Monday, August 1, 2016

Still waiting but here's a list - February 26, 2013

I’m still waiting to hear when I leave but as far as I know, all paperwork has been submitted, I just need to wait until the cogs of the machinery that issues work visas has fully turned. Apparently, once all the paperwork arrives from China we will be leaving the NEXT DAY. So when it happens, it will happen fast.
Since I don’t have any exciting photos of Japan and China to show you, I thought I would write about what I have learned about what I should expect when I get there. Here are the things that will be different:
-There are no ovens in China. If I want to do something silly like bake, I should buy a toaster oven from Ikea.
-There are Ikea and Walmart stores in Dalian where we are moving! Also KFC, McDonalds, and Starbucks. Will be VERY different from going to the Arctic. However, I’m told those stores are not stocked the same as in North America.
– Very few people will speak English so if we want to go somewhere, ride a train or take a taxi, we need to know at least some Mandarin. I know this is one of those obvious things about moving to another country but it boggles the mind to think of standing in a place where absolutely no one can speak your language. Very exciting!
-Bargaining. When going to a market, it’s expected that you will bargain for items. I have been told to offer a third of the asking price because they have already put up the price as I approached because of my foreigner status. I should bargain for about half of the price. I have learned all my Mandarin numbers already, thanks to a Chinese friend here in BC.
-Food will be different. There are some things that will be hard to get (I’m thinking bread, given that there are no ovens.) But eating out is very cheap and going to the street markets even cheaper. Northeast China has a different cuisine than southern China or western China. Those meat sticks that you find at the summer night market are popular, so is spicy squid on a stick. Roasted duck and steamed pork buns are available. However, the really spicy foods are found in northwestern China and dimsum is a Cantonese thing in the southern part.
-It will be CROWDED. I probably can’t even really imagine how much. The Olympic game crowd in Vancouver x 100?
-There are no line-ups in China. People push and elbow their way to the front of the queue instead of waiting in a line-up. Being the typical polite Canadian will get me nowhere with no ticket.
– You can’t get certain things that are easy to get here: over the counter pain medication, cold remedies,Tide sticks, tampons, deodorant, etc. Good to know before I leave since I am bringing these things with me.
-Doing illegal and stupid things like selling drugs or breaking other laws can get you KILLED, not just incarcerated, in China.
-There are almost no clothes dryers there so drying your clothing is by hanging them.
-The hot water tanks are very small in China so long showers and baths are out. Often the showers are in the actual bathroom, not a separate compartment in the bathroom.
-Travel is cheaper in China. You can get a “soft sleeper” car train ticket for $70 and that the expensive ticket price! If you want to go with a ‘hard sleeper’ you can pay as little as $30 to travel across the country. Given that my son wants to visit the Gobi desert in May, this is good info to know.
-There are lots of pickpockets in China. Since you have to carry your documents on you at all times, I had to buy one of those ‘under the clothes’ pockets to keep stuff in so if I get robbed we don’t have to worry about getting new passports.
-The school I have chosen to work at has a very good reputation both in the international community, in China itself and among ex pat teachers who are working in other countries. Recent press in BC hasn’t been very favourable but that seems to be coming from only a few individual teachers in another city that were, perhaps, unprepared for teaching overseas.
I can’t think of anything else right now but I think that is a good list to get my readers started.
Thanks for reading!

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