Thursday, October 31, 2013

Keeping myself busy!

It was a pretty interesting weekend! Since I admittedly do not have a life here, I've been doing whatever is thrown my way.

Friday night I went to dinner and to ice cream with this Chinese guy. It was a very interesting experience--he was a little too over enthused to know everything about America and he kept telling me how much he drinks and was making me go "beer for beer" with him. I taught him the word "hazing". After dinner, he showed me around a new mall (which had an H&M!) held my purse and my shopping bags (i could get used to this...).

The next day I met a new friend to check out the Shandong Muesum art festival to see what was there and send some pics to my mom. We ended up getting lost and went to a mountain scenic spot instead. Lots of stairs and climbing and random pictures with chinese people! And a nice view of (polluted) Jinan from the top.

Sunday the chinese principal of the school set up a little "play date" for me with a chinese family and their friends--they all went to high school together in Jinan and then all had kids at the same time so there were 4 students who are juniors in high school and 3 of their parents. They taught me about tea culture--the dad was very traditional and had so many tools and different kinds of tea...

It was like a wine tasting except with tea. He had me try 5 different kinds and kept asking me which i liked best and which one i didn't like. it was a little intense. We ate chestnuts with the tea and he told me that when chinese people are anxious, they drink tea (interesting chinese people turn to tea or traditional medicine, americans turn to pills and drugs).

The kids then played piano and sung for me (amazingly talented--my lack of talent in the music department is very embarrassing here) and then i taught them some american card games then we ate a HUGE meal. The host is supposed to put food on the guests' plate so they kept putting more and more food on my plate. It was a little awkward but i didn't want to be disrespectful so i kept eating and eating. They made chicken, beef, pork, fried chicken, green beans, lotus, broccoli, and a salad which was amazing. When i thought we were done they brought out the "specialty" dish which was homemade noodles with meat, potatoes, and onions. Afterwards i was so full I could not move! Guess what we did next? Drank tea!

This guy made these 3-D lollipops out of sugar and water

I was wearing my UGGs so I had a hard time coming down from the top--no traction

so many people! 

Chillin with my new chinese friends/students

so much tea...!

So talented!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

just checking in

I really can't think of anything to title this because not much has been going on. I live a much quieter lifestyle here which isn't a bad thing--i'm kind of scared by how much i enjoy it.

Yesterday was payday so naturally i did a little shopping after work today (retail therapy :D) 

My students are great--it is amazing how active and engaged they get in some of the lessons because it is like NOTHING they are used to and also their (for some of them) english level is still developing. There are students who really are not following because of the language barrier-- I've done a few activities where i can really see some kids do not follow at all. So many different challenges than in the US. 

Ive been putting a lot of time into my teaching methods and grading student work because there isn't much going on here but I'm challenging myself to go out more and meet people. 

last weekend we only had one day off because of the holiday--i spent it grading papers haha

stalking puppies! they sell little dog coats everywhere, I'm a little excited to see them all snuggled up for winter

Something you'll only see in china

My new favorite lunch/dinner--it kind of reminds me of the giant eagle salad bar, but much much different

A friend actually sent this to me--its one of his chinese friends dogs. Instant happiness right there

This weekend i will "hang out"with this Chinese guy i met a few weeks ago. i think he thinks its a date haha i guess well see. He works at the bank near my school and likes American sports so we get along pretty well. He texts me non stop though which gets a little annoying but at the same time its nice to have someone to talk to.

He told me he has nightmares every night about not getting a promotion--which gets awarded to one person every two months but there are many political reasons why people get them

I think it shows the culture here a little, how focused on money and their job they are and the competition in the workforce (but of course i could be wrong.) He sent me a picture of fake paper money that they much practice counting out--he said that american bankers are FAR too slow at counting out money (haha)

He told me he just wants to move out west to Colorado and live on the river and wear cowboy boots (hello american media) thats his idea of a carefree life

Anyways maybe ill have more to update you guys about after this weekend

(Did i mention its FREEZING here already?)

The Rest of Shanghai

Just a bit late...but here is the rest of my Shanghai trip! Probably one my favorite cities/places in a long time. I would definitely advise visiting at some point ;) 

I don't have any pictures of the night life because my phone died around 7 every night (i missed a picture of a shark tank--effing iPhone) still figuring out the iOS 7 operating system---if anyone knows how to fix the short battery life please let me know

The insanely crowded Jinan bus station

Shanghai train station--I probably won't travel during a national holiday again

Nanjing Road! Lots of shopping--it kind of reminded me of Bourbon street without the alcohol, strip clubs, or police on horses 

The French Concession was by far my favorite area--it reminded me of Lincoln Park in Chicago

They had a little shopping place full of artwork and random shops and food places

Such a cute date spot! 

The place where the first communist party was held (when in Shanghai--if you could imagine my hungover friends did not want to join me here--no offense friends if you're reading ha ;)

A museum that shows the city planning and future plans for Shanghai--on the top floor they had an interactive map of Shanghai over the next 5 years

Yuyuan Gardens! This place was so crowded it was insane

The Shanghai Museum
I heard this is a MUST see so i made my friends go check it out with me. 
we waited in line outside for about an hour
And then went inside to find a lot of art work and some coins
Chinese people are so talented

A pottery village back in the ancient times

And finally...i only booked my train ticket 2 days in advance and the cheapest option was first class--if i had my passport it would have been cheaper to fly. it was extremely comfortable though--definitely worth the experience :D

Monday, October 7, 2013


So last week I read this article and had to laugh...

because most of it is true. If the Government Shutdown isn't effecting us directly, most of us really don't care. Why is that?

Maybe because it feels there is so little we can do besides sit and watch overpaid Congressmen act like 4 year olds while the President refuses to compromise or negotiate?

As some of you know, the past week was National Day in China. Since the People's Republic of China was founded on October 1st 1949 Chinese people get an entire week off (Oct 1-7th). Most people return to their hometown to visit family, but it is becoming more and more common (since Chinese people only really have 2 weeks a year to travel) to take this time to go abroad or somewhere within China.

So imagine these Chinese people who are wealthy enough to travel to America take one of their only vacation weeks to travel findddddd that ALL National Parks are not open?

But low and behold the Government makes an exception so the Navy verses Air Force football game can be played. What is this world coming to?

And then there's Ted Cruz reading Green Eggs and Ham on the senate floor...

I guess I just don't know what to think about the US Government anymore. Maybe the media and new sources that i am watching are a little beyond dramatic but still...aren't we supposed to learn from history and prevent things like this from happening?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Shanghai...The Bund

National Day Holiday! 1 week off...I don't have my passport so I couldn't travel outside China

So I decided to meet some friends from Shenzhen in Shanghai. I managed to get a fast train ticket on October 1st, which is supposed to be the worst day to travel because of the crowds. I didn't book a ticket back, I figured I could do that in Shanghai (bad decision on my part...!) 

The Jinan train station--so crowded!

The Shanghai HongQiao Train station...even more crowded! 

Reports in China said there were 8-10 million people visiting Shanghai this past week. 

As much as I HATE crowds, I absolutely loved Shanghai. The city actually has some history, the landscaping is gorgeous, and the architecture is absolutely beautiful. You can actually see the imprint of imperialism and the development of the city. 

I can see why it is considered the Paris of the East...the city had a charming romantic feel to it.

Not to mention I felt right at home again. Theres a metro, many different western food places, a large amount of foreigners, lots of clubs and bars to meet other people, the city is clean, lots of places to shop...

My favorite part of the trip was just walking along the Bund

The Bund is the waterfront area in central Shanghai. The river divides the city into the West side (Puxi) and the East side (Pudong) 

The West side is the old city can see the European buildings and the imprint of imperialism in early Shanghai.

The Eastern side is the new modern part of Shanghai, which has recently developed and is continuing to develop 

The East side of the Bund during the day

And the photos begin...even though i was with 3 other foreign people, many chinese people wanted to take a picture with me. 

The West side of the Bund: 
Most of these buildings were built in the early 1900's 

Most are banks or hotels. 

I love the landscaping!

This was my favorite building with the clock tower. During the cultural revolution, the bell was removed from the top to put in speakers to play propaganda songs and slogans. 

The Meteorological Signal Tower (the end of the Bund on the West Side) 

Of course the view of the Bund at night was spectacular, but getting a good picture was like survival of the fittest.

So many people. 

Hundreds of guards formed a human barricade

I'll post more about the rest of the trip later, this is such a long post! Just walking along the Bund was probably my favorite part of Shanghai. (Next to the shopping and going out of course ;))