Pluses and Minuses

Well folks, here I am in my favourite place in China – Jiaxing Starbucks #1. There is a second one opening soon – it was supposed to be Feb. 1 but now looks like March 15. Sounds like home, doesn’t it.

Anyway, this blog is dedicated to the pluses and minuses of our experiences in China thus far.


  1. We have experienced about 2 weeks of rain since our arrival 6 months ago
  2. We have experienced living in a very different culture
  3. We have met some wonderful people
  4. We have seen Shanghai – well at least a small part of it
  5. We have experienced Thailand at a very reasonable cost
  6. We have relatively easy jobs for which we get paid (especially Geoff!)
  7. We live in a nice apartment with nice neighbours in a nice part of a 3,500,000 person rural city
  8. Terry is loved by the administration at the Chinese school
  9. Geoff is tolerated and has yet to go to jail
  10. We are learning to speak Chinese – and Thai
  11. We live cheaply and are saving our pensions
  12. Geoff has lost a whack o weight,  learned to enjoy vegetables and is walking a lot


  1. We miss our friends and family
  2. There is no central heating/air conditioning in the apartment or in the school (previously articulated)
  3. We miss our friends and family
  4. Now that the weather has warmed up, every window in the school gets opened so the temperature continues to hover around 10C.
  5. We miss our friends and family
  6. There are very few English speakers in Jiaxing so we get a little lonely
  7. We miss our friends and family
  8. Although it doesn’t happen often, the spitters and hawkers are still disgusting
  9. We miss our friends and family
  10. We still have many places in Southeast Asia to see
  11. We miss our friends and family

As you can see, the pluses narrowly out-number the minuses, so we have decided to stay another year and have told Terry’s boss so. He is very happy about that. We will be home in July – likely around the 8th, returning here around the 29th or 30th of August. We hope to see everyone over the summer and get reacquainted with our golf clubs as well – although that is a higher priority for Terry than it is for Geoff.

So there you go folks – our big news.

17 thoughts on “Pluses and Minuses

  1. Peter Therrien

    Congrats you two! Geoff, I hope you reaquaint with your clubs as per your previous relationship as that is monetarily a positive for many of us here. You have to. I mean, how much can you lose in a month and a half?

  2. Kelly Spencer

    Oh come on! Asia has got to be getting boring by now! 😉 Okay. Maybe not. You’ll continue to be very missed… sniffle. It really must be an amazing experience living and working in such a different culture, so I’ll be happy for you. Looking forward to some visits in the summer. Silver lining: more blog entries to read and opportunities to live vicariously through you.

  3. mary thomas

    Geoff !!!! Anticipating that by this time next year, you will be general manager of Starbucks #3 in Jiaxing !!!! And please pass this blog to the Fake Markets in Shanghai… they will be just thrilled … !! Talk to you soon. Mare

  4. Mal

    All the miss yous above x 10. Sounds like you have a lot more to explore in the East, so one more year on someone elses’ dime is good. And Terry has wooed another school district.

    Good on YA.

    K and M and J

  5. joan

    We really miss you guys too!!! Think of you often. I thought you would be home after a year, but good on you for sticking it out and saving the $$$$.
    I give you both credit, we were away for 3 weeks and couldn’t wait to get home.
    We will look forward to a game of golf with you guys when you are back!

  6. Trish

    Congratulations you guys-BUT-
    Minus -we will miss you
    Plus-more Jiaxing Express
    Look forward to seeing you In the summer.
    Love Trish

  7. Tom&Moe

    Wow another year! Yes we love the blogs so keep them coming. We are sure another year will go fast for you. Look forward to seeing you over the summer.

  8. Judith

    I’m glad that you’ve decided to stay another year…in our experience the first year was trying to get used to how different everything was from home … “how foreign” But the second year was much more settled…the ‘novelty’ had worn off and we were able to view everthing, well, almost everything, through the eyes of a resident not a tourist and were better able to appreciate those differences.
    Keep the Blog alive!

  9. Mike & Alanna

    Good for you two. The time will pass quickly but the memories will last a lifetime. Alanna & I look forward to another year of great, and interesting stories. See you guys at the Club.

  10. Andy&Cheryl

    Hi Terry and Geoff, we have been following your blog with extreme interest over the past 6 months and are excited to hear the news that you are extending your stay.
    We have absolutely loved your posts and you have brought many a smile to our faces as we relived moments with you both. We will be returning to Jiaxing at the beginning of July to take up ‘teaching’ positions.
    After being captivated by China during 5 years of leading English Summer Camps at Jiaxing N1HS we decided to sign up for a longer appointment in 2013. We know how rare foreigners are in Jaixing so perhaps we could catch up from time to time for a chat in English (over a coffee at Starbucks maybe????).

  11. Dave

    Sorry to be late responding, but I have been busy playing golf. Being a member of the greatly missed family I can only say it’s good to hear we are greatly missed. However, like all the greatly missed friends above, I also look forward to next year’s blogs. Also, I want to mention how much gratification I have been taking by boasting about my little sister who is doing great things and having a wondrous adventure in far away China, of all places. I would greatly miss the right to brag. So stay another year, and keep the interesting news coming. Enjoy.

  12. Barb

    Wow!…I am not surprised you are staying on for another year…you only live once…and if it weren’t for Bogie, I would take you up on that teaching position…see you in two weeks!!!!


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