Sunday, 31 January 2010

In TESOL class

I did take three things to the class - but only used one. I spoke for about 10 minutes and showed the book about Yuexiu, but there really wasn't time to show the other two things that I took. One was my photo album - as much to show anyone who asked a question.

The group is very enthusiastic in their course through International TESOL College, and it was fun to be with them for the few minutes.

I've heard from one of the students that I did my TESOL with and she is in China - not far from Shanghai. I knew her mother too - so may try and catch up with her then.

I've also found a job in Shanghai that I would love and will investigate it further. Teaching Medical English. I understand from the website that they take on teachers for short programs so that would be good for me.

I'm looking forward to going to Hong Kong too.

I've started "throwing" things into a bag to take. Just odds and ends that I think I won't use between now and when I go. Or things that I'm afraid to forget to take.

I'll get out my list later - always have a list in the computer of the things I need to take, and I also have a shopping list for when I get there.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Looking up my memorabilia

I've been asked to speak at a TESOL College tonight about my experiences in China so I have dragged out my photo album, and a book about Yuexiu and another about Shaoxing.

I will only speak for 10 minutes and then answer questions about it. Should be fun.

I am also speaking informally with another English teacher who is keen to go to China too - so I may even get to recruit some. Maybe.

I keep saying that this coming trip to China is my "swan song" and next time I will try another country to teach, but I do have a passion for China and it will be hard to say "never" - but I doubt I will teach there. A long tour would be good though.

I'm already getting excited about going back - when I looked through my photo album I thought of the fresh vegetables, the food in the restaurants and the extra ordinary places I visited.

It won't be long now.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Preparations for Expo 2010

One of the places/events that I hope to visit in China this year is World Expo 2010 which is in Shanghai commencing on May 1st. It will run until the end of October.

When I was last in Shanghai I saw some of the preparations for this major event with the Expo site being on both sides of the Huangpu River. The statistics for this event are incredible - I don't intend to report on them here, but you can visit the website for more information. Expo 2010 website.

I well remember Expo 1988 in Brisbane - which of course was on a much smaller scale. There are 21 million people living in Shanghai and they have an enormous number of volunteers. 130,000 volunteers will be working in booths in the city, and 77,000 working on the site. I see that some of the volunteers are seniors with some up to 90 years of age.

Shanghai is only about 3 hours away from Shaoxing so we may be able to visit at the weekend. I do have a contact in Shanghai so if acomodation is too expensive or booked out, I have an alternative.

Also a friend (Australian) who was teaching in Yuexiu with us in 2008 is hoping to visit and it is hopeful that we can visit Expo together.

Time is running out and I have so much to do here in Brisbane before I go. I've yet to apply for my Visa. I was going to do that on Friday but I was called in to work as another teacher was sick.

My house sitting finishes this Friday so it will be back to normal, oh, except that now I am working in the morning. I will have to be at work by 7.30 am. Probably not too hard for me as I am an early riser, but still it will be a challenge. The bonus is that I will have afternoons free now.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Now the visa

I have paid for my ticket to China, this time with Cathay Pacific Airlines which will take me via Hong Kong. I have paid for my plane ticket, and I have got all my documents for the Visa and pllaned to do that today, but I was called in to work at the College as another teacher had called in sick.

So I will have to wait until next week to do it.

I have also told the college that I have only four weeks left to work before I go, so that is all arranged now.

I'll have to start preparing to go now - as time will rush by me and again I will be stressed the last week.

I'm looking forward to going with Cathay - I have not flown with them before but the bonus for me is that they fly via Hong Kong, which I have not visited before. I really am looking forward to that. On the way to China I will only have a few hours in Hong Kong, but on the return journey I will have three nights there so I hope to do one or two day tours and perhaps some shopping.

I'm still looking for a good back to take. My favourite bag is showing signs of wear and tear and as I now have to find a way to carry my big camera too, I hope to get something that makes life easy to carry all. I like little back packs and have been eyeing one off at a shop near the Fortitude Valley shops, and I'm also thinking I will wait until I get to China.

I will be working only three mornings a week from now on (I've switched from afternoons) as there has been a re arrangement of teaching staff at the college. I do find it very tiring and could not work for five days a week any more.

I'm also working on my new business. Click here to look at the new website. It still has a lot of work to do but slowly but surely it is improving.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Gallery of Modern Art

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We went to the Brisbane Gallery of Modern Art the other day - I really enjoy galleries, especially this one when we take the grand children.

The exhibition was extra ordinary - and I took this photo of one of the amazing exhibits. There are more at
this site too.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

A book?

OK, I'm always talking about "writing a book" but even the one's I've finished don't make it to the bookshelves. I do have several completed manuscripts, and I will edit/update them while I am away.

But I'm pondering writing a book "Four Months in China" documenting my last trip to China. I'm sure I'll have much to write about, and many photographs with the new Canon camera, so what if I create an e-book this time.

Yes, I'll do it.

I head off in a few weeks now - though I still sit with my documentation - I've not paid my plane ticket yet, and I have not yet applied for my Z Visa, but all the documentation is sitting here. I expect to take the visa application documents to the Chinese Embassy next week. I've got to get some more photos taken - the little ones that go on passports. "Passport size" they say. I need some new ones as I know I will use several on my travels. I might try and take them myself rather than pay someone. Then I can probably get the photo I want.

In the next few weeks I'll start collecting the things I want to take. Start filling the suitcase. I do make a list - but I also add things to the bag. I'm still trying to decide about taking a small lightweight computer - they are pretty inexpensive now. I hate taking a heavy machine.

I am considering a Kindle - not sure that I will have much time to read as I want to concentrate on writing.


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I have thousands of photos in my collection and will be off travelling again and adding more - and sometimes I get overwhelmed by them all and wonder how I can organise them. I'm not doing too badly though when I run out of time and get a bit lazy with them, I can let things get out of hand.

I've just found Picasa3 - have used Picasa from time to time, but the new program allows some more sophisticated editing, including adding some text to the photo.

I think this will be very important for those photos from China (and other places I travel) when even weeks afterwards I am not always clear on where the photo was taken. Clearly there are clues with the date and time appearing in the data collected with each photo, but I think adding some text - perhaps at the bottom, in an inconspicuous way, it will help me - especially in a few years time when I can look back and see the details.

It is a free download - go to

Friday, 15 January 2010

Oooh, my back!

Perhaps I have been overdoing it. I would have though not, but something did it. Why was it that just gently pulling on the sheet to straighten it while making my bed, my back "went" on me. A great pain got me in the lower back on the right side, and the pain was like a knife attack.

I did as much as I could yesterday, took some Panadol, and hoped it would go away, but this morning saw me at the chiropractor and a rather painful procedure. Oh, well, it has made me slow down. It hurts to sit for long, to stand for long, and sometimes just moving does it.

But onward and upward. I'm working on the new website, I've got the documents from China so will apply for my Z Visa next week (I love the documents that state I am a "foreign expert"), and with just over four weeks to go, I better get some things done here.

I'm still house sitting and enjoying that - but will have to slow down a little.

I note that it was 2003 that I was last at the chiropractor so the back problem that plagued me for years a long time ago, has not been a problem.

I've written an article about 5W - Women Welcome Women World Wide - a network of women who enjoy meeting people and travelling - and won't repeat it here, but if you want to read it, Click here.

At least it is the weekend tomorrow.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Life continues to be busy.

I've been asked to work longer hours at the ESL college, and I have declined. I don't know when I'd fit it in and anyway it was a class that I'm not keen on doing yet. As well, I have the TESOL college work coming up and I've set up the biography writing service.

I did this quite a few years ago - and then let it slide with all my travelling and working on one m/s but I've worked out a business model that I think will be eminently workable. I'm giving it a try.

I wanted to create a consultancy that did not require my 24/7 input and I've created a model that employs some writers (and I have some quality talent!!), and that I can manage from China. Let's see if it works.....

I conducted a workshop yesterday with three writers and we discussed biographies and obituaries at great length and these wonderful people are keen to work with me on the project. As well, I have one client so we can get to work on it immediately.

Naturally there is a lot of work to do - I'm writing business plans, creating the website, and trying to get it really up and running before I go away.

I have had my son create the "bones" of the artwork for my business card. He is a singer but talented at a number of things and he will work on the website for me. I have worked with another graphic artists to come up with my ideal logo etc so I'm thrilled about that.

I planned that 2010 should be good and it is starting out very well indeed.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Busy busy

I'm back at work as an ESL teacher - at least for the next few weeks. I have a contract to go to China to start work on March 1st, so will fly out around February 24th.

As well, I will have some hours at the International TESOL College at the end of January, and at the same time I've been setting up the Biography and Obituary Service that I worked on for a while.

Busy? You bet. Still, I don't like sitting around doing nothing. I'm house sitting at the moment too - looking after a house and cat at Clayfield. It is a magic place - so quiet over there. Not on a busy road. Quiet neighbourhood.

Lulu the cat and I get on well, though she does swipe me occasionally. No blood drawn though.