One year in China almost up! It’s been a crazy year and here are just some of the things that I’ve been up to (to say I’ve thrown myself in would be an understatement).
Arriving in Beijing was an experience in itself, the summers are crazy hot and humid (as I’m writing this, it’s 38 degrees…) and I hadn’t got a clue what everyone was saying. Luckily, the school I work for are great and set me up with everything I needed!
Moving onto the fun stuff… I started the year with a sprint ‘Spartan’ race in Beijing which is like a small tough mudder (health and safety in China is not a thing…some of those obstacles are deathly…but fun!). After that experience, a group of us went to Shanghai to complete the bigger Spartan race followed by drinks on a rooftop bar overlooking the bund (cannot complain about that, can I?). I live close to the Great Wall of China and ventured there in October and again in November to see the Autumn colors…it’s phenomenal, especially hiking up to the unrestored sections of the wall, which we do quite often.
Next up… another weekend away to Xiamen to run in a relay team for an Ironman 70.3. It was a great set up so I’ve signed up to do the whole thing this November. Of course, I got injured doing this so spent the next few months enjoying all the great food in China (dumplings, roasted duck, kung pao chicken, hot pot… everything!).
Then came the Christmas break and a trip to Australia for me where I learned to scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef and travelled down from Cairns to Brisbane, stopping off at various places. After my return to the ice cold Beijing (the winters are so cold, grey and dry), we hopped on a train to Harbin where they have an ice festival, they build an entire city from the ice then we finished the weekend there with a hot pot dinner in an igloo.
The Chinese New Year was upon us, now in the year of the pig, the celebrations were great and there was so much red around, it looked amazing.
Obviously, it was time for another holiday at this point, this time to the Philippines! What a country! Definitely worth a visit and hopefully it will be my next destination for a job in the future. It has beautiful beaches, mountains, waterfalls and great scuba diving. It was great to get away from the cold for a while. When we returned, I had to jet straight back off to Singapore for a training course with some colleagues, I wish I had the chance to see more of it but it’s on the list of places to return to. Winter was lifting so our group of cyclists from work were back out cycling at 5am in the mornings. We go so early to avoid traffic…cars don’t really care if you’re on the road too, it’s quite scary at times! Then it was time to head to Phuket to finish off my ‘advanced’ scuba diving certificate and chill out before the end of the school year craziness hit!
Now it’s warm and both my legs are in (almost) full working order, it’s time to step up the training again, starting with cycling to the Great Wall with a friend, hiking in Miyun Jiudaowan Grand Canyon Scenic Area with 10 people and 12 dogs and I’m off on a 100km cycle this weekend with some friends. It’s been an amazing year which has ended with adopting a puppy (Freddie, it’s his first birthday today!), seeing some wonderful places and getting a promotion. I think moving here was the best thing I’ve ever done but I’m really excited to get back to the UK for summer to have a proper Sunday roast dinner, a bacon sandwich and not to be secretly photographed just because I’m a foreigner! Just 21 school reports to write, a mini triathlon and a week cycling in Spain then I’ll be back. See y’all soon!