Losing The War (With Spiders)

spider web

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We’ve been living in the mobile home now for a few weeks… and I’ve realised one downside of living in it. Spiders!

Before we moved into it it was empty for about 2 years,  so we had to give it a good cleaning and airing out. We did find a few spiders about when we were cleaning it, so it was lovely and clean when we were finished!

So ever since we would find a spider on the wall, on the ceiling, in the shower…. and I wasn’t actually too chuffed about this at all.

You see I hate spiders. My husband doesn’t like rats or cockroaches, (the time in China when he felt something moving on his leg and he found it was a huge cockroach cemented this hatred) but for me it’s spiders.

And also, there are small holes in the mobile so they are perfect little entrances for them! Holes from connecting the wire for the internet, where the toilet doesn’t quite fit and there is a small gap between the toilet and the floor, things like that.  There are vents on the floors and the walls so the air can ventilate throughout the mobile, so this means very easy access for those pesky spiders!

Anyway, we kind of made it worse with our spider invasion! It was a sunny warm day and we decided to wash the outside of the mobile. There was loads of green stuff all over it so we had to hose it and scrub the stuff off. We made sure the cobwebs were gone from outside and there were no spiders to be seen! Great! The mobile looked lovely now!

“Oh I see a spider outside the window” I said, as I walked outside with the spider spray. I started spraying the spider. “Oh there’s another one!” I spray that one then.

ANOTHER ONE!

ANOTHER ONE!

About 10 spiders started weaving down on their cobwebs from the top of the window. I was shocked. ‘All those spiders were hiding behind the gutter on the roof!’ I thought!

So that got me all flustered. I went around the whole mobile spraying the windows and the wee crevices. The spiders were hiding at the top of the windows where there was a little dip they could stay. So of course the water couldn’t reach them.

After, I went around the whole mobile to make sure they were gone, then I felt a bit better.

Until.

We moved their hiding place. So of course where do you think they would travel to next?

Inside the mobile.

The next few days we were seeing spider after spider. From the sitting room to the bathroom. In every area.  I had to inspect the areas every night, armed with my spray while my husband relaxed on the computer. (He’s not as concerned with spiders as I am)

To help me worry less, I got tape and covered all the little holes I saw around the place. Because the mobile is quite old, the windows don’t close 100%, so they will also be able to get through from there. But I covered all the holes (that I could see anway).

And do you know what? They are still getting in.

Honestly, it’s a losing battle. Every night I do my rounds, I go outside and spray spider repellant (it smells strongly like peppermint so I think it’s really just water and peppermint, but I sprayed it at a few spiders and they didn’t like it at all, so it does work), then I go inside and spray the repellant around the doors and the windows.

But, they keep on coming. There must be a hole somewhere that I can’t see and that’s where they are coming from. Or maybe it’s the windows. I spray repellant around them every night though so I don’t know.

But anyway, it’s a losing battle for the moment!

And what’s worse, I’ve hallucinations at night about spiders, so they are actually coming true now!

Aisling

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Not Much To Say

selective focus portrait photo of sad woman in gray sweater with her hand on her cheek

Photo by Ken Ozuna on Pexels.com

I’ve tried hard to keep writing things for this blog, but to be honest I’ve been living a pretty boring life at the moment, and I’ve nothing really to talk about!

Weeks have turned into 2 months of not finding a job for neither of us here in Ireland, so we haven’t been doing anything in order to try and save money. We splurged a few days ago and bought an Air Fryer for €40 so that we could air fry some things in the mobile home without having to go to my parents house. It’s actually great and I would recommend you buy one. You don’t need to add oil so everything you cook is much healthier than using a pan or whatever else. We usually air fry sausages and that in it.

I try and think of the positives of not having a job, and being with the family is a big one. But now I’m just kind of getting fed up now. Not earning any money at all is hitting us too, so we are just trying to be careful with our spending.

I was a bit upset a few days ago because I’ve been applying to jobs and getting rejections and it brings me back to why I left Ireland over 5 years ago in the first place. I couldn’t get a job. So now, being back and yet again not being able to get a job just upsets me. I didn’t expect it would be this difficult and I honestly had high hopes of securing something by now. I feel as if I’m back to when I was finished college 6 years ago and was applying for this and that and not getting anywhere.

Then what annoys me is that I know with 100% certainty I would get a job in China in an instant. I really really miss China, and somedays when I’m frustrated I just feel like packing up and moving back, but now I just want to be close to my family and that’s that. I’d never say China is out of the picture; it will always still be on the cards, but I think it would be like a last resort for us. But I have to say I really do miss it!

It’s hard though. Sometimes I feel it was a mistake to leave China. A lot of things didn’t go to plan and over a year later we still don’t know what we are at. Every path we choose has hurdles so we need to carefully plan what our next steps are, if it would benefit us and what are the obstacles if we do this or that.

But I hope the month of August will bring some good news for us!

Aisling.

No Experience? No Qualification? No Job

woman sitting inside a theater

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When I was in Mexico, I would be looking at jobs in Ireland and I was amazed at how many there were that I could apply for. I was thinking ‘Aw it’s a pity I’m here and I can’t apply for any of them’

So now that we are back in Ireland, I’ve been applying and with no success at all. All the time spent away in Ireland I always thought ‘Whenever I go back to Ireland I’ll get a job ok. Things are different now and I have more experience’. I was a bit more positive back then.

Now that I’m back it feels like none of my 5 years working in China has benefited me at all. I’ve gotten experience all right, but not the right experience for the jobs I’m applying for. I can’t even apply for a teaching job because I don’t have a CELTA! So I’ve actually loads of experience teaching but I need a qualification to teach in Ireland. So unfair.

I just feel like we are in a rut. Yet Again. This time in Ireland. I’m trying to be positive though and keep busy; I’m still studying my spanish. I know my speaking has gone down though, but I think my verb conjugations are improving and I’m continuously learning new words. So that’s good. Also I do enjoy being with my family. I was very lonely in Mexico so now that feeling is gone and I’m enjoying my time here. We have our own space in the garden in an old mobile home that we live in now. I said I’d post about that one day and I will. The shower doesn’t work so we have showers in my parents house (which I don’t mind at all), and we need to get gas for the cooker, but apart from that everything is great. Well, in the winter it will be absolutely freezing because there’s no insulation at all and we only have a small gas heater, but we’ll worry about that when we get to it.

We also got the internet hooked up from my parents house so now we have our small TV and we can watch Netflix which is great. So I do enjoy having our own space and at the same time I can also be with the family.

I was just surprised at how difficult it is to get a job. Even my husband was surprised, and he has been applying for loads with no success. My Dad always says “Everything will work out”. But my answer is “When will it work out?”.

I don’t exactly want to wait 5 years for ‘everything to work out’.

Aisling

Chinas obsession with its phones

Every traveller who visits China will say the same…”Chinese people are obsessed with their phones”.

And they are correct. On the bus, everybody has their noses stuck in their phones. In a restaurant, in a cafe, in a park, in the metro. Everywhere. It’s actually quite terrible to look at. 6 people in the metro sitting together and every single one of them is on the phone, oblivious to what is going on around them. The amount of times people bump against me because they are too busy looking on their phones while walking I can’t even count. When parents take their kids to a restaurant and all of them are on their phones, even the kid! On the bus, the parent will be sitting with their child and the the mum/dad have their face stuck to the phone constantly, while the child just sits their quietly….. not getting any attention whatsoever from their parent. It’s really quite sad to see.

But that is the reality now in China. They are absolutely obsessed.

We recently went to a bar and our friends had a thing connected to their phone. We didn’t know what it was. They replied that the bar rents out power banks so you can charge your phone. Our Chinese friend who was with us said “That’s exactly why Chinese people are addicted to their phones”.  So they don’t even have to worry about their battery running out; just rent out a power bank for 1 hour and they are good to go!

While myself and my fiancé were in McDonalds, a girl and boy couple sat beside us. As soon as they sat down, out whipped a phone and the girl started playing a game on it, of course with the sound turned on really loud! Then the boyfriend took it off her and for the whole time we were there, he was sat there playing with his phone….. while the girlfriend hand fed him chips.

So he was busy playing the game while the girlfriend just sat there looking around her. Sometimes he would say something (i’m not sure if it was to the girlfriend or just to himself), but apart from that, there was no interaction with them at all. Then to make things worse, he had a big smudge of mayonnaise on his face and not once did the girlfriend mention to him/ clean it off him!!

Me and my fiancé were just there sitting there looking at them in disbelief. No communication between the pair of them…… mayonnaise on the guys face….. girlfriend didn’t even bother telling him….????? Honestly we couldn’t get over it at all.

How can these people become so addicted to their phone? We know other Chinese friends and they are the same; stuck to the phone… even when they are with a group of people, they don’t care. They will just continue on their phone and not make conversation.

Now not all of our Chinese friends are like this, and even one of our Chinese friend admitted that this addiction thing is really bad in China.

Another example of this is in Starbucks. Sometimes we would go there and treat ourselves, and we would constantly see people on their phones. No talking, no nothing. Just on their phones. When we were in Mexico, we realised how cheap it actually was, so we decided to go in and have a drink. We looked around and EVERYONE was talking! We looked around and not one person was on their phone. They were talking, playing card games…. interacting with one another.

We then realised how different it was in China. I suppose we didn’t really notice too much, we just became accustomed to it. But yeah, I think we kind of made a mental note to ourselves not to use our phones as much.

But yeah, it’s a terrible problem that Chinese people have… and I really don’t think it’ll stop. They use their phones to pay for things, buy things (such as cinema tickets)….. pretty much everything!

We even saw a homeless guy asking for money with a scanner code! You simply scan the code he has, then you pay him through your phone!!! That is actually a thing now!

So yes, I won’t miss the obsession with phones here. I’m not sure if it’s the same in Ireland (I hope not) but I’ll definitely try harder not to use mine as much!

Aisling

Things I Won’t Miss From China

After 5 years of living in China, and with departure only a few weeks away, here is a list of things that I won’t miss from China.

If you happen to be from China and don’t want to get offended then I suggest you don’t read this blog. I have lived here for long enough and I’ve experienced all of the things listed before, so I’m not making these up. These are all my own opinions so this doesn’t represent every expat here in China.

Of course my own country has it’s fair share of problems, I know this… it’s known as having a  ‘compensation culture’, sky high rents and having a homeless epidemic, among many other things! So I can even write my own post about the problems in Ireland!

Maybe this blog will might help foreigners coming to China for the first time and what to expect!

Drivers; I honestly feel most people here have paid their way to be able to drive on Chinese roads, and they actually haven’t done the apparently very difficult driving test.

People don’t indicate… or they indicate right but then they turn left. They don’t use their mirrors, some don’t put their lights on at night.  Some stop at road corners which is incredibly dangerous.  I don’t know… it just feels like they have no regard for anything/ anyone except themselves. Once they find a spot to park their car, regardless of if it will affect other people… it doesn’t matter. They’ll park there.

They parked in the middle of the road to take a phone call and there are 5 cars behind them beeping like crazy for them to move. . . and they will continue to just stay there. They are oblivious (or don’t care) for other people. And I have witnessed this plenty of times.

Lack of common sense: Time and time again I have seen people casually walking across the road and NEVER look left or right! I remember once I was waiting to cross a busy road. There was a lady about my age waiting in front of me. So the green man comes on and out she walks into the road. But I saw there was an e-bike racing towards here. Thankfully he managed to stop in time but he was only 1 foot away from her. Not once did she even glance left to make sure nothing was coming. Because I was maybe 3 feet away from here, I saw the e-bike coming, and I was thinking “Is she not going to look left before she crosses?…..Oh, no she didn’t”

So when the e-bike had stopped, she got a bit of a fright… but carried on. She didn’t once look at the man on the e-bike and apologise, but just continued on walking like nothing happened.

To me, this is pure common sense to be aware of your surroundings. Chengdu has loads of e-bikes, and they won’t stop when the light is red. . . people here are aware of this, but still they don’t look before they step onto the road.

When I used to live in the city and I would cycle to work, and plenty of times people (without warning) would just step onto the road in front of me, and I would have to slam on my brakes to stop a collision. It’s so frustrating.  And of course they don’t look first.

Another time I was cycling around a corner. What a surprise, there was a car parked on the corner of the road, and a man and woman standing right in the middle of the road… TALKING TO PEOPLE ON THE OTHER SIDE. Jesus, why stop in the middle of the road and start talking to people who are on the footpath???

Obviously I didn’t want to cycle on the opposite side, so I had to cycle between the man and the car, and as I did I was ringing my bell on my bike furiously and I shouted “Jesus Christ, will you move out of the way!!” He looked at me with such a dirty look  and was probably thinking “huh, this foreigner telling me what to do.. IN MY OWN COUNTRY”. . . Yeah I will tell you what to do… if you are that stupid to stand in the middle of the road, then someone needs to tell you.

Lack of Queues: When I go to Walmart to go and buy things.. I hate queueing up…. just because no one here apparently knows how to do it. Because someone skipped us in the queue once before, read here: Skipping The Queue = One Angry Irish Girl I’m always constantly aware of the people coming behind me… Oh are they going to skip me?? Oh they moved, where are they now? (quick glance around my shoulder) Make a barrier so they can’t skip ahead.... You really shouldn’t have to be thinking about that kind of thing, but unfortunately here you have to.

Another time my fiancee was waiting to get veg weighed, and of course an old granny comes up and puts hers on first. He didn’t do or say anything because whats the point, he will most likely be ignored by the old lady plus the worker there, so he let her go ahead. The old lady wasn’t even fazed about it. Maybe she was thinking I’m an old women I deserve to go first. 

For buses, people (especially old people) make a mad rush to get on, it’s like if they don’t get on, then the bus will go without them. Planes are the same. Once the plane touches down, there is a mad dash for their bags. We always joke that they are afraid they’ll get stuck on the plane forever if they aren’t the first 10 people to get their bags. Haha that’s what it looks like though.

Materialistic: Because China has become rich quite fast, this means that a lot of people think about material things. Every Chinese person NEEDS to get the latest iPhone, or they will seem poor.

Every week= new shoes, new clothes…. it’s a never ending battle to look rich and pretty here! I definitely can’t handle it! I can’t wait to go back home and not have to worry about looking like I have money.

Wasteful: Because of this new wealth, unfortunately many Chinese people waste a lot of food. Once I saw a family of 3 (mother, father and a 5/6 year old daughter) come in to a restaurant. Usually when you order food, for 2.5 people you would order maybe 3 dishes and rice. But this family ordered about 6/7 dishes of food! Just for the 3 of them! Usually this is to show ‘we have money, we can order as many dishes as we want’. We left after our meal but I seriously hope they got the rest of that food to take out!

But anyway, here they do waste a huge amount of food. I hope in the future the government will educate China about wasting food, because it’s such a a shame. There are many many poor people… give the leftover food to them instead of throwing it all in a big bucket.

Pollution: I don’t need to elaborate on this.

Being ‘fat’: I’m absolutely fed up of feeling constantly fat in China. At the moment I’m 9.5 stone, but be god thats FAT here. I constantly feel like every Chinese girl is looking at me and thinking “Oh wow look at her skin, it’s so white…. but she’s fat.” I know 100% that that is what they are thinking.

I can’t wear shorts because I just feel so self-conscious. I don’t like like wearing t-shirts because they ‘showcase my fat arms’. To be 45kg (7 stone) is the perfect weight for Chinese girls here. WTF!!??? To me that is just unhealthy, and definitely not attractive looking. So I really do worry about my weight and just feel so self-conscious here. They think that I don’t exercise and I eat crap, and that’s why I’m like this. It’s true. In class sometimes we would talk about health and what not, and the students would say “Don’t eat unhealthy food so you won’t get fat”. Simple as. So they must think I gorge on food and don’t exercise whatsoever.

So yes, I really really won’t miss that aspect.

My god that’s a long list!

I know It sounds like a big rant, but I honestly have enjoyed living in China. And don’t think it was all about getting good money; I’ve been here two years working part time, so I really didn’t earn a lot. If I wasn’t fed up of teaching and had a job related to what I want to do, I think I would have stayed here for longer. So although I have mentioned some things that I won’t miss about here… there are a lot of positives about living in China.

So that will be another post to make, things that I WILL miss from China.

Aisling

They simply don’t care

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So I’ve started back teaching again for this semester. I just had my second week of teaching and I’m really not enjoying it.

The majority of my classes are so lazy, don’t want to do anything, and just don’t want to be there. I just hate having to teach a class, asking them a question such as ‘Have you seen this film?’ and all 30 students just stare at me and not say a word.

Like they can’t even be bothered to reply either yes or no. That’s what really drives me mad. I feel like they don’t care what the hell I say. I’m not important enough to be given a reply. Last semester I had much better students. Pretty much all of them were girls, and I really got on well with all of them. So now I’m stuck with lots of boys that don’t give a crap about English, and are only there because they have to be.

My class this was week was that I was explaining the rules, then we did a listening exercise, and finally I played a game with them. So do the boring stuff first and then the game. But many classes just didn’t seem bothered with anything. Ok the game was a bit better, but I just feel so demoted. I really can’t be bothered teaching these students, and I feel I’m going to dread every week.

I even told them “Guys please answer my questions, it makes me feel bad when no one answers”. Still nothing.

So I don’t know what to do. I feel like I’m accommodating for the students, whereas it should be them accommodating for me. I’m here to teach them English, but all they want to do is play games and play on their phones…. oh or sleep.

During the break one girl came up and said the class is boring. Jesus all I did was the rules of the classroom and a listening activity. There was even a video they could watch!! So I can’t understand how they are bored with just that???? Oh yeah she loved the game after the break, but I need to try and teach them something?!

These kids are 18 years and over. I can’t remember every thinking that my class was boring. Maybe it was but I’d never say it to my teacher?!? I just got on with it and listened to them.

These kids don’t even bring a PEN to class. One of my classroom rules was ‘Bring a pen, notebook and textbook to every class’. Like I actually have to say that to them, but I do. Lots don’t bring a pen or notebook, and some with no notebook just write in their textbook instead.

Like they only need 3 things!!! Sometimes I feel like I’m teaching children. Or worse, they bring a bag with absolutely nothing in it. Or I hear the famous “I forgot my things”.

How lazy can they be?

I miss my old students. I could have a laugh with them. But with these ones, I’m pretty sure half of the boys stay in their dorm rooms all day and night huddled by their computer just playing video games. No interaction with the outside world at all.

Last semester I had great plans to teach, but now I really don’t care. The students don’t care, so why should I? I feel like I’m wasting my time, especially when they don’t even answer me.

I can’t wait to be finished with them. Other teachers are planning on staying another year, but I just can’t. It’s too demoralising for me. I want a job that is meaningful, instead of being a clown and a comedian in class.

So I’m trying to figure out the easiest method of not teaching these students anything, more games (and even a few classes weren’t too bothered with the ones I played already)  and showing them films (I’m already planning on showing one next week), so I can save myself a few weeks of trying to teach them something.

I hope the next few weeks will be better, only 15 more weeks (yay….)

 Aisling

Is It Because I’m A Woman?

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So I received my timetable for this coming semester… and guess what, out of all the (male) teachers that I work with, I’m the only one who received an extra day of work.

Another thing. I’m the only female foreign teacher.

So I really don’t know what to make of the whole thing. At the moment I’m thinking “That stupid school, giving all the male teachers what they want, and then making me have the worst schedule… they know I’m a woman and won’t complain, and plus they are afraid of all the males teachers here”. That’s what I’m thinking.

So I was rather upset when I received it, all the men happy and cheerful that they all got a wonderful schedule. Me, the only girl teacher, working the exam same amount of classes as them, but with an extra day added it.

Fair enough give me another 2/3 class on Monday to make it worthwhile, but I’m only working one class on Monday. It’s such a waste. I went down and asked them to change it but of course they can’t. That group can’t move. Well then why couldn’t they have given that group to a teacher who actually WORKS on Monday.

I hate to say it but I really feel it’s because I’m a girl. What other reason could it be. I know they are afraid of one certain teacher here, so of course he will ALWAYS get the timetable he wants, so maybe they don’t feel scared of me, I don’t know.

I wouldn’t mind if another teacher had the same as me, because then I wouldn’t be singled out. But I’m the ONLY ONE.

Last semester was the same, they gave me the worst schedule out of everyone. Everyone had 4 days off and I had to work 5. Miraculously I ended up working 3 because they kept changing my schedule and it just ended up that way, but still, they gave me more days than the others. It wasn’t them ‘trying’ to help me get a better one, it was really just luck and their own mistakes that I received a 3 day working week.

So I’m hopefully going to try and see if I can split the Monday class into other classes of mine. Of course the school won’t allow me to do it because of ‘rules’, but I know another teacher did that last semester and it was fine for him. So I’m going to try and do it and then let them know.

I’m just so angry that I’m the only that they do this to. I’m the only female teacher that they do this do. Once all the men are happy.

Aisling.