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

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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

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

Transformation: 25th Oct Prompt

[Photo: Taken on Monday 24th Oct while sat wating for the bus heading to Dong Yuan at lunch time. Within 2 hours the weather transformed from this bright blue sky, to heavy dark and angry storm clouds that drenched the gardens.]

So this one is a few days behind. Transformation was the word prompt for October 25th. Today; the first day of me sitting down to attempt this post, laptop on knee, Tom Petty singing about losers and American girls, cuppa to my right, is October 27th. I used to do a “prompt a day” a couple of times a week when I started this blog, but, at that time I also had more spare quiet moments at my desk with not much to do. Things have changed. Things have…. Transformed. I’m sorry, that was cheesy, but I stand by it! A friend who is currently up to June in trawling their way through my long winded and self-absorbed posts mentioned that they miss when I used to “explain my idea of stuff”. Meaning, they liked the posts where I take this one word, the selected jumble of letters that WordPress presents us with each day, and run with it. Sometimes I run head strong in one focused direction, other times I may as well be trying to dodge bullets with the amount of zig-zagging and tumbling over myself I do while trying to explain my thoughts and feelings of the word. I noticed this word pop up in my inbox a couple of days ago and it’s been on my mind since. So here we go…

Transformation – 

  • a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance

  • a metamorphosis during the life cycle of an animal

  • the induced or spontaneous change of one element into another by a nuclear process.

Shamefully, one of the first things that pings up into my mind when I read this word is not the incredible journey a caterpillar embarks on during its life. Nor is it the leg sprouting, tail loosing changes a wee little tadpole goes through to become the frog. No. My first thought was: #TransformationTuesday. It pains me to even admit that and see it here in my ever growing Word Document that I type my blog post drafts upon (currently at 74 pages; 40,000 words). Yep. A bloody hashtag about body changes, diet achievements, when puberty hit hard to a lesser than average looking kid etc. is what I think of when I read those 14 letters strung together. Maybe that’s an embarrassing and awful insight into my social media habits and slight addiction (which, I must admit, I’m slightly getting over). I recently posted a somewhat #TransformationTuesday post myself, except, it was on a Sunday. I’ll start by admitting how much I wasted a perfectly good weekend. Did I go out and explore my new surrounding some more? No. Did I go and Continue reading

Working, wandering and the everyday…

[PHOTO: Guangzhou Tram line stations]

This week has been loooong. My Sunday started well, I managed to sleep until 9am (the latest lie-in I’ve had for a few weeks), I knew today was going to be productive, and someone on Facebook had shared a link to my favourite scene from the amazing, yet totally messed up, not suitable to watch with family, TV show, American Horror Story. This clip was from the 2nd season: The Asylum, watch it for yourself. . You don’t really need much context apart from the fact they’re in a mental asylum, the singer (Judy) used to be the nun who ran the joint, and the two other main characters, Kit and Lana, are totally sane (one of them just saw some aliens take his wife and baby, and poor Lana has just been locked up for being a lesbian and a reporter who snooped a little too much.)

Anyway, so after watching that clip, I was fully awake and in a good mood to take on the day. Sundays are supposed to be for relaxing and enjoying the weekend while drinking lots of tea. I don’t know anyone who actually manages to achieve this every week. Sundays usually turn out to be a day of house work, shopping and catching up on things you didn’t have time to do during the work week. I knew this was the fate of my Sunday but I didn’t mind.

Up I got and out I headed to the bus stop, Kobo e-reader in hand. (I’m reading NOS4A2 a book by  Joe Hill, Stephen King’s son. I wasn’t aware it was over 700 pages when I started it, but I’m really enjoying it so far!) It may be mid-October but my god; it’s still so hot here. We have days when the temperature drops to the mid-20’s with a breeze, but most of the time it’s still pushing 34`C. I waited for the bus and got off at Continue reading

Flattery: 10th Oct Prompt

[PICTURE: A sculpture in the Tingly Museum, Basel which is how I image us Country Garden teachers look like while waiting for the bus on a Monday morning….]

 Flattery – excessive and insincere praise, especially that given to further one’s own interests

Flattery is either something you’re comfortable with or not. I can’t remember a single time when I felt comfortable while someone said anything even remotely close to flattery and aimed it in my general direction.

Flattery is strange in China. Friends and co-workers from last year would sometimes make comments which they intended to be a compliment, but, somewhere from the Chinese to Western culture, the flattery was lost. For example; the Chinese typically do not like to tan. They hide away from the sun taking any opportunity to whip out their umbrellas and shield them from the suns evil glare. So when my friend, co-worker and fellow tea break skiver came back from a week in the Philippines earlier this year, proud of her slight colour change and burnt thighs (okay, maybe not so proud about the lobster legs but you get my drift), you can imagine her dismay when she was told; “Oh I thought you went to the Philippines? But you are still so white, you are still so pale, it is great!” Her heart sank and “tan” seemed to fade away instantly. It’s just a different standard of beauty and expectations right? Neither is right nor wrong, just a clash of cultural preferences.

Another example, involves myself. I mentioned in an earlier post that I somehow found myself drinking Chinese spirits celebrating Mr Chen’s 20th year at CG School. Well during this alcohol fuelled evening, poor Vivian spend most her time translating the comments and questions of Continue reading