As our first school year in China is quickly coming to a close, it's time to announce ... we've signed on for a second year! To be real, it's a bittersweet moment for me. I think I've been fairly honest, if not somewhat limited in the details of my thoughts on life here so far, but I think it's time I broke it down for you. Let's make a list!
Things I love:
- It's a completely different culture from any I've known before and it forces me to rethink my own biases every single day.
- I get to travel to really amazing places, a lot.
- I get to work with really amazing students. These dudes and dudettes are some of the brightest people I've ever met, it's almost scary. They are going to take over the world one day and they'll probably rock it.
- It's warm 10 months of the year. The other 2 months it's about 15 degrees Celsius - it makes it hard to complain about the cold days when talking to family and friends back home who are sitting under feet of snow.
- These cookies.
Things I don't love:
- The food. I'm in love with food in general, but in China access to safely fresh food is a very, very big issue. I haven't eaten an apple in 10 months and I stopped eating meat not long after arriving. Local cuisine is far too greasy for my tastes (and tummy), and I just want to be able to make a leafy salad, but can't. Also, I don't want to travel 20 minutes by bus in order to buy cheese. I just don't.
- Public habits. Loud "hoarking" in the streets is a sound I will never get used to. I will also not get used to, or be okay with, your child defecating in the streets - the public health issues alone are never ending. In general people speak too loudly and stand too close. I sound like an old man, I know, but I find it unnerving. (disclaimer: some of this is cultural, I'm not meaning to offend, I just don't love it and that's okay too)
- It rains. A lot. It causes flooding in the streets and all of the above mentioned public habits are now in movement.
- The atmosphere is damp. The environment is tropical. I get that, I just don't love it. It means I can't have bangs and my big hair get's bigger.
- My kitchen for making these cookies. The oven is shared, there are always strangers asking for samples and I don't know how to say "no sorry, these are for a friend who's birthday in Hong Kong just got cancelled".
Little things like Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Cookies. Chocolate wrapped in chocolate. Crispy outside, soft and chewy inside with a melty core of Nutella. Rich and slightly intense these would be perfect paired with a big glass of fresh milk, or even with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream.
Click through for the recipe!