Monthly Archives: June 2008

Back in China and Things are Returning to Normal…for the Better

Well we made it home yesterday safe and sound without any problems. Jetlag is still a little bit present — I am writing this post at 10:55pm after all, but generally we’re recovering pretty well. There are a couple things that are different however, all for the better:

  • We can’t stop talking and thinking about our time in Canada. Winnie and I both really enjoyed our time there. That just shows how good our trip was. We’re seriously considering moving there. I think it would be a good move for the both of us. Now the only thing to really think about is when. We’ll have to workout a few items first such as what sort of visa is the best one for Winnie to apply for (we’re thinking it might be a good idea for her to go back to school for a year to get a Canadian degree on her resume. I may return to school for a master’s degree as well).  Our trip home has really brought us closer together as well, which can only be a good thing.
  • I feel refreshed enough to handle things at work. It helps a lot that the summer period has set in and things are beginning to quiet down as well. My stress level dropped a lot today and I was really able to get my work done. I finished all my tasks and was out of the office by 6pm. I also wasn’t dreading returning to my desk tomorrow like I was before the trip.
  • Roger got his hair cut shaved yesterday. It’ll keep him cooler for the summer and help his summer coat grow in properly. Unfortunately right now he looks like a totally different dog than the one I fell in love with, but I’m getting used to it. He grew pretty big over the 11 days we were gone — we can really notice the change anyway — but I can see from the way he acts that he is still the same lovable funny energetic dog I purchased and that’s what matters.
  • On a technical note, I’ve made the complete switch over to a Mac and am now even am to write posts for this blog here. It’s much faster and feels much more satisfying to type it on my lap on a keyboard that is really designed to be used in a small area instead of my old HP’s keyboard that felt like a miniature version of a full-scale desktop version.

The main thing overall right now is that I feel content and happy with Winnie, with my job and with my life and that is all thanks to this vacation.

J.

P.S. Happy Canada Day to all Canadian readers of this blog whether you’re in our home and native land or overseas tomorrow, have a good one!

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Filed under A Dog's Life, Canada & Other Outer Realms, Cubicle/Nerd Culture, Personal

One More Quick Note

For those of you who didn’t click on the links in my last post, I’ve started to write for Lost Laowai again. You can find my latest post here.

Next post will be from back home in Shanghai.

J.

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Filed under Blogroll, Reading List

Last Day in Canada

Well today is our last day in Canada, tomorrow we get back on a plane and return to China. This trip is just what Winnie and I need. We’ve had a lot of fun together visiting Niagara Falls, my aunt’s farm and the CN Tower.

Last night we also went out to one of China’s larger Chinatowns in Markham and had a big banquet dinner with a friend of Winnie’s uncle. It was great to introduce my parents to a Chinese banquet and for Winnie to see people from home. We’re looking to move back to Canada in a year or two and Markham is one of the areas that we’re looking at settling because of its large Chinatown. So showing Winnie the area was one of my goals for the trip.  

But one of the things that I really got out of all this traveling around was a chance for me to reevaluate how I viewed Canada. I really was feed up with this country when I left five years ago and the last couple times I came back I really didn’t really leave the area around my home, so I wasn’t able to evaluate the country and whether it had changed for the better. This time I was able to do that. I’ve fallen in love with CBC Radio again. I’ve always listened to it even when I’ve been in China, but being back here this time has made me appreciate it even more. 

What I really appreciate about the CBC though is its efforts to promote Canadian indie music through its digital/online station CBC Radio 3. I’m now subscribed to its Radio 3 superfeed which has every single podcast/program that the station offers and purchased Wolf Parade’s At Mount Zoomer and Forest City Lover’s Haunting Moon Sinking because of their programs. Both albums are really good.

I’ve also been doing some serious reading again. I finished Chinese novelist Mo Yan’s Life and Death are Wearing Me Out  and am now devouring Douglas Coupland’s The Gum Thief. The two novels are different in terms of scope, but I really do enjoy Gum Thief more than Life and Death. It just deals with things that I can relate to more — the ideas of not really knowing where you’re going in life and trying to make something out of that life — than Mo Yan’s ideas on reincarnation mixed with Chinese history.

There is something about Coupland’s novel that is just very Canadian and I’m not just saying that because Coupland is Canadian and his book is set in Vancouver and its suburbs. The small scope, small cast of characters and short chapters and less than 300-page length just parallel Canada’s small population. That’s going out on a limb, but if you’re Canadian and you read the novel I think you’ll agree with me. 

I’d better bring this post to an end as there’s a bit still to be done. Winnie is making her famous chicken wings and a thank you to my parents and one of my friends is coming over to enjoy the dinner with us. Then there will be packing so that we can enjoy our last morning with our parents before jumping on the plane for our 14-hour ride back to Shanghai.

Write more soon.

J.

 

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Filed under Canada & Other Outer Realms, Personal

Canada So Far!

We’ve been here almost five full days now and things are going really really well, My brother’s wedding went perfectly. He and his wife got exactly what they wanted and everyone had a great time. Winnie also had a blast. She is loving every minute of our time here and every one of my family members is enjoying our time with her too. She’s won them over with her charm.

For me, I’m really enjoying seeing my hometown and Canada through her eyes. Places that I used to visit almost every year on field trips look really fresh and fun in her eyes.

We spent the day at Niagara Falls today and she loved every second of it. That’s a place that she’s really dreamed of going there since her English teacher showed her a video of it during her first year at university. So for her to go today was the fulfillment of a dream and that meant a lot to me that we were able to fulfill that today. Having her here has made this the best vacation ever. I am having a blast. I hope that every vacation we go on is this fun.

Tomorrow, we’re heading off to my aunt’s farm.

J.

P.S. I wrote this on my new MacBook and am loving that too!

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Filed under Canada & Other Outer Realms, Personal

The Struggle Obtaining A Canadian Visa And Other General Life Stress

If you want to know where I’ve been for most of the last month, I’d say “in front of my computer”. But instead of blogging, I’ve been wrestling with some important real-life issues.

First Winnie and I have spent the last three or four months planning our trip to Canada for my brother’s wedding. That has taken up a lot of our time particularly the visa process. I’ve been answering visa questions in the comments of my China Visa Update post almost daily. Well, if you thought it was hard to get a visa for foreigners to go to China getting one to go to Canada is also difficult. Not really because of the information they ask you to provide (there are a lot of documents but nothing that is really unusual) but the processing time. Canada has a backlog of 1 million applications at any one time. That means you really have to plan months ahead and have all your documents ready (we actually started collecting the relevant information — some which had to be sent from my parents last fall). Well in the end we succeeded, Winnie got her visa and we’ve arrived at my parents place for a well needed vacation and 10 days of family fun and visiting in Southern Ontario.

Second my work schedule has been hectic and this has put me into a bit of depression. I feel — though I am not sure this is true — as though I have been able to come up for air for the last month. Maybe it’s the grind of work and personal life crashing together uncontrollably that has kept me feeling this way. I am ready for a break. I have the weekend where I will be doing a little bit of work and then Monday and Tuesday and then no more.

For these 10 days, I am going to concentrate on having fun and taking some time to reflect. You probably won’t catch me on Twitter, but I will be updating this space. I’m going to blog about a couple of the stories that are sure to come up and I will also try to post more photos something I don’t do that often. My mom has been bugging me to post more pictures of Roger so I am will try to fit a few more posts in “A Dog’s Life” as well.

That’s it. Just wanted to say I’m back and more new content will come soon.

J.

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Filed under Canada & Other Outer Realms, Personal