Tayto Park: The Crisp Themed Amusement Park

Tayto Park: The Crisp Themed Amusement Park

In Ireland, the most beloved Irish crisp that everybody loves are Tayto crisps. Founded in 1954, you would be hard pressed to find an Irish person who doesn’t like a bag of Tayto! So of course, with people here loving everything got to do potatoes, it was just natural for the owner to set up an amusement park!

crisps

The Famous Crisps!

The park opened in 2010 and they are continuously expanding it with new amusements and zoo animals! It was in the summer of 2015 when I first visited it, and I remember thinking that it wasn’t too big. Yeah it was nice, but there wasn’t really much in it.This time around however, it has gotten much bigger! This is Irelands first major theme park, so of course it’s extremely popular, especially for families.

We decided to go as a family and we had a great day! Although I feel it is a bit expensive as you need to pay extra if you want to go on the majority of the amusements there, (you can buy tokens at the entrance or inside the park)  but it’s a nice day out even if you don’t decide to splurge on the amusements. You can go and visit the many animals in the zoo, and the kids can even get their faces painted!

It really is catered for families, so I wouldn’t recommend going just as a couple, it’s not the most romantic (or quiet) of places!

The park is located 30 minutes from Dublin, so it would be an ideal day trip if you are coming from the capital.

Parking is free and you will receive a packet of Tayto when leaving!

If you’re curious and want to find out more, you can check out their website here: Tayto Park

 

Aisling

Enjoying Time With Family

Enjoying Time With Family

I’ve been back in Ireland for just over a week and so far it’s been a mix of peace and quiet…. then all hell breaks loose once the nephews are over, but it’s great to see them and play with them! I can now play more with my nephew, who is 6 years old; having me race him up and down our garden, doing tumbles, playing frisbee and of course hide and seek! I can now have more of a grown up conversation with him compared to the last time I was over.

My youngest nephew is now around 2.5 years old, and although he’s still not speaking, he knows exactly what I’m saying to him! At the moment he’s slow at talking, but he’s trying to make out words; banana is ‘ana’ for example.  So he’s trying at least!

With my fiancé in Mexico, it’s nice to be with the family and be like ‘old times’.  Although I miss him, I’m enjoying my time with the family.

Being back in my own bed means I’ve been having really good night sleeps. In Chengdu I never feel rested after a night’s sleep; maybe it’s our rock hard bed, but here I sleep really well. I forgot how super comfy my bed is!

And the weather has actually been better than Mexico for once! I hear it’s raining, thundery and sometimes cold where my fiancé is, but yesterday the weather in Ireland was fantastic! So so far it’s not too bad! Anyway I don’t mind if it’s not too good; I’m not visiting just for the weather.

So so far I’m having a lovely time. I’ve been so used to having just my fiancé as company, so it’s nice to be able to talk with the family and interact with them. I suppose I just got so used to having only my fiancé about in China, so when I came back here, I realised how much I missed having others company.

I’ll enjoy it while it lasts!

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

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

Teaching My Chinese Students: An Update

Teaching My Chinese Students: An Update

Because teaching here in China has now become ‘normal’ and well, not terribly exciting, I’ve kind of neglected to write more posts about it. But I’ll write an update about how it’s going.

At the moment I have about 10 groups who I teach. Although when I go back full time It will increase. Thankfully, everyone (apart from one group) are fantastic. My youngest are aged about 6/7 I think, while my oldest is 14. My youngest are learning phonics, so for me it’s quite an easy class, plus for them they enjoy it because they don’t have to actually learn English vocab and grammar, just how to say the words.

I’ve had one student for over 2 years now I think, and she moved with me to my new campus from my old one. Her English has improved really quickly! From 2 years ago to now I really do notice her improvement. Now I’m not saying that’s all because of me… but she’s the student I’ve had the longest, so I see the most improvement in her. She’s the one that keeps calling me ‘fat’ (huh and she’s the one that talks about food in class all the time) but overall she is a great student.

My not so great group is with two boys. The two boys that I used to have got split up, so now I teach them separately, but now the oldest boy has been paired with another boy…. and unfortunately the group isn’t so good anymore.

Now my old student ‘S’ has become much more disobedient! It really annoys me because I know that his behaviour used to be good, and I enjoyed teaching him and the other student. But since ‘T’ has joined, he has affected ‘S’s behaviour in class. It’s such a pity, because I know ‘S’ is a good student; I’ve seen it. But unfortunately this other boy is effectively ruining his learning in class.

If it continues I think I might tell ‘S’ that his behaviour isn’t good anymore… shame him a bit about this fact. I know he’s a good boy underneath it all.

But anyway, I’ve recently had a 21 year old studying with me for a few weeks. She is not resigning so I only have her a few more times. She is studying to do an English test, but the way it’s going, I don’t think she will pass. Her vocabulary just isn’t good enough, plus I feel like she isn’t very motivated. haha I can say the same for myself with Chinese sometimes!

In my opinion, it’s a shame that she isn’t resigning again, she really needs extra English classes to improve. I really can’t see her studying by herself.

But she is a nice and friendly student though, and I enjoy teaching her.

Company wise, it definitely need more improvements. Especially with Chinese PA’s… they are dropping like flies in our campus. The PA that has been with us the longest has just left as she hated her job, so I’m pretty sure every other PA has only been with us for a few months.

It’s coming to the stage where I don’t even try and remember their names, as most likely they will leave soon enough. It’s pretty sad though; the company treats teachers with good pay, holidays and two days off a week, whereas PA’s aren’t paid a lot, they only get 1 day off a week, and they have to put up with a lot of crap from parents AND from teachers complaining. So I’m really not surprised that so many quit.

Unless all the PA’s decide to revolt and protest, I don’t think much will change, especially if they don’t want to ‘lose face’, a strange Chinese phenomenon.

If you have never heard of this, have a look at the link below for some information about it!

‘Losing Face’ in China

再见

爱玲

The Way I Speak

Since moving away from home, teaching English and meeting my boyfriend… I have found out words and phrases that I’ve commonly used back home have slowly been disappearing….and instead, I’ve began to think in a more ‘American’ way.

First of all, the books that I teach my students with are full of American words like ‘trash can’. Then my boyfriend has also learned American English.  So these are both influences.

There are tonnes of words and phrases that people in Ireland use quite regularly, like ‘grand’ ‘shite’ ‘Mam instead of Mum/Mom, the phrase ‘I’m after (doing something)’. ‘Giving out (to someone)’ We also say ‘yous’ instead of ‘you all’.

Of course my students will definitely not understand me if I say any of these!

What’s worse is when I am with my boyfriend I start thinking American English. For us ‘pavement/ footpath’ is ‘sidewalk’… so in my head, when I see someone walking on the street, now I automatically think ‘Oh they should be walking on the sidewalk!’

Then I think ‘Oh no… FOOTPATH!! I MEANT FOOTPATH!’

Instead of saying ‘crisps’ for things like Lays…I sometimes say ‘chips’.

And during teaching, I’ve given up saying the word ‘sweets’ and just say ‘candy’ now… they don’t know the meaning of ‘sweets’, and they always forget when I tell them anyway.

And actually, the same goes for my boyfriend now!

Because we spend a lot of time together and he listens to me everyday….. he sometimes has blurted out ‘Mam’ instead of ‘Mom’, ‘tree’ instead of ‘three’ and now he is saying ‘crisps’ instead of ‘chips’!!

I’ve also noticed some phrases that I commonly use which he has picked up on… like ‘Did yeh?’ I’ve also think that he has lost some of the American pronunciation of some words like ‘matter’.

It’s strange how it all works!

For me, I suppose my speaking is changing because firstly, I don’t meet any other Irish people, so I’m not continuously hearing my own native accent. Second, I’m constantly aware of my voice and if for example I say in my native accent ‘brown’.. my students won’t understand me… so I have to change how I say some words so they understand.

Lastly, my boyfriend speaks American English, so I’ve become used to hearing certain words more than others from him.

haha whats worse though is that I feel my English speaking has gotten worse. I forget certain words in English and some of my grammar gets mixed up. I don’t know why.. but I think it’s to do with the fact that I am constantly listening to non-natives speaking grammatically wrong English… maybe some of that bad English gets stuck in my head!! Also there are words in English that I rarely use anymore. In Ireland I would hear them more often so I would remember them. But here… at work I hear the same English spoken over and over again.

Well, I HOPE those reasons are true… or else I have no idea why my English is getting worse.

It’s funny how your accent changes with different environments and who you are with. I just hope that when the time comes to head home to Ireland, my Irish words and phrases will come flooding back to me!

再见

爱玲

Adding More Classes

Because I’ve moved from my old campus to my current one, I’ve had to leave my students behind. Apart from one, she decided to follow me to my new campus which I’m very happy about. I love teaching her and she enjoys learning English.

But because I’ve left my other students behind, that meant that on a Saturday I’ve only had my one student. It was definitely an easy day, but at the same time it’s a bit of a waste going just for a 1 hour class.

So last Saturday I was teaching a girl who I was covering from another teacher. Her English is brilliant, and because she is a teen, it’s a class where we can chat about different topics which makes the class interesting. So I finished teaching her, then my PA told me that I would continue to teach her every Saturday.  Then I hear that another teen girl wants to do a demo after my last class. So I did the demo with her, also with the parents in the room observing ( I hate when the parents are in the demo).. but they seemed happy with the class and so I have her from next Saturday too.

So from next Saturday on I will have 2.5 extra hours of class which is great. 3.5 in all. Just yesterday I was worrying about my money situation; being a part time teacher isn’t at all ideal when you plan on travelling during the summer, and thinking of moving, oh and paying rent and fees.  So I’ve been having problems getting classes because they first need to give them to the full time teachers, then when their schedules are full… it’s my turn. So those extra 2 classes are a godsend.

At the moment I love all my classes, my youngest is 7 years.. and my oldest is now 14. The good thing about being part time is that you can choose what students to teach… if my PA’s say ‘Oh Aisling, we have a very cute little girl who I think you could teach….she is extremely cute!’

First of all, I’m not going to teach a girl just because she is cute…. PA’s think that this a real selling point to teachers; a really cute girl. But it really isn’t. Yeah she could be the most cutest Chinese girl I’ve even seen, but if she is a nuisance in class… then you really just have a cute girl that is extremely hard to teach.. and you dread teaching this girl every week.

So when they offer me this I always ask ‘What age is she?’ …’Oh she is 4 years old’ I can now happily reply ‘No thanks, I don’t want to teach young students’… without feeling bad about it.

However when I was full time, I had quite a few bad classes. . Oh I remember in dread… I often wonder how I managed teaching some students. I think it was because I was sort of new to the whole teaching and I just put up with them… so at the moment I’m much happier teaching the students I have.

If we leave Chengdu we will most likely have to move back to full time teaching so we can earn more money, which sort of annoys me. I’ll no longer be able to use the ‘No’ word anymore.

Oh no.

再见

爱玲