Getting Fit From YouTube

I’ve no doubt in my mind since leaving Ireland 4 years ago that I’ve put on weight. From seeing pictures of myself then and now, and due to the fact that clothes from years ago don’t fit me now, I certainly not naive about it.

So because we live on the first floor of our building and we now have an enormous amount of space, I’ve started to do some exercise to try and get fit and healthy. In my old apartment we simply didn’t have the space, plus every movement we made could be felt in the apartment below us, so it just wasn’t really possibly to be jumping/ dancing about in our place.

So now I have absolutely no excuse not to exercise!

At first I was doing zumba dancing which was ok. But then I felt that I wasn’t pushing myself enough. I knew if I wanted to lose weight/ get fit, I needed to sweat that bit more! So I’ve found some videos on Youtube that have really helped me to get motivated!

The first one that I’ve subscribed to is the YouTube channel ‘BeFit’. They have lots of videos on exercise but I mainly stick to ‘Burn to the Beat’ fitness routines that are in the ‘BeFit’ channel. They are HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), so at most these videos are 15-17 minutes long, and they definitely make you sweat!! Check them out if you want a short exercise routine. Plus there are lots of benefits of doing HIIT exercises.

burn

From ‘Burn to the Beat’ I found out that the lady Keira LaShae who does it actually has her own channel; ‘superherofitnesstv’ and she has tonnes of fitness exercises. I really really enjoy her videos; she’s really enthusiastic and she really motivates me while I’m working out.

superherofitnesstv

So atm I try and do two of her videos 4 times a week. Currently I’m doing an abs workout video, then I move on and do a HIIT one. But of course sometimes I’m lazy and don’t do it, but I try and do it at least 3 times a week.

I like doing exercise in the comfort of my home and not having super skinny Chinese girls look at me and think “Oh look at that fat foreigner running” because I know that’s what they are thinking. I know I’m not going to be as skinny as the people here (not that I’d want to, a lot of them are just too skinny) but at least I’m trying to be a bit more healthy.

I just need to make sure I don’t lose my motivation for it!

Aisling

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Money Or Happiness?

Money Or Happiness?

Unfortunately, happiness doesn’t come easy to me. I worry/ stress over pretty much everything. A lot of times I don’t like myself for whatever reason….and I haven’t done some things because my anxiety takes over and forces me to abandon it. I’m missing out on things because I’m too afraid to do it… and it drives me mad!

So when it comes to money or happiness… which one should you choose? I’ve been at the same company for the past 3 years, but I finally gave in my 1 months notice. This definitely wasn’t because I had too much money.. like everyone else I need to work. But I simply just wasn’t happy. I had my meeting with my manager and told her how I feel. I don’t mind teaching, and my students are all really nice… just I didn’t want to work for the company anymore. Their new changes weren’t going to benefit me,  we had no say as to whether the teachers actually wanted these new changes… and it just felt like I had no opinion on anything… accept it and that’s that.

We plan on leaving China during the summer, so If I stayed, I would only have to work another 4/5 months, and I know some people would say ‘Oh just stick it out…it’s only a few more months’  But for me, I knew I would feel worse and worse if I stayed.

For me, I would pick being happy than money. I certainly need money, but happiness to me is more important. I strive for happiness in my life… but sometimes it feels like I’m never going to be happy. Whatever I do it won’t be good enough. So that’s my ongoing battle with myself!

In a previous job, it made me really unhappy.  I remember crying one night because I just didn’t want to be there. So I left. I then spent the last year looking for jobs… which kind of made it worse!

I know in a few weeks I’ll be thinking ‘Oh why didn’t I stay… I’d have more money now and I wouldn’t be worrying about my finances’… I know I’ll be thinking that… but just at this moment my  overwhelming desire of happiness just overrides these feelings. In a way, knowing that I made this decision by myself… to better myself mentally makes it (at this moment) worthwhile.

Does anyone else have the same opinion, or would some people choose money over happiness?

再见

爱玲

 

Two Mexicans in China

We have been busy lately, with my boyfriends Mum and Dad coming to visit; bringing with them plenty of Mexican food, nuts and my favourite spicy watermelon lolly pops. Oh and a very good quality Tequila with them!

So far they have really been enjoying their time here; walking around the area of our community, going to Walmart and Carrefour, and having a wander in and around Chengdu.

While we were not working, we brought them to a few famous places… we definitely had to bring them for some Chinese tea in a tea house, so they can experience the relaxed nature of Chengdu people.

High on the list was of course food! So far, they have both really enjoyed everything that Chengdu has to offer; hot pot, rabbit, different varieties of dishes… all they really liked.

This Monday we will take them to Kunming, a city that is south of Sichuan province. Here we will spend 5 days where will we have a look at the city, then we will go to Dali, a supposedly quite attractive ancient town. Although I have heard it is very touristy, but that’s no surprise in China!

They still need to go and see the famous pandas, and there are a few more places where we would like to bring them if we have time. Coming back from Kunming, we will have another few days in Chengdu to go to more places.

Because the weather here is becoming colder and colder, that of course brings more smog. Thankfully there have been 2/3 days where the weather hasn’t been that bad. But I suppose they have been warned about the smog so they knew what they would expect!

There are some things that they have been surprised about; such as people appearing more rude than in Mexico. But they have also been surprised about our life in Chengdu and I think they figured out why we have been living here the past few years and what has kept us here.

So all in all, I think their holiday has been going well so far!

再见!

爱玲

Tackling Spanish

Tackling Spanish

For the past 1.5 years my head has been tortured with learning Chinese… now I’m not saying I don’t enjoy learning it, of course I do… just sometimes you need a break from all those thousands of characters once in a while!

Since meeting my boyfriend and visiting Mexico and his family, I’ve become more and more interested in learning Spanish. In Secondary school and Uni I chose to study French instead of Spanish, so I’ve literally had to start from the basics with Spanish. haha now that my French has completely disappeared, (not that there was much in the first place) I don’t think I’ll have any trouble mixing the two languages up!

I’ve started using an application called Anki, where it makes flashcards and what not for you… I’ve been using it for my Chinese also, but to be honest it’s very hard to use,for me anyway, it’s a bit too technical! I’ve ended up having to delete my whole Spanish deck of words and download it again, as I messed with the cards and didn’t know how to rectify it. So it does take some time to get used to and know how to use it properly.

In comparison to Chinese… I must say I remember the vocab much easier in Spanish. No characters to learn, no tones… just a straight up spanish word and thats it!

My pronunciation needs work on though, as I still pronounce letters like in English.. oh and the ‘r’ sound still annoys me.

And because my head is also in ‘Chinese mode’, whenever I see a Spanish phrase like ‘Does he want a t-shirt?’ and I need to think a second for the answer, instinctively the Chinese translation of it will enter my head.

But I have to say, when comparing the two languages.. I really do appreciate some things about Chinese. The grammar isn’t as tricky as say English or Spanish. There are no conjugations or gender specific words. The language is also a bit more concise.

What I also enjoy about Chinese are how words are literally translated:

fridge = ice box (bing  xiang/冰箱)

computer = electric brain (dian nao/ 电脑)

yogurt = sour milk (suan nai/酸奶)

And don’t get me started on the literal translations of animals!

dolphin = sea piglet (hai tun/海豚)

kangaroo= bag mouse (dai shu/ 袋鼠)

giraffe= long neck deer ( chang jing lu/ 长颈鹿)

These are just a few of the interesting translations!

I think every person studying Chinese gets a laugh when they find out the translation of different things in Chinese!

But anyway, back to Spanish!

As I’ve only been studying for about a week now, I know I’ve only barely touched the surface of this language. When I start to learn the grammar properly and the conjugations is when I might begin to tear my hair out!

Having had a week off from Uni, I’ve been studying more Spanish recently, so I’ll have to try and stick with it when Monday comes.

It’s nice though to be able to switch with the two languages…. I can have a break with Chinese but not feel bad, because I’ll be learning Spanish… I won’t feel lazy because I’m still technically learning!

So I suppose Chinese and Spanish has their own merits and why I like them!

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

Settling in and Health Scares.

SoI’ve finally gotten into my routine again with Uni. I’ve been looking forward to this since holidays, plus looking forward to actually learning new things too. At the moment nothing exciting has been happening at all. Unfortunately I received some bad news health wise. ( I may or may not divulge the details) so that has been playing on my mind recently. I may have to return to Ireland in a few months time to get it sorted out. I checked with a foreign clinic here in Chengdu and they were charging me about 1000euro!! No thank you! First of all, I don’t have that money right now, second of all, I’m literally being ripped off for a 10 minute procedure.

We got in contact with my doctor at home and he said I can get the procedure done at home… for FREE! What!?! Nothing is ever for free! But I was assured by my Mum that this is free. I wont say no to visiting home again though. Although I did end up getting worked up about where I can get this done in Chengdu, (before knowing it was free) and asking a Chinese friend to help me. She got in contact with a doctor from here and he said to her that foreigners shouldn’t go to a Chinese hospital; they are noisy, are not private and the doctors don’t really care about the patients. So that kind of made my mind up with that.

But thankfully with this new news about being able to get it done at home, it has relieved me quite a lot!

However, for any foreigners living in China, and if you are sick… I recommend you search for places to get checked out. My doctor said that the quote from this private company in Chengdu was far too expensive. Thats the bad thing being sick in China. They can charge ridiculous fees to expats because they know it’s much easier to come to them; English speaking doctors. They know you wont want to go to a Chinese hospital. So just be very careful.

But apart from that, everything is going ok, I guess. My teaching is going not as well. One student on a Friday had a big tantrum because I wanted to review a unit with her. I promised her to only review for one minute and then move on, but she wasn’t having any of it; shouting and me and then crying. And she’s 10! So I had to call my PA and get her to talk to her.

The thing is, all she wants to do is play games. Thats it. Of course I can play games with her, but trying to incorporate the English I’m teaching is another story. She only wants to do her own thing.

After the PA talked her she told me ‘I am VERY angry’. I replied ‘Why are you angry?’ Of course I knew it was because of me, I asked her ‘Who are you angry with? Zoe?’ She replied ‘No’. I asked her who, and unsurprisingly the answer was me.

After that the class was a disaster, and she didn’t learn anything. I have her again next Friday and if she keeps it up then i’m going to say I’m not teaching her anymore. She is obviously not interested in learning English, she is slowly disliking me, and to be honest, I have no interest in teaching someone who doesn’t want to learn and doesn’t want to be there. She’s used to getting her own way it seems.

At the beginning I was all about ‘oh but I want all my students to like me!’. Now with this girl, it’s getting her to like English, and not me!

My other group on a Friday is also going to change; one of my favourites too. The girl is moving to Singapore, so the boy is going to be with someone else. This boy hardly talks in class, can hardly read, and is only now getting comfortable with me…. after 7 months. Being thrown in with a new student is going to drastically change the atmosphere, and of course the boy, who is very very sensitive.  So we’ll see how that goes.

再见!

Aisling