Just Ask | In Transit | SE Asia #004

Just ask. It’s quickly becoming one of our top travel philosophies. We’re a little embarrassed that it took us this long to figure it out. Maybe it’s because we’re polite Canadians, or maybe it’s just our introverted personalities, but we never want to feel like we’re putting someone out.

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Finding a Sense of Community in Ganjingzi, Dalian

We all have favourite places. Favourite stores, favourite restaurants, favourite cafés, favourite parks… We love these places because of the good times we’ve had, making us feel safe because we know exactly what to expect. We have best friends or friendly staff members that we meet in these places giving us happy social interactions. Or we may very well just love the food and drink. 

So what happens when you leave your city or neighbourhood or country and don’t have these favourite places anymore? When we left Hamilton, a city full of familiar coffee shops and meeting places, we absolutely missed these places more than we expected. But it also gave us the chance to create new favourite spots wherever we end up.

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View From a Chinese Starbucks

We’ve said more than once that living in China, for two Canadians, is kind of like living on a different planet. There’s still the sun in the distance, the ground beneath our feet, there are still people doing everyday people things, but at the same time things are so unfamiliar. From the bus ride to work to buying groceries to working out at the gym, things that felt so ordinary are now so strange–and to be honest, exhausting!

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I Took a Chinese Physical and Survived

When we were offered teaching jobs in China, we had no idea just how involved the process would be to get our visas. We had to take countless pictures, send documents back and forth dozens of times, and still ended up unemployed and in Canada for six weeks longer than expected. But nothing in the visa process was quite as interesting as the physical exam.

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