Archive for the ‘Moving’ Category

I’m Moving..

25 January 08

blog addresses, that is.

The new blog URL is or if you’re fond of w’s.

The blog is the same – go have a gander! Switching to my own domain means I no longer need to use TOR to access my blog or update posts. It also means fellow friends in China can access the blog without using proxies.

I will no longer update this site, or the mindsay blog, but I will keep them as they are, at least as long as they remain free blog hosts! (Unless anyone has any issues accessing my new URL – let me know!)

I’m currently in the process of changing image links to reflect my new photo home – SmugMug. You can see all of my photo galleries at I’ve noticed that occasionally, there are issues with photos not showing up in my posts.** Usually, this is a temporary matter. As far as I know, SmugMug is not blocked within China, as Flickr photos sometimes are.  (**Update: actually, it’s my fault! I disabled the external link function for that gallery – oops! The SmugMug team is so fantastic, they alerted me to the problem without me even having to ask!)

My new home is powered by the fabulous web host Laughing Squid. Like SmugMug, Laughing Squid is run by real people, not a corporation. Sure, I could have signed up for a zillion GB of web space for $2 on some big web host company, but I prefer to patronize small businesses with heart. Laughing Squid provides excellent technical support and their servers are high quality. And they’re artists!

Come over to the new blog! I am in desperate need of little red dots on the Clustrmap!


Going Home

25 December 07

This is just a quick post to let everyone know that I am SUPER busy trying to get ready for our trip to Spain and onward move…somewhere!

Merry Christmas and Happy Eid and Best Wishes for a Wonderful Holiday!

We will be in transit for the next few days, hopefully arriving in Spain for the weekend. Posts will resume upon our arrival, I can’t guarantee any updates in the meantime. Take care, I’ll be thinking of you all!

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

21 December 07

I’ve just come from a really fun night that almost makes me regret what I am about to announce here.

Dinner with friends is a way of life here in China. You get together with your buddies, (Chinese or foreign or, hopefully, both), and you eat as much as you can, drink as much as you want and laugh and enjoy yourself.

That is what we did tonight. We met up with our good friend PB and a small group of his friends. Caution here, PB speaks a little English, but not a lot, so in the past, our conversations have consisted mainly of “what’s up, man?” and “how are you?” Tonight, PB brought along a friend who speaks very good English, so we could translate with each other. No matter anyway, because over the last year, PB has learned an amazing amount of English and even if we can’t always understand each other, we always have a fun time.

We started out the evening over a never-ending dinner at a Western-style barbecue restaurant. These kinds of places are all the rave in China and are vaguely reminiscent of Fuego de Chao, the Brazilian barbecue restaurant. The Chinese versions offer a buffet of salads and Chinese dishes, while the main entrée is barbecued meat, circulated around the restaurant on long metal skewers. Our little group polished off quite a few pitchers of beer, brewed on-site (dark, light, green and ginger varieties) and countless plates of food. My mother always told me to think of the starving children in China when I wouldn’t eat my brussel sprouts, but now I can confidently say there are NO starving anything in China!! Every table in the place was over flowing with food!

The evening ended at a disco, located, conveniently, next door to the restaurant. Chinese discos are always wacky. This one featured a bouncing dance floor, but I was a little disconcerted to find the floor bounced up and down a good foot or two, making for a very uncomfortable dance.

I realize that this might offend a reader or two, but I beg you to consider the hilarity of the situation. As the number of dancers increased and the beat of the music intensified, I suddenly realized everyone was dancing furiously to a song which basically consisted of one lyric repeated over and over: “Everyone wants the pu**y!!” Loudly. Girls and boys laughing, pumping their fists in the air. No one had a clue what the singer was actually saying. Aww. Gotta love China!!!

Gotta love China. What a complicated country. Which makes me both a little bit sad and a little bit happy to announce that after a great deal of contemplation, the DH and I have decided it is time for us to leave China and move on to a new adventure somewhere else on the globe.

I know it seems sudden, but we have reached the end of our contract and this is something we have been considering for a long time. As some of you know, I am a serial expat. After two and a half years in the Far East, it is time for something new.

It’s been awesome, China, thanks for the memories!!!

Packing is the Pits, Saying Good-Bye is the Worst

6 August 06

Packing is just about the worst thing you can do. You are confronted by the staggering amount of belongings you own, half of which you had forgotten about, pushed to the back of the closet. This is all the more frustrating when you have a 30kg weight limit to deal with.

What am I talking about? What is going on? Why am I packing? Going Native and the DH are on the move again. This time we are saying good-bye to China and hello to something new.

In a few days we will be back in Spain, visiting family and friends that we haven’t seen in 4 years. Then we will make some important decisions about what is next for us. I have a pretty good idea about where we will be going, but I’d like to wait and be sure before I announce it.

I spent my last day in Shijiazhuang yesterday getting a haircut – one of my favorite activities in China. Then I visited the World Trade Plaza lounge and drank espresso while reading the International Herald Tribune. Then I picked up a few last groceries from the store before returning to the airport. On Tuesday evening we will be travelling to Beijing, to spend two nights there before our flight to Spain on Thursday.

Saying good-bye to any place is always a little difficult, but I’ve gotten quite used to it. (Since  I’ve moved so much!) This time, it will be difficult to say good-bye to the great friends we’ve made here. The physicality will not be missed. As for PanAm – the flight school – well, I’ve got some things to say about that later.

The blog has a new look for our transitional time. I will most likely be updating again when we are in Spain on Friday. I still have a lot of reflecting to do on this year in China. Stay tuned, because this is a really exciting time for us! Wanderlust has struck again.

Now back to the suitcases and the piles of STUFF…

update, later in the afternoon ~
The packing is horrible. I wish my mom were here. She knows how to pack I’ve got one suitcase full to 33 kilos and more to go. We have too much stuff. I long for the days when I can finally travel light. The DH keeps insisting everything will fit, that we’ll not have too much luggage, that everything will be fine. I’ve banned him from the room!

I’ve Arrived

4 September 05

Just a quick update to let you all know I’ve arrived in China and I am doing great!

So far everything is fun and good. I feel very comfortable and really like the people. It is so modern and in a lot of ways different from what I expected. I am a bit overwhelmed and I am not sure how to describe everything around me.

I don’t have internet at “home” (the hotel room) yet, so I have to make this quick. I will be updating with much more detail soon!

Love and miss you all!

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!

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!)