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

 

Are There Incentives To Move Back To Your Home Country?

Are There Incentives To Move Back To Your Home Country?

The longer I’ve been away from Ireland, the more I’ve become interested in it and whats going on with regards to the government, jobs and so forth. Lately all I’ve been hearing is how it’s  becoming more and more expensive, rent is sky high, car insurance costs are ridiculous…. and it’s really made me analysis where in the world I’d like to one day settle down in.

At the moment, I can’t see myself living in Ireland. As much as I love my country, it’s just too expensive. To be honest, the only incentive to move back home is my family.

I read a few days ago of a woman who returned home after living in Canada, and she was quoted €4,000 for car insurance!!!! That is absolutely ridiculous!

You can read about her story here: Quoted €4,000 on car insurance for expat

But unfortunately that’s something that I might need to pay if I move back home! That’s even if I can afford a car in the first place!

It’s things like this that make me reconsider moving back home.

Another thing I feel annoyed with is that any Irish people not living in Ireland cannot vote. We need to be living there, and even if I returned home…. I would need to have been living in Ireland for at least a year before the vote date. So any referendum that’s happening, even if I return home to vote. . . I’m not allowed.

You know I get why people feel expats shouldn’t get a vote; we’ve been out of Ireland so we shouldn’t be able to dictate how it’s run. But I would like to move back one day. Ireland is still my home.  Just because we don’t live there doesn’t mean we don’t care about it. It was the lack of jobs that made me leave in the first place!

Another thing is, when my fiancé and I get married, he can only stay at most 3 months in Ireland. So say we decide that we want to live in Ireland for 1 year, and then move to Mexico for a while… unfortunately theres no way my fiancé can stay in Ireland for that amount of time. Even though we will be married! The country wants to make sure he plans to stay and live in Ireland for the foreseeable future. Only then will the government give him a stamp to allow him to stay. So even that makes us not want to move there.

It feels like if I return home, the only good thing is that I’ll be near my family. At the moment, there is absolutely no incentive to return home. And it’s awful to say that….

I know I like to give out about China, but if feels more welcoming than Ireland at the moment. I feel even having a small child in China is better than in Ireland. I know a girl who is going home to Russia to have her baby, then she will come back to China. And I totally understand why.

  1. She can come back to her job and earn a good wage each month.
  2. She can hire a nanny to look after her child. So many foreigners here hire what we call an ‘ayi’, a lady who takes care of the children, cooks and cleans. And it’s not even very expensive. Then the parents can work full time and save money.
  3. You don’t need a car here. It’s very easy to travel around Chengdu, so you def don’t need a car. Theres €4,000 I wouldn’t need for insurance!

So there are good points of having a baby in China.

But anyway, I’m rambling a bit!

Does anyone else feel like this about their own country? Are there incentives to go back home, or is the country where you are living now a better option?

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

 

My Dwindling Lack Of Interest

From coming back from the Philippines, my interest in learning Chinese has dropped considerably. Before, I was reading my Chinese books, reviewing the grammar, and generally I enjoyed doing these things. My private language tutor also mentioned to me that my Chinese had improved a lot, which made me quite puzzled at the fact that apparently it had indeed improved… but never the less it gave me a little boost of confidence.

Now it’s a different story. I haven’t opened a book in about over 2 week or watched my daily Chinese TV series. When I look at my pile of school books I think “No… no today” I think this lack of interest is due to the fact that we are leaving in the summer. We have a few things to sort out first, but we are 90% sure we will leave. So that in an extent has influenced it.

Second, all this stuff with work has sort of preoccupied me. I think once my 30 days notice is finished I’ll stick my head back in the books. Until then I’ll continue to wallow in pity that I still have (at the moment) 14 more work days! I’m actually counting down the days until I say 再见!!Goodbye!!

Then, with our intention of going to Mexico has really just made me mad to start learning Spanish. I’ve tried a few times to start….but not being surrounded by speakers and not really having the need to speak it here…. it’s sort of difficult to get going.

Hopefully when I return to Ireland and however long I stay there for, I hope I’ll be able to start getting Spanish lessons. Maybe I might even try and get some Chinese ones too, try and not let that disappear on me!

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