10 Facts about Ireland.

10 Facts about Ireland.

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I have done 10 facts about China and Mexico….. Now it’s Ireland’s turn!

  1. The Irish flag consists of vertical stripes of green, white and orange. Green represents the Nationalists of the Republic of Ireland, the orange represents the Unionists of Northern Ireland … and the white signifies the peace between the two.

irish flag

 2. The worlds longest running talk show comes from Ireland; RTE’s ‘The Late Late Show’.

3. The White House in Washington was designed by an Irish man.

4. Ireland has it’s own sports; hurling and gaelic football.

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Video Clip of Hurling

Video Clip of Gaelic Football

5. There are no wild snakes in Ireland.

6. The harp is the national symbol. 

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7.  Halloween derived from an Irish festival called Samhain. It is a Gaelic Festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. 

8. The island is divided into Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland. Northern Ireland is part of the UK, while Southern Ireland is called the ‘Republic of Ireland’ and is an independent country.

9. Has two official languages; Irish and English.

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10. Brú na Bóinne is a Megalithic site and it is even older than the Egyptian pyramids!

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There you have it, some interesting facts about Ireland!

再见

爱玲

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New Year Hot Pot

Last New Years, we celebrated just by ourselves… this time around, we were invited to our friends place for some Hot Pot!

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We arrived at her place about 7 and we ate until our bellies were bursting; she really did her best with the food, preparing loads of vegetables and meat to cook. Two of her friends joined us later in the night… one has a little English, but the other….. well, let’s just say he needs a bit more practise.

So we spent a good chunk of the night actually practising Mandarin with them. Our new friend is a baker, and he brought us a lovely cake to eat. He kept saying to us “Me baker”… but he now knows the correct way of saying it! Although he had VERY little English, he did try his best to communicate in English so that was good to see.

A lot of the time when the Chinese people were talking, we would try and catch what they were saying…. good listening practice!

After we finished the hot pot, we cracked open the cake! At first I thought it was going to be one of those airy/full of cream Chinese cakes that are seen everywhere, but delightfully, it was made of mango and chocolate ice-cream! It was also shaped as a log with jelly flowers.

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Our new friend told us that he wants to learn English so he can read English recipes, so that one day he can open his own shop and bake. The cake was delicious so he was very happy.

At 12am, we rang in the Chinese New Year with a Mandarin song. We ran to the window to see if we could see any sign of fireworks, but because Chengdu banned fireworks in the middle of the city, we could only faintly see them far away. I remember in Hangzhou, us look looking out of our hostel bedroom watching them… they were so loud!

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After the food and snacks, we decided to head home as we were now so tired from all the food!

新年快乐!

爱玲

What a lovely sunny day!

What a lovely sunny day!

Chengdu….yesterday you really outdone yourself! As you can see, the sky was completely blue! Not a hint of a cloud, the temperature was just nice…and….. it was a holiday! So the roads were much quieter than usual.

We were saying yesterday; if the weather was this nice in Chengdu all the time, I really wouldn’t mind living here. The past few weeks have been miserable; cold, so much rain, and of course loads of pollution. This time last year we were still wearing shorts and t-shirts, but lately the temperature has been around 20-24 degrees. I know it’s not too cold but it’s a difference from 30 a couple of weeks ago. Plus when it rains it gets colder.

To soak up the good weather, myself, Rafa and two friends of ours went to an Art festival. At 3:30pm there was going to be live music so we got there in time for it to start. Inside a building there were some art pieces (which I didn’t really understand), then outside there were stalls with food, beer and different crafts.

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I think these are alcoholic drinks.

I think these are alcoholic drinks.

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We got a few Chinese beers (Chinese beer tastes awful by the way) and we found a place to watch and listen to the music. There was a group from Lanzhou, Xinjiang, a reggae group, a pretty famous rapper in China, and a trance kind of group that played. We left at around 7:30 as the trance type music wasn’t for us.

We made our way for barbecued food which annoyingly took 2.3 hours to come! By the end we were fuming; it should be cooked in 10 minutes. When ours arrived it was cold, meaning they obviously forgot about it. We asked it to be reheated, which took another 30 minutes. Some of the food we ordered didn’t even arrive. So by the end, we asked for a manager (apparently there was none) but we didn’t budge until we got a discount for our food. We finally did but with the help of our friend who is Chinese.

What annoyed me though, was that they didn’t apologise for it being late. In Ireland, they would be very sorry and try to rectify their mistake. But that just shows how different China is. They were pretty pissed that we demanded a discount too.

So after that, we headed back to our friends house and watched a scary film, leaving at about 1am. All in all, it was a good day, with the blue sky adding to this!

Give us more days like this and I’d be tempted (just a little) of staying longer in Chengdu.

再见!

Aisling.

Bad girl turned good.

Fortunately (and unfortunately) my terror of a student from my previous post was well behaved, ok so not well behaved, more like ok behaved. I said to my boyfriend on the way up to work ‘She’s on probation’, so if she was extremely bad on this day, that was it. I was going to tell the PA that I wasn’t teaching her anymore. I’d rather teach a student who wants to learn. Fortunately she was good, but unfortunately for me, I could no longer say I wasn’t going to teach her. I’ll have watch her and if she turns bad again, I’m going to have to let her go.

However for the class, we spent about 35 minutes out of 60, correcting her homework that she didn’t do. She doesn’t like writing or reading, or pretty much anything related to English; so to get her to do it we had to make a game of it, which actually turned out well. We didn’t manage to correct all the homework though.

China wise, there is a holiday coming up called the Moon Cake Festival. They eat these cakes filled with different things. Here is the link of the different kinds.Top 10 moon cakes. They look really nice, but the majority of foreigners don’t like them, including me. I once bought one and it turned out to be meat in the middle. After that it put me off them. In the link above there seem to be nice ones; including ice-cream! I am willing to try one again though, once it’s not meat or seafood.

So for the holiday this means we will have a few days off school and work. We don’t plan to go anywhere; It will be too crowded and we are trying to save money. We’ll most likely meet our friends at one point and do something with them, maybe visit some towns around Chengdu.

The first Moon Cake Festival I was at since coming to China, we headed to Xi’an, and it was mental! We also visited Jiuzhaigou, which was beautiful but again very busy. I think I posted some pictures of my time there in my older posts.

再见!

Aisling.

Chinese New Year/ Spring Festival.

At the moment, everyone is busy getting ready for Chinese New Year. Unlike the west, their New Year isn’t fixed, meaning it changes dates every year. Usually it is held from the end of January to the end of February. This year it is quite late, on the 19th of February.

Their New Year is our Christmas. I’ve actually seen tinsel! Lights are everywhere and there are red lanterns hung on the sides of the roads. I haven’t seen them at night but I’m sure they are beautiful.

This year is the year of the sheep. Apparently, (from what I’ve read on the internet) is that many parents don’t want their children to be born in the year of the sheep because it represents bad luck! My thinking however, if you’re blessed at being able to have kids then you’re extremely lucky!

Because of the festival, I’ve had a few classes cancel this week, but not as many as my co-workers. I’m trying to convince myself that my students love coming to class and thats why!

So, to make the most of our time off, myself and my boyfriend are going to visit Hangzhou. It is in eastern China, about 2 hours bus drive south from Shanghai! Apparently Hangzhou is a nice place to visit, but I know, at this time of year, it’s going to be hectic travelling around China. As one person said ‘the whole of China is moving’. Most Chinese families stay together during this time, with most of my friends going home for the festival.

I didn’t hear of many travelling around, as they know all too well how busy it will be. But I’m expecting it! We are staying in Hangzhou for 10 days, If we decided to stay in Chengdu, I know I’d have been bored! It’s rare to get a 10 day holiday, so our idea was to make the most of it.

Last year I was at home when the Spring Festival was on, meaning I missed it. I promised myself that next year I would be there for it, because its such as important time for Chinese people.

And while I’ll be in Hangzhou, my sister will be having her baby! I may try and search for any wifi spots in the city so I don’t miss the action! A good start to the (Chinese) year for my sister and boyfriend.
Oh and xīn nián kuài lè! Happy New Year!

Aisling.