hangzhou Tag Archive

  • My first Christmas in China – Secret Santa with my students!

    2014-12-22 09.27.20-3

    “Santa Claus is coming to town..’

    It’s Christmas day and I’m sitting here trying to send Xmas wishes to all my friends, but in between I’m looking at possible places to travel  next. I think there’s a serious case of Wanderlust building up! 

    But in the Christmas mood, today I want to share with you what I did with my students for Christmas. 

    I had a long debate about it, but in the end I decided that I will do Secret Santa with all my classes. We will talk maybe a bit about Christmas and watch some Christmas classics! 

    When I planned that, I did not expected it will go so well! These were, to be honest, the best memories I have made in China so far. Everyone got involved and they all tried to make this week so very special for me. I was trying to make it special for them, but they made it special for me! 

    We shared good moments, laughter and we took lots of pictures. It was wonderful. And I’m trying very hard to express it in words, for everyone to understand how much I love teaching here in Hangzhou and how proud I am of my students. 

    I don’t know if I’m going to teach them in 2nd term, but they made this first few months here extra-special. 

    Here are some of the pictures we took. In each class, I had one of the students put on a Santa hat and give the prezzies away to everyone.

    Day 1 of Christmas Celebration – Monday, December 22: 

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    Day 2 of Christmas Celebrations – Wednesday, December 24: 

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    Day 3 of Christmas Celebrations – Friday, December 26. Poorer quality – I forgot my camera on Friday, so all the pictures were took with different phones..


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  • China: A new Job. The New Old World.

    2014-09-24 17.29.06

    “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”


    It has been a while since my last post!

    I started this one few times over the last few days, but life got a bit crazy!

    But it is safe to say that I will always come back to my writing and to this blog. This is my cabinet of memories.

    Sooo, with no further ado, a few words about my first few weeks in China!

    China is big. China is really hot at the moment. China is crowded and Loud. But oh, so, so wonderful.

    It’s like you step in a whole new world. The moment your feet step out of the plane, you are hit by a stuffiness that threatens to suffocate you, and a mass of people hurrying out to different places. 

    Everywhere you look you see something being built, something being developed. Hence the air pollution and the impossibility to see a patch of blue sky in cities like Shanghai or in my case, Hangzhou.

    I think that has been my only complain since I have arrived: the absence of blue sky. I have spent my summer in Pennsylvania – heaven in terms of nature! So for me this is a big adjustment.

    But other than that, my life here is a daily adventure.

    I do not speak Mandarin yet – the only words I know are Hello, Thank you and Yes.

    You can imagine, daily tasks like ordering food, shopping or asking for directions – they are converted into a ‘lost in translation’ adventure.

    But I am being realistic, it could have been way, way worse! Thank God that I adapt really easy to new situations and I’ve been mastering sign language. Of course, my million watt smile seems to be helping in most situations!

    I made it my goal this year – I will be able to have a decent conversation with someone in Mandarin even if it kills me!

    In terms of ordering vegetarian food in restaurant – that’s a whole new challenge! It seems that for most Chinese people the concept of being vegetarian is completely strange.

    And although is a bit harder  than ordering any meat food, it is not impossible. You just need a really good dictionary or someone that speaks the language enough to order for you!

    More about this in a different post.

    I have started teaching about two weeks ago. I have 7 classes of students for both Speaking and Writing in English.

    I honestly love it! My mum was telling me the other day that she can tell I like it – she can see the passion in my eyes.

    I feel like a different person too. I wake up every morning knowing that I am doing something to help other people – that I am shaping futures. And honestly, you do not understand how big that is until you stand in front of 50 students that are eyes and ears to anything you are telling them.

    Knowledge truly is Power.

    I will end up with some photos describing my last few weeks, the friends I have made, the places I have been..


    2014-09-07 14.22.15

    My school has palm trees. What else can I ask for. 

    2014-09-07 13.57.07


    2014-09-11 19.11.35

    Making friends! This girl is the bestBirthday Dinner

    2014-09-12 22.44.53

    Shanghai TV Tower

    2014-09-12 22.54.40



    My room



    2014-09-21 20.58.02

    West Lake, Hangzhou 

    2014-09-13 13.16.43

    Shanghai, again.

    2014-09-12 22.54.50-1

    More Shanghai. 


    The Little Things.


    Military training month for Freshmen. 


    Birthday Card from sissy


    Of course, a new plant. Still haven’t named it.

    2014-09-24 18.57.20

    Best vegetarian dry hot-pot in town. 



    And I went to a Chinese wedding. And I was taking pics of everything!



    The Wedding.


    The view from my room. I live on the 11th floor. Coincidence?! (11 is my lucky number.)



    More Birthday cards.


    2014-09-22 11.49.13

    We also have a lake  where lotus flowers grow. And fish.

    2014-09-21 21.08.11

     Night Markets are the place to be.


    2014-09-26 13.46.55-2

     I was a judge in a National Speech Competition. Because why not.

    More updates over the next few days, but for now, I need to go back to lesson planning!