what happened on winter break

I have been off work for seven weeks, but all that ends on Monday. That sounds like a great deal, and it is. A little less pressure during the year in exchange for a little less vacation would be even better, but this is the system. This term I’ll be teaching 18 hours each week (3 lesson plans to prepare), plus graduate school, so it’s going to be a tough slog. I’m looking forward to getting back into class, but it’s going to be a lot of work.

In January, I spent a few days in Chongqing. I had some business to take care of and, more importantly, I got to see some friends. I’m really glad I don’t live in CQ anymore. It’s cloudy all of the time, and it’s huge and hard to get around. But the people I met are wonderful and I miss them. It’s going to be harder to see them when I leave China, which is something I am starting to be more acutely aware of.

My friend Chloe and me on campus.
My friend Chloe and me on campus.

Then, Hong Kong, possibly my new favorite city. Oh, I loved it. People speak English, it’s clean, there is anything in the world you want to do or eat, it’s easy to get around, there are lots of islands and stuff. I mean, yeah, of course I like being on vacation, but even beyond that, I really enjoyed being there. I went to some museums, saw some parks that had really cool birds in them (I know, now is the time to start birdwatching in earnest—I haven’t though), and went out to some outlying islands to walk in nature. Wonderful. For real, if you want to come visit me there, maybe next winter, let me know.

Big Buddha on Lantau Island
Big Buddha on Lantau Island

 

Lamma Island. I took a hike around and hadlunch n the waterfr

    Lamma Island. I took a hike around and had lunch on the waterfront.

 

Laser light show on Victoria Harbor.

My original plan had been to go to Vietnam for 10 days after Hong Kong. However, I had some communication issues with the travel agent, so that fell through. This was not such a bad thing. I had a lot of work to do for school. Plus I’m not sure if being away from home for three weeks would really agree with me.

Then I got super bored and isolated and weird. So right before classes started last week, I took the train and 3.5 hours later, I was in Shanghai for a few days. I like Shanghai, too. It’s not Hong Kong, but it was nice to be in a city with museums and subways. A lot of foreigners, too—it’s nice to not be stared at.

 

Oriental Pearl Tower.
Oriental Pearl Tower.
Lantern Festival, Yuyuan.
Lantern Festival, Yuyuan.

Travel is good for me. As I said earlier, backpacking around for multiple weeks on end isn’t really for me, but getting out and seeing new places helps me keep perspective. We don’t have spring break here, so unless I take a quick trip for May 1 (unlikely), this is it until July. Work work work.