One More Month Until We Leave!

“We’ve loads of time, we still have 8 weeks left!”

Well that doesn’t ring true at all now! With just a little over a month left to leave Chengdu, we have realised we really need to get our things sorted before we go.

The weeks have just gone by so fast! Soon we’ll be saying goodbye to the country we have called home for 5 years, but hopefully we’ll call Mexico and Ireland home soon!

We have quite a lot of things to do before that though. We have a big trip coming up when we leave Chengdu. First we fly to Shanghai and we will spend a few days there. Next we head to Japan and will be there 2 weeks (we really can’t wait, my fiancé has been dying to visit it for a while now), then we head to Hong Kong for a week, where we fly direct to Dublin. We chose Hong Kong because it’s direct.

We will relax in Ireland for about 2 months, in during which time my fiancés family will visit, and will (finally) get to meet my own family. (That in itself is making me anxious!) Then from Ireland we will go to Madrid, and then FINALLY we’ll fly to Mexico. We’ll visit Cancun and a few other places of interest, and then from there we will fly to Cuernavaca where my fiancés Mum and Dad live. Then we’ll start our new chapter in our lives!

Phew!! I’m anxious just thinking about it all! But hopefully everything will go fine with our travels. We have been very lucky so far.

But today was a good day as we got our rail pass tickets for Japan. This is so when we go to Japan we can use our passes on a lot of trains. With this tickets we already pre-paid so we don’t need to pay for every single train that we use there. We thought we had to pay online and then wait for the documents to arrive. Then we have to go to the airport in Japan and get that exchanged for the real train pass ticket. But we went to an office in Chengdu and they simply printed the documents out for us. It was so convenient! So we were very happy with that. We just go and exchange them for the passes. Nothing is every straightforward in China. Especially with the language barrier.

So that’s one thing ticked off anyway. I still have to organise selling my bike, which I REALLY don’t want to do. I really love it, and I’d love to send it back home, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to. Plus here people don’t buy bikes anymore because there are tonnes of public bikes that people pay a small fee and are able to use it. So I think it’ll be a problem to sell it.

I’m really going to miss my apartment though. I will take some photos of it soon and post it here. It’s really quite amazing! And the size is unlike most you’ll find in China! It’s always in a constant mess though. It’s huge, but we’ve absolutely nowhere to put things, no shelves whatsoever. The only thing that is organised are our clothes that are in the wardrobe. Everything else is everywhere!

Our plan is to try and get something done each day! So….what’s next on our list to do??

Aisling

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A One Way Ticket Outta Here

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So we’ve finally done it…. there’s no going back! Our one way flight out of China is bought, and for once, we don’t have a return ticket!

We were struggling on finding a flight out of Hong Kong, but we found a direct one from there straight to Dublin. Unfortunately it’s rather expensive as it’s a one way ticket, but at least it’s sorted! Cathay Pacific launched direct flights in the summer from Hong Kong to Dublin so I think it’s great that Dublin airport is offering more and more direct flights to places. It’s 13 hours so the time isn’t too bad either.

Because we have little time in Asia we really wanted to visit Japan before we left. So after China we are going to spend 2 weeks travelling around Japan and then go to Hong Kong for our flight. Flights from Japan were more expensive.

I think I’m really going to miss China when I leave though. It’s been my home for 5 years. But now I’m just fed up not being able to do things by myself. I need to go to a country where I can actually speak the language! That’s one thing that I’m looking forward to, well, until I go to Mexico….. then it’ll start all over again!

So we still have to organise some things before we leave, like sending things home, selling our bikes, sorting out money and things like that. But it’s nice to know that we’ve at least started to say bye bye to China!

Aisling

Well Hello Again (But Soon Goodbye)

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After my one month in Mexico, we’ve once again arrived back to China… however this will be the last time having to travelling a long distance to it, as we can happily and most definitely say that during the summer we will be leaving The Middle Kingdom. And that is for certain!

We feel our time is done in Chengdu, and we really want to move closer to our families, either in Mexico or Ireland…they are both much easier to travel to than China. We plan on getting married, hopefully have kids… and we just feel like we can’t do those things here. So we are now counting down the days to leave, and we can’t wait!

Since we left at the end of January, the weather in Chengdu has really warmed up, so much so that we don’t need to wear our coats now. When we left the temperature was around 10 degrees, but since we arrived back it’s been around 20 degrees. I won’t complain about that!

We start work again on Monday (unfortunately) and then we finish the beginning of July, so we will hopefully start booking flights home to Ireland before then and start selling our things.

It’s a nice feeling to know that we are moving on!

Aisling.

Feeling A Tremor

Myself, my fiancé and his Mum and Dad decided that we’d go to the cinema and watch the new film ‘Black Panther’. (Great film!) So we arrived, bought our tickets and we were in a supermarket buying some drinks to take in with us. As we were paying, I suddenly felt a swaying sensation. I thought I was becoming dizzy or something, but as I looked around I realised that the whole supermarket was swaying side to side. It wasn’t moving so much as to make us fall or have any of the products there fall, but it was noticeable. I look at my fiancés Mum and she too looks scared.

Suddenly the cashier starts shouting in Spanish and everybody starts to rush towards the exit. I was afraid in case the earthquake would get worse! It was  a relief to get outside with everyone else! In September there was a very bad one in Mexico city and it affected the town where we are now, so I’m sure everybody was scared! They know how bad earthquakes can be!

So that was my first real experience of an earthquake. I think it was around 7 on the Richter Scale in Mexico city, so we only felt a little of that! We’ve had tremors in Chengdu, but they would be very very slight, and sometimes I didn’t even know that an earthquake happened until I heard about it from other people.

But yeah, everyone here has been shook up from the last bad earthquake that happened, so I’m sure it’s even scarier for them!

We had to wait outside for about 20 and then everyone was allowed back inside. We weren’t sure if the cinema would stay play the films, but thankfully we could watch it!

Aisling.

Cuernavaca, Mexico

My fiancé is originally from Cancun, where he spent most of his life there. Then he moved to Cuernavaca which is south of Mexico city where he went to University. As much as Cancun is very popular with tourists and having gorgeous beaches and weather, whenever I ask him where is the worst place he has visited in Mexico, he always states Cancun. He says that the place has changed a lot since he left and he just doesn’t want to live there anymore.

His Mum and Dad now live in Cuernavaca and it’s known for it’s good weather and that many people from Mexico city come here to get out of the hustle and bustle for a while. Many have second homes in Cuernavaca to come to during holidays. Here are some pictures I took from the centre of the city; I love the architecture and it’s so colourful!

In the centre there are many stalls and you can buy different types of Mexican food, like corn on the cob with mayonnaise and chili powder on it; I know it sounds weird, and I didn’t really like it when I tried it, but apparently it’s very popular here in Mexico! Also you can buy lot of different fruit drinks, made when you order! We tried a pina colada: pineapple, coconut and cinnamon, and it was so nice! I’ll definitely be getting it again!

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Here is one of the little shop like places to buy your fruit juices. You can get a small cup or a big one. The big one is huge and I would struggle to finish one by myself!

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The city is also quite popular with foreigners wanting to learn Spanish, so there are quite a few private languages companies here. Although they are VERY expensive I might add!

Cuernavaca is about 1 hour drive from Mexico city, so it’s a good place to live if you want to travel to the capital.

So yes I really like the city and I can’t wait to stay a bit longer once I leave China!

Aisling

Being an interracial couple in: China

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Having met my wonder Mexican fiancé in China and both being foreigners to that country, we have encountered a few things while we have been together here as an interracial couple that I will mention!

So in China, I know that both of us our foreigners, however my boyfriend has brown skin, black hair and brown eyes. As do Chinese people. Me being white, I definitely stick out. But my fiancé really blends in, so much so that many Chinese people sometimes think that he is Chinese.

One day we were waiting for our friend outside her apartment complex. This really old Chinese man comes walking up and starts blabbering in Chinese to my fiancé. At this stage we only knew basic Chinese phrases, so he kept telling the man “I don’t understand, I don’t understand”. Still, the man kept chatting in Chinese to him, and all my fiancé could do was smile and hope he would leave soon.

When we go to a restaurant, the waiters usually come with the menu to my fiancé, as me being an obvious foreigner, I won’t understand the characters. When speaking, they will direct their attention to him rather than me.

A lot of Chinese people don’t know where my fiancé is from. We have heard people say he is from India, Indonesia, Peru, Philippines and from Arab countries. On two occasions people actually said that he looked like Barack Obama! When we visited the Philippines, many Philippines actually thought he was from their country as well, and were shocked when he told them that he wasn’t!

When he shows photos of his family and asks a person where do they think they are from, they will say China. So yes, in China I have a feeling that many people think that I’m going out with a Chinese person!

So it’s kind of strange in a way; I know both of us are foreigners, but I sometimes feel that Chinese people think that I’m going out with one of their own…. that’s until he opens his mouth and tries to speak Mandarin and then they realise “Oh, this man’s not Chinese!!?!… then where is he from!?”

But I really don’t blame them. When we first met, I don’t think I would have known where he was from if he didn’t tell me! He can blend in with people from many countries!

Aisling

What’s that noise?

What’s that noise?

I was relaxing with my fiancé one day and I notice a couple of loud POPS coming from far away in the distance. I was thinking to myself ‘What are those loud noises??? It’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon, surely it can’t be fireworks…… it’s far too early for that…. what could it be….

….oh….. maybe it’s gunshots….?!?!’

I am in Mexico after all, where the narcos and cartels are rife. I began thinking ‘Oh god I hope there are no shootings happening, it definitely is an unsafe place if shootings are happening in a tourist city in the middle of the day!’

So I ask my fiancé what the loud noises are. He simply says that they are fireworks.

FIREWORKS??? Why at this time? How the hell can they see them in the sky during the day time?

So I ask him and he explains that many people here celebrate different saints and what not, so these fall on different days and they celebrate them during the day time!

Ohhh…. now I get it. My head was thinking all sorts! I must say it’s a bit weird celebrating with fireworks during the day, but I’d much rather harmless celebrations then the other option!

So now when I hear those loud POPS I needed worry! It’s a religious celebration!

Aisling