Monday, 31 August 2009

The new camera at last

I knew one day that I would be keen to update my camera. The little Nikon will still remain in my handbag 24/7, but I wanted to take better photos of my travels so have been reviewing DSL cameras for some time.

Eventually I decided on a Canon - and on Friday became the happy owner of the new piece and have experimented with it from time to time since.

I know it is bigger and bulkier than my little Nikon, but already I am seeing the dramatic difference in quality of the photos - so much clearer!

I've a lot to learn but I am looking forward to using it.

(I hope you like this one - taken with the new beast!)

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The miracle of the grommet

Yesterday, before dawn I was up and dressed and ready for my very early appointment at the ENT specialist to get a grommet put in my right ear. I went by early train, as I had to have some analgesic (pain killing) stuff put in my ear, and then I had to wait for an hour for it to work, (good time for breakfast and coffee), before the grommet was put in my ear.

As usual the analgesic did not work as well as it should, so I did experience a sall amount of pain, but within 10 minutes the little piece was installed into my ear drum.

Immediately I could hear without the "head in the bucket of water feeling" and here I am, nearly 24 hours later and still feeling good.

It was amazing!!!!!! After nearly five months of total discomfort I feel 100% again!

Friday, 21 August 2009

University teacher's Uniform

Towards the end of my first semester at Yuexiu University, it was announced that all continuing teachers were to be measured for a uniform. There was a post it note on my door advising me of my appointment time for measuring and I duly went. It was quite a funny occasion as I questioned the Chinese staff about it. When would I have to wear this uniform? All official occasions was the response. Mmm. Still not clear. In any case I submitted to the measuring which was quite detailed.

After two months away from the university for summer holidays we returned for the next semester, and a few days later were called to pick up our uniforms. They were all in the same fabric - a light pin striped fabric made into a three piece outfit - a smart jacket or blazer, trousers, and a skirt - a mini skirt.

I tried them on one day in my apartment, and then hung them in the wardrobe awaiting instructions on when to wear the uniform. It never came. In the whole semester the three piece outfit sat in the wardrobe, and when I packed to return home to Australia, I packed it into my suitcase. I knew that no Chinese would ever wear it - as they are all much smaller than me.

And again it has hung in my wardrobe here. When I go back to Yuexiu I will take it - but I've not had any occasion to wear it - that is, until Wednesday.

I had a Chamber of Commerce breakfast function to attend - so I work the slacks/trousers and jacket, complete with my new brooch with a sparkling kangaroo on the lapel.

Very comfortable, and very suitable for the occasion

Last night I attended the farewell cocktail party of the Greater Brisbane Area Consultative Council - a government funded body that helped organisations with government funding - which has been disbanded by the Labor Government (who originally set them up years ago). This time I wore the jacket and the mini skirt. I procrastinated about the skirt for it was far shorter than anything I normally wear, but it was comfortable and looked OK, even if I was a little sensitive about the high hemline.

So, after nearly 12 months since it came to live with me - I have worn all three pieces of the suit.

And I'm likely to dust it off and wear it more often - even the skirt!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

The Mystery Ear Problem

It is nearly five months since my ear troubles start and I have been getting increasingly frustrated and concerned about the problem. Treatment in Korea and Australia has not resolved it, and I often try to explain the feeling of my head - as if my head is constantly in a bucket of water.

It appears it may have happened because I travelled by plane with a cold, and somehow the fluid in the Eustachian tube of my ear has caused a blockage. I have otitis media (middle ear infection which appears to be resistant to all treatment including antibiotics) and mastoiditis.

So next week I will have grommets inserted into the ear drum. These are not "drains" but "ventilation" as it is necessary for air to circulate in that part of the ear, and I gather the grommet will help "clear" the blockage.

Now grommets are something that generally children have as many of them are prone to middle ear infections - something that I do not recall ever having until early this year.

So, a new experience next Tuesday as I venture into new territory. One of the issues with grommets is that one must not get the ears wet - so no swimming, and care when having a shower and especially when washing hair. I will have to use special ear plugs to prevent water seeping into my ears.

But, I have been given the green light to travel again - so looks like I will be able to go to South Korea in September or October.

Sunday, 16 August 2009


I have never counted the number of photos that I have taken in China and South Korea, and from time to time do look at them, and update them. So many I had downloaded to my computer but not typed in the information, so the sooner I do that the better.

Mostly I remember where they were taken and details, but I resolve to do a better job of it next time I travel. I am hoping that before I head off anywhere again, I will have removed all photos from this computer, and start with a "clean slate".

I have invested in Creative Memories software, but the reality is I had the tools to do a lot before, but just lacked someone to push me to do it I think.

It's funny too - I received an email from an ESL site that I visit from time to time, and there was mention of a photo competition, and it asked readers to visit the site and vote on the photos. I was surprised to see one of my photos there - clearly I had entered a month or so ago and forgotten.

It is a photo that was probably posted here, of dawn over Moreton Bay.

Anyway if any reader wants to see it and vote for my photo - or someone else's, please go to

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Still betwixt and between......

Maybe I will know in the next 24 hours if the next South Korean venture is on - and at the moment I am indifferent about it. I'd like to go - especially as it is a new challenge and I might get to Pusan and North Korea, but such a lot is happening here, I'm OK not to go at the moment.

I received an email about a photo contest - I'd forgotten I'd entered, and it has a couple of weeks to go, so if you want to see (and vote for my entry) go to ESL daily - there are not a lot of entries, but the sunrise over Wynnum is my entry. You can vote for me if you wish.

I'm hoping to have some resolution to my hearing/ear problem this week - and it is with some trepidation that I will have a skull scan - most pundits joke about looking for my brain.

I'm reading an extra ordinary book at the moment about an Australian nurse Valerie Browning, whose brother is an Anglican Bishop in Australia. Valerie did her nursing training in Australia but has been working for much of her life with the Afar people in Eritrea. The book is called "Maalika My Life among the Afar nomads of Africa" Authors Valerie Browning and John Little.

As I am keen to write about Australian nurses myself, I've been mesmerised by her story - just an amazing woman. "Maalika" means "queen" and she is revered as such with the Afar peoples.

An amazing read.

In between doing everything else I've had emails from students in South Korea and China, and strangely enough a doctor in Egypt who is hoping to migrate to Australia. Interesting guy to chat with - and he needs help with his English too.

It is good to hear from my students though.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

What no post for nearly 10 days?

I note that my last post suggested that my ear troubles were over - but sadly that is not true. Despite a slight improvement a couple of weeks ago, there has been a relapse and I've had to visit the specialist again, and am due for some more tests next week, and another visit to the ENT specialist.

Hopefully I will get some resolution to the problem soon, as I am hoping to go back to Korea soon, and I won't go until I am sure I am well - 100%!

So I'm in a bit of a limbo.

I have heard from students in both China and South Korea - in China the students are on summer holidays so the seem to have a bit of spare time. And the South Koreans have just completed the next part of their course.

It is good to keep in touch with everyone - and I hope I will get to see them all, soon.

As well I have been getting more photos printed and I've almost filled two albums - and have a lot more to do.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Oh my ears

At long last I think I am about to be cured of the ear troubles that I have endured since early in April. I had a middle ear infection in Korea and had a strange expereince at two visits to the Korean ENT hospital. There was some improvement - but when I arrived home in Australia in June, I was at my doctor on the second day home.

I had asked for a referral to an ENT specialist, and as she couldn't "see" anything wrong, delayded it. She put me on antibiotics, which made no difference, and then sent me for a hearing test - and the audiologist advised an ENT specialist, and still my doctor hesitated in giving me the referral. Still I persisted and did see the ENT specialist - but by then I was in "remission" and it appeared as if my condition was eventually improving on its own.

But, after going to Adelaide in July - and struggling with the extreme cold there, again I had problems, so I was back at the ENT specialist.

Clearly I have a problem which he was able to identify yesterday - so I am now on some tablets. It seems it was a virus - (which is what I had suspected) and maybe after the treatment my head will not feel like it is full of laundry suds, and my hearing might improve.

As it is I have endured this condition on and off for four months! Let's hope it will soon be over.