Life has been a whirlwind of crazy, busy, overwhelming beauty. Although it has been chaotic moving and settling into a new place, I am slowly but surely figuring out how to do life here. I have finally gotten a (very small) hang on teaching and have time to write a blog post for once.
Over the past two months I have traveled and explored many new places and I thought it would be fun to share some of those experiences with you.
Coffee Shop Saturday
One of my first weekends in China was spent exploring a small part of Qingdao in search of a Korean coffee shop. Here are a few images from our journey to the coffee shop. Once we arrived at the coffee shop, we sat and worked on planning or correcting for school. There is just something about coffee shops that helps my mind focus.
Life By The Ocean
Growing up in Minnesota, I always dreamed of living near the ocean. Well, that dream has now come true. I live about two blocks away from the ocean. No, I haven't had an opportunity to go swimming yet and unfortunately the weather is growing colder by the day. However, the cold temperatures doesn't make the view any less beautiful. Also within a couple of blocks from my apartment are mountains. (Side note, one of the first words I learned in Chinese was the word for mountain, shan 山 )
Roaming Through a Village
Qingdao is a fairly western and built up city, however, there are random pockets in the city where there are little villages. Many of my fellow international friends refer to these villages as "real China" since it isn't westernized. One evening, about a month ago, two of my coworkers took my roommate and I out to dinner at this noodle place. On our way walking to this restaurant we took a detour through the nearby village. This picture that I took captures the contrast of village and city life. By the way, this restaurant has the absolute best noodles I have ever had in my entire life. They are fresh handmade noodles and depending on where in the restaurant you sit, you can actually see the guy in the kitchen making them. To. Die. For.
Adventures in Tianjin
The first full week of October was the Mid-Autumn Festival or Mooncake Festival here in China. As a result, we had the whole week off of school. I was so looking forward to a week off to be able to explore Qingdao and catch up on school stuff, however that was not the case. Instead, I had to attend a new staff training week in Tianjin, a city not too far away from Beijing. Although I was disappointed that I didn't really get the week off, I had an incredible time at this training. The village we were staying in wasn't just near mountains, but IN the mountains. It was simply beautiful. While we were there we had a few opportunities to explore the area. One day we were able to hike up a nearby mountain to where there was a watchtower from the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). Never in my life had I been that close to a piece of history THAT old. It was an incredible experience. Safe to say, I didn't want to come down from the mountain or leave at the end of the week.
Exploring My City, Qingdao
Since I arrived in China two months ago, I haven't had many opportunities to explore the city I will be living in for at least the next two years. However, last weekend, there was an event for all of the new staff to go on a little tour of a few areas of our city.
Qingdao was originally a small fishing village. In 1898, German troops came into Qingdao. They took control of the area and began building wider streets, solid housing areas, government buildings, and electrical and sewer systems which were uncommon in China at the time. They also started what is now the largest brewery in all of Asia, Tsingtao Brewery. There are still many buildings with German influence in Qingdao today, as well as two German churches, one Protestant and one Roman Catholic. Both churches are still used for services on Sundays, weddings, and other events.
On our tour we visited the old German area and went to a very nice mansion, a German Lutheran Church where we saw a wedding, and ended the day at an alley that was lined with vendors selling food. I am excited for my next day off to go back to some of these places and explore more.
Last Sunday, a friend and I decided to take a break from grading and hike one of the mountains that is a mere two blocks away from our apartments. It was a tough hike and towards the end of the hike we were quite literally climbing up rocks towards the top. Not necessarily the safest, but the view from the top was incredible.