I have now been living in China for 2 full months, during which I have had many adventures and some odd misadventures to write about,, like ending in 2 police stations in 2 days….
And while I am enjoying living the expat life in Asia, the last couple of weeks have been kind of monotonous because, well, I barely do anything…
When I first arrived in Changchun, I went outside to see the few sights that this city has to offer.
Granted, Changchun is small and unattractive when compared to tourist cities like Beijing and Shanghai, but it still offers an authentic China feeling that bigger cities lack in comparison.
Not even a week after my arrival, I began teaching at the university level. This was a huge change for me; not only had I not worked for the 9 months prior to that as I travelled through South America and Europe, but my previous job (where I spent the last decade of my life) was a boring and unchallenging desk job. Teaching was going to be, to say the least, a great new professional challenge for me.
Soon after I began teaching, I began planning trips outside of Changchun.
I spent a weekend in Shenyang where I visited one of the prettiest Chinese mausoleum I have seen so far. Shenyang was without a doubt one of the prettiest off-the-beaten-track cities in the northeast part of China.
A few weeks later, I went through one of the most difficult journeys to get to the Changbaishan mountains during the Chinese October holiday. Although getting kicked out of hotels and spending time in police stations are far from what I call a “holiday”, I still made it back with plenty of stories to tell. Not only that, but I also got to see one of the most beautiful and bluest lakes in all of China, and got to know the feeling of being only a few steps away from North Korea (which, by the way, is a pretty f*cked up feeling).
If that wasn’t enough, just a few weekends ago I got to spend another weekend in Yanji, this time with friends. Sitting only a few kilometers from the North Korean border, Yanji provides both a Chinese and Korean feeling throughout. All signage within the city is written in both languages, and it is not uncommon to hear people switching back-and-forth between Chinese and Korean when they speak.
I have also kept busy going to football games, watch the “talent” the Chinese Super League has to offer, and especially following the local team whenever I could, Changchun Yatai.
But for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been procrastinating…
Procrastinating because the weather has just started to get cold in Changchun, and I’m just THAT hateful towards winter, that I find myself sometimes unwilling to step outside.
So I have taken a break from going places in the last couple of weeks and instead I decided to concentrate on studying Chinese as much as I could to learn the language. I’ve made huge progress here, and now I can order the same thing over-and-over from my favorite restaurant and only get the waitress to ask me to repeat twice every single time (down from 4 when I first went there).
And I’ve just been so bored…
So after giving myself the month of October to sort of get to know Changchun and concentrate on learning Chinese, I’m happy to say that I’m restarting to go on the road again!
And no, I’m not quitting my teaching job.
Instead, I’ve made a pact with myself that every two weeks, I will pack my things and discover someplace new, even if only for a weekend.
This not only gives me things to look forward to, but to continue discovering the country I live in without going absolutely broke.
Next on the list is Beijing!
What are your thoughts on leaving for a weekend every 2 weeks? Do you have any northeastern China recommendations?