Beijing; photo dump

Okay, so my first week in Beijing is almost complete. I have a million thoughts going around my head, so we are going to start with a bit of a word vomit and move into a photo dump.

We arrived super late at night and went straight to the hostel. We are staying at The Red Lantern House, which is not only flipping adorable, but also in a great location. We are staying in a room with just the two of us, and for three nights it is 700 RMB which translates to about 104 USD. That is expensive for a hostel, BUT we are staying in like a private room. The other dorm rooms are a lot cheaper and just as nice.

Here is the hostel:

The next day, we ate a ton of great food, and also did some boring stuff. Let’s talk food first. So it’s true that in Asian cultures you get like a big plate of food and everyone shares it’s like (INSERT AMERICAN RESTAURANT THAT HAS SHARING PORTIONS HERE). In one breakfast, we had: dumplings, red bean oatmeal, noodles, cucumbers, and soy milk. Then for lunch we had this plate of chicken, some spinach, peanuts, a pepper dish, and a soup.

By the way, I’m not leaving these names out because I want to. I have no idea what this is called. But man it was SO GOOD. Then for dinner we had some other chicken thing, another soup, and more cucumbers. I am living my best food life. It actually just occurred to me yesterday that I have no idea when I last used a fork?

Anyway HERE IS THE FOOD:

This second day we did mainly boring things like phones stuff and bank stuff. Which took foreverrrrrr, but it’s kind of like if I worked at a bank and someone with a Chinese name, address, passport, etc needed a bank account, I would have no clue how to do that, or put that into the English system we use! So it was a lot of patience on both ends. See above photo for some snacks we bought for our three hour stint at the bank.

The day after that we went on a few tours of the big places and they kind of speak for themselves. Like, these places are older than America. It’s pretty amazing learning about Chinese culture/history by being right next to it. So we went to The Forbidden City, the old Summer Palace, Beihai Park. For the Forbidden City we had a tour guide, and I really was happy to have him. If you don’t have a guide of some sort it’s kind of hard to understand WHY each detail is so important.

The thing we have done the most of while being here is walk. We have walked so dang much. There is no question about it. My calves, my feet, my thighs, they feel it. That’s probably why I’m googling baiduing massage places right now.

Some non-typical things we have done are go to a local brewery, eat jiānbǐng, take the metro confidently, go to a few coffee shops, and stroll through Gulou street. I’m really excited to experience the art district eventually, but that is near where we will be staying next, so we didn’t want to trek all the way over there to see something we will live by.

I’m going to include a vlog of our travel later and the first week here because I feel like that might help you guys see things better? I don’t know how to explain how interesting China is, and sometimes videos do more than photos, so that’s basically it. Let me know if you like the vlog, pleaseeee. I have no idea how to do one and this week was a really weird one so I tried to make it the best it could be!

 

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Am I moving to China?

Yes, yes I am.

I took a TEFL class while working this past winter, which is the main reason why my blog went silent. Writing lesson plans, picking a country, working on visa’s and getting a job abroad all while working the holiday rush at Starbucks left me a little tired. One thing that I really was searching for while all this was going on was an easy to read blog with too many photos and grammar errors to reassure me that I was on the right path. I could find that information in the shape of Facebook groups or feed back from my student advisors, but I wanted a genuine feeling blog.

So I wanted to write it down and make it happen even if it meant I was writing in early December, and publishing it in February March. I want to remember for me and for you. So here we go.

(From January) I am taking classes at International Tefl Academy (ITA), which I do really enjoy. There are definitely easier ones, harder ones, ones on location of where you want to teach, and ones like mine, which are online. My course is 170 hours online with an additional 20 hours of practicum. I suggest you really call around and talk to the different programs. I ALSO suggest you check out ITA because it was great.

So after completing the courses I started look for jobs. I found tons, I mean so many I could afford to be picky. I applied to quite a few found on Dave’s ESL Cafe, made sure to browse Reddit to see if there are any blacklisted schools that are known scams, and also checked in with the ITA contract review. I landed on a great kindergarten in Beijing.

(FromFebruary) SO YEAH. Beijing. That is where I am headed. Right now all my furniture is in my boyfriend’s family basement and I have a giant suitcase, a little suitcase, a gym bag, and a backpack to lug around before I leave for the next step in the journey, which is to go to NYC and get my visa! It’s possible to use a visa service to take your passport and get the Chinese visa for you, but since my dad lives right by the City, I figured I could skip the 300 dollar express fee and get it done myself.

I hope you as excited, and I hope you will excuse my absence. I look forward to writing about all the new experiences!

Thanks for waiting for me (:

Photo dump ft. travel woes from a recent trip to New Jersey.

I just arrived back home after a really lovely memorial day weekend in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey. I went for a wedding, it was super beautiful. I saw so many friends from college, the bride and groom are such inspiring people to me, my roommate from college stayed with me for a bit, so it was all really great. But not without a ton of travel mishaps.

I had a flight out of Lexington at 5:20pm, and I was supposed to arrive around 7:30 or 8pm in Newark. Unfortunately, because of a millions different reasons, my flight did not take off until 8pm. Yeah, it was an insanely long time in the airport, and there is nothing to do in the Lexington airport. Once I arrived in Newark, I spent about 30 minutes waiting for my one checked bag, I bit the bullet and asked someone if it could be lost.

and it was!

So I have to complete a full on top model challenge before going to the wedding the next day. It was a huge success, I bought a dress and shoes and make up all before 9 am! It was very intense. If you guys don’t already, make sure you pack all of the essentials in your carry on. I decided to check my bag at the last-minute since I had wedding presents in it, so I really should have made sure I had some kind of outfit plan for the next morning.

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I also headed into New York City again, this time with my boyfriend for part of the day. We met up with my parents later to see a show and go to dinner.

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We walked up through Central Park, I reenacted a scene from Little Manhattan, ate at Tom’s diner for lunch where I made many jazz sounds, and took the subway. A very exciting time. Something I used when I went into the city was an app called Cool Cousin. It features interesting maps made but unique people who live in various cities. It’s kind of like the USE-IT maps I’ve talked about before, but I like how you can find a person who is similar to you and use their specific maps. Stay tuned to a travel app specific post coming in a little while- and no, google translate will not be on there.

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The rest of the weekend was spent canoeing or playing games with my little sister. Then I headed home to get on with my regularly scheduled trivia games nights. Did you know that every night in Lexington there is trivia going on somewhere? It’s true. Below you’ll find photos from my week, a visual story of what I see and do weekly. IMG_0498

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NYC omg.

So I recently went to New York City. It’s known for Broadway shows, famous people, flashing lights, lots of fashion statements, and the movie Elf. Needless to say, I went in with really high expectations. I did my research, looked up my coffee shops, was really ready to get into the city.

Continue reading NYC omg.

Coffee in Geneva

I think you can learn a lot about a city from the coffee shops there. Are they rustic and homey, serving the lattes in hodge-podge mugs? Is it cleanly decorated with white walls and prints, or is it filled with wooden accents and plants? In America we often just grab our coffee and go, but since I work in a coffee shop, I find myself spending about 50% of my time seeing what a coffee shop can say and do for a city.

Continue reading Coffee in Geneva

Marseille & Aix-en-Provence: the fast version

So you might know that I spent November of 2015 in Marseille, France. Since then I’ve done nothing but sing praises for the south of France. Everything there is a little bit brighter–mainly because, unlike in Paris, the sun actually shines there. Instead of my normal post where I ramble forever about how gorgeous everything was, I’m going to hit my hard and fast favs of this little region.  Continue reading Marseille & Aix-en-Provence: the fast version

French: A Language And A Way Of Life

 

Bonjour! Parlez-vous français? Ouais, moi aussi! J’aime les chatons, aimez-vous les chatons?

I could probably keep going for three more minutes talking about cats or the weather before scrambling for my pocket dictionary. I’ve been taking French for around a year and a half, starting in my sophomore year of college. My university, like most, requires three semesters of a foreign language.

Continue reading French: A Language And A Way Of Life