Yangshuo, Guangxi Autonomous Region, about an hour from Guilin, is one of the most beautiful towns in China. We spent about a week there when we first came to China since that is where the Buckland Training Center is located. We’ve been there twice since. There are so many beautiful and interesting places to visit in China, but we lost our hearts in Yangshuo, so we love going back there.
Yangshuo is a great blend of old and new, East and West, country and comfort. It’s a small town with lots of expats, so many people speak English and there are lots of local and international restaurants. The countryside is gorgeous and there are lots of outdoor activities. The hostels are really affordable and are typically just outside of town in renovated village houses. If you haven’t been, I would highly recomend it.
The only problem with Yangshuo is that it is a bit out of the way. It was about a 14-hour train ride from both Changsha and Shenzhen, so we haven’t been back in a while. The last time we went, we took a train for 14 hours, stayed in Guilin for a night, and the next day took a river boat down the Li River to Yangshuo. That was a lot of fun.
But as of December, there is now a fast train going directly from Shenzhen to Yangshuo, cutting the trip down to about 4 hours. After our America trip, we are hoping to be able to take some weekend trips to this beautiful town.
What about you? What are some of your favorite places in China to visit?
As I’ve mentioned before on this blog and in my book, moving to China (especially to a rural area) meant having to relearn how to cook. At our first school, Lanjiang Zhizhong, three of our best students, Zoe, Arlene, and Jack, came over one night to help give me a crash course. Even 4 years later, fried potatoes, egg and tomato soup, and sliced carrots are staples around our house. I’ve come a long way since then, but they helped give me the foundations to start cooking again.
What about you? What struggles with cooking overseas have you had to deal with? How did you cope?
Happy Holidays, Dear Readers! I thought an appropriate Throwback Thursday post would be a picture of our first Christmas in China.
Christmas is not very popular here, and it is even more rare the more rural you get. In Lixian, the Christmas hats we are wearing are about all the Christmas things we could find. But our students and our Foreign Affair Officer (FAO) Cindy made an effort to do something special for us for Christmas.
Our school had a secret upstairs canteen that served teachers and large groups on special occasions, so they rented the room out and had the cooks prepare us a special lunch.
Seth, the balloon animal king, made a Christmas wreath out of balloons his parents mailed to us. Even though it was nothing like an American Christmas and we even had to work Christmas day (like we do almost every year), we still had a lot of fun and it was a very memorable day.
How about you? How do you try to make Christmas special living in China?
When my husband and I first came to China in 2010, the plan was to stay two years. Well, we are now going on our fifth year, and we don’t have any plans to leave. It’s hard to believe that we have been here long enough to start doing Throwback Thursday posts, but we have. My goal is to go back through my files and find old pictures that never made it onto the blog and tell the story behind them. This is for a couple of reasons, including blogging more regularly and taking part in something fun, but also because I stopped blogging about daily life in China a long time ago. After about a year, life in China just became…life. It stopped feeling interesting, novel, or noteworthy. We were just two people going to work, having dinner, watching TV just like everyone else, or so we felt. But it isn’t that simple. Life here is different than it is in America, and many days it’s really hard. And our life is interesting to most of our readers, people who still live in the West., so this series is for our readers and for ourselves. So, here is our first TBT post!
Finding a learning activity for over 60 teenagers is really hard, and one of the reasons I started hating teaching. But after the first light snowfall we experienced when our first winter in Hunan, I had the bright idea of teaching the kids to make paper snowflakes. They really enjoyed the activity and came up with some amazing designs. The problem came when I tried to stick the snowflakes on the doors and windows. The kids completely freaked out. In China, white is the color most associated with death, so putting anything white on windows and doors invites death. I tried to overcome this by getting them to understand that in Western culture, that isn’t a superstition, so they should put them up anyway. But they were having none of it. I was at least able to get one picture before they took them all back down.
Have you heard this superstition or anything like it before?