Loving The VIP Cinema

We don’t usually go to the cinema very often, mainly due to the fact that many of the films don’t appeal to us, but because I was feeling down the past few days, we decided to go to the cinema to cheer me up. We wanted to see the new Wreck it Ralph film, but unfortunately it was only in Spanish. We kept looking and we found that the new Fantastic Beasts film was out, and in English, so we decided to go to that one!

We noticed however that this was only being shown in the VIP cinema, but we decided to go anyway, and experience it!

So we arrive and the VIP cinema was apart from the main one, and the employees had fancy suits on them and everything just looked expensive and fancy! We pay and then we look around the sitting area; theres a bar with beer, fancy seats, and it was just very posh compared to the normal cinema. We went ahead and bought popcorn, two drinks, nachos and cheese in the normal cinema, and then walked to the VIP which was right beside it. We didn’t know it at the time but if we had bought the food and drink in the VIP area, it would have been more expensive, so lucky us! We go into our room and I was shocked with the seats! They are huge! They are all grouped in two, so you can sit beside your friend etc.

We found our seats and I was surprised at how fancy it was. There was a light beside us, a moveable glass table to put things on, the seats can recline so much and you can relax with your feet up. There’s even a place to charge your phone! The middle part of the two seats can move out of the way so it becomes a sofa. It was so cool.

Then we see that there is a menu and you can press a small button and a waiter comes and takes your order from the menu they provide. They have all sorts; burgers, sushi, salads, desserts, beer. We didn’t order anything else but other people did while watching the film. The waiter would quietly come, take the order, then reappear with the food on a tray.

The seats were also really really comfy! I just loved the experience. These tickets were pretty much double the price of the normal cinema, but we don’t expect to do this much. Maybe once or twice a year maybe? I don’t think we have any of this in Ireland. (From what I know anyway, maybe in Dublin there might be).

But anyway, I really enjoyed the experience. The film was terrible by the way! If you love films that are supposed to be full of action but are instead just minutes and minutes of dialogue and about 4 actions scenes, then this is the film for you! I was actually pretty bored watching it, so I wouldn’t really recommend it, but…. being a VIP was good!


Re-watching KungFu Panda 3 In Chinese: 1 Year On

Re-watching KungFu Panda 3 In Chinese: 1 Year On

About a year ago, I wrote a blog post about our experience going to the cinema and watching Kung Fu Panda 3… all in Chinese. We didn’t realise it was the Chinese version of the film until it started! You can check out my blog about it here:A Cinematic Surprise

Anyway, I said in my post that I would try and watch it again in one year and see how much more I could understand of it. So we successfully found the film on a Chinese website and we decided to watch it. And low and behold, I could understand about 60% of it!!!

This time round, I understood the storyline, most of the conversations and pretty much all of the jokes! The first time, I really had no idea what the storyline was about, and why the antagonist was so obsessed with finding Po. I didn’t understand pretty much any jokes, and I could only understand the gist of a sentence by a word I knew, such as ‘food’.

During the second time I watched it, I realised there were quite a few words which came up in the film were words that I have just learned in this semester of class!

The film also had Chinese subtitles so we can read the Chinese characters as we listen. I think pretty much every TV programme, film or drama will have Chinese subtitles. I think it’s because some older people actually have never learned the common Chinese language Mandarin; they have just been brought up learning their local dialect. So it makes it easier for them to understand what’s going on in the show. (I think this is the reason why, but I’m not 100% of it!)

But anyway, it was great seeing how much Chinese I’ve picked up in a year, and how I can actually understand the story! Now my speaking is still atrocious, but at least this shows me I’m improving in some area at least!

So I have to say I’m very proud of myself that I can understand this film now. It’s not a very difficult film with regards to the conversations and the words in it, but it’s a stepping stone at least.

I’ll have to find something else to watch and then in another year I’ll re-watch it and see how much I’ve improved.



How Did My 2016 Resolutions Turn Out?

How Did My 2016 Resolutions Turn Out?

Scrolling down through my posts, I came across my New Years Resolutions for 2016; My (few) New Years resolutions. I had totally forgot that I had posted resolutions for myself (which isn’t a good sign), so I thought I’d update on which ones I unconsciously achieved, and some which I have not!

1.Study More Chinese.

Well I think I’ve done this unconsciously; I’ve attended another 2 semesters of Chinese learning since then. Plus I’ve read a few Chinese books, I’ve watched one Chinese movie (I know I know… 1 isn’t that good). But I have started watching a Chinese TV series called ‘虎妈猫爸’ or ‘Tiger Mum’ in English. There’s quite a lot that I don’t understand but I get the gist of each episode and the storyline. So my listening should be improving because of this. Finally my speaking; well because I’m an introvert. . . I’m not the chattiest of people even when I speak to people in my native language, never mind in Chinese! So that’s still a hurdle I need to address. But I think I achieved this resolution.

2. Do the HSK 3 exam.

Unfortunately I didn’t do this… but I did buy a book for practising! So I did have some good intentions to do it. To be honest I don’t really know how I sign up for it, and apparently you can do it in the comfort of your own home! I did not know this! I will do it one day… I might even attempt the HSK 4! haha well we’ll see!

3. Do more exercise.

Having come back from Ireland after Christmas and gaining a lot of weight, myself and my boyfriend started to do more exercise… then grew lazy as we all do. Thankfully I’ve bought a new bike so I now cycle to work and school. I’m still not as slim as before but at least I’m doing a bit more exercise. I’d have preferred to do even more exercise so I’ll put this one as half succeeded.

4. Travel more around China.

Having never left China during this year, I’ve travelled more around the country. My favourite is definitely Xiamen, I really loved the city. But I also enjoyed going to Kangding and Garze and experiencing the Tibetan way of life. I loved going to Yangshuo and seeing the famous mountains, then to Longsheng and walking in and among the rice terraces. Those a few of the places I’ve been to this year. So I’ve achieved that resolution.

5. Last but not least, be happier.

Mmm… this is  a tricky one. I hate to admit it but I’m a pessimist… instead of thinking of what could go right.. I’m constantly thinking of what could go wrong. And I’m also a worrier.. about EVERYTHING.  I really drain myself! I wish I could be a happier person… but I just naturally end up worrying and stressing over money, work, Chinese, finding a good job, missing my family loads… thinking about life after China… so obviously this makes me much less happy. I’m afraid that I’m going to live out the rest of my life not being happy; because I didn’t do this, I couldn’t do that.. I did that wrong.  So I suppose with this resolution I’ll say I half achieved it.

Now I must make my Resolutions for 2017!



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!


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.


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!



A Cinematic Surprise

A Cinematic Surprise

Having still not seen the new ‘Kung Fu Panda 3‘ movie, we decided to head to the cinema to watch it. Our good Chinese friend helped us book them online, as it is much cheaper than buying them at the cinema itself. For two people it was 50yuan, so about 7euro. Great! We even got to sit in the 25 seater ‘VIP’ room!

We arrived and sat down in the lovely comfortable seats and got ready for the film to start. My boyfriend asked me ‘Did she buy the tickets for the English version?’… I dunno, I forgot to ask. I know in China they have two variants of the film, one in Chinese and one in English…..’Aw I am sure it’s in English’ I thought.

It was in Chinese…

I knew, 3 seconds into the film that it was. . .It definitely didn’t sound like Jack Black huffing up that mountain… I turned to my boyfriend and whispered ‘Oh no…’

So there we were, the only foreigners in the place watching the film and not having a clue what they were saying. I was thinking to myself ‘The Chinese people here must think are Mandarin is great!’

So we spent 1 hour and 30 minutes listening to an all Chinese movie, with no English in sight… and to be honest, I’m actually really glad I did!

I say I could understand maybe 10-15% of the movie, but I spent that whole time listening and trying to comprehend what they were saying. When they were speaking fast, I literally had no idea what they were talking about, but in some scenes they would speak slow and I could understand quite a lot of actually!

If it wasn’t an animation, oh I would have been bored to death. At least with animations they are much more visually entertaining.

To be put into that situation, like a cinema… you kind of HAVE to watch the movie…. unlike at home, you’re not allowed on your phone, you’re not allowed to talk, so you are totally immersed in an all Chinese speaking environment.

I think I will try to watch Chinese animations at home more. I was really happy with myself when I could understand what they were saying.

Now that I know what kind of level I’m at while watching the film, I’ll be interested to see how my listening has improved in another year. I think I’ll watch it again in a years time and see what else I can pick up on. It will be interesting to find out!

So, although we may need to watch the film again…. ha but this time in English…. I’m actually glad to have my first experience watching a 100% Chinese speaking film with no subtitles.

I hope one day I’ll be able to confidently watch the whole film and understand all of it. 🙂



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.


I think these are alcoholic drinks.

I think these are alcoholic drinks.



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.



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!