hair cut cut cut.

Today I decided it was time to chop off all of my hair. Well, almost all. I spent some time preparing the exact phrases and images of what I wanted (there can’t be anything worse than not being able to talk to a hairdresser in Chinese..imagine what could happen…)! I arrived at the door, and peeked round the edge. Suddenly 6 or 7 hairdressers popped up and I said excitedly ‘I want haircut’ (in Chinese, of course). They giggled and took me to a bright pink neon table for a consultation. Take note, none of the hairdressers were women. All men. I showed them what I wanted, and they ‘ooohed and ahhhed’ and said NO. Then they pulled out some magazines and tried to persuade me to go for something less radical.

This was the first time in my life that I suddenly decided I wanted my hair chopped very short, and here they were, preventing me. So I gave in and let them do as they pleased. Just before they whisked me off to get my hair washed, I had 2 of the men inspecting my hair, and then one of them said, in English ‘your hair is broken, so broken.’ He looked disgusted. How pleasant.

So usually when you get your hair washed, you lean over a sink, and get all kinds of pains in your neck, right? I would know…I worked in a hair salon for 3years when I was a teenager…So anyway this hair salon was just a tad different. I was led through a glitzy beaded curtain and shown to a bed. A BED. I lay down and instantly felt sleepy. It was ridiculously comfortable. But it didn’t stop there. I was lying there for 45minutes having my hair washed, massaged, washed, massaged. Just when I thought it was time for the cut, I was asked to lie back down and then was given a full-body massage. haha. Seriously. I was like ‘ummm I have to be back at work in 5minutes…’ They blatanly didn’t care.

Yes, I was late for work. But, it was totally worth it. As they were chopping at my ‘broken’ hair I asked them to keep making it shorter. But they stopped. ‘NO,’ they said. ‘You have big nose, and are too tall, you need long hair.’ Wow, charming. One moment they tell me I’m beautiful, then the next they rip my nose’s confidence to shreds. Nose, dear ski-slope nose, I love you. Don’t listen to them.

As he said this, I swear one little white hair popped out of my head. Then I actually saw the hair dresser chop it off. Then I saw him sneakily look at the hair dye…and smirk. So next week, back I go again, to dye my hair. I’m thinking red. Auburn red. And shorter, much shorter.

I think it’s time to start experimenting more. My hair is a good start. What could be next….?

dreamy Macau.

I have always wanted to go to Macau. So finally me and Dan decided to embark on a little bus excursion to this dreamy city. All I’d heard about it was that it is the ‘vegas of the east.’ I’m no gambler, so this had no attraction for me, but I also did some of my own research and found there was an island called Coloane which until the end of the 19th century, was inhabited by PIRATES! Now who doesn’t love pirates? So THAT is why I wanted to go to Macau. Everyone warned us don’t gamble too much now! Pshhh, not even a penny.

So we took the bus to Gongbei in Zhuhai. A smaller, seaside city about 2hours south of Guangzhou. It felt great to see the sea again, and we quickly got through immigrations and made it out of China and safely landed on the other side. Obviously we had no idea where to go so we just decided to start walking. It’s amazing that you can literally walk for 5minutes and be in a different ‘country’ and suddenly be standing under a blue sky again. Now I don’t get that? I mean why does the sky shine blue on Macau side, and if you walk for 5minutes back into China you will not even be able to see rooftops again never mind a blue sky?! Strange.

So we walked and walked and were delighted to be greeted by friendly people EVERYWHERE. I already loved Macau and it had been 5 minutes. The mixture of Portugese with Chinese culture became immediately apparent. No-one stared at us. This was the best part. Suddenly it felt like civilisation again. Bliss. We kept walking and walking and eventually starved, found a Portugese-esque cafe and had lunch. The lady working there spoke no English and no Mandarin. Fuck. So I had no idea what I’d just ordered. Also this was the first restaurant in the history of my China experiences that had NO RICE. They just ran out of rice. Well what d’ya know?! haha.

After lunch we kept walking. We found ourselves walking in the middle of a highway (Mum don’t panic…we quickly turned back). We had actually walked a third of the island already and it was only 1hour into our time there. Wow Macau is small. We found ourselves down at Fisherman’s Wharf. A new, bizarre area of the city. A random volcano was standing there. Fake, obviously. Right next to casino after casino, and right inbetween all of this I found a LUSH! Lush! 2hours from where I am living. Heaven. I would never have noticed, but Dan was like ‘mmm what is that smellllll?’ My nose perked up and exploded in delight. I spent a fair bit of money there, but it was completely worth it.

We decided that we should probably find our way to Coloane, so we took a taxi. I tried to speak Cantonese. What a joke. The driver kind of giggled and replied in English. Siobhan you know you’re not in China anymore when the taxi dudes speak in ENGLISH! Delightful. We drove past casino after casino after casino and got dropped off in the cutest little village I have ever seen (apart from Strathkinness, of course ;). We went straight to the shop and I bought hobnobs :D HOBNOBS! yummmy. We took a wander along the sea bay, and basked in the wonderfulness that is the sea. Perched on a wee wall, next to the sea, munching on a hobnob. Does life get much better? Well yes, it does indeed, as was soon to be discovered….

We started walking up some green, foresty hill, looking for a hostel. Eventually we came to some old steps leading downwards. Being an explorer, of course I took the steps. They led to the beach. Success. A beautiful big deserted beach. Wonderfulness upon wonderfulness. We found a gorgeous hotel, way out of our price range, but it’s OK to treat yourself every so often right? Boy this was a treat. They were such friendly staff, they even upgraded us to the ‘master suite.’ We had a freaking jacuzzi in our bathroom, complete with head rests. I was in heaven. A soft bed, a jacuzzi, a new face-make from Lush, hobnobs in my handbag and a deserted beach with 1 hour until sunset. Perfect time for a swim. Not exactly warm, but it felt sooo good. I couldn’t quite believe that life could get any better than this. It was the complete opposite to my busy working life in the city, and JUST what I needed. And we literally stumbled upon all of it by pure chance. Fate?!

We had the most amazing Italian meal that night, complete with orange and chocolate cake for dessert. Not to mention a bottle of cheap bubbly which we picked up on our late-night mission to find an A.T.M. Of course on this particular mission we got completely lost and went in the wrong direction to some random village with no bank. Ah well at least we found some wine to keep us company. What a fabulous night!

We awoke early the next day and I lazed in bed reading while Dan ran off to the sea. It was about 14degrees at this time. I couldn’t bear the sea. But I decided I could handle the swimming pool, so tried to act all cool and do some laps. Managed 4 before I almost passed out. Jumped in the jacuzzi one last time( I could get way too used to this), before checking out of our wonderland and heading back to the main village for a yummy brunch of hummus, pita bread, delicious salad, home-made lemonade and a chocolate croissant for take-away.

Arrived back at the border and went to stock up on chocolate before heading back to China. This is when I found STRAWBERRY RIBENA. That’s all I have to say. Needless to say, I went back home a very happy person.

food festival= free wine and cupcakes.yum.

Last Sunday my friend Emma and I decided to venture to jiang nan xi in search of this big international Asian food festival. We expected hundreds of booths with food from all over Asia, but that’s not quite how it was. I mean there were a fair few booths, but just Chinese food. Although there was one awesome booth that was being run by the coolest dudes ever. They were jamming to Turkish music and selling kebabs. We had a little dance with them before buying a few kebabs. Delicious. Made me sick for 4days. Worth it? Hmm. haha. But we also got to sample at least a litre of free wine, which believe me, went down like juice. Amazing. Of course you sample the wine and then they expect you to buy a bottle worth £30. Nooo chance. But thanks for the free taster ;)

I also got to eat a chocolate cupcake!!!! My first choco cupcake since arriving in China. It was pretty damn good. Then we hung out with the 5 Guangzhou rams. Little Chinese guys dressed in ram costumes. Funny. It was a really pretty area of the city. Down by the river, with twinkly lights and big warehouses filled with random wine stores and a cinema. I love going to new areas of Guangzhou. The longer I stay in this city, the more I discover really cool places.

After we had milked the free wine for as much as we possibly could, we headed back to the centre of jiang nan xi and took a stroll around the cool alleyways, hidden gems filled with board-game cafes, sweetie shops and cool bars and clothes stores. A wicked cool area! Ah delightful. A night of cupcakes, FREE wine, great company, jelly sweets and random explorations. Yummy.

why are you pushing me into the road?

Strange and scary things happen to me on a daily basis here in China, but I never expected to be pushed into the middle of a busy road. Just last week I was casually strolling to work, listening to my ipod, in a world of my own, when all of a sudden I felt a big hand touch my back. I thought ‘oh it must be Joe’ (friend from work). It wasn’t Joe. It was some big Chinese man dressed all in brown. I was too busy listening to my music to take much notice of him at first. But then he started running alongside me and tapping me on the shoulder repeatedly. Annoying. I took my earphones off and was like ‘ah what?!’ He just kept following me and looking at my bag, obviously he wanted money, but he was so scary and started to get quite violent. I honestly thought he was going to punch me and so I started running. Take note- almost no-one around seemed to care. They just continued with their daily tasks. One lady was like ‘NO don’t stop.’ I was panicking now, because it is very difficult to cross this road. He pushed me into the oncoming traffic, and so fearing for my life, actually fearing being attacked by him, more than by being squashed by a motorbike, I ran. Straight across the road, shaking, tears starting to run down my face. He kept watching me as I ran all the way to work. I told my boss and she immediately called the police. OK bit of a dramatic way to deal with it, but he was scary. And I would like to be able to listen to my ipod without being harassed by men like him.

I’ve never actually come across a beggar in China before. This is the first time, and it wasn’t exactly successful on his behalf. He really needs to take a leaf out of my communication skills class and learn how to maintain personal space. I’ll put him inside a pink glittery hoola-hoop and show him where to stand. Gosh I hate people getting right up in my face. Especially creepy men.

p.s the police never found him. But there is occasionally a policeman on watch at the road now. Some success.

you need to grow up! Ummm do I?!

In my communication skills class we do a show and tell section. Each of the kids is supposed to stand up and show us one of their favourite toys and talk about it. Today I demonstrated by drawing Beany Boy. Those of you who know me will be well acquainted with old Beany Boy. So I proceded to draw him and started telling the kids ‘this is my teddy bear. I love him.’ One girl, aged 6, jumped up in protest:

Kid: (in Chinese) Teacher you have a teddy bear?!

Me: Hells yeaah I do!

Kid: (to the other kids) She is 23 and still sleeps with her teddy bear, someone tell her to grow up!

Me: Amanda (assistant teacher) what is she saaaaying?

Amanda: GROW UP! hahahaha!

Me: NO!

Kid: YOU…ARE…23! You can’t play with toys anymore. Stop acting like a kid.

Me: NO! (extremely sad face) I love him! He is 23 too! How dare you! I’m not playing anymore.

Kids: HAHAHAHAHAHA. Teacher is a baby! GROW UP!

But seriously how dare this kid say that? Beany Boy is my most cherished belonging. I mean come on, everyone has a teddy bear they love right…?Right?!!

I might as well mention that in this same class one kid vomited right by my feet. OK so I made them jump around for about 10minutes beforehand, but then she just sat, vomited on the floor, and looked up and smiled. Ewwww. Then her brother put one of my favourite puppets into his mouth! The whole thing! Poor Grandpa puppet. I will seriously never touch him again.

Just another day in the life of me.

star-shaped rice.

Star-shaped rice. What a delight. Just last week I was struggling to get through my usual 12hr teaching day, when I received a little message from a friend. ‘Star rice is back!!’ YES!

It takes a while to get used to eating rice everyday (give me potatoes any day of the week). But when you stumble across the cutest restaurant in the world, complete with books shelves filled with old books, low ceilings that you bump your head off every single time, RIBENA!!!!, ONLY vegetarian delicious food-complete with cucumber and broccoli…yum!!, what more could you really ask for?!
STAR-SHAPED RICE. That’s what! It makes rice taste so delicious, even by itself. So I was pretty darn happy to be back in that place. I skipped up the stairs, bumped my head along the way (lovely nostalgic ache) and sat at my favourite table by the window overlooking the lovely trees on my old campus. It felt like home. It was delicious. They even threw in some spring rolls for free!!

When it closed down last year I was devastated. Pretty much resorted to sitting in my dorm, only eating star-fruit and cookies and refusing to ever eat rice again, unless it was star-shaped. How could they just close down? What about my lunch? Why would they want to take away the most beautiful rice creation? I never got over it. If it ever closes again I will cry even more than I did last year. And let me tell you, that will be one pretty big puddle!

i love Blythe.

I never thought about it when I chose these pictures, but all the Blythe dolls have RED hair. Is this something my hair-subconscious is yearning for? Is it time to dye my hair red….?
Also, without being aware, I chose 4 pictures and managed to put them in the correct order to symbolise the 4 seasons, all without even thinking?! I love Blythe.

strange man why are you in my house?

Ummm OK so in my head I usually conjure up stupid thoughts like ‘imagine if I am sitting on the toilet with the door wide open and some strange man enters my house to frighten me?!’. Well Siobhan, that just happened. Minus the toilet part. But only just. So always close the bathroom door. AND ALWAYS LOCK YOUR FRONT DOOR YOU STUPID FOOL!

Here I am, chilling on the sofa, listening to CSS, chatting to Dan on skype. I hear the door opening and I think oh that’s a bit strange because I’m talking to Dan on skype, so how can he be coming through our door at the same time?!

Yes Siobhan. A random man is entering your house. No knock. No rat-a-tat-tat. Just sneakily opens the door, peaking his head around the corner. By this point my heart is about to explode out of my chest and somehow I manage to squeak a little ‘hello?!!!’ He says ‘ohh hello’ back and then closes the door as slowly as a freaking snail. Ummm get the hell out of my house!!

I’m surprised I can write this right now, as it literally happened 2minutes ago. I just ran to the door in my panic attack state and managed to lock the door and turn ALL the lights on.

It’s bizarre because it was the exact same man from my nightmare last week.

Firstly let me tell you another story. I was riding the metro at around 9pm one night last week and enjoying a Murakami story when I felt a hot breath on the back of my neck. I turned around only to come face to face with a drunken old man. Delightful. Just what I want after 12hours of teaching. The more I moved away from him, the more fun he had moving closer to me. As we zoomed into my stop, I ran to the door, and of course he followed, brushed up against my back and proceeded to literally chase me up the stairs. OK so maybe he was just in a rush, but being my drama-queen self, I fully believed he was chasing me, so I ran up the stairs 4 at a time, screaming, heart pounding, head constantly turned back watching him get closer and closer. He knew I thought he was chasing me, so he speeded up and ran straight past me laughing. Urghh.

So, only naturally, having a mind like mine, I had a nightmare about him that very evening. Of course in this so-called nightmare he turned into a dwarf and sneaked into my house with a knife to kill me. I offered him Y200 and made him promise not to kill me. Then I woke up.

And here I am today, trying to relax, and he comes straight through my freaking front door to haunt me once again. What’s a girl got to do to get some peace in this city/ in my mind?!

Oh my life. It never fails to amuse. Definitely time to finish this wine and get into bed, locking every single door/window/balcony behind me. Heart please calm down now. He is NOT coming back.