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Hangzhou Expat


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About Nunyo

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  1. In the past, the gov failed to actually do anything to the personal user. So, I'll keep my fingers crossed. Generally, when they have responded publicly, they've maintained face. Usually, they use very shifty language to let you know something is a'coming and this time the language was mostly targeted towards businesses and very specific (until the end) towards the personal user. The end of the statement does get alarmingly vague, but that's based on my skill to translate government speak. Which, really, amounts to nothing so... Was anyone here when Google 'wasn't blocked' - which meant it was unblocked, for like, 12 seconds a day? We used to play games to see if anyone could screen shot their log in. As for the inefficiency, from what I understand it's more efficient to setup this ban than employ millions of people to comb individually through ISPs. It's not very hard to block encrypted data (which is the only way I know of to get around censorship and is utilised by all the very niceies and Tor) - which actually would fall in line with the government's stance on a Sovereign Internet. So I guess I'm saying, 'bye, NASA. I loved you, I'll see you again in the USA. But, I wonder what will happen to Hong Kong and Taiwan? It still cracks me up that Hong Kong is periodically blocked from mainland websites.
  2. Phew. I was hoping your response was a peaceful "it was time" rather than the hell fury and fire most leave China with. Was the culture shock brutal? I'm kind of worried about that. Each time I visit, I feel America has become less like home.
  3. I've got good news and ambiguous news. The good news: if you can read Chinese, this (http://www.thepaper.cn/newsDetail_forward_1730060) is the government saying all the stuff the foreign media is saying about shutting down those V** being nonsense (ish). The ambiguous news: I remember when China didn't block Google. Firstly, 淘宝! Shanghai stuff gets here within the day, so you can buy from fresh grocery stores. I regularly have to buy random western goodies for my friends and have resorted to just purchasing fresh baked goods and pretending I did in fact cook like a 5 star German chef. (No shame.) But, if you want to wander, do you know where BLT (Better Living Today) is (on Fengtan/丰潭路)? Or Metro Mart (one north of the Gongshu district and one east of West Lake, near the river)? Or Sam's Club (west of the wetlands)? I've regularly seen McCormick ground cinnamon as well as cinnamon sticks (an unfamiliar brand, I suspect south Asian in origin). I even sometimes find cinnamon at random CenturyMarts. And I bought some maple syrup last month from BLT, a Canadian brand if that helps.
  4. I'm under the impression you're no longer in China, so if my question is irrelevant, sorry. But, why did you leave?
  5. You must be from a hardier stock, if you haven't broken into China yet . To be fair, I knew what I was getting into by coming to China. (Excellent intercultural communication teacher who'd had a hell of a time dealing with culture shock in China) and my childhood was far more similar to the poor here than it was to most people back in America (super poor Russian immigrant grandparents in a neighborhood of super poor immigrants and migrant workers) so I only had to get used to the honking and shocking disregard for public hygiene. fionnfionn, do you get a chance to travel with Chinese people? I find that really restorative (unless it's the Famous Pictures Blitzkrieg style of travel, that's never fun) and gives me a nice chunk of 'this can be my space too' (especially when you're dealing with entire families).
  6. I'm American and I know how hard it is to break into our clique . But, woman, you just spoke my soul with "they do not understand what I say in general it's fine as long as they understand what I ask for at the restaurant." I think the only time I'm offended is when my Chinese isn't understood is in restaurants. If I'm asked what I'm paid, I answer "I make more than men do" (wo zhengde bi nanren duo) which shuts s*** down fast - like the whole line of questioning. But, I suspect this only works for women.
  7. Nunyo

    Maya in Hangzhou

    Welcome! To add to fionnfionn and sainthood's comments, the swimming pools are often only waist deep. I had to ask for a diving pool to find one that was suitable for swimming (the membership was exorbitant and I wound up getting a refund because they kept the pool piss warm). During the day time (like lunch or late morning), the pools are often empty and they usually haven't turned on the heaters, so it's more pleasant to swim then. Most people start their workout routines after work, so evening swimming is a nightmare of doggy paddlers in sauna temperatures (water and air). This is my experience in an outdoor gym pool, an indoor-underground gym pool, and an indoor-not-basement pool. And this is my experience in the city centre (West Lake). As for swimming holes, if you go up the mountains, there's often rather pristine looking (you can see *everything* in them) ponds that have no factories upwind (upwater?) of them. I've seen my friends dive in without issue, despite their general fear of being poisoned by water overall. But, I'm not very familiar with the Linping area. FYI - China is big. Linping is about an hour away from West Lake if there's no traffic and if you're in a car (~60 RMB for a regular taxi). Otherwise, if you plan to use public transport, you're about 2 hours away from West Lake. Good news, dealing with public transport gives you thousands of opportunities to practice Chinese, especially if you don't listen to music (or otherwise try to shut out the world). I've met a lot of friends just by being lost on buses/metro and asking for help. As a young female, I think you're going to make tons of friends and have lots of opportunities to experience an awesome (and sometimes annoying) China. My best advice: once the novelty of being treated like a superstar wears off and you find yourself annoyed by the constant staring or gaping: just smile. If you smile at them, they often smile back. If they don't, cross your eyes and they won't look at you again. And, if you get stuck in a convo you really want to get out of, it's totally okay to walk away without saying anything. Or, just say "ping guo" (apple) to every question they ask. They'll think you're insane and leave you alone. (Don't bother with "ting bu dong" - which means you can't understand. They just say 'oh, ting bu dong?' then continue talking anyway.)
  8. The Confession Corner sounds inviting. And thanks for the interest. What makes China better than the US? You kinda nailed it. I hated the parent involvement (our grade-books were online so parents could see the grades as soon as we hit 'enter' -_-). To be fair, some of my interactions with parents were nothing but positive and amazing. The kids were either very dumb, very dangerous, forgettably average, or cases of heartbreak. It was hard to be in a culture where no one likes each other (students and teachers are not friends; we're friendly, but not friends. I now realise I have a China-heart when it comes to kids - everyone's kid is my kid and I love all my kids!!!) Discipline. Man, my American kids didn't have it which made them far more entertaining, hilarious, adventurous, and surprising than my current kids. However, I do miss my classroom. In my second US school, I had a fantastically huge and very 70s-feeling log-cabin-lookin' classroom that had a fish pond between my room and my neighbor teacher's room. I even had a proper supply closet furnished with safe, modern lab tools. Oh, and working safety measures. I miss that. Granted, it was fun showing my Chinese students how to evaluate a lab for safety and finding a glass jar filled with a black and white substance that was, obviously, alive and growing in a dark, dank corner under the "safety" box. It was also hilarious when my Chinese student pointed at a beaker and it shattered like a bomb went off. China wins for the hours - though. Even if I was forced to remain in my office for office hours (hahaha! Just try!), I wouldn't come near my hours in the US. In the US, I was at school at 05:30 to 17:00. Isn't that illegal? No. It was "optional" mandatory. Here? I roll in between 07:30 - 09:30 (depending on the day and justified by the fact that I don't take naps) and leave around 15:00 - 17:00. It's great. The pay here is, literally, the same as what I made in the States. Granted, I can save 60% - 90% of my income here. Here, I really enjoy working with my colleagues - namely the Chinese colleagues. It sucks when money gets thrown into the equation, but when it's not there, it's really awesome engaging in a whole 'nother way to work with people and kids. They've taught me to "think twice" before I speak an unpopular opinion; and, I've taught them, "A lack of planning on your part doesn't constitute an emergency on mine" and also "shut the *($)*@&*($#& door". I've also gotten rid of that pesky idea of personal space, thanks to the teachers and students at my school. I teach science at a private high school out in the west side, and have been working there as long as I have lived here: nearly 6 years. I first came to China to monkey dance at a language school for 3000+ kids a day for 6 months. Then, I got a job at a high school. The job was fraudulent as all hell, but the kids were amazing. I keep in touch with all of them now and make a point to visit them every few years. In fact, nearly every country I've been to was either at the invitation of student/family or was because I travelled with a student's family. (Most fun? The family invited me to HK, when I thought we were flying back to China, we wound up in Thailand and it was, basically, the coolest surprise ever after the most terrifying 5 hours of my life - because, "surprise, you're in Thailand" in Chinese translates to "Welcome, sex slave." in terrified woman speak.) So, yeah, 10 000+ words later, I really love teaching in China ^_^ How about you, drown? What keeps you glued to Hangzhou?
  9. So, anyway, thank you san5324 and Hungry_Hippo for your advice. To clarify: we sought help from "English speaking" lawyers in Hangzhou. Most of the English speaking lawyers who specialise in personal claims/injuries (as stated on their contact info) are actually corporate lawyers (who target individuals). Many of the "English speaking" lawyers hire a translator to translate for them = $$$. The few that did try to speak English were straight fraudulent in their ability. One guy probably did answer my question, but who knows? It was so ambiguous and run around-y (he was laying foundation for taking the case). The others required a consultation fee of 500RMB+ to provide advice about *avoiding* legal matters. (The price might be less if you speak Chinese.) I did get into contact with a legal aid in Shanghai and she boiled it down to: he's f***ed. Essentially, yes, you are liable for paying any of the itemised bills attached to the affidavit (duh) - don't sign it!! Those are the immediate injuries. But, the claimant can continue to claim, basically, any expense s/he wants after the fact. It's your "choice" to pay it. If you choose not to pay it, then it becomes a court-thing. And, just for an interesting number: 100,000 - 300,000RMB FOR A CHIPPED TOOTH! So, my friend is effed in the bee. He signed the affidavit agreeing that he was the person to cause the accident. Then, he paid her. So, he accepted liability. Unfortunately, he was told directly by our Chinese staff (which I only mention to say we had faith they understood the law; in hindsight, obvs if you asked me about legal matters in the US, I could only give an opinion also) to "just sign it so he can leave". Sorry to anyone else who came here hoping to find meaningful advice. Generally, in China, you can just get f***ed if you have a problem without guanxi. A weird P.S. to anyone who's looking at this for advice: if you ask the police to pull the CCTV footage of the accident after you sign the affidavit, they don't have to. No, it's not because they want you to pay out the nose, it's because you basically just said, "I did it." and you're just being annoying and they have better things to do like hold mugs of tea and stare at stuff. Another weird P.S.: if you lose your sh***y MP3 player, the police can track you from your exit at Pudong Airport to Hangzhou, then track the taxi driver all the way back to his depot in Shanghai on CCTV. (And if you're thinking, "Whoa! Baller alert!" it's only because, sometimes, the cost of a hotel is equivalent to the price of taxi trip from SH to HZ). But again, thank you san5324 and Hungry_Hippo for offering relevant advice and commentary. Cheers!
  10. 'sup? You can call me Nunyo. I'm a female who lives here in Hangzhou, I come from Seattle. I teach, I love it. Sometimes I miss teaching in the US, but then I remember: oh, yeah, I hated it. Uhm. Uhm. To be honest, I came here to ask a question. Then I got stuck reading posts. So, not sure if I'll lurk or contribute. Let's see, what else is polite to let people know about one's self? I'm lazy and proud of it. I'm pretty sure the reason I haven't returned to America is because the food here is addictive. The thought of going without 麻辣烫还是火锅 makes me want to die. Same with 拉面。Well, really, all of it. I love nearly all Chinese food. Except anything that Guangdong people like. They have terrible taste in food. Oh and fish. I hate fish - except when it's delicious. (I just waimai'd some 麻辣烫 to get me through this paragraph.) So, now you know who I am: a teacher in this city who eats food. You're welcome. I mean, thank you! ...right?
  11. ...I mean, I know T2 (best. sequel. ever.), but I don't get the reference, so now I'm disappointed in me. Yes, this is a strange first post for you to read, but not for me to make. Yes, FOREIGNER is brand new and actin' like it, but, what can he do now? Our opinions of his poor decision (or laughable morals in this society) won't undo the fact that now a woman is harassing him for twice his income. He's a great colleague and I would hate to see him leave just because no one can tell him what his rights are. With that said, please, offer advice. Not opinions. We all know he did the wrong thing. But is there any remedy? Can he stop this extortion?
  12. Yes! YES! YESSS! Everyone has already stated the negative effects of living in a too-crowded space that I feel. On the other hand, my friends and family think I've become nicer, more patient, more willing to share. Their favorite aspect of The China Change is that I actually leave when I say I will. (In the US, I had 100+ pairs of shoes that often slowed my exit. In China, I have 5 pairs; and, really only 1 pair can take the wobbly sidewalks, the sludge spit-up, and the generally yuckiness of public places). What I've noticed that has improved me for myself is: The germophobe in me died after I saw the kitchen of my favorite cheap restaurant and ultimately decided: Food is good. Food is kind. Food is important. Better diet. I eat more vegetables now (US veggies really are that gross, I guess) and I eat more meat now (vegan until 13, poultry until 23, poultry + beef until 25, then China.) Better health. Seriously. The first year destroyed me (living between a coal processing factory and a nuclear power plant -_-). The second year, I had to dramatically change my lifestyle in order to return. Now my lungs are actually healthy. (I know, right?!) I now know how f***in' rad Me, Myself, and I are (...am? ...is? ...isaream?). I'm a Not White girl, who has the coloration of a yellow Chinese person but my features are *juuuuuust* off enough for Chinese people to know I ain't Right. So, I'm constantly ignored, ostracised, treated poorly, photoshopped (they photoshopped me so hard on my passport, half my face is gone!), and otherwise teased. Add to that that I'm an unmarried woman with -0 (that's right, negative zero) interest in ever having a child. The first year, the unsolicited Opinion of the 1.4 opiners here killed me. Now, I know they're all reading from the same script. I love my family more. Because we're on different continents. I sing out loud because it feels good. (I'm not a good singer. I have no apologies for you.) I've made some of the most meaningful friendships I've ever had. I mean, I learned to stay away from professional Chinese people (because 面子,关系, 贪污,etc.) and students (for the reasons sainthood stated). So, yeah, some of Me has become worse. But, I'm pretty sure that Me was already there and just didn't have a voice.
  13. Hello, My friend (FOREIGNER) was in an accident with a woman (BIACH). FOREIGNER accepted responsibility for the accident and BIACH's injuries by signing a stamped affidavit (without translation or a translator) presented by the responding police officer. BIACH attempted to have FOREIGNER sign another piece of paperwork detailing additional expenses, FOREIGNER refused to sign. Even the police officer made a face of surprise at the additional expenses, but made no clear indication of their merit. FOREIGNER has paid all the fees associated with the signed affidavit. Now, BIACH is in contact with our spineless leader (AZFCE) who has decided BIACH is right and FOREIGNER is wrong. FOREIGNER is being harassed by AZFCE to pay BIACH. We would like to ensure that FOREIGNER does not have to pay any additional expenses (those not outlined in the itemisation of costs FOREIGNER originally signed). My questions are: What are our (non-citizen) rights in regards to personal injury claims? Where can these rights be found? Can someone who has been paid, according to a legal document, continue to pile on claims? If so, what documentation must be provided to justify the claim? If you have experienced this before, can you detail the extortion process and the remediation taken either legally or non-legally? Useless responses include: Hearsay Personal opinion Thank you for your attention and relevant advice, Nunya