This category contains 8 posts

rambling weekends

Wednesday, October 24, 2012  More at http://dalian.neuage.us/videos/Boee_Brilliant_Villas_.Hill.html

photo album for this is at http://neuage.us/BLOGS/photos/

Last Sunday we changed our day around – I suppose if it was my classroom we could say it was the flipped classroom model but I am not going to equate a day of leisure with an academic day. Not that every day is anything but learning; life the classroom and all that crap, but a flipped something is not the same as a non-flipped something.

Now that we got that out of the way and yes I do sometimes do the flipped classroom approach when it is suitable which in China is not always possible because students cannot use youtube or participate in western social sites due to the great firewall of China.

Instead of going out in the afternoon; we tend to spend the morning on the Internet doing books, keeping up with family, and Facebook, and other schools – are they offering a better package for next year, is it more interesting than living in the part of China that is more Ikea than historic China; for example, Myanmar (Burma) really has our eye at the moment and of course who would not want to live in and teach in India?

I had my first Skype session with Canyon H.S. School in Bhopal, India doing an ISA (British Council  International School Awards) project “Festivals and Aborigines”  with my Broadcast Publication class last week. It took a bit of effort and time to understand each other, us their accent and them ours (I have Korean, Chinese, Trinidad, and American students), our Skype connection went down as well as the whole Internet a few times but overall it was really successful and students from both schools were really excited. I am starting a unit I am calling “Foreign Correspondent” with the longer term plan of having our students do a collaborative documentary which will really test our technology as well as my planning and implementation skills.

Damn! Talking about work again…

So we headed out on our bikes at 9 AM last Saturday; we were going to do the same today but already it is eleven AM, we are still in our pajamas, on-line, and I want to ride our bikes to the Jinshitan Port – which we have never been to and no doubt is just a small fishing port or kelp port, but I want to go nevertheless. But it is cold and windy outside so no doubt we will take the # 1 bus from the light rail station, if how I am reading the map is correct. Then again we may spend the day indoors which is not my ideal. Yesterday, Saturday, Narda went to an orphanage in Dalian City – all babies and the oldest I think was in the two year old range. She went with a group of teachers. Apparently it was all heart-wrenching. These are children that are left for whatever reason; the one baby policy of China or because they are deformed and etc. Teachers volunteer to go just to hold the babies and have a bit of play because they are stuck in their cribs all the time otherwise. We brought up the ideas of students visiting in our middle school assembly last week asking if any students would want to spend a Saturday morning at the orphanage – and I was extremely surprised when every single student in grades 6 – 8 stood up. My day yesterday was not so altruistic as I spent nine hours at school working on standard based lessons – something everyone at school is so opposed to, but again I am not talking about work now.

Near us is yet another huge apartment development, Boee Brilliant Villas Hill. We tromped in with cameras in hand and viewed the first smaller apartment that they were selling for 7 and a half million RMB, about one and a quarter million dollars US. See our video of this exploration at http://youtu.be/gQ0Noz1pF_c  Or other related blogs at http://neuage.us/BLOGS/

The outside is quite nice –

Boee Brilliant Villas Hill six months from an empty lot to this

The child’s loo – upstairs – spa bath, stone garden – part of what one gets for 20-million RMB

The child’s bedroom – no wonder they have only one child who could afford more?

We saw two apartments the one above on the right was 20 million RMB or about three-million US. Going along with the one child stuff of China it had a spa bath and little glass garden in the child’s room as well as two walk in closets and a study.The picture on the left above is the kid’s bath with spa and stone garden and on the right is the parent’s room – through the window they can see how us lowly teachers live in campus Village off next to the hills straight through the window.

We wandered on to the new city being built down the road – Xiaoyaowan (an earlier video I made of this is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-drgVo45WWs&feature=share&list=UUzGrI_yggI56Gpp2ZyNQAXw) and drove along the three and four lane empty roads leading to huge holes which I suppose will be for a river they are putting in and bridges and skyscrapers. I made a clip of the day and put it on youtube at http://youtu.be/NyME0iqSMhs.

In the distance is the end of the bridge which is not built that will go over the new river.

Narda at the first part of a large bridge to be built over a river that will be put in soon?

The infrastructure is in place – large highways to large holes in the ground.

This is what is happening to the old village to make room for Xiaoyaowan.

The future mega city or a part of Dalian – who knows?

What it will look like they think, in a few years – now just empty holes.Well here it is 8 pm – we ended up going into Dalian and eating at Tapas Spanish restaurant which is a couple of blocks past the Korean Market  which is great – I had ‘berenjenas gratin adas’ (grilled eggplant), and ‘cremade espinacasy esparragos’ (spinach and asparagus cream).

We had a driver – one of Jack’s mates takes us in and wait for us to eat and go to the Korean Market to get a winter coat that Narda wanted me to get – one of those hundreds of dollars coats that one gets cheap. Narda had the coat go from 450 RMB down to 250 meaning about $35 US.  All in all as a last minute thought it was a five hour round-trip including dinner and getting my coat when all I really wanted to do was write some blogs for the day.

A lot more to say but I will ramble on next time…

Yantai days 2 – 4

Tuesday, October 02, 2012 Yantai, China

We woke with the notion that Yantai is a doable town and booked another night at the Golden Gulf Hotel , here in the Yantaishan Scenic Area; went to the Yantai Port Huanhai Lu Passenger Transport Station, which is called the Bohai Train Ferry and got our selves a soft-sleeper, first class which we are told is eight people in a room for the six hour trip back to Dalian on Friday. Not sure what eight people, bunk beds we are told, will be like to hang with when six of the people will be speaking in tongues or something that we will not understand. The ferry – see below – leaves at nine am and rocks up in Dalian at three pm. The headlines for today’s paper were that 37 died in a ferry accident yesterday in Hong Kong, so we are excited.  Of course we hope we get on the correct ferry as one of them goes to Korea, a 22 hour trip.

After another big buffet breakfast at the Golden Gulf Hotel we grabbed the # 17 goes along the Binhai Road that follows the shore,  see our youtube video clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyTNEHI6XVg&feature=plcp   Our hotel is right on the gulf with this great view

The bus took an hour from when we got on until it came to a place of six other parked double decker buses like itself. We were fortunate to get a seat upstairs in the front, at least to the end, so I could get some video from a good spot. When we got to where it parked, which I think was a university we could not find anyone that could communicate in any of the languages that we spoke (Australian, American, British, and Dutch for Narda) so we stood in front of the buses for what seemed to us a very long time until suddenly a guy started an engine and we tried to be the first on as we had waited the longest but some kid beat us with her parents and we did not get the seat in front on the top level, but never the less we had a good seat until I wanted to get off to some overly lit building at the end of a pier. Narda wanted to keep going but I had not had my way for more than an hour so we went to the end of the pier and it turned out to be a large shell house full of shells. Shells are the biggest tourist selling thing here. Every shop sells shells and they are as tacky looking as a bunch of shells stuck together can be.

The next # 17 bus was so incredibly crowded as most transports devices in China are. We ended up standing in the middle of the downstairs of the bus and amazed as we could be the bus would stop at each stop and another group would squeeze on. In China people rarely get aggro about pushing and shoving – huge traffic jams or over crowded buses and trains – everyone just goes along with it.

We found two places with decent meals that we could eat; one I forgot to write down the name of and the other is behind our hotel in the Hutton area; Druid’s Irish Pub which is a bit pricey but the food is Western. They have special nights with Wednesday being two-for-one night which we did not do because all the mains were meaty and I only eat stuff that is not dead meat. I had a tasty cauliflower soup and vegetarian spring rolls which were very good and some mushroom dish. Narda had something with dead meat in it. Thursday night was half price pizza night which is always good as cheese is not used in Chinese cookery and we needed to clog up our arteries again.

Our local hood – another Hutton – most of these one story areas have been knocked down for new high rise buildings as China, not satisfied with their destruction during the glorious Mao Cultural Revolution days is hell bent on destroying every bit of culture that remains to put up huge buildings – most of which are empty – look on Google to see the many sites for China’s Ghost Cities.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Taking the number six bus and exploring a winery…

Yantai Hill top

We toured some writer chick’s house, Lin Bingxiu – famous for writing in Chinese, and one photo that took my fancy was this of her as a child with her grandfather and his concubine.

Before going on the number 6 bus we went to the Changyu Wine Museum where Narda made new friends. Actually we sort of crashed a group’s drinking parky. We were wandering about the cellar of the winery and saw lots of people laughing and having a good time so Narda being Narda sat right in the middle of them and soon they were passing her glasses of wine and everyone was getting in a photo with her. At first they looked a bit upset but it was not long before they accepted this Western Wine Drinking Crasher.This shows in the youtube video clip.


Continuing with our random bus rides we took the number 6 from near our hotel and when we got quite hungry we got off found a place to eat had some pancake with veggies type of caper then Narda decided she wanted a haircut and that turned out well for a couple of dollars US and of course she had been wanted a foot massage for the past couple of days so we went into a place next to the haircutting place somewhere on the random number six bus ride – because buses in China are 1 yuan which is about 15 cents US we often hop on and hop off – we got a good hour of foot and neck massage. We even got cupping on our feet which is a first. I had a sore back for the next day so I think the young girl was not fully qualified to crack my back – ouch… but the foot massage was great and all for 45 yuan – a bit over seven dollars. The picture below is not a Chinese abortion on a male. It is preparing my feet for the cupping process. Needles to say I was concerned with this scantly dressed female going toward me with a flaming torch.

Narda’s feet with the cups –


Thursday, October 04, 2012

We did the number 43 bus today – taking it from the starting point which is next to our hotel. We read that there was a shopping area and we wanted to find something traditional. I wanted to find fridge magnets; I have been collecting them from each city we stay in over the past ten years and the side of our fridge is fully covered with about a hundred of them. I had no luck but we did have the bus driver drop us off at the Zhenhua Shopping Centre. It was just a regular lots of oversize stores with Western goods but on the side where we got off the bus down the first alley to the right we came across a five story more local shopping area but it was just mainly shoes.  There are a huge number of shoe stores in China but I suppose with more than one-billion people and two-billion feet, shoes are something that are needed. As there was nothing different than any other Chinese local shopping mall we snooped then left. However, I found some good ideas for shirts and took photos and will give them to our clothes maker back at the school. He has made me six vests as well as a couple of suit coats all for very good prices and well done.

Prices of clothes in China are quite high. I have no idea how the locals shop. The last few shirts I bought in the States on sale for like between five and ten dollars and the same ones here are 40 – 60 dollars.

As usual we had people stop and stare at us. This is something I never understand. We are just a couple of old-Western people, me with overgrown tangled hair and Narda looking like Narda. Maybe she is tall being five foot eleven and I am an average six foot two both of us a bit taller than others. Maybe we are the pink devils they heard about in their childhood. Whatever the case people stop and stare; sometimes laugh and sometimes asking to have a photo taken with us. Today I felt particularly self-conscious when I was standing in the middle of a department store and Narda had gone off to find the loo – I looked up and from every direction there were people looking at me, some laughing, and some just staring like I was an alien. Yantai is the most Chinese city we have been in and we saw one Westerner this week at our hotel, a large five (more like a Western 3.5 star) star hotel in a prime location. Prime Minister Bob Hawke has stayed here as well as many other leaders so we are not sure why people stop and stare. I reckon if anyone finds enough words to ask me in English – or Narda in Dutch, who we are I will say I am a famous singer from New York; Terrell from the Terrells, “will you still love me tomorrow?” Blimey, I get confused.

The below shot is typical of what happens; people stop and want to be in a photo with us. This one time we asked the people who were all taking photos of being with us to take a photo on our camera too. This was on the six-hour ferry back to Dalian – see the next blog – Dalian Ferry, also, a youtube ferry – “Yantai to Dalian Ferry”. We probably end up in someone’s Chinese equivalent to Facebook. This has happened almost in every place we have been. I am going to get a tee-shirt made that says “Terrell of the Terrells”. Really look at this photo; how incredibly boring and normal we look.

But what we did find was the best spot since we have been here and one of the better ones in china. If you go over the overpass (there is only one) through the main store or up the side street toward Yantai Yuhuangding Hospital 20 Yuhuangdingdong Road, Zhifu District keep going up the hill. A side note about this hospital – there have been, according to the website; http://en.minghui.org, “Numerous Kidney Transplants in Yuhuangding Hospital, Yantai City, Live Donors Found within Days”…  (Clearwisdom.net) After the CCP’s practice of organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners and cremating their bodies to destroy the evidence was exposed, the Falun Dafa Association and the Minghui/Clearwisdom website formed the “Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China (CIPFG)” on April 4, 2006 and began comprehensively collecting information and clues… showed that there were between one hundred and sixty and one hundred and seventy kidney transplant surgeries performed over a one-year period.”   This has been in the news since the mayor of Dalian’s wife was busted for killing off the Brit dude that was in the news lately and he is reported to be the one who set up prison camps to get these meditators and to use their bodies – many, which according to much on the Internet were used in those body exhibitions touring the world. But I am not political and this is not the aim of my blogs.

So when you get to the Chefoo district and past this glorious hospital going up Yuhuangdingdong Road – up the hill was an amazing little find. We were tired from walking so much and shopping – not that we bought anything – that we were looking for a place to sit down and have our ice coffee and we saw some trees at the top of the hill and headed for there which turned out to be an incredibly beautiful park, YuhuangdingPark, named after Yuhuang Temple, with lots of Buddhist re-built type of buildings. It is also behind Walmart if you end up in such a place.

According to the signs the Yuhuang Temple was first built in the Yuan Dynasty (1280-1368) and expanded and renovated in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The layout of the temple is quite formal, of course that is until Mao and his Culture Revolution knocked everything down. Thankfully they are rebuilding this place and it is well worth the visit. We took the number 43 bus because that bus starts at our hotel but you can take bus No. 7, 3, and 41 from other parts of Yantai.

Note in the sign below the destruction years – good on ya Mao and your 1966 stuff… “The movement paralyzed China politically and significantly affected the country economically and socially. The Revolution was launched in May 1966.”


I like the statues of the various years of animals – me being born in the year of the pig – and of course I am not going to eat meat. Narda is the horse. Sacha is the monkey. Not quite sure why people think praying to an animal is going to get them anything. Leaving fruit in front of statues always seems strange too – who eats it at the end? Then again all religious beliefs mystify me and why people believe in anything that does not exist but it is what humans do- good on them.

I was most interested in Passion Square and though I am not sure whether I found it I think I have philosophically and that is what counts.

morning walks

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Morning walks before school are what creates our day in many ways. We have been doing morning walks before school for years; ever since living and working in New York City. We tried to walk every morning from the World Trade Centre subway stop to Narda’s school in the west Village, St. Luke’s. I was a bit unemployed for a couple of years though it was more of a study period so I could get my teaching degree to supplement my PhD to work overseas. In NYC I could teach in private schools but it was time to be more international and what’s another degree when one is already in their 60’s? The NYC walk would take about half an hour and I would go on to the gym and workout for an hour and a half to keep the rust off the bones and keep the old body going for another couple of years. The walk along the Hudson was one of my favourite walks in the world, and we would walk whether it was hot or snowing and cold – always the best times.

We continued with our morning walks before school here in Jinshitan as soon as we got to Dalian American International School. Only a few times, when the weather was dreadfully cold, we didn’t walk. Our walks were always to the beach, Golden Pebble Beach, a 20 minute walk each way.  This year since we have been back, a month now, we have been riding bikes in the morning. We still spend about 45 minutes, but we get to see more, going further and exploring areas we normally did not get to when we walked.

Yesterday we decided not to bike but walk and instead of going on the road we went bush – well that is what they would say in Australia, away from the rapidly built up area across from us and the school. A couple of years ago this whole area was country but now it is being built up at a rapid rate. Our school is about five years old and teachers who have been here for a while said there were pigs roaming around and living here seemed quite out in the middle of nowhere.

We have drivers here that take us to the light rail, into town or wherever we need to go. Jack, our main driver – we call all the drivers Jack, because they all are his mates; when we need to go somewhere, whether to the airport or shopping, we call Jack and someone shows up within ten-minutes. When we get the real Jack we joke with him that he is the real Jack, though I doubt he understands anything we say. None of them speak English but they know where we want to go because we go to so few places; airport, light rail, Kaifaqu ,Dalian…  What I was going to say and got into a bit of an off spin was that Jack grew up here – really here. He lived where the school’s football/soccer oval now is.

Before I upload some photos from our walk I want to see if I get blocked for writing something. I have noticed that in Facebook, which we have to use a VPN for which should make us out to be in another country, that if I say some things not only does Facebook stop but I get knocked off line for a period of time and what I wrote does not show up. For example, I wrote about a certain group which is banned for their meditative ways and bang I was knocked off as soon as I put the name of the group in. I was telling how our local ex-mayor’s wife was being charged with the murder of a Brit and it was linked with how bodies were obtained for the shows that are so popular in the States showing bodies. They are prepared and done here in our local city of Kaifaqu, a burb of Dalian. The bodies are those of the practitioners of so and so group which I am not saying as I want to post this and not have it blocked. The other thing I said recently in Facebook was just mentioning how our school was closed due to an approaching typhoon – that the government suggested all schools in our province be closed because the storm was the largest in fifty-years, and I wrote; “who am I to go against the Chinese Government?” and those must have been some keywords that blocked me. The storm changed course enough to go over to the right and hit the Koreas and I had put that the  North one got primarily hit but when I put the words Korea and North together I was blocked again. So we are seemingly allowed to use a VPN though locals I have heard can get into strife using one because it is supposed to be tunneling through the Great Firewall of China which is illegal but we really are watched all the time. And of course there was the fight between Google and our host and I can only get onto my gmail when I am on my VPN – as service we pay for. A few people have had their VPN shut down – the provider, but so far ours, which I am not saying which one, is going well. I think the strife between Google and here is that they refused to not say stuff about the square in Beijing and what happened there.

It is the same with all the guards we have around the place where we live. Are they guarding us from some outside threat or are we being watched and kept track of? We go outside of our compound all the time and there are no threats but our housing and school is surrounded by a large fence with guards at the gates and even guards inside the gate in the lobby of our apartment building and at the entrance to our school.

Back to our morning walk and some photos:

the Dutch-Australian wife in her element - holding freshly picked Sunflowers

the Dutch-Australian wife in her element – holding freshly picked Sunflowers

the strange looking ship in the background on the left is in the middle of the highway leading to the Golden Pebble Beach resort area. Directly in the back is the new million dollar houses that are suppose to look French – we don’t like them, and to the right is our home and school.


outside our window

It is often this foggy outside our balcony; and is now as I write this and it has been like this all day – we hope it is not smog, but on a clear day we can see the sea and the mountains and the guard station at the entrance…


Our maids are so good, very friendly, a couple of them are trying to teach us some Chinese words, Narda is doing much better than me, but we are hopeless. Every morning they have a bit of a talking to. There is a person standing in front of them and they all say a few things back and forth in unison. We have no idea what they say. They line up by size , I got this photo on the way to the lift before our morning walk – this would be about 6 AM on the third floor. On the second floor the guards line up, by size too.



What I like most about this photo is the guy peeing in the background. A common site in China. Why go looking for a toilet when there is the whole out doors? They use these sort of hand made brooms to sweep the roads in all weather. In the winter they sweep the snow off the roads with them – not that we get much snow. Last winter we had two days each with about an inch of snow.

local dude

The locals are so friendly. This man was along our walk in the countryside.

It really is country where we live but in a few years it will all be built up so we enjoy bush walking whilst we can.

Dalian American International School

Dalian American International School

This was the first photo we saw of Dalian American International School on the Internet and we love walking past it in the morning and thinking back to not much more than a year ago when we were jumping up and down in our hotel room in Shanghai, after our interview, because we were offered a contract to teach at this school. We were so excited. That was January First 2011, we were returning to the States after Christmas break in Australia. We were living in NYC and Narda was at St Luke’s and I was wondering if anyone would hire someone approach 65 years old. By June 2011 all our belongings were on a ship headed to Dalian and by August 2011 we were teaching here – just a bit over a year ago. Now we feel like locals. And yes it is possible to have a good job and be 65.



Tourists for a day

Today was a good day to go local to be a tourist to stand
out from the crowd. Instead of following the American teachers into the weekend
forays into Dalian or Kaifaqu we took the 3rd way out toward Jiuli. The
light rail covers the Zhongshan District, Xigang District, Shahekou District,
Ganjingzi District, and of course Kaifaqu where we go shopping on the shopping
bus on Tuesday or Thursday evening after our driver (Jack) takes us to and fro
from Campus Village to the Jinshitan station. Of course the fact of the matter
is that we carry the name of our school and home on a business card with us because
we won’t know one district from another. The light rail ride is great. We aren’t
worrying about how cars pass on both sides of us without putting on their
indicators or drivers decide to make a fourth lane when there is really only
three or go very fast to run a light and how drivers are constantly talking on
their phones – we are just enjoying the view. The view is great, country,
hills, water, villages and cities all within the half hour ride between our
local stop at Jinshitan and Kaifaqu. Today we took the other train going out to
Jiuli and on the way saw a large shopping area. That was enough for us to hop
off and go exploring. We did not see another western for the day and we seemed
to be the entertainment of others. From going to a restaurant and having a hot
pot – our new favorite way to eat; a large bowl of seasoned water on a burner,
then a variety of plates of food is brought and we dump it into the boiling

We bought all kinds of stuff; a quilt – not to weirdly
Chinese though a bit on the orange side, for about one-third the price we saw
in Dalian and Kaifaqu, dishes, foods, and Narda got some interesting material
to have dresses made from. They don’t seem to have any clothes for tall Dutch
women here. And I caused a bit of a commotion in the shoe section of a shop.
There were dozens of merchants selling shoes and I need some new ones but to
find my size, forget it. A lot of people were talking quite rapidly all trying
to help me find my size and after much hilarity I went on my way empty handed.

It was good being a tourist again – especially where we
live. We use to play tourist in New York City, but after five years living
there it was a bit difficult because we owned our home too and of course there
were a few million who looked like us in some shape size colour and form. Here?
It is like being a celebrity when people follow you or stand and point and
stare. We love it. It is like being in Cambodia or Viet Nam or Northern Thailand
or India again. Here are some images from our wanders today. And tomorrow
morning it is back to work in our little American environment.

not quite stuck

So the flight is half an hour late leaving Melbourne and we have a tight connection in Shanghai. They put us up in first-class so we can be among the first to alight – nice way to arrive in China to begin our new life.

We rush out the door to the waiting bus but which sits there until it is full, making us wonder why we almost fell down the steps getting out of the plane. We are quickly processed with our new ‘Z’ working visas and run the full length of the airport to the domestic area in hopes we can still make our connecting 8.45pm boarding time to Dalian. We have too much stuff as always but fortunately it was just our several bags each of carry-on plus coats with pockets full of hard-drives, thumb-drives, phones, toothbrushes and what-not. Our baggage we don’t have to collect as it will hopefully get on the same flight as us.

We went to the wrong gate and galloped across the domestic terminal to get to the correct gate and panting/sweating/heart-failures we throw ourselves against the desk in hopes we can still get on our flight.

“The plane is not here yet you wait two more hours or more”.

They give us a pack of cookies and a drink. This happened in June on the way to Australia. They are always late but that time was worse as we were wiped out from flying from JFK and still had all the way to Australia yet to go and we had to wait five hours. That time it was the volcano in Chile giving us grief. I am not sure what it is this time.

But wait there is more – we are fine we have Internet and I still have another ten minutes on my battery.

Of course Facebook and Twitter is blocked so I have no way to know if my blog will be forwarded to either of those. If it is could someone write and let me know – tneuage@gmail.com

We are excited only a few hours to go and we will be in the our new apartment in Dalian. It is 10.43 and the plane is suppose to leave at 11 though of course there is no movement at the station.

Notes at start of 2011-2012 school year For Integration of Technology 6 – 12.

Notes at start of 2011-2012 school year For Integration of Technology 6 – 12.

  • Start (if there is not one already) a technology integration group made up of teachers, administration, and students that make decisions about learning. Two students from each grade (female/male) would be 14, this could be too many so maybe two from year 6 – 8 and two from 9 – 12 giving us four students. Taping into student’s inNotes at start of 2011-2012 school year For Integration of Technology 6 – 12.terests – what they use outside the classroom often works well within integration projects. Also, knowing student interests can provide project material for club/after school type work. For example I had a group of 8th grade students interested in advertising at a New York City public school. We integrated not only their interest in advertising by having them hook up with one of the world’s top ad firms, JWT Advertising Company, but we brought in their English and art classes and worked on video productions as well as web development, seehttp://neuage.us/RGA/week1.html. Teachers know their curriculum and where they want to take it. My add-in has a duel emphasis; collaboration outside the classroom/city/province/country and bringing in what enhances/extends the curriculum. The basis of this is html. Students should have a homepage which is their foundation – all else branches out from this. From their home-base links go to every area of living/learning. The homepage should be only on the student’s computer with an area on the school’s server. Privacy is paramount. I have been working with this for about ten-years with student’s creating portfolios that extend throughout their school history. Oh dear television watching time – Narda wants to watch an episode of ‘Breaking Bad’ and writing up a technology plan or having any thoughts other than ‘wow this is a crazy show’ is not happening now.

visa again

I have had visiting visas in the past, Cambodia, Viet Nam, China (three times) and India. Other countries visited we did not need visas for: Guatemala, Mexico, Ecuador, The Netherlands [heaps as my wife is from there], do we count Canada?, Puerto Rico, All those British places [England, Scotland, Ireland], Germany, Italy, Korea, Greece, Belgium, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Vatican City, New Zealand, Fiji, France and I suppose the two countries I am citizens of, USA and Australia and several I no longer recall.

Where was I?

Yes, China.

So now it is a working visa, a two-year working visa. What a lot of paper work and preparation. So we have this pile of papers from China from our employer all set and ready to go but as there is no consulate in Adelaide we have to either post or front up somewhere with a consulate. The nearest is Melbourne and that is what our visa papers from Dalian say. But we are suppose to post them as there is no place in Adelaide but if we post then they have to go to Sydney but if they go to Sydney they won’t take them because the employer’s invitation says Melbourne and by the time we get the visa our plane would have left at the end of July. We decide one of us will deliver our passports to Melbourne and the other collect them a week later. Not so fast mate! An hour after we purchase Narda a ticket on Tiger airlines we get a phone call from the Chinese consulate in Melbourne wanting us to have a medical exam before filing. We had been told that we would get them in Dalian and not to do it here. They want x-rays too. So Narda cancels the flight and luckily Tiger lets us put it forward to the following week, in the meantime we rush around Adelaide seeing doctors and getting x-rays (something about seeing if we have TB) and by the end of the day we have everything in hand and get a ticket for the next day, Wednesday 29th June. We are up at 4 am and get Narda on the first flight out at 6 and she delivers our passports by ten AM. They want a Melbourne address, my son lives there so that works out, and we say we will pick them up a week later. Of course we are nervous for the rest of the week worried something might go wrong and we will never get to our jobs. The fact that we seem to worry too much and have a history of staying awake at night because of things that really work out well anyway is passed over and we worry some more. The Chinese had not rung us by Friday night which meant there was no problems with our visa request. Saturday morning I booked a flight on Qantas, for Tuesday 6th July. Saturday came the news that Tiger airlines was grounded for the next week because of safety issues. Luckily I was booked on Qantas.

To make a long story short, and the fact there is not much of a story except what we created as a worry in our head I collected our passports with work visas firmly pasted in, had lunch with my son, Sacha, and flew back to Adelaide. With 23 days left in Australia I will spend most of my spare time working on integration of technology. A lot of time will be spent going through what we stored in our shed a decade ago when we went off to New York, what a night mare. We left Adelaide to look after my then 98 year-old father in 2002. (see Narda’s blog on this http://blog.narda.us/) We had planned to be in New York for a couple of years. Now we leave behind three houses, all with some of our stuff in them and once again we are off to somewhere for two years. I really doubt we will spend a decade in China but who are we to predict the future? When do we retire?

Integrating technology within a new environment

Integrating technology within a new environment.

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