"Wish You Happy Every Day": An Expat's Life in China

The Past Two Weeks in Pictures, 3/28/11
March 28, 2011, 5:55 am
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I apologize for the lack of updates; I’ve been pretty busy with a new class. In addition, Pam’s friend Marlin is here from Canada, so we’ve been experiencing Marlin Mania. So, I haven’t been taking as many pictures. I’m actually in the middle of an actual post about teaching, since I haven’t written in a while. In the meantime, though, here are a few random shots from the past two weeks.

Marlin arrived late Tuesday night…and so did food. So, so much food, none of which you can find here in Dalian: jello, popcorn, four different kinds of mustard, maple syrup, smokies, sour candies, cheese, GOOD COFFEE, EARL GREY, bagels, saskatoon berry jam, pistachios, pesto, and…oh, I don’t know, so, so much. Plus, the sparkly bacon T-shirt that Pam is wearing!

Despite Marlin Mania, life has continued as usual. Here are three of my students giving a presentation on a story they wrote about animals with powers. From left to right: Sam, David and Tom.

Merry Christmas everyone!!! Wait a minute…isn’t it March? The entrance to underpass in Victory Square.

Any time I see a “COFFEE” sign I get excited. This is a view from the inside of SPR Coffee, a cafe that is somewhat frequented by the expat crowd. Actually, the coffee is terrible and the food is overpriced, but they do decent cappuccinos and they have comfy chairs. It’s a nice place to come an relax, as it’s never really crowded and the staff doesn’t discourage loitering.

A shot of my friends Chris, Pam and finally me, taken at Chris’ place. I think that when I leave Dalian, one of the things I’ll miss most will be all the evenings we hung out at Chris’. Did I mention that I am the Nostalgia Queen? I know that in a few years I’ll find myself revisiting this blog and crying my eyes out…


The Week in Pictures, 3/10/11: Dalian at Night
March 10, 2011, 7:54 am
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Night life in Dalian is fairly lively…unless, of course, you’re an English teacher whose days off fall on weekdays. Well, clubs aren’t all that interesting anyway. Here’s a peek at what happens to Dalian’s streets after the sun has gone down…

A night market near Youhao Square. In Dalian–and, I suppose–in many Chinese cities–night markets are quite popular.Now that it’s warmer out, they’re popping up everywhere. You can buy anything: street food, jewelry, T-shirts with bad English, hats with bad English, slippers, even underwear!

An underpass by Qingniwaqiao, across from Victory Square. I think the lighting puts a bit of cheer and excitement into people’s nightly excursions.

Youhao Square. At the center of the square is a giant disco ball. Don’t ask me why. No sleep till Brooklyn? Pshaw. No sleep till DALIAN!

While wandering around, I stumbled upon a church on Yuguang Street. I have been looking for a church forever – there’s nothing like going to a church, or any place of worship, to escape the noise and haste of city life. I almost missed this one, as it was hidden inside a construction wall. At the alter, you can see a cross, and, below, a menorah! I suppose they have services for multiple faiths. Flanked on either side are chinese characters: “一吗。。。内科“, or “yima…neike,” which I haven’t been able to translate. The second word, “neike,” literally means medicine that is meant to cure internal illnesses (as opposed to visible wounds). I asked my co-workers about “yima,” but even they didn’t know. “The one mother can heal your soul”? Your guess is as good as mine.

The Dalian International Airport at night. Guess I’ll be stuck here another year…

The Week in Pictures, 3/2/11
March 3, 2011, 2:55 am
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Every Thursday, I will be posting a new series called the Week in Pictures, featuring pictures that I have taken of different things in Dalian. I stole the idea from the New York Times. Enjoy!

Even though Christmas has long passed, you can still see a scripted “Merry Christmas” in the window. These kind of homages to Christmas are quite common in Dalian, and are usually accompanied with tacky Christmas decorations. Except for the Chinese characters, this picture reminds me of what a typical Brooklyn diner looks like around Christmas time. (By the way, we order take out from this restaurant. In Chinese. Yeah!)

A room in a tea house. Pam and I came here to study Chinese. A pot of tea is 50 yuan and comes with a hot water canister. The table can also be used as a mahjong table.

A football field near a power plant and a steel mill. The banner above says, “Fight on, China” or “Go, China”

A stream of garbage I pass on my way to work. Around this area, you can often see stray dogs rummaging for food.

Three of my favorite students! They’ve just finished reviewing for their exam and, since there were only three students that day, we decided to let them play Life. From left to right – Sophia, Kitty and Leo.