Wednesday, 30 January 2008

What!!!! That cold????

I was told it would be cold when I arrived in China, but I should have done more research. It is just 1 degree, and here we are enjoying 29 degrees or so during the day. We really don't have much winter here, and certainly not temperatures that low. Of course I don't have "snow clothes" - in fact it is pretty hard to find any around here to buy.

The advice I am getting is rather hilarious. Wear ugg boots, I'm told. What? I've been out and purchased some rather unflattering leather Colorado shoes that will at least keep my feet warm!!!!

How am I going to manage with such cold weather? I hate the cold. I'm sure the class rooms and the accomodation is heated. It probably won't be so bad.

On other matters there are some 5 or 6 other people going at the same time, perhaps on the same flight, so that might be fun.

Anyway, I'm really undeterred.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

More information...................

I have a departure date - seems I'm going on the 21st of February and at this stage booked on Singapore Airlines to head off on this amazing adventure.

I've got just over 3 weeks to get ready, finish off things at home, and be packed and ready to go. I have been accepted officially at the school in China (though I've seen no paperwork at this point), and I'm busily reading all I can about this region of China.

On Saturday I will be lunching with friends (at a Chinese restaurant) to say farewell - and it also doubles as our belated Christmas get together.

Today I saw my grandchildren ready for school - the two girls that I took to Adelaide. One is in grade 3 this year, and the other started Prep today. It is quite amazing to see them in school uniform! So grown up. I will miss them of course, but will send emails to them and photos.

I am glad I discovered SnapFish for my photos - as I will download them and have the prints sent to my address in Brisbane - so the folks can look at them, and save them for when I return.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Back home again.

The Zebras at the Adelaide Zoo.

Well, we had five busy days in Adelaide. Including a visit to the zoo - which of course the big and little children enjoy. I love the landscaping in the animal enclosures. It does look so peaceful and mostly the animals seem at peace with it all.

Miss A took quite a lot of photos and so did I! Although I seem to be "missing" some on my camera. I'll have to check that the camera is working well BEFORE I leave for China.

I did find the trip tiring - though looking after two very active girls would have done that to me! Apart from a couple of notable events they were well behaved. I guess they get a bit spoiled on such a trip - with great grandparents, an aunt, and second cousin all happy to indulge them.

We went for a swim - actually two swims - at Brighton beach. Where I remember swimming as a child. The waters were clear - and wonderful to swim in. Quite refreshing. I wondered why there were so few people on the beach. It was school holidays and few families there. I suppose many are at swimming pools, and as there have been a few sightings of sharks in recent times, I guess that scares the parents a bit.
Funny - we learned to look out for them when we were children!
Anyway it is back to reality. It is Australia Day today - our celebrations will be on Monday, and I've bought some fun things to wear on Monday too.
I hope to hear the details of the China trip on Tuesday - apparently the tickets were purchased yesterday but I still don't have the details of the departure date etc. And I hear they are looking for two more people to go - so if any Aussie English teacher is looking for an adventure, send me a message via comments (with email address) and I will forward information.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

I'm 'switching off' for a few days

I'm taking the two eldest grandchildren to Adelaide - a good time to tell my parents and my sister that I am going to China to work for a while. I'm not sure of what reaction I will get. My parents are familiar with my cousins spending a lot of time overseas, but not their older daughter. They probably don't think I would do anything like that.

My sister is alone - and would like to travel, so I may be able to talk her into visiting China while I am there, though she may be a bit daunted by travelling alone.

I continue to research living/working in China and have found some good websites and blogsites and have submitted this blog URL to a China Blog List - so maybe some more visitors here.

It will be about four weeks before I go now, I think. I have not received the documents promised last week - but as I will be away for a few days I will cross it off my list of concerns right now.

I'll be back on Friday so hopefully there will be some more information waiting for me.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Will I go or won't I?

Funny, I didn't think there was any discussion. Of course I plan to go - all things being equal. My granddaughter on hearing that I might be going to China, laughed, and said "DeeDee won't be going", and her father is convinced I won't go. Mmmmmm

Someone who has completed the reference for me, is also not sure I will go. He'd rather expected that when I spoke with the other lady who had been to the same school, that I would change my mind. She said nothing to worry me.

I am having a big clean out though - stuff I should have gotten rid of before, but never had done so. I am hoping that maybe while I am away MM will put the house on the market. I don't want to live here any more. In any case I'm making it easy to move on.

Folk ask me about MM - how is he going to manage on his own. I recall when he went away - in fact on one occasion was sent to Melbourn for over 3 months, I don't recall anyone being worried about me. I also know that there have been occasions when I had been away on business for short period, he managed to get a "free meal" with friends. Something that never happened with me.

Documents sent..............

Well, it is all done. My documents for the first application to Australia City College have been collected and sent in, as requested. I continue to do research and am finding useful information in a range of places.

I keep reading my Teach International Workbook and other information that all students on the course were given, and I'm busily loading material to my laptop. I have two laptops, but will be taking the smaller/lighter one with me. I will be - when I have time - downloading activity details onto the laptop, so that I need take few things with me. I don't want to have to pay for excess luggage so I am conscious of this as I work things out.

My friends have been great with their enthusiasm for my next adventure. I've had a number of phone calls and emails, and had a chat with one who is also doing a TESOL course, and planning to go to China sometime this year too.

I have loads of things to do before I go - and I'm not unhappy that the date may be February 23rd, rather than 14th, as I was originally told.

This weekend I am travelling to Adelaide with two grandchildren, to see my parents and sister. At this stage they have no idea of my plans to go to China, and I can imagine my parents will not be happy about it.

I must say, that it has been a concern of mine in that they are obviously elderly, Mum is 92, and Dad is nearly 89, so one doesn't know when they will need me, but I will assure them that I will return to Australia if and when I am needed. I have always said that I would look after them at home if that needed to happen too. I know that means going/moving to Adelaide, but that's what I would want to do for them.

The grandchildren are excited about the Adelaide trip, and I think this morning they would announce to their parents "two more sleeps" which is ofcourse the way they count down to any major event that they are looking forward to.

I am still waiting the formal "offer" that is being mentioned, but meanwhile life goes on.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

All found and ready to go...............

I've found my passport - it was easy to find when I looked - and I'm waiting for one more reference, but my documentation is all set to go.

I made contact with the college yesterday and it appears I have a little longer before I need to go, which is great. Still - I have a lot to do.

Research, research, research. I have found out that the flight from Brisbane to Singapore is about 8 hours, and there is sometimes a wait at Changi Airport, (so I may have time to go on a tour, or just spend the time in and around the Changi Shops, and later the flight from Changi to Shanghai is 5 hours and 10 minutes. I think there is a 2 hour drive from Shanghai, and someone will be there to meet me. (I hope!)

I have spoken with a lady who has recently returned from the same College and she has been very informative about the school. She is a senior lady, who went alone, and she had no experience travelling outside of Australia before her jaunt to China.

There are a few more questions that I'd like to ask her, so maybe tonight I will contact her again.

In the meantime I am awaiting the offer from the College - and my research on China etc continues.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008


I have already sent via email a copy of my CV - reorganised in the style of an International CV recommended for use for applying for positions overseas. And my letter of introduction - I sent these both to the College that is interested in having me as part of their team to teach in China. The other documents I need are 2 references, passport and digital photo of me.

Yesterday I posted a letter to one of my "old" bosses to get him to do a CV and I called in on two colleagues to ask them to do one for me as well. So, now I have one in my hot little hand. Today I will organise the digital photo. As well, Ineed to find my passport. Mmmmm.

I remember puttting it a document folder that I received for Christmas in 2006, and I have seen it recently, but somehow I cannot find it now. So I will hunt further today.

As well I have started collecting things to take as teaching tools. I found a pack of "Go Fish" at the post office. It was just under $4 so I purchased it.

Perhaps today I will get more information about the school, and the contract for China.

Monday, 14 January 2008

The course completes.

What a course! I loved it - but not the pressure. I've not ever been on a course where so much was achieved in so short a time. We attended the course on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night from 6 pm to 10 pm and on Saturday and Sunday we were in class from 9 am to 6 pm. And it was full on! And at times quiet a lot of pressure. Most students seemed to be stressed by it all, but we all survived our assessment and just before 6 pm on Sunday night, we received our certificates and headed home!

First of all, I must say they were a great bunch of students. All 19 of them. There's not one of them that I would not be happy to meet, travel with, or socialise with. I probably was not the oldest of the students and most were much younger than me. All great people.

As we were leaving someone suggested that "we have a beer". I initially chose not to join them. I was "knackered" and keen to get home, as I had to move out of my house sit house as well. And I hardly had the energy to scratch myself.

But as I walked to the Roma St Railway Station I realised that those that were going to the pub were walking with me and in the end I went into the Transcontintal Hoteal with them and had a much welcome glass of wine (Verdello). I stayed for a while, and then left in time to catch my train home.

When I arrived home I turned on my computer to see if any emails of importance had arrived - and there was one from Teach International - congratulating me. It was a brilliant gesture from the the trainers.

I eventually went to bed at 10.30 pm. Tired and happy.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Overseas Documentation

One of the things I learned last night - one of the many - the head is spinning by the end of the evening - is that for overseas employment one needs a different sort of CV or Resume to what is used for seeking employment in Australia, and there is a "letter of introduction" that is suggested.

So this morning I changed all my documentation and readied it for applying for employment in China or Vietnam.

I sent it off to the organisation that I originally sent my Aussie CV - so all I know at this stage is that they have received it and will communicate with me next week.

TESOL Classes

I've attended my first two TESOL Classes at Teach International - two nights from 6 pm to 10 am. And I've got more to go. Tonight 6 to 10 pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 6 pm. I'm going to be a mess on Monday!

As well on Sunday I move out of my house sit.! Pressure!

Last night we learned about the proper documents for applying for postiions at overseas school. My resume or CV which might be good for Australian positions needs updating to cater for overseas readers. That I will do this morning and resubmit.

Each class has been full on. No wasted time. All 19 or so students are enthusiastic and all very well involved in the sessions.

Last night one of the other students and I asked to leave 20 minutes early, so that we could catch a train. To save a long lonely hour wait on the railway station. So we finished quickly, and got ready to run, raced down the stairs and found we were locked in. Myfriend ran upstairs to find someone with the key!

We made a hasty retreat all along George St to the Roma St Railway Station and made it with a few minutes to spare. Phew!

We did get a little homework to do too. Busy days.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

A New Adventure

Several years ago I completed a degree at Griffith University - a Ba of Adult and Vocational Teaching (as it turns out majoring in Literacy and Numeracy), and all along I have been interested in teaching English. I did a little literacy tutoring - but my first client was difficult. Seldom turning up, and wasting my time so I gave it up at the time.

Some months ago I started researching Teaching English overseas, and late in the year started a TESOL course. TESOL is Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. I have spent a lot of time researching and feel that I could be well suited to a program of Teaching Medical English to use my nursing knowledge. So I set out to do the course. I have completed some of it on-line, and am currently doing the in-class component of the course at Teach International.

Some time ago when I was speaking with the folk who own the house that I am housesitting while they are overseas, Mr G put me in touch with his sister who works for a college that trains and finds employment for TESOL teachers, and organises work experience and volunteering and cultural exchanges.

I made contact with them advising them that I would be in touch when I had done my studies, but I was surprised to receive an email from them asking me to submit my CV, which I did.
An interview followed and the prospect of employment at a school in Shaoxing, China, was discussed.

Last night I finished the first day of the Teach International in class component of the TESOL Course. During the day I received a phone call and more information about the position in Shaoxing, and I have committed to making a decision and completing the documents by next Tuesday.

This is the start of a new adventure for me. Hence the new blog.