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Hello there.

7 Jul

A long no-show from my part, I know, but I’ve been busy enjoying the summer…. and being with this little face!!

Everyone, meet DD. DD, meet World.

No, she’s not our new family member, we’re just dogsitting her for a colleague. And she’s stolen both of our hearts in the process.

The first 24hours were very hard given that she wouldn’t let us near her (which made clipping on her leash and going for walkies a bit of a task) and Dave’s tall frame would spark a barking episode everytime he entered the room but that quickly changed to lots of dogtail wagging and what I can only guess to be thoughts along the lines of: “Ohmygodohmygod, you’re here, you’re back and we’re going for a walk, and you’re giving me food, ohmygod, I looooove youuuuuuu!!!!!!”

Even makes going for walks in 35C enjoyable.

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Life Lately.

30 Apr

Laundry drying in student dorm balconies, Basketball // Sunset in Yinzhou, Japanese plum wine // Stuffed Chinese flatbreads cooking in an oven, Teppanyaki // Dave hard at work, Planning Bureau Yinzhou and cherry blossoms.

 

I Heart the Internet.

25 Mar

One of the fun things I like to do with my blog every so often is to check out how you readers got here. Most of you will be email subscribers or are linking in through Facebook but every once in a while I’ll get a Googler, someone that’s put something into a search engine and then came across my blog. So imagine my surprise and subsequent intrigue when somebody in Norway had googled:

 

Ningbo + nude + sex + fun + outside

 

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

15 Feb

I really wasn’t expecting to get anything for Valentines because Dave HATES this holiday – he thinks it doesn’t even deserve to be called a holiday and then he shouts something about consumerism, and I quip something along the lines of, “Yeah, and Hallmark! … and set-menus of mediocre food at red-decorated restaurants… yeah!” because I actually agree with him.

Sure, it’s nice to get cards and gifts, share a nice meal or do something else special for one another but you can/should do these things any other day of the year. Why all the hoo-ha on this one particular day? And what to get the other person? Is a Hallmark card enough? Dinner? Home-cooked dinner? Trip to Paris?

On the other hand, I do like “getting into things” and always silently hope he’ll get me something….and he always does!

And so, yesterday I found myself receiving the ultimate Chinese bouquet of flowers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I’M BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!!

2 Feb

It’s been a while, I know, I know… but it’s not entirely my fault!! I even have a few finished posts that have been sitting idly since October, waiting to be published. And there have actually been a few noteworthy (and maybe a few not-so-noteworthy) adventures!! Like:

  1. My e-bike got stolen and I had my first dealings with the local police.
  2. During National Holiday week I went to Suzhou, the “Venice of China.”
  3. I had a couple of job offers and one horrific job interview.
  4. I went for a lovely “hike” near around a water reservation
  5. A pre-Christmas holiday and visa-run to Hong Kong
  6. Our days of Shanghai expat gluttony that was Christmas and NYE
  7. I bought a 5kg block of cheese.

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How Not To Have A Nervous Breakdown Whilst Swimming in China.

26 Sep

After a couple of very decadent months in Europe part of our post-summer plan is to exercise more and diet a little bit. All that drinking and eating has taken its toll! So we’re going to the pool 6x a week for an hour’s swim and then about 3-4x a week we try to squeeze in an hour of tennis or a run in the afternoon. Dave’s also training with his footie team and has also started touch rugby. He’s especially determined as he’s constantly getting told by local shopkeepers as well as the lifeguard at the pool that “oh, very fat this year” – it might be meant as a compliment given that Chinese people admire a nice round potbelly (like those happy Buddha figurines) but Dave obviously isn’t flattered.

They haven’t commented on me yet, thank god! I think I would cry.

So off to the pool we go every morning and I endure an hour of mind-numbing lane swimming. If you took away all the rubber rings from this picture and strung up lane lines it would be a rather good representation of how busy our local pool can get in the evenings:

In other words: complete chaos.

  1. Lanes mean nothing in China. The ropes might be strung across the pool but be aware that people will be swimming across them or doggy-paddling across them or will stop in the middle of a lane to rest or have a chat. They will do this even though they see you coming but like in Chinese traffic or Chinese queuing, it’s first come, first serve. Deal with it.
  2. The end of each lane (at the wall where you would normally push off) will have, no doubt, a string of people leaning against it, eyeing you up as you swim towards them. You have no choice but to stop your swim 2mbefore the wall, awkwardly turn around and not push off. This completely throws me off my “work-out flow” but again, deal with it.
  3. There’s a massive sign that informs swimmers to swim counter-clockwise within the lanes but there’ll constantly be some person swimming counter-flow. This I just don’t understand. It’s like ghost driving… how is it not annoying for the ghost driver him- or herself to plough through all the oncoming traffic? And then on top of that you’ve also got the people who decided they want to swim across the lanes.

(Some of the above might sound like I’m a swim-snob, but the way I see it, if I’ve actually managed to drag myself down to the pool and committed myself to swimming for 60 boring minutes at 8 in the freaking morning I would appreciate being able to just get on with it. Everytime I have to stop because someone’s decided to swim accross the lane infront of me it not only disrupts me physically but mentally as well. It reminds me how boring swimming laps is and how I’d much rather be in bed eating pancakes.)

Hence, our first swim at our local pool, which is by the way, a really nice 50m, 15 lane pool, was basically an hour of stop-start, stopping again, crashes and frequent bobbing underwater to scream off your frustration (it helps, try it!). But that was a couple of weeks ago and we’ve since learned how to go about swimming in China without having a nervous breakdown or underwater screaming fits:

  1. Pick an appropriate time. The Chinese love swimming and everyone from kids and their parents, boisterous teenagers, canoodling young lovers to granny and grandpa keeping the joints oiled like to head down to the pool after work/school or on the weekends. So stay away at these times. And don’t even bother during the summer holidays. Very early mornings can be quite busy as well as a lot of professionals go for a pre-work swim. So the best time to go is between 8am and 3pm.
  2. Bring Props. I’ve found that other swimmers are less likely to join our lane when we’ve got bottles of water and hand paddles lying at the end of the lane. The hand paddles may arouse curiosity (they’re very hard to purchase here) but the bottles of water signify that you’re here to do some serious swimming. (Even if you’re just trundling along)
  3. Swim butterfly. People will actually stop in their tracks and I’m pretty sure this makes you look like you’re part of the Olympic team. I personally can’t swim butterfly (I’m more of a trundle-along-kinda-gal) but Dave does and I’m sure it helps keep our lane doggy-paddle free.

And that’s it. If you ever find yourself with a Buddha potbelly in China and want to swim a few laps in a public pool, keep these three tips in mind. Oh, and bring a swim cap. They don’t let you into the pool without one.

The Weather Post.

6 May

Spring is here!

First of all thanks to everyone who’s been commenting and emailing back!!

It’s apparently the official start of summer here in China and a lot of you have been asking about the weather here so here’s a little Ningbo weather report for you:

Up until mid-April it was still pretty chilly. The Ugg boots out and the heating was on in the evenings. I don’t know about summer just yet but it’s safe to say that we’re properly into spring. It’s definitely getting warmer and generally it’s been really pleasant, not too hot, not too cold.The humidity hasn’t kicked in and there’s usually a nice breeze blowing in Ningbo so yeah, it’s generally really lovely. However, we’ve also had a few days with temperatures nearing 30°C when wearing anything but shorts and a t-shirt was too stifling. (Oh, and the Irish Football tournament saw a lot of the Celts with a nice pink hue at the end of the day!) And then, every once in a while, like today, the temperatures plummet back down so that a sweater and a jacket are needed.  On top of that, we’ve been getting some crazy rains and incredible thunderstorms!!

So yeah, getting a nice range of weather and temperatures which is all fine and dandy except that it makes it hard to decide what to wear in the morning because you don’t want to be caught in the rain later on in the day in your sandals and vest top (done) OR, because it was mild in the morning but then the sun came out and decided to be merciless, you end up sweating your ass off in jeans and a cardigan with your jacket and umbrella stuffed into your bag (done as well).

Man, my life is so hard.