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Author: snbutler1

The Learning Curve

The Learning Curve

The month of October ushered in cooler weather and the start of the new academic year. It also brought a new set of tests on the subject of learning to live and work the Hangzhou way.  Here’s a look at the hi lights of the month. In China, the fall semester usually starts one week before the weeklong National Day and Autumn Festival. This year was no different. I was happy to meet my students before the break—all 54 of…

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Italy: An Old, Familiar Love

Italy: An Old, Familiar Love

September saw me back in Italy, one of my favorite places on earth. For two weeks I ate, slept, lived, and enjoyed all things Italian. Here’s a look at the journey. A last minute window of opportunity presented itself for one last summer vacation. A few months ago, after carefully studying the calendar, I realized I would have a two week period of free time between my summer job and the start of school. I seized the chance, booked my…

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Summer Job in Wenzhou

Summer Job in Wenzhou

August brought on the start of fall and my first summer job in China. With the cooler weather came a wonderful experience deep in the mountainous area of Zhejiang Province. Here’s a look at the adventure. Wenzhou (WZ) is a bustling, mountainous region about three hours south of Hangzhou (HZ). The close proximity to my city made getting there relatively easy. The university I taught at is tucked away in the rural area of the WZ. You would never think…

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Summer Tour in Shanghai

Summer Tour in Shanghai

This month ushered in the first day of summer and an array of exciting experiences in China. Several months ago I began taking an online Chinese course. One day I received an email from the course administrators to take part in an educational and culture tour of Shanghai and the surrounding areas. I applied for the position and to my delight, I received an invitation to join! In about two months, I would be heading to Shanghai with about 29…

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Farewell Xuchang, Hello Hangzhou

Farewell Xuchang, Hello Hangzhou

June marks the end of my first year of university teaching. As I reflect on my time in a semi-rural Chinese city, I realize I experienced a lot of firsts: my first months in China, first time working with university students, and my first time taking on Mandarin (Chinese language). Below, I will discuss some of the hi-lights of the past few months with a brief look at my new city, Hangzhou. University teaching comes with its own forms of…

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Snack Street

Snack Street

China has many amazing and delicious foods to try. Similar to the US, each region has a distinct way of cooking and is known for its signature dishes. Many people, however, are not aware of the street food culture. Within any given city one can find food stalls selling all kinds of delicious treats. From spicy, full on dinners to light and airy snacks, there’s something for everyone. Upon moving to Xuchang (my Chinese city), I was curious about Chinese…

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Hanging Out in Hainan

Hanging Out in Hainan

This month, a lovely five day weekend saw me in sunny Sanya, Hainan. Known as China’s Hawaii, I was eager to visit this place and see what it had to offer—which was quite a lot! Read on to see how I spent my time, hanging out in Hainan. Hainan is China’s Southernmost province and it’s biggest island. Over 2,000 years ago, the Han Chinese first settled on the island. The largest of the 39 ethnic groups include the H’mong and…

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Beginner in Beijing

Beginner in Beijing

This month I took my first trip to Beijing. Just as I thought it would, the old Capital checked many boxes: great food, warm people, and loads of history. Here’s a look at the highlights of my trip. After traveling by train the previous night, I did not want to get out of bed on Saturday morning. I had done quite a bit of wandering to find the place the night before, and my bones were begging to lay in…

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The Kindness of Strangers

The Kindness of Strangers

This month marked the end of winter vacation and the long trip back to North Asia. While saying goodbye to family and friends is never easy, I was excited to be heading back for second semester. For this post, I’d like to talk about a very special experience that occurred within my first few hours back in China. Read on to find out about my incredible encounter and how God works in mysterious ways. After arriving in China, I had…

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Winter Vacation

Winter Vacation

January has been a month of catching up with family and friends in my hometown. Right before New Year’s, I flew home to spend some time with loved ones. Some things have changed, while other things have stayed the same. Read on to see what surprises were in store this month. Successfully completing an international trip is no small task. After traveling from my Chinese city to my hometown by bus, plane, and car, I had been on the go…

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