Author Archives: Travel the world with Duey

About Travel the world with Duey

I'm a 50+ lady traveling the world, teaching English, trying new foods, and experiencing everything this world can give me!

One week ago….

It is hard to believe that it has been one week since I left China.  According to my body clock anyway – it was last Thursday evening that had me flying to Tianjin on my first stopover of a very long journey to Santiago!  It seems like a lifetime ago.

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Andy, giving the peace sign

 

One week ago, I was a “superstar” in my neighbourhood – shouts of “Louisa!” were music to my ears because I knew young kids would be running up to me and giving me a hug.  I miss that.  I miss seeing Andy, who was always so willing to hug me and tell me he loved me.  I miss Leo, who would playfully poke me in the leg, arm or belly, just to make me run after him.  I miss Shirley, who would want to show me how well she was doing with her dance lessons (and stretch her leg way up over her head – oh to be young and agile again!).  I miss Lucy, the shy young girl who would barely talk to me when I first met her and who I discovered knew so much English, we could talk for almost an hour in English.  I miss Judy, who despite only being in the second grade, could easily have been in grade 4 or 5, so advanced was her English.  I miss the kids a lot.

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A Brazilian couple I met

 

However, I am now in a country where I fit in.  I may not look Spanish, but I blend in a lot more here.  I don’t get the stares that I did in China.  I don’t get pointed at and laughed at (at least that’s what I presume they were doing – what exactly were they laughing at anyway?  I never wanted to know).  I can walk down the streets of Santiago and not feel self-conscious that I am “fat” and will be told that.  I am aware of my weight, and didn’t like being told that by any of the Chinese.  It’s nice to be blending in and not a strange sight for people to see.  Of course, they haven’t yet seen my colourful tights – I may get stared at then lol.

 

Barrio Italia

I am enjoying Santiago very much.  For me, it’s a walking city.  I have walked for hours all over the city.  Barrio Lastarria, Barrio Bellavista, Providencia, Barrio Italia – so many areas to see all with their own unique qualities.  Would I want to live here?  No.  It’s a city I would definitely come and see again, if, God willing, I am granted that privilege.  I don’t feel enough of a connection though to want to live here.  Perhaps I haven’t seen enough of the city.  It’s possible there is an area I would like to live in.  For now, I am enjoying the wondrous beauty of this city that lies at the foot of the Andes.  I am enjoying the food.  Completo hot dogs with a bebida.  Empanadas.  Pastries (that’s something I need to STOP enjoying haha).

 

Completo Hot Dog and lemon soda

 

On Saturday I head to my next destination in South America – Valparaiso!  I am looking forward to being near the ocean, and to explore a new city!  In the meantime, I have one more full day in Santiago and will make the most of it!!

Santiago – funky, gritty and beautiful

My first couple of days here have been spent wandering the streets of Santiago.  Taking in the vibes of the city.  Learning about the area I am staying in.  It is a beautiful city, with some European feel to it.

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Santiago has a funky edge to it.  Barrio Bellavista is definitely a part of it.  A barrio at the base of Cerro San Cristobal, it is teeming with bars, restaurants, cool shops, and graffiti-filled buildings.  Some people are put off by graffiti but I think it gives the neighbourhood part of its vibrancy and coolness.  Lots of young people walking about, lots of families headed to Cerro San Cristobal and the zoo.

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I decided to walk up San Cristobal, as it was a beautiful day and I was told it was about an hour and a half walk.  The walk did not disappoint!  The views – incredible.  The peacefulness of the walk.  Seeing the bicyclists and hearing them grunt as they made their way up the steep slopes.  It was an incredible way to go.  I ended my walk at the cable car and took the cable car the rest of the way.  I was proud to have made  it up 2/3 of the way!!  At the top – the incredible beauty.

 

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Another part of Santiago I have walked to is the Plaza de Armas area.  It is filled with people, and while there were restaurants and bars around, I found it more crowded than I wanted.  Perhaps I will go back later this week, and see if it is always like that.  I did go into a church I passed along the way, and as it was Sunday morning, a church service was going on.  I decided to sit down, say a prayer of thanks for the incredible journey I am on, and watch the service.  It was a very passionate sermon, and while I could not understand what the priest was saying, I could feel the intensity in his voice.  A great way to start my time in South America.

 

After seeing the church service, I walked up another hill (lots of hills here!), Cerro Saint Lucia.  I am presuming because it was Sunday was the reason for so many people around.  Families having picnics, despite the cloudy cool day.  Teenagers having some fun.

 

I love the feel I am getting already from South America.  The language, the food (yes I have had an empanada already – first of many I am sure!!!), the vibes.  Very different from China ~ I am loving Santiago!!!

 

Finally, South America!!

I have arrived in Santiago Chile!!  After many gruelling days of flights, long layovers, and general exhaustion – I arrived in Santiago yesterday (August 12).  I am very confused as to what day it is, and the time!  I will get used to it in a day or two I am sure!

 

 

My flights took me to Tianjin China, Seoul South Korea, Los Angeles California, and Santiago.  Tianjin was the first night and I slept in the airport with probably 50 other people.  It’s not the best sleep I got, but at least I had about 4 hours of sleep there.  On to Seoul! 

Seoul airport is the most beautiful airport I have ever seen in all my travels!  So many things to do.  The airport and the city of Seoul offer free city tours, and since I had a layover of 9 hours, I took advantage of two of them.  I saw two temples, and the Korean war memorial.  And then, probably the best part (which is a little sad for me to admit haha) was the free showers in the airport!!   Yes, after sleeping in an airport and knowing that I had two VERY LONG flights to come, I took advantage of the free shower facilities.  I would love to spend more time in Seoul when it was extremely hot and humid, and see more of the city.  It looks very beautiful!!

 

Next stop ~ LAX – aboard a Korean Air flight.  A very impressive airline – comfortable, decent food and very friendly and helpful staff.  This was an 11 hour flight – but it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated.  I was so tired and probably slept for about 7 hours of it.

 

LAX is just a big American airport, with lots of guards walking around.  I was not impressed with the airport OR the prices there.  So expensive!!!  And the line ups to get through security and customs – the customs guy was very nice but it took a long time.  I was glad to get out of there.

 

LATAM was my final flight to Santiago.  Service was good, food was good (stuffed cheese pasta AND cheesecake – yeah I was happy to have cheese again!! ), AND a LOT of turbulence.  Of course that is no fault of the airline.  There was little sleep for me that last flight, probably due to a combination of anticipation, excitement, turbulence and being tired of being in planes.  About an hour, maybe 2 – and it was a 13 hour flight.  I was happy to hear that we were descending into Santiago!!

 

So I have made it.  I am set up in a nice studio apartment for the first leg of this trip.  I have had a very good night’s sleep and am ready to see the city!!! I am excited to get out and explore this intriguing city that I have chosen as my first stop!!

 

I still feel like it’s a dream that I am actually in South America.

 

Good bye China – hello Chile!!

 

I arrived in China a year ago, filled with angst and excitement.  I had no idea what it was going to be like, I knew absolutely NO Mandarin, I had done some research on the area, but neglected to research things like how bathrooms worked here (ummm squat toilets?  No hot water or soap in the public bathrooms?  Ugh), how many holidays schools had here (too many to count!!), and well there is the other issue of doing more research for the agency I was hired by.  That deserves a book, not a blog.  Perhaps one day I will sit down and write a book about the whole experience of China that I have had – not an overly pleasant story at times but one that should be written about.  But that is for another day!

 

I am so grateful for all the things that I was able to see and experience here.  Some will say that I missed out on seeing so much and that I will regret it.   I do not regret not seeing the Great Wall – it’s a dream for a lot of people, but honestly, I moved to the North East part of China to see Harbin and Shenyang, and because it was not as big a city as Beijing or Shanghai.  I did not come to China to see the Great Wall, the Terracotta Warriors, Beijing or Shanghai.  Hot temperatures, humidity, and millions of people around – none of that sounds like fun.   I came to China to teach, to experience the culture, and to live amongst the Chinese.  I came here to prove to myself that I could teach kids and enjoy it and be good at it.  And I accomplished all of that.  For that I am very proud of myself.

 

 

I have enjoyed my time here.  And I am now ready to experience a brand new culture.  The Chilean culture.  The food.  The sights.  Penguins!  Volcanoes!  The Atacama!!  Empanadas!!!  (yes, I am VERY excited to have Chilean empanadas!!)  The cool weather.  The Pacific Ocean!!  Oh yes, it is definitely time for me to leave China and to start exploring the southern hemisphere of this amazing world we live in.

 

So now it is time to say good bye to China!!  Thanks for the memories that will last a lifetime, but I am happy to say PEACE OUT!  On to bigger and better things.  Chile awaits…

 

Things I will miss about China

 

In three days, I will be on a plane heading to Chile.   It’s been an interesting year, with many ups and downs.  I am happy to say that I have come through all of the ups and downs as a stronger, more determined person.

 

Despite having things I won’t miss, there are definitely things I will miss about being here.

 

  1. The kids. The kids I have taught this past year have taught me so much – they taught me that I have more patience than I thought I did!  They have shown me that I am a good teacher and that they have learned confidence in themselves, which has made me more confident in return.  The hugs, the shouts of Louisa in the streets, running up to me to say hi – I am going to miss them so much!   Can I bring them with me?  Maybe a few?  haha32debf354b8bc33b992f971b40528ea552064386

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  2. The food – I am definitely going to miss the food here!! Noodles, dumplings, beef and rice, chicken and rice, tofu, the produce – the list just goes on and on.  The food was delicious and cheap – my two favourite things!!   I will be on the lookout to try Chinese food wherever I go, just to compare.  I will be happy to compare it to what I have had here.
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  3. The generous nature of the Chinese people – at least where I live. I don’t know what it is like in the southern part of China, but for the most part, the people I have met here have been so generous and so kind to me.   I have really been lucky with the people I have encountered.
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  1. The greenness of this area that I live in – such an odd thing to say but they really keep my area nice. There are lots of trees, a beautiful park area to walk in and have picnics, and of course the community garden.  I am sure I will find beautiful areas to walk in once I get to South America, but I will miss that about this area.
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  1. The friends that I have made here – Zero, Cinderella, Nancy, Cassie, Blaze, Michael and so many others – teachers and friends – they have made my time here very special.
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  1. Nanhu Park – Changchun does not have a lot of touristy places to see. Nanhu Park is a big and beautiful park and lake in the middle of the city – it was a nice escape and made the city almost seem like it was smog free.    It was a great place to walk.20170430131353_IMG_0288_1493542960445

 

  1. The school – Livon was a special place to teach. The school looked like a mall.  Lots of modern amenities.  The atmosphere was great.  I was very lucky to have been placed in the best school in Changchun!IMG_20161215_120321_HDR

 

 

I am sure that, as I continue on with this journey of mine, I will realize how much I miss other things about China.  It is inevitable to happen but these are the things that I know I will  miss the most.

Who you were, who you are…

 

 

Who were you 5 years ago?

 

Five years ago, 2012, was the year that I moved out west to Calgary and started a new life.  Calgary was (and still is) amazing.  It brought out the best in me.  I was happy, in shape, outgoing, had a social life, and started dating again.  That was Calgary Louise.  She was a happy go-lucky lady who loved life in the west.

 

Three years ago, 2014, had me in Italy for three weeks.  Italy took my breath away.  It’s a beautiful country that is so rich in history.  I didn’t want to leave.  So I was very happy to move to Europe late that year to experience life there.  Moving to Europe was definitely the biggest change I made in my life.  I changed my career, my outlook on life and my attitude.

 

I can say that these two events in my life definitely changed me.  How could they not?  They were major moves, with a lot of changes, and all the changes affected me in a positive way.  Do I regret either of those decisions?  No because without either of those changes, I would not be who I am today.

 

Who am I today?

I am still that confident, strong woman.  I think of myself as being courageous for embarking on a one year adventure in China to teach kids.  I feel blessed every single day for having the life that I have been given.

 

I think I am also a bit of an anomaly.  I don’t know many people who have done what I have done.  Maybe I know more people than I think I do that have, who knows.  I also am not one of these people who have endless amounts of money to travel around the world.  I have to work in order to keep travelling.  And I love that!!  I want to teach EVERYWHERE!!

 

Who will I become?

I have more dreams.  I love teaching and want to keep teaching around the world as long as I can physically and mentally do this.  I want to write.  Maybe a book.  Maybe travel articles.  Maybe just for myself.  Writing makes me happy and relaxes me.

 

I also want to open a café.  That dream is one I have had for many years!  Maybe once I am tired of traveling the world (is that possible??), I will settle down somewhere, and open a café where people can come and talk about their travels and enjoy a coffee and cake.

 

I want to inspire others to go and do what I have done.  It is possible for anyone to have this life that I have!  No matter your age, you can do this.

 

Like the quote says – who you were, who you are and who you will become are all different people – it’s true, and I know that the person that I will become will continue to be the strong independent woman that I am now.

People of Changchun 2

Pictures of new friends, colleagues, and people I have come across during the year of being here.

 

20170430131620_IMG_0289Playing at Nanhu Park

 

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Lovely mothers and a grandmother of students

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Owner of my favourite cafe

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Owner’s wife of the cafe

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Two sisters out for dinner

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The dancers at night

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Dancing at Nanhu Park, love the costumes!!

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Playground near my home – a wonderful family oriented area!