Start of My Vacation

Hello everyone, and Happy New Year!

I have finished my first semester teaching here and am now on holidays! The kids had exam preparation and exams this week and next week so I started my holidays two weeks before they do.

The last few weeks haven’t been too exciting; I didn’t do much out of the ordinary. Except for a few weeks ago, on a Sunday morning my friend Jacob and I went to check out this area called the Moganshan Art District. I had read about it in my guidebook and thought it sounded interesting. The description in my book led me to believe it would be similar to the Distillery District in Toronto. However it was a bit different. The Moganshan Art District is set up in former industrial buildings but from the outside they do not look like much and if you were just walking by on the street you might not even know what was inside. Once you enter the area there are many buildings to explore with many studios and galleries to look at. There was a large variety of art by many different artists on display. We wandered around checking it all out for a few hours and it was a cool way to spend the morning.

I had had grand plans for this first week of my vacation. Since I would be staying in Shanghai I was planning to finish some lesson plans and organize stuff around my apartment, as well as go do some things in Shanghai I haven’t gotten around to yet. However instead this cold I have had for a couple weeks has worsened and I’ve spent a good portion of each day in bed.

One thing I have done though was go to an event at the Shanghai Grand Theater called the “2015 Shanghai New Year Concert in Honor of High-Level Talents and Foreign Experts” (the latter is the category I fall into, at least according to my visa). How did I end up attending such an event? Well heres what happened. I was contacted by one of the coordinators from Pacican the week before and asked if I would like to attend a “Gala Concert” on Tuesday night at the Shanghai Grand Theater, the dress code would be formal attire. I readily accepted not knowing what to expect. However, what I didn’t realize was that not everyone from Pacican had been invited, so later that night I was talking to my friend Heather and mentioned it, but she had no idea what I was talking about and was upset she had not been invited too. It later came out that supposedly only 15 teachers were invited, so I was then wondering why I had gotten an invitation. On Tuesday before the show I went over to Katharina’s so we could get ready together, as she had also been invited. When we arrived we met up with some other teachers that we knew, then together we located the larger group of Pacican people. It turned out that almost everyone in attendance were upper level Pacican employees except for 7 or 8 of us (most of whom are my friends), so we are still a bit unsure as to how we were chosen to get invitations. Nevertheless it was a great experience, which I thoroughly enjoyed. We had amazing seats in the 6th row. The symphony played a mix of songs most of which were recognizably famous classical pieces, and the others were Chinese songs, which I think were also famous but I didn’t know.  It was a lovely night and I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to attend, as it was not the kind of kind of thing I would normally do.

The rest of my week was mostly uneventful. Last night (Saturday night) a group of my friends went out for dinner together as it was our last night all together before we start our holidays and some of us leave for trips. It was a nice treat as it’s not something we can do often as a group.

Today (Sunday) Katharina and I are flying to Hong Kong for 4 days. I have heard many good things about Hong Kong even if I don’t know that much about the city. We are also going to take the ferry to Macau for one day while we are there as it is not too far away and it is also supposed to be a cool city with a big Portuguese influence.

The day after we get back to Shanghai my parents will arrive.  With them I will be in Shanghai until the 4th then we will travel to Beijing.  From Beijing we will go to Xi’an, then to the Philippines and Osaka before returning to Shanghai on the 17th and they will fly home on the 20th.

After my parents leave I still have one week of holidays before I go back to work. Which will be spent resting and preparing to start work again.
So those are my plans for my crazy long break for the Chinese New Year. I am looking forward to seeing some new places, seeing my parents and relaxing a bit, hopefully.
I will post all about my travels when I return. I hope you all have a great February.