Serena Donnelly taught in Liaocheng (Shandong province) and wrote about visiting Qingdao on her blog. Her experience in China is reflected in her post on Qingdao and the following excerpt called Things I Love About China. Serena also began drawing in China – check out one of her “Idle China Time Scribbles” below and more here. Current updates on Reverie, which features talks with other artists and her own work.
THINGS I LOVE ABOUT CHINA
All the little kids with mohawks. It recently got pointed out to me how many there are. Now I count them like sheep (yihuh I’m from NZ). It’s the “I can see the sea!” game but counting Mohawked little Chinese kids instead.
The Chinese old men. NOT IN A SEXUAL WAY! Their styly styles, and the fact they don’t even know they are stylish. Huge Jackie O style glasses, golf hats, aviator style glasses and Mao revolution style jackets. They’re fashion gurus!
Dumplings. Cold noodle salads. Chinese style flatbread. Lychee tea. Melons. Dragonfruit. Hot pot. Chopsticks with pretty designs. My pretty tea cup with a handpainted dragon, bought from the Hutong district (awesome) in Beijing.
My lil pink Chinese bike. It’s tiny and speedy and it’s love.
Random fireworks, let off at all times of the day and in the most unexpected of places. Such as a side alley, as I’m walking past. “What the fuck was that?! Is someone shooting at me?” Takes a while to get used to, unless you’re from South Central Los Angeles.
My students. Innocent and sweet wee legends; I love them all and they are some of most genuine people I’ve ever met, period. Humble backgrounds mostly and it shows, they’re all so dedicated to their families and bettering their circumstances. They’ve taught me what integrity means and I’ve taught them a few English words in the meantime. Sweet trade.
Pretty much everything is cheap as all hell. Think 2 yuan (<40 cents) for a delicious filled pita with pork, vegetables, egg and delicious flavourings. Sigh. Helps I live in a pretty small area by China standards (5mil). Beijing, Shanghai etc are way more pricey. Spotting people asleep in the randomest of places and positions during afternoon nap time. See PREV: spotting kids with mohawks, this is like that game and just as awesome.
Summary: China rules.
MY FAVOURITE THINGS ABOUT QINGDAO
Bike riding around the coast, sucking in the sea air and the sweet sights. Stopping along the way to check out weird, cute and crappy niknaks sold along the boardwalk.
Ending up in a restaurant drinking Tsingtao, the local brew next to the sea. Life is good.
Looking at the creepy but COOL sea creatures they have in baskets out the front of the restaurant. Yes I screamed and they laughed. Reflex action!
A funny character I met that stuck with me. I don’t know her name. I called her the Chinese Elvira. She had rockabilly/Elvis/Marj Simpson inspired hair, and a tough mafioso aire about her. There must’ve been ounces of hairspray in her beehive! She was a meet-n-greet at a restaurant I went to.
Seafood on sticks. Lots. Delicious. Tasty. Sucking in the bustling surroundings and Chinese way while I was doing this. I was in heaven.
In summary: I hope I make it back to this sweet place again one day!
Photo Credits @ Serena Donnelly