Living in China
Living in China in 2010, needless to say, was an awesome experience. I loved my job at CISB (Canadian International School of Beijing), I loved the travel and I loved the camaraderie! We made some great friends and have fond memories. As I looked over my blog posts from our year in China, they were very sparse and there's a good reason for that. There was some conflict between China and Google at that time and Google sites were usually blocked. Thus, most of my posts were done in haste when I had a window of opportunity. So, I've decided to "revamp" this one posted in 2011.
The photo, above is Ross and I in the Tianamen Square area with the Forbidden city in the background. You can barely see the building for all the smog, which is a real problem in Beijing. However, there were beautiful sunny days as well and we made the most of every day off from work to explore the city.
When we first arrived just crossing the street was a scary experience. Most streets have many lanes of traffic traveling at breakneck speed. As our friend, Paul used to say, " in China traffic lights are only a suggestion"! My method of crossing the street was to wait until there was a crowd of Chinese people and just stick with them when they made their way to the other side. The day after we arrived in Beijing, one of the young teachers living in our apartment building decided to venture out to get some smokes.(Keep in mind that this guy was 30 something and well traveled.) About twenty minutes later we met up with him and asked him if he had gotten his cigarettes. He told us that he stood on the curb for about ten minutes but just couldn't bring himself to cross the street.
So what was it really like to live in China? Well, we weren't exactly living on a rice paddy! This was the big city of Beijing, and like most of the major cities in the world, you can get almost anything you want. Kentucky Fried Chicken, MacDonald's, Starbucks ... or you could you could frequent the local markets and pick up some fresh eel, enjoy "stinky tofu" from a street vendor or try smoked duck tongues as an appetizer. Our neighborhood was full of restaurants, flower markets and a $4.00 taxi ride would take us to more exiting places like the Silk Market or Pearl Market. On a Saturday afternoon we might head to Yashow Market for a pedicure, a little shopping (and a lot of haggling) for knock off merchandise, then a Margarita (on the rocks) or a cold Tsingtao beer before a big debate about what restaurant we might eat at. Boy, it was a tough life!
|Mani / Pedis at the Silk Market|
|Ross, Nilah Scully, Paul Scully, Diane Ridley & me, enjoying a cool one outside the Silk Market|
|Paul and Ross shop for goodies.|
My year in China can be summed up in three words: work, camaraderie, and travel. My work, teaching delightful middle school kids from all over the world, was a pleasure and having a great group of young teachers as colleagues was a lot of fun. The travel both in and outside of China was fabulous and I got to visit places that I never dreamed I would see; from ancient temples in the Cambodian jungle to the top of the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore! But best of all was sharing these experiences with a wonderful group of friends!
|Top left is a group of grade seven students in my Language Arts class. Bottom right is me with a group of friends and fellow teachers celebrating the fifth anniversary of our school.|
|Out and about in Beijing!|
A little video I made as a remembrance!