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November 29th 2016
Published: November 29th 2016
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Time for an update, so I haven't been doing much traveling around lately as there have been no school holidays but i have been planning eagerly for the biggest trip of my life when i finish in Yantai in January.

So for lack of pictures at the top of mountains and landmarks i thought i would give you a little bit about general daily life here in Eastern China.

As I've mentioned before I'm working at an international school here in Yantai Shangdong province. Its a nice little town of around a million people but you wouldn't think it as come 9pm everywhere is closed and everyone is home and ready for bed bit of a change from good ole Liverpool that comes alive when it goes dark. I have adapted to this and celebrate my weekend that is a Monday and Tuesday with a few bottles of chinese larger a frozen snicker and a bag of crisps. For those who know me well this is a drastic change of routine 😊, although it has been helpful in allowing me to use the money i make to pay for future flights etc.

The children that i teach are students from the public schools and they come to us at the weekend for additional lessons at the weekend to improve their english. I will say i have never known such hard working children/teens if we gave this workload to the students in the UK they would laugh at you. These children do days in school Mon-Fri from about 7:30 to 6/7pm and then have tutors and an unbelievable amount of homework then weekend classes and most play a musical instrument as well. Im tired just thinking about it! Ive had students falling asleep in class because they had no sleep for the homework that they had to do the night before. This country is so competitive due to the sheer amount of people that there is no other option if they want t be successful.

My students range from age 9 to 15 until recently i also had a class of 6 year olds. We have been learning everything from ABC's polite conversation, animals, food and holidays. The more advanced students are looking at environmental issues and debating over the world of work. It is interesting seeing how their minds work and they are really good kids i cant say i have anybody "naughty" few cheeky chaps or the ones who never and i mean never stop talking but nothing major. We work from course books which is helpful however in the future i would like to try and have a little more freedom with what i teach as trying to get through the book can be a little restrictive. Lots of time to spread my wings in one of my next positions.

We see on the internet about roads / traffic and accidents here all the time but i can honestly say even in my little westernised city the roads are crazy. Don't be fooled by that little green man he is not your friend! That only stops the vertical traffic it is also a go sign for all of those turning and watch out of the mopeds that also use the pedestrian crossings. It reminds me of that game frogger that i played on the PC as a kid. Luckily I haven't seen any accidents but i think it is better here than in other areas that i have heard about.

We have a local supermarket here as does every town, its relatively stocked i can buy coffee that's the main thing, the staff upstairs in the household / personal area are amazing if you look remotely unsure of something they are running to you with phones in hand ready to translate and help you find what you need, or if your looking at something they bring you a cheaper/better one of the same product they are the tops. Downstairs however you get strange looks from all for buying beer :o how dare you. Im usually only in there to buy junk and beer as i eat my meals in the school so i would hate to think what they think i eat haha.

The weather here got cold pretty quickly without much warning it was pleasant it rained and it was winter. The Chinese control their heating centrally so you have to wait for them the declare winter and turn the heat on so for about 2 weeks i slept in jumpers socks and a scarf. After a failed attempt at ordering a coat online myself my manager ordered one for me, this then also failed grr third time lucky its expected any day now after taking 3 weeks to deliver took longer than my parcel from the UK. But my heating is on now and some days are still surprisingly pleasant today has been a nice day but the nights are bitter. It did try to snow but didn't stick sad face apparently it will come in early January excited to see if its better than the sludgy ice we get at home snow angels at the ready.

My wonderful family have sent my a big package of goodies including lots of warm clothes and even a mini xmas tree hiding in there with all my xmas cards aww. Even my favourite make was in there curtesy of Nan love them all millions. The list of what was not supposed to be in the box was endless but luckily all of our crossed fingers and toes got my box through customs without charges yayyy warmth.

The little local shopkeepers are adorable and tell me every time i go in to get a coat by pointing at their own and then at me then shaking to show the cold i will have to go see them once it arrives and I'm wrapped up like a snowman.

Here in this city they love daytime fireworks especially early in the morning they are apparently for weddings and other celebrations. Don't get me wrong i love fireworks but not at 6/7am.

I have developed an unbreakable love with dumplings and can't wait to make them for everyone when i go home. Im also quite good with my chopsticks these days and a fork feels strange who would have thought it. I can say that i will never eat the pigs feet that i occasionally get served for dinner fat and one is not so appealing.

Other than my recent flu and mass consumption of ginger and lemon tea thats about everything thats been happening so roll on Christmas and New Year (which is my only weekend off where I haven't travelled away) going to show Yantai how to party Liverpool style!! Then its off on my journey and i can swamp you with blogs and pictures 😊

Take care all and if i don't speak to you directly have a lovely xmas xxx

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The school next doorThe school next door
The school next door

Every morning the kids are running around here like army training chanting and little squads its nuts

29th November 2016

Gemma's blogs
Gemma, your blogs are great - informative and fun. You are certainly experiencing something that many can only dream of. I admire your determination to get through it. xx
30th November 2016

Thanks jaq there fun to write will help me remember it all xx

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