I've only been to one tourist-type place, which will get its own post later, so this is mostly a blog about how my life has been here. I have lived abroad before, in Ireland, but then I was basically living in a college dormitory, so it wasn't really the same.
First off, Shenyang is a provincial capitol, but that doesn't make it anything like other capitols I've been to. To show you what I mean, check out the satellite image of Su Jia Tun, the district I live in. In the Google satellite image, it's mostly farmland. I think that picture is a few years old, because there are many more buildings now (for example, I found my apartment complex, and there are lots more buildings now than there were when that picture was taken), but it's not too far off from what it looks like now - a combination of farms and skyscrapers.
To give you an idea of what I mean, my apartment is 33 floors tall (and I'm on the 33rd floor), but when I go downstairs and step out of the gate, there's a farm of some kind right outside the walls. I don't know what they're growing, but I've seen people harvesting it. Also, along Nan Jing Nan Jie (the major north-south road in Shenyang), I've seen several patches of corn squeezed in between the buildings. There's even an actual corn farm right across the street from the school I work at.
|Nang Jing Nan Jie|
And then there are all the skyscrapers - they all look same!
There's a game called Hotels that my brother and I used to play, and it has all these hotel buildings you put on the game when you get enough money. All the buildings around here remind me so much of the buildings in that game.
Then... this is the view we get:
Chinese tap water is unsafe to drink, rather like water in most countries besides America (and the eastern half of America is debatable). So the solution is, of course, bottled water. But one practice that is very common is to have those office water dispensers in your home:
All I do is walk down to the nearest convenience store, point to one of the water tubs, and show them my apartment number. They deliver! This is a nice dispenser, too, by the way. The "hot" tab actually does have hot water. We've started making morning coffee without needing to boil any water.
Then, there's this picture:
I was surprised when I saw that. It looked like the birds we see in backyards in America! According to my father, that's a Eurasian siskin. (Back home, we have pine siskins, which are notoriously stupid birds. They're the ones always flying into our windows.)
And, this is where I stop for now. Don't worry, I have three more posts about Shenyang coming soon, and then I have even more fun stuff to talk about. But for now, I'm signing off, because I have to get back to work!