Our International Phone Plan

Ni Hao!

Today I wanted to write about something that Taylor and I get questions on a lot. Our phone plans! Kind of a boring topic, but I think it’s informative for someone traveling abroad or moving internationally.

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Before we moved abroad, Taylor and I had contracts with Verizon. We were loyal to them for several years, and we absolutely loved them. We never had any issues and they’ve always been great. When we found out that we were moving to China, our phone plans needed to change because we needed something that allowed us to communicate internationally. Unfortunately, Verizon didn’t have any long-term international plans available. They only offered a daily rate. They actually recommended that we check out Sprint. I really didn’t want to check out Sprint, because I’ve never heard anyone say they enjoy their phone plan with them. Then again, I didn’t know anyone living internationally!

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Sprint offered to pay off our contracts with Verizon and allowed us to text and FaceTime from anywhere in the world at no extra cost. It was also way cheaper than what we were paying with Verizon. Taylor and I were able to update our iPhones, plus they gave us an additional 2 phones that we now have as backups. We’ve been living in China for 4 months now and have traveled to multiple countries, and haven’t had any issues with our Sprint phones. We can still text free of charge (on both ends) and we can FaceTime with anyone in the world. If we make a normal phone call it is 10 cents a minute, so not a big deal. However, all FaceTime calls are completely free. Taylor and I have an app called WeChat, which allows us to make phone calls to each other within China if needed.

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After visiting America for a few weeks back in August, I’ve had the chance to see how my Sprint phone preforms there as well. To be honest, it works much better abroad. I didn’t get great signal and almost all of my calls were dropped. The internet was slow as well, unless I was connected to the wifi. Our sprint phones serve their purpose and work great while we’re traveling. We spend more time in other countries these days so it’s perfect for our needs. Whenever it’s time for us to move back to the states, I’m not sure if we’ll keep our sprint plans. However, it’s super cheap so I can’t complain too much! 

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For those of you asking, yes you can text and FaceTime call us free of charge! We may be in another country, but we’re easily accessible! The only difference is the time! 🙂 I hope this helps some of y’all if you’re thinking about changing phone plans or if you’re moving internationally anytime soon! xoxo

A Fall Day in Shanghai

Hello!

As I mentioned in my last post, China has been celebrating their Chinese National Day all week long. We stayed in Nanjing most of the week, but decided to spend our last day off in Shanghai! The last time we were in Shanghai, it was only our second week living in China. I was feeling very lost and uneasy, but I felt so full of joy this time! I’m so thankful for everyone’s constant prayers for Taylor and I.

Shanghai was very hot and humid back in June, so now that the weather has started to cool off, we were eager to return for the day! After spending time in Shanghai during the summer and now fall, I can 100% recommend visiting the city in the fall. I can’t be held accountable about the other two seasons, but it was beautiful when we went this time. It was less crowded, easier to get around, and just all around more beautiful.

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We didn’t have any big plans for our afternoon in Shanghai. Ultimately, we wanted to get out of Nanjing and do something other than lay around in our apartment. This was the first time Taylor and I have had an extended amount of time off with no plans. Typically, we jump on a plane the minute we have spare time. We both felt like we needed to breathe and regroup after returning from Italy, plus we’ve got a heavy travel schedule coming up!

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We took the bullet train from Nanjing to Shanghai (2 hours max), which is the fastest and easiest way to get there. Shanghai is actually a 5 hour drive one way by car, so I don’t recommend doing that! Once we arrived, we took a taxi to The Bund. This is one of the most scenic areas you can visit in Shanghai. The easiest way to describe it, is as a long stretch of buildings along the Huangpu River that overlook city. Not only is the view pretty great, but the buildings along the bund were built by the French and full of history. It’s easy to forget you’re in China as you’re walking alongside the river. Both time’s we’ve visited Shanghai it has been hazy, but clear skies in China are rare.

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Once we were done walking, we took the subway to the “Fake Market.” We visited a different “Fake Market” the last time we visited and had a blast. You can’t take photos or film in the markets, because well…..it’s all illegal. You can find some amazing knockoffs here and it’s something everyone needs to experience. It’s not for the faint of heart though! If you’re not willing to get aggressive and haggle, don’t bother going. 🙂

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It was almost 3 by the time we were done walking around the market, so we stopped at Tocks for a quick lunch/dinner. We found this Canadian restaurant on Trip Advisor and it did not disappoint! Taylor and I split the chicken sandwich and loaded fries!

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Once lunch was over, we went to our favorite place in Shanghai, Big Movie. I talked about this in my last Shanghai post, but it’s a massive movie store where you can find just about anything you can think of, new movies, television series, Disney, and all the classics. If you love movies, you absolutely need to stock up while you’re visiting. Each movie costs 13RMB, which is equivalent to 2 Dollars. After we were done movie shopping, we bought train tickets back to Nanjing and called it a day! We had a great time escaping our city for an afternoon and have hopes of returning again soon.

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I made another YouTube video of our afternoon in Shanghai, and you can watch that here:

Thank’s for following along! xoxo

 

Chinese National Day

Happy Chinese National Week!

October 1st was the official National Day of the Peoples Republic of China, and the country has been celebrating all week long! Every year, the country shuts down in order to celebrate together. The holiday occurs right after the Mid-Autumn Festival, but every few years the two holidays blend together and the celebration lasts a few days longer. We got lucky because this is what happened this year!

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Like the rest of the country, Taylor has been off for the whole week. We were debating on traveling somewhere cool, but we opted for staying in Nanjing to chill out. We just got back from Europe and we have a few trips planned in the near future. Our Chinese friends said traveling around the country at this time is absolute chaos anyway, and they recommended we stay in the city. We were happy to oblige! 🙂

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Our week has been filled with a lot of relaxing and some sightseeing around Nanjing. We’ve been talking about walking the city wall since we arrived, so we knew this was the perfect time to go!

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We paid 60 RMB total for the two of us to walk along the historical wall, which is 10 USD. Totally worth it!

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The Nanjing city wall took 28 years to construct and was finalized in 1366!!  Incase you’re wondering, that’s 410 years before America was founded!

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We couldn’t have picked a better day to explore the city wall. The air quality varies day by day here, and we really lucked out with clear skies! This city is so beautiful, especially when you can see the surrounding mountains in the distance.

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The good thing about living in Nanjing, is that it’s a very up-and-coming city. Most people who live here didn’t actually grow up here. During Chinese National Week, most families leave Nanjing to return to their hometowns. Because of this, the city wall wasn’t overcrowded and we could take our time.

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Below the wall is a huge park, which we visited during our first week living in China. It’s crazy how different I felt on this day compared to then.

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I filmed our day walking along the wall and some more about our day, and you can watch it on my YouTube channel HERE!

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Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up with all our adventures! 🙂

Nanjing Update – Seeing a Chinese Doctor

Good Morning!

As most of you know, we are back in China after our European getaway! I was gone for about a month visiting friends and family before meeting Taylor in Zurich. When I left China back in August, I had no idea how much traveling I’d be doing, when I’d be back, or that I’d literally fly around the world in a month! I feel so blessed to do what I love! Returning to Nanjing was a whole lot easier this time. I wish I would’ve known back in June that I’d be leaving for month in August. It would’ve made my transition way easier. Sigh. I really should trust that everything will work out. 🙂

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Our flight landed in Nanjing bright and early and we returned to our normal routine right away!

We started apartment hunting again (watch our Apartment Tour here) and we were welcomed back by our friends. We’re so lucky to have friends here who make living in China easier.

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A few days after we returned to China, my right ear started feeling achy and congested. sigh. I have suffered from swimmers ear and overall ear problems my whole life, but haven’t had any infections in quite a while. As you can imagine, I was really irritated! I’m not one to see a doctor right away. I’d much rather let my body try and fight it as much as it can before I start antibiotics or seeing a professional. I was drinking lots of water and letting it drain as much as possible. When it still wasn’t getting better, I went to the pharmacy and picked up some over the counter ear drops. Now, I’ve been taking ear drops for a really long time and these drops hurt so extremely bad that I knew something was wrong. Ear drops are supposed to cause you discomfort, but these were unbearable.

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So we went to see a Chinese doctor. I really really didn’t want to do this. I don’t do well when visiting American hospitals, so I didn’t know what I’d see in China. Taylor did some research with our translator Jake before picking which hospital to visit, and this one was one of the nicer options. We also took Jake along with us so he could translate for us.

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When you live in a city with millions of people, seeing a doctor can be chaotic. We paid 10 RMB to see the doctor upon arrival and were directed to the ears, nose, and throat room. Here, we waited maybe 30 minutes before my name appeared on the board that stated which doctor I needed to see. Once I found the doctor, I had to wait in line at his station to be seen.

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There’s nothing like waiting in a room with 30 other people who have ear, nose, and throat problems…

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HIPPA is not a thing here in China!

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Me looking at Taylor because I didn’t like the long metal object he was about to stick in my already achy ear.

The doctor examined my ear in front of everybody else in the room, which was awkward since I was the only American there and of course they were already staring at me. He told me that my ear was in fact infected, but my ear drum also had a hole in it (insert eye roll here). We’re not sure when it happened, but because my ear got infected, this is when my body decided to let me know that I had bigger issues. Side note: this happened to me years ago, so rupturing again is common.

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Once we were done seeing him, we walked downstairs and picked up my prescription on the spot. The whole experience cost me a total of 10 US dollars (without insurance), which is unbelievable. We were there for about an hour, saw a doctor, and picked up a prescription within an hour. This is unheard of in America!! Now, there was no privacy and it wasn’t warm and fuzzy, but you win some you lose some. I’m glad I went and overcame that fear, but I’m not eager to return. I do have to have the hole repaired through surgery, but I’m going to hold off until I return to the States for the holidays! I’m not quite ready to be put under anesthetics in China yet! 🙂

 

 

Visa Run to Hong Kong

AHHH we traveled to Hong Kong!! I’ve been eager to write about our time here, but was setback with a few hitches in our plans. However, when things settled down I whipped out my computer and began typing! I hope you enjoy all the photos! 🙂

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Taylor and I had to leave the country in order to satisfy our visa requirements, so the MLB sent us to Hong Kong for one night. (Incase you’re wondering, Hong Kong is an autonomous region of China, and it used to be a former British colony.) Therefore, it counts as leaving the country.

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Just a little boring background information, you need a visa to enter China as an American if you’re staying for more than a few days. There are multiple visas you can apply for, but we received the multiple entry, tourist visa several years ago when we visited China for the first time. Our visa is good for 10 years, and allows us to continuously enter the country. However, we can only stay in China for 60 days before we have to leave and re-enter. This is what we call a “visa run.” We are in the middle of applying for work visas, but that is an even longer process.

Anyway, we traveled to Hong Kong for 24 hours! 🙂

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I’m not sure what I was expecting when visiting, but I was blown away! I thought Hong Kong was just going to be a bigger Shanghai… with a lot of cement and high rise buildings. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Hong Kong is actually a bunch of islands and the city is beautiful! Taylor even mentioned that this is now his new favorite big city! That’s a big statement! I’d say it’s a mixture of Hawaii and Los Angeles, but definitely more Chinese. If that makes sense?

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There are millions of people living in Hong Kong, but the islands separate the city so it doesn’t feel too overwhelming. Almost everyone speaks english here, and there is a huge western influence. The surrounding mountains and blue waters are so serene, that it really doesn’t feel like you’re in China anymore! If you’ve wanted to explore China but are scared to jump right in, I’d highly recommend traveling to Hong Kong first. It won’t give you such a harsh culture shock.

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There’s so much to see, do, and eat in Hong Kong. You can shop, hike, take a tour, go to the beach, try some local food, or just wonder around on your own! I’d highly recommend taking the ferry from one island to the next. Not only is it super cheap, but the views are incredible. This is what we did during our one day.

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Once we got off the ferry, we decided to do something touristy and take the trolley up to one of the peaks. It was a long wait, but totally unique and a great experience. If you don’t want to ride up, you can hike! No matter how you find your way up the peak, you HAVE TO do it while in Hong Kong. You won’t regret it!

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I think the pictures speak for themselves. Fortunately, we were blessed with a beautiful day so we were able to see everything. We took the trolley up the peak, but took Chatham Path down afterwards.

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If you do find yourself in Hong Kong, you need to stand along the harbor and watch all the pretty lights twinkling in the night. They have a “light show” every evening at 8pm, but it’s nothing spectacular. It’s just a bunch of spotlights shining into the sky. If that’s your thing, then you’d love it! I just enjoyed admiring the city lights.

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We had a fantastic time in Hong Kong, and can’t wait to return during more of future visa runs! I’m working on the YouTube video of our time in Hong Kong, so stay tuned for that! Make sure you’re subscribed so you’ll be notified when it’s posted. 🙂

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2 Months in China

Good Morning!

Welcome back to my second monthly review! I’m posting this a little earlier than the official two month mark because we’re headed to Hong Kong tomorrow! I’d rather post it too early than too late. I don’t think anyone will mind! 🙂

This past month was filled with work, work, and more work. It’s prime baseball season for Taylor right now, which means our days are long. Taylor is the only athletic trainer in Nanjing right now, so he’s had to work all but one day this month.

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In August, we’ll spend most of our time in Tianjin, China for even more baseball. The Chinese National Team has invited Taylor to work with them during another tournament. This is such a high honor and I’m extremely proud of all his hard work! We were supposed to travel to Taiwan for a different tournament, but that plan was changed. I’ve quickly learned that we cannot plan anything here. Things are always changing, so it’s best to take things as they come. This has been challenging for my Type-A personality.

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Although our days are filled with baseball, we’ve managed to get out of our apartment and have a little fun of our own! Here’s a few things we’ve done this month: 

-We went to our first Chinese professional soccer game with friends from work! We had so much fun that we’re already talking about seeing another game!

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-I started a YouTube channel! 🙂 You should click the link HERE and subscribe to see all our adventures from a different perspective. I’m still learning everything there is to know about filming/editing, but it’s been a fun process!

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-We went apartment hunting! This has been a long and difficult process, so stay tuned for a full post on that.

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-We saw the Jiming Temple! You can read about the full experience HERE!

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-We started sight-seeing by bicycle! Can I just say that this has been a blast? I look forward to riding bikes around the city. Especially at dusk! This is quite possibly the best thing we’ve started doing!

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-We saw our first movie in theater! There were only two American movies playing in english here, The Incredibles 2 or Jurassic Park. We chose the Incredibles and the movie was…incredible. 😉

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-We received our first package! This was an exciting day! 🙂

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As we were reflecting on our second month here, Taylor mentioned that he thinks our time is flying. I on the other hand feel like we’ve been here forever. Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying my time here, but each day is a new battle. To be honest, I’m exhausted!

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I wasn’t expecting our move to China to release so many raw emotions within me. If there’s one thing I’ve learned while being here, it’s that I DO NOT know how to control my emotions! We’ve only been here two months and I’ve experienced sadness, disappointment, joy, anxiousness, anger, excitement, frustration, and much more. I don’t display this on a daily basis, but I told myself that I’d keep my updates real and honest. What people don’t see are all the dropped phone calls, stomach bugs, language barriers, loneliness, and everyday challenges that we face.

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The process of moving to China has been anything but easy for me. Although it was a decision Taylor and I made together, there are often moments of frustration and sadness. It’s really shined a light on who truly cares about our well being here. This realization has been the most difficult for me to embrace. While I’ve realized who deeply cares, I’ve also seen who doesn’t. People I thought would be there, simply aren’t. This could be one of the hardest realizations to hit me and I’m still struggling with it. However, there are so many amazing people who I didn’t expect to be so invested, who have been incredible and uplifting.

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Enough real talk! We’ve got some exciting adventures happening at the end of July, and I know August will be filled with even more crazy stories! I can’t wait to share them with you along the way!