Top 10 Things to Bring to China

Top 10 Things to Pack for China

As I am waiting for my work permit to finish processing, I am thinking about things I should bring back to China. This is my fourth time embarking on a trip to China and will be my second full year of teaching.

Top 10 Things Tyra is Bringing to China

1. Deodorant

There is only roll-on deodorants in Jinan, not much options. So I will be going to Sam’s or Costco to buy a year’s supply.

2. Bras/ underwear

Chinese bras tend to have this thick lining at the bottom that annoys me. Also, their bras are not attractive at all. I like to feel good in my underwear so I bought some here.

3. Tampons

Particularly the ones with an applicator. Ob brand tampons are not for me.

4. Facial cleaning products

So many products in a China has whitening in them. I am a proud black woman, I just want to clean my face not whiten it.

5. Makeup foundation

Chinese women do not like to be dark, so the makeup foundation options are limited. The darkest color I have found was like natural beige. This is very light for my skin.

6. Medication

It takes about 8 Chinese ibuprofen pills to equal like 1 western pill, so I’m bringing my mess, especially for cramps!

7. Hair products 

I’m fortunate to have found online vendors on taobao that sells hair, but hair products for ethnic hair is sparse and expensive in China, so I’ll be stocking up on my coconut oil, hair brushes, grease, etc.
8. Body towels

80 yuan for a body towel in Chin! Our house has ton of towels at home. I just need to steal two and take it with me…or I can purchase a microfiber one, but I’m a cheapo.

9. Sunscreen

Can you believe sunscreen in China has whitening in there! TF?! The purpose of sunscreen is to protect my skin, not to whiten it!

10. Teaching Supplies

Dollar Tree and Target have tons of useful English and Primary School materials which are more useful then the Chinese made ones.

MISC stuff I already have in China but would be useful for first-timers

Travel adapter, shoes if your size is above 9 or 10, snacks from your home country. I was going to put razors, but you find some at Miniso in China.


don’t bring any valuable clothes. It will get ruined in the washers, cause there washers on China aren’t the best. There are also no dryers…..but dry cleaning here is CHEAP!

Let me know in the comments if I’m missing anything!

Missing China


我想念中国的三大事情。 Top 3 things I miss about China.

1. 我学生们和朋友们。My students and friends

2. 我跟中国人聊天。 Speaking Chinese

3. 美团外卖。Takeout food 

Thanksgiving in China:济南


So instead of Taobao post let’s talk about Thanksgiving in China.

Thanksgiving is my second favorite holiday! Christmas being the first, Thanksgiving being the second and Halloween the third.


Since I’m living in Jinan, a turkey dinner is much harder to find. So without stuffing, cranberry sauce, and your favorite aunt’s macaroni and cheese, how did I celebrate Thanksgiving?!

Funny story, maybe.

So, the school tells us a week before in a meeting that they are going to prepare some food for us on Thanksgiving Day since we have to work.

“Hey, guys we are going to have some food for you at 12:30 pm on Thanksgiving. We are going to prepare pizza, chicken nuggets, bread, this type of things.” – Foreign Teacher Supervisor (who is Chinese)

I can accept the thought that counts, but us foreign teachers were like what?! pizza?! I suggested they just get the Beijing Duck and some Chinese vegetables since it’s the closest to what may be a Thanksgiving Dinner in America.

Did they listen?

Nope! They never listen. They ask for suggestions, but never listen. It’s the thought that counts right?

So, on Thanksgiving day,  a couple of us teachers arrived maybe 5 minutes past 12:30 thinking that things will be all nice and set up. Yeah we were delusional.

We walked into total madness, chaos, plastic gloves and smacking! They didn’t even wait for us! So much for “it’s the thought that counts.”


Thanksgiving Chaos only in China 🙂

I literally only ate a couple of oranges and two dumplings because everything was just everywhere.

After being let down, after work us teachers went to this restaurant called Fancy for a Thanksgiving Dinner It was okay. They tried their best to give us a meal as close to Thanksgiving as possible. However I was really missing “everybody aunt’s macaroni and cheese”. I also was craving stuffing, dirty rice and dinner rolls. I didn’t get any of that but it’s whatever.


Our Turkey Dinner at Fancy

All I know is I cannot miss another Thanksgiving. If I do, I’m either eating duck or hotpot.

Look forward to my posts about Christmas parties in class, our school’s Not-So-Christmas Shindig featuring a CLOWN and New Year’s in China.

I’ll probably post all this after New Year’s. All the holidays have sucked up my time. Anyway the blog is still alive, just slow.

Week Eleven:内蒙古


My school took all of us teachers (3 centers combined…150-200 peeps i think) to the Grasslands in Inner Mongolia- the greenest and bluest side of China. There were several Highs and Lows during this trip.

The Highs

  • Green, Green, and more Green
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    That famous husband and wife tree

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    A part of the grasslands

  • Fresh Air

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    So fresh

  • Sheep2016-07-15 21.18.33
  • Traditional mongolian costume dress up time



  • The 2nd Horse Ride in which I rode the horse by myself with no one pulling me. That means I was going too fast to take a picture…
  • The 4 hour Jeep ride through the grasslands2016-07-15 21.16.53
  • Us foreigners dancing on a big stage

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    It is empty in this photo, but it was full in the video which I can’t post on here :/ gotta upgrade the plan

  • The Horse show2016-07-15 21.11.05
  • That poncho that kept me warm because I forgot to bring a jacketIMG_20160711_163620
  • Staying overnight in a Yurt2016-07-15 21.19.13
  • Eating that Lamb2016-07-15 21.16.03
  • Beef Jerky2016-07-15 21.19.43

The Lows

*** Obviously there will not be pictures for the LOWS. >_<

  • The 8 hour bus ride from Beijing
  • Every hour a tour guide will speak for like an hour in a microphone while I’m trying to sleep
  • The school had us go through a tour 😦 So we basically did tourist trappy things
  • The school didn’t tell us we would have to shuffle out 500 kuai for this one day grassland activity stuff
  • The 1st horse ride was supposed to be 45 mins but it was only 10
  • The food!!! It was the same meal 3X a day for 4 days -_-


Week Nine: 济南


I pulled off my first test week. I had three test to prepare and give out.  One in my beginner class, “The Force”, one in a a pre-k 2 class, and the third one in my G1( 1st grade) “Banana” class.

The banana class’ test was more of a diagnostic test. I needed to personally know where they stood in understanding the material since I took over that class mid-way through the schedule. Here are some pics of how anxious they look >__<!


Week 10’s post will be about me and my coworkers’ recent trip to Beijing. I am currently editing a Beijing video. So once that is done then I’ll publish that post. Maybe in the mean time I’ll post those Chengdu pics I still owe you guys.


Week Eight:九如山


I still can’t believe we did so much on this weekend! On our Monday off, me and a couple of foreign teachers decided to accompany our chinese coworkers to Jiu Ru Mountain(九如山)。 Ticket prices were the standard 120 something kuai, but I got a student discount because I conveniently still had my university student card( even though i graduated)!

The place was very pretty! Of course most things like the stairs and the closures to the waterfalls were man-made, they still did  a great job maintaining the cleanliness of the environment. You know you have been in China long if you think a bathrrom is fancy because it at least has soap and/or toilet paper 😛 But really, their restrooms were very very nice!

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2016-05-30 16.50.092016-05-30 16.44.102016-05-30 16.21.26

What I liked about this mountain is that is was very peaceful and didn’t really give you the tired feeling that you are climbing a mountain. It had plenty of shaded resting stops, swings, and free tea.

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I definetely recommend this if you want to take a casual and light hike and maybe have a picnic. It could be a good date spot too!

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It was super easy to get to from Jinan. We just had to get on bus 312( and pray that there were seats because there were 40 stops until we got to the mountain. Standing up for that long would not have been good). Thankfully there were seats!

Oh! One cool thing happened on the bus. I got to improve on my chinese speaking skils as this 爷爷(grandpa) started speaking to me in Chinese. In about 45 minutes we covered politics(US elections and  US-Sino Relations), the standard “foreigner questions” that must be printed in a handbook somewhere because EVERYONE asks them, where I have been in China, and some things to go to in Jinan. That was the hardest conversation I have ever had! I could only fully understand him 65% of the time, and sadly had to guess what he meant. I didn’t realize he was asking me about the US election until he said something that sound like Hilary’s name. haha! Hopefully I can take more classes here in China to improve more.

Well, after the mountain a few of us went home to shower to get ready and go to Papa John’s. Papa John’s was a wonderful treat after a long day of hiking!

Tuesday I went to this really good brunch place called “Across Brunch” that had a young looking chef, then went and played soccer, tutored a kid, went bowling, and then watched Alice through the Looking Glass! Of course I fell asleep during that movie because 1) I was exhausted, but 2) the movie was not that great! I feel like that plot could have been covered in the previous movie. There was no need to make a whole new movie!

Anywho, I really need to work on a blogging schedule or maybe do a challenge to help motivate me to stay on top of this. I do enjoy it at times, it’s very relaxing to take a pause from life here in China.


Week Two:济南


Teaching  First Impressions

  1. Long office hours- When I arrived in Jinan, I spent a week training at BL(the school), observing classes, listening to presentations, doing absoulutely nothing in the office and basically was super bored. Now I have 4 classes, but two of them are the same level, and another one is the same level but for older kids. So I basically can just use the same lesson plans, but tweek the activites to suit younger and older kids. But this leaves me with too many office hours to goof around with. I think I may start a series  on this blog about my free time during office hours.
  2. I ❤ kids-When I got my first class(Ninja Turtles), I immediately fell in love with them. They were so cute and surprisingly good…or maybe I’m just a very entertaining teacher and they had fun haha. I also this past Sunday did a warm-up class(introduction class) for my beginner class(older kids with no english background) and I heard that the parents really like my energy. Who knew having the kids play balloon volleyball and dodgeball would be so much fun! I’ll post some pictures soon with the kids. I had a snapchat video, but there is a long, long story about how I can finally use my cellphone in China, but it came at such a steep cost…LOSING ALL MY PICTURES AND OTHER RANDOM THINGS AND MY VPN APP 😦 So no pics this post 😦
  3. I miss the meetings and discussion/suggestions time in American companies. Communication SUCKS in Chinese companies. I don’t want to generalize and say that all Chinese people suck at communication because it’s not true, but the point I’m trying to get across is that the tactics that are used to communicate and WHAT to communicate is much different here than in America.(I feel like other western countries may be different too which is why I say America, instead of western). EXHIBIT A: One of my co-workers, D, volunteered to take over this class, Saturday morning that no longer had an FT(foreign teacher). So, D was teaching the class and it ends around 11 or something like that. At 10:30, the FT supervisor comes into his class and tells him…”Hey, I’m so sorry but you have a brand new class to teach and it starts right now, also it’s a M1 class. So don’t teach this class that you’re already teaching anymore” Keep in mind they told him like 10 mins before the class was supposed to start…he did NOT know this before hand yet the marketing department did. Basically D put his foot down and said “NO, i am not taking that class because 1) you told me late and 2) I don’t want anymore M1 classes because I like the older kids.(The funny thing is that the school gives his girlfriend all the older kids classes when she wants younger kids, and gives all the younger kids to D). Of course D, gave this suggestion to in the future switch the type of classes they give to him and his gf, but of course our suggestions are nothing here in this place, so we basically don’t give any when they ask. EXHIBIT B: Monday we had this team-building trip to Bolouyu(I’ll post about that soon).We knew that we were having a trip here but we didn’t know ANY details about it all last week. Sunday night, we finally get a voice message saying” Sorry to bother you, but please bring these items, and we will meet at 6:40am.” Yeah way to tell us at 9:30 pm the night before. Would have been cool if we knew sooner. We kept asking her all day Sunday and the FT supervisor wouldn’t say anything. I was contemplating not going, but then again it was free, and well as I’m living the transition life right now till i get first paycheck, free fun and food was enticing..
  4. I like the work jacket but hate the polo shirt.  I haven’t worn the shirt yet, but I can’t picture myself wearing this one shirt Wednesday-Sunday in the summer. I know I can just take it off when I don’t have classes, but it would be cool to NOT wear uniform. I know FT supervisor said that one grandma complained to the school that we need uniform, but I feel like our school isn’t growing as it is now because of our uniform…it obviously must be the classes and the teachers in them.


    Love this maroon work jacket…sucks it’s too hot to wear it now.

Anywho, there are more posts to come, don’t worry. This thing is active and will continue to be…Just be patient..I’m devoloping a working rhythm haha. Because I lost my vpn app on my phone, I can’t access my main social media sites…so communicate with me for now through this blog. Thanks ❤