Things to come

[Picture: my first view of the incredible beach we are lucky enough to camp on in Hong Kong – excuse the poor quality]

In two weeks I’ll be heading to Guangzhou airport, driven by Sam-the-man (our trusty driver guy), and I’ll be on my way to start my busy summer holiday…

(I so almost wrote vacation then, lord help me…)

I’ll be taking an early morning flight to Ho Chi Minh where my childhood best pal, Alice HD will be waiting for me in Hangout Hostel after embarking on a very long flight the previous day. So far, we have no plans. We’ve booked to stay at that hostel for 2 nights together (Al will have been there for 3), so we plan on spending that first day we’re together planning, organizing and getting SOME sort of idea together about all the places we want to definitely hit on our trip. We have roughly 4 weeks to make it from Ho Chi Minh to Bangkok. That’s a pretty solid length of time, especially as we don’t plan on doing Thailand itself. (Alice has never been there though, so we’re going to fit in a couple of days in Bangkok if we can!)

We were stuck for ages trying to decide whether to go North to South (the original idea), or South to North… in the end we decided to start in the wetter area of Vietnam (the south), and head for drier times and days at the end of our trip (the north). SO, after comparing flight prices, weather reports etc., we chose to start in the south (Ho Chi Minh) and head north to Hanoi before we have to make our way to Bangkok (either by crossing through Laos on land or flying over.)

My research for this trip has been minimal to say the least… I’ve skimmed over a few blog posts describing others routes and suggestions, I’ve stared at a Continue reading

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Let’s get back to it…

[Photo: a glimpse of my time on Lamma Island, HK, while sipping a Fresh Lemon Soda and writing in my travel notebook]

The other day I got the notification telling me that I’d been a member of the WordPress community for a whole year… a whole year of finding my feet in this never-ending online world of blogposts. I had two overwhelming feelings: pride, and disappointment…

Anniversary w. WP

I felt proud that I’d stuck something out for that length of time, something semi “creative” too. Over the past year, this blog has changed quite drastically in content, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I mentioned this in an earlier post somewhere; my posts started off very personal and a way to help me understand and work through things (the Trainee Medical Photographer position), and then when that was over, it was just somewhere for me to tap away during my office hours, drawing inspiration from the Daily prompts, and I really enjoyed writing those; it was fun and interesting to see where my mind went and where I’d end up at the end… but then came the Continue reading

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

This is not a travel blog. This is not an adventure blog.

This is a Charlie pours her head and heart out into the internet blog… just like old times…

[Also, if you didn’t read that title in the beauitful unique voice of my beloved Bowie, please stop right here and listen. I was torn between him and the Scorpions for this one…]

At this moment in time, I’ve decided to start making changes to myself. Improvements in some way… Now, when someway say that, you tend to think they you’ll soon be bombarded with gym selfies, healthy meal updates and half naked before and after photos. Well, don’t worry I’m not talking about those kind of changes. That’s not me, I mean; anyone who knows me knows that that is the polar opposite of who I am.

I’ve actually decided to change myself mentally… now, this isn’t even changing myself mentally as in I’m going all zen, I’m starting yoga and meditation. No. I’ve decided it’s time to change and improve myself in a different way, a better way. A way that I haven’t done in quite a few years… I’ve decided to start doing some online courses. I’ve come to the point in my life at the moment, and especially during my time here, that I’ve started to feel like I’m not using my brain as much as I’d like to. Yes I’m a teacher so I’m using it in that sense every day to ensure the kids understand what we’re working on. But, it’s not as mentally challenging in the educational way as I’d thought and hoped it would be (which is ironic as I’m still in the educational system). Although I’m thoroughly enjoying what I do and am very happy doing it, it’s not challenging my brain as much as I’d like. So this is when I decided to take it upon myself (with the help of a suggestion from a friend) to start to improve myself on an academic level. I’ve started an online course titled Dyslexia and Foreign Language Teaching.

I’ve never had any experience in this before, apart from the numerous times in my life I’ve been told I should be tested for dyslexia. But, I signed on anyway, because my friend and colleague Emilija, who is actually very involved in this area of study, had a conversation with me about dyslexia while we were grading test papers a week or so ago. I mentioned something about that when I was a kid, and sometimes Continue reading

Is it enough?

[ PHOTO: the view I had when leaving work the other week, sunset and flags over Country Garden]

I’ve been at a loss for words recently, blog wise anyway. Despite having gone through the festive period and New Year’s, I don’t feel like I’ve got much to report on. My last post was a pretty big and it talked in depth about a kind of ‘light bulb moment’, so I’ve not wanted to just tap away meaninglessly about my monotonous daily life as a teacher for its follow up.

I feel like people often expect my life to be so much more than it is. They expect each week, each day to be filled with crazy experiences and adventures that will produce even crazier stories; whereas in fact, it’s not that at all. I don’t even know if I’d want it to be that, it sounds tiring in all honesty. Yes I live away from home, but I’m not travelling, I’m not living on the road, I’m not exploring new places each day and meeting new people. I’m working… I’m living in a small cosy apartment. I have a small group of friends. I have a fridge I try and keep stocked. I have a bus commute to work. I have laundry to do, dishes to wash, bins to empty. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I’m thoroughly enjoying my life out here. But at times, it doesn’t really feel too “out there”. During the work week, when I barely have time to cook my own meals or get home before dark, I could be anywhere… I could be living in some remote town in England, Germany, America, Wales… anywhere that I don’t have family or childhood friends. Anywhere that I don’t know the backstreets or the roads like the ones I do in Abergele.

Speaking to family and friends over the last few weeks has been amazing… but also a little disheartening… People have been Continue reading

What next…?

[Photo: tegalalang rice terrace, Bali from mine and Shelb’s travel this summer]

Planning for the future is a scary thing. Making decisions about your life is a terrifying concept. What if you make the wrong choice? What if you end up missing other opportunities due to the path you chose? It’s inevitable that you’ll always look back and say “Ow, I wish I could have been there for that.” Or “Damn it, I should have done this instead.” You can never cover all the bases that you wish to. You’re always going to have to choose one side of the coin. My coin currently has a few sides; it’s more like a triangular dice, or cute little (intimidating) cube…

A co-worker sat down with me the other day and discussed in great lengths her options and thoughts for the end of this academic year. It sounded exciting, adventurous, and fuelled with purpose and passion. I guess it helped that there was a love interest thrown in there to help aid and focus her attention, but still, she had a plan (vague as it was), and it could work [for her]. It was so easy for me to sit there and encourage her to follow this dream, to book the flights, to plan her trips. “Just do it!” I cried, “What have you got to loose!?”… Why is it so much easier for me to have that much faith and trust in someone else’s life and travel plan, than I have in my own? I have very little/no faith that the decisions I make at the end of this academic year will lead me to exactly where I’m supposed to be. I feel like I’m being torn across the globe. Pulled in all directions… I have to go there. I have to be back for this. I should think about that. I need to do it…

In all honesty, I feel selfish for what my thoughts and possible plans are. I can’t call them plans; they’re, at best, ideas. I know people repeatedly say “Your 20s are your selfish years. Do what you want. Go where you want. Be who you want.”… but I feel like I have to have some sort of structured plan right? Like, I don’t want to get to 29 and suddenly be like “Oh crap, I’ve had a great 8 years, but what now?! I’m not qualified to do anything; I’ve got no money to start my life. Is it time to whack out the old Maccies uniform and cap?!” I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, I feel like I’ve Continue reading

Clockenflap. Whaten-flap?!

[PICTURE: View of the stage through the umbrellas]

Clockenflap. What a name. I first heard of this festival back in September, when the legendary Die Antwoord were down as headliners. Now, if you’ve never heard of Die Antwoord, I’m tempted to say, don’t go in search of them. Please. Nana, Gran, or anyone else, please do not listen to their music or, heavens forbid, do not watch their music videos. Just know that they’re a really weird messed up music group from South Africa that have a cult following. They also made an appearance in the movie Chappie, which, I think is the only suitable place for you guys to whiteness them. So, when I heard that these crazy b*stards were playing the festival, I stored it away on my list of things to do: book tickets to Clockenflap 2016.

Candice knows of the band, she knows them more than most I’ve met, and even introduced me to them in a way. So she was my first port of call when thinking about a festival buddy. But, unfortunately, due to work etc. as the weekend came flying into view, we realised it wasn’t going to be possible for her to make the trip. Plus, tragically, Die Antwoord pulled out of playing the festival for unknown reasons. [Rumours are they’re in the process of making a new album.] With crazy work and my new life here I slowly forgot about the name Clockenflap (hard to do…) and went about my normal life. That was until, Nick, a Kiwi in my grade, mentioned in passing that he would be requiring a morning of “sick leave” on Monday 27th November. Please bear in mind that he stated this at the end of October. With a sheepish look on his face, and a sweeping hand motion that asked us to move on the conversation, I held him back after the meeting and asked what fun “sick leave” inducing activities he Continue reading

Bright Colours and Beer…

[PHOTO: Taken from the huge wall sized window in the communal room of our “hostel”]

So, if you have me on ANY social media platform (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Wechat, WhatsApp etc…), you can probably guess what this post will mainly be about.

Work has been non-stop and as crazy as ever. We start to get the hang of our curriculum and the weekly routine, and then BAM a new thing is dropped on us and we’re expected to fit it into one of our five 35 minute lessons a week with the kids. I’m quite enjoying it though, I feel very fortunate I’m in Grade 5 and not in Kindergarten like the rest of my pals. But this isn’t a post moaning or groaning about work… this is about my weekend trip to Shenzhen!

At 11.50am Friday afternoon, I made a mad dash from work, to the bus stop and waited for Kyle, Kim and Danielle. We all headed to Subway (not the healthiest, but definitely the quickest) and grabbed a quick lunch. Kim was hanging around the free WiFi until 1.11pm for the massive Taobao (Chinese version of eBay on steroids) “single-day” sales. Single day is on the 11th of October (the 11th month) of each year, and it’s basically like the western black-Friday times 1000… I left her and Kyle there, munching on their free cookies and hopped on the bus heading back to Dong Yuan (East Garden). It was so cold for a couple of days last week, Friday it was down to about 14`C, bearing in mind less than 2 weeks ago it was 34`C… So back to my little apartment I went, and had probably the most productive lunch break of my life. I did all the dishes left over from cooking the night before, I did a load Continue reading