2010- I'm visiting Cuernavaca, Mexico, for six weeks with the "Partners in Education 2010 Fulbright-Hays Groups Abroad" program. Thanks to Dr. Colleen Ebacher and Dr. Ronn Pineo from Towson University, Towson, MD, USA, 16 teachers will be experiencing and learning about Mexican social, economic, and cultural issues. We have a very busy schedule, listening to many lectures, often going until 8 at night. And over the six-week period we will be visiting dozens of historical sites throughout the area. Cuernavaca is called "The City of Eternal Spring."
2008 Trip: I'm traveling to Antigua, Guatemala, to learn a little Spanish. Antigua is touted as being a beautiful, historic city near the captial, Guatemala City. Although I've read things on the internet that make me a bit wary (carjackings, busjackings, tourists being robbed/killed, etc.), I'm hoping the claims are exaggerated. One quote about a tour up one of the volcanos reads as follows: "it is still recommended that visitors travel with a tour group that is accompanied by armed guards." Yes, armed guards. How comforting. The negatives aside, Antigua is called the City of Eternal Spring because of its pleasant weather. I've arranged to live in a Homestay, which means I'll be living in the home of a Spanish-speaking family. More to come...
2007 Trip: I'm an ESOL teacher in Baltimore City, USA (a shout out to Highlandtown ES, 215, and the BCPSS ESOL staff!) visiting friends and family around the world. This is a web log/journal of my circling-the-globe adventures or possibly misadventures. I hope you enjoy following my trek to Taiwan (Taichung), Australia (Sydney/Perth), Malaysia (Kaula Lumpur), Greece (Athens/Mykonos/Santorini), The Netherlands (Amsterdam/Zwolle), and then back home. The journey will take 42 days. "To Life and Living It"
August 4th 2012
Hello all! This is a summary of my trip to China this summer. I joined a group of 30 teachers to tour China and teach English at the Nanjing Foreign Language School. Our trip lasted almost 4 weeks. It was quite an adventure. The weather was oppressively hot and humid. And the smog was intense on most days. But the people were welcoming, the culture fascinating, and there was lots to do in these modern cities. What made the experience exceptional though was the group of teachers that I traveled and worked with. They were an eclectic bunch that laughed a lot and that supported each other during the more challenging aspects of our journey. It wouldn't have been the same without them. Our itinerary, once we departed the U.S. and landed in China, included Shanghai, ... read more
July 16th 2012
When we drove into Xian, the first thing that I noticed was the smog. Fortunately, we only stayed a couple nights. In Shanghai and Nanjing, I thought the haze was caused mostly by the thick humidity. But when I arrived in Xian, where it is dry, it's clear that a good part of that haze was pollution. This is the dirtiest air I've ever experienced. It is so thick it's impossible to see more than a few blocks. And unfortuantely I'm not joking. All the people in America that think fossils fuels are just fine should live in Xian for a year. Maybe then they would have a different outlook. Smog aside, the visit to the Terra Cotta Warrior site and nearby hot springs was amazing.... read more
July 10th 2012
My experience teaching: I taught the 1st grade, ages 7-8. They were reallly cute, but very chatty in class and always touching my stuff. They have no worries going into my backpack or grabbing something of mine on the table. What I found fascinating was that the teachers leave the students on their own during the breaks. For real! When the chime goes off to begin the break, the teacher in my class picked up her laptop and took off for the teachers' room. The most difficult thing to deal with was the heat. It was 85+ degrees and that was with the AC. For some strange reason they had no problem leaving the 2 doors or the windows to the classroom open while the AC was running. I can't explain and didn't bother to ask. ... read more
July 10th 2012
We had a quick, 2-night visit in Hangzhou. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hangzhou It's a beautiful city, best known for its West Lake. We took a traditional boat ride around the lake, had our fortunes told in a Tao temple, visited an enormous Buddhist temple, climbed up a pagoda on the lake, and did the "mandatory" shopping expedition, among other things. Our guide on the trip is JJ. He's been an exceptional guide because he grewn up in Hangzhou. He told us many stories about living with his grandparents. The weather in China, in this region at least, has been very, very warm (95+ degrees according to someone's iPad) and so humid it wears us out. A few people have gotten sick, but nothing serious, only the usual adjustment to the time, food, and climate. BTW- The fortune teller told ... read more
July 9th 2012
'你好' nǐ hǎo Hi all! I know this might be news to some, maybe most, but I’m on a 4-week trip to China this summer. It’s a program out of San Diego, CA, that has American teachers teaching elementary and middle school children at Nanjing Foreign Language School, a private school in Nanjing, China. There are 32 teachers in all from all over the U.S. It's quite an eclectic group. We met at LAX on Monday, June 25th. More about that later. The flight left at 1:35 a.m.; yes, that’s in the morning, getting to Hong Kong by 7 a.m., a total of 15 hours. From Hong Kong we took a flight to Shanghai (2 hours) where we hopped on a bus to the Holiday Inn Express hotel. The jet lag wasn't too bad. After ... read more
August 14th 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010 Well I'm back in the States safe and sound. The Fulbright Program in Mexico was intense and something I'll always treasure as a great opportunity. I now have a better appreciation for fresh clean water, food that I can buy without chemically treating it to kill bacteria, a good-paying job with benefits, the luxury of time to do with as I want, good health (and healthcare), and any number of other things. There's nothing like visiting a part of the world like Mexico and seeing firsthand how people are struggling to meet their most basic needs. 12 and 14 hour work days are common/6 days a week. The daily wage at Walmart is $5. That's for ONE day. Some things may be cheaper in Mexico, but they're not that cheap. But Mexico ... read more
August 4th 2010
Saturday, July 31, 2010 On Saturday we got up early to start the day at 8am on a bus to see Puebla and many of the stunning churches in the surrounding area. Puebla is a large, colonial-style town that I could easily live in. It has a large modern area, along with its more historic part. I like the fact that it's flat as well, and easy to get around in. All the churches we saw were extremely ornate with a mix of European dominance and indigenous details. It's hard to capture the work and detail in pictures. ... read more
August 4th 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010 Sunday was our opportunity to attend a cooking class in Tepoztlan to experience some native dishes... gourmet style. We drove taxis to the scenic town which is believed to have special spiritual powers. It's nestled among impressive cliffs. A few ventured to the ruins atop one of the mountains, an arduous and tricky hike. It was a beautiful, spring-like day, but now that I've got a cold or "walking pneumonia" (haven't decided which one yet), I wasn't quite up to the task. We did have a fun time preparing our meal for the day.... read more
August 3rd 2010
Monday, August 2, 2001 Yesterday we volunteered at VAMOS, an organization that helps the poor, to help paint their building and prepare the food for their "la comida" (big meal of the day). It was a warm and sunny day, and the place was high up in the mountains outside of Cuernavaca. Once we left the outskirts of town and headed up, most of the roads were dirt with plenty of potholes. The people that run the meal do have a routine. The children sit down and eat, brush their teeth (which I videoed), take a vitamin, then play or work on crafts. Of course, the kids don't always do it in that order. ... read more