcoming than Ireland at the moment. I feel even having a small child in China is better than in Ireland. I know a girl who is going home to Russia to have her baby, then she will come back to China. And I totally understand why.

  1. She can come back to her job and earn a good wage each month.
  2. She can hire a nanny to look after her child. So many foreigners here hire what we call an ‘ayi’, a lady who takes care of the children, cooks and cleans. And it’s not even very expensive. Then the parents can work full time and save money.
  3. You don’t need a car here. It’s very easy to travel around Chengdu, so you def don’t need a car. Theres €4,000 I wouldn’t need for insurance!

So there are good points of having a baby in China.

But anyway, I’m rambling a bit!

Does anyone else feel like this about their own country? Are there incentives to go back home, or is the country where you are living now a better option?

再见

爱玲

My Class Routine In Uni

With having such a strict teacher teaching me, I stress out a lot over my reading and writing class. You need to preview, you need to review, and you need to listen to the teacher in class.

I hate stress in my life, and with your teacher asking you questions and surrounded by other students… I definitely don’t enjoy the attention!

So with our strict teacher, our class routine usually goes like this:

Monday: She usually reads a short story to everyone. After this, she asks every student a question about the story, like “Where were the people?’ ‘How were they feeling?’ Was it A or B that said blah blah blah?” I try my best; listening and writing as she reads. But there gets to a point where she is just talking too fast, and I don’t understand all the words, so then I become lost!

After this, she spends the rest of the class on doing exercises from the previous chapter in our book. If you don’t know the answer, she will wait until you figure it out. She doesn’t let you off! For me, I need to prepare this in advance; usually by having it already done. There are words I don’t know so I need to look them up. Then I need time to analyse the sentence and pick the right word. During this whole class she spends the time doing every single exercise in the book! So that’s usually our Monday class!

On Tuesday, again she reads a short story, however this time it’s usually one found in our book. Again, I prepare the night before; reading the story, writing down the new words, and even copying key points from the story into my notebook. (She makes us close our books when she is reading out loud). Then she asks us questions about the story. Thankfully I’ve already prepared so I’m a little more confident about this listening task!

Finally she starts on a new chapter of our book. This contains 40 new words and a long story with the new words in it. Before, she used to go through each word and tell us the meaning and how to use it. (All this in Chinese I might add). However now, she makes US tell her the meaning! I mean it’s so difficult, sometimes the word is quite tricky to explain it’s meaning. So a lot of times people don’t explain it right.

After this, we have a quick review and then she makes us close the books and she asks us to make a sentence out of a word she gives us. She gives it to us in Chinese, so you need to try and remember what it means! Our secret is to take a picture of all the words and we can secretly look through the list while she is asking the other students! Shhh!

Finishing this, she starts analysing the story, sentence by sentence. She asks us to shorten the sentence to it’s basic core. Like ‘There is a young man called LinWei and he is looking for a sales job in the city’ The answer she would want is ‘ a man, looking for a job.’ We usually get half the story done on this day!

Wednesday is the same as Tuesday, however we then start on the next set of 20 words and the next part of the story.

Thursday: She begins by reading the whole story which we have been studying, and she reads out a sentence with a words that’s missing. We then need to shout out the word that needs to be inserted, like ‘Before he felt confident, but now he began to ….. his ability.’ We would need to shout out the Chinese word ‘huaiyi’ which means ‘doubt’ At the same time she is keeping an eye on everybody in the classroom! If she doesn’t see anyone answering her, she will say ‘Oh I see Nangong hasn’t answered any yet!’ When she sees someone not answering, she actually moves closer to them, to put more pressure for an answer from them!!

So today, I actually did a good job with this part! I was able to answer some, while others weren’t able to. I read the story about 6/7 times before hand so I suppose that helped a lot!

After reading the story, she moves onto teaching some words which may be more difficult, and then doing the grammar. We then need to give her a sentence with the grammar. She wants to make sure that we know how to use the grammar correctly.

So my whole semester goes like this with her! I really feel like I’m learning things with her, but I just get so stressed. So my way of trying to tackle the stress is to prepare. Prepare prepare and prepare even more! I feel like I’m ready for the class now, instead of going with absolutely nothing done. I like the feeling of knowing that this is done, I know these words.  I don’t need to worry as much!

With our second teacher, it’s time to relax! She is a much easier teacher, and the classroom is much more upbeat! What I like about this teacher is that she gives each of us a word/ sentence and we need to explain what it is to the other students. For example one time I was given ‘build a snowman’ and I said ‘When it’s snowing, you make this thing….’ People have to guess what is on your card. I enjoy this because it gets you talking and you have to make it up on the spot.

We usually do some listening and some discussions on different topics. One time we discussed ‘Is it better to have a stable job or a non-stable job when you are 30?’ She puts us into groups and we should discuss why it’s good/bad.

So I work hard in the first class and then I’m rewarded by having a relaxing class afterwards!

再见

爱玲

 

Job Hunting

With my fiancé soon to finish working with his current employer, and like myself , he will also be unemployed. As much as I love not working; I can study MUCH more….I really don’t like the feeling of knowing absolutely nothing is going into my bank account. We’ve really cut down on spending, but we can’t survive here without working.  There are a few people we know here who don’t work, and I have no idea how they are doing it! Please let me in on your secret on not working in China!

But anyway, unfortunately we aren’t the lucky ones who can afford to not work. Thankfully I’m not a big spender in general, but even getting my 7yuan Coco drink (€0.94cent) makes me cringe!

So we’ve heard recently that a girl from our Chinese class is leaving in a few weeks, and she has classes that her school she works for wants to move to other teachers. We decided to meet up with the lady in charge and she told us more about the schedule and what not.

What we love about the job is that it’s only 10 minutes by cycling to reach the school. Very handy! Plus it’s a small school, so the emphasis is on giving the students a good education,  They are not obsessed with money like my previous employer was. But there are a few things which have made us doubt wanting to work there.

The schedule is all over the place, so I would have no idea how they would arrange it for 2 teachers to teach the classes. The schedule is really only suited for person. Plus our friend works 6 days a week…. I definitely do not want that!

The pay isn’t standard with many other places; sure if I didn’t have much experience, I’d accept their hourly rate, but as I’ve 3.5 years experience, I’d like to earn a little higher than what they are offering.

Another issue is with their teaching times. Ideally they want someone who will work until next February. However our visa expires in the middle of January. So we were looking at options on how to tackle this. One option is to stay another semester at the Uni, then we could commit to teaching with them for two full semesters. I know I know, with our history of constantly changing our plans here in China, I wouldn’t be surprised if we are still here in another 10 years!! Every year it’s ‘Oh we’ll just stay one more year…….and another year….and another…’ 

But, that just goes to show how comfortable you can get here. As every foreigner in China knows all too well!

Finally, every month they take money out of teachers wages, and then at the end of the contract they give it back. I understand this, but it’s quite a lot of money they take out! So if you have to leave unexpectedly… boom…. that money you have earned is now gone. So I don’t really like that aspect of the job.

So anyway… at the moment we don’t really know what to do. It feels like we are are adapting for the school, whereas the school should be adapting for us.

We’ll think about it more and discuss with the owner… if we are willing to adapt to her needs, then surely she should be able to adapt to ours….well, that’s what I’m hoping!

再见

爱玲

Enjoying The Beautiful Day

If you’ve ever read my blog, I always complain about Chengdu’s weather; it’s terrible. It would depress you, especially in the winter. But thankfully the summer is finally rolling in and for the past few days we’ve woken up to beautiful weather!

It’s amazing, one week everyone is wearing coats and layers…. then literally the next week the coats are off us. In just one week the temperature rises so much! From 13degrees one week, to about 19/20 the following.

Recently it has topped 28 degrees, so I think winter has finally disappeared!

We wanted to take full advantage of the sun so a few days ago we decided to visit Huanhuaxi Park. 浣花溪公园。 We thought long and hard about whether to go to uni (yeah right) but we thought it best to skip class and have a whole day to ourselves! It’s not often that we can appreciate the sun (minus the grey pollution shrouding it)!

We decided to cycle instead of taking the bus, so first we went and ate some food, then we cycled about 35 minutes to the park. We arrived at around 1:30pm, and it was a great time to visit! It was a Thursday, meaning everyone would either be at work or school. During the weekend all the parks are just so crowded, so we really wanted to visit when it’s nice and peaceful.

I love Huanhuaxi Park because it’s big, very pretty and it’s generally nice to walk about.

After our walk we decided to have some Jasmine tea and sit beside the river, drinking our tea and reading our Kindles. At the moment I’m reading ‘It’ by Stephen King, just in time before the new film comes out!

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Reading ‘It’ and drinking tea. 

Having tea in a tea house is something that I enjoy doing in Chengdu. Everyone is laid back and they like spending hours just sitting, talking and drinking tea together. The tea-houses have a very relaxed feel to them. Our tea cost 15元 each, or about €2, and they give you a big flask with hot water to refill your cup.

After a few hours we decided to head home… and by the time we arrived back I was exhausted!! The sun really makes me tired! I suppose, because we don’t get much sun in Ireland,  and when I’m out in it all day…. I definitely need to recharge my batteries when I get inside!

Unfortunately, some Chinese people here hate the sun! They prefer the dreary grey sky. How weird is that!!??

Oh well, I’m going to enjoy the sun while it’s around. It doesn’t stick around for long here!

再见

爱玲