Blogs from Jilin, China, Asia


Asia » China » Jilin » Changchun February 3rd 2014

We are so lucky that our friend Emily invited us to her family home to celebrate Spring Festival. Better known as Chinese New Year, Spring Festival is actually a celebration of the lunar new year and is celebrated for 15 days in many Asian countries. The holiday is basically like having all of China throw a family reunion - at the same time. In China, the Spring Festival travel rush, known as chunyun, is probably the worlds biggest seasonal human migration. Shannon and I made the 1000km trip north from Beijing to our friend's village, near Changchun, by train. Though we paid for seats, many of the other passengers stood or sat on the floor for the crowded seven hour trip. The countryside we saw was somewhat unremarkable, made up mostly expansive corn fields dotted with ... read more
Shannon on the kang
making dumplings
The Buddhist Temple

Asia » China » Jilin » Changbai Shan January 20th 2013

The busride to Baihe was amazing. While the outside temperature was around -22°C, the busdriver liked it warm and put the heating on level "hell". Within one hour there were around 32°C inside and we had to face the truth: it was the most stupid idea to enter the bus, still wearing all the layers we had to wear in Changchun. In an acrobatic act we tried to get rid of at least 2 layers. The temperature was further boosted by a natural character trait that seems to be inherent to a lot of chinese guys: making business. Of course it is not really convenient to put only as much people in the bus as seats are available. So the bus stopped several times to pick up a lot more people. These people were really clever ... read more
four wheeler park
view of North Korea
so cold

Asia » China » Jilin » Changchun January 18th 2013

The main reason for going to Changchun was actually to visit the palace of Puyi - the last Emperor of China. So we took an overnight train from Harbin and arrived around noon in Changchun. - btw. taking overnight trains in China is not only a really comfortable and convenient way to travel (it saves time, offers a bed and is pretty cheap in relation to the distances) but also a great way to get in contact with some locals. And especially taking the hard-seat or hard-sleeper class causes a huge amazement combined with an even bigger curiosity amongst the guys in the same compartment. Some immediately try to start a conversation, which is a good way to practice a little chinese, or offer food and Baijiu (chinese white liquor), while others just keep on staring ... read more
mission to get a taxi
selling sweet potatoes and corn
vegetable market

Asia » China » Jilin » Siping » Yehe November 4th 2012

First, I want to say hellos to all my family & friends who may be reading this. Like Aunty Maria, Dale, Laura & Jason, Colleen, Josh, Christine, Poplynnville Neighbours, Aunty Rita & Uncle Steve, Lucy (Madrania) & Dave, Nancy & Joe, Declan, Stina, Domz, Jeff G, Maxi, Garrett, Michelle, Erin, Caleb, Amanda, Veis, Poya, Sunghoon, Doug, Cas, Ramin, Deitre & Binkie, Aunty Marion & Aunty Kenny, Brad & Aspen, Andrea, Uncle Fernando & A.Shauna, Brian & Tina, Steve & Lesley, Ian, Aunty Irene & U.Gene, Aunty Diana & U.Joe, Dennis & Lorraine, Mel & Andre, Rene & Kecia, Hector & Samaya, John & Lorraine, Luch, Geredi, Ho family, Natasha, Max, Breanna, Anna, Owen Schutz, Sean Soper, Robin N, Meh, Sensei Anita, Momo, Scott, entire Mota family, everybody else, ...Mom & Dad especially Second, I want to ... read more

Asia » China » Jilin » Siping » Yehe November 4th 2012

I came to China with only one major purpose: to study Tai Chi & Qi Gong with a competent master with the hopes of understanding the basics enough to continue practicing at home on my own for some years. Its said that after years of study, the benefits include a highly focused concentration, improved health & healing of joints, cured diseases, & cancers, greater physiological control such as emotional calmness & some control of involuntary body functions (heartrate, body heat, blood flow), and an awareness of the energy in ones body, aka “the cultivation of Chi,'' which leads to an inner power above normal human capability. I plan to test this for myself. It took 4 flights to get from Kolkata to Beijing. I still love lifting off & returning to ground, and have somehow sat ... read more
Train from Beijing to Siping
Siping City
baby chicks

Asia » China » Jilin » Changchun July 28th 2012

I'm taking a break from packing my bag. I need to get the next year of my life, in clothing and nessecities, into a backpack that seemed a hell of a lot bigger before i accumulated a year of shit in an apartment. The sacrifices :warm clothes will be left, a cat (becasue they die in backpacks) as well as a 3D MAO picture which i dont want to give up but is to big. I finished my contract yesterday and had a farewell party with a whole wack of people i've met over the year. I didn't even realise how many people i had met till we got to the bar (or that i could remember that many names). I think the recovery ain't helping my motivation to pack. In the next day I'll be ... read more

Asia » China » Jilin » Changchun March 8th 2012

I'm upon my finale four months in Changchun and am starting to prepair for what is next for me. Yeah im jumping the gun a bit but when your almost done a race it's hard not to look at the finish line. At the end of this leg ill begin my mini trek down through china for a few weeks...after that there is talk of vietnam but who fucking knows. I've been thinking alot of what im going to miss about this place. The people in Changchun are, for the most part, extremely friendly. In the entire 8 months I have been here, I can honestly tell you, I have difficulty counting the real probelms I have had interacting with people. Yes there are language barriers but, as my dad once told me, smiling is a ... read more

Asia » China » Jilin » Changchun January 11th 2012

There are many things you can talk about when you speak of the best parts of living in china. The food, the smells, the buildings, and the people all come to mind. But one of the things that hits you in the face is B-grade attractions. Places where health and safety laws are told to fuck off and fun is put at the front of the line. I love this part of china not just because it makes me laugh consistantly, but that everyday people in china just dont seem to notice or care. This is entertainment in its most disfigured and enjoyable form. Before you come to northern china you try to educate yourself on everything that is around you (i think most people do this where ever they go). You become a mini-encyclopedia on ... read more

Asia » China » Jilin » Changchun December 3rd 2011

Before I started writing this blog i was reading others. I'd always wonder why there were big gaps of time between entries with people. I get it now. You lose track of time. Not everyday is exciting, and most are mundane. One day bleeds to the next. Teaching English is a wierd experience. You speak the language your whole life and then suddenly start selling that ability as a commodity to be gained by people. I feel, more often then not, like im some sort of actor with a lesson plan as a script. Teaching grammer has got to be one of the biggest loads of shit out there for someone like me. I know what to say, how to spell it and how it should sound....but if you ask me what present continuous tense is ... read more

Asia » China » Jilin » Changchun October 14th 2011

I have been struggling to write my next blog. I'm nearing my three month mark here and there has been alot that has happened. I still love it but difficulties and unexpected smiles are still popping up. I am beginning to develop a routine and slowly losing my connections with how i felt at the beginning of this trip. I think thats just part of traveling. It's a differrent life you begin to live. As soon as you step off the plane into a new country you can't help but be starry eyed. The novelty and excitment of adventure takes you over and even the worst situations dont seem so bad. You forget that you are far away from home and you ride the euphoria of adventure. This is definatly unrealistic when living in a foriegn ... read more

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