你好成都。 Hello Chengdu!

Well, here we are back in 成都。 Our flight back was a little more stressful then normal. The first flight to Abu Dhabi was ok, but then when we took the shuttle bus to get to our next flight and the queue of busses all going to the same area made us a little hesitant. Our flight was at 8:20am, and by this stage it was 7: 20am. Knowing we had to go through customs made me even more nervous. By half we made it, but the queue for customs! I generally thought we were going to miss it. Thankfully it went quick enough, but by 7:45am we were running to our boarding gate, knowing it was going to close at 8am. We made it just in time. Although, after all that, the plane didn’t stop boarding until at least 8:40, as they were waiting for people.

So we had another 7 hours to relax on the plane to Chengdu. We then went through customs we picked our bags up…. well I picked mine up. Unfortunately Rafa’s bag got held up in Abu Dhabi, so it was stuck there. We had to go and organise how to get it back, and to receive some compensation from Etihad. Another flight should be arriving today so I hope its on that one. I’m guessing they will send it to our apartment when they get it.

So today I’ve been a bit sad, leaving my family and all that. Making it harder now with the new nephew too. But it was great being home, drinking tea, seeing relatives, and generally being with good company. 

In a way I’m glad to be back in Chengdu, to try and get into a routine again, and slowly out of the holiday mood. . . and get back to studying!

I’m going to miss the politeness of people, people not spitting or staring at me, being able to understand people, and the good traffic. Not even 5 minutes into our bus journey home we were nearly in a crash! Typical Chengdu driving! And soon after that there was beeping…. ah China. What will we do with you?

再见!

Aisling.

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The packing has started!

We’re starting to prepare to leave. Our rucksacks are out, and we’ve started, very slowly to give the apartment a little bit of a clean. We’ve abandoned the dusting. Dust accumulates very quickly here, guessing due to the pollution, so we’ve decided to leave the dusting until we come back and then give it a good cleaning.

I’ve packed some clothes, unsure whether my old ones back home will fit me (I hope they will) and we’ve unfortunately had to unbox my nephews dinosaurs as they won’t fit in the backpacks. I’ve packed a big red T-rex in my one, and when you press a button underneath, the eyes flash and it roars. So I’m hoping when I pick it up from Dublin airport I wont be hearing roars coming from my backpack!

Before we leave, we also have to finish the rest of the meat we have. We bought some mince beef a while back to make spaghetti with, but we still have enough to make another meal. I’ve had to make some yesterday, so I’m not too keen to make a another batch in the next few days. The heat from the cooking and the heat from the weather makes me become very very hot!

And 3 days until we leave, but it hasn’t hit me yet! The night before I think it will. Thankfully our flight is in the evening so its at a good time; we can relax until we go. When we went to Mexico, our flight was at around 11am, so we had to leave our apartment at around 8/8:30am. At that time, the traffic was mad, and it was impossible to get a taxi as they were all full. Thankfully this lady stopped in a silver car for us and she brought us, (we were panicking, waiting 15minutes for a taxi outside) we presumed she was a private (illegal) taxi, but we didn’t care, thankful that she saw we were in desperate need! This time round we plan to get the bus to the airport as it will be cheaper.

Hopefully everything will be ok and we arrive safe in Ireland!

再见!

Aisling.

Getting ready for home time!

In about 20 days we’ll be on our way to Ireland. Being away for 1 year and a half is scary! It’s flown by but also I feel like I missed loads back home.  My nephew was 2 when I left, and he just turned 4 a few days ago. He’s a completely different boy now! Last time I could carry him about, but now, I’m definitely sure I won’t be able to do that. Plus with the added nephew it’s going to be extra strange coming home to another addition to the family.

So, I’ve started to slowly get stuff ready for going; with Uni and working, we don’t get much time to do stuff. We’ve bought our tickets to both Ireland and France, booked our accommodation in Paris, so now we have to organise our money situation and see how much we should bring.

My 4 year old nephew has also not been letting me forget about what he wants! Specifically dinosaurs. He also added that he wanted a train and gates so he can put the dinosaurs in it. That request was a little to difficult for me to achieve, but myself and Rafael bought him about 9 dinosaurs, 8 that are stationary and 1 that is bigger and moves. So I hope they will make him happy!

As for my other nephew, because he’s only about 4 months old, he’ll have to settle with a hand made (unisex) cardigan from Mexico.

When I think of the souvenirs I brought from Mexico, it made me realise where did I actually put them. Since moving, I haven’t seen them around the apartment. I’ll have to dig them up too so I can give them to my family.

Food wise for Ireland, I did tell Mum to make her special omelette for when we arrive, but I’ve suddenly changed my mind, going for a typical Irish breakfast! We’ll arrive in the morning so it’ll be the perfect breakfast! I realised; we have eggs and the ingredients here, so we could make our own omelette if we wanted to, whereas with an Irish breakfast it’s impossible to make here.

And University wise, we only have a few weeks left until semester one is finished! The amount I’ve learned is amazing, so I hope I’ll learn lots more in level 2. I think I could comfortably do the HSK level 1 exam now. This is the Chinese language proficiency exam for foreigners. I know, I know, I did say  months ago on this blog that I was planning on doing the exam for ages. But I got lazy, and wasn’t actually sure If I could do it. But I think maybe we could do it after we come back from Ireland.

For now, I’m concentrating on learning the characters from the first book. I’ve calculated that I need to learn 10 characters a day in order to know them for the exam. I don’t think I’ll know them all, though, as I tend to forget how to write them very easily.  But I have all summer to make sure I know them for level 2. 

For now thats everything for you,

When I get that backpack out then it’ll really be time to go!

再见!

Aisling.

I Have Films!

Something constructive actually happened this week. I now have a lovely ‘My Passport’ red external hard drive. Thanks to my boyfriend and his dad, they organised to get loads of recent/old films onto it. From Black Swan to 21 Jump Street, I have them! There are some films I never heard of, to old classics like Back to the Future. I’ve watched a couple already, ones that I’ve always wanted to see but never had the chance, or was too lazy to go see them in the cinema. I also have some TV series, like The Big Bang Theory, Love/Hate ( its a very popular Irish series, everyone is raving about it so I’d like to get into it), The Walking Dead and An Idiot Abroad. 

My vaccinations however didn’t go to plan… due to cost and confusion of what vaccinations I need, I’m going to sort that out next week instead. I’m pretty sure I just need a booster of one. ( I hope) I still have a couple of weeks to go, but I’d rather just get them out of the way rather than worrying about it a week before I go. My trip to Tanzania ended up that way, in that I got my last Hep B injection the DAY BEFORE I actually left. Saying that, it was purely my own fault… so this time round I’m going to keep up to date with everything!

I’m still undecided on this question though: suitcase or backpack? I’m really torn. I would love to bring my backpack. Although I loved it and felt like a real ‘backpacker’, it was a bloody nuisance with packing. I’d literally have to take everything out of it to get something from the bottom, or rummage through it and hopefully grab the thing I was looking for. Actually putting it on me was a task in itself too. But, I still loved it.

I’m veering towards a suitcase for a number of reasons though. Its handier for packing, I can see what’s in it, I can wear a bag on my back (for my laptop) and I assume it will fit more things in it than a backpack. It is also more secure, whereas I cant put any expensive items in my backpack because I cant lock it.

The company that I am going with state that a backpack would be better to bring because of the travelling. I would love to travel after the internship, maybe visit the countries like Thailand and Vietnam, but that’s still a long way off yet.

So If anyone has some suggestions about what’s best for travelling with, I’d be grateful!

Aisling.