I have very recently moved to China where I will be living and teaching English for the next 12 months. I am currently based in a city called Shenyang, I have been enjoying it so far. I am vastly becoming a pro at using chopsticks and I am slowly picking up basic Mandarin. I can manage to say my address to a taxi driver now, which is great!
Getting around on my own can be difficult, I have been taking pictures of signs, bus stop posts and landmarks to help find the way, things like this are great as a backup as well when you don’t know how to explain where to go in a taxi. Public transport is incredibly cheap, I can usually get to where I want to be in a taxi for £1/2. I find the metro to be particularly difficult as all the stops are only written in Chinese symbols in Shenyang however learning the language is a lot of fun so far.
I have been very fortunate to be living with another English teacher who has introduced me to a lot of friendly people and has been helping me out with everything. The apartment we are sharing is great however we’re sharing a bathroom which is a see through clear glass room that doesn’t give us much privacy whatsoever ! The view from our windows is incredible, it feels strange to be surrounded by sky scrapers.
The weather in Shenyang is currently freezing, I have been told that temperatures can be as low as -25°C and it has been snowing today. There are huge glamorous shopping malls surrounding where we live plus a park with a big lake which is beautiful!
The local people here often stare a lot, they will sometimes want to chat and ask questions about where you’re from and what you’re doing here, in some cases they will want to take your picture. White people are regularly seen in marketing and advertising, you see a lot of white models on posters and billboards. Some Chinese people think that foreigners are very wealthy as well and will sometimes ask you how much money you earn. In bars local Chinese men often want to compete with foreign men and buy rounds of drinks to try to out-drink them. I have been to a few expat bars where it is easy to meet other foreigners of all nationalities. People are very approachable and there is a really good atmosphere, It is very cheap to drink and eat out here as well.
I haven’t been too adventurous with trying food here yet, I’ve been sticking to eating things that look recognizable. As expected Chinese food tastes much different to the way we would have it in the UK, the food I have tasted has been very hot and dry. So far I’ve seen a lot of pig legs, duck heads, frog legs, chicken feet, jellyfish, ligiments and intestines. I also saw a small shark swimming around in a small paddling pool in a supermarket, lucky I didn’t trip and fall in..
I have been told today that I will be moving to work in Hangzhou tomorrow where I will be based for the rest of the year, I hope to find the time to travel as much as possible and I will blog again when I am there. I’m also planning on doing a lot of painting and drawing there, I hope to boost up my portfolio with aload of new and interesting stuff! keep up to date with where I am on instagram : @martha_says_hi_ :-)