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I was home for a week and a half…. it was hell getting there

So way back when in January I went home for a week and half and then traveled Thailand for two weeks with my mom. I went home because I had pneumonia and my mom wanted me to see a real doctor and get real medicine. Sometimes they do give you regular medicine but sometimes they prescribe you tea or some liquid you don’t know what it is but when you translate it says its a powerful liquid made from some flower or something that you have no idea what it is. Anyway, so I went home and got medicine and got better.

Getting home was a nightmare. You know I really should write a book about travel nightmares because I’ve had a lot of them. So I went to the airport the day of my flight and they wanted me to present the card I bought the ticket with, which I didn’t have because my mom bought it for me so she had the card. I had a picture of the card and could even get my mom on the phone but I was not allowed to get on the plane. I had bought the round trip ticket from Chongqing to Bangkok separately from the rest of the ticket. It was done as 2 round trip tickets. I ended up forfeiting the whole ticket. So I tried for 3 hours to buy a ticket to Thailand or South Korea because those were my layovers. You can’t buy a ticket at the airport and you can’t buy the day of unless you have a Chinese credit card. smh. I tried every which way to get this fixed but I couldn’t buy online because it was too soon. I went to the domestic terminal to see if I could buy a ticket but again it was day of so I had to call. So I call and I can’t buy because I don’t have a Chinese credit card. I have a Chinese debit card and other credit cards but nope can’t do it. So I missed my flights and my travel agent who is a miracle worker, got me on flights the next day and it only cost $187. And I got to Thailand and back for $300. I have no idea how she did it but hallelujah.  So I go back the next day and everything worked out fine. I had a 56 hour trip home. I stayed a airport hotel for 7 hours to get some sleep and then on to all my other layovers. When I finally got to NY I was a walking zombie, I even slept on the floor of the airport. ( I mean I sleep on a box spring with a mattress pad so honestly you get used to it.)  Soo yeah that was not fun but I made it home and I got better. I did the usual things when I was home. I slept on my super comfy bed and took a million pictures of my kitty. I saw my best friend and ate foooood!

Then my mom was invited to an awards ceremony and this year it was held at Yankee Stadium which was really cool. We got to get all dressed up and be in Yankee Stadium for the event. On the drive down our travel agent called and told us our flight to Thailand had been cancelled because of the impending snow storm. She got us on a flight the day after, Sunday, and all was fine. We went to event and it was really fun but it was very cold outside. We wake up the next day and its snowing and theres actually a lot of it. But for people from upstate NY it wasn’t enough to shut down the ENTIRE CITY! Seriously, they shut it all down. The roads in all the boroughs. The 3 airports. People were told to stay inside. So Saturday we did and of course come that night our flight was cancelled yet again. So we couldn’t get on a flight until Tuesday because of all this.  So we decided to just get a ride home with one of my moms coworkers and leave from Syracuse away from the storm. We did end up leaving that Tuesday but it messed up our whole trip. We didn’t get to go to Chiang Mai because of it 😦 I really wanted to go there to pet a baby tiger but it wasn’t in the cards.

So this trip was riddled with bad luck and in my post about the Thailand trip you’ll see the bad luck continues.

~Alexis

Pictures below 🙂

Oops…. My Summer till Now

Sometimes I wonder where the time goes and other times time can’t go by fast enough. It’s been 7 months since my last post.  I feel like it was forever ago. So much has happened that I haven’t written about. (better late than never)

I will have the following posts up this week or next:

My week and half home in January

Thailand with my mom

Second Semester

Ireland with my mom

Right now, I’m back in Chongqing starting my second year of graduate school. I’m trying to figure out what to write my 70 page thesis on. I want to combine my Bachelors in International Studies with my Master’s International Business. So far my advisor and I have talked about many things, some of which are completely irrelevant, but the going topic right now is about how Politics affect Business in China. We’ll see where that takes us.  I’m also trying to take Chinese classes, which is turning out to be harder than it should be.. typical Chinese way. Today I’m going to meet the new MIB class at our welcome get together and tomorrow night I’m going to a Chinese Business workshop.

Last semester I also got really into intense spinning, which isn’t like normal spinning in the states because I tried that when I went home. Here at my gym spinning class is a 45 min class where you are running on the bike the whole time and sometimes it’s slower and sometimes it’s faster. You also do pushup and get in a nice ab workout while running on the bike. It’s crazy but I love it. It’s the best workout I’ve ever gotten.

I did go home for the summer. I was home for 3 months and that time flew by faster than I thought possible. I went home sick and was pretty sick for over a week. The pollution here in Chongqing kills my lungs. Even now, I’ve only been back 12 days and I am already sick. When I was home I worked helping my mom as an assistant and I also helped out doing stuff around the house. I put up our pool that we barely used this summer and my mom found a dead squirrel in last week, eww never going in that again. She’s also making a garden in the back of our yard so I helped some with that and getting rid of stuff from the house that we didn’t want or need anymore and donating it. We didn’t do much this summer actually :/ We did one weekend at the beach in Rhode Island, which was great because we love it there. We went to a charity event at my mom’s boss’ house where the actors and directors from the Lennon Project were there and I got to meet the Hunger Games actress Stef Dawson ( Annie who married Finnick) which was cool and some other actresses like from Law and Order. For 4th of July I went up north to spend time with my bff Tyler and her boyfriend Ryan. I went to visit Gunjan my best friend from last semester. She was only here for one semester and she’s from Toronto but she’s really cool. So I went to Toronto to visit her. We had a good time just hanging out and we even met up with Will, another Canadian that we both met in Chongqing. I also went to visit my best friend Tyler in Connecticut for a weekend. That was fun! I always love going to visit her because 1 she has the cutest dog ever named Oakley and he loves me and 2 because we don’t get to see each other enough. My mom and I did go to 3 concerts this summer! We went to see the Band Perry who are AMAZING, we saw Randy Houser and Dierks Bentley, and of course to end the summer we saw FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE for my mom’s birthday! They’re amazing and we got the VIP experience so we got to go to a private acoustic concert before the actual concert. And at the concert they did the backstreet boys!! FGL is backstreet’s back.

So that was my summer and what’s been going on since I got back. I promise I’m going to write more from now on. I write this blog for myself to remember all my experiences but also for my friends and family so they can share the experiences with me. Last year I got caught up in school and the gym and going out. I was seeing someone too but it didn’t work out. So this year I want to make more of an effort and write more.

More posts to come

~Alexis

Christmas and New Years

3 months later and I finally write a new post! Here we go:

Since the last time I wrote, it was the holidays… Christmas and New Year’s. Christmas was actually really good. I was expecting it to be eh or so so because I couldn’t go home for the holidays. Christmas Eve I went to mass at 3pm at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Jiefangbei. It was ok, its hard when you don’t really understand anything. Then I went home to start cooking for the potluck dinner at Tom’s (my favorite frenchie) I made a meat pie and chicken wing dip, Jenny made salad and delived eggs, Tom made apple pie and crepes, and Chiara made lasagna. It was all amazing and we drank a bunch of wine. It turned out to be a really good Christmas Eve. On Christmas day I went to Baker Street with some friends for dinner. It was pretty good but a little expensive.

 

New Year’s was also good. Jenny and I decided to have a New Years Eve house party. It was really fun actually! There were something like 25 people in our apartment and we even did a big count down at midnight! Then we all left and went to a bar. New Year’s day was just lounging around hanging out.

 

There you have it, Christmas and New Years turned out really good even though I couldn’t be with my friends and family back home.

I’ll post again soon, I promise! There’s so much to catch up on 🙂

~Alexis

Dazu Rock Carvings

Sunday November 29th, 2015

So that Sunday Audrey, Alexis (Frenchie boy), Eloise, Aurelie, Cedric and myself met in front of where we live around 8:30 (no one was on time besides Audrey and the other Alexis but I was about 7 mins late, Eloise and Aurelie were 15 mins late and Cedric was 20 mins late )and headed off to the metro station. We then got off at Shiqiaopu and walked to the bus station where we got bus tickets to Dazu. We rode the bus at 10:20 for about an hour and a half and then we were in Dazu city. To get to the rock carvings you have to take another bus or a taxi so we ended up taking a taxi and it was pretty cheap since there were 6 of us. We got to the Dazu rock carvings and the taxi driver told us that there was also Beishan where there were rock carvings as well so we should get the discounted ticket for both. We did and paid 170rmb for the double entrance. So we went into the park and saw the rock carvings. They were really cool and there were people there but it wasn’t that crowded. So after we finished at Dazu we took the same driver to Beishan and then back to the bus station. Then it was time to go home. It was about 2 hours on the way back because we ran into traffic.

One of the frenchies made this pretty awesome video that is below and I got pictures to upload so I hope you enjoy!

Until next time,

~Alexis

Rainna’s Wedding

Sunday November 22nd, 2015:

I was invited to one of my students (from last year in Chongqing) wedding almost a month ago. I got a message on Wechat about a week before and I was very excited. One because Rainna is such a nice person and I knew I would see Catherine, another student, and two of my coworkers Grace and Jin. I asked about what I should wear and how much I should give in the red envelope. I was told I wasn’t to dress up too much because I couldn’t upstage the bride and that about 200-300 rmb was the normal amount to give for our relationship. You see everything in China is about the relationship you have with the other person. So I went out and bought a dress at Forever 21 because I didn’t have one for a wedding or a more formal occasion. I just got a simple cream colored dress that looked kinda lacy.

Catherine and I met and took a bus to the reception hall that doubled as the ceremony space. We got there really early and of course we had to walk and I wore a pair of Jenny’s shoes that were dressy but were a little big. I ended up getting a pretty big blister from them but whatcha gonna do.

Catherine and I found ourselves a table close to the ceremony space and waited for the others. We got to see Rainna before the wedding for pictures and she was stunning, such a beautiful bride! I saw Moody, another one of my students who was the Maid of Honor. Then Grace and her son came, he was sooo cute! And then Jin and her new husband came so that was cool. The ceremony took place and it was really pretty, I didn’t understand because it was in Chinese but still it was nice. It was very quick which is sad because it was done and over with in about 10 mins. Then the food started coming out and it was all pretty weird. I didn’t eat much besides the duck which was amazing!

So overall it was a good time! I’m really glad I got to be apart of it and share her special day! For her honeymoon she went to the Maldives!

And for you’re viewing pleasure I finally got pictures to upload!!!

~Alexis

Churches in Chongqing

I have been doing a lot of research trying to find out the time of mass at St. Josephs Church in Jiefangbei but it has been extremely difficult to find any information other than it’s physical location. (St. Joseph’s Church) I went to St. Jospeh’s last year a few times and I went for Easter mass which was really nice. They gave us a boiled egg at communion. I just looked back at my blog for China and I didn’t write anything about…weirdd.  Well the problem is that mass is only at 8am on Sunday’s and it is over an hour away from where I live.  I even went to the church last week for the holy day of the Immaculate Conception because I thought there would be mass, but indeed when I got there I found out there was no mass that evening. There were some people praying the rosary and I tried to wait for them to finish so that I could try to ask about mass for Christmas but they did not finish and I wasn’t feeling all that well that day. (I was recovering from a cold) But I did successfully ask the guard in Chinese what time mass was on Sunday and it is at 8am, which
I already knew.

So today I decided to do a little research on the internet to find out mass times because I really want to go for Christmas which is in 9 dayssss! So I found out a few interesting things. There are actually two other churches I never knew about, but they are pretty far away. I know there’s another one in Jiefangbei because I’ve been there but I have no idea how to get there. That should tell you something because I am really good with directions. I went there last year when St. Joseph’s was under construction, but we had a Chinese girl take us down alleyways and twisting and turning into the middle of nowhere in the city center. So the first one isn’t that much farther away from me than St. Joseph’s. It is called St. Teresa’s Church (St. Teresa’s) and it looks very nice. It also isn’t crammed into the city so it looks more like a church from home surrounded by green instead of alleyways and cement.

Then I came across Ci Mu Church (Ci Mu) because when the Prime Minister from France visited Chongqing last month he visited some places with French influence or were created by French people and all three of these churches on are there. Google Maps says that Ci Mu is a Buddhist Temple but that in fact is not true. It looks pretty cool too but Ci Mu is like 2 hours away from my house soo I want to go visit it but it won’t be for mass.

I think I just found the church in Shapingba!! I saw a few posts about it (Shapingba church and SPB Church) and I have been trying to find it for like an hour. The mass is at 7:30 am on Sunday’s and it isn’t terribly far away. Maybe 30 mins by bus or a 11rmb cab ride for about 13 mins. I translated the instagram Korean and Chinese writing and it said the back door of Shapingba park. So I went on the Chinese maps on my phone and Baidu and I found it!!! (Church by the Park and Google maps version)

So if you are looking to go to Catholic Mass these are the churches I have found. If anyone knows of any others or the actual times, let me know! Hope this helps anyone looking to go to church.

Other Links: French Prime Minister VisitChina Catholic

P.S. I’m still uploading pictures… very slowly :/

~Alexis

Taobao Ordering and Food

I just ordered a toaster oven, that is just a small counter top oven, on Taobao (chinese amazon basically) but it is going to be perfect for baking and being able to cook more things. I am still tired of Chinese food. I can’t wait to start making foooood. I’m thinking stuffed peppers, pizza, mac and cheese, and so much more. I already made pizza twice and it was omg good! I went with one of my friends to Ole and we bought bread flour and added baking powder to make it like pizza dough. We bought mozzarella cheese and some type of pepperoni type thing as well as basil tomato sauce. I’ve really been trying to cook so I’ve made beef with cheesy broccoli and mashed potatoes, chicken and broccoli cheesy pasta, pizza and french toast. I haven’t eaten out or had chinese food in like almost a week. Woohoo this is an improvement from eating out every day.

Jenny bought a blender on Taobao and we use it like every day. Seriously smoothies are my new addiction, soooo good! I even found blackberries and strawberries for like $2 a package (not as big as in America but still a good amount) So I put ice, coconut milk, greek yogurt, a banana, a handful of strawberries and blackberries and it is AMAZING!!!! I sometimes add protein powder too because as you know I don’t eat that much meat here so I have to get protein from other sources. So back to smoothies.. there is another smoothie I started making that is ice, coconut milk, greek yogurt, a banana, and peanut butter powder. It’s delicioussss! I brought the peanut butter powder from America and it is perfect for smoothies. It makes two cups so I have it for brunch during the week with my coffee! I just tried a new one that is pineapple, banana, greek yogurt, coconut milk and ice… yummm yumm!

P.S. I’m still working on this picture thing. Ta ta for now

~Alexis