I marvel how fast time can fly sometimes. Time in Nunavut was draaaggggiiinnnggg on forever but here it’s just flying! Part of it is that this experience is very far from boring. It is quite challenging but in a way that engages your entire mind.
I am a little more used to things now and have even learned how to get back from the train station to my house using a cab with my very limited Chinese. ( My pronunciation must be just horrible because they keep asking me to say it again.) I think it’s the tones…maybe I’m not saying it using the right tone and it means something else. I can also say “no spicy’ at a restaurant, ask ‘how much’ at the market and say ‘too expensive’ when I want to bargain. I was lucky to have a friend teach me all the numbers before I left Canada so that has been an obstacle I don’t have to leap over since I’ve been here.
One of the big challenges since I’ve been here (aside from language) is to find things that I need. Recently it has been a heater. They turn the heat off on April 1st and it was FREEZING in here. My hands were constantly cold everywhere I went and I was really, really tired of being cold. (They turn the heat off in the schools too, of course) I even considered asking for a transfer to Wuhan for next year purely for the heat, despite the fact that I’ve been told I wouldn’t like it there (although no one has given me a good reason why I wouldn’t like it) However, the other day I ran to the market in between work and picking up my son and after running through quickly before they closed, I found them! Heaters! I almost cried on the way out of that store. I probably paid way too much for them but I didn’t care…I would have paid almost anything to be warm again. Another thing I hadn’t been able to find was plastic or silicone spatulas. I bought a frying pan with a non-stick coating and have only seen metal spatulas since then. A little thing but oh-so-annoying! Yesterday I went to Dalian to Ikea and finally found one! Next thing I’m looking for is a drain cleaner for clogged kitchen or bathroom sinks. My bathroom sink is partially blocked and I want to unclog it myself. I have looked everywhere to no avail yet. Oh I miss Canadian Tire so much!!
That being said, there are more good things than bad, even now. The food is still absolutely delicious, the people are mostly nice and helpful, everything is still new and interesting and we are having a great time. In a week (only four weeks since I started working here), there is a week long holiday. My son and I are going to go to Beijing since I found cheap tickets and cheap hotels (compared to North America, that is). We are staying for four nights and I can’t wait to see one of the busiest, biggest cities on Earth on a major national holiday. I know…I know…there are going to be moments when I regret this decision but I think there will be pretty cool moments too.
With that I leave you some more photos and hope everyone is having fun wherever they are!