Category Archives: Life

Blog posts about my daily life in China

October Updates

I’m sorry for posting a blanc post again, there’s something wrong with the post-throught-mail function (or maybe it was stopped by the Great Fire-Wall…) Anyway, this is what I meant to post:

It’s November! I’m sorry, again, for not writing in so long. October just went by so fast! Here’s what I’ve been up to:

1. I went to Shanghai to see Isaac’s family

For the National Day-holiday, me and Isaac went to see his family in Shanghai. We had a wonderful and relaxed family-weekend. Here’s a pictuer of me and his two younger sisters, Morley and Tori, we found some fun «hats» while shopping:

 2. I got a new room mate

My original arrangement (that a Chinese friend of mine would move in) fell through, so I’ve been without a room mate for a few months. Then, a couple of weeks ago Cici called me. She had seen my add at an expat site and wanted to take a look at the place. Ten days later she moved in. She’s from Southern China and she just arrived in Nanjing for work. So far we get along very well!

3. I got a 2nd job.

As I was not getting as many classes a week as I had hoped for at my first job, I found a second one. I still work at the first one, but I also teach Oral English at some middle schools now, grade 7 and 8.

It reminds me a lot of when I was first in China. Just like last time I don’t have a text book to teach from, just like last time I have so many students that I unfortunately won’t be able to learn all their names and just like last time I feel less than qualified for the job.

At the same time it is completely different. I have a list of topics given to me by my employer, I only go to the school for my lessons (so no office time) and I’m so busy with Chinese lessons, the other job and friends that I just barely have time for lesson planning. I definitely got what I asked for a mont ago!

4. Nanjing had a jazz festival

We did not go see the opening concert this time, but we went to some smaller concerts the first weekend of the festival and saw Ryan McNally Quartet (Canada), Mellow Motif (Thailand), Yuichiro Tokuda (Japan) and Stephan Köning Quartet (Germany).

5. I turned 21

Thank you to everyone who congratulated me on facebook! I can’t access it, but I do get notifications when people write to me. I had a great day. In the evening we went for dinner at a local Chinese restaurant. We had them put out tables on the side walk (we can do that cause we’ve got guanxi), it was great to enjoy one of the last autumn nights warm enough to sitt outside with good friends. And afterwards we went to Isaac’s place and played Apples to Apples. Cuty even got me a birthday cake with 21 candles ^^, (Thanks to Lynnea for the photoes!)

6. We went bowling as another bible study social

No more explaination needed, really. The extended cell group went bowling. Next social will be an advent one!

All in all, it was a good month and it was especially good to see how God came through for me with the things that seemed difficult at the beginning of the month!

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Purple Mountain 紫金山

I’m sorry I posted an empty post the other day, WordPress is blocked here these days, so I posted through mail and something went wrong. This is what I meant to post:

This year my bible study decided that once a month we will do a «social» rather than our normal discussion group, and I’ve been appointed «socials coordinator» (sounds fancy, doesn’t it?). So Monday 6 of us went climbing 紫金山 (Purple Mountain).

Purple Mountain, Nanjing

Purple Mountain is a mountain in Nanjing city. Because of all the trees it has cleaner air and bluer sky; it’s even possible to see clouds (and where the line between cloud and sky goes..). This time of year the osmanthus-trees are in bloom as well, making all of Nanjing, and especially the mountain, sweet-scented. Still, it’s when I’m in a place with clean air that I notice how unclean the city air is. And from the mountain you can see the pollution as a mist covering the city. Rosie says the pollution was worse four years ago though, so there is hope.

Here is the group as we set out. Usually Chinese mountains have stairs leading all the way to the top, and Chinese mountain-climbing usually means climbing stairs. This is also true for Purple Mountain, but Nick knew a better way to the top that involved fewer stairs and more paths.

We took a bus from where we normally meet for cell group to the mountain in the afternoon. Climbing it took a couple of hours, and then we had Chinese-style green-bean-popsicles while enjoying the view at the top before we headed back down. We followed another path going down and while we were walking the sun went down, making it more difficult to navigate. We might have been slightly lost at one point, and at that very point it was threatening to rain as well. But we prayed and the rain stopped and finally we reached civilisation again after a rather long descent.

Next we met up with some more members of the group and had dinner outside on an alley close to university. I’d say we managed to make the most out of the pleasant Nanjing autumn weather, which is important when autumn only lasts for about a month.

Here are some more pictures:

Us climbing:

At the top:

Nick and Isaac; Nick is Isaac’s new flat mate.

Us enjoying Chinese snacks..:

Doesn’t green-bean-popsicle look tasty?

At the Big Buddah on top of Purple Mountain:

Nanjing:

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About lessons, work and waiting for God

This week, I started up with Chinese lessons again, at Hohai (/Hehai) University – 河海大学 this time. There are fewer students studying Chinese at Hehai, so I’m enjoying smaller classes and a more personal atmosphere. My plan is to work full-time as an English-teacher this year, but most of my classes will be in the afternoon/evening so there is lots of time for Chinese classes in the morning.

Plus, so far my working schedule is not very busy. My school is an "English training-school" that parents send their kids to after normal kindergarten/primary school-time, and these classes often start up slightly later then the normal school-semester does. So I expect to be more busy at work by the end of the month, and in the mean time I’ll try to enjoy the extra free-time.

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I know that too much free time hardly is anything to complain about. Especially when I know that most of my Chinese friends don’t have time to do much besides their work. But I can’t help but feel restless at times. The thing is I really wanted and expected to be busy with work this year, but after two weeks I’ve only taught four classes.

I think God is teaching me a few things about patience. I know I’m not very good at waiting for Him. When He’s shown me glimpses of what He’ll do for me in the future, I just want to skip the process and jump straight to the person I will be and the roles I will have then. Yet the process is important in it self. We spend most of our time waiting, it’s what we do while we wait that’s important.

So I’ll try to spend my extra free-time on doing something nice for the people around me that are too busy to do it themselves.

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I have appreciated the classes I’ve taught so far, by the way. The kids so far have been between 3 and 5 years old. Apart from the couple of months I spent at a centre for autistic children as a volunteer for Amity through Hald International Centre a year and a half ago, I’ve never worked with kids before. So I don’t know too much about how to teach them English. But so far I’ve enjoyed our time together and even if I still have lots to learn I can tell that the class I taught Thursday went smoother than the one I taught a week earlier, which is encouraging.

Other than teaching and studying, I’ve been re-reading Shane Claiborne’s book The Irresistible Revolution. It makes me inspired, uncomfortable and wanting to make radical changes both in my life and in the world in general for God’s kingdom. But I realise that God’s kingdom is closer when we do small things with great love than when we try to make small things great. (http://www.quotedb.com/quotes/1865)

I’m also reading Joshua these days. Here’s a quote I read this morning:
Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. (Josh. 21:45)

The Israelites had to wait for 40 years before they could receive their promised land. I’m sure I’ll be able to wait a few weeks for more work.

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Dog 狗

The last couple of weeks, my Chinese friend Shasha and her dog 王子 (Wangzi, meaning Prince) have been staying in our living room while apartment-hunting. Wangzi is a 5 months old Samoyed puppy. A big puppy.. Bigger than many dogs ever get. As a dog bred to pull sleds in the North, he has way more energy than a small China apartment can contain, and this energy has largely been unleashed on our indoor slippers (we used to have several guest pairs, as it is custom to take of your shoes inside, but to cold in the winter to not wear shoes).

The other day, Rosie and I took Wangzi along to the night market, where we invested in a fan. It had been drizzling for some time that evening, and while we were there it started pouring down, soaking all three of us. Wangzi especially enjoyed the welcomed rain, as we’d had a few days with temperatures reaching 35 degrees (Celsius) and humidity percentages of around 95 %. Wangzi entertained himself all the half-hour long walk home by jumping through, sitting down in and dipping his head into all the puddles he could reach. So by the time we reached home, he was more gray than his usual white.

Rosie and I decided it was time for a shower, and as he usually go to dog saloons to get washed, this new experience did nothing to calm down his excitement. Wangzi ended his evening with chewing up the cardboard box our recently acquired fan had come in, which is one of his more acceptable choices of chew toys.

Wangzi and Shasha are a lively and warmly welcomed addition to my weeks! But as the apartment has not been clean or tidy since Wangzi moved in, I think it will be ok to see them off to their new place when they find one. They will be missed though.

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New apartment and new semester 新房,新学期

After Shanghai, Isaac came with me to Nanjing to help me move to a new apartment. Here’s the story of when I moved, told through pictures:

The first night at the new apartment, me and Isaac had take-away fried rice with coke for dinner, which I would say is a pretty decent "moving meal". That day, we had come from Shanghai and then brought the most necessary things from the old place to the new place.

Day 2 we cleaned and tidied and explored the things previous owners had left in cupboards, and then we cleaned some more. We also went to the old apartment to pack all of my things.

Then, Isaac cooked for me ^^, Not to brag, but he's an excellent cook!

Dinner on day 2 was a lot more sophisticated.

On day 3, we called in some helpers. One of my Chinese friends has a car, so he, his fiancée and Rosie (in the above picture) helped move everything to the new place. Rosie stayed and helped us fix the kitchen. (The cupboards had stickers on them that needed to go..)

Then, Anne and Mathias came over and we cooked.

With people visiting, the new place had officially become a home, and I couldn't have been happier (:

From the right, Rosie, Mathias, Isaac and Anne.

And so I had moved into my new home. The next week, Rosie decided to move in with me (after being invited, of course).

Here’s a tour of the place:

This is our living room.

And kitchen. In the morning we can hear chicken here from a hillside opposite the apartment building.

From the outside.

The building complex has both palm trees and pines.

The complex.

There are lanterns over the entrance of the complex 🙂

The street outside the complex. I really enjoy it's name: Hujulu, which means "crouching tiger street"^^,

A park that I walk through everyday on my way home from school.

Rosie at the park.

The new semester started in the end of February. It’s surreal to start a semester so late, but I’m not complaining. This semester I’m in class B1, and I’m very happy with both the semester start and the new apartment, which really feels like a home.

Last week I was sick for a while, first stomach flu and then a cold, but now I can feel my energy coming back and I’m sure that this will be a great semester. I’ll try to update again soon, sorry that I haven’t been a faithful blogger recently.

Below is a picture from Pancake Day, which we celebrated this year thanks to my English flat mate. I’ve really been blessed with great friends this year, they are like a second family to me in China. When I was moving I realised the value of relations and of daring to ask friends for help. Moving would have been so much more difficult (and a lot more boring) on my own, and the new apartment wouldn’t have felt half as much like a home to me if it had not been for the people filling it.

Last week, we celebrated the English holiday Pancake Day. Look it up if you don't know what it is. It meant that our home was filled with people eating pancakes ^^, Above, from the right: Shasha, me, Anna, Lynnea and Su Nana.

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Psalm 34;8

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A day in the sun 阳光

One of the days when Isaac was here to visit me, we spent a wonderful morning lying on the grass on a green spot on campus, reading, listening to music and enjoying the sun and the blue sky.

The Osmanthus flower is blooming at the moment, and its sweet scent is all around the city making all of Nanjing fragrant. This is what it looks like:

I was fascinated by how it took four people (using two lawn mowers) to mow the lawn; two people to cut the grass and two to empty the “grass containers”.

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Typhon, school and bullfrogs

It’s raining so hard it’s making the bicycle alarms go off right now. Apparently there’s a typhon on the way.. If you don’t know what bike alarms I’m talking about, search up “bicycle alarm china” on YouTube.

School has started! I was placed in a very basic beginners’ class, not surprising based on the test I took the other day. It was a written test and my characters are really bad. But I hope I can switch to a higher level, ’cause I’d much rather be in a challenging class and try my best to catch up on the characters that I don’t know, than be in a class that starts from scratch where I can’t use what I’ve learned already.

I tried to sit in a class that’s one level up from the one I was placed in, and the teacher of that class gave us a sheet with 100 characters on it that I need to know by tomorrow.. So my plans for what’s left of today is to practise, practise and practise some more…

Yesterday I found out that there are a total of two Norwegian students at Nanjing University, including me (Nanjing University has more than 20,000 students..). This is his blog, in case you get tired of my version of Nanjing. I also found out that there is a Chinese-Nordic Culture Center at my school. And next week a delegation from Norway, including our Minister of Education (Tora Aasland), will visit Nanjing University. They want to meet some Norwegians students while they’re here!

I’ve written about how China changes one’s perspective on what is and is not edible on this blog before. Well, last week another creature was added to my list of creatures I’ve eaten. I’ve now tasted bullfrog, which tastes pretty good! Here’s an updated list for you:

dog, pigeon, turtle, bullfrog, snail, eel, chicken feet, pig’s feet, “whole duck”-soup (everything included), pig’s stomach, cow’s stomach, cow’s muscle.

As that probably made you hungry, I’ll finnish this post so that you can go get a snack ; ) I’ll leave you with a picture of a bullfrog, the newest addition to the “food-category” in my head.

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