Archive for August, 2005

I’m Off to China

31 August 05

My flight leaves in the morning. I’ve been CRAZY busy doing all the last minute stuff. I’ll update as soon as I can! In the meantime, take care everyone!

Love you all!

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My Send Off – Toronto Style

29 August 05

Toronto said goodbye to me by stealing my bicycle out of my own back yard, during the 1 minute I left it outside. I was planning on shipping the bike to Texas, so I suppose this saved me at least $100. (Although that is what I could’ve sold it for..I paid 5 times that.)

I am very sad. I really loved that bike. It was big & blue with a giant black basket on the back. A little bit Granny, but it was great for getting groceries.

On the bright side, I spent the evening on Kensington Avenue, listening to great music and eating delicious organic ice cream. Every other Sunday in August, the streets of Kensington Market are closed to cars and it comes alive with music, street food, street performers. I will miss the market with all of it’s crazy characters and great food & atmosphere.

I was supposed to fly out today…

28 August 05

And what a relief that we changed our flight to Wednesday. There is still a ton of stuff to do, like somehow fitting a ton of stuff into the suitcases. It really hasn’t sunk in yet, either. I don’t quite get why everyone is saying goodbye and throwing us goodbye parties…
Am I going somewhere?

In just a few days I will be in Beijing and I will certainly have to accept it then, won’t I!

Well I just wanted to quickly update because I know someone out there is checking this blog everyday and is disappointed when I don’t update!! I will add a few more thoughts before we box up the computer, and I will blog again as soon as I am able.

Back Porch
One of my favorite places in Toronto – my back porch

The Stresses of Moving

18 August 05

I haven’t been posting too much lately, but I thought I would update on what has been happening. Basically all I have been doing lately is stressing. I packed up all of my VIPs (very important possessions) and loaded them in my car. Tuesday my mom and her friend flew up from Texas and today they drove South with the car. I’ve been trying to sell everything else that I can. So far a lot has been sold, but the piles of books and clothes everywhere are distressing me.

The visa stuff is coming along, DH will have his visa in about 4 days. I am waiting for my school to mail me the documents I need for my visa – another week. I am so glad that we didn’t actually buy our tickets yet. My stomach would be in a huge churn if we had. I am not sure we are going to have the visa by the 28th. UGGGGHHHHHHHHH. I almost want to say: “Forget it!!! I’ll just go over on a tourist visa and hang out for 6 months or so…..” But no, I want to do something. I am sure I will love teaching and at least it will be a way to meet people.

The other day I was warmed by a little observance I had of an elderly Chinese man and his grandson in the Kensington Market park. In the park they have a little wading pool, and it is always full of kids splashing and playing. I was sitting in the park enjoying the sun when I noticed a little boy looking intently at the water. It was clear that he wanted to get in the water, but he wasn’t too sure about it. He was accompanied by an older Chinese man, dressed in the typical fashion of the older Chinese I often see in the neighborhood: long pants, socks with sandals, a long sleeve sweater. Finally the little boy could stand it no longer, he had to get in the water. The grandfather removed the boy’s socks, and rolled up his pants above his knees. Then he took off his own socks and sandals, and rolled his pants up above his knees. Then he took the boy by the hand and escorted him in to the water. The two walked around the pool, lightly splashing and laughing together. It was so sweet. I am sure that this sort of exchange could have occurred anywhere in the world, but I was particularly touched because they were Chinese.

I have been living in Chinatown for 2 1/2 years, but lately I have really been paying attention to the signs, the people, the foods, the hustle & bustle. I guess it is a small-scale preview of what is to come.

Moving On

12 August 05

Today I learned that there are people actually reading this blog. That sort of changes things slightly in my mind, as I type things. I hope that I don’t $cens*or myself too much. (Trying to thwart the cen&sor bots – do they do that? Evidently the Chinese government tries to ce!nsor the internet…. It will be interesting to be in a country where you can’t take your rights and freedoms for granted!)

Today was also my last shift at the hospital. I am not sure how I feel about that, which stuns me. I thought I would be jumping for joy, but I guess it is my coworkers who I keep thinking about. There is something about working in that environment… You develop really genuine friendships, or the complete opposite. I guess it is the intimate atmosphere, dealing with life and death, illness, sharing the sometimes incredibly strange or gross things that nurses do and see. I am very lucky to have worked with some really incredible people! (And I am not just saying that because some of you may be reading this!)

NERVES!

9 August 05

Time is flying by. I can hardly believe that it is the second week of August. We have 19 more days. In that time, I still have to finish my medical exam, get my visa, buy tickets, and oh, yeah, sell everything I own minus a few boxes that my Mom will  be taking with her to Texas. Overwhelmed isn’t even the word. I really am in panic mode. At least with all this packing and panicking, (sp?) I haven’t had time to actually worry about showing up in China and teaching English like, the next day. HA HA HA…..

Watched another Pilot Guide, this one on Southwestern China. It was great. So beautiful. I can’t wait to get travelling!!

It’s Official

4 August 05

So it’s official. The cat is out of the bag. I’ve announced at work and emailed everyone the news. I didn’t count on the fact that my manager was off on vacation for two weeks, however. I thought I would be telling her today in person. That makes me feel sort of weird, but I guess it can’t be helped now.

Pilot Guides

3 August 05

I love Pilot Guides. Actually, I love travel documentaries in general. I guess if I am not actually traveling I prefer to armchair travel.

Last night we watched an episode of Pilot Guides about Central China. I am so glad we saw it. The guide went from Shanghai over to Xi’an. It was great to see Shanghai and the countryside was so beautiful. She travelled down the Yangtze River and then up one of its tributaries. I guess all of that will be gone when the three gorges dam is finally finished. The program was great because we saw a little bit of what China looks like and I think we were shocked by how modern it seemed in many places. I think I was picturing something more like San Jose. Anyway, I am more excited than ever!!

Here’s a question: Didn’t Pilot Guides used to be Lonely Planet? And why did it change? And was it once also called Globe Trekker?

Reflections on August 2nd

2 August 05

Strange things always happen on August 2nd. Today a plane crashed here in Toronto. Luckily, everyone survived, but it still looked pretty scary. I have flown a million times, but crashing is still always in the back of my mind. A friend of mine sub-let her apartment for the next couple of months to a girl from Germany who just happened to be on the flight.

Every August 2nd I also observe that this was the day, 15 years ago, when Iraqis invaded Kuwait. Has it been 15 years? WOW. Kuwait sometimes seems a million years away, and at other times it seems like yesterday. My time there, in retrospect, was a very unique time. At times happy, strange, exciting, fun and boring. It is an experience that changed my life forever – in a good way.

I am new and I am trying

1 August 05

This morning I stopped in to McDonalds to get some breakfast. I don’t normally eat at McDonald’s, but every once in a while I do get a craving for a sausage’n egg McMuffin, especially after a long 12 hour night shift. Well, a very scared looking Chinese-Canadian girl (Ahem, the China connection…) greeted me and asked in a timid manner if she could take my order. She was wearing a button that said, “I am new and I am trying.” I couldn’t help but smile. She was so cute. Completely incapable of making any sort of McDonald’s related decisions, but cute. (She kept turning to her trainer every time she had to answer a question.) And she was trying. I couldn’t help but think, “Is this how I am going to be on my first day as an English teacher?” Oh I hope my drama skills kick in. Please tell me that all those years of corny high school plays (Sir Sprout ring any bells?) and overly-dramatic college musicals will finally count for more than just GPA boosters. (Those were fun times, though.)

My new mantra will have to be: I am new and I am trying.