Since I work with ELIC [English Language Institute/ China] and since they like to use abbreviations, I have also learned to appreciate abbreviations. So, I apologize for the many abbreviations that may be found on my blog, but I will try to explain them as I go.
After ATC [Annual Thailand Conference] this year, I decided to come straight back to my apartment, the “Thunderdome”, in QHD [Qinhuangdao]. Actually, my school, HIFL [Hebei Institute of Foreign Languages], is in NDH [Nandaihe] which is just south of Qinhuangdao, so I’ll still often refer to it as QHD. It took the cheapest flights I could find, which resulted in an afternoon flight to Bangkok followed by another flight to Wuhan, China around midnight, then a 7 hour layover at the airport throughout the night before I made it to Beijing where I got a bus back to QHD and a taxi back to my apartment. Overall it took about as long as it would have for me to go from my house in the US to China, but thankfully everything went smoothly. It was pretty calm and there didn’t seem to be any rushes or large crowds along the way which was nice, possibly because it was still part of the Chinese New Year Festival.
When I returned I expected there to be no heat in my apartment because in the past years our school has shut down the central heating for most of the winter holiday (nearly 2 months), but I was thankful to find normal heat in my apartment since they just changed that habit this year. Back in my apartment, I have been glad to be able to rest and reflect upon last semester, my intercultural communications course, ATC, and more. Even though most things are closed down and not many people are around, it has been a good change of pace for me. I hope that it will help me as I prepare for this next semester and what is still to come. I’m also glad to have seen some snow since I’ve been back since I don’t usually get the pleasure of seeing much snow.
I was also glad to add a few new, wonderful Starbucks mugs to my collection. The Indonesian mugs are a new and cool design (they were not available when I traveled there 2 years ago), and the Cambodian Starbucks just opened last December, so I was really excited to go there. My friend, Joey, actually got me the Cambodian mug as a gift, which I was really excited about. Joey’s roommate (a Khmer student) even got a job at the new Starbucks.