On Celebrating Chinese New Years In A Warzone

21 Feb

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Everyone at The Child Academy dressed up for Chinese New Years

Celebrating The Year Of The Snake At The Child Academy

Ni hao!

TCA had a party to bring in the Year of the Snake and it was a lot of fun! Kids and staff dressed in traditional Chinese clothing and ate tons of dumplings. There was even a visit from the Fortune God with hong bao envelopes for the kids!

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At the Chinese New Years Party with Oscar!

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This little French student reminds me of one of the children from ‘Madeline.’

IMAG5827Here we are in our qipaos (traditional Chinese female dress)!

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Shanghai Turns Into A Warzone

Ami and I had a great week off for the Spring Festival holiday. While we enjoyed the non-stop firework displays that go along with the holiday, it was easy to wake up to explosions and mistake it for artillery fire.

year of the snake fireworks
All over the city people light off fireworks that put Vancouver Celebration of Lights to shame. Here’s one exploding right in front of our apartment.

 

Highlights from the break include meeting friends, baking, and enjoying Shanghai’s empty streets (most of the city has gone to visit their home towns). Ami also surprised me with a visit to Shanghai Circus World on Valentine’s!

circus

Gōng xǐ fā cái,

Cecily

Jobless In China

18 Feb

The difficulty started when I found myself visa-less and jobless in China wondering what my next move should be.

Being Let Go

August 19th: I’ve been working for a Montessori preschool for about a month. The staff is great, the kids like me and I enjoy the job. The school claims they will have no trouble procuring my work visa and life was good.

August 20th: I am let go.

The school had realized they were not legally allowed to hire a foreign English teacher. The news, delivered a week before my visa expired, hit me like a ton of bricks. Shaken up, Ami and I headed off to Hong Kong for temporary visas.

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Visiting Big Buddha in Hong Kong

The Long Job Hunt

While the trip to Hong Kong was amazing, our return to Shanghai was followed by an excruciating job hunt. One month passed without success. Money was getting tight. I was going to dozens of interviews but nothing felt right.

Thankfully, after two long months following every lead, I stumbled upon The Child Academy, and it was a good fit.

The Child Academy is an international preschool run by two Canadian guys. As school nurse and float teacher I combine my love for health care and children.

I create emergency protocols, teach health classes, cover for sick teachers, and help with the occasional bloody nose. The kids are aged one to six years old and definitely make the job worthwhile!

Zài jiàn,

Cecily

PS. We’re enjoying our first Chinese New Years in China. Look out for my next post coming later this week—I’ll show you how I rung in the New Year— at school and at home!

60 Photos of Hong Kong (And 3 Pleasant Surprises)

15 Nov
by Ami Sanyal

The last few months have been eventful—packed with ups and downs. The highlight reel includes an arduous (but successful) job hunt to find Cecily a new teaching position, and the abrupt expiration of our visas.

Renewing our visas meant we needed to make our first journey to Hong Kong. We decided to treat it like a quasi-vacation and spread the trip over six days at the end of August.

To be honest, we weren’t expecting a whole lot out of Hong Kong, but we were pleasantly surprised. Read on to learn more and see images of:

  • Hong Kong streets
  • Dragon’s Back Hiking Trail
  • Views of Shek-O
  • Tian Tan (The Big Buddha)
  • The Po Lin Monastery
  • Mong Kok
  • Victoria Peak
  • Lan Kwai Fong
  • and our overall impression of Hong Kong Continue reading

Teacher’s Tales: 2 Lesson Plan Mistakes You Don’t Recognize Until Too Late

10 Aug

Ni hao!

When I first started teaching, I was so nervous! I had so many ‘what ifs’ running through my mind. What if the kids didn’t like me? What if my lesson plans completely flopped?

I eventually found my rhythm with teaching—but my learning curve had some memorable mistakes that make me cringe when I think of them! Here are two slip-ups that caught me by surprise. Continue reading

A Typhoon in Shanghai: Photos and Preparation Tips

8 Aug

China has been hit by three typhoons in the past week—but Hǎikuí is the first to put Shanghai on it’s highest storm alert. The storm has caused extreme flooding in the Phillipines, and 374,000 people were evacuated from Shanghai’s coast.

The storm gave Cecily a day off work, but we still had to (briefly) brave the storm—so I took the opportunity to document the effects of the 150 km winds and torrential rain. Continue reading

30 Photographs of Anji: Bamboo Groves from ‘Crouching Tiger’

7 Aug
by Ami Sanyal

A few weeks ago EF took it’s staff on an overnight trip to Anji. I rode along with Cecily and fell in love with the endless bamboo groves which served as the backdrop for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

We spent most of our time exploring the hilly forests—and fit in some rafting and a bit of partying as well. Here are 30 images from our trip, as well as our impression of Anji. Continue reading

Dada, the Hard Call and Saying Goodbye

18 Jul
Dada and Dadai at our Wedding

Dada and Dadai at our wedding (Photo by Sakura Photography)

When we planned our move abroad we prepared for new experiences. Since then, we’ve learned to adapt to the excitement and frustration that accompanies every day in China. But we could never predict just how challenging things would get.

As some of you may know, Ami’s grandfather passed away in June. The nine days leading up to his death were the most difficult days we have experienced in China. Continue reading