28 August 2007

International Man of Mystery

Just call me Austin Powers. I'm now working at an International Kindergarten in Hong Kong. It's the / school about 2 minutes outside my front door. It is to be honest, quite awesome! Not only do I get to sleep in even more than usual, I don't have to spend any money whatsoever on transportation. Also I'm not subjected to the gazillion people on the MTR everyday, so the chance of catching SARS has probably gone down considerably.

I'm still teaching kindergarten, but in a somewhat different role. Being an international school, the main language of study is English. There are 5 other Westerners working there and we all have our own class. This means I teach all subjects (mainly arts crafts and playtime) to the children. Being 3-6 years old they don't really have subjects, but we will do some basic math and reading and things like that. In the mornings I will assist a K3 class that I teach oral English lessons to, so this will be the same as what I did last year. In the afternoon I have a K1 class that I am in full charge of. There is still an assistant teacher in the class I believe. The class is a huge mix of 6 children from Hong Kong and Japan. Hopefully they won't overwhelm me too much.

The thing I like most about the school so far is the more Western style of teaching, which basically means the children are taught like children a little more than in the local Chinese schools. They still have a heavy work load, but there is already more emphasis on having fun and playing games etc. Last week we took the whole school to the beach and the kids played in the sand all morning. A few other field trips this year will be going to various parks, libraries, and the Coca-Cola factory. I only went on two field trips all of last year with 10 schools!

I also have already been out on a 'social event' with most of the staff. This included sampling some local beverages (tropical juices of course) and getting to know everyone. Summer school had just concluded so it was more of an end of summer thing, but it was great to actually get to know the people I will be working with. One of the other teachers also plays rugby in Hong Kong, on the team the Typhoons train with. He's in a different division so we won't end up smashing each other's heads in.

All in all it's been a pretty busy first week and a half back in HK. I hadn't expected to be back at work so soon, but I couldn't pass up this new school. It's such a good situation. My old employers were nothing but helpful (although sad) to see me leave, but with such short notice they handled it well.

This coming weekend sees the return of the Typhoons. We are going on an all night pub-crawl to recruit new team members. It should be a fun time. The season starts at the end of September so maybe I should think about getting into shape a bit. Maybe lifting little kids all day will be a good thing.

19 August 2007

Updates from July!

Before I left for Canada I did a walk around of our neighbourhood and had forgot to post these pictures. The photo below is of our area called Kornhill. It is made up of approximately 20 buildings all around 30 stories.

In the picture below you can see our building on the left and behind it is Mt.Parker. There are many trails and you can climb up to the top, and continue on all the way to Tai Tam Reservoir if you like, it's only a couple hours hike.

This is what one the pathways look like. They are relatively well kept considering the jungle nature and vast amount of vegetation over-growing the trails.

Below is one of many barbecue areas along the paths. Here you can have a fire or just a quick picnic. They are very frequent with at least 5 barbecue areas along the way to the top of the mountain.

This is about as far away as you can get from skyscrapers on the Island. The views are quite nice and it actually feels a bit like you are out in nature away from the hustle and bustle.

Also back in July Mai and I went for a bike ride around the Taipo area. We rented a weird 3 wheel bike that almost fell apart. It was quite fun and very hot.

Back in the Big Lychee

After a 1 month hiatus from HK, I have returned to report on the happenings of my life as an expat. The city seems nice and clean, a recent Typhoon made sure of that as all the streets appear to be rid of their 'blackish' coating at least a little.

It remains ungodly hot and humid, but that did not affect my plans to hike up a mountain today. I was ridiculously sweaty by the end of it all, but rugby season calls and it says I'm not in shape yet. I can only wait with glee for the first game in +35 degree weather.

Having been in Canada for a month I have gained a greater appreciation for space and clean air. Also I have once again been overwhelmed by the huge masses of people and how little privacy there is to be had in Hong Kong. It is a huge switch, but I am glad to be back. The more I travel back and forth the more it seems like an everyday habit. Not the biggest deal changing 10-15 hours from the clock once in a while.

For the time being I will continue my teaching duties commencing in September. We shall see how that goes. I intend on exhausting my shutter this year so hopefully a few more photographic experiences will come my way, or I will make my way to them more forcefully.

In any regard, it should be another exciting year with many stories to wow the Canucks with back home.

04 August 2007

Lost in...Winnipeg...

Some may have noticed I haven't been writing for awhile. That's because I am currently on a one month hiatus from HK.

I will be back mid August, but until then I am enjoying my time in Canada. I stopped in Vancouver and Calgary, and I'm in Winnipeg for the next two weeks.