There was an error in this gadget

Thursday, June 14, 2012

China Bucket List

I had my last class on Wednesday. It was sad, I had my Spanish students & I have had them all year, so I will miss them a lot. I won't be at the negotiation final, so I guess I have said goodbye to most of my students. I didn't expected it to be this tough to leave. As of this moment, I want to stay just so I don't have to say goodbye. Yet, I know that going home is the right decision for me. It is time for me to get started on the next chapter in my life. Plus, I miss my family & friends a lot.

Since I only have 38 days left in China (minus the time I spend in Japan/Korea) I decided that I should figure out what all I want to do before I leave.

  • Bird flu alley for noodles
  • Picture w/ pancake couple (check)
  • New pictures on the Great Wall
  • Beihai Park in Beijing
  • Shanghai/Beijing Acrobats
  • Dan dan noodles
  • Go to Talking (bar at Nanda)
  • Maglev (actually take it this time)
  • Wangfujin (weird food street in Beijing)
What I will miss:
  • the food, especially pancakes & noodles
  • presents from my students
  • Sissi (Sherry's daughter, she is adorable)
  • 50¢ beer & soda
  • subways & buses
  • being inventive in the kitchen to try and make "western" food

What I won't miss:
  • the stench of the bathrooms
  • grading papers & preparing lessons (I wasn't meant to be a teacher)
  • wine that is 10x the price of soda
  • having to be inventive to make "western food"
I'm trying to think of more things for my list. If you can think of anything, let me know!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

43 days left!

First, sorry it has been so long since I updated. All of a sudden my life got really busy. I definitely can't say that I have ever been bored in China. I recently took on 3 writing classes, tutored a high schooler, worked at the hotel, and end of the year parties are starting. Needless to say, my free time is a bit scarce.

It is definitely bittersweet to realize that I only have 43 days left in China. Really, it's only 35ish, since we will be traveling to Korea & Japan at the end. I'm incredibly excited to go home & see my family & friends & puppies. But I'm going to miss so many things!

At the most recent going-away party, it was me, my boss (wai ban), two spanish teachers, & the Vice President of Jinling. We went to a local restaurant that had really good food. We drank some beer, the Spanish teacher guy LOVES beer. Also, the two Spanish teachers announced they are getting married this summer. They met at Jinling & have been together for 4+ years. It is a super cute story, so that was pretty exciting. I found it funny that I really understood the Spanish better than the Chinese. I am surprised it is still good (or at least passable) since I hardly ever use it.

At the parties, I have had to eat some things I had avoided so far. Some were ok, most were not. I ate stinky tofu. Holy cow, it tasted exactly like it smells (like horse poop). My colleagues took a picture of my face when I tried it, you can tell I wasn't a big fan. I also at pig's feet. I had tried pig knuckle before but avoided pig's feet. However, when the VP of the university asks you to try it, you try it. There really wasn't much flavor, just a lot of cartilage and skin. Not a favorite. I also had duck blood soup again. Again, the VP kept gushing about how great it is and how traditional it is in Nanjing. I guess it's growing on me, but not something I would pick intentionally. We had a "Nanjing speciality" that seems to basically be the overcooked/burnt rice that sticks to the pan & forms a sort of bowl. It was not good, I ate it but it was really blah. It just tasted like burnt rice, obviously.

Another thing that has been adding to my busyness is that I have ramped up my studying of Chinese. I found a sweet program online, Memrise, that is really great for learning characters. I now have over 100 characters that I know from the program, plus the ones I have learned through daily life. 

The job at the hotel has turned out differently than expected. I do a lot of translation help. I also have been teaching English to the front desk staff & housekeeping. I am doing some advertising and promotional work. However, since the hotel isn't officially open, there is less guest interaction than I had hoped. We do have a group from England coming on the 19th. I am super excited for that. I assume it will be quite exciting & I will be able to be even more useful.

I have been applying to jobs back home. It is stressful, trying to decide what I want to focus on. I have so many interests, but I do think I have narrowed it down to something in the fashion industry. No matter where I go or what I do, clothing is the first thing I notice.

I'm going to try and list things I will/won't miss everyday (whether I post or not) to help me remember when I am home. 

Will miss:

  • baozi, jiaozi, and all the other delicious breakfast foods 
  • the people (duh) 
  • seeing something new/surprising everyday 
  • tofu that is good 
  • being adored because I'm pale 

Won't miss:

  • all the damn bugs (i have never had this many bug bites) 
  • the muggy heat (o wait, I will have that in StL too) 
  • being able to speak in english and not have people understand when I'm gossiping ;) 
  • bones in my food (and the consequent bone pile on the table by the end of the meal)
  • being stared at because I'm white