A Travellerspoint blog

November 15th, 2009

Dilemma!

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I can't believe it's November 15th already! In two weeks, it'll be Thanksgiving and in a little over a month, Christmas. But here, it still feels like fall. Yeah, it's cold and snowy but there aren't those usual reminders of winter here. No Halloween decorations, no turkeys in the butcher section of the supermarket, no Christmas carols, no toy ads on TV... I have to say I kind of like it! And maybe this year, I wouldn't mind skipping Christmas for a change! It'd be nice not to spend hundreds of dollars on gifts that people don't care for and not to have to decorate a decapitated tree! Plus, it's not like I'd feel left out, since Christmas day is like any other day here!

Still, I don't know... My family is scattered around the globe with my sister in NY, my brother and sister-in-law in Germany and my little brother in France (and soon to be in Louisiana). Christmas is the only time when we can all be together. But in China people don't celebrate Christmas and since I've only been with my company for a few weeks now, I could only expect to get 3 days leave. With my 2 week-end days, it's still only 5 days to travel! Two days in transit (and with my luck one of my flights is sure to be delayed, rerouted or highjacked!) and 3 days to recover from jet-lag while at the same time struggling not to fall asleep in the pecan pie! And how about the cost of this little jaunt? I haven't even dared look at the prices! Probably as much as what most people make in two months here!

That being said, nothing rivals beating my older brother at Risk on Christmas eve or seeing my parents in matching reindeer antlers on Christmas day... Arg! What should I do?

Posted by Evil1 04:32 Archived in China Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

November 11th, 2009

Anniversary

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I've been in China for a month now. Yesterday was my one month anniversary and I celebrated by taking my first Chinese friend, the hotel receptionist, out for dinner (In retrospect, that's what I should have done a month ago instead of tipping her. ) I'm a bit ambivalent about this anniversary. On the one hand, I'm happy to be here. I really enjoy my colleagues, my work feels meaningful and is fun. I get paid a very decent wage and I live in a nice apartment. But, on the other hand, I miss my friends and I have yet to find a group of people I can hang out with on a regular basis. I look forward to my days off and being able to rest but I also dread them, as I rarely know what to do with myself. That being said, I'm usually pretty good about managing my sad feelings. Usually, I just need a good work out. I'm not very good at managing my feelings of irritation though. I promise to work on that, Mike!

Posted by Evil1 01:41 Archived in China Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

November 9th, 2009

Symbolics

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Today commemorates the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall. At the same time in the United States, the House approves of a massive health plan that will ensure health coverage for a vast majority of the American population. It's a moving day, indeed!

Posted by Evil1 20:18 Archived in China Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

November 7th, 2009

At the supermarket

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Since I've been here, I haven't gone to visit many sights. For two reasons. First, I'm afraid of being scammed again and second, I'd rather go visit them with Mike when he arrives! So I've mostly been hanging out in my neighborhood on my days off. Usually, my days off involve getting up around 11 am, taking two hours to get washed and fed and around 1 pm, going to the Carrefour supermarket.

Carrefour is another interesting place for an aspiring dilettante anthropologist like myself. Here are the things you're likely to find there:

- oodles of cleaning products such as mops and buckets (because the dust bunnies just won't go away!!)
- humidifiers (because Beijing weather is incredibly dry)
- imported products for the homesick (like French bread and butter or peanut butter)
- pots and woks
- fridges
- food....

Things that you'll have trouble finding:

- deodorant (Do Asians just not sweat?!)
- drying machines (They simply air dry their clothes!)
- vacuum cleaners (For the same reason, they don't waste electricity drying their clothes in a machine.)
- chocolate (No, let me amend that, decent chocolate! Why hasn't Lindt decided to sell its brand here???)

And then, what fascinates me too in Carrefour are the natives' behaviors! Don't be surprised if they cut in line in front of you. Just like the French, they don't like to wait for daydreaming people to make up their mind and move forward! Don't be surprised either if they jam their cart into you. It's just a friendly reminder that you aren't moving fast enough!

Posted by Evil1 17:18 Archived in China Tagged living_abroad Comments (2)

November 6th, 2009

Sad news...

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I got some sad news today. Danielle (my South African colleague and our lead teacher) just announced to me that she resigned and will be leaving in 3 weeks! I'm really sad. Where am I going to get my inspiration for my blog now?! This girl was larger than life! No, but seriously, I'm really going to miss her. In spite of the fact that she often speaks before thinking or is in a perpetual rush and stressed out, she's a really great manager. She's capable of motivating people and getting them to do things for her without being dictatorial. Better yet, she doesn't micro-manage! I pray that her successor will share many of her qualities!

Posted by Evil1 06:30 Archived in China Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

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