November 5: Today marked the end of my Teaching in China journey. It was absolutely amazing. I learned a lot about myself and about the world around me. I got to learn a lot about Chinese culture and meet so many great people. I will cherish the memories I made over here forever. I am so thankful to everyone.
During my year over here I wanted to to read more. I read 82 books. Here is a full list: Harry Potter series-J.K. Rowling (7), Twilight series-Stephanie Meyers (4), Percy Jackson, Hero's of Olympus, The Trials of Apollo, Magnus Chase series and shorts-Rick Riordan (19), End Game-Tabatha Wenzel, George Richard and the Discovery of the Hieligien-Larry Brink, Narnia series-C.S. Lewis (7), Wonder-R.J. Palacio, Camino Island-Josh Grisham, Inkheart-Cornelia Funke, Angles Flight-Michael Connelly, Secrets of the immortal Nicolas Flamel series-Michael Scott (7), The Magicians-Lev Grossman, Beastly-Alex Flinn, Spy Girl series-Jillian Dodd (4), The Queen of the Tearling-Erika Johansen (3), Killer Cupcakes-Leigham Dobbs, Hannah Swenson Mystery Series-Joanne Fluke (10), The Game series-Terry Schott (3), The Lunar series-Marissa Meyers (4), 101 Stories for Foreigners to Understand Chinese People-Yi S. Ellis and Bryan D. Ellis, Spindles End-Robin McKinley, The False Prince series-Jennifer Nielsen (3)
4 November 2018
November 4: Today is my last day in China. I tried to make the most of the day. I still had some packing and cleaning to do but I spent a lot of time with friends. I had lunch with Courtney, Brian and Deb at MaanCofee. After, I finished up my packing while they had work. After they were done with work we all went to Hai Di Lao. It was great to see everyone one more time. After, we all ended up at my place so, I could sell the last few things I have as well as play a card game. It allowed us all to hang out for a little bit longer. It was really hard to say goodbye to everyone.
3 November 2018
November 3: Today was mainly a packing day but I did make time to spend with friends. I had lunch with Deb at a Korea BBQ place near by. Courtney and RC showed up about half way through. Also, after work I brought dessert for everyone as a way to say goodbye. I made six different types of marshmallow treats so there was plenty for everyone. It has been really sad to say goodbye. I have made great memories with so many people.
1 November 2018
November 1: I had to meet up with the visa officer in the morning to get my social insurance canceled which took forever but at least now it is done. Afterwards, I went over to the university that Sophia goes to, Fujian University of Technology. It was interesting learning more about her university life and how it compares to the USA. She also introduced me to some of her friends. It was great getting to spend some more time with Sophia. I will really miss her.
31 October 2018
October 31: Today I sent time with the PAs from my school. I invited all five of them over for lunch. I made them taco salad. I wanted them to try something new and they all really liked it. Some of them even want to buy taco seasoning online so that can make it at home. It was really nice having some more time with them. They are an amazing group of girls. They have all helped me out so much. After Kitty helped me run some earns. She helped my get my online banking sorted out and helped me cancel my wifi. At night Courtney and RC came over to pick up some stuff that they are buying from me. I like that the things I can't take with me are still going to get used and I get a little cash.
30 October 2018
October 30: Today was full of friends. First Courtney, RC, Deb and I want to Student Street for shopping. I needed some more luggage to get everything home. Deb and Courtney mainly bought clothes. We also went shopping at two malls because everyone else still needed to buy their Halloween costume for tonight. After Deb and I got ready for the Halloween party. I was Wonder Woman. I bought a shirt online and then made a headband, cuffs and a belt from an old yellow shirt. The party was at Kaily's house. She planned a whole murder mystery for us which was kind like real life clue. Everyone had a persona and we had to talk to each other to figure out who the murder was. I was a funeral director called Chad. At the end of two hours I was the only one who figured out the murders. We also played some other games and there was a Halloween contest. The winner was Ashley she was a Hogwarts student who when she said the spell Expecto Patronum she turned into her patronus. It was pretty awesome.
29 October 2018
October 29: Brian doesn't work on Monday so we took advantage of the time. We went to the arcade at Wanda Plaza to have some fun. We invited RC to come with us as he wasn't doing anything. We played two games of bowling and two games of pool. I won both of the bowling games and Brian won both of the pool games. After we went shopping at Walmart for a couple of things we each needed.
28 October 2018
October 28: Today I found out if everything will fit in one checked bag on the way home. And the answer is no. I will have to buy another bag. Which also means I can buy more things. For dinner Deb came over and I made us taco salad. It was nice spending time with her. I also sold her some of the things that I planed to leave here.
27 October 2018
October 27: I went to 3 Lanes 7 Alleys for the last time today. I needed to buy a few more things before I left. Now I officially have everything I need to pack up to go home. I stoped by Chen's Dumplings for lunch to get my favorite Dumplings. In the afternoon there was a Halloween party at the school. Even though I don't work there any more, I couldn't resist seeing my students one more time. I dressed up as Wonder Woman. There were games and crafts. Also, the students went around the mall in groups to get candy from prearranged places. All of the students were so cute in their costume.
26 October 2018
October 26: Today was my last day a work! It has been a crazy, amazing year working at EF. I have made amazing friends. I have loved teaching and getting to know my students. I will miss everyone so much.
October 26: Over the last three weeks I have been working on painting the demo room at my school. All of my classes have been handed over to Courtney so, it gave me something to do and I love painting. Also, there were new characters for the youngest level and this gave me the opportunity to paint them. It was a fun experience. I love that I get to leave this behind.
23 October 2018
October 22: Today was very relaxing. The weather here is just perfect. It's mid 70s with a little wind. It was a wonderful day for the park. I have wanted to explore the entire park near me but, it is a big park. So I biked to the north side of the park and walked back though it. It is such a beautiful park. I love all the sculptures through out the park. Also, they have beaches on the shore where I stoped to enjoy a good book.
21 October 2018
October 20-21: Today I had to say goodbye to Ray. She is heading on vacation tomorrow so, I won't get to see her again. We did make the most of the weekend. Yesterday we went to Chen's Dumplings, and got a traditional Chinese dessert. And tonight we went to Hai Di Lao with co-workers to meet Courtney's fiancé. Ray has been an amazing friend and I will miss her so very much. I have loved getting to know her over the past year. She has helped me out in so many many way. I am lucky to be her friend. I can't wait for her to visit me in the US next year!
16 October 2018
October 16: Today there was the annual school progress meeting. They talked about how the school is going and the direction for the next year. After, they took us all to dinner at an individual hot pot place and then to KTV. It was a fun night with all the staff. We had a great time eating and singing.
14 October 2018
October 14: As Life Club specialist I get to plan fun classes for kids each weekend. Normally other teachers get to teach the classes but this weekend I got to teach the older students about how to make ice cream in a bag, an experiment I learned from my mom. The students learned some new vocabulary and loved the ice cream. After I finished, the teachers wanted to learn how to make ice cream in bag too. It was a yummy experience.
7 October 2018
October 7: Today Brian and I took our Trailblazer 4 class out to coffee at Starbucks. The class won a gift certificate to the store and, we decided to turn it into an event to help their English and, to hang out with them outside the classroom. It was great having them talk in a more relaxed environment. I am going to miss this class so much.
4 October 2018
Mini Terricotta Warriors history lesson (part 2): In other pits that have not been uncovered there are also non-military figures including acrobats, strongmen and musicians to entertain the emperor in his after life. Furthermore, all 600 of his concubines and many of the works were buried alive to travel with him into the afterlife. Horses and exotic animals are also buried. The emperor tomb is about a mile from the Terricottea Warrior pits. And it's more like an underground castle. A man made mountain was built on top of it to cover the entire thing. Also, some believe that there are unground lakes and rivers of Mercury to make sure his tomb is never disturbed and it's work so far. Overall the entire size of it is hard to take in. It took 39 years and over 700,000 workers to complete the entire thing.
Mini Terricotta Warriors history lesson (part 1): The Terricotta Warriors is part of the first emperors mausoleum who died in 210 B.C. It was rediscovered in 1974 by 4 brothers who were digging a well. Right now there are 4 pits uncovered but, only 3 are open to be public. There are still about 90 more pits still buried. Pit 1 is the biggest pit at 750 ft long by 203 ft wide. There are about 6,000 figures, mostly infantry men, but 2,000 are still buried. Also, a lot of the bodies have been destroyed and have not been reconstructed. Pit 2 is smaller but had a wider variety of men. There are archers, officers, generals and calvary. In total there are about 2,000 buried there but, very little has been uncovered. Pit 3 is the command center and, has 69 generals and officers. This is the only pit that is completely uncovered. In 2009 they stopped the aerological dig because when the statues were exposed to air all of the paint would fade within the first few minutes.
October 4 (Xi'an): Today we went on a
Terricotta Warriors tour. I learned a ton more history and got to see some amazing thing. Also, I saw more people in one place than I ever wanted. Apparently this is the busiest week of the year but it was still cool. We started the tour at a replica factory where they showed us how the soldiers were built. They had the biggest kiln I've ever seen. It was as big as a house. Afterward we headed to the Terricotta Warriors. Once there we had a traditional Chinese lunch. After, we were able to visit all three pits that are currently are uncovered and the museum. Each warrior has a unique face and no two are the same so there was a lot to see. Many are also still in pieces and have yet to be restored or even un earthed. When we were done we got bussed back into the city. We got off near Muslim quarters where they amazing street food. I particularly like the potato on a stick. After that we started heading back to the hotel to pack.
3 October 2018
Mini Xi'an history lesson 2: The Xi'an City Wall is the most complete and best preserved city wall in China. Also, it is one of the largest ancient military defensive systems in the world. It was fist built during the Tong Dynasty (618 - 907) but later enlarged during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) under Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang. Today the wall stands 40 feet tall and 50-60 feet thick at the bottom. It is 8.5 miles around and is surrounded by a deep moat. It was built with 4 gates but now more have been carved out to help with traffic. The South Gate is the most elaborate and is where greeting ceremonies take place for important diplomats and dignitaries. Both the Clintons and Michele Obama were greeted with elaborate ceremonies when they visited. But even when there are not important visitors the South Gate is lite up every night with lights and a big balloon that looks like the moon.
October 3 (Xi'an): Today we tried the breakfast at the hotel which wasn't the best but the rest of the day was awesome. We started by going to the Beilin Museum which is known for the 1,000 steles that they have presents throughout. Steles are carving of many different types of Chinese calligraphy recording poetry, history and early Buddhist theology used all over the world today. After we made a quick stop for ice cream and then headed to the City Wall. At first we thought we would walk the entire circumference of the wall but after the first two miles we decided to bike the remaining 6 miles. This work out well because we were able to get great pictures both ways and were were able to see the entire wall. Afterward we went to a restaurant that had a type of Korean BBQ where we got to cook our own food on a hot skillet. I got a steak and potatoes which made me really happy. After we meet up with some friends of Courtney, from on boarding, at a bar near by.
2 October 2018
Mini Xi'an history lesson 1: Xi'an has a great history and I was really excited to visit it. The first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, unified China in 221 B.C. and made Xi'an the first capital of China. Xi'an was the capital for 11 out of 13 dynasties. Emperor Qin is also known for he unification of multiple state walls into the single Great Wall. The Terracotta Warriors is also in Xi'an which was built for the resting place for the first emperor. Also, the City Wall is the best preserved city wall in all of China. Xi'an is also the starting point of the Silk Road.
October 2 (Xi'an): Today I flew to Xi'an with Deb and Courtney. Our hotel was right outside the City Wall. We decided to head into the city to see the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower. Both were used to tell time and celebrate different times of the year. I preferred the Drum Tower because it had the worlds largest Drum. It was over 9 feet wide and had one cow hid over the entire thing. I don't know where they found a cow big enough. Both building had the traditional Chinese architecture and were decorated really fancy. Afterwards, we got some dinner at Subway and walked along the base of the wall. After getting back to the hotel, Deb quickly fell asleep but Courtney was still hungry. We see off to get food and we were reminded how important is it to have a charged phone. My phone was dead and her phone wasn't working so we had no way to pay for dinner. I had to go retrieve my battery back from the hotel just so we could pay for the dinner. After that excitement we were ready for bed.
1 October 2018
October 1: Happy National Day also known as Chinese Independence Day. I celebrated by spending the day with my friends. Ray, Charlotte and I had lunch together at a Muslim place in our mall. All very yummy. After Ray invited all the teachers over to her place. Charlotte and I got there early and got to meet her adorable mom. After everyone arrived we played some games and ended up watching an old music award show. We also watched the sun set over the mountains from her balcony. It was an amazing day!
P.S. I think Ray likes her birthday present from Deb and I.
26 September 2018
September 25: Pool day! Today was a ton of fun. It took us a while to find a pool as they have already started draining them for 'winter' but it was in the mid 80s today. We ended up at a roof top pool. We had a ton of fun playing around. After we went to dinner at Hai Di Lao near 3 Lanes 7 Alleys. It was some of there first time at a hot pot and we all enjoyed it. I have really enjoyed getting to know the new teachers.
25 September 2018
September 25: Today we came back from the hot springs. Courtney and I both slept so well and were sad to leave. But today was also a fun day. There was a TRT event at an arcade and bowling ally with some of my coworkers. It was a blast. We played 4 games. I won one of the games and I had the highest game of the day! It was also my highest score of my life, 137! We also got lunch together. After, Courtney and Deb came over to my place and we planed our trip to Xi'an.
24 September 2018
September 24: Happy Mid Autumn Festival! My day stared really crazy with my toilet leaking everywhere. Fortunately, my landlord was on it and got the plumber to come right away. The rest of my day was wonderful and relaxing. I went out to a hot springs in the north of Fuzhou with some friends. It was so nice. All the hot springs had different temperatures and smells. Dinner was also so good. We went to the restaurant at the hotel and got so many good dishes. To end the night we had mini cakes to celebrate Emily's boyfriends birthday.
23 September 2018
September 23: Even though tomorrow is Mid Autumn Festival we celebrated it at school today with a traditional dice game. I won a carrot pen and a pencil case. But one of my students who was still there won a ¥300 Starbucks gift card. So next week Brian and I will take the class there and have them speak English as an extension of class. Afterwards it was Debs birthday so we went to Mr. Beer for a little bit to hang out.
19 September 2018
September 19: Today was a fun day with friends. I had Sophia over for lunch. I made her taco salad and we talked for a long time. We had a great time catching up and learning more about each other's culture and past. For dinner I went to Student Street with Courtney and Ashley. I showed them a good make your own Ramon place and we did some shopping. I got a new bag.
11 September 2018
September 11: Today I got to paint at a teacher event! They taught us some Chinese painting techniques. I enjoyed painting a panda and bamboo. Also, I painted my Chinese name on it.
10 September 2018
September 11: Happy Teachers Day! I had some really sweet students bring me some gifts and the school had a cake for us. I love being a teacher for such great students.
8 September 2018
September 8: Erin and Spencer explored the market behind my apartment complex in the morning. They got us some rolls for breakfast. After we headed to 3 Lanes 7 Alleys for some more shopping. They had some more souvenir they wanted to buy. After we headed back to my place to rest before we went to dinner with some of my friends at Thank You Mom (yes that is actually the name of the restaurant) for pizza. After dinner we finished packing up their stuff and got them a didi to a hotel near the airport so they could catch their plane in the morning. It was great having them here.
7 September 2018
September 7: This morning I made breakfast for all of us before we headed out to Drum Mountain. Thank goodness that we took the chair lift up because the mountain was way bigger than we thought. It was still a nice hike at the top. We saw temples and lots of inscriptions on the rocks. After taking the chair lift back down we went to explored a mall near my apartment. We also got Mr. Chen's Dumplings for a late lunch. They enjoyed them a lot last time and wanted to go again. We came back to apartment to relax and play some card before heading to dinner. We went to a Koran BBQ which was quite yummy.
6 September 2018
September 6: This morning we went to Manncoffee for a kind of western breakfast. After we went to West Lake Park and walked around. It was so hot but very pretty. We went to Panda World but all the panda were sleeping so we didn't get to see any of the pandas but we did get to see sun bears and red pandas. After we went a roof top pool to cool off. It had a nice view and we had fun goofing around in the water. For dinner we went to Student Street to try some street food. We tried liquid nitrogen ice cream which was interesting. Then we went to a make your own Ramon restaurant for dinner. Unfortunately Erin wasn't feeling well so we cut dinner short and heading back to my place for an early night.
5 September 2018
September 5: In the morning I made them breakfast before heading out for the full day. First we went to 3 Lanes 7 Alleys. It was fun having them explore and get some souvenirs. We also got some ice cream, some dumplings and some kabobs. We headed back to my place to cool off as we were dying of heat. We played some cards and relaxed. We heading back out and went to Minjiang Park near my house. It was again so hot and humid. We took a taxi back to my place to change before going to dinner at Hai Di Lao with Deb and Courtney.
4 September 2018
September 4: Today Erin and Spencer arrived in Fuzhou! I picked them up from the airport in the afternoon and brought them back to my apartment. For dinner we went to my favorite dumpling place, Mr. Chen's Dumplings After I showed them around some stores including Walmart where they got to get some Chinese candy and some things I need for the apartment. We didn't stay up super later after that as they are still adjusting to the time.
1 September 2018
September 1: Today we welcomed Courtney to the Fuzhou School 2 team!
31 August 2018
October 5: Finally got the photos from the Elephant preservation!
August 31(Phuket, Thailand): Today We took the ferry back to Phuket to go to the Phuket Elephant Jungle Sanctuary. We arrived late but it worked out. We got to fed the elephants corn, bananas, and sugar cane. I mainly fed Sundee(74 years old) and Danqui(48). There was also a mother, Wandee(20) and her daughter, Mina(2). They're amazing animals. Then we got to take a mud bath with them. The water was only up to our knees but we helped rub mud on them to help them cool down. After we took a bath with them which was my favorite part because the elephants liked to play in the water and were spraying us too. Then, we took showers and had lunch. We got to feed them a little bit more before we headed out. This place is so amazing. They recused these elephants from work camps or circuses. Here they treat them right and make sure they at taken care of. They had a photographer taking photos all day so more photos to come. After, they dropped us off at the airport to start our long journgey home
30 August 2018
August 30 (Phi Phi Island, Thailand): Today we went on a all day island hopping cruise. It was amazing. We got to check out a couple islands and did a ton of snorkeling. The water is so beautiful and the fish were so use to humans that they swam right near you. I did got burnt even after I put on sun screen nine times that day and, covered up when I could. When we got back, we got Thai pancakes again. I love them!
29 August 2018
August 29 (Phi Phi Island, Thailand): Today we explored the island a little and did some shopping. It is a very tourist island but the beaches are amazing and the place we are staying is a little away from the main part of the city. I was able to get some cute clothes and a coffee mug to add to my collection. I also got a hat, which I really needed because I burnt my forehead pretty bad even with sun screen. Today my friend Annie also got a bamboo tattoo. For lunch we got Thai pancakes which are amazing!! I got one with egg and potatoes and one with banana and chocolate. After lunch we went to the pool and then the ocean. For dinner I got a pulled pork sandwich which I really miss from home. We walked around a little after dinner before I headed back to go to sleep.
28 August 2018
August 28 (Phi Phi Island, Thailand): We made it. It took us 3 flights, 4 airports, 3 taxi rides and a ferry but, we made it and boy is it worth it. It is beautiful here. The ferry ride was also so pretty. There were a tons of cool islands. We are staying on Phi Phi Island. We have a private bungalow near the water with a porch. After we got settled we spent the afternoon relaxing by the pool, swimming in the ocean, sleeping on the beach and having yummy food.
26 August 2018
August 26: Summer course is officially over so, no more working 6 days a week. Even though it was a ton of work, Summer Course was very rewarding. The students learned a ton and improved a lot in phonics, pronunciation and confidence. All the teachers were 'super hero's' (which is next months Life Club theme) with being able to teach as much as we did. Now myself and 3 other teachers are flying off to Thailand for some well deserved vacation.
14 August 2018
August 14: Today Charlotte had a pancake breakfast for the Teacher Team to say thank you. It was super nice of her and yummy. We ended up spending most of the day at her house playing cards, talking and watching Moana. It was a perfect rainy day.
13 August 2018
August 12: Today we had an appreciation dinner at Hai Di Lao for the Progress Assistances. They are very vital to the team and have been putting in a ton of extra hours. I am very thankful for their hard work.
10 August 2018
August 10: Today we had an appreciation party for the Teacher Assistances at our work. They have help us out a ton during summer course and throughout the year.
7 August 2018
August 7: Today Ray showed Cinderella, Deb and I a new park, Feifeng Shan. I can't believe I haven't been to it before. It has a gorgeous view of Fuzhou. We could see so far and the hike to the top wasn't bad. It was fun to talk and get to know my co workers better.
31 July 2018
July 30: Pool day! Deb just found out that she has a pool in her apartment complex. After Deb and I got lunch we headed to the pool. Charlotte and Brian joined us later on. It was so nice and relaxing. Also, we played some cards. We will totally be having more pool days soon. The only down side to the day was was I was talking home I got bit by bug on my eye lid. It swelled up really fast and took a couple of days to go down.
24 July 2018
July 24: I took a day trip to Tangqianxiang with some work friends. We took a van about an hour out of Fuzhou to a small town. First, we went to a driving range slash archery range that you could also fish at. It was interesting but also fun. After we got lunch and relaxed for a little bit before going Kayaking. Deb and I shared a Kayak. She really liked going in circles. Also, there were these little stairs in the river that were fun to walk on. Unfortunately, I also hurt my toe while there. After we went to a swimming area. It was my favorite part as I got to swim for a couple of hours. There were also bamboo rafts that we could play on. The only down side was it was very rocky. Our final stop of the day was a passion fruit farm. I had never tried passion fruit before and it was surprising good. It was also fun picking it. There wasn't a ton because of the recent typhoon so, you had to hunt for them which kind of made it more fun.
12 July 2018
July 12 - Mom and Rebecca in Fuzhou: Today my mom and Rebecca left Fuzhou. In the morning, I had a class, but, during my break I was able to get a delicious lunch of Lobster and pasta before taking them to the train station. It was hard to say bye. My apartment was quite quiet once the left.
11 July 2018
July 11 - Mom and Rebecca in Fuzhou: Today I had lots of classes but my mom and Rebecca got to observe two of my class. It was so cool to show them what I do. After classes we went to Haidilao for hot pot again. It is their last night here and we all really enjoyed the food there. We ate way to much food but it was so good.
July 11: - Mom and Rebecca in Fuzhou: Today a Typhoon hit Fuzhou. I expected it to be a lot worse than it was. There was wind and some rain but nothing crazy. The power went out for a little bit in the morning but was fine by the time we wanted breakfast. We relaxed most of the day. My mom was able to cut my hair which was really needed as I haven't had a hair cut in over 8 months. The typhoon passed mid day and around dinner time we went to Student Street. Unfortunately, Student Street was still mostly closed but we did get a good dinner. At this restaurant you get to make your own soup for the table. We put a little bit of everything in there. It was quite yummy.
10 July 2018
July 10 - Mom and Rebecca in Fuzhou: Today was an interesting day. The plan was to go to this spa outside the city for a relaxing day but when we got there we found out everything was closed from the spa to the pool because a typhoon was coming the following day. We quickly checked out and headed back to my place for plan B which included going to my favorite dumpling place, experiencing Walmart and going to a local spa. The spa as wonderful. I got an amazing massage which was needed. My mom also convinced me to get cupping. It was ...interesting. We also had an amazing dinner there.
9 July 2018
July 9 - Mom and Rebecca in Fuzhou: Again I had to work all day but my mom and Rebecca are still having fun. They went to Student Street and got some amazing food. Also they got to enjoy the big park near my apartment. After work a big group of my coworkers and I all went out for KTV. My mom and Rebecca sure do like to sing and dance.
8 July 2018
July 8 - Mom and Rebecca in Fuzhou: Unfortunately I had to work all day today but my mom and Rebecca had fun exploring the Fijian Museum and West Lake Park. After work Deb, Sophia, my mom, Rebecca and I went to Haidilao for hot pot. It was amazing. And my mom and Rebecca both loved it too. This place is known for their great service. We even got all our nails painted for free after dinner.
7 July 2018
July 7 - Mom and Rebecca in Fuzhou: I had to work in the morning but after work we went to 3 lanes and 7 allies. It was a ton of fun walking around. We got fish ball soup for lunch. We saw a traditional Chinese apothecary. And we saw metal jewelry being made. Also, we some really good ice tea. For dinner we headed back to the mall I work in for sushi and a rice dish before we meet up with some of my coworkers. First we went to a restaurant that we thought was a bar. But that wasn't what we were looking for so we went to Mr. Beer where we watched part of the World Cup game.
6 July 2018
July 6 - Mom and Rebecca in Fuzhou: My mom and Rebecca made it to Fuzhou. I got to introduce them to all my coworkers and take them to a really good Korea BBQ place for a late dinner. They also got to see my apartment.
4 July 2018
July 4: Happy 4th July ! To celebrate, Bill wore a Old Navy USA T-shirt and I thought it was the most adorable thing and funny because it is the 4th of July. He is also one of my favorite students.
3 July 2018
July 3rd: My mom and Rebecca are in China!!!
26 June 2018
June 26: Today was a fun day. There was a teacher event to play laser tag. It was a ton of fun. Very different from what I am use to but I think it was even better. The blinking lights on our vest turned off during the game so you could actually hide. Also, it was a two story area which made it really fun. After Deb and I got lunch before going to see Incredibles 2 in 3D. It was good and we enjoyed the time together. It was a great way to spend my last weekend before summer course starts.
19 June 2018
June 19-20 (EF Summer Party - Pingtan): Every summer EF puts on a summer party for each city. For our party we went to the island of Pingtan for two days. There were lots of organized games that I didn't really appreciate. There were random relay races, and scavenger hunts, and singing. But we also had quite a bit of free time. During my free time I went to the pool..twice. I miss swimming. Also, we had some time to relax at the beach which is also where we had a barbecue dinner. It was nice to hang out with everyone away from school and get to know some of my coworkers better.
18 June 2018
June 18: Spa day with Sophia. It was very different then a US spa but it was so relaxing. We got our own room which was like a hotel room with beds, TV and full bathroom. We both got some really good massages. We watched some movies. Sophia really liked Mouse Hunt. Also they had a buffet and tea.
8 June 2018
June 8: Today was Sophia's birthday! After work we went to KTV. We had a great time singing and eating. It was a ton of fun to hang out with these great people and celebrate Sophia birthday!
23 May 2018
May 23: Today I went paddle boarding on the river. Even though my balance is good once I started trying to stand on one leg or doing other tricks I fell in quite a few times. It was very unique because I've always went on little lakes so seeing the city in the background very different.
22 May 2018
May 22: Today I went to another TRT event. This time it was poetry painting! It was a great time and I think my mug turned out great. I can't wait to see it once it's fired. After we went to a Greek restaurant for some amazing food and then went shopping. I was finally able to find some shorts and another skirt that I can wear to work.
15 May 2018
May 15: Saw the new Avengers movie with Sophia, Ray, Deb and Brian. It was a crazy movie. I am still not sure how I feel about it but it was great spending time with friends.
11 May 2018
May 11 - Larry in Fuzhou: Today Larry left. I am so glad he came. I loved traveling to Beijing with him and exploring that city. And then I got to show him around my home city of Fuzhou. He got to see my apartment. He got to try all the authentic Chinese food and he got to meet most of friends. We even got to explore a near by city that I had never been to before. We had a great adventure but it was still very hard to see him leave.
10 May 2018
May 10 - Larry in Fuzhou: We were quite lazy this morning. We slept in until almost 10 and ended up skipping breakfast. We meet up with Ray for a traditional Fuzhou cuisine for lunch. She took us to a really popular but small restaurant. We tried a couple of dishes including pig kidney. Ray insisted on paying for lunch so we treated her to ice cream. After Ray had to go to work so we went to Bravo one more time for Larry to pick up all the treats he wants to take home with him. After we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and packing. For dinner we went to a Korean BBQ. They cooked all our food right in front of us. It was very yummy and a nice last dinner together.
9 May 2018
May 9 - Larry in Fuzhou (part 2): Even though we were kind of tired from the Fun Zone it was nothing compared to how we felt after hiking in Fuzhou National Forest Park with Ray. We had fun hiking. It was really pretty. But there were so many stairs and we were climbing a mountain. We hiked back to Dragon Falls and there were many small waterfalls on the way. It was very peaceful out there. Also, hiking gave Larry a chance to get to know Ray better. By the time we got back we took a golf cart to the entrance before getting a taxi back to my apartment. Larry and I were so tired we ordered dinner in. We had spicy kabobs and rice.
May 9 - Larry in Fuzhou (part 1): Today we spent the day with my coworkers. There was a TRT event at the Fun Zone. In total it was Charlotte, Ray, Areal, Chris, Deb, Larry and I. It's a team gaming facility that has multiple game for us to play in teams. It started with a weird relay race with this really pokey plastic. The second game was a giant foosball. Some of my coworkers were super competitive and I definitely got some busies out of it. It was still a ton a fun. The third game was a giant wack a mole. I had fun hitting my coworkers in the head with a blow up hammer. And the third was a trampoline park with basketball hoops. I, of course, had to do some flips on them. We had a ton of fun. I was so tired afterwards, we all were. After we all went to a north western Chinese restaurant for some traditional cuisine. I really enjoyed the duck. They also had traditional Chinese dancers during the lunch rush and they asked me and Areal to dance with them.
8 May 2018
May 8 - Larry in Fuzhou: Today we decided to have a very yummy and nutritious breakfast of donuts and milk before going to the island of Pingtan for a beach day. It is an island but it is huge and has mountains on it. It was a great day for the beach. It was mid 80s and very humid in Fuzhou. It was our first time ever seeing the Pacific and it was fun to see and swim in it. The water was also quite warm. We also walked along the beach for a while and climbed some rocks that jutted out into the ocean. We also had fun building a sand castle. For lunch we just had snacks but for dinner we found a local little restaurant that had some really good food. We got ice cream on our walk back to the beach. We stayed till well after sunset in hopes of seeing the blue tears, which is when the water glows blue because of bioluminescent fish but we didn't get lucky. It was still fun to see the ocean at night before getting a Didi back to Fuzhou.
7 May 2018
May 7 - Larry in Fuzhou: Today the plan was to go to the Fujian Museum and West Lake Park but I didn't know that the museum was closed on Monday so we settled for just the park. We walked around for a while and we also just sat under some shade. It was quite hot and humid today. We decided to go back to Mr. Chen's Dumplings, my favorite dumpling place and now Larry's too. After we went back to Walmart to pick some stuff up for my apartment like a summer comforter for my bed. The one I had was quite heavy and hot for the summer here. We also got popsicles to help with the heat. On the way back it was raining and we got a really got thunderstorm that night.
6 May 2018
May 6 - Larry in Fuzhou: Today was a relaxing day. We took the day easy. We slept in and watched movies. I had never seen the justice league series and Larry brought them over so, we enjoyed watching them. For dinner we went to Hai Di Lao, a really nice hot pot restaurant. Some of my coworkers, Charlotte, Brian, Ray, and Deb came with us. The food was good and it was nice for Larry to get to know my coworker better.
5 May 2018
May 5 - Larry in Fuzhou: Today we went to 3 Lanes and 7 Alleys which is the main tourist area of town with mini museums and shops. It's where all the rich and famous people use to live. We did lots of souvenir shopping for ourselves and family. We went to a couple of the museums but we were more interested in the shops and food. We got a really good waffle ice cream cone and some Chinese danishes. We also saw a pretty church near by. I don't know if it was because I was with Larry or the time of year but at least 5 people asked for photos with me. They love my white skin, blonde hair and blue eyes. For dinner we decided to go to my favorite dumpling place, Mr. Chen's Dumplings in Wanda Plaza. Larry really liked the dumping too. Then we went to Walmart so he could see how different it was here compared to in the US. We also got some more snacks to try.
4 May 2018
May 4 - Larry in Fuzhou: Today I showed Larry my favorite park near my house, Minjiang Park. It did sprinkle on us a little but the park was really pretty. After we went to my school so Larry could meet all my coworkers. One of the course consultants, Sunny, said Larry was hot. We then went downstairs for dinner at a dumpling place with Brian. Brian had to get back to work but Larry and I went to Bravo because I had no food at my apartment. We mainly grabbed snack food as we planed to eat out a lot. Larry picked out some chips and desserts that he wanted to try.
3 May 2018
May 3 - Beijing to Fuzhou: Today we left Beijing for Fuzhou. We decided to take the train as then we could look at the country side. It was about an 8 hour trip but we enjoyed each other's company and we even watched some movies on my laptop. When we got to Fuzhou we took a taxi to my apartment. Since we had a full day of travel we decided to order in dinner. We got my favorite delivery food which is rice, fried chicken with veggies and potatoes.
2 May 2018
May 2 - Beijing day 4: Today was our last full day in Beijing. We decided to sleep in a little today thus, we missed breakfast at the hotel so we ended up at McDonalds for breakfast. After, we headed to the Forbidden City. It was so big. We took about three hours walking around and we didn't see everything and most the building we couldn't even go in. We did see the Hall of Clocks and Watches which was really cool to see. We both enjoyed the royal garden. After walking around so much we wanted to rest so we decided to watch Mulan since we had now seen the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. We got dinner at a local noodle restaurant. They made their noodles by hand and they were so good. They also had a good juice. Then we returned to our hotel to pack.
1 May 2018
May 1 Beijing day 3 (part 2): The hike on the Great Wall was definitely a workout. And it bothered my knee a little bit but, I would go again in a heart beat. To go back down the mountain we got to take a luge. It was a ton of fun going down that way. We met up with Matt for dinner and got some souvenirs before making our way back to the hotel. I got a cool mug and Larry got some post cards. The trip back was also long. On the long bus there were so many people that we had to stand. At one point I almost fell over but Larry caught me. By the time we got back we were quite tired and turned in early.
May 1 - Beijing day (part 1): Great Wall day! First, we got breakfast at our hotel. Larry has been enjoying trying new things every morning. He found one type of dumpling he really likes. To get to the Mutianyu Great Wall was quite a process. We walked, took the metro, two busses, a taxi and a chair lift. We did meet a nice guy named Matt, who was also from the USA. We took the taxi with him. The long trip out there was totally worth it. It is so beautiful. It wasn't too crowded. This section of the Great Wall is mostly restored but has some original steps too. Which meaning that some steps where as high as my knee while others were barely a bump. We decided to walk to where the end of the restored section was and I was so glad we did. The unrestored section was covered in trees and was really cool to see. We couldn't help but take a ton of photos.
30 April 2018
April 30 - Beijing day 2: Today we explored the area around our hotel. First we had breakfast at our hotel which was a traditional Chinese breakfast. Larry got to try some new things. After we walked down to Tiananmen Square. There were so many people. Tiananmen Square is huge. After we were going to go to the Forbidden City but all 80,000 tickets were already sold for the day and it wasn't even 11am! Instead we walked around the area and did some shopping. Larry got some cool souvenirs and I got a new book called '101 Stories for Foreigners to Understand Chinese.' For dinner we got Peking Duck which is the food that Beijing is famous for. We originally went to one restaurant but the wait was way to long. Instead we went to one in a hotel. Our waiter, Kenny, was super nice. And the food was amazing.
29 April 2018
April 29 - Beijing day 1: Larry is here!!!! Even though his plane was delayed by 5 hours, meaning I waited in the airport for him for 8 hours it is totally worth it because he is here. We took the metro to get to our hotel which is right in the center of Beijing. Once we got settled we went to get snacks at the corner store.
28 April 2018
April 28: Today we had a teacher team building event. We went ice staking in the same mall as our school. We had been talking about going ice skating since November. It was a ton of fun. Ray, Brian and Charlotte had never ice skates before so it was fun to help them. Deb was an amazing skater and was doing circles around all of us. After Ray, Deb and I went to my favorite dumpling place, Chen's Dumplings. Then I went home to pack as tomorrow I go to Beijing to see Larry!
25 April 2018
April 25: A new international teacher arrived today! Her name is Deb. I picked her up from the airport this morning and took her to the hotel. After I showed her around the area, gave her a tour of the school and we went to lunch with some other teachers.
24 April 2018
April 24: Today there was a TRT event. They have these events periodically for EF employees as team building events. Today's event was handmade soap building. It was fun making them and now I have some really nice soap.
13 April 2018
April 13: We had a big review of our school today. The management team came in to check everything from our sales to the paint on the wall. Brian, Ray and myself represented the teacher team. Also, in preparation they needed the demo room wall painted with some of the characters. Even though it took a ton of time, I'm really happy with my hard work and it was nice to paint again.
7 April 2018
April 7: My recruiter, Juliet Wells, came down from Shanghai to learn more about Fuzhou. She also recruited Alex and Pauline. It was a great time catching up with her over some great Greek food.
5 April 2018
April 5: Today I spent most of my day with Sophia! She is the best Teacher Assistant (TA) at my school and she is super cool. We went to a West Lake Park and the amusement park next to it. It was really pretty. We walked around for a while and we went on the a paddle boat. After we headed back to my apartment to watch a movie and to get out of the sun. It is getting quite hot here. We watched How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. She thought it was funny. I also made us dinner. We had a great time talking and had a fun relaxing day. Sophia and I plan to hangout again soon.
4 April 2018
April 4: Today was a good and productive day. I got a workout this morning and then I went shopping for a kaki skirt. I didn't have any luck finding a skirt but my workout was good. After, I got some stuff cleaned up in my apartment before heading to a celebration dinner for Charlotte's 4th year and for Brenda's Birthday. Also, the head boss of Fuzhou brought her two month old baby and he is such a cutie. It was a great dinner. There was great food and great conversations. Also, the cheese cake was amazing!
3 April 2018
April 3: This week has been a tons of fun. Two new teachers, Alex and Pauline, came to Fuzhou this week. I have meet them several times but tonight I had them over for dinner along with Charlotte. We had a fruit and veggie plater for starters with mimosas and for dinner we had a traditional American breakfast with bacon, fried potatoes and spinach, mushroom, onion scrambled eggs. I'm really bummed I didn't take any photos. It all looked so good. Also, I get along with them really well. And they are form MICHIGAN!! So we know all the same places. We already have plans to hang out again soon.
19 March 2018
March 19: Today we had a training across town at school 1 so instead of just going over for the training we made a day out of it. We went to a great Greek restaurant first. After that, we got some ice cream and walked around the mall. I'm so lucky to have great coworkers.
14 March 2018
March 13-14: I had a great weekend. On Tuesday, I had my favorite dumplings from Chen's Dumpling and then I went to see Black Panther in 4D with Brian (international teacher), Joyie (TA), Cici (TA), Sophia (TA), and Brenda (boss's boss). It was so good. Much more violent but good. On Wednesday, I joined a gym and got a great workout wth Brian and Ray. I've been teaching Ray how to use the machines. After the workout we went to a taco place to have lunch. I have been craving tacos so much. It was my first time having them since I've been in China. Also, I was dog sitting my boss's dog all week so I got some good walks too.
10 March 2018
March 10: Brian, our new international teacher arrived today. He seems super nice. He is from South Africa and has been in China for two years. All the teachers went out after work to have a welcome dinner at a hot pot. It was so much food but it was so good.
8 March 2018
March 8: Today we had a birthday party for Phoebe and myself. There was cake, fruit and good company. Also, it was women's day so we each got roses. It was so nice and yummy.
7 March 2018
March 6 and 7: Spring is here in Fuzhou so I spent quite a bit of time outside during my weekend. On Tuesday I took a nice walk on the park near by my apartment. Also, I found a good hammock spot that was perfect for reading and relaxing. On Wednesday, Ray and I met up to go to the bank. As that did not take as long as we thought we would come back to my apartment were we watched Ferris Bueller Day Off and I made lunch for us. After we went to the biggest park in Fuzhou to see the peach blossoms. We also saw some other cool plants and trees. One tree was over 1,000 years old and was huge! I want to go back to the park again because there is a waterfall further up the mountain but it started raining on us so we decided to head back. On our way back we ran into another coworker. It was a good weekend.
5 March 2018
March 5: Even though I had to work today, it was still a great birthday. I got a package full of some of my favorite food from my mom, a bottle full of fairy lights from my co-worker, Ray, a plush toy from a student who also sang Happy Birthday to me, and some gorgeous flowers from my boyfriend. After work I was taken out to dinner by some coworkers.
2 March 2018
March 2: Tonight I got to celebrate Lantern Festival. It is celebrated on the last day of Spring festival and is celebrated with parades, light shows, big sculptures and of course lots of lanterns. Unfortunately, because of work we didn't get there until late but we still got to see a couple of the big lanterns all lit up. I'm bummed I missed the setting off of the lanterns and the big dragon parade but what I did see was still pretty cool.
25 February 2018
February 25: Most people take down their Christmas tree and decorations but not me. I turn them into spring decorations. My Christmas tree is now a spring tree and my snowflakes are now flowers. Happy spring everyone :)
19 February 2018
February 19 - Sansha day 7: Today was my last day at Kitty's house. We didn't have to leave untill the afternoon so we spent the morning relaxing and spending time with her family. Kitty's niece wanted an English name so I gave her a few options and she went with Dani. I will miss Kitty's family. They have been so nice and welcoming to me. I'm so happy I got to learn more about Chinese culture. I loved celebrating a traditional Chinese New Year. Also, I loved trying all the food. I have some new favorites like rice noodle wraps, bamboo soup, dumping and sticky rice patties. I just wish I could cook that food myself. But at least now I know how to make dumplings. Kitty's family said I am welcome to come back anytime. Maybe next time I can learn how to cook more.
18 February 2018
February 18 - Sansha day 6 (part 2): After lunch we went hiking near a bay which was mostly empty during low tied. Also, there were all these sticks in the water which apparently have some type of vegetable growing on them. We hiked around until sunset but unfortunately we weren't able to see it due to a mountain being in the way. After we went to her friends apartment to hang out for a little bit before going to dinner at a more traditional Chinese restaurant which means lots of sea food. Kitty's friends are really nice. They tried their best to communicate with me and some of them had decent English. After dinner two of her friends drove us back to her house.
February 18 - Sansha day 6 (part 1): Today we spent all day in a neighboring city. It's where Kitty went to middle school and high school. There we meet up with some of Kitty's friends. They get together every year during Spring Festival. First, we went to a small amusement park and went on the Ferris Wheel which gave us a cool view of the area. Unfortunately, I couldn't get good pictures due to the bars around the cage. Then we went to a park to meet up with her friends and to try a local snack of fruit with a red sugar coating. The sugar part was good but I'm not a fan of the fruit. One of her friends had the funniest electric bike. It was in the shape of snoopy. We then went to get lunch at a western/Chinese restaurant. We ordered everything to share so I had waffles, pasta, fries, mango ice cream, cauliflower, chicken, rice patties, and one of my favorite Chinese desserts which is kind of like french toast but crunchier and is served with ice cream.
17 February 2018
February 17 - Sansha day 5: Today was really cold and very windy. The original plan was to go to the island near by but with the high wind it wasn't possible. But a windy day is perfect for playing with bubbles so we bought some bubble wands. It was fun and we got some cool pictures. After we went to warm up at a coffee shop. Kitty's friend, Kunpeng, went and got us some Korea BBQ for a snack. After that Kitty and I went back to her house to relax for a little bit and had dinner before heading out again to meet up with a group of her friends. First, we went to a bar to hang out and play some games and then we went to a restaurant to get some food. The friends were really nice and tried their best to communicate with me and include me in the games even though their English wasn't very good.
16 February 2018
February 16 - Sansha day 4: Happy Chinese New Years! Today we welcomed in the year of the dog. Today was great. I got to celebrate with some of the Chinese traditions. First, children and some adults wears new clothes. This is a tradition because the poor use to not be able to afford clothes so this was the one time a year they would get new clothes. Another tradition is red packets, which are envelopes with money inside. The children get red packets from their relatives. I gave red packets to Kitty's niece and nephews but I instead of RMB I put dollars. Another tradition is for the entire family to go to the temple together. It was really busy. There we rang a big bell to bring luck in the new year. After the entire family spends time together eating and playing Mah Jong, a domino game. I tried to look up the rules and watch but the game is so complicated. I only watched but I enjoyed the food. Also, I found roasted watermelon seeds and sugar cane are both are yummy.
15 February 2018
February 15 - Sansha day 3 (part 2): After dinner we went out to meet up with one of Kitty's friends, Kunpeng. It's common for young adults to go out after dinner to catch up because Chinese New Year is the only time they have too see each other as they all work in different cities around China but everyone comes back home to celebrate. We went to a restaurant and there they taught me how to play a dice game. I'm pretty good at it but I'm still not sure I actually understand the rules. We then got some fireworks and had fun lighting them off and taking pictures. After we went back to Kitty's house to light off fireworks with her family and then watch the fireworks at midnight. They were amazing! The most fireworks I've ever seen. People from all over the city were lighting off fireworks. Picture fifty grand finales all going off at once for a half hour! It was so pretty. It also made me realize how big this town is. Even though they call it a town it has a huge population!
February 15 - Sansha day 3 (part 1): Today is Chinese New Year's Eve. It is beautiful out today. It's sunny and in the mid 70s. Since today is a family day, we spent most of the day at Kitty's house. For some of the day I laid outside in the sun and read. It was wonderful. Surprisingly I didn't get burnt. Dinner is the start of the big Chinese New Year's celebration. There was so much food. My favorite was a rice noodle dish that you put in wraps. Her family wanted me to try everything! They also wanted me to eat more. They were afraid I would be hungry. During dinner they taught me new Chinese words. Kitty's family is so nice and the kids are adorable.
14 February 2018
February 14 - Sansha day 2 (part 2): On our way back to her house, we went to the beach to see the sunset which was gorgeous. When we got back to Kitty's house we had dinner with her family. Her mom made us amazing dumplings and soup. Her mom also taught me how to make dumplings which is actually quite easy. I can't wait to make them at home for my friends and family. I hope I can find the wraps.
February 14 - Sansha day 2 (part 1): Today we did a lot of exploring. The day started with a great local breakfast. It was like an egg roll but with really thin noodles and veggies in it and it was amazing. One of her friends meet up with us. He spoke English pretty well, so that was nice. Together walked around the downtown before we got a van that took us to a neighboring town. The weather there is super nice. It was mid 60s and sunny all day. I wouldn't be surprised if I got a little burnt today. In the neighboring town we saw some temples, went to the river, walked around and had a really filling lunch. It was sort of fish soup that I would love to learn how to make.
13 February 2018
February 13 - Sansha day 1 (part 2): After lunch, we headed out so Kitty could show me around a little. Today we went to a really cool Buddhist temple that sits on a mountain. We first went into town and then we got a van to the temple. Her brother and second cousin came with us. Her second cousin is absolutely adorable. She is 6 years old, never stops moving, and is always laughing. Also, she repeats every English word I say and has really good memory. When we were at the temple I looked out and said 'wow' she ran around looking everywhere looking out saying 'wow.' It was the most adorable thing.
February 13 - Sansha day 1 (part 1): Today was the first day of my Spring Festival/Chinese New Years break. Chinese New Years is huge here. Everyone goes to their home town to spend time with family. Kitty, a coworker, is super nice and invited me to celebrate with her and her family. Kitty is from the small sea side town of Sansha. I'm super excited to celebrating a traditional Chinese New Years. Her hometown is about an hour train ride north of Fuzhou. Her family lives on the side of a mountain with a great view of the ocean. We dropped off our stuff at her house and had some lunch made by her mom. I also got to meet some of her family. She has a really big family. None of them speak English but they are all super nice and super hospitable. They all learned how to say hello so they could welcome me which I thought was really nice. I really hope to improve my Chinese here. Kitty is really good at teaching me new words.
11 February 2018
February 11: Tonight we had our end of winter course/Chinese New Years party. It was a great time. We had great food and good company. We even played some fun games with prizes. I also got the Excellent Teacher Award which was a really nice surprise along with some nice headphones. And the teacher team got an award for being the best.
24 January 2018
February 6: It's been all work recently. I have been working six days a week for winter course where we teach the students nursery rhymes, phonics and do cool crafts. Also, one of my students gave me a rose for Chinese News Year
17 January 2018
January 9-17: Chongqing (part 2): I came with 4 other teachers from Fuzhou but we also meet a ton of other teachers here. It was really nice to meet more teachers and I got to know some of them pretty well. I even stayed with Elizabeth the last night I was there. My last day in Chongqing I was able to explore. I made the most out of my morning as Dani, a Chongqing teacher, took me to a tour bus that took us to all the best places here. I learned some interesting history too. My favorite was Hongyadong Cave which is a huge mall like building, built into the mountain cave. It's really pretty on the outside and had lots of local arts, crafts and food. I got a really cool bamboo coffee mug with Chinese engravings on it! Seeing the point where the Yangtze River meets the Jialing River was cool too. The two rivers are different colors and you can see where they converge on a nice day but I wasn't able to really see it. I'm still glad I got to explore Chongqing a little.
11 January 2018
January 9-17: Chongqing (part 1): I traveled to Chongqing for 7 days for my Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) in class training. Chongqing has a population of over 30 million (larger than Texas' entire population or about 2.5 time the population of New York City) ... so it's really big. The city reminded me a lot of a much bigger Pittsburg. It is built around the converging of two rivers, is a very mountainous city, and have so many bridges. Every day we had class from 9:30-530 so there wasn't much time for exploring during the week. Every night we did go out for dinner and we found some really good food. Chongqing is known for being the spiciest city and boy was it. It's a special pepper here that makes your mouth go numb. Their most known food is their spicy hot pot which we went to one day. I couldn't handle much of it. We also got Korean BBQ, Indian curry, French lasagna, southern Chinese, American burgers, Chongqing spicy noodles, and Chinese BBQ. The food was great!
3 January 2018
January 3 - Wuyishan day 3 (part 2): When we got back to the apartment, we packed up all our stuff, then headed to the train station. We had to run to make our train as we almost missed it due to traffic. The train ride was easy and now I am back in Fuzhou. I am back to work tomorrow but I am really glad I took advantage of my three day weekend. It was great to bond with more of the teachers and learn more about the country I'm calling home for a year.
January 3 - Wuyishan day 3 (part 1): Again, it took us a while to get going. Two teachers needed to head back early this morning but myself and 4 other teachers got to explore more of Wuyishan. After a Chinese breakfast we hired a taxi for the day to drive us out into the country side to see some of the smaller towns. What really struck me was how underdeveloped the area was. China really is a developing country. There is construction everywhere but the houses where they live are still very old and many would be deemed unlivable by western standards. Going to this area reminds me just how blessed I am. Also, I felt weird about taking pictures of people's lives and houses. I felt like I was intruding on their life. One thing I really enjoyed seeing was how tea was made. We were in this small village and there was a tea shop that made the tea there. We got to try some of their handmade tea.
2 January 2018
January 2 - Wuyishian day 2 (part 2): After hiking we got a quick lunch. I got fried rice. Then we went on a rafting trip. It was cool and relaxing. I totally could have fallen asleep listening to the water. After did some more hiking before going for dinner which was another family style restaurant. Our drivers were really nice and told us we should also go to this old Chinese town that sits on a canal. It was really pretty at night. I know my pictures don't do it justice. Also, Chris bought some fireworks there which we let off when we got back to the apartment we were staying at. We then went to a tea house where they taught us to drink tea. We sat around there for a while before coming back to the apartment.
January 2 - Wiyishan day 2 (part 1): It took us a while to get around in the morning. Once we got going we went hiking at a really tall mountain at the south entrance. It was was a hard hike up with so many stairs, 888 stairs to the top, but the view was worth it! We went down the other side and there was a cool taoist temple. When I say down the mountain, I should say down and up and down and up. It was very mountainous. We meet some friends along the way who are also English teachers from Fuzhou but they teach at York, another school.
1 January 2018
January 1 - Wuyishan day 1 (part 2): After lunch we went to the North Entrance to Wuyishian Mountain Park. We hiked for about 4 hours. It was lots and lots of steps but it was worth it. We saw the Water Curtain Cave, the Three Sages Shrine, Hui Yuan Temple and lots and lots of tea bushes. After we got a nice dinner and tea before going to a show. It was all about the history of tea and how tea has impacted their culture. It was an amazing experience. The audience was on a big rotating platform and the show happened around us. It was really well done. That night we did a little shopping for breakfast food for the next day and when we got back to the apartment we were staying at we all crashed. I was super tired.
January 1 - Wiyishan day 1 (part 1): Happy New Year! I decided to not really celebrate New Years at midnight but instead take a trip from Monday to Wednesday to Wuyishan which is a mountain area about an 1.5 hours from Fuzhou known for tea and beautiful mountain hiking. Myself and seven others traveled here by train. We stayed at a beautiful three story apartment near the center of town. After dropping our stuff off at the apartment we went to get lunch at a local restaurant. Like many restaurants in China, you order food family style and they bring it out as it is cooked and put it on the lazy-suzan. It was super yummy. My favorite was a bamboo and bacon dish.
27 December 2017
December 27: Today I explored Fuzhou some more. Ray, a local teacher took me to Three Lanes and Seven Alleys which is an old area of Fuzhou where the rich and famous lived. It is now full of museums and other shops. We went to a couple museums and I learned a lot of of the history of Fuzhou. We also got a traditional soup, fish bowl from a little restaurant. Also, I got to see a Chinese pharmacy which is very different from western pharmacies. After we went to a a park near by that was part of a mountain. It was really pretty. For dinner Kitty invited me over to her apartment. She made me and some other coworkers some good Chinese food.
25 December 2017
December 25: Merry Christmas! Today was very different compared to what I'm use to for Christmas but everyone here really made it a good Christmas for me. I started the day video calling with Larry and his family. Then I went to Charlotte's apartment to watch a Christmas movie, Home Alone. After we went to a big Christmas buffet at an Irish pub. It was amazing. They had turkey, mash potatoes, gravy, carrots, cupcakes, pigs in a blanket, stuffing and Yorkshire pudding. They also gave us Santa hats and had Christmas music playing. It felt pretty festive. After we played some board games. I ended my night with video calling with lots of family.
24 December 2017
December 24: Today was a fun but long day! I had a full day of work but after work I went to a rock climbing gym for a Christmas Eve party with some teachers form the other school. In Chinese, Christmas Eve translates to sound like peace which also sounds like apples. So they celebrate Christmas Eve more than Christmas and they also eat apples. For the party they also had a huge grill out with lamb, chicken, oysters, squid, corn, pepper, mushrooms and lots of different oils to put on them. They also cooked a whole lamb that was so delicious. They had games and rock climbing challenges that I was really bad at. I did win one game. It was Simon says in Chinese. I know now how to say Simon say in Chinese. Still not sure how I won but it was fun and the owners thought it was funny that I couldn't speak Chinese and still managed to win. I won a cutting board and chop sticks which is cool. My friends and I also sat around and drank tea for a while at the end of the night.
20 December 2017
December 20: Christmas decorating thanks to the wonderful care packages from my mom.
19 December 2017
December 19: Today was great! I got to explore the Fuzhou a little more with two other teachers. First, we went to Fijian Museum. I learned a ton about the history of China and Fuzhou. On top of that there were some amazing sculptures done in cork, stone and porcelain. The porcelain one was my favorite! The clay was thinner than paper. I have no clue how the artist managed it. After we went and got lunch at a small Chinese dinner. We got pork, soup, rice, veggies and potatoes. Then we headed to the panda park that was near by. I got to see regular pandas and red pandas. Both were so cute! Pandas are so amazing. They are the only animal used for diplomacy. Also, they are omnivores but since their food source changed/they are lazy, they changed their diet to bamboo. And they are adorable!
13 December 2017
November 13: I had a great day with Krystal and Kitty! I invited them over for dinner. Both of them wanted to learn how to cook. We made chicken fettuccine alfredo! Also, I made Oreo cheesecake. Both of which they loved! It was nice spending time with them :)
10 December 2017
December 11: Another great week of teaching. I'm getting much more confident with teaching. I am now independently teaching all my classes. Also, it was Charlottes birthday this week. We had a little party for her with cake and I made apple crumple pie which she requested.
6 December 2017
November 6 - Disney Shanghai (part 4): After Star Wars we went over to the Marvel Section of Tomorrow Land. There was a game where you could pretend to be iron man which was fun. Also, I was able to meet Captain America. Out of all the characters I meet he was the only one that spoke English. We then went to Main Street to do some shopping. I got myself a sweatshirt and a Shanghai pin. After that it was starting to get dark so we headed for the castle to see the tree lighting ceremony with Olaf, Anna and Elsa and the fireworks show. Both were amazing. Since we skipped dinner we decided to go back to the Cheesecake Factory for some food and dessert. We ordered the macaroni and cheese balls again and we got some cheesecake. Both were very yummy.
November 6 - Disney Shanghai (part 3): By this time we were hungry as it was well past lunch time. We decided to go over to Tomorrow Land for lunch as there was a good burger place there. We were trying to get our fix of western food while at Disney. After lunch we went on Tron. It was unlike any roller coaster I have been on before. Each seat is a bike that you sit on and then they strap your legs in and put a harness behind your back. And then the ride itself was awesome. The first part was outside but the rest was inside in the dark. After that we went to Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescues. This was our favorite of the day and we ended up doing it twice. Next we headed to the Star Wars area. There weren't any rides but there was a tons of memorabilia and characters to meet. I even got to sit in the Millennium Falcon which I know will make some of my friends and family jealous including Larry. Charlotte was terrified of Kilo Ren. It was super funny. He kept staring at her the entire time.
November 6 - Disney Shanghai (part 2): Right when we got inside the Disney park a there was a show with the classic Disney characters singing and dancing to Christmas songs. It was a great way to start our day. We then headed to Pirate Cove. We went to a Pirates of the Caribbean stunt show which was kind of a mistake because they spoke Chinese throughout the entire show and the stunts weren't very good. Also in that area was Pirates of the Caribbean Battle for the Sunken Treasure which was a great ride with really good effects. There was also the Black Pearl that we got to go aboard. We got to meet a pirate that was really funny. He only knew a little English but he gave us a treasure map and we got a picture with him. Next we went to Fantasyland there we went on the Seven Dwarfs mine ride, the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Voyage to the Crystal Grotto and Peter Pans flight. Charlotte really likes the Seven Dwarfs ride. My favorite was the Voyage of the Crystal Grotto.
November 6 - Disney Shanghai (part 1): Today was an absolute blast. Charlotte and I really got to have some great bonding time and we got to spend all day in Disney. Our day was very full! Disney Shanghai and Disney Florida Magic Kingdom are similar in many ways. There is of course the classic Disney castle right in the middle but Shanghai has the biggest castle in the world. There are also had different sections to the park like Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Treasure Cove and Adventure Isle. Another similarity is there a couple of the exact same rides like the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride, Peter Pans Flight, Buzz Lightyears Plant Rescue and the little kids rides like Dumbos ride and the Carousel but there was also a ton of very different rides. Disney Shanghai seemed to be focused on more adult movies than Disney Florida. Such as the entire section focused on Pirates of the Caribbean, another one on Marvel and another one on Star Wars.
5 December 2017
December 5 - Disney Shanghai: Today Charlotte and I traveled from Fuzhou to Shanghai by train. Once we got to Shanghai we took the metro to our hotel which was about half way between Disney and the train station. Our hotel was decently nice. We dropped off our stuff there and headed to Disney for some late night adventuring. We did not go into the park, we just explored Downtown Disney. We looked at some shops. There was one called Spoon Full of Sugar which I though was super cool because of its reference to Marry Poppins. We also went to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. It was so good! We got all the food I had been missing. We got loaded tater tots, deep fried Mac and cheese balls and loaded nachos. Charlotte and I shared all of it and we were so full. By then Downtown Disney was closing so we headed back to the hotel so, we could get some rest before our big day at Disney tomorrow!
November 5: I'm off! Charlotte and I are taking the train to Shanghai Disney! I am super excited to see all the Christmas decorations and to do everything Disney!
4 December 2017
Teaching is going amazing! I am feeling more confident everyday. I am loving getting to know my students too! The last couple of days we have had a huge event to show off our students and to help recruit more students. It was really well!
29 November 2017
November 29 (part 2): At 6pm I meet up with a bunch of employees for a school sponsored night out. We got dinner and sang some karaoke. We had our own private room with a karaoke machine and two tvs. It was a great time!
November 29: Today was a great day! I got to sleep in. I had an easy morning and then I explored Fuzhou a little. I found out there is a river side park about a 25 minute walk from my apartment. It was a beautiful park! There are sculptures scattered throughout the entire park and so much green. I had a great time walking through it and taking pictures.
23 November 2017
November 23: Happy Thanksgiving! I am so thankful for my job and the wonderful opportunity to learn about a different culture. I got to start today with video chatting with Ashley and Luke. Also, I got to talk with Larry. Today was an exciting day at work. Today was my first day teaching in my own! It was really hard has most of them had never had never had an English class before. Also, it very well might have been their first time seeing a white person. Never the less everyone now can say hello, and goodbye! I'm so proud of them. After work we had a little Thanksgiving party for the EF employees. We got thank you cards from other coworkers and one of those really cute pillow things. It was great to be able to celebrate a little today even those I'm not home.
22 November 2017
November 22 (part 2): At 5, Ray and I headed over to Charlotte's house (my boss) to have dinner with the rest of the teachers from school 1 and school 2. We had chicken instead of turkey because they don't have turkey here but the rest of the dishes were pretty traditional. It was a process getting everything heated up because Charlotte only has a small oven and two burners. She doesn't even have a microwave but we managed and everything turned out great. The apple cranberry marshmallow salad and the apple pie were big hits. The food was amazing and the company was great. It was so nice to spend more time with my great coworkers.
November 22 (part 1): Today I celebrated Thanksgiving with all the teachers from both EF schools. Ray, a local teacher from my school, and I decided to meet up earlier in the day to cook our dish to pass together. She really doesn't know how to cook so it was fun teaching her some western dishes. We meet up at 11am to go shopping at Walmart. It was much harder to find the ingredients than I would have thought. Like cinnamon, it is impossible to find cinnamon here. After we got everything we could find we got some lunch at a dumping place near by. We then headed to the school we work at. There are no classes on Wednesday so we were able to use the kitchen because neither of us have ovens at our house and the school does. We made corn, cranberry sauce, cranberry marshmallow dessert salad and apple crumple. They all turned out great!
14 November 2017
November 14: Today was such a great day! I went to see Thor 3 with two teachers from my school, Charlotte and Ray. After we went to a Spanish restaurant and got some paella, pasta and churros to share. We also went to meet up with some other EF employees to play badminton. It was a great time and I got a nice workout. Charlotte and I came back to my place to grab some stuff before heading out to shop. My landlord deliver my hot plate, microwave and water jug yesterday so I got stuff for cooking like a pot and pan and food. For everything I only spent like 45 dollars. When I came back to my apartment I made myself eggs for dinner on my new hot plate and pan. Tomorrow I will do more shopping as I forgot to get salt.
11 November 2017
November 11: Today was my first day full day of class observation. I am getting more confident about teaching my own class soon but I am glad I have a week more of observation before I team teach. After work I went to dinner with two of the local teachers, Jenifer and Ray. I had a great time with both of them. We talked about going to the movies soon and going ice skating. There is an ice rink here in the mall. I look forward to hanging out with them more.
9 November 2017
This is Kitty. She works in admin at EF. She has been super helpful. She is the one that picked me up from the airport, showed me around Fuzhou, apartment hunted with me and is helping get everything set up with my visa and apartment like wifi. She has also been helping me with my Chinese and I've been helping her with her English.
November 8: Today was a second day of regional orientation. The school I will be working at is inside a huge mall. I'm talking like 8 stories tall. The entire 6th floor is all restaurants. The school is on the third floor in the corner. It has one big classroom and about 14 smaller ones. They all have big touch screen TVs which are super helpful for teaching.
7 November 2017
November 7: Today I moved into my apartment! I spent most of the day cleaning, unpacking and decorating. Now I feel like I have a home here. My apartment is only a 5 minute walk from work and it has a security gate with a beautiful park in the center. And the view from my apartment is amazing. At night I got invited to go to a movie, seventy-seven days, at the theater near me. It was an interesting/weird movie about a guy crossing the unlivable area in northern China.
3 November 2017
November 3 and 4: The last two day have pretty much been only apartment hunting. I went to at least 20 apartments. Thankfully I was able to find one I liked close to the school. I signed the contract yesterday and I move in Monday. I will post photos on Monday. One thing fun I did was I went to a hot pot on Friday night with 5 other EF employees. It was super fun and yummy.
2 November 2017
Novermber 2: Today I got a medial check. I already had one in the states but I had to get one here too. After the medical check Florence and Kitty took me to get food because I had to fast since last night. We went to Subway which is very similar to the States version. Although, they didn't have salami for my spicy Italian. After Florence took me to Fuzhou school 1 so I could see the other school here Fuzhou and to meet some teachers. She also gave me a little welcome present which was Chinese candy. Florence and I went to a really nice lunch where we got dishes to share. Later in the day Kitty took me apartment hunting. The two I looked at today weren't good so the search will continue tomorrow. Tonight I went out for a late dinner with other EF teachers. We went to an Indian place. It was so nice getting to know them. They seem like a really nice group.
1 November 2017
November 1 (part 3): When I arrived in Fuzhou, Kitty and Crystal along with one of their friends picked me up at the airport and drove me to the hotel. They were all so nice. After I put my stuff in my room they took me out to lunch. There was so much food. We did not come close to finishing it. After they showed me the school I will be teaching at. It is in a huge mall. I also got to meet some more of my coworkers. After we walked back to my hotel so I could rest before they took me out to dinner at a noodle place. It was quite good. After we walked around and saw what was in the area.
November 1 (part 2): My taxi to the airport went smooth but the airport was a whole different story. It first took me a while to figure out which airline I was flying with but when I did I found a very long line. When I finally made it to the ticket counter they wouldn't give me my boarding pass because I had to go pay at a different counter for my second luggage. Also, I had to go to go to this room where they had to open on of my checked luggages because there was a knife in there and they had to check the length. When I finally got back in the long check counter line again I was standing there for a while when the lady behind the counter came and grabbed me and gave me my boarding pass and told me to hurry. I ran to security and ran all the way to the gate. I made it but only just. The flight went easy and I slept most the time.
November 1 (part 1): First day in Fuzhou was a success! Although I had a very early morning (4:15am) in order to make my flight from Shanghai to Fuzhou. Julia, Judah and Li all woke up early with me to help me bring my luggage to the lobby. It was sad to say bye to all the friends I had made but I'm excited to make more in Fuzhou.
Welcome to Fuzhou!
31 October 2017
October 31: Today I got breakfast with some of my teachers. Judah and I left the hotel to head to EF HQ a little earlier than others as we did not want to be late and we wanted some tea/coffee. At HQ we had our last day of group orientation. Today was full of presentations. It was a lot of practical information about how to teach different age levels. We got some time off to go to lunch. A group of us went to a Taiwanese place that was very good. I got a beef dumpling soup. Also, to end the day there was a Halloween party at HQ which included some great desserts such as croissants covered in chocolate and candy, brownies that looked like spiders, ice cream and popcorn. Afterwards, I came back to the hotel to pack up all my stuff as I leave for Fuzhou in the morning!
30 October 2017
October 30: All of the EF teachers got breakfast together at the hotel before we got picked up and taken to EF HQ. From there we went to the bank to set up a Chinese bank account. After a group of us went out to lunch at a Thai restaurant which was quite good. After lunch we had presentations at EF HQ about how to teach and what we should expect when teaching Chinese students. The information was quite helpful. After we quickly stopped at the hotel to change out of our uniforms before going out to dinner at Yang Dumpling. It has turned into our go to dinner place as it is yummy, cheap and close.
29 October 2017
October 29 (part 3): To finish the day we went to Shanghai People's Square. It was very pretty but not what expected. It was mainly a park. The flowers were pretty and one was even shaped to say welcome in Mandarin. What really made stopping there worth it is a man told me I looked like a fairy.
October 29 (part 2): After the Shanghai Temple of the Town God we did find Yu Garden. The Garden was beautiful. It was much bigger than expected. It had so many little passage ways.
October 29 (part 1): I explored Shanghai more today with one other teacher. After breakfast we headed to Yu Garden. We first found the Shanghai Temple of the Town God which was a great find. It was a beautiful temple with the statues of the Shanghai god.
28 October 2017
October 28 (part 4): After visiting the Shanghai Tower we ferried back across the river so we could see the Pudong skyline at night. After we headed back to the hotel via the metro which, I am getting really good at navigating. We got dinner near the hotel before heading back. By the time we got back to the hotel, I had walked over 8 miles, which means I was super super tired.
October 28 (part 3): We crossed the Huangpa River on a ferry to get to the Shanghai Tower. The Shanghai Tower is the second tallest tower in the world but has the highest observation deck on the 119 floor. It had an amazing view of the Shanghai skyline! We were even there at sunset so we got to see the skyline at day and night.
October 28 (part 2): Second we went to The Bund which is where the Europeans first settled in China so it has a very European look. The Bund is also right on Huangpu River and has the best view of Pudong (other side of the river) sky line. We also got lunch in the area.
October 28 (part 1): Today was a great day! I explored Shanghai with seven other teachers. Which resulted in lots of pictures. After breakfast we headed to the Jade Buddha Temple. The actual Jade Buddha was not able to be photographed but the other statues were also very pretty.
27 October 2017
October 27: I was able to sleep in a little bit more today untill 4am but I still stayed in bed until 7am. I got breakfast at the hotel before heading out to EF Headquarters for a Chinese lesson. I learned the names of some food and how to order at a restaurant. Afterwards I explored the area. That area had a ton of western shops like Chico, Abercrombie and Finch, and Louis Vuitton. But also in that area was Jing'An Temple, and Jing'An park which are both amazing and beautiful. For dinner I went out with four other new teacher to a place called Yang Dumplings. I got pork wanton soup which was very yummy.
26 October 2017
October 26 (part 2): A driver picked me and about 15 other new teacher up from the hotel and took us to English First Headquarters. When we got there we had ice breakers. After we went to a classroom and had some presentations. The first one was on what EF stands for and their core mission. We also had a presentation on the visa process. For lunch they took us out and it was amazing!!! It was a big family style lunch. They just kept bring food. My favorite was a lamb dish and this corn dish. The dumpling were also good. My EF recruiter joined us for lunch which was cool. I was able to talk with her more and I got to know some of the other teacher too.
October 26 (part 1): Today was the first day of orientation. My sleep schedule is all messed up so I woke up at 1am and was up most the night. They had breakfast at the hotel. They had a very interesting selection. They had stuff like waffles, toast, fruit and eggs but then also had French fries, hot dogs, corn on the cob and wonton soup. I had rice mixed with eggs, peas and corn for breakfast and toast.
25 October 2017
First night in Shanghai was a success. Myself and another teacher, Brandon, who will be going through orientation with me walked around the area and found a very small restaurant. He knew some Mandarin and was able to help with ordering. We got some super yummy dumplings!
Made it to Shanghai, China! Even though the flight was long it went really smooth. I had an entire row of seats to myself.