Close Up -WP Photo Challenge

Are you ready for your close up? Recently the Welland Canal Bridge in downtown Welland has been photo ready. After a very recent cosmetic facelift adding some fresh paint and bright lights it is looking good.

Welland Canal Bridge in Down Town Welland, ON Canada

Welland Canal Bridge in Down Town Welland, ON Canada

Welland is known for its iconic bridges, that used to raise and lower, to allow big ships to traverse the Welland Canal. The canal made the journey easier between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario which, is connected by the mighty Niagara Falls. A new canal bypasses many of these old bridges, so they have been left alone to decay or removed for new cement overpasses. Someone decided to spare this bridge downtown and preserve some of the area’s history.

Welland Bridge at Night

Welland Bridge at Night

In nearby Port Colborne and St Catharines some of the bridges and locks system are still in use today. Watching the ships slowly be raised and lowered is something not to be missed if you are ever in the area.

Close up of Welland Canal Bridge

Close up of Welland Canal Bridge

Stay tuned and check out Word Press for more close ups.

 

Categories: Canada, Tourist in My Own Town, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Half & Half -WP photo challenge

Driving a few hours north of Toronto, to fetch our luggage a co-worker so helpfully brought back for us, I couldn’t help to stop and capture this photo with blue sky and yellow fields. Not a tall building in site… The other HALF or opposite in comparison with the Shanghai skyline I usually view; correction have viewed.

This week WP asked us to show half and half. Horizontally half this photo is sky and fields and vertically tree and field/sky. Half is blue and the other half yellow.

Half and Half -blue and yellow; sky and field

Half and Half -blue and yellow; sky and field

Stay tuned…

Categories: Canada, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Symbols: WP Photo Challenge

Chinese language uses symbols, not western recognisable letters and shapes, to communicate meaning in written contexts. The thickness and order in the strokes is just as important as the symbols themselves. In the new modern technological age Pin Yin has been introduced, a way to use a western letters and phonics to spell out words to make it easier for computers and smartphones to communicate. A debate has arisen if the old style character writing will slowly fade away. Chinese Characters have adapted before, as they used to be more representational of the items and words they represent.

Living in China for 5 years made it hard to communicate verbally and written was even more difficult. However, those characters will forever be a symbol to communicate and a memory for our time living in Shanghai. That chapter has just closed and a new one is on the horizon. I am still raw with emotion as we have been back about 1 week. Let me share some symbols of that journey.

My watch with the more traditional characters to symbolise numbers 1-12. In the centre is the character lǎoshī  showing ‘teacher’.

What time is it?

What time is it?

My name on a pendant written in Chinese Characters.

Hand Carved Chinese Pendant - can you read my name????

Hand Carved Chinese Pendant – can you read my name????

Simple things can hold a lot of meaning that cannot be put into words. It may mean something to a group of people, an individual or culture. Check out Word Press for more examples.

Stay tuned….

 

Categories: China, Culture, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

As one door closes a new one will open: WP

How fitting this week’s photo challenge from WP is DOORS. I love taking photos of doors, but with us leaving China I decided to use the ordinary everyday doors to our apartment. Very soon we will lock the door for the last time.

As one door closes a new one will open.

This is very literal for us as we will leave in a few short days. We will leave Shanghai ‘forever’ as our expat life comes to an end. After 5 years living and working abroad it has been a mix of emotions. Leaving friends and familiar places we love is hard. Going home to family, fresh air and a slower pace also has its advantages. A few tears have been shed, but the one thing I will be sure to miss is the people. The friends I have made -good friends.

As I said in my leaving speech…

The time must come for us all to leave

now I am heading home

We spent 5 years in China

and Asia we did roam.

I taught Year 3 and Year 1

and learned a few things too.

Like Ni Hao, dizchan, itchyzhoh

er, are, san just to name a few.

My time here was well spent

busy with plans and such.

My Chinese language learning,

as you can see — not so much.            CTB :D 2015

So my doors look at my building entrance and our apartment door that has been decorated by a previous tenant with the Chinese symbols.

Building 23 entrance

Building 23 entrance

 

apartment door

apartment door

Stay tuned….

 

 

 

Categories: Canada, China, Uncategorized, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Muse: Shanghai Skyline

When we first arrived, a fellow teacher looked out the windows in our building facing the Lujiazui area, and admired the Shanghai skyline. With a sigh they said “One day I won’t get to see this everyday.” That really stuck with me. I made a point to daily look out the windows, outside our door, near the elevators. I saw the skyline change and grow over 5 years. At night it sparkled in colour and in day it sometimes reflected the light. I saw it with blue sky, at sunset with beautiful hues and become invisible in rain, smog and pollution. Now we are down to days and soon it will only be a memory. WordPress asked to show our muse and over the last 5 years mine has been the Shanghai skyline. I must have hundreds of pictures of it, mostly from the same vantage point. A bitter-sweet ending to our time in Shanghai; what a fitting theme. Enjoy the slide show, of 16 photos, with some of my favourite photos of my muse. A tribute to a city I have called home for the last 5 years.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What will my new muse be? Stay tuned….

Categories: China, Photography, teaching overseas, Tourist in My Own Town, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 11 Comments

Ever Get the Feeling….?

Do you ever think “things happen for a reason?” Do you ever get the feeling “the universe is trying to tell me something?” Well that has been my pondering this last week.

As you know we are preparing to leave China. I have decided NOT to renew my contract. With that comes new adventure, but also new challenges. It has been an emotional time too. Top that off with a very busy school, who decided that this year we would have MORE events and place them right in the worst time… student assessment and report writing. With that I am trying to organise, give away and sell things. Pack, sort and do odds and ends with paper work for leaving. Then feeling guilty when friends ask us out. Things have been crazy.

This past week we had just finished an assessment that day when I got an email that we need to review this assessment and all the others (which thankfully were completed already). This needed to take place hopefully by Friday and this was Wednesday! I quickly marked the 5 pages of math and recorded the marks. I jumped up from the sofa and ran right into the coffee table! OUCH!!!! Ok I have stubbed my little toe and it hurts. I have broken my little toe before and it hurts. This was 10 times worse! OUCH!!!!

Turns out it is broken. Yup clean break on the third bone close to the joint. Bad place to break it, since that is the part of your foot that moves when you walk. Good news it is a clean break and a little bit further it would have been a larger bone and I would be immobile.

After I accidently kicked the coffee table I broke my toe. My toes were swollen and purple. A few days later the brusing has spread into my foot.

After I accidentally kicked the coffee table I broke my toe. My toes were swollen and purple. A few days later the bruising has spread into my foot.

Suggestion stay off my feet for 10-14 days. Ya right and use my magic wand to pack and sort my classroom? If I was returning in August I could have had someone pack it for me and worry about the stuff later. I had to go in and sort it myself and find my personal things since we are leaving. The kids have been great and like to pack, so that has helped. My hubby came in with me on the weekend and he reached up high and got all the wall displays down and packed some things too.

Wow what a year… my last year in China will be a memorable one. I am thinking this is China’s good-bye or telling me to leave ;) Maybe it is the universe’s way to say slow down. When things are going so fast I need to stop and take my time. Hard lesson to learn, the work still needs to get done. Well this way I am forced to ask for more help. 3 more days with kids and 1 with just staff. I can do it.

Stay tuned…

 

 

Categories: Chinese Adventures, teaching overseas | Tags: , , , , | 37 Comments

Repatriation Emotions

It has been a few weeks since I posted. I have been buried in a forever growing “To Do” list. The end of the school year is coming fast, like a runaway train without any brakes. This year all the major events came at the end of the year right in the middle of assessments and report writing. Add packing and moving to quickly increase your stress level. My work is busy, to put it kindly, so I was smart and asked to extend my stay a week after school ends. I could worry about the majority of packing after all the school stuff was taken care of. Well as Murphy’s Law would have it Murphy threw a monkey wrench in those plans. Another teacher is not able to stay at their apartment and needs to move; you guessed it into ours. They wanted to physically move things at the end of May and I said NO WAY! Right in the middle of reports I couldn’t clear out our spare room and have all of our packing things spread all over the rest of the living space. At least the spare room I can avoid and close the door.

Them needing to move has been an added stress that could have been easily avoided. But remember this is China and HR and they don’t think about life and people, they think about what looks good on paper. My weekends have been spent between home and school sorting, packing, selling and giving away. Time is ticking down and I am afraid soon it will explode with jobs left undone. Outwardly I am not showing stress, but inside my body is worried. It will get done, somehow it always does. The unfortunate expense is the enjoyment of the last few weeks in exploring a city we are about to leave forever.

The sun is setting on our Shanghai life

The sun is setting on our Shanghai life

Next weekend is a 3 day holiday and for months our little group planned an outing to a nice quiet city outside of Shanghai. Spending time with friends we are about to leave, exploring and relaxing was all well needed and deserved. However, we are all feeling the stresses and it was decided to cancel the trip and go out for the day in Shanghai. Allowing time at home for those import “To Do” list jobs. Part of me was disappointed, but secretly I was relieved.

Lots of emotions are happening right now, I feel almost bi-polar. I am looking forward to home, but something is tugging on me about Shanghai. The list of reasons to come home outweigh the list to stay, but I think I will mourn the city that was my home for 5 years.

I feel like Frederick from Leo Leoni’s book where I need to soak in all the colours, words and feelings so during those lonely times I can close my eyes and feel I am still here. It saddens me that we are too busy to get out and travel around to do this, so I must settle for the little day to day experiences.

I get a lump in my throat as I think this is the last time for…. These thoughts come more and more lately. June is finally here and those months have melted away into weeks. School is only days.

Life in China has changed me. Will I fit back into life back home or will I be that one piece of the puzzle that just doesn’t work?

Categories: Canada, China, Chinese Adventures, teaching overseas | Tags: , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Team Canada rowers for Pan Am Games announced

CanadianTravelBugs:

The Pan Am Games are this summer in the neck of the woods where I grew up. Many people from my Uni participated in rowing and even a guy from my hometown competed in the Olympics! Rowing is being held a hop skip and a jump from where I will be this summer… Toronto to the host.
Read below for more on rowing as posted by the Canadian Olympic Team Web Site.

Originally posted on Official Canadian Olympic Team Website | Team Canada | 2014 Winter Olympics:

Feature photo by Katie Steenman Images, Courtesy of Rowing Canada Aviron

Royal Canadian Henley course in St. Catharines, Ontario will be home to the Pan Am Games rowing regatta this summer, where the sport’s national governing body is sending 26 athletes to compete for medals.

There are four Canadian Olympians heading to the water with this group. Will Crothers, Rob Gibson and Conlin McCabe – silver medallists in the men’s eight from London 2012 – will each compete in two events. Another Olympian doing double duty is Will Dean.

Full list of Pan Am Games nominated rowers here

The men's four team at the 2014 World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam (Katie Steenman Images, Courtesy of Rowing Canada Aviron). The men’s four team at the 2014 World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam (Katie Steenman Images, Courtesy of Rowing Canada Aviron).

Men will be competing in eight events, while there are six for women. One notable absence in the Pan Am rowing calendar is the women’s eight, which will not be contested…

View original 158 more words

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Broken: WP Photo Challenge

This week we are asked to show BROKEN.

Broken usually depicts something in sadness, now tossed away or a source of tears because it is not as it once was. A broken heart, a favourite toy, a bicycle with a bent rim. Often these are abandoned as we must move on.

Could broken be a source of joy?

I think it can…. as it was in this instance of the silk worms. My class was studying animals and we had the opportunity to have some silk worms. We got tiny little caterpillars which quickly became fat after constantly munching on mulberry leaves.

The last lone caterpillar

The last lone caterpillar

After a few weeks they spun elaborate cocoons and my class waited in anticipation for them to emerge.

Imagine my surprise Monday (May 18/15) when I came into the classroom to this strange noise. As I walked across the room I saw the silk worms were now moths and fluttering their wings at top speeds. Unfortunately they are too large to fly, but try as they may. Or maybe they are doing it to cool down, attract a mate or disperse the eggs?

up close and personal Note the large, furry body and feathery attenna

up close and personal
Note the large, furry body and feathery antenna

Our little cocoons were broken, much to our delight, as we experienced the life cycle right before our eyes.

The small yellow dots are eggs. Look closely for the one cocoon broken where the moth emerged.

The small yellow dots are eggs. Look closely for the one cocoon broken where the moth emerged.

Stay tuned…

 

Categories: China, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Walk of Life

It is funny what you can find walking along and taking the time to notice. I know I shared some shots of unusual street life in Shanghai, but this was different. Walking through my compound it was a beautiful day – just perfect. Something caught my eye and I looked down…

Just off the main path I spotted something a little high and dry

Just off the main path I spotted something a little high and dry

20150514_121821

Ay Ay Captain

 

When I looked closer it even had a little passenger. I wonder what the story behind this little origami boat is? How did it get there? What do you think?

Stay tuned….

 

 

 

Categories: China, Tourist in My Own Town, unique experiences | Tags: , , , , , | 26 Comments

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