I Don’t Like Changes

I’m a person that really doesn’t like changes…. if there’s nothing wrong, then there’s no need to change it.

But then…. that’s the problem. You’re stuck in the same rut for years on end…..too comfortable to move, change and adapt.

At the moment we’re in the middle of changing our lifestyle and way of life here. As nothing is 100%, I won’t say much more about it until it’s definitely happening. But yeah…. this past week has been tough on the ‘change or not to change??’ dilemma.

I like to think that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes it’s very hard to think of it like that! But I suppose it’s my way of comforting myself!

Some people itch for change, but me…. no no no!

Haha maybe this is why I’ve been stuck in Chengdu for the past 4 years!

再见

爱玲

Money Or Happiness?

Money Or Happiness?

Unfortunately, happiness doesn’t come easy to me. I worry/ stress over pretty much everything. A lot of times I don’t like myself for whatever reason….and I haven’t done some things because my anxiety takes over and forces me to abandon it. I’m missing out on things because I’m too afraid to do it… and it drives me mad!

So when it comes to money or happiness… which one should you choose? I’ve been at the same company for the past 3 years, but I finally gave in my 1 months notice. This definitely wasn’t because I had too much money.. like everyone else I need to work. But I simply just wasn’t happy. I had my meeting with my manager and told her how I feel. I don’t mind teaching, and my students are all really nice… just I didn’t want to work for the company anymore. Their new changes weren’t going to benefit me,  we had no say as to whether the teachers actually wanted these new changes… and it just felt like I had no opinion on anything… accept it and that’s that.

We plan on leaving China during the summer, so If I stayed, I would only have to work another 4/5 months, and I know some people would say ‘Oh just stick it out…it’s only a few more months’  But for me, I knew I would feel worse and worse if I stayed.

For me, I would pick being happy than money. I certainly need money, but happiness to me is more important. I strive for happiness in my life… but sometimes it feels like I’m never going to be happy. Whatever I do it won’t be good enough. So that’s my ongoing battle with myself!

In a previous job, it made me really unhappy.  I remember crying one night because I just didn’t want to be there. So I left. I then spent the last year looking for jobs… which kind of made it worse!

I know in a few weeks I’ll be thinking ‘Oh why didn’t I stay… I’d have more money now and I wouldn’t be worrying about my finances’… I know I’ll be thinking that… but just at this moment my  overwhelming desire of happiness just overrides these feelings. In a way, knowing that I made this decision by myself… to better myself mentally makes it (at this moment) worthwhile.

Does anyone else have the same opinion, or would some people choose money over happiness?

再见

爱玲

 

El Nido: What Should I Bring?

El Nido: What Should I Bring?

Hearing things like “The wifi is bad in El Nido”…”Electricity goes on and off all the time”….”There’s an ATM but a lot of times it has no money in it”…. I wasn’t exactly sure what to prepare for El NIdo!

But thankfully we needn’t have worried!

Backpacks

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We were so so happy that we brought our 30L backpacks to the Philippines. All through our travels in China, we never had to check them in. We were thankful that for the Philippines we also didn’t have to, even when we were flying with AirSwift. (and their luggage restrictions was about 7Kg).

We bought these in Decathlon (Chengdu) and they are super useful, can hold quite a lot of things, has a waist belt for extra support, and we don’t have to worry that they will be too big as carry on luggage. I think if we bought the 40L ones, they would have been a tad too large, so these are perfect if you want to travel light.

Water Shoes

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This was the first time that I bought water shoes, as I’ve never really been to a place where I needed to use them, but for some of the Island Hopping Tours, I strongly recommend you buy or rent a pair. In some places there are lots of rocks and it’s incredibly hard to walk on them, especially if the water is a little rough!

Again, we bought these in Decathlon and they were perfect for the trip. They are comfortable and the soles are thick, so you have good grip on the rocks. When we were on the tours, I noticed the people who had no shoes on them were struggling to walk on the sharp rocks.

If you don’t want to buy a pair, you can easily rent them in the town.

Money: 

As we heard that the ATM there hardly ever works, we decided to bring more money than we actually needed…. about 25,000 pesos each. Our hotel was already paid for so we just needed money for food and the excursions. We definitely brought too much, but the scams that we heard about and if either of us happened to loose some money or anything, at least we wouldn’t have to worry about our funds.

Thankfully with the leftover money that we had, we were able to change it at the airport for both Dollars and Euro before we left.

Flight Details:

I usually never print out flight details, but this time we had a few layovers so we wanted to be prepared with everything. At Manila airport we needed to show our flight details. Then when we were at El Nido airport, at the entrance the security man wanted to see our details for that flight too. So in the end we were thankful that we had everything at hand! To be prepared, I suggest you print out all of these things.

GoPro/Underwater Camera:

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A few years ago, one of our friends also visited El Nido, so she lent us her camera to bring. It was great! Because you can use it underwater, we didn’t need to bring our cameras, so we didn’t need to worry about if they get wet!

In El Nido town we bought a stick that can be used underwater, making it easier to use the camera under the water as it’s lighter. The normal stick was just too heavy.

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Waterproof Bag

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Again, our friend lent us this waterproof bag to bring with us. But of course, in the town  you can easily buy one at every corner. They come in a range of different sizes and colours, and it was very reassuring to know that our phones and money and what not were safe in it.

So these are the items which we brought and were really useful for us, and these are the items that I recommend you bring along with you. If you forget some necessities you can just buy pretty much everything else in the town. You could easily just bring an empty bag and buy what you need when you arrive! T-shirts, shorts, dresses, sun glasses, bikinis, flip-flops, there is a hairdressers (my fiancé got his hair cut there) a pharmacy, an opticians (fiancé got his glasses there) massage parlours, oh and plenty of restaurants.

In a place called Art Cafe they have shampoo, conditioner, lady sanitary things, aloe vera gel, sun cream, deodorant, phone chargers…. you definitely won’t be stuck for anything!

So if you do happen to forget something… don’t worry… El Nido town has you pretty much covered!

再见

爱玲

What We Did In El Nido Part 1

What We Did In El Nido Part 1

Having over a week in El Nido, we weren’t pushed on time with regards to doing everything there was to offer there!

Most people come to experience the gorgeous surroundings; the islands, clear water, snorkelling and relaxing.

Our first full day we went kayaking. We decided to go just the two of us, and we kayaked to a big island where we visited around 3/4 beautiful beaches. We left at around 9am and returned at about 2:30pm. It was this day when I got extremely badly sunburned on my feet and legs. I put sun cream on, but of course my legs were wet so the cream didn’t stick very well. This led to the next few days being in pain, having swollen feet and hardly being able to move.

I loved the kayaking! However the return home was a bit more difficult! The wind was picking up and it was much harder moving against the wind. But we made it!

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MY FEET!!!!!!

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In just over a week I finished these two bottles!

With my new sunburnt and swollen feet, we decided to relax the day after, and we went to the beach.

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The weather was just perfect

The next day  I gingerly decided to try an Island Hopping Tour. The activities that everyone does when they arrive are these tours. The most popular are A,B and C.

With my feet still in pain and swollen, I took the courage to go on Tour B…. and it was a good choice to make! I think, out of all of them, Tour B was the less demanding one out of the others. Each tour consists of lunch, which are very tasty!

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Delicious!

Each tour goes to a different place, so there is no need to worry that you will visit the same place twice!

Another day, we decided to do an Inland Tour. On some occasions the water will be too rough to go on any tours, so many people will opt to go on this one instead. I suggest you go on the island tour when most people are on the island tours, as it’s not as busy.

This tour consists of going to a beach, then visiting a waterfall, then going to another beach. Unfortunately my feet weren’t up for walking up a hill to the waterfall, so we spent longer at the first beach called Nacpan Beach. . . and it was just incredible!

It is about a 45 minutes tricycle ride from El Nido and we went on a perfect day! And this was were my boyfriend proposed to me! It was just the perfect place to have been asked!

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I will have great memories of this idilic beach. It is definitely a must to visit when in Palawan!

After spending 2 lovely hours there, we went to another beach called Las Cabanas, and here I ordered a lovely iced coffee and sat next to the beach and chilled. It seems this is where the younger people come to lie on the beach, as we didn’t see as many older people.

To continue reading about our adventure, check out Part 2: What We Did In El Nido Part 2

The ‘Bullet Scam’ at Manila Airport

The ‘Bullet Scam’ at Manila Airport

Before heading to the Philippines, there was one thing which really concerned me. This was the Bullet Scam. As I mentioned in a previous post, this scam is where Manila airport security people plant a bullet in your luggage. The first security check is fine, it’s not until you have the second security check already in the airport that this is when it happens.

The security people secretly plant it when you aren’t looking, and then call you over and tell you there is something suspicious in your bag. Low and behold, they find a bullet! You are not allowed to carry ammunition into the airport, so obviously this is a big deal.

Apparently the only way to get out of this is to give them money. Or else be held in the airport.

After we read about this we became extremely worried!

So you know what we did, we went out and bought ourselves some cling film and cello tape. We could wrap this around our bags and tape the zips! We definitely didn’t want our holiday to be ruined before it even began!

So the day came to leave, and I had the cling film and tape in my bag, wondering to ourselves when we should wrap our bags.

From Chengdu, we arrived in Manila airport after about 3 hours…. and we were looking around… and NO ONE had their bags wrapped. Not one person. We were thinking “ok… why isn’t anyone wrapping their bags?? Do they not know about this scam???”

And then we end up at our gate… relaxing until our next flight to Puerto Princesa. That was easy!!

When we arrived in Puerto Princesa we then had to take a 6 hour van right to El Nido. We were with another 8/9 people and I decided to ask them if they heard of this scam.

Nope, none of them heard a thing! I thought that strange, all over the internet in 2015 you heard of this scam happening… but apparently now it must have stopped!

So all that worrying over nothing! Oh and bringing cling film and tape with us!

When we were leaving El Nido, we decided to fly with Air Swift straight to Manila, instead of having to take the 6 hour van right. Once was enough!

El Nido airport is tiny! It’s not really an airport at all, it’s more like a big hut: the roof was covered with straw and it was all made out of wood. They even had free coffee, iced tea, juice and a little food. Don’t be expecting to go online though, there is no wifi there.

At the airport they don’t have an x-ray machine so they have men looking through your bags. He pulled out the cello tape and asked me “Why do you have this?? This is not allowed.”… I laughed and said “Oh it’s a long story”… he said again “You aren’t allowed this on the plane” to which I said “It’s ok… I can leave it here”.

The security men were really nice to us though!

So flying back to Manila we didn’t have our cello tape, but we didn’t mind. We realised that the scam must be over and we would be ok.

So if you are heading to Manila airport maybe check online and see if this scam is back up and running. You don’t want to be stuck in Manila airport I assure you!

再见

爱玲

What A PERFECT Holiday To El Nido, Philippines.

What A PERFECT Holiday To El Nido, Philippines.

We have just returned home from having a blast in El Nido, Philippines. Having never been to a place like it, to me it was like paradise. Crystal clear water, white sand, cocktails and relaxing… it was perfect. Plus my boyfriend proposed to me on a spectacular beach! What a surprise!

It was just a perfect trip. Well almost a perfect trip! Our second day there I got very very badly sunburned on my legs and feet while kayaking… to the point that I could hardly walk. I thought that would ruin the holiday, but I persevered through the pain and they are slowly getting better now.

With travelling included, we were there 10 days. And I definitely could have stayed longer!

The weather was great, it wasn’t too hot or cold, the prices weren’t  expensive ( cocktails cost around €3, a 6percent beer was about €1) and the Filipino people are just so friendly!!! We both couldn’t believe how friendly everyone is. They always said ‘Sir’ or ‘Ma’am’ when they addressed us. The people we met were really really friendly.

I would definitely recommend a trip. Although it is a little difficult to get there, it is definitely worth it!

We are so sad to be back in China; but we have great memories from our trip!

Where we stayed in El Nido;

Aqua Travel Lodge:

Liked: We really don’t have anything to complain about Aqua Travel Lodge: the staff were friendly, our room was perfect, it was actually quite cheap for it being the busy season. The location is perfect: right next to the beach and beside some lovely restaurants. Right in the middle of everything which is great.

There are quite a few bad reviews coming from people, but come on… if you are expecting a mini bar and a fridge in your room, annoyed at the instant coffee they give you for breakfast.. then you should be looking at more top range hotels. For us, we thought the hotel was perfect.

Anyway, you will be so busy going on tours to different islands and out enjoying El Nido town that you’ll only be at the hotel for sleeping!

Disliked: Breakfast was so so in my opinion, but the pancakes and the waffles were fine. But it was included in the price so we opted to keep having breakfast there.  Also it’s a bit noisy at night on the right side of the building, as there is a popular restaurant located close by, so I would suggest you ask your room to be on the opposite side.

But apart from that… no complaints! I would recommend staying here if you plan on going to El Nido!

再见

爱玲

The Perfect Apartment Is Very Hard To Find (In Chengdu Anyway)

With Chinese Spring Festival arriving soon and with our apartment contract expiring in March, we decided to get a head start on apartment hunting for our next year in China. After the Spring Festival, everyone will be in a mad rush to look for an apartment, so they will likely be snatched up pretty quickly after the festival.

As we will be away a week prior to the festival, we decided to start today looking for some. Ideally we want to stay in the community that we are already in; it’s in an ideal place, located beside a main road but there is also a back entrance where restaurants are located and we can also go to school and work that way.  So that is one thing. Another one is because the metro is now just a 10/15 minute walk away. Finally, we don’t really want to be lugging our things miles away!

When we were looking for apartments before, we got a Chinese person to help us… but this time we decided to have a go by ourselves! In our community there is an estate agent so  we went to them and they asked us what type of apartment we wanted, the price etc. He showed us some pictures on his ipad and we chose to see 5 of them.

Off we went on our little adventure!

The first one was located on the 2nd floor and out of the 5, and we thought this was the best one which we had seen. I’d prefer if it was located a bit higher, but I suppose we wouldn’t need to take the elevator! We looked for all the necessities: air con, comfy sofa and what not.

So… the first one was ok. Let’s check out the rest.

Well, the last 4 weren’t exactly in the best shape. In one, the kitchen was full of mouse droppings. Another had a bad stain on the bed. In another, the sofa wasn’t in a very good condition.

When we finished viewing them all, my boyfriend said “Every apartment has imperfections… that’s fine… but there are just TOO MANY  imperfections”.

That was the problem; all the apartments just aren’t looked after well enough; the sofas are old and dirty, there’s mould on the side of the wall, they didn’t paint a bit of the wall, a lightbulb (or many) are broken, no curtains, a broken drawer,the lock on a window is broken, theres no table….All these little things add up though. With the first one, there were imperfections, but not as many as the others.(that we could see) haha maybe that’s why we liked it more.

Oh and one thing that really drives me mad..and it seems many Chinese people like these; putting tacky stickers on the walls. AAAGHH it drives me mad! Stickers of flowers or cartoons adorn walls and on fridges.. I really don’t know what they were thinking “oh this wall looks plain, I’ll stick some green leaves so we can pretend we are in a forest”

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AAAGGHH…TOO…MANY…STICKERS…

And the thing is, if you try and rip them off, half the paint comes off with it, because it’s cheap paint. Oh I’ll never understand this love of stickers…

I could imagine the apartments and what they were like when they were brand new; shiny, clean… but you can see that the landlords just don’t put the effort into them anymore… every year they are getting shabbier and shabbier looking. It’s a pity though. They would be pretty nice apartments if they were maintained.

When we came back to our current one, we realised why we chose this one; there weren’t many imperfections. The walls were just painted, the kitchen was fine. It was presentable and clean looking. The only thing was the paint stains on our sofa, so we quickly covered that with a throw-over, and we can’t put heavy things in our kitchen shelf or else the weight will break it, oh and our coffee tables leg is broken. (ok so there are also a few imperfections in our current apartment!)

We could easily stay in the one we are in right now, but of course with the new metro opened, the landlady is just dying to increase the rent by 300yuan per month. about €41. Fine… just get us a door for our bedroom, fix our shelf.. oh and buy us a decent sofa.. then we’ll pay it! But right now… nope, it’s not worth the extra money.

But anyway…that’s the problem about apartment hunting in China. Unless you want to pay huge amounts of money, you’re going to end up with somewhere that needs some TLC.

So tomorrow we will head out again in our search; contact some agencies from outside our community. Maybe they can help us find a suitable one!

再见

爱玲