The worst blogger

A month into our second year in China, and so far have had wifi disconnected, lost my bank card and then my electricity card (so half a week without power). Oh, and because China is celebrating singlehandedly winning the Second World War (who knew?), our vpns have been blocked, so we can’t access anything online. GAH


#blogjune 5 : travel planning

So far this #blogjune thing is boring the life out of me. I think we must be a little down at the moment. It’s almost the end of the longest school term in history, and as we went to Xi’an very Easter break we haven’t left China since early Feb. I think we have cabin fever.

We wanted (well I had anticipated) that we would do a lot more travelling on weekends – just roll up to the airport and fly wherever the winds took us. Unfortunately the city we are in is actually a satellite of another city, so it can take 2 hours to get to the airport. And you can’t just run out the front and hail a taxi. There’s some fascinating rule where they won’t cross the tunnel or bridge. So you have to figure out a myriad of buses, or book a driver. It sucks if you’re actually on the Qingdao side, at night, in the dark, with a child, and you cannot hail a taxi to get home. The school transport coordinator will book drivers for us, but that’s not always convenient. I’ve tried booking the driver myself but as lovely as he is when he drives us, he never shows up when I message 😒

So we feel like we haven’t really seen much. I am booking flights home for summer and wondering if we should stopover in Shanghai. We’ve been there a few times before, but am thinking we could stay in the French Concession or even on Suzhou for something different. No plans to go to Beijing at all – ugh! Our other options are Guangzhou (done), Shenzhen (done), Hong Kong (expensive & done), Seoul (some kind of flu virus scare there just now), Bali (hmm)…



Things I’d never eat at home

Late finishing work trying to export our library database and upload it so we can get confirmation our data will convert to the new system. Stopped at Korean Bbq – one of our faves. They bring you a little bucket of coal for the table and you cook the meat yourself.

They also bring an array of random Korean side dishes, and I’ve notices the longer I live here, the more of these weird platters I’m willing to try.

Tonight looked like something that was dragged out of a pond. Tasted okay.



“Your daughter has been sick all over her hat”

Unfortunately when her teacher brought Ms 4 to my office before first break today it was not to tell me I could keep her with me to play all day.  She wasn’t wearing the clothes I’d brought her to school in, so that was a clue.

School has a 24 hour “Exclusion Zone” for pukey youngsters.  I must have looked a bit confused as Ms L had to explain again.  “That means you have to go home as well.  You can’t come back until 24 hours after the last vomit.”


Ms 4 is not usually a sickly child so after FINALLY reaching home (piggy backed all the way) I was rejoicing that we’d have an afternoon off and a sleep in the next day.  Sadly this was not to be as Friday dawned and she was still ill.  At the same time my head cold was progressing/digressing to the sinus stage.

Got a bit panicked by Friday afternoon when she was still lying on the couch.  Like I said, she normally bounces back from this sort of stuff pretty quickly so initially I was not hugely concerned.  However, I realised yesterday afternoon that she had not kept food down since Wednesday night and I had no idea where to go for a doctor – or if I even wanted to go for a doctor…

Thankfully one of the mums was able to text me the nearest non-crazy GP with Chinese characters and all, so will keep that one handy.  Today, she has perked up a bit and we are planning a mad dash into Tian Yi square to find the Quicksilver shop, turn left, stand on one leg then wander behind a curtain and up the back stairs and stock up on some more English language DVDs.

Inflatable pillows and our new home

So, our house.

ningbo tildy on couch
Little miss on the faux leather couch

I was a little bit frightened as they drove us in through the security gate (there are guards in full uniform at the gate and more in small rooms around the place).  There was an air of slow decline from the outside – rust stains running down the facade from the bars on the windows; gardens overgrown.

I got the impression the other teacher was not impressed with the amount of luggage we had.  Honestly have no idea how we might have cut back but oh well. We had to get in a lift, go up a couple floors then get out, walk 50 metres, go through a security gate, into another lift, to the 9th floor and a great wooden door.

Inside: tiles.  What is it with tiles in this country?

ningbo kitchen
Lovely blue kitchen.

I hate tiles.

Anyway, apartment is not too bad.  Some strange things – sliding glass doors like patio doors dividing the kitchen from the dining area.  More sliding doors to get out to our balcony.  Even more in the bathroom separating basin from toilet and toilet from shower.

There are floor to ceiling grey, plastic curtains in my balcony.

There is leftover blu-tack (and some leftover photographs) on EVERY SINGLE WALL.

Ningbo tildy in window
Balcony off main bedroom. Doubles as laundry

Apparently the previous tenants did not leave happily and just to remind everyone of that they decided not to clean the apartment.  Not sure why we should have to suffer for this but apparently the school did get an ayi in for 2 days to clean.  Perhaps she was a blind ayi??

There are 3 bedrooms.  A giant one with the balcony up one end and two smaller rooms at the back near the kitchen.  The school provide furniture etc as well as a big pile of linen which is waiting in the lounge…

No cats in America…


And there’s no Facebook in China…(sad face, sad face).  There’s also no Twitter (although I was looking forward to being able to make use of it for work it’s not such a great loss as I wasn’t that hooked.  My page was mostly full of fairly dull ravings from Stephen Fry…and I’m not the only one).  Yola (free websites) doesn’t work and we can’t get various blogs: blogspot, WordPress etc etc.

It is a bit frustrating considering there is such an emphasis on Web 2.0 in education – and particularly in the Library.  From what I can gather it’s baby steps at school anyway – we don’t have computers in the library yet!

Apparently there are a few ways to access these sites but I am not sure it is worth it.  For one, although you can see the news feed on FB, you can’t actually add to it.  I’ve also heard that you can’t check your Inbox and that it opens your computer up to viruses…

We will see if I can live without it lol.  Although I can see how FB addiction is crippling some people (i.e. anyone who plays Mafia Wars…what is the POINT???) I was counting on it to keep in touch with people.  I’ve stopped using email to communicate with friends/family – it’s all FB.  Photo sharing is the same.  I have a Flickr account but only know one other person over there.  Everyone I know has a FB account – even people I’ve forgotten I know!