Friday March 3
[Waiting at the airport]
I love China so much right now, honestly; the people are so nice and helpful, everything is beautiful and I just love it here. Good thing Ryan pushed me to live here; I don’t think I would have done this without him. I bet I could stay here for a while; if I had our kittens with me…or adopted a dog here. Mwuahahah. Just kidding…maybe. Nah I can’t do that.
I think I should really learn the language. It’s actually really cool sounding and I can understand some words, so why not? I’m sure I can do it. Plus who knows where the Chinese language could take me? Mostly I think I could impress lots of people (including myself). How weird would it look if I were to speak Chinese…It certainly would help me with getting around here. We move into the new apartment tomorrow!! I can’t wait. New city, new things to do, new adventures, beautiful apartment (I seriously love it so much).
[Announcement over the PA system]
Awe man, our flight is delayed…oh well. We’ll get where we need to go eventually. I’m in no hurry; just enjoying the fact that Ryan and I are movin!
[Ryan] “Surprise, surprise…flights delayed”
[Me] “I know eh. It’s always delayed…. Oh well!”
Saturday March 4
[Alarm goes off]
No. The bed is too nice! I am SO tired. I just want to sleep in longer. Today is moving day, and I’m super excited but so tired. I definitely stayed up later than usual last night because I was thinking about today. Ahh well. I’ll get through it. Time for breakfast! I guess Ryan’s not going to be joining…I can do it on my own. Get ready for the stares!
[Two men walking towards me down a narrow hallway]
Seriously one of them won’t move over even just a little bit for me?! If they’re not moving I’m not moving. Screw it. I’m strong. I got this. I’m going to teach them a lesson!
Seriously he didn’t move at ALL? Wow. No sorry, nothing. Screw him. I’m pissed. No manners at all. (But seriously what did you expect…it’s China…plus they’re probably rich, wealthy men that have people move out of the way all the time for them).
Wow this room is massive…hmm which one of the many tables shall I choose from. Ahh whatever, I’ll get breakfast first and then sit down.
[I sit at a massive round table to myself]
Well this table is a little unnecessary, but they’re all the same. I guess they decided to pick a banquet hall as the temporary breakfast location, since they’re going through renovations. I swear…everywhere you look in China you will see some sort of construction.
[Takes a bite of breakfast food]
Oh god…I thought it was spinach. How is this hard and crunchy…and bitter and spicy? What the heck. Yuck. Okay I’ll stick to my hard boiled eggs. Normally the breakfast here is pretty decent!
[I finish eating the minimal food on my plate]
Hmm, not satisfying…but everyone is looking at me right now. I am the only foreign person here. I do not belong…get me out! Well…let me just leave my stuff here and fill up my tea cup; it’s only 3 feet away.
[I fill up my cup and walk back]
Are you kidding me??
[People hurry over to put their breakfast plates ‘my’ table]
[I look at them, they look at me like ‘I know your stuff is here, but we don’t want to move”]
Oh don’t worry, I was here first but it’s okay. You sit! I’ll move…
[I sit down at a new, massive table]
Ouch…this tea is super-hot. Dammit. I burned my mouth. Ugh people are still staring at me…I just want to enjoy breakfast without being looked at….
You know what girl, you got this. You’re alone and you’re handling this well.
[I mentally pat myself on the back]
[Some random man joins me at my table]
[I look at the time]
Oh time to go. Guess I have to leave this tea, no way am I going to chug this.
[I get up to walk out of the banquet hall, and everyone’s looking at me]
If I just keep looking down, it’ll almost be like people aren’t looking at me. You know, like peekaboo; if I can’t see them, they can’t see me (geez you’re a baby). Just hide your face girl, don’t look at them! It’ll only bother you more. Just get back to the room.
[Back at the hotel room]
Oh good Ryan’s awake and getting ready for today. I bet he’s excited to move too. I wonder how he slept last night.
[Me] “Hey did you sleep okay”
[Me ] “Okay, I’ll take that as a no.”
[Ryan] “I never sleep well when we stay at this hotel. It sucks. How was breakfast?”
[Me] “Well because of the renovations, breakfast was in a different location, and on my way these two guys didn’t even slightly move out of the way, so I walked into the one guy…well to on purpose, sort of. Also some people took over my table at breakfast. Also, breakfast sucked. I’m grumpy this morning and being super whiney….I’m sorry. I’m just tired.”
[Ryan] “That’s okay. We’re moving in today! Be happy!”
It’s a good thing he loves me, otherwise he’d say this:
[Me] “I just want to cry. I’m tired, and I can’t handle things right now”
[Ryan hugs me]
[Ryan swings my arms around and in the air like a monkey to make me laugh]
[I’m laughing/crying at the same time]
[I feel slightly better]
[Me] “Thanks for that”
[Ryan] “Of course”
I can do this. I can be happy and exhausted. I don’t seem to hold myself together well when I’m tired….such a big baby you are. Ahh whatever. Everyone has their triggers. I’ll do better.
[Me] “Hey I guess we need to call down and see if someone can bring up a luggage cart. I don’t think we’re physically capable of bringing all of our stuff down in one go”
[Ryan] “Yeah have fun with that….remember how well asking for room service went the one time?”
[Me] “Ugh, yeah you’re right. Well I can try! You never know.’
You got this. This is not the room service situation…you’re not hungry. Totally different.
…………….Reminiscing trying to ordering room service…..……………….
[Ryan and I get back from the gym]
[Ryan] “Hmm it’s getting late. What do you want for dinner? The restaurant here closes at 9pm so there’s literally no way we’ll make that. Want to go to the mall?”
[Me] “Uhhh, well why don’t we just order some room service? By the time we get to the mall restaurants will be closing there too. Let me just shower and we can try call down.”
[Ryan] “Well how long is that open ‘till?”
[Me] “It says 24 hours”
[Ryan] “Okay let’s try it”
[After showered and ready, Ryan calls to order food]
[Ryan] “Hi can I order food?”
[Person] “Ma?” (means ‘what?’)
[Ryan] “Food? Eat. Can I order food?”
[Person mumbles something in Chinese]
[Person hands phone over to other person]
[Person 2] “Hello?’
[Ryan] “Hi, order food? Can I order food?”
[Person 2] “Uhh… food?”
[Ryan] “Yes. Order food. Please’
[Person 2] “Okay okay”
[Person hangs up]
[Ryan] “Huh…he just hung up on me. I don’t think we’re getting food.”
[Me] “What?? Maybe he misunderstood. Or maybe they’re going to call back”
[We wait several minutes]
[Ryan] “Yeah they’re not going to call back”
[Ryan tries calling again]
[Ryan] “Hi can I order food?’
[Person] “Food? Okay okay”
[Person hangs up again]
[Ryan] “Well the second time didn’t work either”
[Me] “What the heck haha. This is silly.”
[We hear a knock on the door]
[Me] “Ni hao!” (‘Hello’)
[Lady walks in and hands me 2 waters, then leaves]
This isn’t food!
[Ryan] “Is that what they thought food was?’
[Me] “I have no idea…sometimes hotels do turndown service and give waters out. Maybe that’s what that was. Let me try calling one more time”
[I call the customer service]
[Me] “Hi, food. Order please’
[Person] ‘Food. Okay okay.”
[Person hangs up]
What the…..ughh! I’m so hungry! I just want food!
[Ryan] “Marisa, this isn’t going to work. Let’s just go to the mall and get food”
[Me] “Okay fine, but we better hurry. Places are closing.”
[We get to the mall]
[Ryan] “So what kind of food do you want?”
[Me] “I don’t know…I’m too hungry to think right now.”
[Ryan] “Well I don’t think anywhere is going to take us..the mall is closing.”
[Me] “Well if they say they’re open until 10pm, they have to take us!”
[Ryan] “Well you know that that means they’re closed for 10. Which means they stop taking people around 9:30…it’s almost 9:30.”
[Me] “Ugh why did we come here then…”
You knew these facts…you should have thought about this before you left.
This is what happens when I’m hungry, I don’t think things through…
[We continue walking…I’m grumpy]
All I want is a bit of food to tie me over until the morning. I don’t want junk food…I just want real food.
[Ryan] “So….where do you want to go? Only KFC and Pizza Hut left now.”
[Me] “What about the grocery store? Can’t we go there?”
[Ryan] “Yeah but they’ll only have small snacks and junk food. No pre-made meals.”
[Me] “Do we have a microwave in our room? I don’t remember”
[Me] “I can’t go to sleep hungry…I’ll just stay pissed for no reason. Right now I’m grumpy for no reason.”
[Ryan] “I can tell…”
[Me] “KFC it is.”
Why does it feel so hard to eat healthy in China sometimes….and why is nothing open late on a weekend?? What is this?!”
[Ryan and I sit in complete silence while I fume with anger at my frustrations of that evening]
Dammit…I don’t want to eat KFC right now, but this wrap is actually pretty good. Stop being so angry woman! Geez relax!
………………….End of reminiscing………….…………
Ugh. Yeah trying to get a luggage cart is going to be fun….well let’s see how this goes!
[Me] “Hi, ni hao. Can we get luggage cart? Yes. Luggage. Luggage”
[Person] “Lug…uhh luggage?”
[Me] “Yes luggage.’
[Me] “Yes. Cart. Push bags. Bags. Bag cart. Big bags.”
[Me] “Yes. Bag cart. Push”
[Person] “Uhhhh. Umm. Room number?”
[Person] “Okay. One moment please”
[Ryan] “They didn’t understand?”
[Me] “No I think someone’s coming up to look and see what we want”
[Ryan] “Of course…”
[Someone knocks on the door]
[Me] “Ni hao. Uhhh”
[I show her my luggage and sort of act out a cart by pushing them]
[Person] “Ahhh. Ahh. Shi de” (Means ‘Okay)
[She walks over to the phone and calls to tell them what we need]
[Me] “Xie xie!!”
[Me] “Well that went much better than trying to order food”
[Ryan] “Hahah yeah definitely”
[Me] “We should really learn these simple words eh… It might help them understand”
[Ryan] “Yeah we should ahah. But you think they might know something with learning English in school’
[Me] “You’d think so…”
[Person comes up to load our bags and we make our way down to check out]
[We arrive at our apartment building]
Ooooh 26th floor here we come! I can’t wait. Gosh why do I have so much stuff? I wish I could just be one of those people that live happily in the woods with like zero material things… other than clothes of course. Like Pocahontas and her forest friends.
Minus the magical singing-voice.
[We get into our apartment]
Okay scratch that forest idea. I mean LOOK at this place; it’s beautiful! Geez the lady who decorated this place has good taste. I like it. Actually, I love it! I’ll keep that forest idea in mind for the future…right now THIS is where I’ll be living with Ryan. This is nicer than the condo we lived in before we came here. Wow. I’m a lucky girl.
[I run through all the freezing cold rooms to get more excited about where we’ll be living]
Why is there no heating…geez this place is freezing. I guess we still have to wait to meet the owner; then we can turn on the heat! Time to meet Lola now to get the key.
[Administrative assistant (Lola) helps us get a key to get in and out of the community]
[Lola] “Hi, so I was speaking with the owner and she says she wouldn’t suggest you leave your things in the apartment. She says many people have the passcode to get in and she can’t guarantee that your things won’t get stolen.”
[Ryan] “But she said that once we pay, that we can move in. And we paid her.”
[Lola] “Yes I know. She wants to meet with you on Thursday to go over how to use things in the apartment. Then you will reset the code with her, and then it will be safe.”
[Ryan] “But we’re supposed to meet her this weekend.”
[Lola] “Yes, well she lives in Beijing. She just went back yesterday, and she can’t make it back until Thursday. So she suggests you don’t move in until then.”
[Ryan] “Do you think we need to be worried about this?”
[Lola] “No. I think she is just worried. I will call her again and discuss.”
[2 hours goes by…no joke]
[Lola] ‘Okay so the owner says she can come tomorrow. We will meet here at 1:30pm.”
[Ryan] ‘Okay thanks Lola.”
[Me] “Sounds like the owner just wanted to meet us first before we move in.”
[Ryan] “Yeah she probably just wants to make sure we won’t ruin anything.”
[Me] “Probably. I’m really glad that we don’t have to live in a hotel for the rest of the week’
[Ryan] ‘Me too. Lunch time! What do you feel like eating?”
[Me] “I have no clue.’
I usually have no clue what I want to eat…
[We walk around restaurants near our place]
[Me] ‘What about over there? What’s that place?”
[Ryan] “Over where?”
[Ryan] “I dunno, let’s see what it is”.
[We walk into this modern, rainforest-ey looking restaurant and get seated]
[Me] “Well this place is cool. And the people seem really nice”
[Server is standing there waiting for me to order something]
Ah man…I don’t know what I want….this menu is all in Chinese. Good thing I can’t read any of it.
[Ryan] “What are you getting to drink? Just water?”
[Me] “Yeah, just water please.”
[Ryan orders us waters]
[Me] “Ryan I have no idea what we can order. This menu is all in Chinese.”
[Ryan] “Maybe the translator app will work.”
[Ryan gets out his phone to scan the menu]
[Ryan] “Okay soooo this says lamb, fish, Canada fish, shrimp and beef.”
[Me] “What the heck is Canada fish?
[Ryan] “No clue.”
[Server comes back with water and is waiting for our order]
[Ryan points at a spot on the menu to see if it’s for two people]
[Ryan] “Uhhh….this, us?”
[Server] Server nods and then says “___ ____ san” (means 3)
[Ryan] “So I guess that means we choose three from this set menu.”
[Me] “Yeah it seems that way. Okay just pick three for both of us I guess”
[Ryan picks three]
[Server] “ ___ ___ la” (la means spice)
[Ryan] “ ___ ___la” (we want spicy)
[Ryan] “So who knows what we’re getting, but we’re getting something with a bit of spice.”
[Me] “Ooo a surprise meal. I wonder what it’ll be!”
[First dish comes out and looks like a planter]
[Me] “Soooo is this a place setting? I can’t really see you through it.”
[Ryan] “Haha I guess we’re having dirt for lunch.”
[Me] “Hmm…what did we get ourselves into…”
[Ryan] “This can’t be part of our meal.”
[Server comes over with scissors and a paint brush]
[Me] “Did we come here for arts and crafts too?”
[Server describes in detail (in Chinese) the purpose/description behind the meal and serves it to us by wiping away dirt with paintbrush and cutting into the tin-foil covered dish]
[Ryan] “Did you get all that Marisa?”
[Me] “Totally…you know I’m fluent already.”
[Server takes our bowls and serves us from the planter]
[Ryan] “Ooo, I guess this is soup.”
[Ryan & I] “Xie Xie” (Thanks)
[Server] “Bu ke qi” (Your welcome)
[Me] ‘This must be a high-end place, the manners and serving etiquette are really good.”
[Ryan] “Yeah seriously. And they describe all the dishes…not that we understand”
[Second dish arrives]
[Me] “Wow, this is the most magical salad I’ve ever gotten. I think more people would order salad if they knew it came out this way.”
[Ryan] “Ahah It’s also really good”
[Me] ‘ Yeah wow! This is tastey! I don’t even know what kind of lettuce this is. It’s real thick, but nice and crunchy.”
[…after our next several dishes]
[Ryan] “Okay I know I just ordered 3 dishes…we’re onto 5 now and I’m full.”
[Me] “Me too…but looks like there’s more. Oh gosh. So much for a light lunch.”
[Ryan] “So we got soup, salad, beef, shrimp, two kinds of fish, pork chops…and woah what is this.”
[Server brings us a vase full of carnations and two drinks]
[She stands there waiting for something, says something and we’re not sure what to do]
[I nod my head]
[Server pours something into vase and the dry ice reacts]
[Server says something, we smile and she smiles back]
[Me] “I don’t know what to do, I don’t understand.”
[Ryan] “Do you think we drink these things?
[Me] “Uhhh what if they’re decoration?”
[Ryan] “She’s looking at us…I think we’re supposed to drink them.”
[Me] “Okay let’s do it! Which colour do you want?”
[We drink our interesting beverages]
[Ryan] “Wow that’s good. What is it?”
[Me] “Geez that is a sweet drink. Good thing they weren’t decorations or we’d look like idiots right now.”
[Ryan] “Hahah do you think that’s it for our dishes?’
[Me] “I hope so. My stomach is telling me to stop eating haha.”
[Server brings over something on spoon]
Oh gosh more food.
[Me] “Uhh…is this egg yolk?”
[Ryan eats his egg yolk]
[Ryan] “I think so. Haha wow this feels funny”
[I eat mine]
[Me] “Wow that is different! It’s like a cold, sweet, somewhat hard but mushy egg yolk”
[Ryan] “Haha the things on top of the egg are like pop rockets. I can still feel them popping down my throat.”
[Me] “Ahaha this is cool. That was surprisingly good!”
[We get up and pay for our meal, everyone says goodbye to us]
[Me] “Wow everyone was so nice! I’d like to go back there.”
[Ryan] “Yeah definitely a place to keep in mind when people visit.”
[Me] “What do you want to do tonight?”
[Ryan] “Not sure, we should go to the gym though.”
[M]e “So true, we have to do that still”
[Ryan] “Okay lets do it.”
[At the gym]
Yes workout time! My main stress-reliever. I love working out, but working out in China is totally different. People stare at me way more here than anywhere else it seems. Is it that unusual for a woman to lift? Why do I keep asking myself that…geez woman you’ve been working out in China for almost a year. They never get used to seeing you lift. Just focus on your workout.
[Two men keep staring]
I swear….im going to stop what I’m doing and stare them down in a minute if they don’t stop.
[They don’t stop]
That’s it; I’m giving them serious eye contact! I hope it deters them from staring.
[The one man walks over]
[Man] “Ba! Ba!”
[He gives me a thumbs up, and does the same gesture in Ryan’s direction of the room]
[I smile instead of giving the evil stare]
Okay…I know he’s not just making a sheep noise…
[Me] “Xie xie” I laugh.
[Walking back to our room from the gym]
[Me] “Ryan, some guy gave us the thumbs up today at the gym while saying ‘Ba’. What does that mean?”
[Ryan] “Haha he did?? It means something like ‘Wow’.”
[Me] “Ooooh. Well that would make sense then. I know people are just curious, but I get so tired of people staring sometimes. Especially when I’m doing squats. Just feels like they’re looking at my ass the whole time”
[Ryan] “Yeah I know, it can be annoying. They check out my booty too”
[Me] “What a big booty you have”
[Beyoncé’s ‘Bootylicious’ song pop’s up in my head]
Sunday March 5
[Ryan] “So today we’re meeting the owner and she’s going to show us how to use everything in the apartment.”
[Me] “Cool! Then it’s ours!”
[Ryan]”‘I think it should only take like an hour.”
[Me] “Yeah hopefully it doesn’t go like yesterday, us just sitting around for 2 hours.”
[Ryan] “Yeah hopefully not”
[We meet the owner, and she’s a lovely lady]
[Owner explains something in Chinese to Lola]
[Lola] “She says that this key pad is for air conditioning in this room; each room has its own. So you can turn on in the summer when it is hot. Turn off for now because you don’t need. But if you need some cold air, you can press here and it will be cold. You can maybe turn off when you aren’t home”
[Owner explains the other keypad next to A/C buttons]
[Lola] “Okay she says this is for the floor heating. If you want to be warm you press this. You can have settings so it turns off at night. Or you can turn off when you are away. Each room also has one of these. Maybe only turn on for room you are in. It uses a lot of energy to have it on.”
Whaaaaaat. Floor heating?! That’s nice.
[Lola] “So this is for cold air. And this is for heat.”
[I whisper to Ryan] “Is that the only source of heating?”
[Ryan] “Yeah I think so”
[Me] “It’ll take forever to warm this place up. It’s like -2 right now”
[Ryan] “Yeah I know I’m frozen too. Just gotta bundle up I guess.”
[Me] “I didn’t think coming to China that I’d need to bring winter clothes.”
[Ryan] “Me neither….”
[We walk over to the water heater]
[Owner explains things to Lola]
Wow I didn’t know so many buttons were involved in a water heater….ehh I’ll just let Ryan figure it out.
[We finish learning about the apartment]
[So far 2 hours have gone by]
Okay why is everyone just sitting around…I’m frozen, and hungry. Thanks for explaining things…but get out!
[Ryan] “This is taking way longer than I thought”
[Me] “Yeah what exactly is happening now? Why are we just waiting around?”
[Ryan] “We’re waiting for someone from the community to come up and ‘officially’ read the meter to see what we’re starting out with. So they know how much to charge us at the end of the month.”
[20 minutes later, he comes by to read the meter, no one has left yet]
[Me] “Okay…so what now?”
[Ryan] “Wow, so this isn’t just business….every process in China really takes forever.”
[Me] “That’s annoying haha.”
[Ryan] “Yeah…now we’re waiting for people to come describe this screen to us.”
[People come by to describe the screen]
[Lola] “Okay so that screen is to talk to security. If someone is at the gate and wants to visit you, you can see them through the camera if you press this. Then if you want to talk to them, you press this. And sometimes security will call you if you have delivery. But I think it might be difficult to speak because they don’t speak English.”
[Me] “I’m sure we can figure it out. Ryan knows some Chinese. Hopefully that works!” I laugh.
Okay please let that be it….
[Lola] “Do you have any more questions for the owner?”
[Ryan & I] ‘No.’
Oh please go, please go. I’m an icicle now.
[Lola and owner speaking in Chinese for a bit]
Oh gosh. All the doors are open. I’m hungry. I’m cold. Please just get out. Please please please.
[Lola] “Okay the owner says if you have any questions you can ask me, and I can ask her for you.”
[Me] “Okay thank you! That’s great.”
[Lola] “Okay we can go now. Anything else you need, let me know.”
[Ryan & I] “Thanks Lola! See you!”
[We close the door]
[Ryan] “Oh god that took way too long! I need to take a hot shower…there’s no way this place will warm up fast enough. I can’t feel my toes!”
[Me] “Well I’m going to make some food first…I’m hungry”
[Ryan goes to turn on water]
[Ryan] “Is the water heater on? I’ve had the water running for a while and it’s still not warm”
[Me] “Uh….I think so….you were the one in the room with her. I think you’d know better than me.”
[I look in the water heater closet]
Ugh more Chinese labels. I can’t read this. Lets hope the app works for this.
[I get my phone and use the translator app]
[Ryan comes over]
[Ryan] “Okay so this is on….why isn’t it heating…There’s this switch down here…what’s that say?”
[Me] “On, off.”
[Ryan] “Are you kidding me…they didn’t show us these switches.”
[Me] “Hahah that’s hilarious. Well she’s never even lived here before. I guess maybe she doesn’t really understand how this place works.”
[Ryan tries the water again]
[Ryan] “Yussss it’s warm!!”
[Me] “Wooo! That would have sucked if we had to have cold showers.”
Almost bed time. I think I’ll shower.
[I go to turn on the shower]
[5 minutes goes by]
[Me] “Uh….hey Ryan….the hot water isn’t working. Did you turn it off?”
[Ryan] “What? No I didn’t touch it. Are you serious?”
[Me] “Yeah I’ve been waiting for a while now.”
[We walk over to the water heater]
[Me] “The switch is still on…”
[Ryan] “Oh fun. I think we need to press this button any time we need hot water. This shows it only stays heated for this long.”
[Me] “I didn’t realize water heaters worked that way.”
[Ryan] ‘They usually don’t…this is strange. Well hopefully we don’t need to press it every time. We’ll find out tomorrow morning.”
It’s still freezing in this place….I need a snow suit in here!
[I turn on shower and stick my hand under]
Geez this water is so cold….my poor frozen fingers. This still isn’t warming up.
[I walk over to water heater and press the button]
[I go back to shower and turn it on again]
Ohhh! It’s warm! Yay!
[I take a 15 minute shower to thaw my frozen body]
[Ryan] “Hey is the water working?”
[Me] “Yup. But I’m pretty sure we need to press that button every time we want warm water.”
[Ryan] “That makes no sense…what’s the point?”
[Me] “I seem to ask myself that question a lot here. I wish I new!”
Hi friends! I sincerely apologize for the long delay in the release of this blog…I needed some time to just chill out and get used to our new place!
This past weekend Ryan and I were able to enjoy some drinks on our balcony in the sun, and it felt like a Canadian summer as we weren’t yet dying from the China humidity. I felt like my body was craving this sunlight! Point is; I feel settled in our new home, and can’t wait to find out more about this beautiful city. From our balcony we can see mountains off in the distance once we look past the abundance of buildings and skyscrapers, and are lucky enough that the sun sets where we can see it (although smog usually blocks the view). I hope we’ll be able to see it at least once before we need to leave for good!
The community we live in is absolutely amazing; it’s surrounded by greenery, fountains, and man-made bodies of water that make you forget that you’re in a city with the same population as Canada. I can finally feel free to go out for a jog without being terrified of getting lost or getting hit by a vehicle, or even being stared at (yes that prevents me from some of my outings). My most recent challenge is getting around by bicycle; Ryan and I bought bikes to get around more quickly, because taxi driver’s hate it when you ask them to take you a short distance; but walking would take too long. Anyways, there are no designated bike lanes here like there were in Wuxi; so Ryan and I try to stay on the sidewalks as much as possible so we don’t interact too much with other vehicles. The problem with this is that if you need to cross a street, the curbs aren’t tapered off from the road to the sidewalk, which means I need to get off my bike any time I want to get up on the sidewalk. Ryan tried showing me once how to ‘hop up’ onto the sidewalk without stopping and getting off my bike, but when I tried, my foot slipped and my shin hit the bike pedal, and my bike wheel ended up just bouncing off the curb (I’m so coordinated!). I attempted it once more; and ended up falling off my bike (luckily I gracefully caught my footing while my bike fell to the ground). It’s safe to say I’m now a bit terrified to try this again. Anyways, this has made biking more of a nuisance to me because in addition to the many hills we need to bike on, it’s really annoying to have to stop and start biking again when your on and uphill slant. The other challenge with biking is that I never want to do it alone; I always prefer Ryan to be around when I need to bike somewhere. For one, I know I would get lost if I weren’t following him because I’m directionally challenged. And two, focusing on where I need to go as well as avoiding vehicles and people, AND getting off for curbs seems quite stressful! I was completely okay with biking around in Wuxi; but Chongqing is a whole new situation and I just don’t enjoy biking without Ryan around. I know it sounds a bit silly….I think it’s purely the curbs that freaked me out haha. Oh well! Also, it’s terrifying to bike around when the ground is wet; the sidewalks are so slippery.
Anyways! As you may have gathered from my blogs, China can be frustrating at times, but also wonderful. And for you really amazing people, like Ryan, who for the most part have your emotions under control; I’m sure you’d handle different and frustrating situations way better than me. But I am still learning! Every day I get better and it’s easier to welcome changes without over-reacting to it; so I’m always thankful for this opportunity to be in China with Ryan. It’s been such a huge life lesson!
I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is to plan ahead, but then go with the flow. Usually things here never happen as smoothly as you would expect them to; and as you can probably tell just from us getting the apartment, things usually take much longer than you expect as well. Basically just don’t have expectations….yeah that’s a tricky habit to get out of!
Some other bonuses of living here: nothing really grosses me out anymore; mostly when it comes to food. I mean I usually never get grossed out by food, but I guess nothing surprises me anymore. Going out for lunch or dinner for work and asking what a dish is, and getting the response “pig brain”, “frog”,”intestines” or “worms” is as normal as finding out that it’s raining outside. Or walking into a bathroom and finding out that the only types of toilets are the kind where you have to squat, it’s not surprising or challenging at all. I apologize for this graphic bit of info, but when you really need to go #2 (strange a different foods will create this ‘problem’) and you find out all you have is a squatty-potty…it can be issue. But I’m happy to say this is no issue for me! (That was a real happy day for me…). But despite us being used to much of the culture here, there will always be some sort of hurdle to get through; c’est la vie!
Anyways, I hope to post pictures soon on what our place looks like! I love it here, and it’s so nice that this place feels more like a home.
Next trip: Vietnam!
On Thursday our flight leaves for Vietnam at 6:50 AM! We’re going to be quite tired, but I’m super excited for some beach weather.
Until next time folks!