Spur Of The Moment Decision

Spur Of The Moment Decision

After a spur of the moment, I’ve decided to book flights home to Ireland. Being away for 2 months, I will definitely miss my fiancé while I’m away. Unfortunately he’ll be staying in Chengdu for that time.

I think it’ll be a nice break from each other though. The only time we’ve been apart was when he went travelling with his sister for a week. It’s not that we need a break or we are getting fed up of each other. We have a great relationship.  Just a little time with my family without him will be nice! Plus it’ll make us appreciate each other more while I’m away!

As I still have no job, my thought was ‘well I’m not tied to work or anything at the moment, so this would be the best time to go and visit.’ Plus, If I don’t go home now,  god knows when I’ll be back. I miss my nephews and my sister a lot, and I know they can’t come here to visit.

I’m looking forward to visiting home; enjoying Mums food, catching up with friends, my sister, playing with my nephews. Even sleeping in my old room!

I would have booked flights just for a month, but because it was such late notice, the cheapest flights back to Chengdu aren’t until the end of August. And the cheapest leaving are only at the end of June. At least I won’t miss out on my last few weeks of studying. Only 3 weeks!

Another reason why I think it’s a good time to go home is because I have a few things to sort out at home, eg wedding info, bank things….. so I can sort all that out while there!

I don’t really have the money for visiting, but I suppose my family outweighs my financial concerns. When you’re away, you realise how important your family is, and how much you miss them… so I don’t mind paying for the flights to visit.

So as I’ll be away for 2 months, I will expect my Chinese level to go down… but…. I will definitely try and keep on studying! I know it’s all well and good saying that, but I really need to concentrate on my Chinese this summer. As I plan on moving up to Level 7, I need to make sure my level is up to par.

So that’s what my summer will entail!

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

 

We’re Staying Put

So… my assumption was correct. Our Uni won’t allow us to transfer our semesters over to someone else. Before, the office said that that’s no problem, we were able to do that… so I have no idea what made them change their minds. Thank god we didn’t book  flights or anything before we found this out!

It’s sort of bad on their part though. Either it’s a yes or no from them… don’t be playing us around.

I’m not really too disappointed by it, I half expected it to be honest. I’ll miss the family but I really had no clue what I was going to do once I arrived back home. It might have been difficult to find a job, I wasn’t sure about courses that I wanted to do. Also, with my fiancee only being able to stay for a maximum of 3 months, I’d have to be without him for a couple of months.

So now we have to sort out a new job here….aaggh so I’m not rid of teaching jobs just yet unfortunately.

And anyway I do want to continue my Chinese studies here. I know in Ireland I wouldn’t do a tap of study… so at least I’ll have studied an extra semester here. Oh and MAYBE do the HSK Chinese language test!

I like to think that everything happens for a reason… so hopefully I’ll find a few good reasons why we had to stay longer here.

再见

爱玲

Trying To Think Of The Positives

Still not knowing whether we can leave China in the summer… I’ve decided to think of the positives of staying another few months here. I miss my family so much though. I know that with every year that passes my Mum and Dad are sadly getting older…

But anyway…. I have to try and think of the good if we  have to stay here.

  1. I can continue to study Chinese.

I really love Chinese. I really do. If my Chinese was perfect I’d like to teach it in Ireland. But of course I don’t have a teaching degree, plus my Chinese is definitely nowhere near to fluency… but I’d like to do that.

2. I can continue to eat proper Chinese food.

I love that I can walk literally two minutes outside my apartment building and I can easily find a restaurant. We are extremely lucky to live next to great amenities; bus stops, metro, my favourite Coco shop (they sell all different sorts of milk teas and that).  We are spoiled with where we live. Plus the food is great and so cheap. On average we spend about  €8 for a meal for the two of us- this consists of 2 main dishes plus 2 bowls of rice.

3. We still have the option of being able to travel.

We have barely even travelled through South East Asia, and we’d love to visit Japan and New Zealand… so at least we have the option that we could do that. With my money situation and lack of job though, at the moment it’s not possible. But I know if we went to Ireland it would be much harder to travel. So it’s nice to know that we could possibly visit these places.

4. We live by ourselves.

Although I dislike our neighbours, we enjoy living in our apartment. I have the freedom here, whereas in Ireland, my Mum and Dad will be there and I think I’d miss my freedom more.

5. I’m independent here.

I don’t have to rely on anybody to bring me here or there. I have my bike, the great bus system, plus the new metro about 10 minutes walk from us. I don’t have to worry like I do in Ireland “Dad will you bring me to town please… Dad can you pick me up…?”  It’s nice to know that I can go anywhere.

6. The feeling of being safe.

When I walk in Ireland and in my town, I’m always wary. I just don’t feel 100% safe. Here however, I could walk in the city at 3am and I’d feel fine. In Ireland you would see a group of teens that just don’t look safe to be near, but here I’ve never seen that. I’ve never been afraid to walk past a big group of people. In Ireland though, especially if they are pretty drunk, I’d be more conscious of them and maybe cross the road.

I’m never afraid here, and I love that. ha the only time I’m truly afraid is when I’m in a taxi and they are driving recklessly!

7. Rent is cheaper.

I am shocked at how expensive rent is in Ireland. It’s unbelievable how people can actually afford to. In Dublin, the capital of Ireland, the average cost of rent in a normal area is  €1,530pm for a 900Sqft furnished accommodation. I definitely can’t afford that.

Unfortunately rent in Chengdu is always increasing, but at the moment we pay  €242pm. It’s a basic apartment; no mod cons, crappy sofa, no proper table… but we wanted a cheap place.. and so far it’s fine. I actually think it’s not worth the money but it’s near the metro, so of course our landlord upped the price.

In our community,  €400/ 3000元 will get you a decent big apartment. So rent is much much cheaper than in Ireland.

8.Living in general is cheap.

We know we won’t starve here. Everything is just so cheap here. Well except for restaurants and bars which cater for foreigner’s!

9. Wages for foreigners are high

Teachers are in high demand here… so that means that they will pay huge amounts to foreigners to come and teach. I’m fed up of teaching, but when that’s pretty much the only high paying job for us here… I’ll most likely have to find another teaching job. But anyway, wages are high… sometimes ridiculously high for teachers who are too lazy to teach well.

So I think I’ve found some positives of staying in China… if we end up needing to stay!

再见

爱玲

 

Wanting To Leave

For the past few weeks I’ve had this nagging feeling of just wanting to leave. Get away from China, leave work, leave school, not have to deal with everything ‘China’ and just go back home to my family… drink tea and be surrounded by Irish people.

A few things have made me feel like this. The first one is definitely the weather. Right now the PM2.5 in Chengdu is apparently 500. I’m just so fed up of this pollution. We’re stuck in all day with our air purifier on full blast afraid to go outside because it’s so bad. You wake up and it’s smoggy and dull… then that’s it for the whole day. The next day, wake up and it’s smoggy and dull. Everyday is the exact same…slowly killing us if we venture outside. I’m perplexed at how people can have babies and raise them in this horrific weather. Just throw a mask on them and they are good to go. I’d never put my child through that.

I don’t think we’ve seen the sun for the past 2 weeks.

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You want to die faster? Come to Chengdu!

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It’s only Hazardous

 

So yeah, that’s one reason why I just want to get up and go.

The next is with the company I work for. I’ve only signed a full time contract in December, then all of a sudden they tell us ‘Oh we are starting a new thing; the classes are only going to be 40 minutes or 80 minutes long and we are going to group students as 1-1 groups or 4-1 groups. No 2 or 3 group students.

So that means for me, I’ll have 4 students in a class or just me and 1 student, and no 1 hour classes. Because they will be 40 minutes long I’ll have to add more classes to fill my hours. 40 minutes, what the hell are you going to get done for 40 minutes??!!You can just about get something done for 45.

Then, they are going to increase the price for 1-1 groups, apparently by a lot of money, so this will make the parents choose 4-1 classes.

When I first started working with the company it was good to work for. Their motto was ‘We are like a family’… and it did feel like that for a while. Then they started getting greedy…

‘Oh we need MORE campuses!!’

‘We need to infiltrate EVERY city in China!’

‘We need MORE students!!’

‘We need to be the BEST IN CHINA!!’

‘We need MONEY MONEY MONEY!!!!’

So the company is getting bigger and bigger and wanting more and more money.. and ultimately they are loosing sight on the most important thing; giving good education to their students.

Now, the parents will get angry because we’re not teaching them enough in the time given, they won’t learn as quickly because they have to contend with another 3 students in their class, and finally because they are being forced to pay a lot more money.

I really love teaching my students, and all of their parents are lovely, but I really do feel sorry for them having to put up with all these changes. I know my students parents are well off (if they can afford to pay such high prices for the courses) but still, if they pay such a high price, then they need to get a good deal with it.

I’m just so annoyed at the fact that the company can change all this and just expect us teachers to put up with it. It’s us and our PA’s that will get the brunt of the parents anger, simply because we won’t be able to teach their children as well as before.

Also, us teachers have no input whatsoever in their activities. We have a Teacher Manager and if we have any troubles or worries we can tell them and then they tell the people higher up. The managers can give their input about what is working and what’s not working, but at the end of the day, the company doesn’t listen to any of it. My manager told me that she told the company that this new change won’t work and that they don’t support it… but of course they didn’t listen to it and they are still going ahead.

And the thing is, I still have another 11 months of work left. I’m annoyed that no one told me this was going to happen until after I signed my contract!

My campus also wants me to add an extra teaching day because I won’t be able to reach my hours teaching 3 days… You know I’d love to say to them ‘I don’t like these new changes that I didn’t even know about, you expect us to teach just 40 minutes of class, with a group of 4 students and still manage to somehow maintain the same level of teaching… and you are ripping off all the parents here… so I quit’.

The only reason why we decided to stay another year was to keep learning Chinese and so I could work more and earn more money so we can travel and that. I was happy with the way things were at work and I didn’t mind taking on more students. Now I’m just annoyed at them and I don’t want to work for them anymore.

Aghh but I’ll see how things go in the next few weeks. Maybe all these changes won’t happen. But I know there are going to be a lot of angry teachers and parents if it does.

再见

爱玲

My Resolutions For 2017

With 2016 being quite a crappy year; the attacks all over Europe,  lots of celebrity deaths (which unfortunately will become more and more common),  the shock US election, and finally with Brexit… but, the year is nearly over! Hopefully 2017 won’t be as bad!

So I’ve decided to try my hand (again) and write my 2017 Resolutions.

1. Study Chinese

This time however, I’m really going to try and give it my all. Unsure of what we will do for 2018, I’d like to study as much as possible before I leave China. Read more Chinese books for learners, listen to more TV Series/ films. Try and speak more. If I don’t speak more I’d ideally like my listening to improve. Ha so my listening will be fantastic, but I won’t be able to speak a word!

2. Loose weight.

I’m never going to be as slim as all these Chinese girls, but I’d like to loose a little weight and become fitter. I’ll continue the cycling and start going running around our community.

3. Take up a hobby.

I’ve always said ‘studying Chinese is my hobby’… but when I start getting stressed about it, then I realise its not exactly a relaxing hobby. I’m thinking of learning how to make a few dishes, as I think knowing how to cook is important… oh and life saving! I’ll admit it, I don’t like cooking. I just don’t. But it’s a part of life so I really should learn. The thing is in China it’s just much more difficult.

Firstly, we don’t have a working over. Second we don’t have any cooking utensils, say for example a pan for the oven. It’s not like I don’t want to buy these things, its just the fact that we don’t want to buy them and then end up moving and having to sell it all. Plus our apartment is becoming smaller and smaller with each thing we buy. Third, it’s difficult to get the ingredients. There are green vegetables in Walmart here and I have no idea what they are! I’d need to take a photo of each veg and send it to my Mum so she could tell me what they are.Forth, they might not have the ingredient for a certain dish.

I look forward to going back home and being able to know exactly what I’m buying and where to buy it!

(I know… number 3 is just full of excuses!)

4. Save money

I’d like to have saved some money during this year; mainly for when I go back home or go to Mexico.

5. Travel more

During 2016 we travelled in China, so in 2017 I’d like to travel more outside of it and see South East Asia, maybe New Zealand, Japan….I’d like to visit these places before I leave China anyway!

6. Figure out what to do with my life.

This is an important one. Every year that goes by… we say to ourselves ‘ok, we need to figure out what we are doing after Chengdu… are we going to move to a different city/ country? Back to Ireland or go to Mexico?’ But then it’s always ‘We’ll study a year and then decide’. I suppose the reason why I stress about life is because I feel I’m stuck in China trying to learn this language and I’m putting my life on hold just for this language that won’t bloody stick in my head.  I can’t be spending my life learning Chinese because by the time I learn it it’ll be time to settle down and maybe start a family…

Ideally my plan is to go home, do a course related to tourism, gain some work experience, then go to Mexico and learn Spanish. I’ll continue learning Chinese myself. But I’ll miss China a lot. I’ll write a post about what I’ll miss about China when I leave.

So these are my new resolutions. Let’s hope I can manage them so I’ll be happy with myself this time comes around next year!

Happy New Year To All My Followers!

再见

爱玲

Our First Christmas On Our Own

Our First Christmas On Our Own

For the past two Christmas, I’ve been thankful to have had two great ones; one with my boyfriends family, and the other with my own family. This time however, it was only going to consist of myself and my boyfriend.

For my first Christmas away from my family, I arrived in China for my teaching internship. Unfortunately I had to work, so the day wasn’t very Christmassy at all! I remember talking to my family that evening and after I hung up I cried because I missed them so much and just felt disconnected from everything. My first Christmas away from home and I’m stuck working and being by myself. I think 2 of my students gave me presents which was so kind of them, but I made a promise to myself that I would definitely be home for the next Christmas.

However I didn’t keep my promise. After that I happened to meet my boyfriend  and we decided we would go to his country and be with his Mum and Dad. It was quite strange to celebrate Christmas in a hot country such as Mexico, whereas I’m so used to having it during the winter; it being freezing and having the roaring fire in the house.

I had a really great time there, but before long we were back in China!

Last Christmas, I unexpectedly had to go home, so we decided to go during December so that I could be with my family to celebrate. With the arrival of my new nephew, it was the first Christmas with him, so it was a new experience for the whole family!

I enjoyed my Mums dinner, ate pavlova, drank loads of Irish coffee and Baileys, and had a great time with my family and my boyfriend! I enjoyed my time (and food) so much that I also got a good deal fatter!!

So for this Christmas we didn’t travel anywhere to celebrate! It was our first Christmas in China on our own as a couple. There was no festive feeling in Chengdu as no one celebrates it here (although every supermarket sells Christmas stuff which I find weird), but we made the most of it ourselves!

My Mum sent a parcel to us the week before which had lots of presents for us… wrapped of course! Then as a surprise, my boyfriend bought a small tree and lights, and when I arrived home from work one night, he told me to close my eyes and he guided me to the tree. I opened my eyes and saw this cute tree with lights and the presents my family sent us!

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So when Christmas Day came, I turned the lights on, put on some Christmas music, and we opened our presents together.

At noon, and not particularly knowing how to cook a Christmas dinner, we decided to order some food from a restaurant and we watched the film ‘Elf’, as we had not seen that film in years! After our lunch, we treated ourselves to some hot chocolate and Ferrero Rochers that my boyfriend got me.

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Later in the afternoon, we decided to go to the shop and buy some coca cola and some cheap red wine. We mix them together and they are called Katembas. One of our South African friends told us about this drink! We both love it!

Knowing that my family would be waking up soon, I tried to give them a call, but the connection was terrible! I’m guessing it was because everyone else was trying to ring back home and talk. So I was resigned to wait until there was better connection.

After a while we tried again and thankfully we got through! It was great seeing my nephews playing with their new toys. I got a bit sad at this point; missing out on everything. I would have loved to have seen there faces seeing all their presents. Oh and eating Mums dinner!

But it was great to see them happy and having a good day.

After talking to the family, and for our dinner, we made some quick Quesadillas and we enjoyed eating them while drinking our Katembas. We decided to stick on a film called ‘Krampus’, a scary Christmas film, which we both thought was quite good! It was something different anyway!

At around 8:30, we watched our last film ‘Mean Girls’. I know it’s not a very Christmassy film, but my boyfriend never saw it before so I really wanted him to see it. My Mum surprised us by putting a Christmas pudding that she made into a tin for us. We opened the present and we put it aside, thinking there are chocolates inside. Later my Mum asked me ‘What did you think of the pudding?’

What pudding?? She never sent us a pudding…

She told us to open the tin, and there it was, wrapped up! We decided to have this for our dessert, and it was lovely!  Lastly, we had a little Tequila. My boyfriends Mum and Dad, when they were over, brought some good quality Tequila from Mexico over for us so we had a small drop of that to end our Christmas day.

And do you know what, we both had a great Christmas together. The day before I was thinking ‘Will I miss my family and be sad for the whole day?, What food will we eat? What will we do?’ but thankfully it turned out to be a lovely relaxing day with just the two of us.

Although there wasn’t a very festive feeling outside, but we made it festive in our apartment. We enjoyed each others company, ate loads of food, and had a great day!

So we are now both wondering where or what we will be doing for next Christmas…. Wherever it will be, I’m sure it will be wonderful like my past 3 Christmases!

再见

爱玲