Spring hasn’t come lightly into Qingdao. It’s more like it exploded onto the scene. In the past week, the weather has catapulted from a steady 55 degrees F to hovering in the 80’s. With the warmer weather, flowers have popped up everywhere, and the birds I had thought were dead by pollution have started twittering in the trees. At this point, 50% of the pictures on my phone are of flowers.
Last week, my school took parents, students, and teachers of both branches of the school (around 700 people) to the Qingdao Horticultural Exposition that opened last year.
There were some beautiful gardens, as well as an indoor aquarium, and a large greenhouse with rain forest plants.
The best part was undoubtedly spending time with my students, bonding with other teachers, and practicing my Chinese with the parents.
With the warm weather, I’ve taken to doing more outside activities, like reading in the sun or walking on the beach, which means I’ve been burned a few times in the past two weeks, but I don’t mind at all. I spent the afternoon walking on the beach in the sunshine on Wednesday.
In the US and western countries, we are obsessed with tanning. In China, they are obsessed with staying as white as possible. Chinese girls wear long sleeves, long dresses, huge sunglasses and sunhats to the beach. Everyone sits in the shade or beneath umbrellas. Its only the crazy foreigners who would dream of walking out with bare arms and legs in the sun.
In other news, I’ve officially finished contract negotiations and have signed up for another year in China. I will be returning to the US for the month of August before heading back to keep teaching in September. I finally feel like I am really settled in China. I’m happy with my job, my apartment, my friends, and my life in general. God is good, and I am realizing more and more how truly blessed I am.
To finish off this post, here are some of the many flower pictures I’ve taken in the past few weeks.