Posts Tagged With: post a week for 2011

Merry-Go-Round

As promised, I will write a bit more about Niagara and the wonderful attractions it holds; all here in my own back yard. As a kid I loved the merry-go-round at the local fair. It was fun to pick which animal you wanted to ride and your imagination would drift to the surreal and make-believe. I could be a princess on a beautiful white horse, or riding a wild animal on an African safari. I don’t think I ever went to this one in Lakeside Park, Port Dalhousie (a part of St. Catharines, ON) until I was much older, but the child in me quickly returned as I mounted my chosen animal and the old-fashioned organ music started up. Up and down and round and a round is not the most thrilling or adventurous of rides, but the smiles and joy it brings to many is priceless. Sadness fills your heart as the ride and music slows and your daydream is

Old Fashioned Charm

over. The best part about this old amusement ride is the price, still 5 cents a ride, just like the ‘good old days’ when these rides were popular. It is cheap and easy to get back in line for another ride and quickly return to your life of pretend. Today wedding parties come for unique photo shoots, summer day camps, tourists and local families come from all over for a ride. It is easy to buy a string of tickets and go on again and again.

In between rides you can walk out along the pier into Lake Ontario for a view of the water, or Toronto on the opposite side of the lake. You may enjoy exploring the marina, or watch the big ships pass by on their way to the Welland canal to traverse the Niagara escarpment and Niagara Falls between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Bring a beach chair, bathing suit or roll up your pant legs to splash in the water. If you forgot one enjoy one of the many benches along the pier and park. Feed the ducks or Canadian geese who are tame enough to get close and follow you as you walk by because they expect any passer-by has a handout. Slowly the kitschy shops and bars are closing up to make way for a new condo development, but if you are lucky the ice cream shops and few souvenir places are still open among the vacant properties.

Port Dalhousie isn’t a big flashy tourist destination that will tantalize and dazzle your senses, but it is quant, quiet and off the beaten path. If you want to learn more about the carousel check out this link. What rides do you like to go on?

I just got a new camera last weekend and I am learning how to use it. What do you think of the images?

As I said in my last post we are heading off to Cuba for a few weeks and we won’t have any gadgets or internet to keep connected, so I will catch up with blogging, comments and you all when we return.

Stay tuned for more about Cuba, Canada and China.

 

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Categories: Photography, post a week, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Happy New Year

Well another year is hours away and in some parts of the world it is already 2012.

We have never flown New Year’s Eve before so I wonder if we will celebrate through each time zone? We will be flying into the New Year and not following it, so maybe we can count down at least once? Hmm will they give us all a complementary glass of cheap champagne?

2012 is the Year of the Dragon – a year of strength and power. I wonder what it will bring. Soon I need to decide if I will stay on at YCIS or move elsewhere. The idea of change and adventure is sure exciting and interesting. We’ll see how things go… things always happen for a reason and I’ll put out some feelers and see what comes up. I would like to stay as we really haven’t seen as much as we would have liked in the area, but in ways it is also time to move on.  Another reason maybe to move on is to keep the blog fresh and tell you about all the crazy adventures in a new place 😉

Take care, all the best for 2012 and stay tuned for more adventures…

Categories: everyday occurances, post a week, travel | Tags: ,

Celebrity Sightings

This week in Shanghai I have seen Elvis and Santa Claus then heard Shania Twain and Josh Grobin! How is this possible you wonder? Well I have connections here in Shanghai.

Actually it was Elfvis… and it was one of our school Christmas Musical Productions. The school puts on quite the performance and we have live music, a large stage set up and lights! Quite professional. Our VP and another administrator played electric guitar while the one music teacher played piano and the other played the trumpet. The last music teacher’s son played the drums. We had spot lights, flashing lights and more.

Our Year 3 classes did the “First Christmas Story” about Jesus. It was OK with mellow songs. My class’ song went on forever and ever… It was a short play and each class performed 1 song and we all did the first and last song. The year 4 musical was more ‘rock and roll’ based on Elvis songs. It was really good -about friendship and working together. The songs were upbeat and fun. The little guy who played Elfvis did an awesome job. My class was jealous and they loved the music and now all the boys want to be Elfvis next year.

Santa of course had to come to the concerts. The kids who had brothers and sisters came to the concert the night before and told me the “Real Santa” came to THEIR concert. This night one of the teachers was doing Santa and the kids knew right away it was him. Again the kids said that the night before was the real one. I happen to have an in with Santa this year and I hear he had to get his sleigh fixed. On his way home he decided to stop into Shanghai to get some dumplings and put on some Christmas weight!

Friday was our work party and that is where I heard Josh Grobin and Shania Twain. We always have a talent part of the evening and the first one up said she loves country music and would sing Shania Twain. I was worried it would be like a bad karaoke night, but she was awesome. Without looking you thought she really was Shania! The fellow that did Josh Grobin sis pretty well too.

Its things like this that make me appreciate where I am and what I experience. The talent with all those around you are pretty amazing.

I may miss writing next weekend as we will be packing, and in transit back home. I still have reports to finish and other school things, so all the packing and getting ready will have to get done Saturday and Sunday before we leave.

Stay tuned as the next blog may be from Canada Eh!

Categories: Chinese Adventures, Culture, teaching overseas | Tags: , , ,

Chill in the Air

Seasons are changing back home and you have probably already pulled out some of the winter woolies and turned on the heat. Seasons change here and they turn quickly, no slow cool down just a fast change as if someone turned a switch. It seems that it has happened this week. We went from comfortable 20’s to damp cool and cloudy days. A nice sunny day turned cold and people were caught off guard wearing short sleeves and shorts! This year has been cooler all around. No 50c temps to deal with and a lot of rain. Last year I think  days were comfortable into November and the damp chill didn’t happen until closer to December.

A damp chill and fog has hung in the air and chills you to the bone. It is days like these where I like to snuggle on the couch and watch a movie or read a good book. The air is too cold to lure me outside. The thermometer says 18 or 20c, but it feels much cooler as a dampness seeps in to every essence and all you want is a big, warm, fuzzy sweater and blanket. I daydream about warmer days and hope more warm days will return before the cold takes hold and settles into a new season.

All this coldness and smell of leaves makes me think of home more than any other time of year. I miss the beautiful colours and the sound of leaves as they swish under my feet. I miss taking a day to hike along the Bruce Trail with my camera taking photos of the colours, falling leaves,  and landscapes while the peaceful quiet of nature, smell of leaves and damp earth fill my senses with a feeling of comfort and security. Fall is definitely my favourite season. This surprises me since I hate the cold and winter and that is what comes next… but I love the colours, the freshness of the air and the way the sky looks bluer in contrast to the bright yellows and oranges of the leaves.

I miss apple cider, pumpkin pie and the fall craft shows. Here fall is not something to revel in as leaves fall, but do not make a brilliant change to light up the autumn sky. A few random leaves turn an orange, but most fall green or just die and turn brown. There is no Halloween and laughter as children parade in costume and dress up. For one day to be anything you want is such a great childhood dream come true. Halloween is still celebrated here and more and more shops are selling decorations and costumes, after all they are all manufactured here! Unfortunately my school does not celebrate and we miss out. I miss Halloween…

Friday my class performed an assembly on Loyalty. I was worried about it since I didn’t include a Powerpoint, technology or anything else fancy. I looked for weeks for ideas and then did something quite simple that was suggested in the “Character Education” booklet as a class activity. Well it turned out to be a big hit. Parents and teachers alike gave us many compliments 🙂 Felt good. We spoke about being loyal to our countries and some of the children dressed in traditional dress from their home countries. I had American children in jeans and t-shirts and German boys in liderhausen! It was awesome! I had a girl in an embroidered Indian dress and another in a Japanese Kimono. I was very proud of them… they did really well and worked so hard. It helped me miss my old class a little less and embrace the new one more.

Fall is a time of change and a good-bye to summer. It reminds me of all the things I miss and I become a little homesick. No other time of year seems to stir up the same feelings and emotions. So take a walk in the chill and swish the leaves beneath your feet. Look up at all the fall colours and the bright blue sky. Then snuggle up and have an apple cider and bite of pumpkin pie and revel in it, and have an extra one and think of me!

Stay tuned for more…

 

 

 

Categories: everyday occurances, teaching overseas | Tags: , ,

Behind the Scenes

Back Streets of Xi'AnLast week we went into Xi’an and saw the Terracotta Warriors. It is one of the must sees in China and many tourists flock there yearly. The city itself is a mix of modern and what many people are in search of… ‘the real China’. What is THE real China? Is it not all real? I guess what people mean and are in search of is the old ideas and ways of life that are slowly being lost as the country accepts more Western ways, ideas and want for materialistic goods -much of which is the same as us Westerners want.

The main streets were modern, clean, wide paved thoroughfares with many lanes of traffic. The shops lining the streets included names and brands you would see in any western city. Turning off the main streets was like stepping into a portal of time, back 10 or 20 years, or into a totally different city, country, world. It would be easy to miss if not for a wrong turn and the lack of a good map and proper directions. The streets here were cracked, full of potholes and broken. Many were covered with packed stone or mud and dirt. Vendors set up tables or blankets to sell their wares to passers-by right along the street or in a basic shop. The shops were rectangular plain tiled holes in the wall. No fixtures or frills, just a space for a table to set up and hold the few basic necessities needed to run the stand. Turning onto a side street as we were in search of our hotel felt like we were invading or trespassing where we should not go. It reminds me of the line from the Wizard of Oz “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” All this was tucked away in back streets and alleys while the main streets gave a totally different impression. We certainly did not fit here on the back streets and we certainly stood out. I felt like I did not belong. We garnered a lot of attention as we wandered along in search of our street and next turn. At first the hair on the back of your neck prickles and you worry about your safety. We soon realized we were in no harm, but a point of interest and wonder. They were just as curious about how we looked as we were about what we saw. Some just carried about their business and did not stop and stare while others looked, stared or tried to make contact with a smile or hello.

I tried to soak up all the sights, sounds and smells around me. It felt like I was in a dream as I saw how others lived. The bad odors, filth and poorly maintained homes were a way of daily life for these people. Behind high brick walls you occasionally got a glimpse of broken bricks, rocks and trash filling the empty spaces of an abandoned and partially torn down building. The dark tanned and wrinkled skin of its inhabitants showed the life of many days and time that they spent in the sun working. This was a great contrast to the bright coloured umbrellas trying to provide some relief from the sun and the colours and patterns of scarves and  fruit  that were being sold.

Stray dogs that were dirty and alone ran along the street looking for a morsel of food. Smoke filled the air as open fires with coal smoked over a grill cooking meat on sticks. People sat at little make shift restaurants with small tables and folding stools. They were crowded as people crammed into any available sidewalk space to get noodles, stews and meats. The meats hung on hooks in unrefrigerated shops and spinning fans with a ribbon spun over them trying to deter flies.

Petty cabs were more available than taxi’s and they would bump us along the back roads so we had many glimpses of the life that we rarely see anywhere in the world, or in Shanghai. The life long traditions and ways of life are still alive and well in the back streets and alleys. I feel like I was allowed to share in a life style few rarely see… many probably will miss. Often we travel in our western bubble -seeing the main sights, but missing the people, cultures and back streets where real every day life and culture takes place. It is easy to miss, but all you just have to open your eyes, your mind and look to where few get to see.

Stay tuned for more…

 

Categories: Chinese Adventures, Culture, everyday occurances, strange adventure, strange adventures, teaching overseas, travel, unique experiences | Tags: , , , , , ,

Flat Stanley Takes Xi’an By Storm

Terracotta WarriorsFor those of you who don’t know Flat Stanley is a character from a children’s book. Stanley gets flattened, but remains unharmed and lives a somewhat normal life. In one instance in the book he is mailed in a large envelope to visit a friend. From there the Flat Stanley Project started and Stanley was mailed by school children to friends and family all over the world. Sometimes students take their own personal Flat Stanley’s with them on vacation and write about their adventures. Last year we did this as a unit and the students enjoyed writing about their personal vacations. With its sucess we decided to do the unit again this year. I, as the class teacher of course participate! This year John and I took a short trip to Xi’an, China (pronounced She-Ann) which is best known for the World Heritage Site, the Terracotta Warriors. Flat Stanley tagged along.This may be Flat Stanley’s first visit to the terracotta warriors!

Flat Stanley with the warriors

We left Shanghai and flew the short journey to Xi’an. The next day we took a bus ride, an hour outside of the city, which brought us to a small town where the warriors are located. Inside there are 3 pits with numerous warriors and horses. We were surprised to see that pit 1, 2 and 3 were still in the process of being uncovered, but pit 1 was the most photographed and familiar. Some of the warriors are broken, fallen over or peeking out from hundreds of years of packed earth. In Pit 1 the warriors stand at attention and look as if they are ready to march forward once given the command. The site was crowded with on lookers and it took a lot of patience to get into position to get some prize photos. Good thing Flat Stanley is flat and he can squeeze through the crowds easily.

Flat Stanley

The detail on the warriors is quite amazing. Each one looks different… from the hair styles, uniform type, head-dress, expression and body type. Their suits of armour look so realistic, but upon closer inspection it is clay. The horses were my favourite -life size warriors and horses!

It is estimated about 8,000 warriors guard the Emperors tomb and many are still to be uncovered.

While in Xi’an we also visited the Bell Tower and Drum tower in down town Xi’an. The large buildings are ornate in decoration, detail and the traditional Chinese style. Flat Stanley at the Bell Tower

The main streets were crowded with people, cars and very modern. Subway, McDonald’s, Starbucks and KFC were among the shops filling the streets. However, the back streets were like stepping back in time. Looking around you could see the locals selling fruit, slippers and books from carts or blankets spread on the ground. Make shift temporary food stalls were smoking and cooking meat over open fire with coal. They sold various meats and noodles. The streets were an assault on the senses with bright Back Streets of Xi'ancolours, smells and sounds. Unlike Shanghai the streets get quiet late at night just as the fog and mist rolls in from the mountains. When the sun starts to rise the city starts to awake slowly into a busy new day.

Taxis are hard to come by, but tuck-tucks are pretty common. These are little electic scooters with a roof and seat on the back. They are covered with a thin flexible plastic and a bungee cord and butterfly clip holds the door in place. It helps block the wind and would keep the rain off. A few are open air, maybe not ‘winterized’ yet. Negotiate a price and they will take you all over the city.Flat Stanley's ride

Xi’an was an interesting city and seeing the warriors was an experience few get to see in a life time. Just another great advantage of working and teaching overseas. Flat Stanley got some looks from the locals, but so did we. Few expats live in Xi’an and with it being the holiday many people from all over China came to visit. Westerners were an unusual sight as we garnered many stares and requests to pose for pictures. Children would chase us to say hello in English before running off. Some even had to touch you. The city was welcoming and we always felt safe… and the extra attention was a bonus, our 5 minutes of ‘rock star’ fame.

Stay tuned for more adventures from China…

Categories: Chinese Adventures, Culture, everyday occurances, strange adventure, strange adventures, teaching overseas, travel, unique experiences | Tags: , , , , , ,

Rant about Kindness

Last week I read another person’s blog entitled “Be Kind Rewind”. They mentioned how we used to see those signs at local video stores and now with a new age of DVDs that slogan no longer has meaning or a place due to our advances in technology. Their thought was what about reinventing the slogan to be kind to each other… go back and review some action and think about being kind. They spoke a lot about the rudeness of people in public -pushing to be first when there is a line wait ahead of them. Why is their time more valuable than yours? With more advanced technology things take less time, but we seem to rush more. Does that make it OK to be rude? Take advantage of others? Slow down, breath and read on…

So to go back and think about Be Kind, Rewind. Their post inspired me and I responded with the following. I thought it fitting to share with you as well.

Yes we all need to be kinder! I am living in China and rudeness is a way of life here. I guess I cannot blame them as it can be survival of the fittest. If you don’t push to get on the train or metro it isn’t going to wait for you. Does it matter that it would be easier to let the other passengers off first? Well apparently common sense is not that common here so elbows up and push on. As outside people live her longer their common courtesy wanes and they forget manners, observing social graces and lines. Just yesterday I was at the grocery store and waiting behind a woman who was checking out. I noticed the lane beside me was now empty so I went to move into the new lane only to be pushed aside as a western customer rushed past me to be first. How was this fair? I had been waiting already and you just came along and not only that pushed me out of the way me to be first. Well if you are in that big of a hurry then by all means! Your time must be more valuable than mine! Geesh. It certainly makes me cynical as I see the rudeness on a daily basis. I guess I haven’t been here long enough to always push back or speak up.

Just the other day I had a discussion about someone who was truly kind, generous with their time and helpful when I first arrived in China. They made a huge impression on me and made my transition to a new life, home and culture so much easier. The reply I got was why can’t we all be more like that every day? After all we live in a global village and all have the same purpose in life to some extent. If we all stopped to help each other once in a while then maybe our life and world could be a kinder and gentler place? Nice idea… so as a starting point maybe next time we are on a flight, delayed, or waiting in line we can make conversation and maybe make new friends rather than an enemy as we fight over space and complain about lost time. Two things we can never get back is words once said and time once lost… so why not make the best of them?

I always try to say thank you, smile and acknowledge people. It is harder when you can’t communicate a lot, but a smile transcends all languages and learning how to say “thank you” in the local language is often appreciated no matter where in the world you are. That is a start right?

Last year I read a book to my class about how each person in life carries a bucket and we fill other buckets when we do, say kind things and are helpful to others. We can empty it when we say or do something that is mean, hurtful or inappropriate. Everyone should have a full bucket! How many things do you in a day that fills someone’s bucket? empties it? Maybe it was unintentional, but that is why we need to stop and Be Kind, Rewind…

So something that is long over due… I thank each and every one of you for listening and taking the time to read my post each week and sometimes replying back (it is good to know someone is reading ;)!!!).

Thank you and stay tuned for more of my adventures and rants…

Categories: Culture, everyday occurances, unique experiences | Tags:

Settling in or Just Settled?

As I think about what to write this week I am somewhat at a loss. What weird and strange adventure can I tell you about? Nothing really stands out this week and I am starting to wonder have I become settled and the strange everyday occurrences are just common place and normal? Or is it me just too busy at school and settling into work and routines? Maybe a little of both?

This week we were lucky to have a week of 3 3’s! We had 3 days off, worked 3 days and then another 3 day weekend. I could get used to this! The 3 day weekend was not for a holiday, but due to our school hosting a big conference. They needed some of the classrooms and other school space, so the staff and students were able to have the day off.

I guess I am lucky since my room was picked as one of the classrooms… does that mean my room was one of the best looking? They kept talking about ‘showcasing’ the school.  I think I should take it that way 🙂 Besides my literacy teacher from teacher’s college would be very proud as I used many of her ideas. I think my room is very nice and I even had a parent notice and take the time to comment on it during parent night. Unfortunately for this weekend many of my things were covered up with chart paper and posters for the workshop… oh well.

Friday was an added bonus and nice to have off when it is not a national holiday. It was still very busy and crowded, but could have been double or triple the amount. With over 25 million in a city they have to go somewhere! Friday we had a girls day and a few of us went out to lunch and then for some pampering. I had a manicure and the others pedicures. After we went for dessert… When I came home I decided to go for a massage. Originally I thought I would go Saturday, but decided maybe today was better since it was not a holiday. I only went once before and it was a prize I had won. I heard good things about this place 5 minutes walk from here, so I decided to try it. How can you go wrong when it is less than $15 for a massage? It was very intense and the next day I felt like I had a workout rather than a massage. Massages are not the relaxing kind we wish for, but more of a deep tissue massage. It did certainly work out some of the kinks and knots in my muscles from all the sitting, standing and carrying heavy books though! It takes a day or two before you can really appreciate it. Maybe I should learn how to say “softer” or “relaxing” for the next time I go!

Friday morning the apartment was a ‘buzz’ of activity. Our air conditioner stopped working and was just blowing air… it has been hot and humid, more like the August weather we had last year, so it needed to get fixed. Since I was off Friday I booked the AC guys in. They were here trying to find the problem and refill the unit. I found out the guy from school who deals with our apartment maintenance can also help find an Ayi (a cleaner). We had one last year and she wasn’t very good and thank goodness she quit… and we never bothered finding another. I thought it was a good chance to ask again since John and I are both working. They are cheap and a big help! We have hardwood floors and just to help keep on top of the sweeping and dusting alone is worth it. The fellow from school called to be sure the AC guys arrived and I asked about an Ayi and said he would send someone right over. A lady came to the door and I showed her in and started to show her what I wanted her to do. We went into the kitchen first. She spotted Holly’s dishes and gasped and ran out to the hall… out of the apartment! Now the men had scared Holly and she was hiding out under the bed, but as luck would have it she was drawn to the poor woman. I swear cats DO have a 6th sense when it comes to people who dislike animals. Well the lady peeked back in and saw Holly, screamed and slammed the door. She was frantic and flustered as she tried to call the guy from school to have him translate that she WOULD NOT work for us. I spoke to him and he apologized as he forgot we had a cat and this lady is afraid of cats and dogs, as many Chinese are. She finally opened the door and was asking about the cat and I assured her she was in the kitchen and I closed the door. Well the door wasn’t tight and Holly comes out and the lady screamed an ran to the hall, again! The AC guys are looking to see what all the commotion is about. I could just imagine what this looked like and tried SO hard not to laugh.  AM I on some reality show?, did Canid Camera make a come back and I don’t know about it? You just CAN’T make this stuff up. Well finally she opened the door again after she gathered her wits about her and apologized with her broken English and said ‘no boushy’ which I assume is “no cat” and left. Now they need to see if they can find me another Ayi who is not afraid of animals.

As Leslie says these things only happen to me! A lady at work made the same observation and said how do these things always happen to you? I don’t know I am just a magnet for the strange, crazy and bizarre. I guess the week wasn’t as bland as I thought… always an adventure.

Stay tuned for more ‘crazy’ adventures from China…

Categories: Chinese Adventures, Culture, everyday occurances, strange adventures, teaching overseas, unique experiences | Tags: , , , , , ,

What Kind of Traveller are You?

After 4 days of travelling home and back to China this summer, the long way round I might add, I started watching people at the airport. Good way to pass the time when you are stuck and tired of looking at Duty Free. I started to think about people and travel… it was interesting to see people from almost every country and culture. Hearing so many languages and seeing different cultural dress. Traveling through Dubai, the new world airport hub (or so it seems).  I ask myself what kind of traveller am I?

What Kind of Traveller are YOU?Am I the hippy backpacker who has dreads, colourful clothing and a my life in a small hemp backpack as I set off to some far off land for an adventure? Or the average backpacker who wants to see part of the world and what it has to offer before settling down into a daily, sometimes mundane, routine of work and life?

Am I the business traveler with their small carry on and laptop in a business suit going someone to make a deal or conduct business for a company. No and probably never me, but there are lots of them out there.

Am I the person who dresses up, wears more than my average daily make-up and fixes my hair like I am going to a function rather than sit in small crowded seat for hours? Really what is the point? To impress the customs guys? Do they really care? Do they even look at you? Should you care about looks or comfort? Well maybe for the fashionistas out there it is worth looking good rather than feeling good.

This brings me to those people who opt for comfort over style. Could I ever be one of those who wear ridiculous bright patterned (and often ill-fitting) clothes that I would never be caught dead wearing in my home town, but they are justified because they are ‘comfy pants’ for travelling. I wish I had photos of the tie tied and bright patterned pants I saw… really that is what you are wearing??? Comfort or not can they make those items in less putrid and repulsive patterns, colours and designs?

What about those people who wear their workout wear and look like they are heading to the gym? It is comfortable and more acceptable fashion… at least in the colour/pattern department. Now throw on a big ridiculous hat or pair of dress shoes to complete the ensemble. Ridiculous! I suppose it is practical since they are probably too big or awkward to pack, so just wear it! Now I am not a fashion guru by any means but I think it is a fashion no-no.

This isn’t me either, but maybe you are a labeler… someone who has to wear every label they own. What is the point? To show your ‘coolness’? Does every label translate to others the way it does at home? Or a flirt… is this your nature or do you have something you need to get away with when you reach customs? Saw lots of them too.

Often you can guess where someone is travelling to because they are already dressed for their destination. How many of us have worn a pair of shorts in winter weather because we are heading to some sunny warm destination? Admit it you may have done ir, but just hidden it under your clothes!  I know I have!

Something to look forward to as I saw many older travelling couples look like they are going on safari with the Tilly hats and vests. Of course who can forget the knee socks and sandals. Speaking of couples do you and your partner or family all dress the same? Whether it be the same colour or matching shirts/pants. This is common in China and it makes me giggle every time you see a family all wearing the exact same thing. Is this a way to say you are together? Am I missing some social/cultural understanding?

ANother common theme is the proud (insert your country here). So for example you are the proud Canadian and must have the t-shirt and/or hat to show where you are from. Some of us are more subtle and have the small flag sewn onto the backpack or tag on our luggage, but feel the need to show where we are from…. especially us Canadians. Sorry but we don’t want to be mistaken for Americans as much as the Kiwis don’t want to be taken as Australians.

Maybe none of these fit your style so you will have to be one of these. The minimalist or girl/boy scout prepared for everything. Do you pack as little as possible to be light and allow easy travel or do you have bags weighted down so you have to sit on them to get them closed because they are filled with those ‘just in case’ supplies? I always prefer to pack light, but being so far from home often our bags are loaded with those little creature comforts to bring back with us.

Now ask yourself what kind of traveller you are? Does this mean you can only be one? Can it change as you go through ages and stages of life? Sure we may have been many of these people.

Airports have opened the world to us and allow us to experience so many different languages, cultures, and ways of life. Don’t miss the opportunity to watch, look and listen because travelling and getting there could be just as exciting as the destination.

Stay tuned for more from a Canadian travel bug…

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Back 2 China

Our time at home was extended and it is starting to wind down… can’t believe in less than a week we will be heading back to Shanghai. It was good to be home and have lots of time to see everyone and catch up. Sorry to those we have not had a chance to be with due to holidays, schedules and John’s appointments.

It will be interesting to see how we experience China in year 2. Many people say they don’t have the same ‘awe’ as unusual things are expected and common place. This year there will be lots of new staff as many long-term teachers (4-5 years) have left. The climate and dynamics of the school will be different and it will be interesting to have lots of new people and see things through their eyes as we reminisce how we felt a year ago.

It also will be interesting to have a new class. I will always hold a special place in my heart for my 2010-11 class as they were my ‘first’ overseas class. Can I love my new class as much? I am sure, but it will be different. I can’t wait to see my previous students and see how much they have grown over the summer.

Well in a week or so I will have another post about going back to China as we will travel through Dubai. We have a longer layover this time and will be able to explore the city briefly.

So stay tuned for more adventures this time from Dubai!

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