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

 

Enjoying The Beautiful Day

If you’ve ever read my blog, I always complain about Chengdu’s weather; it’s terrible. It would depress you, especially in the winter. But thankfully the summer is finally rolling in and for the past few days we’ve woken up to beautiful weather!

It’s amazing, one week everyone is wearing coats and layers…. then literally the next week the coats are off us. In just one week the temperature rises so much! From 13degrees one week, to about 19/20 the following.

Recently it has topped 28 degrees, so I think winter has finally disappeared!

We wanted to take full advantage of the sun so a few days ago we decided to visit Huanhuaxi Park. 浣花溪公园。 We thought long and hard about whether to go to uni (yeah right) but we thought it best to skip class and have a whole day to ourselves! It’s not often that we can appreciate the sun (minus the grey pollution shrouding it)!

We decided to cycle instead of taking the bus, so first we went and ate some food, then we cycled about 35 minutes to the park. We arrived at around 1:30pm, and it was a great time to visit! It was a Thursday, meaning everyone would either be at work or school. During the weekend all the parks are just so crowded, so we really wanted to visit when it’s nice and peaceful.

I love Huanhuaxi Park because it’s big, very pretty and it’s generally nice to walk about.

After our walk we decided to have some Jasmine tea and sit beside the river, drinking our tea and reading our Kindles. At the moment I’m reading ‘It’ by Stephen King, just in time before the new film comes out!

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Reading ‘It’ and drinking tea. 

Having tea in a tea house is something that I enjoy doing in Chengdu. Everyone is laid back and they like spending hours just sitting, talking and drinking tea together. The tea-houses have a very relaxed feel to them. Our tea cost 15元 each, or about €2, and they give you a big flask with hot water to refill your cup.

After a few hours we decided to head home… and by the time we arrived back I was exhausted!! The sun really makes me tired! I suppose, because we don’t get much sun in Ireland,  and when I’m out in it all day…. I definitely need to recharge my batteries when I get inside!

Unfortunately, some Chinese people here hate the sun! They prefer the dreary grey sky. How weird is that!!??

Oh well, I’m going to enjoy the sun while it’s around. It doesn’t stick around for long here!

再见

爱玲

My Xiamen Experience

My Xiamen Experience

Having arrived home from a great trip from Xiamen, Chengdu hasn’t exactly welcomed us back with lovely sunny weather…. smog and rain greeted us.

Having had our eye on Xiamen for a while, we wanted to take a visit to the city so we could experience the city and see whether we could move there in the future.

Leaving on Monday morning, we were constantly checking the weather forecast for the following few days… Monday looked ok, sunny with a few clouds… but from then on it didn’t look too good; Tuesday: Thunderstorms, Wednesday: Thunderstorms, Thursday: Thunderstorms…. and so on.

I of course was a little angered over this, I didn’t want to be cooped up in our hostel for the whole 6 days while we were there!

So, the weather didn’t look too promising.

When we arrived on Monday morning, we had the whole day to explore the city, knowing that this was the only good day we were going to have.

We decided to visit Gulangyu Island. A very touristy island that is a must see for anyone visiting. So we got the bus and headed to the ferry to take us. We got in the line and my boyfriend said “I hope we don’t need any ID”.

It didn’t even occur to me to bring any, but then as I looked around, all the Chinese people surrounding us had theirs. I had my passport picture in my phone, that should be ok I thought.

No, it wasn’t ok. The lady wouldn’t give us any tickets until we could present an actual tangible ID card. My boyfriend fortunately had his Mexican ID, but me…nothing.

Obviously I got very upset about this…. I don’t want to waste the only good day we had having to travel back and forth from our hostel and loosing half the day. But seeing that it was only 1pm, we decided to head back to our hostel and get our passports.

So… we end up back at the ferry and thankfully got our tickets, joined the other Chinese and boarded the ferry to the island. It used to cost 8元,however now it is 35元 or 50元! Apparently they increased the price so as to ‘deter people from coming to the island and ruining it’…. MMmm with the way the ferry was jam-packed with people, I don’t think that it’s working too well!

Gulyangyu Island is very pretty, old and I really like the old buildings that are there. There are a lot of cute wee shops in the small alleyways on the island.

By 4:30pm, I was just wrecked: having slept only 4 hours the night before and sight-seeing straight from being off the plane… plus the unbearable sun and heat… I was tired. Having to wait until 7:00pm to leave the island, we took it easy for the rest of the afternoon…. and by 9:30pm we were asleep in our hostel!

On Tuesday, we woke up by… GOOD WEATHER!!  The sun was beaming down and the sky was blue… we might get 2 good days I thought!

We decided to venture to Nanputuo Temple first. Of course it was mad busy with people, but the area is beautiful. To me, after seeing countless Temples in China, they all look the same… but it was nice none the less. We found a trail which led up a small mountain behind the temple and found a lovely viewing point!

 

To the left of the below picture is the scenic Xiamen University, it is free to enter, but of course we needed to show our ID’s, which luckily this time we brought!

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In the line to enter the Uni, umbrellas were needed!

Ever since I came to China, I’ve always complained about the girls using umbrellas during the summer. They don’t want their skin to get darker, so they always bring an umbrella when it’s sunny.

Unfortunately in Xiamen I became one of those girls. It was definitely not to keep my skin this pasty ghostly white colour; the sun was that strong I had to use it so I wouldn’t get baked. I feel in Xiamen the use of umbrellas is necessary for the sun, whereas in Chengdu.. it’s more of ‘Oh my God I see the sun, I don’t my skin to get .5% darker!!!’ So, it still pisses me off seeing umbrellas in Chengdu… It’s never even sunny!

The Uni itself is very beautiful, a lovely lake in the middle, palm trees, the buildings themselves. It’s like a park. The Uni is very close to the beach so you can wander around it and then head to the beach for a while.  Also, in their shop, they had an open fridge with all sorts of fruit inside it; apples, oranges, watermelon, mango…. all cut into slices. Beside the fridge they had loads of round containers to put the fruit into… You pick what fruit you would like and then pay..then you can enjoy the cold, fresh fruit. It was the first time I saw this but then I realised you can do this all over Xiamen. Such a good idea!

Wednesday came… good weather once again! I thought ‘yeah that weather app was totally wrong’. At this stage though, the heat and sun were getting to me… and by 4pm I had to have a lie down because of the tiredness.

On Thursday we decided to visit a Mandarin school to find out more information about their classes. At least there is a good school for us to learn from if we do decide to move!

We also walked around some parks and around the main road at night. Called Zhongshan Road, it used to be a busy road for cars, but a few years ago they blocked it off and now it is only for pedestrians. During the day it is deserted, with it only becoming alive once the sun goes down. Because Xiamen is a very touristy place, the road was full of Chinese tourists.

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中山路 Zhongshan Road. 

Below is a place called Hulishan Fortress. An old fortress build in the 1890’s. A nice little stroll about!

The last day we decided to go have lunch in a place called Grandmas Home. We initially went here in Hangzhou, so we were pleasently surprised that there was a chain in Xiamen too! It is cheap and delicious, but you need to wait a while sometimes to be seated. Thankfully we only had to wait 5 minutes until they were showing us to our table. In Hangzhou we had to wait 1 hour!

 

If you ever see a Grandmas Home, it’s def worth it to have a try!

Xiamen is a gorgeous place, very very different to Chengdu. I loved the place, except the weather (too hot) and of course the seafood. I don’t like fish or seafood, and this is like their staple food… I really missed Sichuan food!

So we will have to have a long think and weigh up the pros and cons about moving….

再见

爱玲

And Suddenly It’s May

Without a doubt, time is flying by. It is May already! Only 8 more weeks of semester 3 and then I’m finished again for the holidays. I’m beginning to dislike holiday time; many students cancel during this time, meaning no wage coming in. Also, no more Mon-Thur of Chinese lesson. I suppose I kind of like having a routine; so when summer comes you need to sort of set up a new routine!  In my opinion, holiday time is sometimes quite boring. Especially if you don’t have plans to travel.

Thankfully we seem to be busy during the summer… I just have to try and save as much money as possible now. And also try and cram as much Mandarin in as possible before I forget it all during Summer.

During our holiday breaks, I always miss studying; it’s the main reason I’m here. So when I’m not at Uni, I feel like I’m wasting my days away. For me, a classroom setting is how I learn. I know other people who are more suited to studying by myself, but I myself need classroom based learning.

We’ve been slowly moving up the levels in our Uni, but next semester I think we will move up to Level 5, instead of going to Level 4. In our Uni there are 10 levels, so I feel we are moving way to slowly. Unfortunately our school only does 1 book per semester, whereas I know other schools that teach 2 books per semester. Although I am sure If I had to study 2, I think It would be much more difficult to grasp the vocab/grammar. So although we only study 1, at least we know that we should understand the learning content.

Having been in 3 levels in the Uni, I think my favourite class was Level 2. In level 1, everything was new to me, making new friends, studying at the Uni… actually beginning to learn Chinese. Although I did meet friends that we still meet up with and hang out so!

In Level 2, we were kind of like a family; everyone joked with each other, it wasn’t such a big class, and we generally got on with one another really well.We all wanted everyone to do well in the class! We all clapped after someone had to talk for a bit in Chinese; an actually sincere clap to say ‘Well Done!’

In Level 3, I hate to say it, but there are a lot of ‘dry’ people in our class. There are not as many jokes as before, it’s more serious, and I get the feeling that people are competing more with one another. Plus, the class is way too big so that doesn’t help. Our teacher tried to split us into two groups, but unfortunately no one wanted to have class after lunch, so that went out the window. So in this class, after someone has said something and we clap, it’s kind of like ‘We don’t really care what you said, we have to clap.’

But oh well, I still enjoy the class and I’m learning a lot!

再见!

爱玲