3 Month Anniversary

It’s crazy to think that I’ve been in China for 3 months. I’m really glad I’ve decided to stay on for the year, as these 3 months have flown by so fast. I’ve decided to compile a list of the 10 best things about China so far:

10. Aubergine. This is now an absolute staple part of my diet. Every single time I go out to eat I try and order an aubergine dish, it’s amazing and I will definitely be eating more.

9. Food in general. Food is great. Those who know me well know I love my food and the food here does not disappoint. I’m also quite proud of the fact that I can order pretty well in most restaurants, even if there are no pictures!

8. Exchange rate. The exchange rate is pretty favourable for us British. It’s around 10¥ (RMB) to £1, which means that for example, a 500ml bottle of coke, costing around £1.25 or so in the UK, costs only 2.50¥ here, 25p! Bus rides are also only 1¥=1p.

7. E-Bikes. Possibly the most fun I’ve had on a bike, ever. I’m just glad that I brought my lined Craghopper trousers over. They are the perfect thing to ride the bike with; otherwise you get a cold bottom. The stares as the Chinese see a foreigner on an e-bike are also hilarious.

6. Chinese to English translations. As you may have noticed on previous posts, Chinese to English translations are hilarious. ‘Mushroom rape’ is still probably my favourite, but check out my interesting words post to see what I’m actually talking about!

5. Learning Chinese. I am a language geek, my degree has told me that and learning Chinese has been no different. Granted, my sentence making is not so great right now, however I know quite a few symbols now and am always trying to learn more, along with the Pinyin (the way the Chinese type Chinese onto documents to convert it into the characters).

4. Photos. It’s hilarious when you are approached for photographs. No matter how many times Steph told me about it, I don’t think I was ready for it. I remember the first time was just four days into my stay in China, after I’d just finished my first Saturday of teaching and we were eating in the restaurant next door when I was approached for photos. When we’re in groups it takes longer for people to ask us, but most of the time someone is brave enough to be the first to ask. It’s insane to think that there will be photos of me dotted around China, on various different cameras and computers…

3. My job. I simply love my job. The students are excellent and I really enjoy the teaching, despite the fact that Saturdays and Sundays are pretty heavy days. I also have 3 days off in a row which is great too. My job is one of the main reasons I am having such a good time!

2. Foreigners. From Mongolians who have never seen foreigners before, to Chinese-looking Russians who can speak English but not Chinese and even Geordies, the people I’ve met so far who are travelling have been great and there’s still plenty of time to meet even more!

1. The Chinese People. There is nothing bad I can say about the Chinese people I’ve met so far. They’ve mostly been inquisitive, especially the taxi drivers, and are always willing to say ‘Welcome China!’ (never ‘to’ China…). Some have even been brave enough to practice their English on us and have tried to put up with my poor, poor Chinese. I have also never experienced such positive discrimination in my life. From free food to free gym membership, and bus drivers waiting to make sure I get on the correct bus after he’s chucked me off his, the hospitality has been amazing. Long may it continue!

Had a crazy couple of days this week however. Johan’s been taken ill in hospital and won’t be home for a while. Meanwhile we’re looking after his cat, Pepper who ran out of food and I decided to go and buy some more. I wish I hadn’t, as cat food seems really hard to find in this town! Anyway, Wenzel and I went on a hunt yesterday, as they’d bought cat food recently near Location 2. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts of talking Chinese (cat is ‘mao’ in Chinese) and miming of food, I ended up meowing like a cat in one of the shops to try and get directions. Big fail. Managed to find some today though, and found out we were in the right area near Location 2, just on the wrong side of the road. It’s noted for next time though!

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Author: Bennett

2 years as an expat in China and now doing the same in New Zealand, Bennett sure likes to experience "slow travel!"

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