Hey there! Long time no blog. Today I wanted to share some pictures of my neighborhood, as well as a bit about what I did for Christmas.

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Last year I lived way up north in Yubei district, now I’m about an hour and a half south in an area called Yangjiaping, in Jiulongpo district.

I live in a nice new apartment complex, only about a 20 minute walk away from work, which is in a large mall located in a big pedestrian area. There is a big sort of circular pedestrian area with a tower in the middle, which the subway cuts through, and radiating off of that pedestrian street are several roads, I live down one of them towards the West, and the office is sort of Northeast of me.

At work we had a Christmas party (for the kids, not for us) on the 24th, and we had Christmas day off. My friend Kate came over and we cooked together, she made a kung pao chicken and I made chicken pot pie, which turned out really well! I also made a cake that I shared with the office the next day.

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Here is the teaching staff at our school! Not that many of us, and unfortunately Andy (the guy on the right) has since transferred to a different school in Chongqing, but from left to right, top to bottom: Kurt, Vivian, Andy, me, Bev, and Lucia.

Everyone here at EF has been really great. I can’t talk in depth about the job because of company policy, but I really love working here with everyone, the whole office has been so welcoming to me, and I hope to stay here for a while.

My new year’s resolution is to blog more this year! I’m also planning on buying a video camera soon, so hopefully you can look forward to some more video posts! That’s all for now–加油!

Hey! So it’s been a while since I updated, and that’s because I’ve been super busy with work recently. I moved into my new apartment less than three weeks ago, but I already feel really comfortable here. So I thought I would just update with some pictures of my sweet new bachelorette pad today, next time I’ll write a more in-depth blog post!

Hey everyone! So as you can probably imagine, I’ve been really busy with work training here and haven’t had much time to blog (or a lot of especially interesting things to blog about). Today I just thought I would give you a quick update on how I’m doing.

While I’ve been here in Shanghai, I’ve been training at a temporary school. Everyone there is really nice, but I’ve been ready to go back to Chongqing for a while now. Thankfully, I’m going back in a week! I’m going to be working downtown in Guanyinqiao, which I feel is kind of the center of Chongqing and it’s my favorite area.

I leave Thursday morning with the other teachers who are going to Chongqing (though I don’t think anyone else is going to the same school as me). Hopefully I can look at some apartments either on Thursday or Friday. I’m kind of sick of living in a hotel, so I want to get an apartment and move in ASAP. Then I can finally get my precious bunny Ivory back! I’ve felt bad to have left her alone for so long, I hope she wasn’t lonely.

I am super excited to be going back. This will be my first real apartment that I’ll be paying for by myself, and even though Shanghai is a lot of fun I’ve missed Chongqing and my friends there.

Once I move in to an apartment, I will probably make a big blog post with a bunch of pictures of everything, but I probably won’t post until then because I’ll be kind of busy getting ready and settling into Chongqing. Until next time–加油!

Hey everyone, I know it’s been a while since I last posted, just wanted to let everyone know I’m doing fine and I still plan to write this blog, I’ve just been really busy with work lately and haven’t had much time to write, but starting next week I should be able to get back on a schedule of weekly posts. I just needed some time to get settled in here in Shanghai. I will be here for another few weeks, after which I will return to Chongqing. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are my days off, so you can expect blog posts around this time in the week from now on. I will have a more interesting post next week, until then–加油!

So, it’s been a while since my last post, but after 3 months I am finally back in China! Right now I’m in Shanghai, where I will be for the next month or so for work training before heading back to Chongqing. I’ve only been here for a few days, and we’ve been busy with work training, but today’s Saturday and I have the weekend off, so I’ll probably do some exploring in the next two days. For now I don’t have much to write about, just wanted to let everyone know I’m back!

Hello everybody! So I’m back in Florida, for a little while at least, and I haven’t written a blog post recently because, well, not much has been going on. I’ve mostly just been hanging out at home, seeing my friends and family, and eating all the American food I can get to. But, I did fly back into the US through San Francisco, and before coming back to Florida I spent a few days there with my dad and my best friend Amber, so I thought I’d make a quick blog post about what we did there.

So I got in to San Francisco late at night on Sunday, July 12th. My dad had arrived several hours before me and he was there to greet me at the airport when I got off the plane. The flight from Hong Kong was about 12 hours, which is actually shorter than I was expecting, and I was sitting next to a cute Chinese guy on the plane so no complaints here. My friend Amber got in the next day, and we stayed in this beautiful house that we rented through Airbnb.com.

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Honestly we didn’t do much in the way of tourist-y stuff, but that was ok. We went to the Academy of Sciences and Japantown, saw my friend Shannon and her fiancé, but the main highlight of the trip was seeing my favorite band, Steeleye Span, in concert.

In case you don’t know them, which most people don’t, Steeleye Span is an English folk-rock band. Founded in 1969, they are one of the best known and most successful acts (along with Fairport Convention) of the British folk revival of the mid-20th century. One of the reasons I like them so much is their lead singer is a woman, the forever fabulous Maddy Prior. The band played in a tiny theater, and they were wonderful, Amber and I even got to meet Maddy after the show and I bought one of their newer albums for her to sign! It was incredible. It was also, surprisingly, my dad’s first time seeing them, even though he has been a fan since the 70s and has been to their native England over a hundred times, they just never seem to tour, so I guess it was fate that they ended up playing in San Francisco the same time I was coming home.

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That’s about all we did in San Francisco, but we still had a good time and I’m glad to be home now, at least for a little while. Being back in Florida is kind of a nice vacation from my normal life in China, but I think by the end of the month I’ll be ready to get back to work. I miss Ivory a lot too, but I think I left her in good hands and this pet store downtown, and since she got fixed I don’t have to worry about coming back to more baby bunnies. I am supposed to be in Shanghai for work training on September 2nd, so you can expect some blogs posts from Shanghai soon, and I’m going to be there for a month, so I’m sure there will be plenty to write about!

That’s all for now, the next time I post will probably be from a hotel room in Shanghai. Until then—加油!

So, today I’d like to talk a bit about a topic I feel like everyone is always curious about when it comes to China: the food.

People say everything Chongqing is hot: the weather, the food, and the women. I really can’t testify as to the latter, but the other two are definitely true. The temperature reaches up to 40 degrees Celsius in the summer (over 100 degrees Fahrenheit), and Chongqing food is notoriously spicy.

Hotpot

Chongqing is famous for hotpot (火锅), which is kind of like Chinese fondue. It consists of a large pot of (normally) very spicy soup, which is usually served in a special table with a sunken pit where the soup can be placed and a flame under it to keep it warm. While the soup boils, one puts in various foods to be cooked. Usually you start with the meat and then cook the vegetables after your protein is finished. Chongqing people like to eat all kinds of stuff in hotpot: sheep stomach, cow intestines, pig brains, etc.

Hotpot is stupidly popular in CQ. It seems like every third restaurant is a hotpot place. I honestly really don’t like hotpot that much, partly because it is often full of “ma,” which I feel requires some explanation.

Mala

In China, there are two kinds of spicy: “la” (辣), which is what we normally think of when we think of something spicy, and “ma” (麻), the other kind of spicy. Ma isn’t like normal spice, it actually makes your mouth go numb. Ma is the dark side of spicy: plainly put, it’s nasty, and Chongqing people absolutely love it and put it in everything.

Snacks and Street Food

There are a lot of popular snacks in Chongqing that also contain a lot of “mala,” like the aptly named “malatang” (麻辣烫), hot and spicy soup, and “xiaomian” (小面), thin noodles in spicy broth.

You can always find a wide variety of snacks and other street food in the small neighborhoods of Chongqing.

Roujiamo (肉夹馍), chopped stewed pork with vegetables stuffed inside a thin round bread roll.

Jianbing (煎饼)literally just means “pancake” but it is usually used to refer to something similar to a burrito. Lots of different things can be placed inside.

Shaokao (烧烤), is like barbecue. In Chongqing it is a staple food for late-night bar-goers.

That’s all for now. Until next time–加油!

So, as I mentioned before, I decided a while back that I wanted to stay in Chongqing to work for another year before going to grad school, but my contract with Laingjiang Middle School expires at the end of June and I wanted to find a better-paying job for the Fall, so I’ve been looking for jobs in the city recently. I applied to about half a dozen different English different companies and got an offer from my first choice: EF.

EF is English First, an independent English teaching company based out of the US with over 20 years experience and locations in dozens of cities across China. They provide lots of support and a good benefits package for employees, and with them I will be making more than double what I am now.

So I am quite happy with how things turned out. This job starts in September, so I’ll get to be home for a bit longer than I originally thoughts, which will be nice. I’m probably going to stay in Chongqing until the second week of July, after my contract expires, so I can find an apartment for the fall. I’ve saved up over 10,000 RMB in my Chinese bank account, and any place I rent will be around 1500 a month, so I’ve got more than enough to get a place and get settled in when I begin the new job in the fall.

On another note, I have found homes for the baby bunnies, so now it’s just me and Ivory. I think she appreciates having all the lettuce to herself again.

Well, that’s all for now, until next time–加油!