Category Archives: love

Valparaiso

I arrived in Valparaiso on Saturday afternoon, after taking Turbus from Santiago (shout out to the bus line – most comfortable bus I’ve been on, double decker, was on the top at the front – very cool!).  We pulled in, and after some conversations with numerous people, I found a cab and made my way to my hostel.  Wonderful hostel on one of many very steep streets in Valparaiso!!

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La Casa Bicicleta

 

After an exciting afternoon (more of that to come at a later date), I settled in for the night in a comfy soft bed, and fell asleep to the barking stray dogs – who also, incidentally, woke me up in the middle of the night.  I understand that they are strays, but why do they need to bark all night????  They are very sad to see too – I saw stray dogs in China but these dogs just seem sadder.  It’s part of the uniqueness of Valparaiso – this city with a sad history.

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Flower clock

 

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the Pacific Ocean

 

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It was cold but I don’t care!!

 

Sunday was spent enjoying the beach and the ocean in nearby Vina del Mar – it did not disappoint.  The sound of the waves crashing on to the beach, the children laughing and jumping over the waves, it was such a serene moment.  I even took my shoes off and put my feet in the ocean (two oceans now and all 5 great lakes in Canada – working on more bodies of water!!).   I enjoyed my lunch sitting in a small cafe by the ocean, enjoying an empanada.  Ceviche is calling out to me though – I will be having some soon!!!

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One of the many murals in the city – amazing!!

Today, I took a free city tour here in Valparaiso, and discovered so much history of this city.  I am starting to read more about it – the tour piqued my interest!!  The sites to see here are so many, and the accents are delightful to listen to.  I have even mastered some more Spanish!!  It is much easier to learn Spanish then Mandarin, that’s for sure!!!

 

I am here for the whole week before I head to my next city.  I have met several people already on this journey, and one thing continues to strike me as odd.  I am the type of traveller who wants to envelop myself within a city, to see how the people live and thrive.  I will never understand the other type of travellers, who rush from one city or country to another, trying to see all the famous sites, and then head out to the next.  How can you honestly learn about a city or country if you don’t take the time to delve more into a place?  I would like to go back to Santiago at some point – I feel there is so much more for me to see there.  Valparaiso will be good for the week – I already have such a good feel to this city.

 

 

I am so excited to continue on through Chile and see everything there is!!  And take my time – I am in no rush.

 

 

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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.

​Happy 150th birthday Canada!!!

Canada ~ my home country. It is an amazing country, with some of the most beautiful nature you will ever see, the friendliest people on earth and the best country to live in.

I have travelled across Canada, from Ontario to Alberta. I have crossed over to British Columbia briefly on a snowshoeing trip. I spent many summers as a child in Quebec visiting my grandparents. I have been to New Brunswick, and landed in Newfoundland.  I have yet to see PEI (as an adult) or Nova Scotia, but they are on my list.  My home country is big and beautiful and has something for everyone. Every single province I have seen has mesmerized me with its natural beauty.


There is so much to see in each of our amazing provinces and territories. 


I love my country and miss it. I am so very proud to be a Canadian and I happily tell everyone that I meet that I am from Canada.  


Happy 150th birthday Canada !!! 

The teachers of Livon

I have written a lot about the students I have taught over the past year, but not much has been said about the teachers who have helped me.

The primary teachers at Livon have been incredible. They have been helpful, generous and so very sweet. From assisting me in my classes, to helping me translate Chinese, and so much more ~ they have made my teaching experience very memorable.  I will miss them but I know that I have made some lifelong friends.


George ~ my Saturday assistant

Michael ~ an amazing young man and a lifelong friend

Mark ~ grade 3 and 4 assistant

Summer ~ grade 3 and 4 English teacher

Cassie ~ grade 1 English teacher

Winnie ~ grade 1 English teacher

Emily ~ an occasional assistant

Peter ~ my official liaison

Pamela ~ an occasional assistant

Ariel ~ an occasional assistant

Emma ~ grade 2 assistant

Lily ~ the head teacher of primary and one of the sweetest women I have met here

Sherry ~ grade 1 English teacher

Tesia ~ grade 1 English teacher

Naomi ~ grade 2 English Teacher ~ she was like a daughter ~ same age as my daughter!  Note the teary eyes…

Nancy ~ grade 1 English teacher and an amazing young woman!

Rainbow~ grade 2 English teacher and so much fun!  She always was so involved in my lessons!

I will miss them all!!

​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!!