China: Months 5 and 6

How on earth did I reach the mid-point in my contract? I have this feeling that at some point my time in China will turn into a hazy memory. However I still definitely have time to make some new memories and to explore. Nanchong is still constantly changing. New “American” bars are opening, though I have no idea whats American about them. Everytime I go to Carrefour there is some new foreign product available. Suddenly there is one hair product for curly hair so my year of bad hair is over. New buildings are being built, gyms are opening, I cut my hair way shorter, you can buy mac and cheese now, a pizza hut is opening. Time is passing and china is changing.

Songpan

In july I worked a lot. In august I travelled a lot. I like to sum up each month with a summary of the good the bad, and the weird.

The Good

Seeing my parents was definitely good. China is such a crazy bizarre world and I’ve felt that I’ll never be able to truly tell people about this strange place, so it was amazing showing my parents the joys of eating hot pot, how strange and awkward encounters with locals can be and how amazingly charming and helpful they can be. .

THe great wall

My social life in Nanchong consists of hanging out with expat boys who are hilarious, wild, and crazy people. Or I hang out with Chinese girlfriends who are sweet and fun. I have a grand time with both groups, but I really miss hanging out with girls from my culture at times. While I travelled I ran into several groups of girls and getting to have basic conversations, like why doesn’t china sell tampons, when did American eagle clothes get so cute, ex-boyfriends and a million other unimportant things. I love my friendships in Nanchong but its rarely that effortless.

The Bad:

While I was gone my apartment got infested by spiders. I’m not scared of spiders and they’ve been mostly smaller then a quarter. However the other night I saw a spider the size of my hand on the ceiling. I seriously thought it was a tarantula at first but it wasn’t so thick. I threw a shoe at it. When it hit the ground it came after me. That spider wanted a fight.  I eventually killed it but my friends told me they can get bigger and that I’ll probably get more since its the season for them. China has poisonous spiders.

Weshua temple

no one wants to see a picture of the spider

I was tutoring one student for the SAT. She was a strange one from the beginning and asked me a lot of creepy questions about my sex life. Not questions like if I’ve had a boyfriend or if I’ve lived with a guy, but asking things like how many one night stands I’ve had. I told her we were not going to have that conversation. She continuously pushed the issue, which is sort of strange in this culture. I spoke to the Chinese staff and they said she probably just thought because I was American that I was “open”, they thought it was funny. I don’t appreciate the assumption that being American is equal to being Carrie Bradshaw, but frankly I don’t have to explain what I do or don’t do to anyone, and especially not to a student. When I got back from vacation I was told she’s withdrawn from the class because her family felt I was “unfriendly” and my boss isn’t thrilled with me. It was a weird situation but if it happened again, I’d handle it the same way. I’m glad its over, I just hate that it didn’t have a good resolution.
Chengdu

no wants to see a picture of a creepy teenager either

The weird:
So this happened right before I left Nanchong. I got hit in the chest by a goose.
True story.
I was waiting for the bus and a woman drove by on her scooter. I heard a flapping sound and saw white right before something slammed into my chest. The duck then landed on the pavement and calmly honked while the lady stopped and ran back to grab it. I just stood there sputtering. People were looking at me like I was crazy because I was in shock, but I’ve just never been hit by a goose before. Its extremely startling.
Kangding

I was too startled to take a picture of the goose

I joined a gym which has been amazing. When I run outside I always come back coated in so much dirt and it makes me cough a lot. Now I can use all these nice new machines, lift weights, go to spin or yoga classes and its been great. It was actually pretty cheap too. My friend went with me to help me join and to negotiate a lower price (I never would have tried to barter at a gym). They asked for her number in case of an emergency or if they need her to translate something for me. The gym membership comes with a “trainer” who I was told will give you “tips” for what you should do at the gym. I’m not an expert but I have some old gym routines I’m happy with and since he doesn’t speak English I just told him I was fine on my own. The poor guy sends me texts in English but you can tell he tried to use google translate because it makes no sense. He also keeps texting my friend to tell her every time he sees me at the gym and to ask her what I want. We’ve both tried to tell him that I’m fine and don’t need anything. Other people at the gym always seem to have a trainer with them so I feel like I’m definitely messing with the status quo. Oh well.
beef noodles

These noodles are the reason I need to join a gym….

So that’s my last two months of China. I have some more time off at the end of the month (I do work sometimes) and I’m either going to Wulong in Chongqing or finally go climb Emei Mountain. Either option sounds amazing.
wulong

Joella from This Beijing Life was kind enough to include me in a list of her favorite Expat bloggers. If you want to read some lovely other China blogs as well as blogs from expats around the world, its a good list to check out.

Amy from Love to Discover also posted an interview on her beautiful blog