Skipping The Queue = One Angry Irish Girl

Queue’s in China are a rarity. To get on a bus, there is usually LOTS of pushing and shoving… especially the older people; it feels like because they are older, they have the right to push and get on the bus first. So when you see a queue in China… it is RARE.

So anyway, myself and my boyfriend were after picking up some pasta from Walmart. We were queueing behind a lady with a few things to pay and everything was going fine.. until…… a Tibetan man with his son started to walk in front of us… then he stopped. I was thinking ‘Well maybe he is with this lady…. but usually Tibetan people and Han people don’t usually marry each other’. So then I got suspicious.

I then asked the man in Chinese ‘Are you two together?’ And he sort of shrugged. And he was a scary looking man by the way. By this stage I was getting angry. I started giving out to my boyfriend and he said ‘Just leave it Aisling it’s ok’.

But then… he started SKIPPING THE OTHER WOMEN IN FRONT!!!  The lady said no to him and then thats when my anger took over. Now I’m usually not like this, I don’t like confrontation at all and I can’t watch people fighting on Youtube or anything… so this shows how angry I got.

So after seeing him pushing in front of the other lady, I said ‘F**k this!’ and I pushed my way past him and his son, squished myself between the man and the lady in front, threw my pasta on the counter and I turned around to him and (tried) to say ‘We were here first!!’.

He was pushing right behind me but I didn’t budge. I was actually afraid in case he would try and pick-pocket me or something.

My god I was so angry… but I was shaking as hell. This really isn’t me. I just got so annoyed. What right does he have to skip people???? Was it because he was Tibetan??? Was it because we were foreigners????

He had no right to do that… Queue and wait like other people. Thats it.

Then he started saying in Chinese ‘Go, Go’ for us to move to pay. Who the hell does he think he is????

But you know what the worst thing was……. no one even bothered to help us. Not the lady in front, not the cashier lady… not the couple that were behind us. No one.

No one said a word. I looked at the couple behind me and they just stood there and kind of glanced away. The lady in front didn’t even look, she was just trying to focus on getting her stuff and go.

Like if I was those people and I saw someone not from my own country who was in trouble… I would help; you’d like to think they would actually have a good experience in your own country….

Bu this phenomenon is seen all throughout China. Yeah Chinese people say they are united and whatever, but then when someone is in trouble no one intervenes.. no one helps. Look it up; there are countless stories of people in accidents and they are lying on the ground and people are just walking past or looking.

In Ireland, people intervene, people would get involved and help sort it out. Not here. If something happens you, don’t expect any help.

If he did start doing something else I think I would have shouted more, try and get the attention of at least someone who might actually help us.

So we payed and quickly went to our e-bike to make our escape. . we were actually afraid in case he would come out after us.

This is the first time experiencing this sort of nonsense, so hopefully it won’t happen again. Although I am really surprised at myself…. I get nervous speaking Chinese to people…. so I really wouldn’t have thought I would have the guts.

But there you go… if you are angry enough you can.

再见

爱玲

 

 

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Teaching Review and…I’M BACK!

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I’m Back! Its been a while, but after the disaster with my visa debit card ( another post) and only just getting the internet, my blogging has unfortunately been at a standstill…. Yet no more! I shall (hopefully if I’m not too terribly busy) be posting new blogs up here again. During my time with no internet, I’ve written 2 posts at once, so I’ll post them together. Enjoy!

Teaching Review

Since January, I have signed a contract to work with another company for 1 year. This means I’m actually a FULL TIME teacher, with an actual wage this time. From September 2013 to the beginning of January 2014, I was on a teaching internship for one semester.

I know reviews are especially good for people who are thinking of joining a company; one of the reasons why I applied for the job I now have is because I met a person who works there and he told me that It was a good place to work, so I know personal experience is important.

The company, i-to-i is a company that I found online. I knew one of my friends was doing a TEFL course online and was going to Japan to teach, so I researched and found this one. After completing the 120 hours online, I decided to apply for the Teach & Travel China Programme which was advertised on their website.

You can choose the China, Vietnam, Thailand or Poland internship. Each programme starts on 2 different semesters. Speaking about the China internship, programmes start in February (Winter Programme) and August (Summer Programme). I chose the August programme, where I was shipped out with about 150 people to Beijing. Most of the participants were English, but there were about 20 Australians, 14 Irish, 4 Canadians, 1 American in my group. There were many more that arrived 1 month earlier to do their 140 TEFL from a lot of European countries.

The first week was amazing, where we saw the Great Wall, Acrobatics Show, Saw the Beijing Olympic Stadium and ate Peking Duck in Beijing. We then travelled to Harbin for our orientation. It was great being with a big group of people where every day you would talk and hang around with different people in the group. Everyone was there for the same reason; to do something different.

After that we were sent to our teaching locations. Around 50 people went to Sichuan, where people were placed in Chengdu, and about 50 went to Guangzhou, where most people here were placed in Guangdong. The rest went to Beijing, Harbin, Inner Mongolia, and near Shanghai.

Of course you’re going to hear bad reviews about companies, I’ve even read about them myself, about Teach and Travel China and thought “did I make a mistake?”, but as I say, everyone’s experience is different. Some people might have had a bad school, living conditions, bad neighbourhood and so on. Luckily, I was very fortunate; I had a good apartment, the school was fine and nothing major happened. My location however wasn’t great, where I was 1 hour away from the city centre.

So here are the good things and bad things about doing the i-to-I and Teach & Travel China Internship.

Good
• People are in the same boat as your-self.
• You’ll most likely be placed with someone. This will be living together and in the same schools, living together but different schools, or living by yourself but being near other interns.
• You won’t go through it alone. There will be like 150 other people starting their teaching at the same time so you won’t be going through it by yourself.
• Apartment and school is guaranteed for you. There is no worrying about finding schools.
• Guaranteed a minimum of 2 hours Mandarin/Cantonese lessons.
• Everything is provided for you in the apartment; kettle, cups, quilts…
• Given an advisor at your school to help you throughout your internship.
• Don’t have to pay rent or bills. (that’s if you don’t go over your bill limit)
• Maximum of 15 teaching hours.

Bad
• Expensive. From applying for it, to getting your visa, the cost adds up.
• Might be placed with someone you don’t get on with… and your stuck with them for 4 months.
• Don’t know where in China you will be placed. This means it’s difficult to pack when you don’t know the climate you’re going to live in. You could also be placed in a really remote area.
• Don’t know what age group you’ll be teaching. If you pick 7-14 age for instance, you may not get it.
• Wages aren’t great. You can live off it, but you can’t go mad spending.

These are my own opinions about the good and bad points about the internship. There are plenty of people I’m sure would say “ NEVER DO IT, IT WAS THE WORST EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE!”. I’m sure some people did have a terrible time on their internship, I’ve read about them. But on my own accounts and experience, if nothing majorly goes wrong with your internship, you’re blessed.

Because I’ve had a good experience of my internship, I would tell people to do it. It lets you have a taste of teaching but it also lets you live in a new country, even just for a few months.

The choice is up to you…

Aisling.

Beijing/Harbin

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Tuesday: After a little recuperation from arriving on Monday, me and the group from the hostel decided to venture to the Temple of Heaven. Chinese tourists flocked to the place, meeting just a handful of Westerners there. It was a lovely walk around the Temples, although looking rather similar to each other. The park surrounding the temples were lovely, trees lined together which made the park seem calm. The tourists put a stop to that however. To me, I felt that the park had become to feel like a tourist attraction, with no real atmosphere to it. Then we went and got food. My first experience of dumplings were not great. They were filled with pork, I’m not too keen on pork, but the dumplings taste very strongly of it so I didn’t eat many of them.

After that we headed to the Silk Market. It was nothing like I expected. I was expecting a real old traditional outdoor market, selling fish, meat and vegetables. I was really impressed. 4/5 floors filled with everything you could think of; clothes, sunglasses, purses, suitcases, electronics, shoes… Each floor dealt with specific items, with each shop delegated an area for shopping.

Wednesday: We had to get a bus from our hostel to pick us up and head to a campus on the outskirts of Beijing. An hour out from Beijing, we literally turned into an industrial site. The campus itself was lovely, where we got food and had a couple of drinks that night. I decided to hit the bed early because we had a busy day tomorrow.

Thursday: We packed up and left for Harbin. Taking a train, it took 8 hours to reach it, arriving at 10pm. What I found cool was that every shop had neon lights advertising them in the city. I really like the city itself; to me it reminds me of Paris. The buildings have that Parisian look to them. Also the streets are wide and long. Its considerably colder than Beijing, but it’s not too hot so it is perfect weather.

Friday: Stayed in our hotel which will be home for a week. At 1 we got picked up and got driven down to the Harbin University. This is where we will be doing our TEFL weekend course, and our other actiivites, such as as calligraphy, learning Mandarin and doing Tai-Chi.

Saturday: Started our TEFL weekend course… Our teacher was lovely, talking to us about things like jobs after the internship and what we should expect in the classroom. We had to practice teaching, where three of my group had to make up a 5 min lesson with a lesson plan he gave us. It wasn’t an evaluation, it was really just to do get us used to what we will be doing next week. I expected it be like a test, where he would mark us up on any bad things we done, but thankfully nothing like that happened, just giving constructive criticism for next time which is great to hear!

Sunday: My second day of the weekend course. This time we had to do it in pairs, where me and another girl called Jayne had to teach a 5 min lesson about ‘I like/I don’t like’ to elementary level. I was a little nervous, so what am I going to be like have to teach something for a whole hour! Hopefully It will be grand, and as I say, everyone is in the same boat as me so I’m not the only one starting something new next week.

Monday: Today we had the day off, so me and another couple of people decided to venture to the main shopping street in Harbin. It’s a lovely area. Eveywhere is so clean compared to where we are based. We visited a Russian church and then headed down to the river and walked along there for about an hour. It’s a beautiful area, where we saw elderly people dancing and men playing some kind of Chinese chess. All the elderly seem to have such a better lifestyle compared to home. I see them constantly out and about, and from what I see, enjoying life.

Tuesday: it was back to the campus at 8am. Today we had Mandarin class and Tai Chi. I enjoyed the Mandarin; I feel a lot more confident in saying hello and goodbye, because a lot of emphasis is put on the intonation of the word. I also got my Chinese name!…. aÌ lÍng . Its similar to my actual name but I think it’s cool.  We got off early so we headed back to the campus. Later we headed to a restaurant where we got lovely food. All for about 140yen. Being 8 of us, we only had to pay about €4 each for 5 dishes full of food! A large beer is only 4yen… 80cent! I’ve also become obsessed with Lays and another type of Chinese crisps… I feel so hungry after I eat food… literally about an hour after I’ve ate,  I want to buy crisps to fill myself.

 I’ve also literally become a vegetarian… everything here is so fatty… fat is on every bit of meat. I’m not a picky eater… but that’s is just one thing I can’t stand.. I haven’t had any meat in days, living off rice from the campus and crisps from the shop down the road.

Have so much to tell about China I will blog about them on my next posts!

Aisling.