Pre-China

Almost Time to Leave!

I came back to Connecticut last Wednesday to start getting things together and to see friends and family before I head out. On Sunday my mum organized a family party, so I saw my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins all at once! It was really really nice to see everyone again, especially all in once place!

This next week is going to be very busy with all the things I’ve got to do. I’ve already separated things that I will bring to China and things to give away and things to stay. Now I just have to cut that bring-to-China pile in half, and then in half again! I hope I can have the least amount of stuff possible. Maybe just a backpack, a suitcase and my bouzouki.

My flight is at 1h30 in the morning on Monday out of JFK, so me and my mum are going to drive to New York on Sunday evening to drop me there. I’m pretty sure the flight is direct from JFK to Shanghai, just about 15 hours. Maybe we’ll be flying over the North Pole, because going over Alaska seems like it would take a lot longer…

I’ve been trying to find out more about ESL teaching, going to forums and websites online, looking for tips or lesson plans. I’m not nervous at all about going to China or staying there for a long time. The only thing I’m really nervous about is teaching, because I have absolutely no idea how to teach, and I often get weak-kneed talking in front of people. One of the reasons I’m doing this is to get over that. Logically, I can see no reason to be afraid of talking in front of a crowd!

Earlier in the process, I was told if i have a city that I prefer I can e-mail and let them know and perhaps I’ll end up there. I saw recently that there were these ‘newly franchised schools’ on the list of places to go, one of which was in Liuyang, Hunan. For some reason I felt attracted to it. Probably partly because the school is an elementary school, and I really like little kids.  I read a little about the city and it is apparently the fireworks manufacturing capital of the world, with fireworks being tested and shown-off day and night. Sounds like it would be an interesting experience!

Anyhow, first I’ll be going to Yangshuo and that is for certain! In a few weeks I’ll know exactly where I am going and I can finally tell the people back home where I’ll be for the rest of the year!

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Flight!

Last week I booked my flight to Guilin. I’ll be flying Air Canada since their prices have gone way down recently. 651$ all together from New York to Guilin! I’ll have an 11 hour layover in Shanghai, though I think it might be ok since I will just be able to walk around and eat food and people watch in a brand new place! Maybe I can wash my hair and face in an airport bathroom and look a little more presentable when I get to Guilin.

Hmm!

I’ve been busy lately and not really having time to get to nervous or excited. I’m working 9-5 M-F, and getting ready to move to a new temporary apartment with my current roommates where I’m going to be their very own hobo for the month of July.

Also, yesterday I finally had my graduation ceremony, so I officially have my diploma! My family came up to Montreal for the first time all together (except for erik and em), which was pretty fun. I brought them to the Tams on Sunday, we ate good food and had a lot of tea at my apartment. I had packed my room into a few boxes and sent them home with my family, so now I’m down to some clothing and bedding. All set for a month of hobo-dom!!

And finally, at the end of July my mum will come pick me up and bring me back to Connecticut to stick around for a few weeks before heading to Guilin! Not sure what to do between now and then other than work and work and pack away some money for my first months in China, and also give Montreal one last hurrah!Family Graduation

Family and I at the Graduation. Actually, my family minus Erik and Em.

Visa!

For the past couple weeks I’ve been in Connecticut just visiting home and such, so I sent in my visa application after I received my invitation letter from Buckland. I got it back a few days before I was supposed to come back up to Montreal. It looks so good and makes me even more excited!!! I’ll be getting my plane ticket to Hong Kong soon, then I’ll go over and spend a night in Guangzhou probably, then the next day go to Yangshuo since it’ll be a shorter trip.

See you soon, China!

Visa, Route, Trains?

Still no invitation letter from Buckland, so I haven’t applied for my visa yet. I’ll be getting a business visa first, then getting my actual work permit in China a month or so after I get there.

Anyway, I’ve been looking for plane tickets obsessively and have found some cheap ones from Boston to Hong-Kong, but then the problem lies in getting from Hong-Kong to Guilin. There is a lot of switching from airports to taxis to trains involved but I think it might be kind of a fun adventure having to find my way from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, then to the train station to buy a ticket, etc….Maybe I could get the train from Guangzhou instead, because it’s a more familiar city…

Anyhow for the time being I should just wait for my visa materials and hope for a good outcome of my final semester of university….

Also, I found the blog of another future Buckland teacher for August, and I put a link to her blog in the side bar!

Where to go?

So the other day I realized how petrified I am of standing up in front of a crowd and speaking. I’m thinking this teaching thing is going to be a little scary at first, but I’ll have to get used to it fast.

Also, I have no idea how to teach so I’ve been looking for all kinds of things on the internet….lesson planning, different activities, teaching tips, etc. etc. etc…. One of the sites I found had all these awesome pdf’s that I think will come in really really useful. The more I read, the less scary it seems….it seems like all kinds of people do this, so why not me?

I still don’t know the school I’ll be teaching at, much less the age group and language level. I won’t actually know what city I’m actually going until I get to Yangshuo and do the training.

Yangshuo looks pretty spiffy….

yangshuotopdown

I’m hoping I can go to Nanchong in Sichuan, or Anren, Hunan or Fujian, or even Suzhou. I’d go anywhere really….

We’ll seeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Applied and Accepted

So last Saturday I finally decided it was time to get my documents together and send them to an agency in China to apply for a job teaching English. I had previously looked around for some teaching agencies, found a few and decided on Buckland Group, which seemed the most legitimate out of the bunch.

Well, I got together my documents and e-mailed them in. The website said I would need to wait about three days to get a response, but that Sunday I got a letter back telling me I had been accepted and I needed to review, sign and return a contract, and then complete the application for a work permit.

All this has been done so incredibly fast. Last week I had no job and was wondering what I was going to be doing after I graduate in June, and now this week I’ve signed a contract and am now waiting for documents with which to apply for a visa….and slurping up any information I can find on China and teaching English.

Good-bye Montreal!!!

YEEEYA!