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Getting Around Town

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We were given this whole past week off to celebrate National Day observing Mao’s founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949. Most of my team and I decided to stay in Taiyuan and explore our city to just feel more at home in our new surroundings. This is China though so plans were held loosely since we never know what tomorrow may hold. Over the weekend the air quality was deemed “hazardous” to our health by the U.S. Embassy so we mostly stayed indoors. I did some deep cleaning (including cleaning out our sun room which probably hasn’t been touched in years), we spent one whole afternoon playing Settlers of Catan and an evening playing Clue by candlelight because we lost power for a whole day.  Thankfully, it rained Monday night and we have had blue skies for the next three days! Amazing! We went out an about getting lost in the city and found something new everyday.

A clear day! So beautiful! (keeping things in perspective)

A clear day! So beautiful! (keeping things in perspective)

So cute!

As foreigners, we get our pictures taken all the time so I couldn’t help but take a picture of this precious girl.

Taiyuan has an extensive bus system but we don’t have any map or route guide so we decided we would just hop on random buses and try to map them out ourselves. We have mostly discovered our city is actually pretty small. It just seems big because it takes so long to get anywhere. A trip just 6.5 km away often can take over a hour! There is no hurrying anywhere around here. You get there when you get there.

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A rare occasion on the bus when we actually got a seat!

 

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Yangtze Park. It’s actually an amusement park complete with roller coasters, a ferris wheel, and a lake (but I didn’t ride anything).

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My team member Lindsay and I at the Twin Pagoda Temple. The two pagodas were built in the early 1600’s and are 53 meters tall.

          A week ago it was cold and rainy but this week the weather has been absolutely splendid. Not too hot but still warm enough for shorts and a t-shirt. My bare arms and legs make me stand out even more than usual though and I even get comments on the bus. You see, once the first sight of cooler weather hit, the Chinese people start to wear their warm clothing.  The actual temperature outside is not really a factor, but rather the time of year that dictates their clothing.  So my bare arms and legs is absurd to them and I “will certainly get sick from the cold”. Oh well. Our Western faces are already a sight to behold and we draw attention everywhere we go, so what’s a little more?

The view of Taiyuan from the top of one of the pagodas

You can climb the stairs to the top of one of the pagodas and get an amazing view of the whole city on clear days (which we were blessed to have).

IMG_2237      We are back to the routine on Monday. Teaching, lesson planning, 288 little Chinese students, and we actually don’t have another break until November. Happy October everybody!

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About Sarah Roberts

I graduated from college two and a half years ago (whoa! that's a long time) with a B.S. degree in biology. I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do but I love science. I seriously considered becoming a doctor and even took the MCAT, volunteered in hospitals, and went to EMT school. But after all that, I finally and firmly realized that is not what I wanted to do. So I was left with a blank slate. What should I pursue now? What career track should I head down? And then I realized, I don't know, and that's OKAY! If I am going to dedicate my life to something, I have to love it and want to do it. So, I am on a bear hunt. I am not going to just sit around hoping for a revelation. I am out in the world, trying new things, going new places, meeting new people and learning more about my world and where I fit in it. Who know where I will end up or if I will ever "settle down". This adventure may last the rest of my life but I am excited to see whatever "bears" I may encounter.

One response to “Getting Around Town

  1. 你好,老师!It’s good to read the adventures of another awesome ELIC girl (excuse the diminuative…). I worked with Bethany, Laura, Susie, and Alex at Joy in the Journey for a week or two during Spring Festival.
    I just wanted to mention that if you haven’t discovered it yet, Google Maps actually has the bus routes for Taiyuan. It is probably easier to use if you know pinyin, but I just tried it for “railway station”. It gives you the theoretical time the bus leaves and arrives at your destination (good luck with that, with Taiyuan traffic!). Sometimes it is hard to get to the English version of Google products (impossible for Google Drive, unless you use a VPN), but I have found I can usually gets to maps after a couple of attempts (I have never used a VPN in China so, since you probably are [I think WordPress is usually blocked] you may find it even easier.

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