Blogs from Ji'Nan, Shandong, China, Asia - page 7


Asia » China » Shandong » Ji'Nan January 17th 2008

Winter is here, in full effect. Jinan is cold and dry, and everyone is wearing thermals these days! We've had our first snowfalls, mainly light flurries that are easily swept away off the sidewalks and roads. It is fun but there is never enough snow for winter sports or sledding. It's mainly brown/gray here in the winter, very drab. The winter weather here is cold, I'd say about 20s-30s. The weather is always in Celsius, so I have to approximate the conversion to Fahrenheit. If the sun is out, it's relatively pleasant. Some days it gets quite bitter, but nothing like the Minnesota winters I grew up in! I don't mind the cold, so I don't often wear thermals, but the other teachers and all of the Chinese people are wearing multiple layers on top and ... read more

Asia » China » Shandong » Ji'Nan January 2nd 2008

It's 2008, a new year, the Year of the Rat! 2008 is China's Olympic year, and the build up is growing every day! I put my name in the second round lottery for tickets, so we'll see if I get any or not. I won't find out until April, so I have to keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best. I am jealous of my friends that had their names down in the first round lottery and already have their tickets. I will patiently wait out the next four months until I find out the results of my endeavor. New Year's weekend was going to be a bit of a drag, in that we were notified about a week beforehand that we would have to work on the 31st. My friends and I had ... read more

Asia » China » Shandong » Ji'Nan December 28th 2007

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ONE AND ALL! Christmas season is here, and Jinan is decorated in full! The stores and streets are filled with fake trees, twinkly lights, garland of all colors, snowflakes, Santa faces and even the occasional life-sized Santa who plays Christmas tunes as you walk by. The stores all have piped in Christmas music, too. Some of it is in English and some are Chinese translations of familiar tunes. Indeed, China makes the most of this Western holiday with all the commercialism one finds in the US, and then some. My fellow Aston teachers and I have been busy buying decorations for our apartments, trying to make it feel like Christmas. It's cold outside, but there is no snow unfortunately. So no white Christmas for us! I miss my family and friends in the ... read more

Asia » China » Shandong » Ji'Nan December 7th 2007

We decided to go to Jinan to do some Christmas shopping. First mission: Tai'an train station to buy a ticket. There are six queues at the ticket office, one for each window. Which window to choose? There's a sign for each one. Any idea what it says? None at all. Let's chance it then. While waiting we had a chance to bend our schoolchild Chinese around Buying a Ticket, a topic our textbook has not yet covered. This is what we cobbled together: 'Hello. We like go Jinan. Today morning. Two people. Thank you.' Ni3 hao3. Wo3men yao4 qu4 Ji4nan2. Jin1tian1 sheng1wu3. Lian3ge ren2. Xie4xie. It worked. Two tickets to Jinan. Second mission: To the main station. Find the appropriate waiting room. Match train number on ticket with train number on screen floating over one of ... read more
Waiting room
Jinan train station.

Asia » China » Shandong » Ji'Nan August 7th 2007

As you may have gathered from my last blog entry, it's really hot and humid in the summer in Jinan. My days are spent in front of a fan and/or air-conditioning, watching DVDs of Scrubs and Lost and Friends. I have taken on some extra hours with Aston Summer Intensive classes, so I work Mon-Wed-Fri afternoons in addition to my Friday-Saturday-Sunday routine. I like it, it gets me out of the house, and I get some extra spending money. The kids are great, and I see them so often, the classes fly by! It's like when I was at Cornell College and had one class at a time. Every few weeks I'd finish a class, and these kids will be done with their classes in 6 weeks - wow! Some of the kids are already Aston ... read more

Asia » China » Shandong » Ji'Nan July 20th 2007

Summer is in full blast here in Jinan, and it's hot, hot, hot! They say it's not the heat, it's the humidity, and that goes double in Jinan. I am dripping with sweat most days, and it's quite uncomfortable. Thankfully there is air-conditioning in our apartment, at the school and in the shops, so there is relief from the grimy sweaty city air. On the night of July 18th, disaster struck Jinan. It rained and rained, and as it does when it rains, the streets were flooded. These are the days where it is difficult to get a taxi and the buses are full to the brim with people trying to get home semi-dry. I have been working some extra hours this summer, during Aston's summer intensive. Wednesday should have been like any other day, but ... read more

Asia » China » Shandong » Ji'Nan July 5th 2007

Summer is in full swing in Jinan. The foreign teachers got together and had a 4th of July barbeque to celebrate America's Independence Day. Any excuse for a party, really! It was great, we had a party outside the teacher's apartment building at Li Xia Da Sha. We played baseball, soccer, badminton, and later on we got some jump rope going! A couple of the teachers bought table top grills, and we went and got some hot coals from the chwar (street barbeque) place across from the apartment entrance. We had a couple of kegs of beer and tons of food, including hamburgers and hot dogs and veggie kabobs and potato chips and salads. Just like home but with an eclectic international crowd! We even had a kiddie pool and filled it with water to dip ... read more

Asia » China » Shandong » Ji'Nan May 1st 2007

I have developed an irritating fondess for this city. It's grown on me like some variety of mould. Today I sat in appreciation of Jinan. Near my apartment is a small park where I found a flat, comfortable rock near a statue of Hotei (Laughing Buddha) to study Chinese and sunbathe (or rather sunbathe and study Chinese...). I love visiting the parks and squares. I love having the time to visit the parks and squares. This little park in particular is so warm and peaceful. Old men shuffle past with walking sticks and carry fold-down stools. I'd love to be an old Chinese man. They're such great characters. And when they get tired or find an interesting foreigner to have a look at, they can just set-up their little stools and enjoy a good stare. They're ... read more

Asia » China » Shandong » Ji'Nan April 23rd 2007

The last couple of weeks have flown by! The days and weeks are moving quickly, we just finished Week 7 of classes. Now we are off for the May holiday. Everyone in China has the first seven days of May off for the Worker's Holiday. We at Aston have the last weekend of April off, in advance of the national holiday. The reason for this is that the schoolchildren will go to their regular Chinese schools this weekend so that they can have the first few days of May off along with everyone else. That's not really a holiday, now is it? Going to school all weekend to get a few days off the next week. In America, when it's vacation time, everyone including the schoolchildren, have the time off. Can you imagine if American children ... read more

Asia » China » Shandong » Ji'Nan April 5th 2007

Nihao. Wo jiao Elizabeth. I have had three Chinese lessons with a very patient Sally, one of our Chinese teachers at Aston 3. She teaches a class for us foreign teachers for an hour each week. I am not good at Chinese at all... yet. With Sally's help, I hope to get better over the next year. I may hire a private tutor eventually, but first I need to get some of the basics down! I cannot relay the tones on this blog, but imagine accent symbols over the top of the vowels of each word. Everything we are learning is in pinyin, the Romanization of the Chinese characters. I have to write the phrase in my notebook in Chinese pinyin, then how to pronounce it in English, then what it means in English. Needless to ... read more

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