Category Archives: friendship

The wonderful world of blogging!

I started blogging, seriously, after I had arrived here in China.  I am sorry I didn’t do more blogging when I lived in Prague, but it is what it is!!  Blogging has become my newest addiction!!  It’s a healthy one at least.  My food addiction – well not so healthy sometimes haha.  My book addiction has been seriously curtailed due to me leaving in less than two weeks – I have had to reduce the number of notebooks I have to about 5 – and that was hard to do!

 

Back to blogging – I started blogging because I love writing.  I wanted my family and friends back in Canada to read about what I was experiencing.  I never really thought much about what kind of impact blogging would have on me.  I am trying to keep up a schedule with my blogs, but some days I have “blogger’s block” (is that a thing?), and other days I want to write about so many different things!

 

I am happy to say that it has had a very positive impact on me.  My writing skills have improved, as have my photography skills (at least in my mind they have!).  But more importantly, I have discovered a whole new world – a fantastic world.  The world of bloggers.

 

I have spent this afternoon reading blogs about people giving up their careers for a year or two and traveling around the world.  I enjoy the traveling blogs.  I have been reading food blogs, inspirational blogs, and so many more.  The world is a crazy, and a bit scary, place these days, and it is so nice to read so many happy stories.

 

Blogging is such a great way to connect with people from all around the world, and read about what other people are talking about or seeing.  It has opened my eyes and has inspired me to pursue more dreams.  I have also added more places to see and visit on my ever-changing bucket list!

 

I am so grateful for all of my fellow bloggers who have started following my blog, and wanting to read about my life and my thoughts.

 

So this blog is to my fellow bloggers – thank you so much for becoming a part of my blogging life, and thank you for sharing with me your life.  I appreciate all of you!!

 

Saying so long to new friends

I am an outgoing person.  I will strike up a conversation with anyone, pretty much wherever I am.  If I see someone who looks like they probably speak English, I always say hello!  And that in turn has the person saying hello back, and we start a conversation – where are you from?  What are you doing here?  Almost always it is another teacher!  I have met people here in Changchun from South Africa, Australia, Morocco, USA, Canada and of course China. 

Chinese people can be very friendly once they get over their nervousness of trying to speak English.  About a year ago (end of August 2016), I had decided to explore Changchun and got on a bus not knowing where it was heading to.  I stayed on until the end, and discovered a beautiful park.  I wandered through it, and hoped my GPS on my phone would help me find my way back.  No such luck.  I did find a street that I recognized, but I had myself so turned around that I had no idea what way to go.

 Instead of panicking, I decided to wing it and just wander around until I found someone who might be able to help me.  I knew where I wanted to go and I knew the Chinese name for it. So off I went.  I remembered in the Czech Republic, my instincts always said ask a younger person because they will in all likelihood be studying or have studied English – and they will understand.  Well, I approached a young man at a bus stop, and asked him which bus I should take.  He understood me enough to be able to point me in a direction that would get me there.  I said thank you, and crossed the street to the other bus stop.  About two minutes later, he was there tapping me on my shoulder.  He had found an easier way for me to get to my destination, and walked me to the right bus stop.  We exchanged numbers and off I went.haha

Well, this very nice young man has become a very good friend of mine.  Zero is his English name (I cannot pronounce his Chinese name).  He introduced me to Cinderella and Nancy, and the three of them have all become very good friends.

Tonight we all got together and had a nice dinner together and then went to KTV, to say so long (I never say good bye!), and enjoy each other’s company one more time as a group.  They are all wonderful young Chinese people.  The two ladies are Chinese English teachers, and Zero works with computer software for schools (that’s what I understand anyway!).  The generosity (and I use that word a lot here in China but it’s so appropriate) of these people is overwhelming.  I am going to miss the three of them very much.  Zero wants me to come back next May for his wedding (sorry but I don’t think that is in my plan!). 

It’s amazing how getting lost in a foreign country can help you find lovely people that become close friends! I am very grateful for becoming friends with these three people.  It has made me enjoy my time here very much!

​Grade 4 ~ Monday morning madness


There is only one Grade 4 class at the school. They were my first class to teach each week ~ Mondays at 8:55am.  The class never started on time, my time was always short with them, and that was disappointing for us.  Despite the time constraints, we always managed to have a fun class. 

There is so much potential for the brilliant minds that are in this class.  I could have actual conversations with some of the kids and they were able to understand me and communicate with me.


They were a class of chatters but I still was able to connect with them.  They were a tough class to teach some days. Tough in that they were the most distracted of all the classes. Their classroom was in a corner away from the others due to renovations in the school.  Their interaction was mostly with each other so it was understandable that they chatted.


They were engaging when I had an interesting game or activity to do, they liked asking me questions about Canada and they also liked giving me a hard time about my minimal Chinese. I did manage to surprise them on occasion with some new Chinese words though!  They were very intent on teaching me Chinese!


Some of my favourite lessons with them were Scattegories, Scrambled Sentences, and Charades.  The charades was a very rambunctious game that came at a price of a broken ruler (not on one of them ~ on a desk~ oops!!)


I enjoyed the time with them and I can sense that there are going to be a lot of very successful students in that class.

As with all the students I have met and taught at Livon, I will miss these kids very much!!  It has been such an amazing experience teaching all these kids.

Grade 3 ~ the reasons why I love this career

If someone asked me what my favourite grade was to teach in China, this was it. Grade 3 without a doubt. These kids were awesome.

They were fun to teach, they were funny, they understood a lot, I could be silly with them but they also knew when they had to listen. One loud bang of the giant yellow ruler and they knew it was time to stop and listen.

Playing with them at lunch time (what time is it Mr. Wolf!), eating lunch with them every day, bonding with them outside of school at the playground ~ these are the kids that I will miss the  most. 

There are only two Grade 3 classes, each with 36 students, so it was much easier to get closer to them.  These kids ~ oh these kids ~ I will miss their laughter, their questions, their smiles, and their generous nature.   The snacks they would feed me, the high fives in the hallway, and lots of hugs.  

Albert, Frog, Yoyo, Sun, Sam, Terry, Derek, Nick, Coco, Cici, Angel ~ these are the names that immediately come to my mind but I will remember every single one of them.  (I wish I was just making those names up….but I’m not. Those are their English names!)

The Grade 2 students may have made me a better teacher, but the Grade 3 students showed me how much I truly love this career I have.  

Shine on kids, be the stars you are all destined for and know that I am going to miss you all so much!!

​Grade 2 ~ oh the challenges!!


Grade 2 kids ~ these kids are so smart, they are gaining confidence with their English, and are very inquisitive.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked how old are you (answer is always older than you), are you okay, where do you live, what’s your phone number, and the list goes on.


They love games ~ Teacher Says is their favourite.  Its been challenging to keep them interested and motivated but I have succeeded.  


I definitely have favourite students ~ I would be lying if I said I didn’t. Leo, Tom, Hardy, Ang Lee, Lucy and Ella are the ones that I love seeing every day.  


Seven grade 2 classes, average of 40 students in a class ~ a lot of inquisitive children who are always excited to see me!  They love feeding me their snacks too (usually with their hands right into my mouth ~ no wonder I had so many colds!).  

The unabashed hugs, taking my hand and leading me into class, the excited faces when I stand at the front of class and say “Teacher says stand up!” ~ those are the moments I will miss the most.


These kids have made me a better teacher with their questions and their eyes lighting up when they realize they can understand what I am saying.  Their quick minds, short attention spans and endless fidgeting made it challenging, but I can say that I came, I saw, I conquered!!

Link

Teaching this past year in China has been an amazing experience for so many reasons, but these children are the main reason.  

Grade 1 students ~ they range in age from 6 to 9. Sweet, innocent, beautiful children who embraced me from day one, who weren’t shy to come up and hug me or hold my hand while walking down the halls of Livon. Who would see me and yell out my name, so I would wave back or say hello. Who would walk by a classroom when I was teaching and wave and say hello. 

These are the kids who grabbed on to me, showed me their love for me and found their way into my heart forever.  

Twelve different grade 1 classes a week, with forty students in each class  ~ I may not know all of their English names, but I know all their faces.  I will miss seeing them every day once I leave.  I hope they will miss me a little bit before their new teacher starts in the next semester. I hope a part of them will remember “Teacher Louisa” or “Teacher Lulu”, because she will forever remember them.  

From the delicious to the bizarre…

There are many unusual things to eat here in China, some more unusual than others (BBQ scorpion no thanks!).  The fun part of traveling is leaving your inhibitions aside and trying new things, if you are brave enough!!


Chicken gizzards ~ no.  BBQ scorpions ~ no. Unknown meat ~ well maybe.  Unknown seafood fried on a stick ~ yes and it was delicious!!  I know I ate chicken feet at one point unbeknownst to me. It was okay but doubtful that I will have it again willingly or knowingly!!

One of the more unusual fruit here is dragonfruit.  Its skin is bright pink, it has spikes all over it and doesn’t look like fruit at all!!

Inside it’s white with little black seeds (?).  It has a nice light fruity taste. It is not overly sweet, definitely not sour, and is quite refreshing.  It has a soft texture similar to a ripe pear.  I had tried it back in Calgary and thought it was tasty so I knew what it was like.  Of course, being in the country where it’s from, I had to try it!!  And it is more delicious here!!

Next thing to try ~ octopus in Chile!!

Fears of the unknown

I have many fears, as I am sure most people do. Some of my fears are common (war is on the top of that list) and some are not so common, I think.
I have overcome many fears since my traveling life has begun.  One was traveling alone ~ could I do it? Could I be happy being alone in a foreign place?   I have conquered that fear. Being alone in a foreign country is more liberating than fearful. Its an amazing feeling walking through European cities or Chinese cities and having a feeling of belonging, despite being stared at. Taking in all the sights to see, the smells, people watching. Experiencing a whole new way to live.  Adjusting as well as you can to the language.  I am happy to say that the fear of this unknown was a good one to overcome.


Last night I conquered a personal fear.  Eating out in public.  I have eaten in restaurants here in China ~ I don’t always like doing that but I have done it (the noisy eating I will never get used to!).  But there is one thing I have wanted to do and couldn’t work up the nerve to do, until last night.
BBQ is very popular here. There is a BBQ place near my place but I didn’t know what the food was. That’s another fear!  What am I eating?? I don’t usually ask, until last night.  I was walking by, on my way to get my usual chicken and rice dish when two of my students and their parents asked me to join them. So I did. I sat down, ate delicious food outside, with people watching, taking pictures and talking about me. (I know the Chinese word for foreign teacher ).

My usual chicken dish that I love!!
What did I eat?  Grilled tofu (I love tofu!!), a seafood skewer (no one could tell me what kind of seafood it was but it was good!), pork skins (yummy!), chicken (what part of the chicken is unknown but it was really good), chicken wings and a huge bottle of beer.  I overcame the fear of the unknown food and enjoyed a lovely evening with these very generous people.  And now I know I will definitely sit down again and enjoy the food there.
So when you’re traveling, take the plunge and try local food. Don’t be afraid. You may be pleasantly surprised!!  (I did say no to chicken gizzards though ~ I had to draw the line somewhere!)

The name of the game

A great Abba song!!  Don’t judge me ~ I love Abba!!
So yes, the name of the game. Or, more precisely, the name is the game. A name can define you and your future. A name can create a show of strength. So what’s up with the Chinese people and their choices for their English name?

I have met Zero, Cinderella (don’t call her Cindy!), Precious Stone ~ and these are adult names!!  Some of the kids are Strawberry (a boy), Frog, Apple, and other names that are a combination of English and some other language!  Strawberry happens to be a very smart young boy but really?  What were his parents thinking??
Name choice is baffling everywhere but the Chinese people have definitely amused me with their choices!!
Remember when naming your beautiful newborn baby that while he/she is a baby now, one day they will be an adult!!
Zero for President!  (No sorry that just doesn’t work haha)

Happiness is a child’s laugh

The sound of a laughing child always makes me smile. Whether it’s a baby’s first giggle, a toddler’s belly laugh, or kids playing in a park, laughing at the sheer joy of being at play.

My day is so much brighter when I hear the laughing of kids. No matter what I am doing or trying to finish, the sound of laughing makes me feel better and ready to finish my job.

As adults, we tend to take things so seriously, we forget what it’s like to have a good long laugh. One that brings tears to your eyes and a sore stomach. 

So the next time you feel stressed, listen to some kids playing and laughing. Sometimes its all the therapy you need!!