Jillian on a Journey


Jillian on a Journey

I'm a pianist/classical musician from Moncton, NB, Canada, and I'm on a year-long adventure teaching English in Urumqi (Wulumuqi), Xinjiang, China.

Asia » Singapore February 8th 2013

Our day started with beef bee hoon (small noodles about the size of angel hair pasta but harder in texture - they're a Singapore thing that I remembered). Then after a few detours and line-ups to extend our transportation tourist pass, we made our way to Bugis to go shopping at the market there. We enjoyed our time and bought a few little things, and I was delighted to find the Malay sweet I had been looking for but couldn't remember the name of. It was tutu kuah, a coconutty-type thing (not sure what's in it or how to describe it, but it's good!) and it was indeed as yummy as I remember! I also had kiwi juice, and Rhonda had coconut juice straight from the coconut! Next, it was off to Clementi, my childhood home. ... read more
This was my favorite dessert!
Enjoying Tutu-Kueh and Fruit Drinks!
Found it!

Asia » Singapore » Singapore Harbour February 5th 2013

Yesterday morning, I left snowy Urumqi in the morning and arrived in 27 degree Celcius Singapore at about 11:30 pm (I was routed through Beijing, so it took a while!). My flip flops were on before I got off the plane! Annabelle and her husband, Daniel, met me at the airport. It was so good to see her after being pen-pals and then staying in touch via email and facebook for so many years. Rhonda had been in Hong Kong for a few days, and her flight was supposed to arrive a few hours before mine. When I met up with Annabelle and Daniel, I was surprised that Rhonda wasn't with them. They said her flight had been cancelled! Her itinerary had her routed through Manila, Philippines. I knew she didn't have a phone, and I ... read more
... again
The Marina Bay Sands
Curry for lunch!

Asia » China » Xinjiang » Urumqi January 2nd 2013

As soon as my plane touched down in Urumqi, I was on the go again! Rhonda and Kelsey wanted to go bowling. So I ran home, took a shower, and headed back out. I didn't get any pictures of bowling, but the highlight of our outing was a walk in Hongshan Park right next to where we bowled. Ice sculptures were being carved - ever so many of them - and they were beautiful!... read more
Blocks of ice for sculpting
Looking down the path
In an ice castle!

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul January 1st 2013

2013 is here, and I greatly enjoyed bringing it in with friends here in Istanbul. For New Year's Eve, Jeremy, Kylie, Jon and I visited with some other friends for the evening. We played games and then listened to the fireworks at midnight (we looked for them, too, but couldn't see anything from where we were!). This morning... or, rather, early afternoon... I headed to the store at noon to get stuff to make breakfast, but the store didn't open until 1 today! We eventually all enjoyed our brunch of pancakes and sausage at about 2pm! This evening, the four of us headed out to go bowling, but the mall we went to had a skating rink, not a bowling alley. So after enjoying a meal at the mall, we skated. This was such a special ... read more
The skating rink from above
Enjoying our skate

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul December 30th 2012

While flying from Heathrow to Istanbul this summer (on June 29) on my way to China, I met a Turkish lady on her way home to Istanbul and we became friends on Facebook. At the time, I told her I would love to visit Istanbul someday. Little did I know that I'd get to fulfill that desire of visiting her in her hometown 6 months and one day later! Ceyda (pronounced "Jayda") and her husband, Mehmet, picked me up in the morning and we drove around the outskirts of the city and finally to a little restaurant on a hilltop that had been a summer home for the Ottoman rulers during the late Ottoman Empire. There, we enjoyed a fabulous Turkish breakfast. Apparently the key ingredients to a Turkish breakfast are cheese, olives, and tomatoes. In ... read more
About 1/3 of the buffet spread
... another third...
Dining room

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul December 29th 2012

Since the Hagia Sophia is on my Facebook The Travel List Challenge, making it there while in Istanbul was a top priority! So when we set out on Saturday morning to sightsee, it was first on our list after a short visit to the Grand Bazaar. Since the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque are very close to each other, some of the pictures aren't exactly in order - I got some pictures of the outside of the Mosque while waiting to get into the Hagia Sophia, and I got some pictures of the Hagia Sophia when exiting the Mosque. Hagia Sophia was first built in 360 AD. The current building was finished in 537 AD since the first two were destroyed. It was the largest cathedral in the world from that time until 1520 and ... read more
The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque
Hagia Sophia

Middle East » Turkey December 28th 2012

Today, I went exploring Istanbul by myself. I started at the 1453 Panorama Museum, which is near the old city walls and depicts the fall of Istanbul when the Ottoman Turks took it over from the Byzantine Empire. The best feature of the museum is that the panorama depicts the battle raging at the walls from the viewpoint that can be seen of the walls and city from right where the museum sits. Then I walked outside and was able to spend some time wandering along the walls themselves. It was so neat to see things that old. Then I took a taxi to the Cora Church, which is a small church from the Byzantine Era with mosaics filling every possible space. After that, I went back out and finally walked up on top of a ... read more
Walls from a distance
... walls...

Asia » China » Xinjiang » Urumqi December 15th 2012

On Saturday evening, December 15, Rhonda and I hosted a little Christmas party for our co-workers at the kindergarten. We ordered pizza and bought a carrot cake from a local western bakery. We played a couple of games and gave away presents, and then had a typical western-style gift exchange, complete with opportunities to steal!... read more
Melinda and me... and Santa!
Sally, Melinda, and Carrot Cake

Asia » China » Xinjiang » Urumqi December 5th 2012

On Monday, December 3rd, Rhonda and I went shopping for Christmas stuff for our respective apartments and roommates. We made a stop in a tea shop and the sales ladies tried to sell us their teas by having us sit down for a tea ceremony, which was most enjoyable! It took until two days later on Wednesday night for my roommates and I to all be home together so we could decorate our tree. So our Christmas celebrations - first ever Christmas celebrations for my roommates - are now underway! The next week, we baked cookies in our new oven. Very few places here have ovens, and the girls wanted one, so we bought one for Christmas. It's basically a large toaster oven, but we can now make cookies!... read more
So many kinds of tea!
From a bulb...
... to a flower!

Asia » China » Xinjiang » Urumqi November 19th 2012

On the Monday before (American) Thanksgiving, Jeff and Kelsey hosted the EF teachers for Thanksgiving dinner. In addition to turkey, gravy, and stufffing, we had lots of other less-traditional things like kimbab, a Chinese soup, and mashed potatoes with meat and tomato sauce. We got to tell our Chinese friends about the wishbone and enjoy watching them break it. And Jeff made an AMAZING pecan pumpkin pie!... read more
Ready to eat!
... with Janelle!
Luna and Gardner

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