Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Australia Days 8 & 9

Three Sisters from Echo Point
Yesterday we started off by getting a cab and going to the airport to pick up our rental car. After, getting that we drove from Sydney to Katoomba. We got there about 3p.m. and got checked in. Then we walked down to the Echo Point so we could look out and see the Three Sisters. I overheard a young boy saying that they didn't look like 3 sisters. One of them looks like a dinosaur. After that we walked to the Visitor information center and went down to the cultural center where we learned about the Aboriginal art. We were there for quite awhile. The owner invited us to come back the following day for performances.

The Everglades House

Next, we walked up passed Lilianfels and decided to eat there for dinner. We ate in their restaurant. Dad and I both had the steak. It was a great meal. After that everything was pretty much closed, so we went back to the motel for the evening. Today we got up and went back to the Cultural part of the visitor center. We talked to the guy more about art. We watched a short performance on the didgerdoo. Then we listened to a lecture given by some of the performers on their tools. After that we watched them do a few dances. Once that was over we decided to go for a drive and went to the Everglades Garden. It was this house with 13 acres of gardens. It was very impressive.

Banksia Tree
There was even a man made grotto. I thought Hef Was the only one with grotto. There were also these cool trees called banksia. It took us a couple hours to go through the place. Next, we went to the town of Leura and Leura mall which is actually like a main street with cool shops. We went to Josophan's Chocolate shop. I got Mayan Dark Chocolate with Chilli. It is very tasty. We also went to Lost Bear gallery. We saw this one shop and the display in the window was a dress made from fancy underwear. It was kind of a cool way to display it. After that we drove to Blue Mountains National Park and went to Jamison Lookout and then walked down Prince Trail so we could see the Wentworth Falls. They are very lengthy. We didn't go down to the falls as it was a couple hour hike and the sun was starting to go down and it was getting chilly. After that we drove around. There doesn't seem to be many places to eat here or maybe it is we don't know where to look. We went back to Lilianfels and ate in their lounge. I had roasted duck breast on a salad with walnuts, apples, and grapes. It was excellent. 

Top part of Wentworth Falls

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Australia Day 5, 6,7

ON the 23rd we were going to go to the Chinese Friendship Garden but it was raining again. We walked over to the Harborside Shopping Center and had breakfast at Pancakes on the Rocks. It was good. We decided after that to ride the monorail over and go to the Sydney Tower Eye.
Sydney Tower Eye
We thought we could just go up quick but there was a long line. Before we got there we went through a 4D experience. We flew over Sydney as a bird and we could feel the wind in our hair. Then we were on a boat and could feel the wind in our hair, the spray on our face. After that we were on a surfboard and again the waves under our feet and spray on our face, then we fell off and we could feel our air bubbles all around us. It was very awesome. After that we had to wait to go up because one of their elevators was broken. We finally got up there and by then the sun was out and the view was beautiful. We could see 360 degrees around Sydney. After that we wr had to wait to go down. We finally got to the bottom floor and went out on the street. We saw several street musicians. The first was a band called Set Sail. I liked their music so I bought their CD. We walked some more and then Dad suggested gelato. He thought he remembered where it was but he didn't. So we walked a long way and it wasn't there, so I was ready just to go back to our hotel and then go somewhere to eat early.

Set Sail
We went to the Hard Rock cafe again. When we came out we listened to an acapella quartet sing Christmas carols. After that we headed back to the hotel and called it an early night. Christmas Eve day started down at the Circular Quay with breakfast at Guylian Belgian chocolate place. I had pancakes with chocolate sauce which was delicious. Then we went to the Sydney Opera House and did their Essential Tour. It was only an hour and I wish that it was longer. There was so much more I wanted to learn. After that we walked to the Governement House and took an hour tour of that. We did not enjoy it. We didn't get to see much but learned lots about people we had never heard of. After that we went up to the Rocks. We went to the Museum of Contemmporary Art. They only had one exhibit and it was weird so we only stayed for 5-10 minutes. Then we walked up to the Sydney Observatory. When we got up there I realized that Dad forgot the umbrellas again when we had had to check them. After getting them back a few days before from Hard Rock I didn't want him to lose them again. So, there was going to be a tour at the observatory but we would have gotten back after the museum closed. So we sat on the hill for a few minutes overlooking that part of the town and then we walked back down to retrieve the umbrellas.

After that we went back to the Opera House cafes and ate. We had a hamburger that we didn't like. Then we went to the movies "Ides of March", which was ok. There was no one on the streets when we were headed back. Dad told me there was going to be fireworks at 9p.m. on the harbor and we had half an hour. We got a gelato and then I was going to settle down to wait. Instead it was back at Darling Harbor so I was trying to walk and eat at the same time. Luckily, the fireworks didn't start until 9:15. That is where everyone was. There was a huge crowd all around the harbor. Today was Christmas Day. We took a ferry from Darling Harbor to Circular Quay and had breakfast at Guylian. This time I had a a belgian waffle with hazelnut ice cream and chocolate sauce. It was almost lunch time as we slept in some. After that we took the ferry to the Tongo Zoo. It was a really nice zoo, and we got to see all sort of animals.
Zoo is on hill with zig zag trails. One of the views from trail.

We did that until 4:30 as they were closing at 5p.m. today. After that we took the ferry back to Circular Quay and walked to the rocks and had dinner at Guylian at the Rocks. Then, we walked back to the movie theater and were going to watch another movie, but they were closed. So we took the ferry back to the side opposite our hotel and went to the casino as Dad wasn't ready to call it a night yet. However, neither of us gamble, so we bascially did a lap around the casino and then headed back to our hotel. I wore sunscreen today but missed a couple spots on my neck and got burned. I also got burned on my hands. The left bow on my glasses got tangled in my sunglasses in the multiple changing of glasses today and the screw is coming out. I am going to try sometime in the next couple days to find a glasses shop, but in the meantime I may have to tape it to hold it in place. I will have to wait and see. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Australia Day 3 & 4

Yesterday we got up and went to the Harborside Shopping Center across Darling Harbor and had breakfast. Then we walked over to the National Maritime Museum. We went through a submarine and a destoryer the Vampire (the 3rd). Then we went on a Duyfken, 1606 Replica, of a Dutch ship.

Then we went up into a lighthouse and got to see all around the harbor. The last boaat we went on was the James Craig, which still goes out every fortnight for a few days. It has volunteers that get to go out on it. They also help with the upkeep of the ship. They had lots of volunteers that asked questions about the different boats and gave tours. After that we had a snack and then we went into the museum and went through the galleries on Swimming, the Navy, Aborginies, people who moved to Australia in the past for different reasons around WWII. After that we went to the Sydney Visitor Center and picked up a brochure. Next, we went to the IMAX theater and got tickets for Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol. We had to wait about 45 minutes, so we sat out on the board walk risers. Two Korean kids, a brother and sister, asked for an interview and interviewed us on some of our favorite things and about the United States. Then we watched Mission Impossible. It was pretty incredible on the World's Biggest screen.

After that we walked over to the Hard Rock Cafe and had dinner. Then it was back to the hotel and to bed as it was almost 11p.m. We were almost to the hotel when Dad remembered he forgot the umbrellas at the restaurant. Today we got up and it was raining. We were able to borrow my umbrellas from the hotel. We took a cab though over to Queen Victoria Building for breakfast. I was able to have crepes and a bagel, two of my favorite foods I have missed. After that we walked over toe Kent Street and I was able to find a shoe store that carries Teva footwear, so I could finally get some.

Dinner Time
 After that we to the Aquarium. It was really great. There was a couple tubes that we could walk through that had fish on the tops and sides. One was a shark tank with mostly sharks, this huge tutrtle, and some gigantic sting rays. There was another one where the whole room even the floor was glass that we passed through. Once we got done we went and had a snack. I got a gelato.

Next, we went to the Sydney Wildlife next to the Aquarium. We got to see Koalas and Kangaroos, emus, and a few others animals. It was exciting to finally see them in real life. After that we went to Tony Roma's for dinner. We were going to go to a movie after dinner but we had to wait a long time, so we missed the movie.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Australia Days 1 & 2

My plane got to Sydney at 9:35 but all the gates were full so we had to sit on the runway for almost an hour. When we finally got off there was a huge line through immigration but it went quickly. When I got through all that Dad was by the ramp coming into the main part of the airport. He thought he had missed me because he hadn't made it to the Visitor Center. It was so nice to see him. The first thing that I did was get a sim card for my phone and my Ipad. It was very easy. After that I exchanged my money and then Dad got a cup of coffee. Then we caught the train to the Wynard stop to walk to the hotel. It was not as easy as we thought. Coming out from the train we had to walk up two different sets of stair cases carrying two suitcases a piece. Two people stopped to offer us help but we did ok.

Small part of one set of stairs we climbed

 As we walked to our hotel it started raining. We got checked in but a room wasn't ready as the check in time was 3pm and it was 1pm. We ate lunch at the hotel restaurant. I had brushcetta and a greek salad with fresh made bleu cheese dressing since they didn't have any, but they offered to do it since that is what I really wanted. Then we went next door and walked through the CWM art gallery. Then we went back and were able to get in our room. Once in our room my Dad went for a walk and I showered and changed. When my Dad got back he told me some things he found on walk. Then he laid down on his bed and was out within seconds. I thought maybe it would be a small nap but he was out until the next morning. I went down and walked around the corner to a convenience store and got some snacks to hold me over. I watched some tv, and then went to bed at 9pm. Yesterday we got up about 7a.m. We just took it easy. Dad got some coffee and we got ready. We left our hotel about 10:30 and walked down to the Queen Victoria Building.

We saw this huge Swaroki Crystal tree. we walked and looked at some of the shops. We ate at Vinto for lunch. We both had sandwiches. We were going to have dessert but their were busy by then and it was hard to get our watier back. We had one waiter that we obviously offended. He asked us if we were ready and we thought we were and asked what rocket is as we had never heard of it. I guess it is a type of lettuce. The guy said he would come back and then he sent another guy over to take our order. We walked to the Jonathan Marks Photography. He has this limited edition print of the Sydney Opera House that I really like. If I had my house I would definitely get it for my house. Then we looked at an opal store. After that we walked then to this other building and looksed at some of its stores. After that we walked to the National Opal Collection which is a museum. We saw opalized teeth, bones, vertebra, et. We saw a opalised pliosaur dinosaur. After that we walked down to the Circular Quay so Dad could have a coffee, then we walked down and Dad checked out the ferries. After, it was off to the Museum by the rocks but it was closed. We walked to the Rocks Square and the Vistor center but it was also closing. Then we walked down to the wharf and around to under the huge bridge. We sat there for awhile and just enjoyed the view and the weather. After that we walked back and watched a cruise ship take off. Then walked up to this Steak House but discovered they only served lunch. So then we walked to 333 Bar. We couldn't find anoyone to seat us and then couldn't find a seat. We walked back to the restaurant Steel. We had a great dinner there. My Dad had a steak and I had lamb. It was a grilled lamb porterhouse with roasted eggplant, capsicum salsa and linguina olive jus. It was wonderful. After that we walked back to our hotel as it was 9pm by then.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Career Day 2011

We had career day again today. I like career day, so that students can listen and talk to people from various careers that they might be interested in. This year when had someone from Nursing, Chemical Engineering, Monash Universtiy, Taylor's University, Social Media, Architecture, and Design Media. I was super excited this year because my brother spoke to my students. Not only did he speak, he did his presentation via Skype. This was a huge step for our school. There is resistance to technology being used. I think that it can be a good thing and ever since I went to the Learning 2.011 Teacher's Conference I have been trying to incoporate it more. Last week my 8th grade students skyped with a couple students from a school in Melbourne, Australia. Anyway, getting back to career day, this year has been very crazy, busy, stressful. We didn't get as early of a start on getting people for today. Many of the people we asked were busy today. I kept thinking that I would like to ask my Mom, who is a Graduate Gemologist, or my brother who is a Design Media person to speak. Of course, they are in America and that is not an easy thing to do. Finally I brought it up to the Director of Studies that I thought my brother would be great, and I thought maybe we could do it via Skype. At first, he was worried about technology not working. I assured him that I would have a back up plan if it didn't work. He finally decided that yes, we should give it a try. After that I had to call my brother to ask him if he was available, and to work out a few of the details with the time difference. We then, e-mailed this week about what he wanted on his biodata sheet for his introduction, some websites he wanted to share, and a couple brochures. We did a practice Skype session earlier in the week to make sure that we could project him up on the wall and that we could hear him. It worked pretty well. Today came and I was super excited but also nervous about the technology working. I wanted it to work, so that it was successful and we could do this again, and do other things in the future with technology and skype. I was also picture taker for the yearbook, as the school camera doesn't really work and no one else remembers to bring theirs. The speaker before my brother ran late, since the bus driver had been late so we didn't get things set up as early as I had hoped. We set up two laptops with two projectors. We had one for projecting my brother onto the wall. The other we set up to show the brochures and websites. Luckily we were able to rent another projector as we had only two and that wasn't enough. Also, two of the other speakers at the same time as my brother brought their own laptop and projectors, so that helped. It would not have worked as well with one laptop and projector.  I also brought my laptop and Ipad as the screen for projecting things is kind of in the corner and I wasn't sure how well students could see it and my brother. I placed the laptop and Ipad in front of two different groups so they also had it close in front of them.


The first group was the high school. It worked pretty well. There were a few times he cut out on the audio, so I had to ask him to repeat himself. They had a couple questions for him. We also ran over since we started late, so he had to cut his presentation short. The second group was the middle school. That presentation was great. There were no glitches or cut outs at all. We could hear him really well. They were really excited. My brother also did better on his presentation since he had run through it once already. It was smoother in transitions, but both were excellent. One student couldn't believe that my brother was actually live and talking to them. They wanted to know what time it was there. One of my students want to ask him about some of the things I had told them about from when we were younger to see if they were true. My brother told them that yes, those things were true. At the end one of the students presented my brother with his Thank you gift/token of appreciation. That is my favorite picture that I took of my student holding the gift up to the computer screen and my brother reaching his hands out like he is grabbing it. The students were like how is he going to get it. I told them that when I saw our Dad over Christmas since our Mom and my brother can't come that I will send it back with our Dad. Some of the younger boys were jealous at some of the perks that my brother told them about for his job. Most of the students were excited that he likes their football (soccer) teams. I can tell this is something they are going to talk about for a long time. They were talking about how exciting it was and that the students who didn't go had missed out. This is probably something that will end up in the yearbook too. I am going to have the students blog about it next week, hopefully.


At the end of the day the Director of Studies thought that it went really well and he is glad that we tried it. He would like to know why it cut out a few times the first session but maybe it was because of the rush of setting up and trying to open the websites on the other computer. The second time they were already open so there was no need for them to load. We don't have a super great connection if more than one person is on the internet at the same time. He thinks that this is something that can be done next year and perhaps we can do skype for other things. I told him that I would like to see if I could set up skype sessions with authors to help get our students more excited about reading. He thought that would be a good idea. I am very glad that most of our people were in person, but I think that if there is a career where there isn't really a representation in our town that doing Skype can be a good thing. I hope that we do continue to incorporate things like this into what we do, as it is a great world out there with lots of resources and people. In today's society we have the ability to connect with people from all over that can help expand our knowledge, so we should take advantage of it.


Monday, November 28, 2011


To start off with, I think that Disney and Hollywood are both to blame and thank for dreams. First,  I like many young girls watched Disney movies when I was little like "Cinderella", "Beauty and the Beast", the "Little Mermaid", "Snow White", etc. and thought when I grew up my life would be wonderful just like that even if I wasn't a princess. I remember for many years I dreamed and day dreamed about how my life would be when I became an adult. I also remember a little, I don't know if I want to say ritual, of what I did when I had a nightmare or bad dream. In "Cinderella" where she sings, a dream is a wish your heart makes when you're fast asleep". I remember for many years if I woke up from a bad dream I would say a few times that I did not want whatever bad thing had happened and that was not a wish my heart was making. I eventually grew out of that, but never grew out of dreaming. I have made lists over the years with the dreams as they changed and crossed off ones I have accomplished but some are still on there after all these years. None of the dreams were ever accomplished very quickly. All of them have taken years.

One of my first dreams I ever remember was from when I was 3 years old. I wanted to be a ballerina and dance en pointe. It took up until I turned 16 after many years of dancing that I finally had the dream of learning about dancing on pointe come true. It actually happened the week of my 16th birthday that I found out that I was finally ready, so that was very memorable to me. I am missing many of the elements to become a professional ballerina, so even though I know it will never happen I still dream of it sometimes.

The next dream I remember is wanting to be a teacher. I started wanting that dream when I was 5 years old. That again was a long process of going through all my education, and job searching, but I finally accomplished that too when I was 25 going on 26. That is a dream with another Hollywood/Disney misconception. Not that I am upset at all to be a teacher. I love working with students and I love teaching. I just was unaware of how challenging and time consuming it could be. I had no idea that teachers had to take home work to do outside of school or stay late hours. I didn't know that there were going to be challenging students or  co-workers that hated teaching and were hard to work with. I am still glad every day though that I am a teacher. Even on days it is hard and frustrating I am still glad. My heart is content everyday.

Another dream that I came up with some time during my early childhood was to go to Australia. I saw the first "Crocodile Dundee" in the mid-80's and have wanted ever since to go. This year for Christmas in a little under 20 days I am going to achieve that dream.

Also, at some time during this time of my life I came up with the dream that I wanted to get married and have children. I am still waiting on that one. I have learned though as I have gotten older that it is also not going to be a fairy tale. There are going to be hard times and scary things, but I still dream about it. I know many of my married friends are envious of my being single and living on the other side of the world and all the traveling I am doing. I know people though who are married and living on the other side of the world and traveling. Some of them have children too. It just has to be a dream that you both have together. I am not saying I think being single is horrible because it is not, but part of me wishes I had someone to share these dreams and dreams coming true with. I am thoroughly enjoying living overseas and traveling but I think it would be more enjoyable to share it with someone. Plus, when I am an old lady I would be able to say remember when we did this living overseas or traveling. Like I do with so much of the rest of my life. It will be only me that has the memories. I will continue to reach and achieve my dreams whether alone or with others. I am not going to stop and wait to get married just to live my life.

Another dream that I have had since I was little was having a house built by my Dad. That dream came true a few years ago. I moved back to my hometown to teach and things just fell together to have my house built by my Dad. I love my house. It was custom built just for me. It had an awesome kitchen with a huge granite island. My dad is known for his kitchens. My half bath downstairs was awesome. It is purple color with a hand texture. I had it decorated with Betty Boop knickknacks. The stairs going up to the next level were extra wide which was nice. My bedroom was great and I had a huge walk in closet. My bathroom had a soaking tub so that I could lay all the way down in it and it was wide too. The laundry closet was upstairs so it was easy to do my laundry. I also had a garage which was great in the winter time. Everything about my house was great and I loved it all. I had bought art over the years and had been saving it for my house. I had it all outfitted just the way I wanted too. It didn't work for me to stay in my house. Life happens, and sometimes unexpected things happen. I did get to live there a year, so I can say that my dream came true. I still own it and someone rents it now that I know and they take good care of it. I will sell it eventually when I decided where I am going to settle down. Maybe someday my Dad can oversee building another house for me or at least help me if I have to have someone else do it.

When I was in high school I went to Europe on a school trip with my German class. We went to France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, and England. It was while on that trip that I had some new dreams. I wanted to travel to many countries and see as much of the world as I could. I wanted to live and teach overseas for a period of time. I wanted to live in Switzerland for awhile.

I am also a huge music lover so I have dreams of artists I would like to see: Bonnie Raitt, Yanni, Eric Claption, NIN, Fleetwood Mac, etc. So far I have seen Bonnie Raitt, Yannit, and Fleetwood Mac. If I could only achieve getting to see one other artist it would be Eric Clapton. So far, it hasn't worked out, but there is hopefully still many years to accomplish it.

These are most of my major dreams. I am lucky I have been able to achieve so many of them. Hopefully someday they will all be accomplished. Pretty soon I need to start making new dreams because I have a long life ahead of me and I don't want to get bored with not having anything I am working towards.

Dream big....keep dreaming......never give up on your dreams even if it takes many years to achieve....


In less than 20 days I am going to Australia. I have wanted to go since I was about 5 years old when the first Crocodile Dundee movie came out. It was one of those some day dreams that was never really going to happen. I figured when I was a little old lady too decrepited to do anything I was still going to be thinking that some day I wanted to go to Australia. Well, things don't always turn out like you except, they turn out much better. My Dad is coming to visit me for Christmas. My Mom is staying back home because my brother doesn't get enough time off work to come to the other side of the world and it wouldn't be nice to leave him with no family for Christmas. My Dad talked about Bail and not that I don't want to visit Bali, I do, kind of. I have wanted to visit Australia for longer. Who knows what is going to happen next year or ten years from now. It is better to go now while it is easily in reach. Plus, my Dad has wanted to go since he was in high school at least. So between the two of us we have wanted to go for a very long time. I talked to my Dad today. He and my Mom are visiting my brother for Thanksgiving and it was the first time since I moved over seas 16 months ago that I talked to all three of them together. It was nice, but in a way a little sad since I am not there. It has been almost a year since I saw my Mom since she came last Christmas to visit me in Malaysia and see where I had moved to, since it was a quick deal and not really any chance to check anything out before I moved here. I haven't seen my Dad in almost a year in a half. And my brother, well it has been at least 2 years since I last saw him. A long time for me, as I have always seen my parents at least every couple months. Most of the time I am not homesick and don't miss my family much. I just don't think about them because I know it would probably make me homsick. Plus, I am enjoying it overhere and know that even though I am missing some things if I wasn't over here there is so much I wouldn't ever get to do. It was a little hard though to believe when I was talking to my Dad that after waiting almost a year and a half I am going to see him. It is also hard to believe that I am really going to Australia. It is not a dream. So many incredible things have happened since I moved to Malaysia and espeically this fall that it is hard not to think that I am dreaming.
Well, now I have a little bit longer to wait and then I will be there and experiencing one of my long awaited dreams. Can't wait....


I am so excited. I have been connecting with other teachers through twitter and trying to connect to other schools through blogs. We are add skype to that. Last week on Friday, November 25th my 8th grade English class skyped with a couple students from a Jewish school in Melbourne, Australia. We did it with my Ipad as I ended up not bringing my laptop to school that day and it was kind of a mix up trying to get it coordinated, but it worked. We weren't quite prepared because I had thought that my 6/7th grade English class was going to skype, but they had to change the time. Anyway my 8th graders were excited. We talked about football (soccer), what it was like to live in Malaysia for those who are not from Malaysia since we are an International School and many of our students come from other countries. We talked about the weather. They asked us about our major religions and cultures and some celebrations that we participate in. We asked them some questions about Australia. We talked for about 20 minutes. Skype glitched a few times and sometimes they were hard to hear even though I had the volume all the way up. I would like to do it again and think I would bring my laptop next time.


This coming week on Friday (December 2nd) we are doing a career day. One of our guest speakers this year actually lives in the United States. He lives in Oklahoma City and works for the company Funnel Designs group. He works in advertising, marketing, and social media. I am very excited to have him speak to our students. Tomorrow we are going to do a run through to make sure things work. We are going to use the Director of Studies computer and we are going to see if we need to rig up a camera facing the audience. We will do a run through and see if there is anything else that we need to do before Friday. I am so excited to be doing skype. I hope that in the future maybe we can skype with authors to help students continue to get interested in reading.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rest of Yanni Singapore Trip

So, the next day after I saw Yanni I slept in a bit. I was tired and the bed was so comfy and the room so quiet. When I finally got ready to leave it started pouring rain, so I decided to wait an hour to see what happened. It let up. I walked down Orchard Road to Plaza Singapura. I went to Build a Bear. I know my Mom will be like what?! Yes, even though I am mature in someways when it comes to Teddy Bears and Build a Bear I will never grow up. At the mall I saw this really interesting guy. He was dressed in a tank top and had an ipod with head phones. He had his hair pulled back in a messy bun. He was wearing dance pants and dance shoes ( like jazz). He walked like a dancer does on stage when they are emphasizing their walk. It is very slow and drawn out. He kept looking and so I thought maybe he was on some show or something or wanting some friend to notice him. Later I was up a couple floors and saw him standing at the railing looking down. He was listening to his music just dancing away like he wanted everyone to notice him. It was pretty funny. I was trying to find out if any of the movies at the theater were worth seeing but couldn't get my Ipod to connect to the Wifi, so I gave up and left. It was raining again, so I decided to drop my items back off at my room, so as not to get everything wet. Then I went for a very long walk, sightseeing. I walked around from my hotel on Bencoolen and walked down Waterloo street all the way passed Middle street down Burgis street. Then I walked back to Victoria street and stopped into this new Chocolate shop called 10th Chocolate Street that carried Vezzo D'Or. I got myself some dark chocolate. I walked past Chijmes and down Hill street passed the Armenian church and then over passed St. Andrew's Cathedral and back passed the War Memorial and through the park to across the road from Esplanade Theaters on the Bay. After that I walked to the Asian Civilisations Museum and Indochine restaurant. I didn't realize I had passed Merlion park or I would have stopped there too. They weren't serving the rack of lamb until 6:30p.m. and it was 6:00 so I decided I didn't want to wait around there and didn't want to eat just a burger. So I walked over to Raffle's Landing site, passed the Arts House and Parliament house. I walked back close to Hill street and the Old Hill Street Police Building but turned back and made my way to Victoria street and eventually Chijmes. I ate dinner at Hog's Breath, which I discovered last time. I ate buffalo wings and the chicken Caesar wrap again. Then I walked back to my hotel on Bencoolen street. I dropped off my stuff and then got a cab and went to the housewarming party of a new twitter friend that I was meeting in person for the first time (another post). After that I went to bed when I got back.

At base of Singapore Flyer
On Sunday I went to check out the Singapore Writer's Festival that was very close by but didn't see much that was going on, probably because I didn't know exactly where to look. Then I walked over the the National Museum of Singapore. The first exhibit was one on the History of Singapore. I was given a headset to listen to. I went through this curtain onto this walk way with a 360 screen and then across the walkway through another curtain and down this winding ramp to the rest of the exhibit. I didn't stand in that one long. It was darkly lit and like a maze. It was kind of creepy. After that I went to the Living Galleries exhibits on Film and Wayang, Photography- framing the Family, food, and fashion. Part of the permenant exhibits is this swinging chandelier display and a huge chili on the back side of the building. My legs and feet were tired from all the walking I did the day before, so after that I went back to the hotel for awhile. Then I went to Trattoria Lafiandra for a late lunch, early dinner but they were not open yet. So I walked down to Suntec City.  I wanted to see a movie, but it was only playing once that day and it was done for the day. I decided to go see "What's Your Number". It was ok. It was predictable. After I got done I thought I could walk to Singapore Flyer but there was construction and it looked like it was on the other side of highway roads with no places to cross. It was so close though that I didn't want to get a cab. I walked back to Trattoria Lafiandra for a very late dinner. I had bruschette and a then had a tortelloni with roquefort cheese (I think).

I get stopped by people when I am out and about for various things like to take their picture, for directions, just to talk to me, trying to sell me stuff. When I first headed out that day this guy stopped me and was telling me that I had a lucky face, and a good heart, and all this other stuff. Some of it seemed right on. Then he took out a piece of paper and wrote down the name of a flower. I picked rose and that is what he had written. I almost said Plumeria though. Then he wanted me to give him money to pray for me. I told him no thanks. I was kind of creeped out by the situation. I hoped then to give a leave me alone vibe but I guess not. I had a lady stop me shortly after that to take her picture, a couple people to sell me things, and others to randomly talk to me.

Double Helix bridge
On Monday I thought about going out to Sentosa island but I decided it was probably crowded and really I only wanted to go to two shops there, one being a popcorn shop. I still wanted to go to the Singapore Flyer but I didn't want to take a cab all the way there and then back. I thought it was a waste of money. I walked down Orchard Road again. First, I went to the Cathay to see the "Change Up" but they didn't have it and didn't have many shops. I walked back to Plaza Singapura to see about seeing it there but it was done. I ate lunch at Secret Recipe. Then I walked back to my hotel room. I wasn't feeling well. I think it was all the walking I had been doing, but not drinking enough water and not eating very much. I went to Wendy's for dinner. I didn't feel like walking too far and felt like a chocolate frosty. I watched movies in my room.

On Tuesday which was my last full day housekeeping called at 12:30 to find out when they could clean. I had the do not disturb sign on and then had not called any of the others days.  I was about ready to leave anyway. I noticed that the screw on my right side of my glasses was coming loose and I didn't have my spare pair with me. I didn't know where my little screwdriver was. I walked to Raffle's City and went to a place there. I bought a new screwdriver but couldn't get it to tighten. I took my glasses back in and asked the guy if he could help me. He said it was something wrong with the screw. I told him I was traveling and didn't have a spare pair. He changed the screw for free, how nice. After that I got a cab for Marina Bay Sands. I went to the Art and Science museum. I want to see the Van Gogh and Dali exhibits. They only had the Salvador Dali. I didn't care for his paintings or drawings, but I thought his sculptures were ok. After that I walked to the Double Helix bridge and went across stopping to take pictures. When I got to the other side I could see that I could walk across to the Singapore Flyer. So, I went.
The back of Chijmes
 It was nice. It is a great way to look out over Singapore. At first I was afraid to get up off the seat. I am not afraid of heights, but I am of falling. Eventually I got up though so I could look out even better than from the middle. At one point this middle aged lady in a foursome ( I think they were Russian) asked if I wanted my picture taken. I nodded. So she took my picture. Then she told me that I should have one done with the sights in the background. She handed my camera off to the younger guy in the group. I don't think he really wanted to, but she said he was better at taking pictures. So I stood with the Marina Bay Sands sights in the background. He got really close, instead of zooming in. I was trying to smile in the picture so I looked happy but trying not to blush since he was really good looking and trying not to laugh since he was so serious. The whole trip took about 1/2 hour. After that I walked back over the Double Helix bridge. I walked around the Marina Bay Sands shops for awhile. I saw that Kenny G is coming in November but there is no way for me to go. Then,  I got a cab and headed back to my hotel. The guy missed the turn off with the construction and I had to walk a ways. I was upset at first, but then I passed my two really cool beads stores. One had pieces made up by the owner. It reminded me how much I miss making jewelry. I walked back to my hotel and waited a bit to make sure places where open for dinner. I walked back down to Chijmes and went to Fandango's Tapas and Wine bar. I had seen it advertized as coming soon back in August. They were open. I had a tapas that was bread with marinated feta cheese, sun dried tomatoes and parsley. My other tapas that was lamb cutlets with mint jelly and this weird tiny dried pasta. Both were very good though. Then I walked to Lippolis and had gelato for the first time. I had the black forest. It was great. Then I walked back to my hotel and worked on packing my suitcase.
Black Forest gelato

Wednesday morning I got up and went to the airport. Our plane took off about an hour late. We were in a long line of planes. I could see 10 planes lines up behind us waiting for their turn. When I got back it was pouring rain here.

Yanni in Singapore

About a month ago we learned at school that we were going to get a week off for Chinese New Year in January instead of just two days. I was looking at the Marina Bay Sands Theater website about Wicked because I want to see that. I noticed that Yanni was going to be there on the 21st of October for one night only. Even though I love lots of different types of music (except country) there are some artists that are my favorites. I have liked Yanni since I was in my early teens and have wanted to see him for a long time. The date was almost perfect. We had until Wednesday the 26th of October off for the Sultan's birthday and Deepavali. The only problem is they only have one flight every other day here and only one on those days. The flight left at 12:50p.m. I got out of school at 12:05p.m. but that would not work because of my ride situation and with the traffic. I was so bummed. I talked to my parents and said why don't you ask the owner. I never take any sick days and the only days I missed where for a conference and I do my job and help cover for others. I went the next day and asked. He was fine with it. The Director of Studies said he would cover for me. I bought the ticket that day after school, made the flight and hotel reservations. I was excited. I couldn't believe I was finally going to see him in person.
October 21st rolled around. I got done with class at 11:00 a.m. and then the Director of Studies was going to cover my last class. I rushed outside to wait for my ride and she didn't show up for another 20 minutes. I realized on the way out to the airport I forgot my book I had bought last time of 100 Historical places to see and my maps. Oh well, it was too late to turn around. We made it to the airport in good time and I had some time to wait before it the plane showed up, but that was ok. I would rather be a little early than miss my only flight. We got to Singapore just fine and I got checked into the hotel room. After that I went to Marina Bays Sand shops first. I bought a few items I needed that I can't get where I am. Then I went to Osteria Mozza for dinner. Right across the mall from the theaters. I thought there was only one theater but there is actually two. "The Lion King" is playing in the other one, which I already saw.

I had a bufalo mozzarella appetizer, a leg of lamb for main dish and a wonderful (bitter chocolate) cioccolato for dessert. Then I went over to Yanni. I was in the front row, so close. It was dark on stage until they all came out. The other musicians came out first and then it was so quiet that we could here some guy back stage call out "All right Yanni! Time to go". We laughed. I could see that he has aged well. I know he is too old for me but I think he is still good looking. I must say that I like the scruffy look without the big huge mustache that he had for awhile. He is still very fit and must work out. I could tell that he is older though because he has older person skin like my Dad. He had two keyboards that he did some of the songs in between. He would play and hop around. He does lots of hair flipping. He also had a grand piano which was right in front of me that he played his more calm songs on. He played some from his new album out and some classics of his. He talked to the audience in between every few songs. He is very nice. He has a beautiful accent and seems like a genuinely warm and caring person. He has great musicians that play with him. It has two cello players, a bass player, two drummer, another keyboard player, two singers, a man that played trumpet and flugel horn, two violinist, and a trombone player. Some of the people were closer to his age and probably been with him a long time. Others were younger. All very talented though.
Waiting for concert to start
He was supposed to play for 90 minutes but he played for over two hours. Some of the songs he played: "The End of August" (which was about a time in his life when he was getting ready to leave Greece and live in America for awhile to continue making his music career), "Felitsa" ( which is about his Mom, who was very strong and believed in him and gave him peace and strength), "Nightingale" (which he composed after he had been to China and played in the Forbidden City), "Desire", "Aria", "Marching Season" (which featured his drummer friend), "Night to Remember", "Niki Nana", "Truth of Touch", "Echo of a Dream", "Seasons", "Voyage", "Flash of Color", "Vertigo", "Nine", "Can't Wait", "Guilty Pleasure", "Playing by Heart". I know he played more than that. There was no program which I wish there had been. I have heard his songs so many times that in listening to my Ipod after to figure out which ones exactly he played they also sound so familiar. He did not introduce every song. He did a couple encores which was wonderful. We gave him and his musicians several standing ovations. There was one point were he came really close and I could have stuck out my hand to shake his but I didn't. I didn't want it to end. Neither did anyone else.  The very last song he played is one of the first songs I remember of his. It is called "One Man's Dream". I remember back when I was in high school I introduced my dance teacher to Yanni and so we had a few of his numbers that year that we danced to. That was one of the songs and it was a pointe number. I always wanted to dance on pointe and be a ballerina (along with being a teacher). I did finally make it to pointe a few years after that and took that class with another class but not good enough to dance for the recital. He spoke about how even though the world is going through a hard time right now. All we need is for one person to have a dream and the world will change. He said that dreams do come true. Earlier he had told us that when he was a teenager, he and his main drummer had been in a rock and roll band (I just can't picture it.) and dreamed of a time when they would do just want they are doing. I agree. There are things I dreamed of when I was in high school like traveling overseas more and living overseas for a period of time and teaching. My 20's were fine, but my 30's are truly awesome because my dreams are coming true. The last song made me a little teary eyed thinking that I was finally getting to see him live, and that many of my dreams are coming true. At the same time it was a little sad to be by myself and not have someone to share it with.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Meeting a Tweeter in Real Life

So, back at the Learning 2.011 Teacher's Conference I went to in September I was persuaded to join twitter. Previously I had be anti-twitter and never going to join. I thought Facebook was enough and I saw no reason for twitter other than people to share TMI about their lives. I thought I can't believe people are so lonely that they need to tweet about their every thought, thing they did, etc. I was never going to join. But, at the conference I learned that as a teacher it could be useful. I decided to give it a try. Wow, it is awesome. I am gaining so much in the almost 2 months that I have been on. I am gaining new resources, lesson plans, ideas, etc. I am glad that I joined.  I started by following the people that I met at the conference but have expanded to others based on recommendations or commenting on a tweet when someone has re-tweeted it. I have been talking to other people and many of them now I have never met.

This last Friday I went to Singapore for a 5 day school holiday. A few people that I correspond with are currently in Singapore. One of them asked me how long I was in Singapore and asked if I wanted to get together for coffee/snack or something. I said sure. On Saturday afternoon I got an invitation for a housewarming party. She wasn't sure if it was awkward for our first meet up and neither was I, but I decided to go anyway. I was busy sightseeing and didn't have to be there until 8p.m. at the earliest. I kept sightseeing and planned to have a normal dinner time and then go back to my hotel room and maybe freshen up a bit as there were going to be a few other people there. Well, the place I want to eat didn't start serving the food I wanted until after 6:30p.m. and it was only 6:00, so I decided to walk back to another restaurant closer to my hotel room. By the time I had dinner and walked back to my hotel room it was after 8p.m. What to do? I was very tired from all the walking and probably had perspired some with the heat and humidity. I didn't have any spare clothes to change into. Didn't know that I wanted to shower and put my same clothes back on. I didn't think I wanted to wash my face and put on fresh make up only to sweat it off or have to wash my face again in an hour. With my pale skin I get red easily so washing my face in hot water to get all the makeup off would have made my face red while there. Plus, if I showered it would probably relax me enough I would just crawl into the hotel bed and sleep. I decided I smelled fine, my deodorant was working well. My clothes looked ok and my makeup looked fine. I was only going to drop in for a few minutes and it was only going to be a small handful of people. Plus, even though I am not very shy anymore with a group of people I would find my corner to sit in and observe everyone else after saying hello to my twitter friend. I was nervous meeting someone I had only met online. What if in person I wasn't liked or did not turn out like the impression I have given. I kind of felt like I was going on a blind date. Not that I was interested in a romantic relationship or anything, but other than blind dates I have never met anyone first online and then in person, so I didn't know what else to compare it to. I tried to think positive that this meet up might be beneficial in ways I couldn't even know right now. Twitter has turned out to be beneficial and I thought it was the dumbest thing ever. So, I headed out the door again to get a cab.

I got to her place about 9p.m. and went up the elevator. As soon as the doors opened I could hear all the people talking. Uh oh, this sounds like a huge party. I go around the corner and see all the shoes in the hall all the way to the door of the apartment next door and all the way across to the other wall. Surely, this can't be the little housewarming party I was invited to, so I go the other way and look at the numbers on the doors. Nope, none of them are the right one, so I go back. I think I could just leave and no one would ever know I came. I should have showered. I should have brought spare clothes or got a new outfit. There is going to be a ton of people. Maybe I can still find a corner. Finally, I slip off my tennis shoes and go up to the door and ring the bell. I stand there hoping that no one heard over the noise of people talking, but within a minute the door opens and I am warmly greeted. I walk into a crowded hall and think, look at all these people. They are dressed nice and all look beautiful. My twitter friend looks nothing like her little picture. If I had seen her on the street I would not have known it was her. What was I thinking coming here? I was given a choice of a drink and I chose water because I had done tons and tons of walking but hadn't had enough water to drink. I was introduced to a few people and then was in the hallway talking to these people. The door opened a few minutes later and more people poured in. I held the door open so it wouldn't hit me and greet them. A couple of the ladies thought I was the sister of the host. I was like no, actually tonight was the first time we have met in person but we have been talking on twitter. I stayed in the hallway talking to people as they came in. Some of them asked me about me, as people moved farther in I stayed where I was and joined on the fringes of other groups and listened to the conversations and joined in if I had something to contribute. Not really in the corner but close enough. Then my twitter friend came back and had me come farther in and introduced me to other people. I talked with one group for a while and then joined another group. It was hard to hear and understand when others were talking to me. I have good hearing but I have a hard time in a crowded room singling out what is being said to me. I am constantly picking up on other conversations and missing what is being said to me or asked of me. Also, with the accents I still really struggle until I get to really know a person well. These are just a few reason why I like one on one compared to a large group. I think I did ok though. Finally, my feet and legs could not stand standing any more. I know that I walked miles and standing in my bare feet on a hard floor made them hurt. The only time I had sat all day was for dinner. I went straight from breakfast to dinner walking/sightseeing. I wanted to sit on the floor but it was too crowded and I knew if I sat down then that would be the end for me and sleep would be a short ways off. Plus, I was tired. So, I decided to call it a night. My twitter friend offer to call a cab for me but couldn't find her phone. She had to have someone else call it so it would ring. We finally found it and a cab was secured for me. I left a few minutes after that to be able to get out through the people, put my shoes on and go down the elevator to get outside before the cab showed up.

If I could do it over I would have brought a spare outfit that was nice but not too fancy. I would have stopped sightseeing earlier and had dinner earlier so I could have showered and changed. I would have had more water to drink so I could have had a drink. I knew that if my family knew about this they would have been proud that I went out on a limb (for me) and gone to this party with no one I knew in person. My brother would have been all about the networking. My Mother would have been horrified that I didn't freshen up before I went and if I tell her about it I am sure she will tell me what I should have done better. But anyway that is my first meet up with a new twitter friend.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Commute

So, there are some people that I met with at the Learning 2.011 Conference that are sharing their commutes to work. I have decided that I would share mine as well. This year my commute is much better than last year. I live in the same spot but I have different transportation. Last year I had to get up at 5:15a.m. to get ready and be waiting for the school bus. Yes, that is right, I rode the school bus. I live about a 20 minute fast walk from school, but since it is so hot and humid here I don't like to walk because then I get to school all sweaty with all the stuff that I carry.

Cold water shower at school
 There is a shower at school but I don't want to shower there since I bought a hot water heater and pay extra, for my room I rent, to have it. Plus, there are no sidewalks or cross walks, so walking is a risky business. Even just waiting to cross the street when I go to the grocery store people almost hit me. I will be standing almost in the gutter in the grass, not on the side of the road and people in their crazy driving trying to get around others will come very close to running my toes over or hitting me. Another problem is when it rains it creates huge puddles and some streets flood and I don't want to walk through that (not always possible to walk around) and get dirty and muddy before I get to school. I don't dare ride a bike since my back would be to traffic and again I don't want to get run over.

The School bus
So, anyway last year I rode the bus to school. The people at school liked that I rode because I kept everyone in line and helped out. Towards the end of the school year though the bus driver started coming super late or not at all and sometimes I had to walk to school if I could not find other transportation. I did not enjoy that so this year I found a lady who has a car service that picks me and takes me to and from work. I can also sleep in because since it is only me I don't have to go very far and don't have to get up early like last year when I was first one on the bus. I am not a morning person so it is nice to be able to sleep in some. I leave my room about 7:35ish if I have eaten breakfast after coming back up to grab my bag. I have always been a breakfast person but here it depends. If it is the owner's Mom, who is a very old lady then I eat in the dining room while she eats in the kitchen. She gives me crackers because I don't think she thinks cereal is enough. I am not allowed to cook though, so cereal it is. We can't communicated well because I don't speak Chinese or Malay and she doesn't speak English. If the owner or company is around I grab an apple to take with me since I am supposed to wait until they are gone to eat and I would be late.
First, out the door of my room

Through the front door & gate
My spot where I stand outside gate
Out the door of my room I go and down the steps and through the front sliding door and gate over it. Where I put on my shoes and walk to the end of the driveway and through the other gate. They have gates over every entrance here and bars over all the windows in this town.

New House being built

Back of building where I get my hair cut

Once I am through the second gate I wait until my ride comes to get me. Across the street they are building a new house. To the right is a strip mall (they call them shop lots) where I walk to get my hair done. While it is hard for me to just rent a room with all its limitations and rules, it is convenient since I don't have a car and they don't have public transportation other than cabs which are almost impossible to get a hold of. I am also in walking distance of a restaurant, grocery store, ATM machine, and place to get massages.

Waiting to get out in traffic. In walking distance is grocery store & restaurant I eat at sometimes.

Can either be crazy, busy or only 5 second wait. Gas station has ATM.

Where I stay is not far from the main street. It is a tricky street sometimes I only have to wait 5 seconds to cross and other times 20 minutes. Same with my ride when she pulls out into traffic.

Out in traffic now.

More Shoplots
We always hit it just right so we never have to wait.

Going across the river. Pipes go across here. 
 We cross a river and there are several pipes that go across in metal braces. They break often. Usually it is only for a few hours, but once last year it was for a whole day. I was able to shower because there was still water in the tank where I stay. I also have a large plastic garbage can filled with water just in case. We ran out at school though early in the day and the toilets were gross. We normally walk across to the MPK stalls to eat but we had to bring in food from a place that was not affected.

Going towards down town.

We are turning off to industrial section. This is a local school.

Past another local school.

My school is behind trees. Next to welding shop. Across from a car repair shop & MPK stalls where we get our lunches.

Once we get out into traffic it is just a five minute trip to school. Once at school if the bus driver or Director of Studies has gotten there first then they open the big gate and I don't have to do that.

This is the building where the school I work at is located. We don't have the whole building.

These front three rooms on the bottom left side are three of our classrooms. The upper floor is dorm rooms for a local college.

These 3 rooms are our classrooms.

I go past the three classrooms and around the corner to the back of the school.

Down the walkway past the new portable building that our library is now in. Last year I shared a desk with 3 others teachers and rotated rooms every class. This year I have my own desk now that the library/prayer room is in the portable building and only rotate rooms for some classes.

Library/Prayer Room

Coming around the corner to the back of the school.

The first entrance  on right is the room where my desk is located. There are two more rooms pass my stop- another classroom and the office.

Another classroom- this is where I shared a desk with 3 teachers last year & another teacher had a desk

 This class is also the boys changing room since it is right next to the boy's bathroom. So, I always had to move when it was time for them to change ( not that I wanted to be in there while they were changing.)
The office

After signing in at the office I backtrack to my stop.
This is my stop. 

Looking up at the boy's dorm.
My room is passed the girls bathroom, so it used as the girl's changing room for PE. The room at the end of the hall is our computer room.

Can be convenient or noisy since it shares a wall with my room.

This is the room I have this year. I have a curtain over the door for when the room is used as a changing room.

This is the desk I use. I got a new one because I was using student desks but with the increase of students I had to give them up. I also got a new book case so I no longer have to pile all the books, etc on the desk. I like a clean desk. I also got a new to me, old computer for use. We all have our own computers now, so we don't have to try coordinate things like filling out the Report Cards on the server. My one poster from "The Lion King" in Singapore.

That concludes my morning commute. Going home my ride uses a different route.