My Resolutions For 2017

With 2016 being quite a crappy year; the attacks all over Europe,  lots of celebrity deaths (which unfortunately will become more and more common),  the shock US election, and finally with Brexit… but, the year is nearly over! Hopefully 2017 won’t be as bad!

So I’ve decided to try my hand (again) and write my 2017 Resolutions.

1. Study Chinese

This time however, I’m really going to try and give it my all. Unsure of what we will do for 2018, I’d like to study as much as possible before I leave China. Read more Chinese books for learners, listen to more TV Series/ films. Try and speak more. If I don’t speak more I’d ideally like my listening to improve. Ha so my listening will be fantastic, but I won’t be able to speak a word!

2. Loose weight.

I’m never going to be as slim as all these Chinese girls, but I’d like to loose a little weight and become fitter. I’ll continue the cycling and start going running around our community.

3. Take up a hobby.

I’ve always said ‘studying Chinese is my hobby’… but when I start getting stressed about it, then I realise its not exactly a relaxing hobby. I’m thinking of learning how to make a few dishes, as I think knowing how to cook is important… oh and life saving! I’ll admit it, I don’t like cooking. I just don’t. But it’s a part of life so I really should learn. The thing is in China it’s just much more difficult.

Firstly, we don’t have a working over. Second we don’t have any cooking utensils, say for example a pan for the oven. It’s not like I don’t want to buy these things, its just the fact that we don’t want to buy them and then end up moving and having to sell it all. Plus our apartment is becoming smaller and smaller with each thing we buy. Third, it’s difficult to get the ingredients. There are green vegetables in Walmart here and I have no idea what they are! I’d need to take a photo of each veg and send it to my Mum so she could tell me what they are.Forth, they might not have the ingredient for a certain dish.

I look forward to going back home and being able to know exactly what I’m buying and where to buy it!

(I know… number 3 is just full of excuses!)

4. Save money

I’d like to have saved some money during this year; mainly for when I go back home or go to Mexico.

5. Travel more

During 2016 we travelled in China, so in 2017 I’d like to travel more outside of it and see South East Asia, maybe New Zealand, Japan….I’d like to visit these places before I leave China anyway!

6. Figure out what to do with my life.

This is an important one. Every year that goes by… we say to ourselves ‘ok, we need to figure out what we are doing after Chengdu… are we going to move to a different city/ country? Back to Ireland or go to Mexico?’ But then it’s always ‘We’ll study a year and then decide’. I suppose the reason why I stress about life is because I feel I’m stuck in China trying to learn this language and I’m putting my life on hold just for this language that won’t bloody stick in my head.  I can’t be spending my life learning Chinese because by the time I learn it it’ll be time to settle down and maybe start a family…

Ideally my plan is to go home, do a course related to tourism, gain some work experience, then go to Mexico and learn Spanish. I’ll continue learning Chinese myself. But I’ll miss China a lot. I’ll write a post about what I’ll miss about China when I leave.

So these are my new resolutions. Let’s hope I can manage them so I’ll be happy with myself this time comes around next year!

Happy New Year To All My Followers!

再见

爱玲

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Working, Studying & Living: Sorting It Out

For the past few weeks, we’ve been discussing what to do with our lives for the next year… and finally we’ve come up with a plan.

Working: Because I’m making hardly any money at the moment… although I do love the free time that I have, I’ve resorted having to go back to full time, well 15 working hours a week. This in my company is ‘full-time’.  I’ve managed to keep only working 3 days a week which is just great. I will dread the day when I have to work 7 hours 5 days a week. I’m really being spoilt here.

So working full time means I will be guaranteed my wage every month, whereas right now I’m paid by the amount of hours I teach.. so during the summer time I hardly get paid anything because students go on holidays.

Studying: We’ve also decided that this semester will be our last in our current Uni. I’ve really grown fond of it, plus I enjoy classroom based teaching. But every semester we are finding it harder and harder to get up in the morning. And at the end of the day I still have to pay 1 year tuition. We will miss everyone that we have met, even my teachers. All of them are so nice.

Instead of learning at the Uni, I will continue going to my private lessons in a private language school. It’s only 15 minutes walk from my apartment so it’s very convenient.

And as for Living: Unfortunately due to the enormous cost of rent in Xiamen, we decided to stay in Chengdu. It’s just too expensive. I really love the place, but I don’t want to be worrying about bills and rent just because I want to live somewhere sunny and pretty. I’d rather save my money and go travelling. Instead, when our apartment contract is finished, we will look at some apartments in the community that we already live in. We like where we live and we don’t want to have to lug our things miles away. Because we are going to be earning more, we want to upgrade to a bigger apartment… haha we might even get a balcony, and even a door for our bedroom!!

So right now, we are sorting out my boyfriends Mum and Dad’s visa to come to visit here, let our company know that in December I will be able to teach more students (they will surely be delighted with this), and begin to sort out the dreaded work visa for next year.

Every foreigner in Chengdu dreads that time of year when their visa expires. Enrolling in Uni is the easiest way to get one… but because we will be getting a work visa, we will need to go to Hong Kong on a ‘visa run’ as people say, plus we will get a medical certificate done.

I’m not too fond of going to Hong Kong. It’s expensive and crowded. However maybe this time round it might be different with my boyfriend being with me.

I hate having to sort visa stuff out. The people working there are not at all friendly and they can deny you a visa without giving any explanation whatsoever. Plus if you don’t have 1 piece of paper, that’s it: go home and come back when you get it. Oh and they need like 10 photocopies of every piece of paper you have. Oh they are very picky!

So, we’ve managed to sort out our plan for next year…. ha I won’t think too much ahead just right now or I’ll panic again!

再见!

爱玲

Exploring Western Sichuan: Part 1

Exploring Western Sichuan: Part 1

Finally arriving back in Chengdu, it was time to relax! For me, it was only 1 week of travelling, but I definitely needed a break. I don’t know how people can travel 2/3 months straight!

Our visitors finally experienced are lives in Chengdu and why we like living here. During their stay , we did the usual stuff: visit JinLi/Wide and Narrow alley, saw the pandas, drank plenty of tea in the tea houses, saw many temples, walked in parks, ate Sichuan food like the famous Hot Pot… and  I think they really enjoyed themselves.

The weather was also fantastic, it didn’t rain one day during their time in Chengdu. Being in China 4 weeks, our visitors only experienced a 1 hour outburst of rain in Guilin. That was it! Very very lucky!

After a week in Chengdu, we organised through CoolTrip to visit Western Sichuan; where all the Tibetan people live. I’ve been to Western Sichuan, but not this far!

We left on Monday morning at 7:30, and we reached a small city called Kangding. Unfortunately we experienced loads of traffic jams… one in which we moved at a snails pace for 1 hour. We found ourselves in about 3/4 bouts of bad traffic…. in which our Chinese driver wasn’t too happy about!

But we finally made it at about 5pm.

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At night, the surrounding mountains are lit up. Really beautiful and it was such a surprise to see!

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Our hostel recommended us to head to a Tibetan restaurant in the city to try our their food.  Although it took 1 hour to come out, it was really delicious! On our last night, we went again with our driver. This time we ordered Tibetan butter tea. Oh my god it was horrible. It was really really bitter and salty… which was such a shock. I thought it would be very sweet. Our French visitor actually thought it wasn’t bad.. but I had 2 sips and that was it.

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The famous Butter Tea

Although it was nice to actually try it… I won’t be rushing for it again.

After spending a night in Kangding, we were on the move again. We visited the Tagong Grasslands and saw a beautiful Temple. After this we walked up a small mountain and took some photos. The only thing that sort of annoyed us about the trip was that you needed to pay for everything. We were about to head up the small mountain when we found out we had to pay. It wasn’t even a mountain, more of a hill. I suppose for them it’s difficult to earn a lot of money, so their only income is from tourists.

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Yaks

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Where we had to pay 10yuan to walk up to the top of this hill.

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After this, he brought us to another, apparently very very old temple. Upon having a nosey, we found out this cost 20yuan/ 2.70euro each to enter… so he quickly took a few of the outside and headed back out.

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We continued driving a bit, until we stopped for lunch! The tour provided us with bread, tomatoes, cucumbers and meat so we could make our own sandwiches. It was a nice experience!

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After our lunch was finished, we travelled to our hotel that we would stay in for one night. On our way we encountered some really pretty scenery with Tibetan houses dotted around. Was really pretty. Unfortunately because we were moving we weren’t able to take many photos.

I especially love the Tibetan houses; they are so pretty and have so much character. And some of them are huge! I’m not sure why, I’m thinking maybe one whole family and their extended family will live in one house altogether. Maybe I’m totally wrong, but there has to be a reason why some of them are very big.

I could happily spend my time just taking pictures of all the houses here.

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Having spent 2 days on our trip, we have another 2 days left, so I will cover those in Exploring Western Sichuan Part 2

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

France in Pictures: Paris.

I know I’m a bit late posting these, but here you are!

Sacre Couer Basilica

Sacre Couer Basilica

View of the city from the Basilica.

View of the city from the Basilica.

Paris has some lovely ice-cream!

Paris has some lovely ice-cream!

The Moulin Rouge

The Moulin Rouge

The bottom of the Eiffel Tower.

The bottom of the Eiffel Tower.

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The winding queue.

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The most famous view of it.

The most famous view of it.

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The huge amount of locks.

The huge amount of locks.

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Catching some sun on their man-made beach.

Catching some sun on their man-made beach.

The queue to get into Notre Dame Cathedral.

The queue to get into Notre Dame Cathedral.

Inside the Louvre.

Inside the Louvre.

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Bustling about to see the most famous lady in the Louvre.

Bustling about to see the most famous lady in the Louvre.

There she is!

There she is!

We waited 2 hours in the sun to get to this green building; the entrance to the Catacombs.

We waited 2 hours in the sun to get to this green building; the entrance to the Catacombs.

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The long and cold walk down.

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再见!

Aisling.