Having spent a number of years in Toronto, I spent all of it riding a Bixi/Bike Share Toronto bicycle around. For the price of $99/year, unlimited 30 minute sessions (more than enough to reach any station in my radius of living), I didn't pay much attention to the obvious step-up solution right in front of me.
When you look around, whether in the big city, on the highways, or in smaller towns, a significant amount of the population drives a vehicle, but often it's with only one passenger, and many times, if there is a passenger, it's just one.
While previously working at Apple, I contemplated transferring to other countries and trying to work there for a little while. When reviewing countries I may be possibly interested in, I limited myself to countries which spoke English commonly. This was a massive mistake because it transferred into my other thoughts of considering pleasure travel.
Nothing could be further from the truth. You do not need to know the language to move to a country! Don't let such a trivial chasm deter you for several reasons:
Within the past for years, my opinions have gradually transitioned from being ignorant and intolerant to many of the social issues facing the world at large to supporting and acting for them!
From considering big business profits as tollerable, ignorance to the blind sightedness of our food supply chain/production, lack of action within the political realm, acceptance of the mega rich, and a lack of information to make an informed opinion on environmental damage to the complete opposite.
Last Sunday, as you know, I purchased an electric scooter for 2100¥ ($420), which had a range of 50-60km and top speed of 55km/h (previously thought 69, but it's governed).
On the first day, I took it on a 40km trip, then the next day, returned back home and did some running around. Within the past week, I've been running all over the city with it for everything. It's like a car, without all the costs and so much more fun! You might not think so, but it's actually quite the chick magnet, and a surprising number haven't had a ride on the back! What easier public way to get cozy with someone than to zip around town while the two of you are crammed together?
It's been just under a week, and I am still very happy about having my electric scooter!
The electric system is what I appreciate most. Ever since reading the biography of Elon Musk, I was convinced he was a visionary, and having a better understanding of Tesla's design, innovation, the company and the man behind the show -- I simply could not really appreciate internal combustion cars as much thereafter. A requirement, if I was the purchase a car, would be that it's electric only! As a result, I figured I should apply the concept to my scooter purchase -- and purchased an electric scooter. It wasn't something I had to consider consciously as I already had multiple reasons to make the purchase:
Chinese lessons have finally begun. After delaying my start, then organizing a time and date (which was then cancelled), I have now confirmed a time to do the lessons: Wednesday from 13:00-15:00 and Thursday from 16:00-17:00, right after I exercise at the gym and finishing just before class.
After going to the museum of natural history yesterday morning, I went and purchased an ebike! My buddy purchased one a few weeks ago and shared how economical it is for commuting around. He sent me to an area where there was 4-6 ebike shops all beside each other, and well over 100 different bikes available. These bikes ranged from basic pedal bikes to decked out ebikes with coloured components, flashy lights and treated tires which look like they are miniaturized dirt bike tires! Prices vary considerably, from 1500¥ to over >4000¥!
Having a bike to ride my entire life has helped me get around everywhere. Since just before my move Toronto, it's been my default option for commuting around, saving me hours of time and thousands of dollars -- not from not owning a car -- from public transportation! If I took the subway each time I used a bike, the most economical option would be a monthly pass. These climbed from $108 when I first moved out, to when last in Toronto at $138 (about 4-5 years time). At an average price of $122/month, over 48 months, total transit costs would equal $5856. Assume I purchase a monthly pass 3 months of the year X 4 years for a total of 12 monthly passes. This still means I saved $3400 (not including the odd taxi fare each month).
In Tianjin, taking a taxi is much cheaper when comparing dollar/km, and not accounting for relative costs of living here and in Toronto. However, having to pay 40¥ simply to get downtown and back eats up 80% of my daily budget (you get live on a surprisingly little amount of money here)! As a result doing a bunch of inexpensive things downtown not viable as cost of access (the taxi ride) renders them uneconomical when all costs considered vs daily budget. This makes days off challenging as it limits exploring to a significantly reduced travel radius. This confinement is also having an affect on my writing creativity for my blog and reduces my cultural exposure
In my current teaching job, there are 7 classes, each with 12 kids. Many of the kids have been given the same English names and are mostly 4 or 5 years old, with one being as young as 3! Yeah, a child, 3 years old, quite fluent in Chinese and learning English... This is one night during the week, and 1.5 hours on the weekend, beyond their typical schooling. Most 3 year olds in Canada are still at home sitting in their own crap half the day.
The kids are, on average, pretty good; likely better behaved than children this age in North America (and older), especially when you have them in a classroom roughly 28° (government controls when AC can be turned on, and it should be any day now, temperatures this far North have been steady in the high 20's and low 30's for several weeks now).
I've been in China just over 2 months now and finally set up a bank account. There was initial resistance, simply because I had succeeded in budgeting with cash and was proud of my ability to do so.
During this time, and during previous financial accomplishments, I've noticed its most likely to succeed when I had no other options as a fall back. Why? Because when I permitted myself to have a fallback, I used it. When there was no other options, I made damn sure I stuck to the original plan!
In the community where I live, the environment is peaceful, the wind is light, and the large garden in between the cluster of 6 buildings is serene.
Plenty of young children play in the yet-to-be-filled pool which is well sized, has 6 fish fountains, a stone pillar with water which will trickle down the side, and several short pillars, at water level, which can be used to walk across the kidney shaped design or enter a more shallow area.
Those who don't often travel (or internationally) overlook one skill which needs to be learned while abroad when it comes to communications. This skill is learning to communicate with people over multiple time zones.
Thankfully, the time difference between Toronto and Tianjin is exactly 12 hours (same length as a direct flight), and makes whatever time you have in Tianjin 12 hours ahead of Toronto. 8am here is 8pm/20:00 there.
First, I'd like to say thank you to all of you who read my posts, I appreciate you taking the time and hope you enjoy them.
Since my major recent post titled: The Allure of A Woman and My Biggest Regret, I haven't really been writing much, unsure what to write next. I put a ton of effort into the aforementioned post and feel it has drained me (I say this with positive intent). A few drafts of different pieces have been started but not really expanded upon. I'm sorry for not having posted earlier. I feel I am starting to sputter on new pieces. There is much personal progress to be made by way of not repeating old habits as in Toronto. Although I feel I can settle into a place fairly quickly, I mustn't forget the things which have been learned between settlements. There must always be a strong desire for adventure.
This past week, I've had Monday-Thursday off and haven't done much since I'm making financial efforts in preparation for a few upcoming plans. Thus I have not being going out or exploring much this past week.