A Travellerspoint blog

February 24th, 2010

Chinese New Year!

overcast 7 °C

I realize that my blog entries are getting scarcer and scarcer as time goes on. So again, I want to apologize! I really have been busy and to be perfectly frank, the things that used to shock me when I first arrived are starting to feel normal now. Like the fact that people spit in the street or the fact that cleaning ladies use mops for just about anything (to clean carpets, to unclog toilets and to collect dust). Or the fact that cars will honk at you to clear the street even if the green pedestrian light is on, because cars always have the right of way!

So what's new since last time? Well Chinese New Year for one! This is the most important holiday in China. On New year's eve, Chinese families typically make dumplings and wait for the first fireworks. They usually travel great distances to meet their parents or grandparents in remote regions and then spend the following week eating until their stomachs burst and watching or igniting fireworks and firecrackers . At least, that's what my 13 year old private student explained to me. Because I didn't actually spend New Year's in China! As any self-respecting French person, I high-tailed it back to the motherland to enjoy a little farniente, some croissants and hours of banter with my copines! Ahhhhh! I also got a chance to see my parents and Mike and they in turn got a chance to meet one another! I was expecting it to be cringe-worthy and humiliating but everyone acted very civilized! I suppose it helped that my siblings weren't there trying to embarrass me with less-than-flattering childhood recollections!

Posted by Evil1 22:27 Archived in China Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

February 3rd, 2010

Changes

sunny 6 °C

I realize it's been ages since I last wrote in here. The last couple weeks were quite busy. Our school started the winter camps last week and so I now have to work 6 days a week. It sounds bad but I actually don't mind it. I start like anybody else at 8:30 am and by 4 pm, I can go home. Plus the lesson plans are provided so teaching's a no brainer!

But aside from work, I've also been enjoying the last couple of weeks with Mike who returned home yesterday morning. We both wish he could have stayed but he just couldn't find the type of work he wanted. Sure, if he'd wanted to teach, he could have easily found work but he really wanted to find a sales job. And they're hard to come by here, especially if you don't speak the language! So now he's back home and determined to find work there.

And since yesterday, it's been a bit bleak here. I'd gotten used to coming home to my boyfriend welcoming me and always having someone to relay office gossip to. I'd gotten used to being busy every single minute of my day, to going out jogging together, eating together and doing everything except for working together. It's definitely strange being alone again and to be perfectly honest, it's also a bit boring!

Posted by Evil1 18:54 Archived in China Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

January 15th, 2009

Our new boss

sunny -2 °C

Our new boss arrived four weeks ago. Did I tell you about him? His name is Gunther* and he's German. We met him in late November when he came to one of our teacher conferences. All the females' heads turned when he first entered the room! In addition to his blue eyes and short blond hair, he wore fitted and fashionable clothes that highlighted his toned body. Suddenly, we were all really excited to have a new boss we could gawk at all day long! Needless to say, that sentiment didn't last long! When I told Mike about Gunther, he warned me not to get too excited as he felt Germans tended to be rather strict about rules. I thought at the time that Mike was just jealous. But as it turns out, he was right on target! Gunther has criticized pretty much everything that we do. We leave the expensive markers in the classrooms during the break and kids wear them out. We aren't spending enough time at work. "Work weeks are 40 hours!" (Never mind that some of us often bring work home with us!). We are talking too much to each other during our non teaching hours. And the list goes on but you get the gist of it! I suppose these are all pretty valid points but we'd more likely to curb these behaviors if we received some praise for work well done too!

  • All names have been changed.

Posted by Evil1 06:37 Archived in China Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

January 8th, 2009

New Year, new beginnings

overcast -5 °C

Happy New Year, everyone!!! Well, in spite of my strong resolve, we did end up celebrating the new year to the beat of electro music! It wasn't a huge new year's celebration. Only Mike, Ray, Beverly and I. All my other colleagues chickened out. One had menstral cramps, another a headache and the Chinese staff just wasn't interested. So the four of us went out for hot pot (Chinese fondue) and then to a bar where the countdown began. The music was quite decent there and they had a dance floor but since Ray had already bought two tickets to his electro party, Mike and I felt we had to follow. Beverly passed. I wish we had too because it wasn't a party, so much as a rave! It was held in a huge warehouse in 798, the art district. There were strobe lights everywhere and young, nubile men in tight jeans were gyrating on narrow platforms to the sound of what can only be described as the heartbeat of a person having a seizure. I tried my best to put up with it for an hour but by 2 am, we were done! The next day, Mike and I decided to rid of bodies of the alcoholic toxins (not to mention electro trauma) we'd been exposed to the night before. For 50 kuai each (the equivalent of 5 euros), we enjoyed all that the Sino-Swiss Hotel has to offer: the gym, the pool, the hot tub, the squash court, the ping pong table and the sauna! Ahhh! So relaxing!

And what since? Some of you might be curious to know how my last few days have been with Mike... Well, after much talking, Mike decided to stay in China! His visa is still valid for another month and we're hoping to convert it to a student visa so he can learn some Chinese and increase his chances of finding a job! This new year is off to a good start, I reckon!

Posted by Evil1 16:28 Archived in China Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

December 30th, 2009

Say good-bye to 2009!

-4 °C

So here I am, a day away from 2010 and a week away from saying good-bye to Mike... again! He had an interview yesterday morning for a marketing position and all day today I was hoping he'd get a phone call telling him he'd gotten the job. Mike said they were interviewing other people and they'd like someone who spoke Chinese, so nothing's certain. I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high and prepare myself to being alone in China again. Surely, it won't be that bad! I'll get to blog every day again (OK, I never actually did that but I could start!). I'll be able to train for the Great Wall of China 5K run (I'd love to be able to put that in the "other interests" section of my resume!). I'll have plenty of time to perfect my Chinese and to volunteer at the animal shelter. Um... I'll be able to go shopping without feeling guilty! That being said, there's still the option of Mike getting a student visa. That is one possibility we haven't fully explored...

Well anyways, Mike isn't gone yet and I envision a change of fortune like in any good romantic comedy movie! And tomorrow, December 31st, the last day of 2009, Mike and I are going out to dance with my colleagues. The venue is still not set. Some of my colleagues are rooting for Wudaoku, since it's close, cheap and they play hip-hop music. And then there's Ray, who thinks the center of fun in Beijing is rooted in Sanlitun and would like to welcome the new year to the sound of electro music. I still haven't figured out what that sounds like but if it's anything like techno, we'll pass!

Posted by Evil1 05:01 Archived in China Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

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