Posts Tagged With: China

The Great Wall -Boundary Post #2

This week’s theme is boundaries and as I said in the last post I feel boundaries can be physical, political or emotional. My first post showed something very political with pictures of the DMZ between North and South Korea.

In this post I want to show something that can be emotional as well as physical.

The Great Wall - a boundary physical as well as emotional

The Great Wall – a boundary physical as well as emotional

The Great Wall of China was an easy link to boundaries that are physical and even political. The wall was built to keep out the invaders from long ago. It divided the boundaries between the Chinese civilization and the Huns and Mongolians. However, for me it is also emotional as I think about our time in China. It was a place I never thought I would see in real life. I was lucky enough to visit it twice. We have many fond memories of trips and friends in China. Sometimes it feels a little emotional as we move on across boundaries. The challenges we faced while there and how it changed us crossed cultural boundaries within. I wish there was a photo to show that emotional journey, but this was the best I could do. Feelings cannot always be put into words, or displayed in a photo. It is personal about my experiences then and now, so you will just have to trust me. 😉

There are more interpretations of boundaries here.

 

 

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Categories: China, History, teaching overseas, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 26 Comments

Symbols: WP Photo Challenge

Chinese language uses symbols, not western recognisable letters and shapes, to communicate meaning in written contexts. The thickness and order in the strokes is just as important as the symbols themselves. In the new modern technological age Pin Yin has been introduced, a way to use a western letters and phonics to spell out words to make it easier for computers and smartphones to communicate. A debate has arisen if the old style character writing will slowly fade away. Chinese Characters have adapted before, as they used to be more representational of the items and words they represent.

Living in China for 5 years made it hard to communicate verbally and written was even more difficult. However, those characters will forever be a symbol to communicate and a memory for our time living in Shanghai. That chapter has just closed and a new one is on the horizon. I am still raw with emotion as we have been back about 1 week. Let me share some symbols of that journey.

My watch with the more traditional characters to symbolise numbers 1-12. In the centre is the character lǎoshī  showing ‘teacher’.

What time is it?

What time is it?

My name on a pendant written in Chinese Characters.

Hand Carved Chinese Pendant - can you read my name????

Hand Carved Chinese Pendant – can you read my name????

Simple things can hold a lot of meaning that cannot be put into words. It may mean something to a group of people, an individual or culture. Check out Word Press for more examples.

Stay tuned….

 

Categories: China, Culture, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

As one door closes a new one will open: WP

How fitting this week’s photo challenge from WP is DOORS. I love taking photos of doors, but with us leaving China I decided to use the ordinary everyday doors to our apartment. Very soon we will lock the door for the last time.

As one door closes a new one will open.

This is very literal for us as we will leave in a few short days. We will leave Shanghai ‘forever’ as our expat life comes to an end. After 5 years living and working abroad it has been a mix of emotions. Leaving friends and familiar places we love is hard. Going home to family, fresh air and a slower pace also has its advantages. A few tears have been shed, but the one thing I will be sure to miss is the people. The friends I have made -good friends.

As I said in my leaving speech…

The time must come for us all to leave

now I am heading home

We spent 5 years in China

and Asia we did roam.

I taught Year 3 and Year 1

and learned a few things too.

Like Ni Hao, dizchan, itchyzhoh

er, are, san just to name a few.

My time here was well spent

busy with plans and such.

My Chinese language learning,

as you can see — not so much.            CTB 😀 2015

So my doors look at my building entrance and our apartment door that has been decorated by a previous tenant with the Chinese symbols.

Building 23 entrance

Building 23 entrance

 

apartment door

apartment door

Stay tuned….

 

 

 

Categories: Canada, China, Uncategorized, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Repatriation Emotions

It has been a few weeks since I posted. I have been buried in a forever growing “To Do” list. The end of the school year is coming fast, like a runaway train without any brakes. This year all the major events came at the end of the year right in the middle of assessments and report writing. Add packing and moving to quickly increase your stress level. My work is busy, to put it kindly, so I was smart and asked to extend my stay a week after school ends. I could worry about the majority of packing after all the school stuff was taken care of. Well as Murphy’s Law would have it Murphy threw a monkey wrench in those plans. Another teacher is not able to stay at their apartment and needs to move; you guessed it into ours. They wanted to physically move things at the end of May and I said NO WAY! Right in the middle of reports I couldn’t clear out our spare room and have all of our packing things spread all over the rest of the living space. At least the spare room I can avoid and close the door.

Them needing to move has been an added stress that could have been easily avoided. But remember this is China and HR and they don’t think about life and people, they think about what looks good on paper. My weekends have been spent between home and school sorting, packing, selling and giving away. Time is ticking down and I am afraid soon it will explode with jobs left undone. Outwardly I am not showing stress, but inside my body is worried. It will get done, somehow it always does. The unfortunate expense is the enjoyment of the last few weeks in exploring a city we are about to leave forever.

The sun is setting on our Shanghai life

The sun is setting on our Shanghai life

Next weekend is a 3 day holiday and for months our little group planned an outing to a nice quiet city outside of Shanghai. Spending time with friends we are about to leave, exploring and relaxing was all well needed and deserved. However, we are all feeling the stresses and it was decided to cancel the trip and go out for the day in Shanghai. Allowing time at home for those import “To Do” list jobs. Part of me was disappointed, but secretly I was relieved.

Lots of emotions are happening right now, I feel almost bi-polar. I am looking forward to home, but something is tugging on me about Shanghai. The list of reasons to come home outweigh the list to stay, but I think I will mourn the city that was my home for 5 years.

I feel like Frederick from Leo Leoni’s book where I need to soak in all the colours, words and feelings so during those lonely times I can close my eyes and feel I am still here. It saddens me that we are too busy to get out and travel around to do this, so I must settle for the little day to day experiences.

I get a lump in my throat as I think this is the last time for…. These thoughts come more and more lately. June is finally here and those months have melted away into weeks. School is only days.

Life in China has changed me. Will I fit back into life back home or will I be that one piece of the puzzle that just doesn’t work?

Categories: Canada, China, Chinese Adventures, teaching overseas | Tags: , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Exchange of Scenery

I am leaving the Shanghai skyline behind for a few days in exchange for a new one; a change of scenery. I’ll post soon on the new vistas and views.

 

Stay tuned….

A view  of the glittering night sky from outside my apartment.

A view of the glittering night sky from outside my apartment.

 

 

 

 

Categories: China, Tourist in My Own Town | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Shanghai Silly: Potato Chips

When I was kid I remember the strange potato chip flavours coming out. Grape seems to be the one I recall and wanted to try the most. Funny I don’t remember if I ever tried them – maybe I was to chicken. 🙂

When we first arrived in Shanghai that memory came back as we walked down the aisle of chips. I tried lime, a sweetish more like key lime pie and ice tea, a lemony flavour. They did have grape or blueberry and I assumed it was ‘normal’, but the next time we went to shop they no longer carried that flavour. This time I was going to be sure to try them and I missed out. Another time I bought Cheetos and was surprised by the unusual flavour. I can’t read Chinese, but on closer inspection I realised I bought steak Cheetos. 😦 I don’t know if it was the flavour or not what I expected, but I wasn’t a fan and never bought them again. Recently I saw another kind of cheesies had something on top that looked like cheese. Mmmm cheesies with extra cheese on top. Nope it was vanilla icing like. Bizarre.

funny chip flavours

funny chip flavours

We usually stick to our old standards now. John likes the plain Lays, which are not as salty or greasy as home. Large bags are a third the size of home, but the flavour is great. I like the cheese Pringles. We bought some at home, but again the greasier and saltier flavour are not as good.

While out shopping I decided to snap a few photos of some of the new flavours that came out recently. Maybe they were just for Chinese New Year, or will be more long-term if they are a hit. My new favourite is Thai Green Curry. They are lime and a hint of coconut…. sounds strange, but it is good. Before that I discovered chocolate and sea salt. It is sweeter than usual chips, but nice too. The chocolate is light and just enough. I tried the numb and spicy hot-pot, but it was something I would not eat again. That and the sour plum melon is too Chinese for me. It has this spice that is in many dishes here and I don’t like it. The pepper and chicken were OK, but I prefer my favs thanks.

My favs in the middle and 2 new ones to try.

My favs in the middle and 2 new ones to try.

Chips are not too expensive; about the same price as home. The small bags run 3.80 RMB, which is around .75c Canadian and the larger bags are 5.20 RMB or $1.00. The tins are 8.00 RMB about $1.50.

What is your favourite chip flavour? Do you ever try any of the new flavours that come out?

 

Categories: China, Culture, everyday occurances, strange adventures, Tourist in My Own Town, unique experiences | Tags: , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Blur -WP Photo Challenge

Blur… sometimes life moves so fast it is all a blur. If you try to capture it on film you lose focus. Last week we showed ephemeral (here and here); mine was lucky shots of a quick passing moment in focus. This week we are asked to show something in a blur. It could be purposely out of focus or accidentally out of focus with cool results. Usually I deleted such photos, but surprisingly I had a few tucked away.

Of course I had to show Willow. Many photos of her in a blur because she is always moving.

Willow in a blur

Willow in a blur

 

The next photo was an accident with the camera as it wouldn’t focus and was over exposed. Kinda cool effect of a busy alley way in Tianzifang.

Blur of Shanghai

soon Shanghai will only be a blur of memories

 

Lighted Pagoda

Lighted Pagoda

Last night we went out for dinner at this interesting restaurant. We go dropped off at the wrong location, but a happy accident since the view was great. As we waited for a ride to the correct location I snapped a few pictures of the lighted pagoda across this small lake. I purposely moved the camera to create blur and this cool effect.

Shanghai skyline

Shanghai skyline

The view of the Shanghai Skyline from our apartment is beautiful. I always pause and soak it all in because one day it will be a blur of memories. The clear sky with soft colours proved difficult to focus with the changing and flashing lights creating a blur.

Shanghai Totems of recycle piled high

Shanghai Totems of recycle piled high

Since we arrived 5 years ago we were stunned by the small motorised trikes piled high with things to be recycled. We always tried to get photos of them, but they move so quickly by the time you pull out a camera or smart phone they are gone. One night my husband spotted this one gaining on us as we sped by in a taxi. It is in such a blur that the bike and man is invisible. Something I am sure he would wish for in real life because the police have started to monitor these ‘totems’ and limit their height and movements.

I have kept some photos even though they are blurry because of the subject, memory or cool effect. What do you do with your blurry photos?

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

Categories: China, Tourist in My Own Town, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Ephemeral -Shanghai Silly

Time and life is fleeting… As Ferris Bueller said “If you don’t stop and look around once and awhile – you will miss it.”  Our time in Shanghai has become ephemeral, fleeting and lasting for a short time. Sure it has been almost 5 years, but now we are down to months. Three more months. As I reflect and look around I try to soak up those sounds, smells and sights that I want to remember. What will I see and do for the last time? What do I want to hold onto? Counting down the days is bitter-sweet. I am excited to go home and start a new adventure, but want to savour the last days here too. Enjoy it while I can.

As you know there is always things in Shanghai that you may never see anywhere else. That awe and wonder is what made the little daily things fun. It kept us sane as we would laugh and say “Now that will make a good post!”. I didn’t want to lose that feeling, but after a few years many things became normal and part of the every day. Somethings still stood out and once I finally invested in a smart phone I was able to capture more of those fleeting moments that only could be seen to believed.

What do you notice about this picture?

What do you notice about this picture?

One day I was out walking and it was a beautiful sunny day. At the light we waited for it to turn green, so we could cross. A large truck did not advance when the light changed and as we stood waiting I realised the driver had his shoes off and feet on the dash. Ok…

I thought I had seen it all, but napping at the intersection coming off a major highway? NOW I have seen it all.

I thought I had seen it all, but napping at the intersection coming off a major highway? NOW I have seen it all.

as I crossed the street I noticed in fact he was sleeping at the intersection! Now that was worthy of going back and snapping a pic. Another Shanghai Silly, ephemeral…

What is the funniest thing you have seen at an intersection?

Stay tuned… and check out WP for other interpretations.

 

 

Categories: China, Chinese Adventures, Tourist in My Own Town, unique experiences, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Walls -WP Photo Challenge

I could show you yet another photo of the Great Wall in China, but you have seen it from me before. Just look up at my banner 😉 Instead I want to show you a lesser known part of China -Tianzifang (pronounced tea-anne -zzz fawn). In the old French Concession part of Shanghai is a maze of little streets. Once a thriving neighbourhood with tightly compact brick buildings, narrow streets and low rise buildings. Areas like this are now rare, from the days of old, as they have been demolished to make way for steel and glass modern skyscrapers. However, this area remains and has turned into a little gem. It is popular with the locals and expats and any nice weather weekend the streets are jam packed. Many unique shops housing handicrafts, galleries with works for sale and restaurants make it a wonderful day out. It is fun to poke around in the little shops looking at leather-bound books, purses and amazing photos of China. Tired feet? Stop at one of the many restaurants with a variety of food tastes from Thai, Indian and local fares. Adventurous and have a quirky sense of humour then try the restaurant called Toilet.

Over Chinese Holiday this year I stayed in Shanghai. A few of us wandered the streets of Tianzifang and I captured some interesting photos which, happen to fit the WP theme WALLS this week.

This sign was interesting and I think it is about the holiday and maybe fireworks related? I did see other signs saying no fireworks. If anyone out there that can translate please leave a comment below on what the sign is saying.

 

20150226_122919

This wall was very unique with the little bottles of grass growing. Decoration? Salad or food toppings? What do you think?

20150226_122702

This last one was a little graffiti maybe…? It was too cute, so I snapped a quick pic.

20150226_125637

If you are in Shanghai, or planning a visit and want to check it out here is the information:

Tianzifang In Chinese Characters 田子坊 and pinyin: Tiánzǐfāng

泰康路210弄, Huangpu, Shanghai, China. In English the address is Lane 210, Taikang Road.

It is a fairly cheap taxi ride even from Pudong (30-40 RMB or $6-8) and the metro is right across the street in a large shopping mall.

 

Stay tuned…

Categories: China, Tourist in My Own Town, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Orange you glad… WP Photo Challenge

This week WP wants us to look at orange. They suggested using 3 photos to show orange as the main focus, or something tucked away in the background. My immediate thought was this incredible sunset I posted a few weeks back.

Citrus Shanghai Skyline

Citrus Shanghai Skyline

Michelle I also like to play with words and use alliteration 😉

Then there is Willow. Our cute 4 legged baby. She is gray with orange eyes… so unique.

Willow with her amber eyes.

Willow with her amber eyes.

Every other week I treat myself to a bouquet of flowers. They are pretty reasonable and smell divine. As the gray dull days of winter wind down I picked a sign of spring with these bright orange tulips.

Orange tulips -unedited

Orange tulips – unedited

I played with my photo editing program and enhanced it a bit too.

photo enhanced to show saturation of colour

photo enhanced to show saturation of colour

Orange is not a colour I am drawn too, but after this challenge I will be on the look out for it more. It is a happy colour that really lifts your spirits.

What is your favourite orange?

Stay tuned…

Categories: China, Tourist in My Own Town, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments