Monday, 22 February 2010

My China Box

I really was looking for a cable for my China Iphone. It has an unusual cable and I have been unable to find one in my box of cables. I don't use the Iphone in Australia, but find it useful when o/s as it takes two Sim Cards. Somewhere I must have the cable - if not I will have to wait until I get to China. The Iphone is up and running with an international roaming simcard, but I have limited access to its many features without the cable. No matter. I'll survive.

I spoke with my parents last night by phone - I regularly phone them on a Sunday, and Mum clearly had forgotten that I had visited her last week and told her about the China trip. So we went over it all again, and she lamented that I was going. It is hard to go away when I know my parents are in their 90's but I would not see them until July anyway now. I've already been to Adelaide twice in three months!

In any case I found some things in the big plastic box with the label China. I sat and read the brochures about Hangzhou last night. I am looking forward to going back there too. It is where I land when I get to China, but I will be whisked off the 50 kms to Shaoxing, and won't see any of the delightful parts of this great city until later.

I looked at some of the other souvenirs I had from my previous visits. Some I'd forgotten and I found some teaching tools that I will take with me.

I'm still finishing off things for The Official Biographer and have about 5 appointments today. I now have my suitcase, but it has gone mouldy in its plastic bag so I will have to clean and dry it before I pack it.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Breakfast on the bay

We went out for breakfast this morning. Not something we do a lot of, but it was instead of going over to North Stradbroke Island which we had originally planned to do.

The photos don't show the weather - there were dark rain clouds and often we could see heavy showers out to sea. Not a good day for us to go boating, but later in the morning many did brave the elements.

Manly Harbour is quite huge and the photos do not do justice to the size of it but the Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club, where we had breakfast on the deck, is very popular especially for those who love the view as we do.

You can see a photo of the harbour at the MBTBC website.

We had a great breakfast and then went to see our daughter for some good coffee!

What to pack????

I have been watching the temperatures in Shaoxing, and know it will be cold when I go - just as it was two years ago when I set out on my first adventure to China. This time I am well prepared for the cold and will be carrying my heavy wool lined coat. It's heavy - but necessary.

I'm not taking much course material with me this time - I've got so much loaded on my computer and I'm more experienced now. Also I know where to buy things in Shaoxing. Easy. (I hope)

I will need summer clothes as well, as spring starts next week and it will soon be quite warm. I will ship my winter gear back to Australia when I am finished with it.

I'm putting together a plastic bag of my cables - so many for cameras, and other electronic devices and I am still missing one - one that I have not used since I returned from China. My Iphone which I use in China - has one cable that I cannot find - it must be here somewhere. I cannot even buy a replacement cable here, and I know I will have to go to a specific shop in Shanghai to get another one.

I've got my medication - not a lot - but enough for 4 months away. I wish I'd bought the Kindle, but that will have to wait now.

I've been working out how to manage my backpack, laptop and coat - so much stuff to carry around though only in the airports will I have to bother really.

I've just got a couple of things on my shopping list. Little things - no big deal. I have a box near my bed that I throw things into - will drag the suitcase out tomorrow probably.

Two more sleeps........................

Saturday, 20 February 2010

More things.............

I am still tired and it is no wonder. I've been so busy. Today I went to a new writers group - Women on Oxford at Bulimba. One of the members is someone that was part of the Writers group here at Wynnum when we first set it up about 10 years ago. She moved but is now active in the WOO group.

I'm a bit disappointed with the Wynnum group and haven't been able to attend their meetings anyway as I have been working.

WOO is a small group and we had quite a chat, and I had to leave early as we are baby sitting the two grandchildren from the Gold Coast and I will attend a TESOL College event this afternoon. As well I've been packing things to go to China - sorting out cables, suitcase etc.

It is still cold in Shaoxing - I think it has gone up to 9 degrees today!!! Brrrr. So I have quite a few winter clothes to take, and very little summer things as I will buy over there.

Still so much to do.............................

My to do list

I still have a lot of things to do in the next few days before I go. And I know I will not manage to do them all. I do have a "to do" list and I'm trying to keep ahead of the game.

It was an excellent function last night - but it has made me more tired though it wasn't a very late night. I was the official photographer again. It was funny as the local newspaper editor and perhaps one of her staff attended, and the editor was taking photos with a little digital camera. I know her, so I had a little laugh with her as I announced that "mine is bigger than yours". She later told my husband about that conversation and laughed about it.

I'm up early this morning and will tackle a few more things on my list, but it is Saturday and some things I can only do during week days.

I did go and meet one of my clients yesterday and will probably meet with her again tomorrow. She is 103 and I'm writing her story.

I plan to write in greater detail about my tour of duty in China - and I am hoping to get some good photos.

During the last days of my most recent trip to China I was up early one morning and walked along the river and took some excellent photos of the river just after day break, and I loved that series of photos. Maybe I will find another similar place for such photos - but certainly I hope to bring back some extra ordinary images of life in China.

Only 3 more sleeps to go..........................

Friday, 19 February 2010

Electronic translator

I went into the city today and picked up an Electronic Translator from the Duty Free Shop. I'd seen it a few days ago and contemplated purchasing it, so armed with cash I went in. No discount for cash. Damn!

Anyway I have it - but of course it is in a sealed bag, which must be checked at Customs when I get to the airport on Tuesday night. Then and only then can I open it and "play" with it.

It has 12 Asian languages - from Chinese Mandarin and Cantonese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, etc. - so hopefully I will get a chance to use it. I wish I'd had it in Korea as then I could have ordered meals from the restaurants there.

Four days to go - and still a long to do list. Tonight I am going to a dinner with Brisbane's Lord Mayor! Should be interesting. I'm the official photographer at the function too.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Countdown has begun

This time next week I should already be in Shaoxing, at Yuexiu University. So it really is a countdown. I finished at Carrick today - and with a party!!! Very much a surprise - as I returned to the staff room and found a lovely blue table cloth, coffee pot, white cups and saucers and the other teachers had brought in food. Cheese, biscuits, cake, etc. Quite a spread really. I was surprised and thrilled. Some gifts too - quite a shock!!

I've enjoyed my months at Carrick, though I confess to being a little pleased that I don't have to get up at 5 am to catch the train just after 6 am to get there in time to be ready for class.

And I've been shocked this week as there have been 18 students in class - somehow I like to smaller classes we had. But I guess that will prepare me for the next teaching at Yuexiu where there will be larger classes again. I've heard I will be teaching in the high school - not the university this time, so another challenge.

I've made appointments to get my booster injections tomorrow, and the dentist to get the cap on my tooth fixed up - a piece fell off and it has been rough, so it will be nice to get that done.

I've got my visa, I've got my documents, have got my tickets, have just an awful lot to do to get ready. I've not got a lot on, thank goodness, just washing, packing etc.

Oh, and I have a small computer problem that I hope my favourite son in law can fix for me before I go.

So the countdown is on..............

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Just over two weeks to go

My departure time is fast approaching - and I'm now collecting things to take. Yesterday I bought a small can of curry powder (I couldn't find what I wanted in China), a tube of Vegemite (I'm not a GREAT fan, but it can be useful) and some jelly crystals. I like to make my own jelly.

I'm also looking around for gifts to take - so hard as everything is expensive or made in China. I am looking a coasters with aboriginal designs. Not heavy, pretty useful, and perfectly Australian.

I've decided to go to Adelaide for two days - still have not told my parents I am going to China, but I'd like to see them. One never knows when it will be the last time to see them. I'm renting a car this time as I only have two days and I have a few friends to see, and I've worked out it would be cheaper and easier, especially as I want to see Jenny, a nursing colleague from way back whose health is deteriorating markedly.

I've got two weeks left to work at Carrick - and the program is getting harder for the students. And I'm working hard to make their experiences positive. I've bought some red paper and I'm going to decorate the class and our first floor with red hearts. If I can find some symbol for Chinese New Year/Spring Festival, I will too.

I've had emails from students and teachers from Yuexui - looking forward to seeing me and on Friday four ex-Yuexiu teachers had lunch together at South Bank. None of them are going back to teach this semester, in fact, I don't think will ever go back, although one is going to stay with me for a few days.

This week I have three mornings to work at Carrick, lunch on two of those days, my husband's birthday on Tuesday, and I have engagements on Wednesday and Thursday nights, and will fly to Adelaide on Friday morning, and back via Melbourne on Sunday.

Hopefully I pick up my Chinese visa and my passport on Thursday from the Chinese consulate in the city centre.


Then I have just over a week to do a hell of a lot of things........................