FOUR MONTHS!!!!

Alright, well I’ve officially been in China for 4 months now…..somedays it seems as though it should be a lot longer amount of time, but most days its incredible to think how fast time has flown by. I am finishing up my first semester teaching and getting ready to take all I have learned in this great country on the road with me. In 4 days my brother is coming to China to help celebrate Christmas and New Years with me the right way.

We will be exploring a little of the Chongqing Ive come to know and love these last four months, then head off to Guangzhou where we can explore together a city of new and unknown to us both. We will finalize our American holiday traveling in Hong Kong and Macau. Its crazy as I am coming to the realization that China is as though a 2nd home to me.

Here is a little taste of my teaching life; I asked my students to tell me what their ideal job was? To describe the job? Why they wanted the job? Their plans on getting that job?

This was a response from my student Coffee, this was among the best answers I received:

“Not too tired in the job, but has high salary. No need to get to work everyday, for more free time. The work place shouldn’t be too far from home.

– Because I dont like paying much time in work, but efficiency.

– Because I want to go back home frequently to spend my family time.

– Because I need money to raise family

But I know, no pains, no gains. SO I have to work hard to get a job. My plans to get some degree, some qualifications, for these are the knocking-door elements to get in a job. Calculate all kinds of knowledge’s but particular in one, for even if you get in the job, the most important is what you have in mind and hands.”

(YOU AND ME BOTH SISTER) Man I suppose she knows what she wants but for real, if I find that job I WONT LET GO!!

Here is a taste of the city I keep talking about and am beginning to call home. A few of the expats I hang out with here sang this, Enjoy!

Although majority of our plans are not official for the rest of the Chinese New Year, my brother is departing Hong Kong on January 3rd. My friend Sarah will be joining up with us a little before the actual New Year, and from Hong Kong making our way down to Manila, Philippines.

As some may have heard Manila was just hit with a tropical storm and hundreds of people have died,  so looking as it now may shorten our time in the country. Our plans in terms of traveling is Philippines, Singapore, Malyasia, and on up to Thailand. All squeezed into 1 month, as I am lucky enough to make the travel back home for 3 weeks. I will get to satisfy those cravings for certain food (MEXICAN!!), certain American customs, and last but certainly not least friends and family:)

I do plan on do at least 1 blog post on the travels I am fortunate enough to take part in, if you are lucky enough maybe even 2 posts:)

Take care til next time…

D. White

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Long Time NO See….

I would like to begin by apologizing for my lack of posts in the last month….I have been fairly busy but mostly lazy.

In the back of my head I have known I need to get a post up but figured I would do it the one time of the year when family and friends are on my mind the most. So let me fill you in on my last month in China.

Let me begin where I left off.  Halloween in China town…..no it was not the usual Halloween where we dress up and eat lots of candy…We spent our Friday night in a KTV (Karaoke bar), this is the BIG thing in China. Then we or I should say “I” was supposed to go to an actual Halloween party at a local pub, was a green wizard party yet I seemed to sleep through the whole event…. So to say the least, Halloween wasnt very eventful…suppose I’ll just make up for it next year.

Classroom time…I attempted to teach my students a little American culture about Halloween and really I learned a lot myself about the creation of Halloween as it is celebrated today. My kids found it amusing, maybe the first time this year they enjoyed a little bit of class:)

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Laid low for the week before I was off to Guilin to meet up with Sarah, Sonya, Uji, Isaiah and Michelle. Yet I only had a 20 hour train ride between me and the trip..ON A HARD SEAT! It wasnt nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be but my expectations were REALLY LOW…. I had no leg room, and was unable to sleep due to all the Chinese people interested in.

So we begin this journey, did I mention I did this by myself…. I am ready to endure this long journey on the train, I find my seat (the little bit of seat I had) and settle in for the next 20 hours…. I was having a hard time getting in a comfortable position to sleep so I decided I would just listen to music, watch movies, anything I could find to fill the time. Also, little did I know I need to buy food for the ride as the only thing they served were peanuts and fruit….thanks to the Chinese citizens they made sure I ate plenty of that (they were feeding me left and right)….Almost all of the Chinese people were overly interested in me, in the fact that they asked me a question (in Chinese) almost every 5-7 minutes like clock work. I would attempt to respond, probably making no sense and then I realized neither person could understand each other….the best part was a man I sat next to on the train, thought he could speak English but it sounded more like gibberish….but Im sure thats what my Chinese sounds like so cant be too critical!

I finally arrived in Guilin, we just kind of hung out all week, I got to see how they live their lives day-to-day basically….didnt really do a whole lot to be honest, but still had a great time and it was actually a relaxing vacation!

NO worries I flew back, didnt have to deal with the train twice in 1 trip. Its hard to believe that was only 2 months ago.

The next week or last weekend was my friend Fran’s birthday party. We went to dinner at a Japanese Teppanyaki Restaurant, get this it was ALL you can eat, AND ALL you can drink….for $27 aka trouble!

This was close to being the best meal Ive had in China (which is funny that it was a Japanese restaurant)…lets just say some partied hard and ended up getting a visit from the police. We were there from about 6:30pm-11pm….I had dipped out before all this went down so its all hearsay, but basically a couple guys knocked over a flower pot in the restaurant and the cops were called to settle the issue….two guys had to go down to the police station and pay 300 kuai each or $50…and they were released. So note to self when it says all you can drink doesnt mean you have to actually take them up on it? Anywho we are lucky I suppose nothing else came of the situation.

The next day, the boys had a rugby game against a team up in Bei Bei about 30 min. north of here. They were pretty dirty players and had about 3 times as many players as we did. A small number of guys showed up for the match, as the night before was a bit chaotic….they ended up playing 7’s and 10’s (a normal match is 15’s)…..aka the guys had to do a lot more running. They lost 7’s but no worries it was just warm-up for the 10’s game which they won!

Now we are into the week of Thanksgiving, so as you can tell not a whole lot has happened since we last talked…..was an easy catch me up….

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Party on Wayne….Party on Garth

So since the last post I have taught two weeks of class, attended a techno festival (Bamboo Festival) and traveled to Chengdu….

So been fairly busy to say the least. Class is still progressing slowly but surely, no worries I have the count down to break (aka when the REAL traveling begins!!) T-minus 65 days:)

So since the beginning of the semester I have taught on the topics:

– Theoretical Frameworks and Types of Appeals

– Message Strategies and Executional Frameworks

– Communications in Society

– Media Responsibility Over Time

– Communications Law & Ethics

Some of you Drake kids may recognize some of these “topics” or titles, because its the name of Journalism classes at Drake….probably could teach those classes by now! I find it odd as well that I have learned more about these things now than I did in my 4 years of college, teaching is just another degree you earn your whole profession….

The term learn something new everyday for sure is true here.

What I still have to teach on in the weeks remaining….

– Communications Law & Ethics cont.

– Reporting & Writing Principles

– Careers for Journalism Majors

– Advertising Media Selection

– Internet Marketing

Now for the more interesting topics of the blog….the Bamboo Festival…

We heard about the Festival from our new friends Tyler and Fran, it was just outside of Chongqing and hey its my first Music Festival (who would have thought it would be a techno festival and in China). Life brings crazy things at unexpected times, did I mention it was a lot of fun (hints the reason I have 2 pictures from the weekend and they are before the Festival began). It was basically two stages set up on the top of mountain, so it was a bit cold but I actually gained an appreciation for the techno music genre. Now you maybe wondering why we are so angry in front of this poster for the Bamboo Festival, it would be because we hiked up a mountain and it was the worst unexpected hill that we had to walk up that morning.

Bamboo Festival

After the Festival we had another reality check…back to school 😦 I think you have gathered I dont like teaching but I cant complain overall, I am learning a lot and without that many hours.

Now for our next journey….panda time. Sean, Ryan and I took the bullet train for a two hour ride up to Chengdu. We heard about the “good” places to eat and visit during our short weekend. We definitely found the restaurant that you could say ended up being our so called “favorite” Peters Tex-Mex Restaurant. I dont know that you can call it your favorite though when its the only place you eat at lol.

Peters Tex-Mex had anything and everything you could want in terms of “American” food…. I was able to get foods I havent even thought about seeing for the next year and it was awesome!

So to start out our journey, we arrive Thursday night and check-in to Dreams Hostel into our 10 bedroom dorm. We headed to Peters Tex-Mex ate some good ole Mexican food, afterwards went to Dave’s Oasis. The owner Dave opened this dive bar up about 10 years ago and speaks phenomenal English, we were able to talk to him about the devastating earthquake that happened in Chengdu in 2008. It was unreal the stories he told us of the deaths and how the government handled the situation. It was truly eye-opening and impressive to see where Chengdu was now as a city from the devastation that had hit just 3 short years ago.

Then later met up with some Chengdu rugby guys at Legs & Whistles (A nice local bar that plays Football:)) We later headed to another bar for ladies night, Mooney’s Irish Pub in the Shangri-La Hotel. I think I

found America in Chengdu…literally everyone in the bar was from the states, Australia, or New Zealand. It was hilarious (definitely Im not in China moment). Was able to chat with Megan a girl from New Zealand that we had met, just chatted about the differences between NZ lifestyle and ours and couldnt find a whole lot different. Just minor things that most everyone knows such as college sports, and opportunity to travel within own country is quite different from region to region. She explained that NZ is sooo small that it doesnt change much throughout the country. Of course we talked about Rugby (as they were in the rugby world cup finals that weekend).

Entrance of Wenshu Temple

We then arrive back to our hostel, pretty late and Sean decides to wake up our entire dorm room, lets just say they werent all that happy. So the next morning we go to breakfast at Peters Tex-Mex (obviously) very early and when we arrive back move to the hotel across the street. (We got our own room) Privacy is probably more suitable for us for future trips. We decide to lay low a little bit today and check out some old neighborhoods in Chengdu as well as a really famous temple. Wenshu Temple, is the largest Buddhist Temple in Chengdu. We went to our first tea house, apparently Chengdu is known for them. For dinner we ate pizza in our hotel room and then treated ourselves to a deluxe massage. At World Finger Spa, I was a bit skeptical by the name but man was it good. We got an hour foot massage, then an hour full-body massage for just $29. We then hit up a late night fish market, they have all kinds of fish shipped in every night around 8pm and the market is open almost all night, you pick out whatever seafood you would like to be cooked up and there you have it some of the most amazing seafood Ive ever had (reminded me a lot like Pikes Market in Seattle). Super good either way, definitely will go back to it.

Ryan, Sean and I in the Tea house

Old Neighborhood in Chengdu

Entrance to the Panda Base

Now for the really good stuff…..PANDAS! We woke up very early Saturday morning and made our way up to the Giant Panda Breeding Base. We were able to see and get close up with new born pandas, red pandas, Toddler Pandas, and Full Adult Giant Pandas. I loved every second of it and if you can tell anything from my Facebook and the amount of pictures I took of them I want one! They are sooo cute and cuddly looking….IF anyone visits me I would throw no objection to another visit they are just that cute!

Baby Pandas!

Well that was about a wrap of the weekend for us, Ryan and I headed back home to Chongqing as we were exhausted and pretty much slept our way until we taught on Monday. Now we are in mid-week and

Toddler Pandas...Fighting

Halloween is just around the corner….

I have yet to decide what to dress as for Halloween, the selection of costumes here is slim to none as they dont celebrate here, so I may have to get creative…..

Red Panda

Till Next Time

Dwhite

P.s. the meaning of the title of this post is Sean was trying to teach this to a group of Chinese men who spoke NO ENGLISH… He would say party on wayne and point at the Chinese man trying to get him to say party on Garth….. after a long time of thinking he was getting no where, the Chinese man finally said party on garth….

Me with the Red Panda

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Paris of the East….Shanghai

Helllllo…..Shanghai, Nice to meet you.

The best way to describe a city such as Shanghai is an American city with European flare…the architecture and the scenery and everything around you felt like you were in Europe but the lifestyle you got to live was like you were in America….I was more than comfortable “living” or staying in Shanghai for a week, I with out a doubt want to make time to return to the city. It is a place that is easier to remember than to describe. One thing Shanghai was great at doing though was take my money…..I could have been smarter about what my money went to as well, such as transportation we took cabs EVERYWHERE which every time was about 50 Yuan when we could have taken the subway ANYWHERE for about 6 Yuan. It was shear laziness we did it merely because we didnt want to sit on the subway for an hour when we could grab a taxi and be there in 10. Next time subway and I will become great friends. So here is a brief run down of what took place day to day in the good ole’ Paris of the East….

The beginning of our trip started out a bit rocky I must say, we had some troubles finding a taxi, mostly because it was National Day the busiest time of the year in China… We finally get a taxi and we agree to a 100 RMB ($15), only because it was the only taxi we had seen in about 40 minutes and it was holiday. (May be thinking it is a cheap fare for a 30 minute taxi ride but the typical fare for the ride to the airport is 50RMB). We arrive at the airport and the guy tries to rip us off even more and says, “300 RMB, 100 RMB per person” and we say, “NO WAY we arent dumb Americans here is 100 RMB dont be dumb your already getting a good deal”, because we could have called the cops and made it so we only had to pay the 50RMB normal fare.

Then we arrive in Shanghai late Monday, took a speed train into downtown and a cab the rest of the way to our hostel. We finally meet up with Paige and Shaina who are teaching in Tianjin for the year. Our hostel of course our luck tells us they overbooked and they have no room for us….which I wasnt terribly upset about as it looked like a hostel for 5 year olds….Spongebob everywhere!

After about an hour of waiting around to be placed into another hostel, they miraculously found a room to shove us in just has to be cleaned, so we are exhausted and say thats fine we just want it as soon as possible. They “clean” our room and we head off to a local restaurant for dinner. Called it an early night.

Sean with cat at dinner table....only in China

Again

Tuesday:

Met up with some Shijiazhuang teachers (Lauren, Meredith, and Emily) down in the French Concession after a morning of exploring through People’s Square and W. Nanjing Rd (Most famous for shopping)

Part of Peoples Square

After walking around for a few hours we finally met up with the girls. We then split up I went back to the girls hostel and the four others stayed down in French Concession for dinner….I may have regretted my choice a little as I saw my first midget in China….I tried not making a huge deal about it and did my best to avoid the situation entirely….but for those of you that know me well, I have an extreme fear of midgets…..dont ask why

At Helen's; Pretty Good American Food

After my traumatizing experience, we met up with the rest of the crew, up on the north side of the city near Ike’s apartment. We met at a restaurant/bar called Helen’s and ate dinner and celebrated Meredith’s birthday. It was a really nice and relaxing bar. We then got to see where Ike’s humble abode was for the next few years….very nice if I do say so myself hes done himself well. He has 5 roommates of which we met two (they were very nice).

Wednesday:
We went to see The Bund, basically just a huge tourist trap to get pictures of the skyline. Had a little taste of Shanghai Mexican, was much better than our Mexican restaurant in Chongqing…but still not all that great. We then all split up into smaller groups for the afternoon and night to do our own thing around the town. We decided to go up to the top of Shanghai’s World Financial Center building, apparently the tallest observation deck in the world (it was beautiful). Sean and I may have had our best drink ever as well in the Park Hyatt hotel which just so happens to be the observation deck as well 🙂 Double awesome.

Byron, Sean, Ryan and I at the Bund

Back down to my new favorite place the French Concession for dinner, where we met some Holland sisters (really nice and interesting flight attendants). Which we happened to run into them again “Old Town” at an AMAZING sushi restaurant the next night….talk about a small world. Completely different parts of town and we happen to eat at the same restaurant two nights in a row, weird.

Plus, to make the day even better….we got massages from some blind folks and boy was it good…I went with my friend Paige and my lady was put together and all about the massage, while her guy sounded like he was going to die while giving her a massage…he was making every noise you could think, coughing, weezing, belching, snorting, so on and so forth….Dont get me wrong though it was a great massage, and very relaxing. While we were getting that done Sean was getting cupping done it, we only got to see the aftermath but man does it look freaky….it is essentially these suction cups that they attach to your back for like 10 minutes and it is supposed to release all the toxins from your body but it leaves marks all over your back for about a week….you should google it and check it out its crazy weird! Sorry I didnt get a picture of my own.

Me at the Bund in front of the "Pearl Tower"

Thursday:
Surprise, surprise go back to French Concession for an amazing steak lunch at New York Style. Then hit up a market near by called Tao Bao City, aka all fake merchandise (I believe it is actually stolen not fake) they do to good of a job “replicating” it if its fake. Anywho, got amazing deals on everything (think Mexico) you get to bargain….sooooo much fun. So I bet your wondering what I got….

Rosetta Stone Mandarin: 170 RMB–$25 (First thing I bid on, could have gotten it WAY cheaper)
D Rose Jersey: 80 RMB–$12
Kane Blackhawk Jersey: 140 RMB–$22
Prada Purse: 200 RMB–$30
Marc Jacobs Clutch: 200RMB–$30

Movies (15): 120 RMB–$18
Chopstick holders: FREE

Our fave restaurant in French Concession (STEAKS:))

So overall a good trip…..they literally

have anything you could think of to buy it was GREAT, but also a little rough on the money (Everything is in cash, I only brought so much to Shanghai).

The day was just getting started though….as I said earlier we had the most amazing sushi ever for dinner…Sushi is my cuisine I could eat it everyday all day! Then of course the best part of the day, a pub crawl through Ike’s company with all of my friends from Drake….there were about 20 of us in town and it made us feel right at home as if it was a normal weekend at Drake, someones birthday (Merediths) booze cruise….or at least thats how we celebrated.

Friday:
Almost everyone had gone back to there respective cities except Sarah, Byron, Aaron and the three of us from Chongqing so we laid low Friday and went to the French Concession again (cant help all the great restaurants and atmosphere they have there)… and hung out for the night in Old Town at an American Bar and Grill called Camel, it was a typical sports bar and was soo nice to relax in a familiar atmosphere and watch American sports….I loved it basically…

Ryan and I in French Concession

Saturday:
It was our last day in the city so we went back to Tao Bao City to try and bargain for more goodies….I came out empty handed this time (No more money 😦 ) and walked around the city a bit more till we ended back up in Old Town at a British restaurant called Abbey Road (I bet your shocked)…wasn’t to bad but we were all so exhausted from the week, we decided to call it an early night as our travels had us getting up bright and early and we were back to reality in less than a day…..

Days since Shanghai….I must say I was not looking forward the reality of teaching another week… but it went by quickly…

Till Next Time
D White

Extra Pictures:

Sean with the best drink ever....Mint Cucumber Gimlet

Cute kitten that followed us for like 10 blocks...and I dont like cats

French Concession

French Concession...Again

There is a C-Store in China too....

Paige in her massage....haha

At the Bund....They stole our Bull on Wall Street!

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Only in China….

Well well yet another blog…forewarning its long:)

Note: China decided to block wordpress.com soooo it took me a couple weeks to figure out how to post my blogs, but no worries I did it so keep in mine this post was intended to go up about a week and half ago….

This here is the dog I am beyond obsessed with and have debated “dognapping” on numerous occasions (only because I miss Buster, Whylie, and Nahla my dogs from home)

Tid Bits:
Although it hasn’t been long since my post I figured I would fill you in on a little of what it is like to live in China…Things I have noticed since arriving here approximately two months ago, there is trash everywhere! No exaggeration you cant find a trash can it is completely appropriate to just drop your trash where you stand, but you can expect some old lady with a homemade broom to sweep it up in the next few days. Not only is trash everywhere but everything on the ground is trash from leaves to bark to trash itself if it is lying on the ground its considered trash.

Now for the driving the in China, I would find this one of the top two scariest places to be a pedestrian the other being Italy of course. The driving here is outrageous, there are “laws” but when no one follows them do they count? For example at a crosswalk the light turns green for pedestrians to walk yet cars are still running red lights and making it near impossible to cross….rule #1 if one car runs a red light the next must follow because its silly to allow just one car to get away with it….rule #2 lanes, what lanes? If there are 4 painted lines across the interstate (making 4 lanes) that is some sort of code to meaning actually 6/7 lanes of cars are allowed to be driving at once…..rule #3 there are no rules, any piece of cement they can qualify as driving space, is….aka always have your eyes peeled as one may come out of nowhere and nearly hit you. No worries they will honk to tell you that they are about to hit you….rule #4 honk at any pointless thing that irritates you, honking here essentially means move otherwise I will hit you, not move Im tired of waiting, or excuse me I need to get through here its basically your warning of death:)

So my main mode of transportation has been buses and taxis, I figure Ive gotta be “safe” somewhat in both? Although when you bargain to take the bus, plan on at least 100 Chinese people to be body to body with you and all of them staring at you….some may not think its worth the hassle but hey its only like a 25 cent ride to go anywhere in the city. Taxis you occasionally have to be careful about them ripping you off, but I have only had one encounter thus far where they have tried to rip me off. Key is stand your ground and dont be a pushover and they wont mess with you.

I know I have talked about how great the food is here but really I wasn’t kidding….and no its not the weirdest things you could think to eat cooked up in some grill and fed to you (although they have that too:)) My two favorite restaurants are the “hot pot” place, everything is cooked in the pot sitting in the middle of everyone, the things we typically put in it; spicy beef, pumpkin, potatoes, noodles, dumplings, quail eggs, pig brain (sometimes), bokcho (sp?), occasional random piece of food….My other favorite place is a “chuan chuan” (bbq) style cooking you pick out the food (all on skewers) you would like to eat out of a refrigerator and then just cook them over a mini grill. Both are delicious and cheap! But what food is really good is the street food….the other night Ryan and I got our whole dinner on the street for approximately $1.50 and that was going to 3 different vendors….Now what did we get? We got a type waffle, bowl of sauteed and grilled potatoes, and fried dumplings…..all equal amazing, I just wish you could try this food its sooooo good:)

Per request here are some photos of our hangouts around Chongqing….This photo is “International City” it has all foreign restaurants and just cool place to hangout along the river (really pretty at night).

These photos are Da Rasta, the bar we hang out at the most…

Now my final observation…buildings here are only made to last for 5-10 years….they arent looking to far down the road….its amazing the difference of structure between buildings built now and ones built 5 years ago (they look ancient)…the other amazing aspect of China and buildings is they go up so fast, the productivity and efficiency of building here is extreme.

(This pictures are where I teach…SISU’s new campus)

Since I have been here I have seen dozens of new buildings go up and have businesses or people moved in. They are always building something here at all hours of the day and night, and anywhere there is open space (prime building space), at least in Chongqing buildings are stacked on top of one another literally….

These are all the stairs I get to walk up and down everyday:) Yeah Im going to be in great shape soon….Im sure

Funnies:
On an entirely different note….I figured I would bring some humor to topic and share some of the English names my students have chosen; Fruit Z., Sherbet, Steven King, Show, Raisin, Necklace, Cinderella, Hapisweet, Error, Christ, Black, Shorten, Little Red, Fear, Starbucks….sooo there you have the creativity in my class or extreme unawareness that these aren’t really English names….

I have been asked multiple times if I am related to Kelly Clarkson, I dont take this as a compliment but either way its happened at least 60 times….so there must be some similarity according to the Asian eye. This is the first I have heard of this resemblance but apparently its a strong one..

Another thing my students cant seem to wrap their minds around is that I play sports and am half way decent, it first takes them awhile to understand that a girl plays sports especially the physical ones, but then that I can beat majority of my students in basketball and soccer is a whole different story…I will say I do enjoy “beating up” on my students in a little one-on-one basketball and soccer….its fun to shock them and hey its a good workout. So thats what Ive been doing to try and stay active while the Drake boys here have joined an expat  team of Rugby. (Expat: Foreigners) They had their first tournament last weekend and won which I guess pretty exciting for them as the team had not one the tournament ever…Sean got a little banged up and tore his leg up on the turf so he has tried to heal that up with random Chinese products (were not really sure if the products we bought are what he needs for the cut or not) but it seems to be healing slowly but surely…

Homesick:
Speaking of Chinese drug products, I had the flu a couple of weekends ago, possibly one of the worst things to experience in a foreign country especially China….it made me extremely homesick as all I wanted was a bowl of Campbells Chicken Noodle Soup and someone to take care of me. Apparently its too much to ask for in China:(

National Day:
Now as most of you may know from my last post, the first Chinese holiday is here, National Day. The holiday takes place October 1st- October 7th, we kicked off the celebration on September 29th with a Banquet held by the government of Chongqing to essentially talk about how great China was and where they came from and all the awesome things they have done. One student told me China invented pizza….yeah pizza…..really? This was their explanation; Marco Polo came to China and fell in love with Dumplings when he returned home to Italy he tried to recreate dumplings and failed  instead he made an “open” dumpling that turned out like pizza, therefore China invented pizza…..again really? I love the logic….

So that was the beginning part of my banquet, we then went to the Great Hall and watched a performance again to be uplifting and talk about where they have come from and all they have persevere, basically one big patriotic production. It was actually really cool for about the first 30 minutes, then it turned to a bit of WTF, then it got to be too long….It was about 2 hours of songs and dancing, and it probably would have been more entertaining and easier to follow if I would have spoken Mandarin but I knew nothing they were saying and could only enjoy the dancing which half the time didnt make sense to me.

The National Day holiday is the wedding and shopping season, this is when all the good deals happen in China for shopping or so Ive been told. One of my professors has 5 weddings in 7 days to attend, I think that definitely qualifies National Day as a wedding season.

How  I am spending my holiday, I will be in Shanghai visiting a friend from Drake some of you may know him, Ike. It is also where most of the Drake crew will be meeting up so finally get to see all the people from the Shiz, Tianjin and Guilin hopefully. Looking forward to getting out of Chongqing and exploring the new unknown.

Till next time
D. white

Posted in China, Chongqing | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Teaching struggles

What has come in gone in past week since my birthday…

Ryan’s 23rd Birthday was last Wednesday where we celebrated at a delicious Italian restaurant called Nova in Nanping District some of the best pizza I have ever had and cheap at that, thats what I call a winning deal. Our new friends Tyler (from MO) and Fran (from Italy) were there as well as the whole Drake clan. We then took our party to Da Rasta, Tyler’s bar and hung out there for the night.

This weekend was a bit low key just did the usual exploring of Chongqing into Jei Fa Bei (the Downtown District), and Nanping Districts. Found quite the jewel in Shapingba, two DVD stores bought 17 new movies most of which are new and yes they work with premier quality I might add, would mistake for a US DVD. Better part they approximately $1.50 per movie yes you guessed it, I will be coming home with lots of movies lol.

This week will be my first “full” week of class, I have already made it through the “tough” part Monday….I have three classes on Journalism so basically teach the same thing 3 consecutive times for a total of 6 hours, I now officially feel sorry for teachers who do this on a day to day basis….You begin to forget what examples you use from class to class and may say a thing or two that doesn’t make sense (oh well they don’t entirely understand me anyways right?). Or at least that’s what I tell myself to help me get through my classes….Then my week gets a lot easier with my advertising class today, Tuesday, for two hours and the same thing all over again Friday. The exciting news is I only have two more Friday classes to teach for the semester then my traveling kicks off.

I will fully admit the whole teaching thing I hated right off the bat, was very questionable on whether I could even stick out for a whole year, but I took a step back reevaluated the situation I was in, and decided to see how I felt once October rolled around and I had at least taught a few classes in each subject. As my mom would say I was never one for much change in my life, I think that was the underlying issue?

So far I am still getting the hang of the lesson planning and teaching but I have found that a key issue is talking to myself for 2 hours….it does make it even more difficult to teach as my students are no where near fluent in English. The process of actually beginning to learn my students names and faces has made the teaching aspect a lot more fun as well, especially when they are sooo excited to see you out on the street and chat up a conversation with you about ANYTHING…

I am looking at this year as more of a challenge and learning experience, this can open so many doors for me and will really help me grow as a person. Plus on the bright side I do have a lot of free time on my hands, I just have been figuring out what I want to fill that time with. So far that decision has been working out (cant escape it when you live on the side of mountain), learning Mandarin, and exploring the city I call home for a year.

T-minus 2 weeks till National Day aka 1 week break and first trip out of Chongqing…Destination still TBD…

Till next time

D. White

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Birthday Extravaganza

My birthday post only a couple weeks late…

Began as good as any other birthday…I woke up to Angela and Linda at my door with a traditional Chinese birthday cake and a couple gifts. Angela and Linda are two Chinese friends I have made in my week of being here. Angela gave me a homemade necklace from her national heritage, and Linda gave me a cool Tea Cup which I was in dire need of. I then went about my usual day in the internet cafe and around dinner time met back up with everyone to head to Ci Qi Kou an old ancient town.

We walked around and ate down there for dinner and then made our way to a local bar “ Frog Bar” a quaint little bar, where we did karaoke for a few hours.

Then Sean and I proceeded to go downtown to an expat bar (where all the foreigners go) for all you Drake people the Chongqing “Dublin”…. Met some French people and hung out with them the rest of the night. Overall, what I would call a successful birthday….My Saturday would disagree with you, was hurting a little but hey was bound to happen sooner or later right?

Since my birthday, I have observed a total of 5 classes and taught 2 classes. Each class is 2 periods of 45 minutes. Monday afternoon classes of our first week were cancelled due to the heat, yes quite the opposite of Iowa instead of snow cancellations its heat, I believe it reached 111 F that day (not counting humidity). Then my Friday classes were cancelled to get our Medical Exams completed to apply for our Residency permits and visas. America could really use a lesson or two on the process of our Medical Exam it was by far the most efficient and smoothest process I have gone through…you were essentially on an assembly line going from doctor to doctor to have your respective tests done.

This weekend I believe we discovered our hangout for the year, called Da Rasta. Its the one and only reggae bar in Chongqing possibly even China. Its owned by a Chinese women and a guy named Tyler from Missouri. Yes, you guessed it another expat bar but more of a relaxed atmosphere and fun things scheduled throughout the week to partake in such as Trivia Night, All you can eat BBQ, Beer Olympics, so on and so forth….ooh and I cant forget to mention Ryan started bartending there…So as you can tell I think we are set for a good time there almost any night.

This weekend was also the first holiday, Mid-Autumn Festival, the closest thing Ive decided to compare it to in terms of American holidays is Thanksgiving. It was described to me as a time when families get together and eat lots of traditional Chinese food. Here in China they take there holidays seriously….it definitely feels like China during a holiday, way more people outside, traffic is beyond terrible, and everything goes up in price a little. What I found to be the best part of the holiday is no class on Monday:)

Birthday Pictures

Till next time

D. White

Posted in Chongqing | 2 Comments

Intro to the Chonx

Well most of you are probably wondering how things have been going in my city…sorry for the delay in this post. Here is the guest hotel I stayed in before moving into my apartment:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things that have happened in the last week and a half.

– Pay extra again for my baggage….soooo not worth the extra money (should have listened to everyone 🙂 )
– Hung out in internet cafe a lot… (Thank you China for hating MAC’s)
– Become “locals” at a hotpot restaurant down the street
– Dropped lots of cash money on “moving in” things (food, cleaning supplies!, essential living supplies)
– Cleaned my apartment/ unpacked my bags
– Watched a lot of American TV online
– Explored Shapingba (the district of Chongqing I live in)
– Continued embracing the chinese lifestyle (aka not caring about anything)
– Got my schedule and classes

So to go into more detail about my time in Chongqing…

Here is the internet cafe that is essentially where I live until my apartment gets internet….

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is my apartment… overall Im pretty happy about it. A lot larger than I was expecting the only downside, its quite the hike up the mountain everyday to it… Bright side I will be in great shape after 11 months. It took a little cleaning to establish that “homey” feeling there was a layer of dust on everything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have to figure out how to get internet and cable in my apartment they aren’t the best communicators here…and the washing machine is still unknown object to me (I’m afraid to use it in fear of breaking something)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shapingba seems as though its a large city on its own, yet when you drive to downtown Chongqing approximately 25 minutes away…..its a tiny district inside a HUGE city. The only way I can even compare Chongqing to a U.S. city is Los Angeles, because its a city that seems as though it never ends and is built on a mountain side and hills. There are also two of the largest rivers in China passing through the city. Im not sure 11 months is even enough to explore a city like this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One thing I miss is the entertainment world, I know shocking, so if anyone sees any good movies or picks up new shows this fall Im in for recommendations….PLEASE!

So one surprising thing that I was informed of in the last few days was I am NOT teaching English, I will actually be teaching Advertising….I am by no means qualified to do so but hey they think I am so time to just “go with the flow.” The Vice Dean of my department is going on a business trip to America for a couple months so I am taking over her classes for the fall semester aka I have big shoes to fill. The topics I will be teaching about are:
– Reporting & writing principles
– Communications in U.S. society
– Media responsibility over time
– Communications laws & ethics
– Career paths for Advertising majors.

These subjects are a rough outline of what they would like me to teach my students. My students will be Juniors in college and I will have roughly 50 students in each of my classes. I have a lot of lesson planning ahead of me.

Keep it real.

D. white

Posted in Chongqing | 1 Comment

The Shiz

Friday: We arrived late in Shiijazhuang and ate dinner on street (first real Chinese meal) was amazing!

Saturday: Went through the exchanging of money process again because they are incredibly picky about what bills they accept and which they do not I had $60 dollars turned away the other day when I exchange due to slight tears and ink marks on the bills…the humorous part is my American money was straight from the bank (thank you Wells Fargo). We then went to the Future Mall was 5 stories and had any and every brand of clothing you could think of plus a grocery store in it. Later that afternoon we had our first Chinese Language Classes, it was interesting but we learned the Chinese alphabet and how to pronounce all Chinese characters so it was extremely beneficial. I can now hold a conversation to the extent of asking someone how they are doing and counting as well. For dinner we had an assignment to bargain and order our food on our own after riding the bus for 10 minutes, my group was Ryan, Sean, Paige and Shaina. Our success on the bargain was a big fail not much success at all actually…but we ended up eating at a hole in the wall restaurant and ordered 5 different dishes only one of them was not the greatest (green beans with a weird brown sauce) I was pretty impressed with the quality of food in which we ordered especially since the menu was entirely in Chinese and we just pointed and said jigga, jigga, jigga… (this, this, this)

Sunday: We had Chinese classes again and did a review and learned some specific scenarios that could arise and we may need to know how to converse in Chinese.

We then had a meeting with one the schools Foreign Affairs Office and a English teacher from Drake that has been in Shiijazhuang for the last 3 years teaching… It was incredibly informative and I now know expectations of the school and students of me for the next year in terms of my teaching to some extent (I’m sure it differs from school to school) We then were on our own and Ryan hadn’t been feeling the greatest so agreed to go to Pizza Hut for dinner with Ryan, Sean, Paige, Shaina, and Uji it was a lot like America (hen hao shir- very delicious). The majority of our group ended up going out to a club called Mazzo (it is a lower key club like you would see in Vegas) and it does not matter the day it is incredibly packed.

Immediately when we arrived two Chinese guys got into a fight and cracked each others heads open by through mason jars at each others heads, this resulted in about 30 people getting kicked out, security was all of it. Surprisingly it made no difference in the club couldn’t even tell that people got kicked out..

Monday: We had our final Chinese classes today and we had to practice in “role play” situations. I feel as though I have learned a lot in the last few days in terms of customary ways to do things in China as well as Mandarin. We then had a cross-cultural simulation and discussion that was very interesting to do we broke up into two groups and we were separately told how our “culture” acted and did things and then eventually had to go into each others culture with no knowledge of what theirs was like and try to adapt. After we had done this for about an hour we then discussed how we felt going into each others environment and things we noticed being an outsider… Most of the observations were negative towards the other “culture” and typically people were offended or disrespected by someone “a foreigner” entering their culture without the “foreigner” knowingly doing so. It was interesting to think of it in terms how we act sometimes before observing how things are done in places unknown to us.

We then had our home stays and my family had one girl that was 17 years old who spoke great English and the mother who spoke about as much English as I did Chinese so it was very hard to communicate with her.

They picked us up from our training site in Shiijazhuang, we then traveled to their home across town…driving up to it I was nervous it looked a bit sketch I will not lie and people stacked on top of one another. They guided me up to their apartment on the 3rd floor and I was throughly impressed once I got inside, it was a beautiful home. They said it was approximately 1,000,000 RMB which is roughly $153, 900 aka incredibly expensive apartment…They had the 2 bedrooms, large living room/dining room, porch, kitchen and bathroom. I didn’t want to be rude so only took a picture of the room in which I stayed in. It full of furniture you would typically see in the U.S. nothing really out of the ordinary just decorated with more “Asian type” decor. Picture below:

They then took me out to a supposed famous duck restaurant it was very nice, their hospitality was over the top and they allowed me to pick out “any and all” food that I would like. So I proceeded to pick out a couple dishes that I knew I would like and asked that they would pick out some of their favorite dishes. In China it is customary to order many dishes and share amongst the table unlike in the U.S. you order your own dish and typically do not share. It also is not rude to leave food on the table, I would find it impossible to eat all the food on the table because they see “eating all of your food” as they didn’t sufficiently supply enough for you and continue to try to feed you. So have to continually say (I am full: Wǒ bǎo) otherwise they will just load your plate with food till you politely decline. So dinner came to a wrap and they took me for dessert of course, I got my lesson on moon cakes (essential ingredient lotus flower).

We then went back to there home and they informed me of places I should go on vacation throughout my stay by showing me tons of family pictures from Shanghai, Chengde, Beijing, and Macau all places that look beyond beautiful and exciting. One of my favorite parts of the night was the lesson on Chinese medicine practices and beliefs as well as learning the purpose of each kind of tea… my personal favorite was (pu’er cha) which supposedly helps you lose weight:) 🙂 Because of my jet lag still affecting me I was so exhausted from my full day and went to bed fairly early.

They woke me up early took me out and about and showed me a little more of Shiijazhuang and then took me back to our hotel where we met up with the rest of our group again. It was very cute how close we got, I was the first foreigner to stay with them and they were very eager to invite me back to their home. They told me any time I am in Shiijazhuang again I shall stay with them and to keep in touch. The daughter gave me her email address to keep in touch and fully intend to do so.

Tuesday: We did a bit of the tourist thing and went to Longxing Temple in Zhengding, Shiijazhuang. Originally named as “Longxing Temple” (Dragon-hidden Temple), Longxing Temple is one of the earliest, well-preserved and large-scale Buddhism temples in China. It is a key cultural relic under national protection. Its construction began in the 6th year in the reign of Kaihuang in Sui Dynasty (581AD-618AD).

The buildings of the temple, namely, Tianwang Hall, Moni Hall, Mituo Hall, Jietan Altar, and Dabei Pavilion, are evenly laid out on a central axis. Dabei Pavilion is the key building in the temple, housing a well-known 21-meter-high bronze Dabei Buddha with 42 arms. Moni Hall is famous for its structure, its plan being like the shape of a cross, and is the only structure with this shape in Song Dynasty. The frescos and colorful Guanyin Buddha Statue inside the hall are of high value.

Then of course our group had our last hurrah before we went our separate ways to our respective cities for the next year. We drank and ate together and returned to Mazzo club.

One thing I have quickly figured out is drinking is a very common and popular thing to do here no matter the time, all restaurants offer beer to you for every meal at all times of day. Another dangerous alcohol here is called (baijiu) it is terrible tasting but definitely does the job, I haven’t drank it cause the taste is way to distinctive and gross for me but some in our group of taken I liking I think. I don’t know if I mentioned it before but some would say New York City or Las Vegas are the cities “that never sleep” it seems as though China is the country “that never sleeps.” Literally, restaurants or bars will be open until you leave even if it says they close at 3am and you are still there at 5am, and they will still open at 7am it is crazy!!!

Wednesday: Off to Chongqing and had a short scare because there was not a ticket for me, but Bob Yang’s lady friend helped me out and that was resolved!! Again ran into trouble with my overweight bags had to pay an additional $110 luckily not as bad as in America but still hurt a little! Luckily they weigh all your bags together and you get 20 Kilos total per bag, and every additional kilo over 20 they charge…mine just happened to be 49 kilos over!!! I dont know if you have figured it out yet or not but I am a terrible packer, worst thing about it is I have now realized I could probably have made it with out being over weight, if only I could have realized that about 3 weeks earlier:)

Here we come Chongqing….soooo excited!

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Ni Hao China

Sorry for the delay in posts…found out internet sucks here! But I suppose I will fill you in on my last two weeks…

We arrived in Beijing at approximately 5pm, took bus # 5 for 20 min. to Xueyuan bridge in Haidian District. Then we’re supposed to take a cab to our hotel supposed to be about a 2 min. ride…. Sean jumps in cab with all our luggage and Ryan and I jump in another cab. Note to self: never pack so much again even if you know you will miss it….incredibly big pain to lug around as well as paid $200 fee for overweight luggage (welcome to US airlines find anyway to make money)

We quickly found out no one speaks ANY English nor can they read it so we had quite the communication barrier to overcome.. approximately 2.5 hours later we arrive at our hotel without Sean. As we are checking in we are asked for our passports and then come to find out the visa we paid $220 for says our duration of stay is 0 days! So they told us they were calling the police and that we would have to  go there to work out our situation we tried to explain to them that this was not the case as we are living here for one year in Chongqing and the airport had no problem with our visas…(she did not care)…Some how miraculously our visa issue gets solved and they allow us till September 16th to remain in the country (if they can do that), no worries we will deal with it later. At this point it is 11:30pm or so.

We go to our room where there are two Queen (roughly) beds, oh and did I mention they dont believe in springs (they are apparently bad for your body) aka our beds are about as comfortable as the floor. No western beds to be found 😦 I will say though surprisingly my back has not bothered me at all and I do get great nights sleep.

Thursday rolls around its time to explore. We get our map of Beijing and decide to walk up to Peking University and Summer Palace area we have heard it is beautiful and according to our map is not far of a walk.. We begin our journey, and walk for about an hour and none of the streets we have been crossing are on our map so we decide to stop at a hotel to ask where we are, they circle the location…according to our map we have made it about 5 blocks but have walked about 100….New lesson there mapping skills sub-par.

Now we believe we will have to walk about another hour before we will arrive to our destination but decide to keep going its new and exciting and the walk has been good up to this point… We finally arrive to Peking University but come to find out there are guards in front of the entrance and you must have a school pass to enter (it does look beautiful from the outside) we begin walking around the campus and decide to take a cab to Tiannamen Square since our original plan didnt work and to see a different part of Beijing….

It wasnt too bad of a cab ride about 30 min. and only like $12 not to bad if you ask me. We then realize we have no money and need to exchange our money to RMB, but Sean informed us back at the hotel in the morning that we should not carry our passports with us (which in theory is smart) but you need them for everything here especially being a foreigner…Lesson 3 have passport on us at all times (unable to exchange money).

We go to a restaurant for a snack (dumplings) awesome if I do say so myself.  We then go back to the hotel to get our passports and exchange money. We finally have lunch at a restaurant right next to our hotel (we ate pizza, onion rings, essentially really American food lol) our next trip is to Wal-Mart in search of a hair dryer so I can finally shower!!!  Wal-Mart is even more ridiculous in China than in America this one was 6 stories!!! I know, I know all around we were extremely American today lol.

We go back to the hotel to rest before dinner and it ends up Sean and I passed out at 5pm… We slept til about 1am can you say jet lag? Vince another guy in our group was supposed to be meeting up with us at our hotel but ran into the same problems as we did and didnt end up seeing him till Friday afternoon… I continued relaxing/ sleeping but Sean and Ryan went out to grab a bite to eat and met some Chinese girls that became best-friends with them and hung out till about 4am then came back to the hotel relaxed till about 6 am got ready for the day and packed up the rest of our stuff as we had to meet up with the other 22 teachers this afternoon at Beijing airport.

We went to a place called Steak & Eggs an American style restaurant opened up by a Canadian, it was unbelievably good! Then went back to the hotel and checked out of room and we then had about 3 hours to kill so Ryan & I got foot massages for an hour… It was only $10 and one of the best massages I have ever had. 3pm rolls around and its time to get back in the cab and meet up with everyone at Beijing airport luckily this time was a bit more successful…of course our luck had to end at some point because Sean forgot his wallet in the cab. Lucky for him there wasnt anything too important in there. Come to find out everyone else arrived late Thursday night and everything was closed at the airport so they just spent the night in the airport (that would suck!) Hence why Vince had difficulty finding us…

Now we are off to Shiijazhuang. I know what you are probably thinking; so you are telling me that you were in Beijing for 2 days and saw nothing? Most would gather that from what I have just told you, but really how I see it is we learned a lot in a short couple of days I was able to see almost every part of Beijing by walking or cab and I now know where and what I would like to see/do the next time I return to Beijing which will for sure be 2 or 3 more times… So no worries

Tid-bit for the day — Till next time: Dào míngnián de shíjiān

Danielle

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