New Years in Austria

New Years in Austria

A couple of weeks ago my husbands sister invited us to spend New Years in Austria together. It worked well for all of us as it would save money for accommodation and the like. I have always wanted to visit Austria and it’s a beautiful country! We travelled to Vienna and then we took a train for 2.5 hours to Salzburg on the same day. We were so tired as we had to leave home at half 1am that morning, but we made it through the day.

I really like Salzburg; it’s so pretty and you can see the beginning of the Alps so it was very picturesque. We visited a lovely castle located at the top of a small mountain and we had plenty of beers. It was very busy though as there were many tourists from all over the world. But it was manageable.

Vienna is also a pretty city, but because it was New Years it was really busy! For New Years we found a place in the city that we thought would be a good spot for seeing the fireworks. We had our mini bottles of Prosecco and we waited anxiously for the fireworks to begin.

There were none.

We, among many many others had chosen a spot which didn’t have fireworks. Behind a large building to the left of us had all the action and fireworks! We saw a few around us but we definitely missed the main show!

Rather deflated we wandered back to the Main Street area and there was great! There were loads of people dancing to different types of music and small stages were set up so there were lights projecting all over the place. It was such a great atmosphere as we were all dancing together in the street. We got back to the apartment at 2am and we were so tired, but it was a fantastic night.

With regards to food in Austria, I really liked it however I did feel it lacked vegetables. I ordered steak with an onion gravy with noodles and although it was really nice, I just felt some vegetables would have been nice with it. I was also surprised with the noodles accompanying the steak as I don’t really understand how those two work together! But anyway I still enjoyed it!

The two photos below is Baklava and the famous Apple Strudel. The Baklava has nuts and a honey syrup and was lovely!

We tried more typical dishes like the Sniztel which is breaded meat aswell which I enjoyed.

Overall I enjoyed my time in Austria and I’d love to visit again, maybe go to Innsbruck next time!

Aisling

Using Facebook Less

I wasnt planning on making New Year Resolutions this year because I haven’t really succeeded in the other resolutions that I made in the previous years. I did accomplish some things but not many, so I didn’t really think of any for 2020. However I was thinking and I decided to make a few.

One of them was to stop using Facebook as much. I realised that I was on it constantly just scrolling and scrolling. It wasnt doing me any good, I was procrastinating too much and instead of doing college work I was too busy clicking the home icon. So today I didn’t log onto it at all and I actually got a lot of college work done! Now a lot of this was due to the fact that my laptop wouldn’t turn on so that definitely helped. Unfortunately I’ll have to go and get it fixed but hopefully it will be back up and running. So I do feel that it’s better for me to cut down on using Facebook.

I’ve realised though that I’ve been quite bored… due to not using Facebook, so it was either be bored or do a bit of college work. I am back on Monday and I have a few bits to do so I do need to get those done. I enjoyed my time off but I also enjoy college so I don’t mind going back.

Aisling

What’s the plan for 2019?

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Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

Well, I don’t know 100% yet….. I’ve been thinking of a few goals that I want to achieve, so I hope I actually do achieve them.

-Learn Spanish. Next year is all about Spanish for me. Study Study Study. For me, this is the main goal of mine. I really want to be able to tick this one off!

-Exercise more. With my wedding only a few months away, I just want to look better and feel better in myself. I just want to be healthier.

–Find a job I like. I don’t even really know what I want to do in my life, even being aged 28. But I just want something that I’ll enjoy doing. I don’t want to wake up and begrudgingly have to go to a job that I don’t like.

-Save money. First I need a job, then I want to save some money. We have been spending our money on travelling rather than saving for the future. Which…. I really don’t think will help us much when we’re older. (and having no savings to actually live)

Of course I still wants LOADS more things, but I think for me these are the important things that I want to achieve. I’ve no idea what will happen next year for us; will we stay in Mexico? Move to Ireland/ Spain…even France could be an option for us. Yeah It’s great to have the option of moving to all these places, and I know that maybe if you have a child or have a stable job that you love, then it’s hard to just ‘move up and go’. But at the same time I would like to have that ‘this is where I’m going to live indefinitely’ feeling. I want to come home to my own house, watch television on my own tv, and have my own bedroom. I don’t particularly enjoy living out of a suitcase either.

Plus I’m 28 and I just feel like it’s time to start thinking of settling down.

So, we’ll see how 2019 turns out!

Aisling

 

 

Deciding to visit Guangzhou

Deciding to visit Guangzhou

Although I have to put up with some VERY LAZY students, there are a few benefits with working in a University in China. The first and most important one is holidays!

With our university, they agreed on working some days where the rest of the people in China would have off. Then they clump all these days that we worked and then we would have a week off. Not too bad for a Uni that is very badly organised!

So in December we will have a week off for New Years and we’ve decided to spend it in Guangzhou. We were debating where to go but because it will be winter and we really don’t want to go to the north of China as it will be absolutely freezing, we thought we’d better find somewhere in the south where it will be a bit warmer than Chengdu! I hope anyway!

It’ll be nice to see the city and try the food there, which is much sweeter than Sichuan food. As we plan on leaving  China next summer, (yeah I know I said that loads of times and I’m STILL here)  we’d like to try and visit a few places before we go. Obviously China is a huge place and it would be rather difficult to visit every single place of interest, but we’ve managed to see a few sightseeing places and cities!

So that is the plan! When I first came to China the thought of travelling in this huge, non english speaking country was very daunting. Now however, we have enough Chinese to get by and we know what to roughly expect when we travel around. Plus in the East of the country a lot more people speak English so it’s handier to travel there than in Chengdu, where literally no one speaks it!

Every city in China is different so we’re excited to see what Guangzhou has to offer!

再见

爱玲 (Aisling)

 

The Perfect Apartment Is Very Hard To Find (In Chengdu Anyway)

With Chinese Spring Festival arriving soon and with our apartment contract expiring in March, we decided to get a head start on apartment hunting for our next year in China. After the Spring Festival, everyone will be in a mad rush to look for an apartment, so they will likely be snatched up pretty quickly after the festival.

As we will be away a week prior to the festival, we decided to start today looking for some. Ideally we want to stay in the community that we are already in; it’s in an ideal place, located beside a main road but there is also a back entrance where restaurants are located and we can also go to school and work that way.  So that is one thing. Another one is because the metro is now just a 10/15 minute walk away. Finally, we don’t really want to be lugging our things miles away!

When we were looking for apartments before, we got a Chinese person to help us… but this time we decided to have a go by ourselves! In our community there is an estate agent so  we went to them and they asked us what type of apartment we wanted, the price etc. He showed us some pictures on his ipad and we chose to see 5 of them.

Off we went on our little adventure!

The first one was located on the 2nd floor and out of the 5, and we thought this was the best one which we had seen. I’d prefer if it was located a bit higher, but I suppose we wouldn’t need to take the elevator! We looked for all the necessities: air con, comfy sofa and what not.

So… the first one was ok. Let’s check out the rest.

Well, the last 4 weren’t exactly in the best shape. In one, the kitchen was full of mouse droppings. Another had a bad stain on the bed. In another, the sofa wasn’t in a very good condition.

When we finished viewing them all, my boyfriend said “Every apartment has imperfections… that’s fine… but there are just TOO MANY  imperfections”.

That was the problem; all the apartments just aren’t looked after well enough; the sofas are old and dirty, there’s mould on the side of the wall, they didn’t paint a bit of the wall, a lightbulb (or many) are broken, no curtains, a broken drawer,the lock on a window is broken, theres no table….All these little things add up though. With the first one, there were imperfections, but not as many as the others.(that we could see) haha maybe that’s why we liked it more.

Oh and one thing that really drives me mad..and it seems many Chinese people like these; putting tacky stickers on the walls. AAAGHH it drives me mad! Stickers of flowers or cartoons adorn walls and on fridges.. I really don’t know what they were thinking “oh this wall looks plain, I’ll stick some green leaves so we can pretend we are in a forest”

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AAAGGHH…TOO…MANY…STICKERS…

And the thing is, if you try and rip them off, half the paint comes off with it, because it’s cheap paint. Oh I’ll never understand this love of stickers…

I could imagine the apartments and what they were like when they were brand new; shiny, clean… but you can see that the landlords just don’t put the effort into them anymore… every year they are getting shabbier and shabbier looking. It’s a pity though. They would be pretty nice apartments if they were maintained.

When we came back to our current one, we realised why we chose this one; there weren’t many imperfections. The walls were just painted, the kitchen was fine. It was presentable and clean looking. The only thing was the paint stains on our sofa, so we quickly covered that with a throw-over, and we can’t put heavy things in our kitchen shelf or else the weight will break it, oh and our coffee tables leg is broken. (ok so there are also a few imperfections in our current apartment!)

We could easily stay in the one we are in right now, but of course with the new metro opened, the landlady is just dying to increase the rent by 300yuan per month. about €41. Fine… just get us a door for our bedroom, fix our shelf.. oh and buy us a decent sofa.. then we’ll pay it! But right now… nope, it’s not worth the extra money.

But anyway…that’s the problem about apartment hunting in China. Unless you want to pay huge amounts of money, you’re going to end up with somewhere that needs some TLC.

So tomorrow we will head out again in our search; contact some agencies from outside our community. Maybe they can help us find a suitable one!

再见

爱玲

New Year Hot Pot

Last New Years, we celebrated just by ourselves… this time around, we were invited to our friends place for some Hot Pot!

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We arrived at her place about 7 and we ate until our bellies were bursting; she really did her best with the food, preparing loads of vegetables and meat to cook. Two of her friends joined us later in the night… one has a little English, but the other….. well, let’s just say he needs a bit more practise.

So we spent a good chunk of the night actually practising Mandarin with them. Our new friend is a baker, and he brought us a lovely cake to eat. He kept saying to us “Me baker”… but he now knows the correct way of saying it! Although he had VERY little English, he did try his best to communicate in English so that was good to see.

A lot of the time when the Chinese people were talking, we would try and catch what they were saying…. good listening practice!

After we finished the hot pot, we cracked open the cake! At first I thought it was going to be one of those airy/full of cream Chinese cakes that are seen everywhere, but delightfully, it was made of mango and chocolate ice-cream! It was also shaped as a log with jelly flowers.

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Our new friend told us that he wants to learn English so he can read English recipes, so that one day he can open his own shop and bake. The cake was delicious so he was very happy.

At 12am, we rang in the Chinese New Year with a Mandarin song. We ran to the window to see if we could see any sign of fireworks, but because Chengdu banned fireworks in the middle of the city, we could only faintly see them far away. I remember in Hangzhou, us look looking out of our hostel bedroom watching them… they were so loud!

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After the food and snacks, we decided to head home as we were now so tired from all the food!

新年快乐!

爱玲

Chinese New Year in Chengdu

Chinese New Year is upon us, and surprisingly, this is my first in Chengdu! After my stint of interning, I headed home for a month which ended up me missing my first New Years here. Then last year, we went to Hangzhou, so that was my second missed. This time round, we’ve decided to stay put and enjoy the quietness of the city during this time.

Most people have travelled home to be with their family, so Chengdu has become eerily quiet. Having been in the city today, there were not many cars or people about. Well, I think there’s always going to be loads of people, wherever you go in China, but I did admit, I did enjoy the lack of people.

Walking around our area, many shops and restaurants were closed for the holiday. Where we went for lunch, EVERYONE ELSE was going there for lunch too, as it was the only place open for food.

We bought some food so we think we are sorted for a few days. Although I’m not actually sure when the shops will re-open, but I did see one restaurant where it’s closed until the 15th…. Let’s just hope it’s just that one!

Our Chinese friend invited us to go to her house tomorrow night to celebrate with which was nice of her. Her family don’t live in Chengdu so she will have no one to celebrate with. I think she is making hot pot which I can’t wait for!

再见!

新年快乐!Happy New Year.

爱玲