crazy town.

I live in a crazy town. I find myself walking along the road giggling like a maniac and actually saying out loud ‘oh my gosh haha.’ For example, I was strolling to the metro early this morning when a jogger ran by. Totally normal right? Not this one. Firstly, he was around the age of 105. I kid you not. Secondly, he was the skinniest, boniest man I have ever encountered (why is he jogging?!). Thirdly, and I am being entirely serious…he was…NAKED! As if I was just walking along, staring at the river, when jog jog jog, a naked man runs by. He not only ran by me naked, he also greeted me. In English. This never happens. He said ‘Oh hello there, how do you dooo?’ He also had the funniest jog I have ever seen. He wiggled his bum and moved his arms back and forth in the same rhythm. I think I love this man. What a legend. I hope he jogs daily. OK, so I exaggerated a teeny weeny bit. He had on black see-through boxers. But as he was so skinny, they hung off of him, showing well…everything. No-one else seemed fazed though. It definitely brightened up the beginning of my day.

The end of my day was just as bright. I got a lift to the bus station in a GOLF BUGGY. Might not seem so strange to you, but remember I don’t work on a golf course. I work in busy, hectic China. The father of one of my kids (haha not MY kid, but my student) offered me a lift and I was so excited. As if I were whizzing along the Chinese roads in the back of a golf buggy!

What a day! And now four days off!! Double happiness! Happy National Day China.

it’s the little things in life….

Stepping onto the metro I think here we go agaaain. However, this metro journey was..can I say it..FUN! This hilarious old lady was talking at the top of her voice and everyone was laughing and exchanging funny looks. For the first time I saw a man..a ‘gentle’man give up his seat to a pregnant lady. Lovely. I doodled in my new notepad (another thing I love…stationery, especially stationery in China. It is soo cheap and cute) and the man next to me peeked over my shoulder at my little ‘journey’ drawing.

Stepping off the metro, I saw the t.v tower was flashing. Not its usual colours, but all the colours of the rainbow, simultaneously. It was like walking along a sparkling, flashing rainbow road. Nothing could surely make my late night stroll home better, except it did! Climbing up the steps to my complex, I was greeted by a happy AWAKE security guard, and I swear he was singing!! Then I passed by the sleepy kitties, and to my excitement I saw a grandfather teaching his little granddaughter how to dance! yi, er, san, si, wu, liu, qi, ba. They were twirling like fairies, and I stepped into the lift with a feeling of lightness.

a magical snowbird.

Beneath this snowy mantle cold and clean

The unborn grass lies waiting for its coat to turn to green

The snowbird sings the song he always sings

And speaks to me of flowers that will bloom again in spring

When I was young my heart was young then, too

Anything that it would tell me, that’s the thing that I would do

But now I feel such emptiness within

For the thing that I want most in life’s the thing that I can’t win

Spread your tiny wings and fly away

And take the snow back with you

Where it came from on that day

The one I love forever is untrue

And if I could you know that I would

Fly away with you

The breeze along the river seems to say

That he’ll only break my heart again should I decide to stay

So, little snowbird, take me with you when you go

To that land of gentle breezes where the peaceful waters flow

Yeah, if I could I know that I would fl-y-y-y-y away with you….

*To the most wonderful lady*

twinkle twinkle little star.

‘Twinkle twinkle little star…’ I find myself singing this song at least 20times a day. It’s my job. I journey to starry safaris, secret islands, toy kingdoms, to name but a few of my many daily adventures. I also get to hang out with Mulan and fight in toy wars. Toy swords are my best friend here at work. Sometimes I even get to do crazy things like make ‘yucky soup’ made from underpants and even, butterflies. It’s a hard life, what can I say…Did I mention I get paid for all of this? Yay me!

I’m becoming quite the science geek. I’ve grown my own bean plants, made boats out of blue playdough (I don’t recommend this. After submerging the boats in water to see if they would float or sink (they floated…yay) my hands, along with the kids hands, were stained blue for around 2days). I’ve even gone fishing for magnets. Science is cool.

What I love about having a job like this is that I actually get to be a kid forever…FOREVER. This makes me extremely happy. I even tell the kids I’m 5 years old. They don’t buy it. One kid told me today that I am 53years old. I didn’t pass her the ball after that. Probably won’t ever again. Just kidding.

Even if you don’t have a creative job like me (lucky me), I recommend indulging in some activities that allow your imagination to go wild. Find something that inspires you, or just do something you love that you haven’t done for a long time. Try writing a blog! I can’t even sleep at night now, I have so many ideas for blog posts.

Here I am again, getting carried away…I have to go now and decorate some words for my phonics class. It’s a pity, I’ll probably get covered in glitter and paint…YAY!

Matchstick Man Monday.

I like Mondays. I like that I see the same people in the same place at the same time. It fits into my little routine. The same sleepy security guard snoozing on his desk (clearly not ensuring our complex is a secure place…). The same topless men standing on the corner gossiping. The same businessmen rushing to work like little matching matchstick men. The lazy foreigner who always lights up his cigarette as soon as he gets off the metro, wearing the same big, white earphones…with the same expression…’Why am I awake at this frightful hour?’ The same men working as guards at the hospital door, who I quickly try to sneak by everytime (I use a free hospital shuttle to get to work…soon I think they might figure out that I am not ill every single day). The same fruit men lying on their wooden carts, tummies facing the sun, catching some early morning rays of polluted sun. The same men leaving the ‘foot massage’ parlour that sits 3 floors below the ‘KIDS’ school that I work in. ha. Sleaze bags. Love sharing the lift with them at lunchtime…! Then there is the same old, American guy who goes to the same restaurant I go to every… The food is delicious OK! Don’t judge me! I am spontaneous sometimes…I just really love the eggplant rice dish at this place. The waitresses know me now, and are so sweet to me. There are also some really lovely Chinese poems framed along each of the tables…I can’t actually understand them…I’m working on that…but they look pretty. I also really like the tea. It makes me feel good for the rest of the afternoon. So anyway, this American guy always has a big bottle of beer and sits and reads his book. He looks very content. I like seeing him there on mondays. And so my day goes on….the evenings are a little less matchstick man, a little more frazzled…’…home…I don’t care who you are and where you are going.’

Tuesday is another story. I can never quite tell what Tuesday holds in store for me. I shall find out tomorrow and let you know if anything curious creeps along.

Haruki Murakami…my Japanese love affair.

It began 4 years ago, and we’ve been going strong ever since. It was love at first sight. I saw the words, he saw the awe in my eyes, and thus it sparkled. It all started when we Dance Dance Dance(d) together. A truly heart-stopping moment. It was a journey of twirls and loops and complicated twists, but we did it, and we loved every moment. This first dance took us on a journey to Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. This was a dark place. A mirrored passageway of non-sensical abundance. I was glad to get out. We fought along the way. The fights lasted for at least 6months. We just couldn’t sort ourselves out. We both saw other people (books). Eventually I decided to give him a second chance. It wasn’t the same. It was somewhat sour, I didn’t want to see him again. He was beginning to show two sides. How many more sides could there be? Well, I soon found out….

(To be continued by a Kafka on the Shore)

A garden of surprises.

We chose our apartment because of the swimming pool. Quite simply…we saw the pool…and were like “GIVE US AN APARTMENT IN THIS COMPLEX…ANY APARTMENT. ” And so here we are….and well….we have no swimming pool. I mean it’s there..outside..but there is no water. ‘Apparently’ summer in Guangzhou is over..Clearly the sweat dripping from my bright red face is just in my imagination then…and thus our pool is empty. EMPTY. Leaves, splashes of rain water, a few insects..but no water for swimming in. sob sob. Even the pretty fountains at the entrance have been switched off.

I refused to believe that our beautiful garden had nothing else to offer so I went on a little exploration to discover it’s delights…and it has many. Wee baby kittens laze around on the exact same steps everytime I enter and leave the complex. They are very playful and I could have sworn that I saw them eating rice for dinner last week. (It wouldn’t surprise me). They always squeal ‘miaowww’ which sounds like ‘ni hao’ which is Chinese for hello. They are very cute. (I have just confirmed they DO eat rice…out of wee plastic bags…so sweet).

There is also the baby panda. I wish he were a real panda, but alas it is just a little ornament overlooking the play area. He is obviously in charge of the play area, and ensures all the kiddies keep out of mischief.

Then there are the frogs. There are many frogs. They keep watch on every corner and ensure that the complex is very secure. When I come home their eyes pop out in anticipation of this outsider…Then they see me smile and skip by and their eyes glide back in, back to their position of ease. Friendly little fellows, if a little feisty at times.

Now, where to start with the elephants. Yes, there ARE elephants in China. I believe we have 3 in our complex. One mummy and two babies. The poor baby by the pool…her trunk is used as a water slide. I bet she is the only happy one now that so-called ‘autumn’ is in the air. The other 2 ellies chill out in the play area with the kids. They seem shy, and hide behind the leaves from the big trees.

Now the magic green and red toadstools…well that’s another story, a rather razzalicious tale indeed….pictures shall be posted of my garden friends as soon as they decide to sit still and stop making faces at me….

Mowgli and the bus crash.

‘Ohhh I recognise this road…I think I bought ice cream in that shop…Oh wow look that’s my University! That’s Jinan! Dan! Loooook!’ I couldn’t believe this was my first night back in China and I was driving towards the gate of the place I lived in for 5months. Coincedence?

CRASHHHH! Welcome back Siobhan ;)

The bus actually crashed into a car right outside my old university gate. I refuse to believe that this was nothing other than fate. I was just telling Dan how excited I was to show him Jinan, I just didn’t expect it to be the FIRST thing he saw in China. Of course, we got off the bus…took a few snaps. My life is beginning to feel like a framed narrative.

As you do on bus journeys, we chatted, looked out at the passing rice fields, high rise after high rise, and then BOOM! a naked man on the side of the motorway using a bucket in a tree to shower with. Daniel, welcome to China. The man just didn’t care. He looked exactly like Mowgli from The Jungle Book, with the added feature of being Chinese. It totally broke the ice and just said it all really. You cannot imagine the things we see on a daily basis here in China.

free doughnuts and honky konky

A smooth journey is rare in my life. There is usually at least one small glitch. This journey was no different. For the first time in my flying history, I was experiencing a flight similar to a bus ride. We were due to drop a few people off in Thailand, pick a few people up, and then speed on to Hong Kong. However, that was not to be…the plane decided to run out of water, so we all had to get off the plane and hang out in the airport. I opted to spend my free food voucher on a chocolate coated doughnut. Good choice.

On arriving in Hong Kong I was greeted by two old acquaintances….chopsticks and jiaozi. It was good to be back! I had a wonderful evening catching up with friends and being back in the glitter city. The next day I was enlightened. My guardian Angel and I crossed the warm honky ocean to a nearby mountain range. We were encased in a glass sphere, flying across to visit the Big Buddha. He was big. Very big. Majestic and marvellous on the top of his mountain. We ran up the 100 steps to meet him, and frolicked around the various mini buddhas before stopping for the classic Big Buddha snap. Incense filled the air and in the process lightened our heads and almost blew us down the steps into the temple. For the first time I actually prayed to Buddha. Indeed he gave me what I asked for. Thanking you Mr Big Buddha.

Thursday and thunderstorm. Nothing would stop me from making my way to the airport. I was finally doing the picking up. But it didn’t quite work out. After one hour of waiting, I decided to double-check the arrival gate…Barging past the hundreds of Honky’s, me and my trolley almost collided with the one other trolley and boy we were looking for. After a minor collision of trolleys and hearts, we made our way to the bus ticket stance. Time to whip out those ol’ chinese skills…China I’m coming back!