5 Days off, 2 days out…

[Picture: as mentioned in a blog post way back in May/June, I collect things. All things. So, this is my mini collection of tickets and cards etc. from the past couple of days. Don’t they look pretty!!!]

How lucky am I? Shamefully, it’s only hit me today just how fortunate I really am. On Monday 3rd, I decided I wanted to go to Hong Kong to see Candice, Julie, Richard and Katie. Wednesday 5th, 11am, I was on the ferry at Shunde Dock on my way. How many people can say that within 5 days they can decide to go to HK, get tickets, get a ferry, be there for 2 nights, and be back home in their pj’s by Friday? Not too many (apart from the billions of Chinese people who do it every year…)

Country Garden School broke up for the holiday on Friday 30th September; a lot of the teachers had pre booked tickets to escape the crazy mad rush of holiday tourism over the Chinese break. Myself and my friends however, (Danielle, Kim, Kyle, Collin, Becky, Gabby and Cassie) had not done this at all. Each of us had our own reason for not planning a trip away; whether it be lack of money (yes us Worlda employees are STILL waiting for our first pay check, only 13 days to go…), lack of passport (visa changes etc…), or simply the fact they wanted to relax or explore the area we had all found ourselves dumped in. I spent Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday mainly with Danielle hopping on busses, going to markets, ending up in various shopping malls, and just generally wandering around (somewhat aimlessly) working out the surrounding area. We headed to Guangzhou on Saturday and Tuesday, Saturday with 2 other Kindergarten guys, and Tuesday with Kim and her Dad who left pretty soon after we arrived. We ate some great food; hotpot, Muslim rice, Italian, questionable Chinese food and much more. Friday night we had a nice chilled evening at Kims watching the first half of the extended version of The Fellowship of the Ring (I forgot just how bloody long those films were) with some pizza that Continue reading

Panic: Sept 24th Prompt

[PHOTO: One of the exhibits at the Foshan Science Museum, where we went on a field trip on Thursday]

I haven’t done a blog post based on a Daily Prompt in a while. I’ve been so caught up on travel and my new start here in Country Garden that I’ve not had chance to sit and aimlessly blog. Well, it’s Sunday morning, I have a lot of school work to do today, but while I’m sat in my Chinese dressing-gown, cup of tea by my side (I finally have a kettle!!), with Kill Bill on the TV, I though… why not? I’ve got the whole day ahead of me to get work and cleaning done. So first, I’ll sit and type up a blog post for all 4 of my readers…

Panic – sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behaviour

I’ve chosen a Daily Prompt word to focus on today, because very vaguely, it links to something that happened on Friday night. So here we go…

Friday lunch time myself, Kim, Danielle and Kyle went for dumplings at a place between our homes and school. Another Kindergarten teacher joined us, and I must admit, it felt great to be part of a bigger and more sociable group than just the 3 of us, as it always is. I’d already mentioned to Kim and Danielle that I wanted to do something sociable this weekend, either Friday or Saturday night: food, drinks, chill, whatever. I just wanted to be with a group of people, chatting and hanging out. Not too much to ask for right? Danielle didn’t seem to keen, and Kim was eager for just a movie night at hers. So I wasn’t holding out much hope. After lunch, I tagged along with them all to their Kindergarten Staff Office, something we don’t have in Primary. This is a place that a couple of hours a day, all international Kindergarten teachers are allowed to seek refuge, chat with their co-workers and relax a little, oh, and maybe get some work done. In Primary, like I said, we don’t have this. In Primary each international teacher is assigned 2 classrooms, and we have a Continue reading

3 Days of Week 3

[PHOTO: A page from my sketch book that I did while playing around with watercolour back in Dulwich]

Yes, this is week 3 of working at the school… how has that happened? Ok so Week 1 only consisted of 2 days, and Week 3 ended on Wednesday (yesterday), but still, this year is going to fly by. I left the UK 22 days ago, which also means, it’s been 22 days since I had a cup of tea… That is NOT OKAY. Once I’ve typed this up though I am going to head to the nearest coffee shop and see what I can do to change the lack of tea in my life.

This week was only 3 days long because it is Mid-Autumn Moon Festival here in China, the festival that celebrates and remembers a woman who was sent to the moon by her lover and she lived out the rest of her life there with a rabbit. No joke. It is celebrated by eating “moon-cakes”, which are not as fun as they sound. But, I’m in China, so I must respect and accept their culture and festivals, plus, anything that changes a 5 day week to a 3 day week is ok by me!

Last night I was introduced to a new kindergarten teacher, Danielle. She’s having to crash in Kim’s spare room at the moment because her apartment contract fell through due to the fact her landlord refused to provide her with working AC, which, let me tell you, is no luxury here, it’s a daily necessity. The rough average temperature has been about 33/35’C, and obviously, being in a sub-tropical climate, it’s humid as hell. I think I’m Continue reading

Yay for small victories!

[PHOTO: The coolest pencil sharpeners I’ve ever seen, property of class 512]

So yesterday morning, while listening to Slaves (a British Punk-ish band) on my iPod waiting for the bus in the rain, I was trying to think of what I could write in my next blog post. My plan was to simply focus on the small “wins” I’ve had throughout the week, the small wins definitely make up for the other crap we have to deal with in China. So…My list of small victories this week:

  1. I now have WiFi in my apartment!
  2. I bought an actual bowl, not a plastic tub
  3. I had my first warm shower (after being told for a third time how to use it)
  4. I hadn’t been late for work once
  5. I was prepared for all my lessons
  6. I’ve finally remembered some of my kids names
  7. Yesterday it was finally an ok temperature so I was able to wear my hair down
  8. I had taken the correct bus all week
  9. I had used my dining hall food card for the first time

This changed slightly yesterday morning. While I was thinking up this list, and listening to some angry punks in my ears, I hopped on the bus and ended up, not at school, but at the Traffic Centre on the outside of the Country Garden Community (as I did on my very first day at CGS). I got cocky, I got confident, and China wanted me to snap out of that right away. So, I had to wait for a while longer, and shamelessly show the driver my phone which I had previously got a friend to send me the Chinese for: “Does this go to the school?” He nodded, I got on, and at 7.25am I arrived at school.

Yesterday I was determined to try and minimise the amount of work I had to do on the weekend by taking full advantage of my office time between 2.30pm & 5pm. I got all my lesson plans written up for the previous and current week, and I arranged a time to sit down with another Grade 5 International teacher to go through exactly what is expected of us and how to use the many many documents I had been given. Sadly, Meghan, the head of Grade 5 International teachers is having to go back to America for roughly a week due to a family emergency. So myself and the other 6 international teachers of Grade 5 are having to scramble together and try and work it out on the job. We’ve been left without a leader for Continue reading

On the up… 3rd Sept

[PHOTO: Primary Sector building of Country Garden School)

I’m writing this on Saturday afternoon, from the dining table of my new apartment. No I haven’t actually signed the rental agreement contract yet, I’m not too sure what’s going on there… No I don’t have internet installed, and yes I have got 4 new air-conditioning units just chilling in my spare bedroom (check me out with a whole extra room!) But it’s mine, mine for the next academic year. I moved in on Wednesday with nothing but clothes, a bed sheet and a towel to settle in with.

The past few days have been such a crazy whirlwind of information, emotions and just general chaos. 2.40pm on Tuesday 30th August I conducted a phone/video call interview with Jane from Guangdong Country Garden School – Primary sector. To say I was nervous was an understatement. That whole morning I’d been going over everything I may need to say or answer in my head, but nothing seemed to stick, and when David sat me down with the phone in front of me, and pressed the big green flashing Accept Call button, I was completely blank. I had no idea what was going to come out of my mouth or what I was going to be asked of me. I’d vaguely been asked to lie. Lie about my teaching experience and the age range I’ve dealt with. That I was NOT ok with… I said this to David before he answered the call, and he simply sighed, looked worried, and said; “Just go with your gut.”

So I did, and after a 10 minute chat, with a few technical issues along the way, I was asked to pass the phone over to David, and she said she looked Continue reading

Rollercoaster…

[PICTURE: TAKEN WHILE WAITING TO CROSS THE STREET FROM THE HOTEL TO THE METRO, GUANGZHOU]

I don’t like how I left that post yesterday, re-reading it it was just a bunch of negative comments and a whole heap of moaning. I guess I needed to get it out, which is fine, and what better place than my own personal blog to vent my frustrations? But, that’s not the kind of person I try to be. I try not to be a “negative-Nancy”, a “moaning-myrtle”, a “winey-whinnie” and all those other alliteration things… I try to be neutral, maybe even sometimes on the optimistic side of things. But, sometimes that’s hard, especially when faced with tough challenges or when things change. But, if we don’t stay positive, or at least level headed, the whole world (or our world at least) will collapse in a whole pile of chaos all around us.

I feel a little more positive today, despite still awaking at 1am and 3am thinking it was time for my alarm to go off (yep, jetlag is kicking in. I even fell asleep in Subway the sandwich shop yesterday… but we won’t talk about that.) I headed to the offices via the metro again, with laptop bag over my shoulder, and book in hand, and arrived promptly at 9.30am. I was whisked strait into the board room and my laptop was hooked up to the projector, it was time to present me lesson…

In my “class” there were 3 members from the Teaching Support department here and they acted as my students, supposedly aged 15/16. I gave it my all, ignoring the voice in the back of my head telling me how foolish I must look while throwing a big thumbs up and yelling “I love pizza!” as part of the warm-up exercise. The class went well, my power point was bright, colourful and Continue reading

Awe: 23rd June Prompt

Awe

a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.

Awe is such a perfect word to write about and think of right now, and that definition explains it all. I used to think I was in awe of travellers, explorers and globetrotters, and I guess I still am. But now I think I’m more in awe of the countries themselves, not the people landing on the airport runway. And when I say countries, I mean everything that they contain; the culture, the locals, the food, the sights, the unique nature and environment of each place. I don’t want to just repeat the definition, but as I said, it sums it up so perfectly. I’m filled with wonder, with a small, but very real, spark of fear, of the many many different countries I’ve not yet been privileged enough to step foot in. The fear and wonder is one of those crazy mixed up emotions that fills me up, right to the brim, but it’s so intertwined with such a strong raging excitement, that it’s hard to contain. I feel so passionately about this and one of my favourite words Continue reading