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By the Deep Blue Sea

20 Feb

Life Update!

School is starting online on the 24th. ๐Ÿ™„ I’m totally blessed – Jeju Island doesn’t have many tourists right now. Found a pension by the ocean for $15/night (cheapest place in Korea with private bed)๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ’• Hiking is FREE! ๐Ÿค‘

Corona Virus Updates (Timeline) from an Expat's Point of View

16 Feb

There is a lot of disinformation out there, so here is a day-by-day series of updates from an Expat who works in China and is currently a roaming nomad in Asia.

Our Situation

January 22 – My family left China anticipating a two week vacation – we each packed one suitcase.

January 22 (later that day) – Faculty was warned not to visit Wuhan or ‘epidemic areas’ for the holiday. The office began gathering information about where people were and travel plans.

January 27 – The school announced it would be delaying Spring semester ‘until further notice’. Faculty are warned to delay their return to China if possible. We are informed we will be paid in February, but March is uncertain as the staff are delaying return to the office.

January 29 – China Aviation Authorities issue a notice that flights booked before January 28th shall be refunded for free if passengers apply before departure. It’s not clear whether these statements include all airlines or just domestic airlines.

CTrip announces it is refunding free of charge all flights within Mainland China booked before 28 January 2020. It’s not clear whether these statements include international flights as well.

Image

January 29 – At the advice of the employer and under the new flight exemptions, we request to delay our return flights (China Southern, international flight into China) until Feb. 18th. CTrip online chat had more than 1000+ people waiting in line – we emailed them instead. Response was within 48 hours – changed for free. We book a new hotel (even cheap, it’s pricey on our budget)– we are now officially nomadic.

January 30 – All returning faculty are expected to undergo 14 days of self-isolation when returning.

January 30 (later in day) – Faculty and international students are asked not to return for ‘the near future’ until further notified. All returnees with or without symptoms must be isolated.

January 31 – the school is officially closed and under lock-down. All people entering must undergo a health check, register at the gate, and bring ID.

February 1 – Please inform the employer of the exact number of masks, disinfectant fluid, and gloves, and protective suits you need.

February 4 – Reaffirm that faculty should not return until further notice.

February 4 (later in day) – Faculty ‘shall not return to school in advance before the first-level response of major public health emergencies is cancelled’. Those who do return must have a heath checkup, must inform the employer 2 weeks in advance, and must self-isolate for 14 days. Psychological counseling is being offered to help foreign staff ‘isolate and channel their psychological anxiety, panic, and other emotions’

February 5 – ‘Don’t return.’

February 6 – It’s better not to return. Many businesses are closed and shopping is difficult. You will be required to take your temperature, but thermometers are difficult to find and expensive. To buy thermometer and medicine, you need to provide your ID.

February 7 – Do not return until further notice. . . .

February 8 – School will resume with online courses likely around February 24. Faculty should not return until further notice.

February 12 – CTrip changes our flight from Feb. 18th to Feb. 20th. After concerning rumors about the spread of the virus, availability of supplies, etc. we decide to reconsider our return again. 650+ people in line on CTrip Chat, I waited more than 5 hours to talk to someone. Gave up.

February 13 – All returning teachers much inform the hiring department of their itinerary for the past 2 weeks. Teachers will be picked up at the airport and driven immediately to the hospital and then to housing for quarantine.

February 15 – The community service center announced all people must be quarantined for 14 days and are not allowed to leaving the house for any reason at all. For some, food (enough for 2 weeks) must be purchased in advance. For others, ‘vegetables‘ will be provided by service people. You must report to officials your temperature twice daily. Anyone from or laying over in Guangzhou, Hubei, Zhejiang, and Henan will be quarantined elsewhere and are not allowed on housing site.

February 15 – We formally cancel our flights back to China, and prepare to hunker down for the duration. 42 people in line on CTrip chat. Flight cancellation immediately processed – refund due within 2 weeks according to agent.

February 16 – The suits, gloves, masks, etc that were requested on Feb. 1 have still not been delivered.

February 17 – I again book a new, cheaper hotel . . . money is getting VERY tight (less than $20 per day left). Supplies starting to run out – had to buy new deodorant. Good news – I’m losing weight from stress ๐Ÿคฃ Still no new information about March salaries — informed there will be more information hopefully on Feb. 19th. . . .

CoronaVirus and the Plight of the Expats

8 Feb

If you have friends or family who are expats stuck in the middle of the virus situation right now, please reach out. They’re not okay.

The news is filled with stories about the corona virus currently hitting China and other countries around the world.

What many people aren’t aware of is the plight of the expats who live and work in China. There are an estimated 600,000+ expats (1) and their families living in China, many of whom live in the harder hit city areas like Shanghai and Beijing.

Then there are the tourists, students, and other temporary visitors who got caught up in the situation. Not to mention the concerned relatives and friends at home.

china expat population
Expats in China by region – Sampi.co (2018)

So today, we wanted to give you a little insight into the concerns and issues facing your friends and family abroad, using our own situation a bit as an example.

Continue reading

Coronavirus Alerts

23 Jan

Well this coronovirus is slightly disconcerting ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜ท But aren’t my students so sweet? ๐Ÿ˜ Rumor has it a lot of towns are now out of face masks – told my kids to drink orange juice and get sunlight for their immune systems. ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช. In Korea for now, will hopefully avoid it.

Not a Bum

4 Jan

I’m sorry, but it’s a Sunday after 5pm and I just finished a 24 page, 4000+ word paper. I can’t make promises on my level of ‘bumness’. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚But I’m gonna eat the candy anyway!

New Treats!

24 Nov

My student brought these today! They are a weird taste combination between sweet (sugary) and fritos? If that makes sense? ๐Ÿค”
It’s like a healthy cookie texture + fritos flavoring? I dunno ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ But yummy!!!

A Quiet Place

2 Nov

Come with me to our rendevous โค. . . .

Meeting Bears in the Neighborhood!

1 Nov

MY TWO FAVORITE BEARS IN ONE PLACE ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿป๐Ÿป How am I this lucky??? My life is officially happier!

Teacher Problems

24 Oct

When you are a college professor, you are perpetually covered in chalk ๐Ÿ˜‚ Everything is chalky! Backpack, usb, shirt, hands, water bottle. My lungs are coated in the stuff. Chalk haunts my nightmares ๐Ÿ˜‚

Life in East Asia ~ Q&A

23 Oct
Dragon Hill Falls, in Henan, China

Hey guys!

So I was wondering if any of you have questions about what it is like living in China or traveling around Asia?

I’ve been traveling throughout Eastern Asia for about 8 years at this point, picking up in my travels Taiwan (Taipei), South Korea, Japan, Mainland China, and Thailand (Bangkok). South Korea and Japan are key staples of my holiday travels – I simply never get over falling in love with the atmosphere of both countries unique as they are. I’ve probably been to South Korea a couple dozen times at this point, always breath-taking.

I finally got up the courage to officially move to China 6 years ago now, spending the first 3 years in central China (Henan – the most populated province!) and the most recent 3 years in far northern China (Jilin – home of Ice and Snow).

It’s been quite the experience – I’m not just an occasional traveler here, this is my home for the time being. I don’t live in the big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, so I’ve had to adapt quite a bit more. It meant learning to get by without help in a language I didn’t speak – opening bank accounts, traveling on my own, setting up phone plans, arranging online shopping, cooking with Chinese ingredients. ๐Ÿ˜‚ I even learned how to travel on my own to the more out-of-the-way places without a guide!

It’s been the adventure of a lifetime, and at this point I feel like I’m doing pretty well! So if anyone reading this is coming to China to live or for a visit, or is really just curious – ask me some questions! What do you want to know?

Random Fun Facts:

  1. Did you know that Chinese Brown Sugar has 2x the amount of molasses as American Brown Sugar? If the recipe calls for Brown Sugar, you should cut it with white sugar to balance it out.
  2. Did you know that many traditional Chinese dishes (e.g. Orange Chicken) call for Rock Sugar — the kind we usually eat as candy in the US?
  3. Did you know that there aren’t mailboxes in China? Or Mailmen?. . . they ship letters the same as packages. It is mailed at the China Post and you’ll get a phone call from some random shipping company (like UPS) a week later telling you to come and pick up your letter.
  4. Did you know that 11/11 is the Chinese version of Black Friday? Mainly for online shopping.
  5. Did you know that the Chinese often like to put fruit on their pizzas? With mayonnaise dressing? Yep! Other popular pizzas are corn & cheese pizza, tuna and veggies pizza, and cheese pizza. Few include tomato sauce – – it’s not often used.
  6. Did you know that most of the really strange foods (snake, rat, dog) are from Southern China (and mainly one or two provinces). Like Australia, it was the ‘wilderness’ part of the country in ancient times (far from the capital) and people survived however they could. They still have some really unique foods today. Are you brave enough!?
  7. Did you know that the Chinese don’t actually drink much tea? They don’t drink at meals at all really. . . except maybe hot water if the food is really spicy. My Students told me ‘tea is for old people.’ ๐Ÿ˜‚
  8. Did you know that most ATMs offer English options – thank God!
  9. Did you know that most restrooms don’t have toilet paper or soap (and maybe no water?). You should always carry little packages of Kleenex & Wet Wipes, which is why they are sold in the toilet paper aisles and at convenience stores for cheap!
  10. Did you know that if you wear a green hat in China, it means your spouse is cheating on you? ๐Ÿ˜‚

So What’s Your Question!

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