Sunday, July 28, 2013

The best way to live in China to have money and to know people. Last week I went to dinner with a friend who worked in a public school and his coworkers, the headmaster, and some important parents. After a few rounds of baijiu shots, the parents were all red in the face and telling me if I am EVER in trouble that they know people. Another parent was telling me that if someone will not do what they want you to to give them some money under the table.

After talking to coworkers and friends this is veryyyyy common--especially when it comes to passing a driving test (dear god) and dealing with the police. Remember my little run on with the police? Yeah they had the worst work ethic I've ever encountered. They were waiting for me to slip them some money. My old blog is back from being suspended and the last posts on it were about my whole run in with the police...

They were also explaining how there are many laws or regulations that you can pay your way out of...such as the one child policy. If you have more than one kid you can pay a tax (a large tax) for each additional child.

There have been many interesting news articles recently about people doing horrible things (drunk driving...hit and runs) but since the people who do them are people of power or know someone of power they do not have any punishment. There was a drunk driving incident where the driver hit a girl and killed her and jumped out of the car and yelled "Go ahead, sue me if you dare! My dad's Li Gang!" a head officer at the public security bureau.我爸是李刚

Sometimes our justice system in the United States can be frustrating...especially when it seems a case is so one sided but at least everyone for the most part is subject to a fair trial. Granted when we talked about this in the office some coworkers pointed out that if you do have money in the US you can get a good lawyer which makes the justice system a little unbalanced but still--nothing compared to the justice system in china.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


So Monday started summer courses at my school. Remember when normal teachers get a summer break? Not teachers working at a training school. Instead they get to work MORE because chinese students are extremely focused on their school work and are very competitive.

(I recently got to observe a public school class--with about 50 kids in each class I can understand a little better why students take so many private lessons--if a student falls behind or does not understand it is more difficult for the teacher to differentiate in such a large classroom for each students individual needs!)

I can't complain to much because i only will be working with my company for one more week and my weekly summer schedule isn't too bad...i don't start teaching until 2 everyday--but my weekends are still 9-6:30 which feels like such a long day. Also only having one day off a week really sucks and makes my one day off so much more valuable (especially when I have so much to do to get my apartment packed up and get my working visa for my next company).

Mondays and Thursdays I teach a 3 hour phonics course ages 6-9. The kids in this class are surprisingly well behaved (notice the girl to boy ratio). I also have realized I know NOTHING about phonics. Last week I learned long vowel sounds and short vowel sounds and magic "e". This is actually one of my favorite courses I have taught since being with my company. 

My other summer course is called Global Explorers. They do project work on a country every week--I let them pick the first week...China. They are ages 10-15 so its hard to plan activities that interest all of them

My babies...I teach them a new adjective every class (happy, sad, fine, surprised, excited...) this week they learned silly--im going to miss this age level the most!

I swear they have the TACKIEST accessories//clothing//stationary items//phone cases. 

Only one more week left! My life in between now and then is extremely hectic--ill update when i have a little more time. Don't know how id do it without such supportive coworkers and friends! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

The last week or so we noticed that our main air conditioning unit was not getting cold. After talking to some chinese friends, they told us we need to call someone to put gas into the AC. There is a second part of the AC unit that is somewhere outside of our house.

In a typical house, this is usually somewhere outside (at my house in wheaton its next to the garage on the side of the house).

In an apartment building thats on the 17th floor ours was outside between our kitchen window and my bedroom window. 

So this man comes, ties a string to his waist and goes outside my window where there is no ledge for him to stand on and starts spiderman-ing the wall. He quickly realized he could not somehow manage to hold on for dear life and pour the gas into the AC unit, so he told us he would need to call another person to help him. Since the cost was too high and we will only live in our apartment for 2 weeks we told him not to bother. 

What a crazy job! And so dangerous! I would dred going to work each day. Its hard to remember that people who are not educated must do jobs like this since the part of the Chinese population that I work with and interact with on a daily basis are very well off. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Inside a Chinese Grocery Store

Even though you can find many of the same products in a chinese supermarket and a western one it is/was still a big adjustment for me! 

The three chinese food staples

Oil...chinese people stir fry everything! The amount of oil in chinese dishes is something that took me a long time to adjust to

RICE. Every meal is served with rice
I tried to find brown rice but could only find imported brands in the imported aisle...kinda weird! 

Soy sauce//vinegar 

Produce: (Prices are per 500 grams)

Beans (they don't sell any canned beans--it took me awhile to find these!) 

It is very rare to see any pre-cut veggies

It kinda looks like an outdoor street market

Some stores have precut fruits--usually cantaloupe or melons
There's many tropical fruit here that I love...dragon fruit, papaya, lichee, jackfruit

After you bag your produce or beans or sometimes even eggs you must take it to the weigh station. They weigh it and put a sticker on it that tells you how much it costs. If you go to the checkout without a sticker they cannot check it out. 

Chinese medicine//tea (the first few months i was here i could not find decaffeinated tea! I used to drink a lot of apple cinnamon tea and lemon ginger--I found lemon and ginger in these baggies and have started to make my own tea) 

Freezer aisle--Lots of jaiozi--dumplings, ice cream, and meat rolls

Dried meats 

and dried fish...just imagine how this smells. ewww

Meat and poultry...Theres a saying that Chinese people eat anything with four legs besides a table
They do not let any part of an animal go to waste

VERY fresh fish


The selection of soda...pepsi, diet pepsi or sprite, coke, diet coke, or 7 up 

And the check out stand...batteries and condoms

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Dafen Art Village

Yesterday I finally went to check out the Dafen Art Village. Its 14 stops away by metro which took about an hour. 

The art village was amazing...I was awe struck walking through each shop. There are over 600 shops that sell paintings and replicas for really cheap. They can also do portraits or paint a picture for you by request. I took the cards of a few shops I liked and am hoping to make it back before I leave Shenzhen to get some pictures done. 

There are many scenic pictures of china but none were what i wanted (the great wall or shenzhen). I ended up buying an oil painting of flowers for about $10 (the woman started at 100 RMB but i only had 60 with new bargaining method ha)

There were SO many paintings that i wanted to buy but many were very big and I'm not quite sure how i can get them home. I wish that I could bring my Grandma here she would LOVE it! 

If you are ever in Shenzhen this is definitely a must see! 

So many breathtaking pictures!

I think this is Da Vinci ? 

Shops on shops on shops

I saw a few people actually painting...this is the only guy that would let me take a picture. Most of the painters are trained at academies 

This was my favorite shop! 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Saying Goodbye//the official countdown!

Last week one of my coworkers and best friends and her roommate left china. They were here for a year and have been a huge part of my china experience. Things here aren't the same without them! Char will be coming back to work in Macau so i will see her in about a month.

We had a little goodbye breakfast at this English was SO cute! Im ready for a trip back to England...Euro trip anyone?

The group

Roasted tomatoes, eggs, REAL bacon, REAL sausage, baked beans and bread. Just missing some grilled mushrooms :) 

The married couple! In China as soon as people get married the first question people ask following congrats is when are you having a baby? We made them pose with a baby chair

A little wedding gift from the married couple-tradition in china is that you pay for everything and then give a little red envelope with some money in it

The group! Bye Char we will miss you so so much! xoxo

With that said, my contract ends July 31st, I have to move out of my house August 5th, and I have to be in Nanjing for training for my next job August 24th. SO SAD! My time in Shenzhen is coming to a close. EEK...not ready to say goodbye