We made it to Thailand, land of smiles!
We’re in Thailand! Scotty and I have only just arrived, so there aren’t even any pictures yet. After a busy few months, we’re looking forward to relaxing… And coming back in the Year of the Snake with some freckles on our skin and sunshine in our hearts. 🙂
In our new city, new country, working at new jobs and meeting new people, Scotty and I often find we are overwhelmed by long work hours and the struggle to fit more than 24 hours worth of things into a day. On top of that, the Beijing pollution this Sunday was nearly at AQI 400 (“Hazardous”), and all physical activity outdoors was strongly discouraged by the US Embassy’s air quality website. For context, today Toronto’s air quality reads in at AQI 14.
So this past weekend, we ran away to the mountains.
At the far North West end of Beijing’s subway line, the Summer Palace is a short walk away. At the end of October, Scotty and I went with Lucille (another expat in Beijing) and became tourists for the day.
October 1st is National Day in China, which is followed by a week long holiday called Mid-Autumn Festival. It’s a holiday that is traditionally for spending time with family and loved ones… and taking a well-deserved break!
To celebrate the holiday, and to give us the chance to see a bit more of China, No. 25 Middle School organized a 3-day whirlwind tour for all the foreign teachers in the Canadian program. We went to Qufu (hometown of Confucius), Tai Shan mountain (pictured above), and Jinan (the city of springs).
On our first week in Beijing, we were welcomed by the school with a trip to the Great Wall and a “retreat” where we were able to meet most of the teachers and staff we would be working with directly during the year. Between the new friends we’ve made and our own wanderings, we’re starting to learn our way around.
On our way from Halifax to China, we decided to stop over in Calgary for a few hours to see my brother Andrew, followed by about a week in Vancouver on the other coast. Here are a few photos from our last week in Canada.
This photo was taken in Fall of 2011 and recalls for me thoughts of walking paths in Quebec City, the smell of frost on autumn leaves, the many times since then that I have made the 11-hour drive between Halifax and Quebec, and the choices that made me do it.
This has been a year of growth, both together and apart. In less than two weeks, nine months of distance will come to a close. In another few months, we will take off together to explore new cities, new countries, and new continents. While these are far from uncharted lands, they are new to us. But I daresay we’re up for the challenge.