Our Secret Dog

Throughout our stay in China, we have encountered many many dogs! People here love dogs…but in Chengdu… they are obsessed with one particular kind.

POODLES

My god how I loathe these dogs. Poodle here… poodle there…. theres a black poodle, oh over there is a brown one… another white one then appears… They are EVERYWHERE.

A few years ago they have become the top dog for people to get. ‘Oh, poodles must be the ‘in dog’ now…. I MUST  get one so I can be like everyone else.’

So…. literally everybody has poodles. And I really don’t like them.

To me, when I look at them, they just seem like there is nothing going on inside of their heads. Fluff or air is floating about. Even their fur isn’t nice and soft. Plain and simple; I just don’t like them.

I actually nearly kicked one once when it was dark out. By accident of course, but I wouldn’t be THAT sorry if I did. I must admit though, the puppies are a tiny bit cute… but that’s it.

So thankfully, at least from what I’ve been seeing… there are other breeds of dogs creeping up. Plenty of poodles are still about, but at least now there are more breeds of dogs, particularly husky type ones.

Although I do feel like sorry for them; summer in Chengdu is definitely not the place for these huge dogs, it’s just too hot for them. Owners really should take this into consideration when buying ones. Plus being cramped up in apartments isn’t ideal.

But one dog really has caught our attention. We name him Beag, and he is our ‘secret’ dog. Beag is ‘little’ in Irish.

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2/3 months ago was when we first saw him; he was outside our apartment and was barking. When we opened the door, he suddenly ran to the public stairs and started growling at us. Then he just disappeared down the stairs.

At this time it was about 9/10pm. We were wondering why he was out by himself roaming up and down the building.

Then, we started seeing him almost every day! He would be outside the building sniffing about.. and he could be outside for hours! We were a little worried; where are his owners.. are they not worried in case he gets into danger??

Then one night, we came out of the lift to our apartment floor and the wee dog was just waiting for us!

This time he was so playful and running all over the place, I think he just wanted to play with us. It was so strange to see him on our floor. How did he manage to get up here? Maybe he lives a few floors up or down?

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When we found him on our floor. Look at the size of those ears!

We didn’t know what to do with him… Every time we tried to open our door, he would try and come in… we even tried to put him in the lift to put him on another floor, but he realised and ran straight out. If we brought him to our place, it would be harder to get him out… or he could start barking outside the door wanting to be let in. Although we were very tempted to bring him in with us. Pretend we had our own dog for a while.

But we couldn’t… So we quickly put him in the lift again and down he went to another floor. At least we would have time to get into our apartment.

Since then, when we wait for the lift, and when the doors open…. who appears but Beag! I’m guessing maybe the owners put him in it and send him down; too lazy to bring him out themselves.

He knows us now, so whenever he sees us he runs over so we can pet him. He’s such a cute dog.

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So Beag has become our secret dog…. We both would love to have one of our own, but at the moment it’s just not possible. Our apartment is way too small, plus if you go away on holidays or for a day, where would we put it?

But we can dream a little with Beag!

再见

爱玲

 

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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

 

 

Possibilities for the future

I’ve just read that KLM are now offering flights from Dublin to Amsterdam, which of course is a plus for tourism in Ireland. I’ve flew with KLM when going from Amsterdam direct to Chengdu, first having to fly with Aer Lingus from Dublin to Amsterdam.

When I was in Ireland, I’ve never travelled to many places in Europe, mostly due to lack of money. Now that I’m in China and travelling around China (by plane) is quite expensive, I’ve now realised that I’ve wasted a lot of chances to travel around Europe; maybe visiting London for a weekend or strolling around Amsterdam. Maybe If I was surrounded by more people who actually enjoyed travelling, maybe I would have been more adventurous. I dunno, I just thought ‘All the places I want to visit will always be there’ kind of thing.

I do see myself going back home for a while, whether permanently or just temporary I don’t know… but I’ve promised myself to visit more countries in the EU…they are literally on Ireland’s doorstep!

But first, as I’m in China… both myself and my boyfriend want to travel to countries nearby us; Japan, Korea, maybe North Korea, Thailand……

Because I know when I’m done with China and it’s time to head home… there is a big possibility that I won’t be back… so I’d like to visit all these countries while I’m here.

I don’t want to regret it in the future!

再见

爱玲

 

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.

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 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

What it means to be Irish.

I found a lovely video about Ireland and ‘What it means to be Irish.’ There are some beautiful visuals in the video, and if you are interested in travelling to visit, you may find some areas you may like to explore from this youtube video below.

What it means to be Irish

Aside from my dislike of the government and of course the weather, this video reminds me what is GOOD about my country, with the ancient castles and of course the stunning scenery.

Plus, I hear the people aren’t too bad either. 🙂

I hope you enjoy!

再见!

爱玲。

My first week back studying.

So it’s been a week since returning to studying Mandarin. Compared to last semester a few things have changed. From the people who were in the previous semester and who are still in level 2 are about 8 including me. In level 1 there were 2 Korean girls and we presumed they were coming back, they did…. but skipped on to level 3. I’m thinking maybe they studied Mandarin during the summer and that is why they moved ahead. Then there is an older man doing level one again. Oh I don’t think I could learn the pronunciation of  ‘bo, mo, fo, le’ for a whole month!  One is enough!

During the week there have been dribs and drabs of new people, coming and going, trying out the different levels to see which one they are capable of. Some come and have very basic Chinese, then others come with a much higher level. However, for all students there is one problem….

Characters. 汉字。

This is why some people, who have a high level of Chinese, are seen in Level 1. Yes their Chinese is good and they can have a conversation, but when it comes to reading and writing Chinese, they have never studied this. In order to begin to learn the characters you would ideally need to start from the beginning and work upwards. This is what we did, fortunately I didn’t know any characters anyway so level 1 was perfect for me.

Now, in level 2, the character we learned from level 1 are now in our newest book. Thankfully we took the time to learn(most of these) so translating isn’t so difficult. There is one German lady who, during the beginning of the week was contemplating moving to level 1. Her oral Chinese is, I would say on my level, but she admitted that she didn’t know a lot of characters when we were in class. She decided to stick to level 2 and push on, learning the extra characters as she goes.

Someone that I work with has also joined our class, which was a big surprise to me! His Chinese is much better than mine, but he is in our level simply to learn the characters. See in level 3 there is no pinyin. From level 3 onwards the books contain all characters. So that is a big jump! He wants to study in a Chinese Uni but he needs to know characters. Thats why he is with us.

And unsurprisingly there are no other Irish people in my class, in fact today there were only 2 females in the class; myself and the German lady. So us women are very outnumbered!

So my first week was good; even on our first day we learnt something! Classes end the 26th of December, and in October we are going on a trip, presumably to jiuzhaigou! 九寨沟。 Although I was there before, I’ll definitely go back!

I can’t wait to find out what I will learn this semester!

再见!

Aisling.

My visit to Ireland (so far)

So it’s been 2 weeks since I arrived home! Weather is of course being unpredictable; sunny one minute, rain the next. Some things have changed our holiday plans with an accident of a family member a few days prior to me coming home, so that put me down for a few days. The family planned on travelling around Ireland and sightseeing, but with the accident that hasn’t gone to plan.  The main reason to visit was to spend time with the family and go with them to places. So now it’s mainly just me and Rafa that go to places. But the accident could have been a lot worse so we are lucky.

Later today we head to Paris to visit my boyfriends sister and boyfriend. Apparently the weather is much nicer there. Then we are back in Ireland for another week.

Our plan to study Chinese has also stopped. Due to being busy with my nephews, and sadly our lack of interest. It’s amazing how being away from an environment where everyone speaks Mandarin, our interest in it has dwindled. I suppose now, we don’t need to speak it, so we don’t need to learn it. I’ve studied a bit and I’m forgetting quite a few characters, so we’ll have to study a lot when we return!

I’ve also been seeing many relatives. With me being home, and with my family members accident, I suppose they can ‘kill two birds with one stone’ as they say. But it’s nice to see them!

Food wise, I’ve been treating myself quite a lot, chocolates, jelly sweets, crisps, take-aways.  Mum has nearly everything on the food list I made for her done. And luckily, my clothes here still fit me!

I’m looking forward to going to France and visiting Paris again.

再见!

Aisling.