Blog Carnival Writings

Blog Carnival: CHINA- Experience(s)

Today’s article is written for the Reach To Teach Teach Abroad Blog Carnival, a monthly series that focuses on providing helpful tips and advice to ESL teachers around the globe. I’ll be posting a new ESL related article on my blog on the 5th of every month. Check back for more articles, and if you’d like to contribute to next month’s Blog Carnival, please get in touch with me at, and I’ll let you know how you can start participating!

China has brought about many… MANY experiences. Some good, some bad, and some downright unbelievable.
One first experience I would just love to share is my 33 hour train ride… oh did I mention it was standing room only!?


Coming back from Spring Festival in Xiamen we got our tickets late, I had to make work two days later and the only thing available was standing room only. If only I knew what I was in for!

We got into the train around 9 pm, and luckily we found seats that lasted us for the first part of the trip until around 6 am. That’s when everyone and their mother started boarding our train. We had to move further and further back into the train until we were almost in the last cart. We stood for a couple of hours, and eventually found ONE permanent seat. Oh did I mention I was with my friend Jenny!? So we had one seat that we would put on rotation duties. We met many new friends, and one had an extra tiny seat, which came just in time because.. if you know anything about China you will know that unfortunately parents let their children go to the bathroom wherever. Our carts bathroom was out of order, so you would have to walk to the next cart (which is a hike) so as a child’s mother was holding her to go IN THE CART, I was sitting on the floor, I just avoided disaster when looking behind me, and WHEW stayed dry. As mentioned, our new friend then gave us his extra little seat, and that too was in rotation.

So there we were literally dying as the train kept getting more and more full. China also has NO capacity limits. It was nearing 8 pm, we were both quite exhausted again keeping our 45 minute rotation of seat and stool. Our butts were almost numb from the tiny seat, and our tummies were stirring. Luckily we brought snacks but 33 hours is quite long!

2 am rolls along, by now the train is so full you cannot make it to the next carts bathroom without it LITERALLY being a 30 minute ordeal. You have to go over people in the aisles, under feet, over small children sleeping, twisting and turning sweating and swearing. Finally you get to the overflowing bathroom (mind you there are people napping and laying on the bathroom sink and floor area, next to the small stall door. Once inside you attempt to do your business, and make your way back across the dark abyss of everyone!

Once it was around 4 am Jenny and I were so antsy IPODS blaring, I started dancing, knowing the end was ALMOST HERE! Would we make it?! I just didn’ t know.

Finally our train pulls in, we made it we BURST OUTSIDE the doors and head home.. ready for some R&R and LEG ROOM!




I am always always open to new, disgusting, fun and interesting foods. I think that trying new things is the BEST thing in the world! China is full of so many new foods it’s as though the world was my oyster.. literally! 😉

Here is my delicious list of new things I have tried in China 😀

  • Scorpion
  • Silk Worm(s) <– unfortunately two
  • Oysters
  • Clam
  • Frog
  • Turtle (I feel awful about this one, didn’t know til after)
  • Jellyfish (also felt bad about that one)
  • Squid
  • Eel
  • Shark
  • Chicken Feet
  • Cow Heel
    Not excited about this cow heel   <–Cow Heel and Chicken Feet- waste not, want not. HA! —-> Chicken feet... interesting!

I’m sure the list doesn’t stop here, but as for my memory of it all, it does for now.

There have also been some awesome new foods I have tried:

  • Mangosteen
  • Champagne grapes (I think is what they are called) they are yellow tomato things
  • So many different fresh fruits and vegetables
  • My local bakery has banana bread shaped like bananas its amazing
  • New favorite way to do carrots, with vinegar and garlic… delicious!
  • … the list goes on!
  • Mmmm what are these!? Cherry grape like things. Delicious!~
Mmmm what are these!? Cherry grape like things. Delicious!~

3 thoughts on “Blog Carnival: CHINA- Experience(s)

  1. Pingback: Reach to Teach Blog Carnival : Story Time Edition | Internationally In Debt

  2. Wow Maggie, that train journey sounds horrendous! I would not have had the patience you had! so give yourself a little pat on the back.

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