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The Gallery – Travel

July 13, 2011

I didn’t do the whole ‘let’s go discover myself on a gap year’ thing. I went to uni, graduated, came home & got a crappy job while I decided what career I wanted.  A year later I was still in that crappy job and getting no where fast. I decided I needed something a bit different on my CV so I’d stand out from all the other candidate going for graduate positions. So I moved to China to become an English teacher. Like you do.

My adult learning class of professors learning advanced English

It was a bit of a shock to the system. Lil ol’ me who can’t stand hot weather inadvertently relocated to one of the ‘3 Furnacelike Cities – Nanjing. A fantastic city about 3 hours west of Shanghai, it’s actually been the capital of China for longer than Beijing. I was drawn to it because of its colourful history, incredible scenery (seriously one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to) and central (ish) location. I was placed at the Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronauts to teach English to classes of all ages from freshmen to professors. I even took an extra class of ‘Western Culture’ for spoilt rich kids who were moving to Britain for a couple of years. That was an experience – none of them cared, most of them were unbelievably rude, some didn’t bother showing up. There was nothing we could do to enforce their attendance though as the university didn’t want to upset their rich parents. I ended up showing them British films – well it’s a form of culture, right? One week when they really pissed me off I put on Dog Soldiers. They nearly shit themselves 🙂 Serves them right for being so annoying. Hopefully most of them backed out of coming to England for fear of being eaten.

I met some fantastic friends out there who were doing the same thing as me and we managed to travel at weekends and half term. One of my favourites (looking back, not at the time) was climb the beautiful mountain of Tai Shan. We climbed it during the day, stayed overnight in the below hovel (it stank!) and woke up in time to see the sun come up. Just gorgeous. Note our ‘Mao’ coats – apparently relics left over from the Red Army. Not sure how true that is but we could believe it by the smell of them. Desperate times call for desperate measures though, we were  that cold.

I loved China with a passion. It’s the most incredible, vibrant, baffling, amusing, mind boggling country I’ve ever been too. I can’t wait to go again. And I will do one day.

My local market

Our favourite restaurant

Visiting friends in Wuxi. Do you like my foxy (ear)muffs? Sam wears them now 🙂

Street food at Wangfujing Night Market, Beijing. I managed to resisted these ones!

Beijing in January is bloody cold

The Forbidden Palace by Tiananmen Square

I grew to adore green tea. This teahouse just off Tiananmen Sq played the Carpenters over & over. Painful!

Public squat toilets - a definite downside to China. Especially when pissed. Luckily it was minus 15 so these were frozen & didn't smell.

The Ice Fesitval in Harbin. Minus 35 degrees here. The ice sculptures don't melt for weeks! Gorgeous place near the Russian border.

Me on the Great Wall of China. Mind blowing.

This post is for The Gallery, now pop over to Tara’s blog at Sticky Fingers for more pictures of travel.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. July 13, 2011 2:02 pm

    Wow – what an amazing experience! I’d like to explore China, although rancid squat toilets and bugs on sticks, I think I can live without them! It looks like you had an adventure and a half.

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      July 14, 2011 12:12 pm

      I really did! Things have changed so much since I was there. As they held the 2008 Olympics they apparently installed (literally) millions of Western toilets. Always a bonus! There’s always McDonalds or KFC who have western loos. I was an expert after a few weeks!

  2. July 13, 2011 4:12 pm

    What a post. I’ve enjoyed it so much Im going to fire up the pc to see the pictures wide screen!

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      July 14, 2011 12:14 pm

      Thanks! They aren’t the best quality – I took them with my phone from actual pics in a photo album! I really need to get them scanned in. I’ll be posting more pics about China I think, I’ve really enjoyed reminiscing!

  3. July 13, 2011 5:01 pm

    What a brave woman. Well done you and hope it led to even greater things or does soon. Lovely pics and so generous of you to share them so we can all learn a bit about China
    My try for the Gallery is over at

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      July 14, 2011 12:37 pm

      I got a job within a fortnight of coming back & I’m still there 7 years later! Yay!

  4. July 13, 2011 6:14 pm

    Great photos and what an amazing experience! I would love to go to China, it’s on the list! one day… 🙂

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      July 14, 2011 12:42 pm

      It is an amazing place & would recoemmend it to anyone. I have a list too – China is on it again (I’d like to go South next time) as is Peru & Russia. Like you said – one day!

  5. mum2babyinsomniac permalink
    July 13, 2011 8:37 pm

    Wow, what an experience! I don’t fancy using those toilets though! x

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      July 14, 2011 12:42 pm

      It wasn’t one of the highlights of my time there that’s for sure!!

  6. July 13, 2011 9:19 pm

    Wow great photos! Though I don’t fancy having to squat to pee – balance issues and all!

    • notsuchayummymummy permalink*
      July 14, 2011 12:43 pm

      It was definitely a learning curve – many shoes were washed in the process!

  7. July 14, 2011 7:02 pm

    looks like you had a fantastic holiday what great memories

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