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