Hello 2017. Fancy seeing you here

原创 2017年01月03日 17:25:46
Happy New Year!

It’s been a long time! With the combination of more homework, busier evenings and weekends, travelling, a ton of December birthdays and some moments of terrible Wifi, I haven’t updated you all for a good while, so I apologise. 
     Since the last time I wrote, I have been to Jiuzhaigou, a stunning national park which was a 10 hour bus journey away, I have visited two cities in Hubei Province, and spent an awesome time with a marvellous friend, and seen some lovely people over Skype. I have tried some more extremely spicy food, but also found several more Western places to eat; an Italian restaurant, a sandwich shop (with real bread!), and the amazing Irish bar, Shamrock. I have made some more friends and got to know old ones better, and also had moments of very deep missing of my beautiful friends at home (ie. you lot). 

     I don’t feel like my Chinese has really improved, but I have definitely learned some of the most useless vocabulary ever, in terms of everyday life; ‘nuclear warhead’, ‘convalescent hospital’, ‘camel bell’, ‘mirage’, ‘skeleton of a corpse’, ‘frog croak’ (wa ming if you are wondering) and many other strange phrases all feature in my textbook. Phrases that I will not be using ever to ask someone to move their bag off a seat in the metro or in any other everyday situation.
     One of the reasons my Chinese is taking a while to improve is because there is still a lot of English around. The metro announcements have Chinese and English for every stop, and restaurant menus often have English underneath the characters. Unfortunately, I also find that when I’m tired (which seems to be quite often here) I can completely zone out, and treat the Chinese I hear like background noise in a café – which is obviously not helpful…
     However, as you would imagine, there are some interesting translations, and indeed some things that we just don’t understand. These largely appear on clothing for some inexplicable reason. So in honour of it being the start of 2017, I thought I would share with you all some of the highlights from Chengdu’s AW 2016 collection.

     4.  One of the first weird things we saw on some clothing was on the back of a grey cardigan, on campus. It said (quite aggressively): ‘AEROPLANE OF IDIOTS’ – and we’re still not sure why.

     3. Our favourite item this term has been the hoody-dress look. In a small boutiquey shop just outside campus, we found a grey hoody-dress that simply said: BASIL

     2. In honour of the above mentioned article, for Rosie’s birthday, which was at the end of December, we bought her a fluffy knitted jumper-dress which says: PAPE. If anyone discovers the meaning of this word, please tell us with all haste.

     1. The best English on an article of clothing however, has to be this. On the back of a green jumper, we spotted this: GUNS ‘N’ MOSES

For those of you who aren’t aware, although it is still a festive season in my heart (<3) that doesn’t have an impact on Chinese term dates. We had classes every day during the week of Christmas (although I did miss a lot of them to go to Wuhan), and we continued with classes the week afterwards, in the run up to our exams which are taking place this week. Because of this, I am particularly grateful that Christmas day was on Sunday this year! Unfortunately the weekend was slightly tainted by the guilt of the massive pile of homework and revision that I left for later, but I guess many of you final year students felt the same, and so I’ll stop complaining!

     I’ll bet you anything that my Christmas was quite different to yours. But in a good way. Here’s a clue: It was enough to make a Bethan Mills very very jealous….

I wonder if you guessed. Well we ate our Christmas lunch at IKEA! Mainly because it had mulled wine and cinnamon buns. Of course, I did have the meatballs (first time I’ve had them, and unfortunately I wasn’t blown away). Happily, we were sat by a table of some other English guys, who half way through their dinner whipped out Santa costumes and a speaker and proceeded to play ‘Fairy tale of New York’ at full volume, followed by other Christmas classics, which we all thoroughly enjoyed. We also did Secret Santa, played Jenga whilst drinking said mulled wine and then all skyped home at various times throughout the day, which led to a singing competition between us Newcastle girls and some family friends of Kayleigh. (We won.) I got to play Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit with my cousins over Skype, and I’m proud to say, I did pretty well. Boxing Day evening however was what I was looking forward to. Why? Because I hosted the infamous Boxing Day quiz (it’s actually only infamous in my area of South-East London, but it is one of the highlights of my year so humour me.) It consists of 10 rounds and a roving round, and tests your knowledge of Geography, History, Literature, Sports, Flags, Celebrity Deaths this year and many other things. It was great fun (although I was on the losing team) and also very educational. 

(Just wanted to add that my Christmas was made a huge amount better by all the cards and messages that were passed on to me. And also by the Christmas cake, which we are still working our way through – sent to me by two absolute legends. So thanks a million x)

Although we are all very weary of uni, after this week of exams we will finally break up for our spring holiday, which encompasses Spring Festival, or Chinese New Year. This is the most important holiday in China, and so we get quite a long time off, 8 weeks in fact! 

Since it is unlikely that I will write another blog post before the end of February (although miracles do happen) I thought I would let you guys know my plans so you know what I will be up to!

Straight after exams I am heading to Harbin, in the north east of China, with four Newcastle friends, in order to see the legendary ice festival. It will be absolutely freezing, so expect to see pictures of piles of clothing with my nose sticking out, in front of spectacularly lit-up ice palaces.

I’m going from there to Japan to see my good friend, about which I am very excited! I’m not quite sure about the itinerary yet, but expect to see one or two pictures of Mt. Fuji and me looking small in comparison. (No small jokes, I beg you)

After Japan, the plan is to stay with a college girl and her family who are complete strangers to me (friends of friends of friends) in Xiamen, over the actual National Holiday. This is to speak English to the girl so she can practise, and also hopefully my Chinese will improve, in speaking to her family. Expect to see very cute pictures of a Chinese family with an awkward-looking adopted English girl.

After about two and a half weeks, I will return to Chengdu where my parents and brother are coming to see me! Whoppeeeeeeee!! I’m very excited. Who knows what malarkeys we will get up to, but expect to see a picture of my mum near a panda because that has already been requested.

Anyway, you know that big pile of revision I mentioned earlier? Well, I just checked and it’s still there, so this is bye for now folks. 
Hope you all had/ are still clinging on to the end of great holidays! I'd love to hear what you all got up to!

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