nimthiriel: (Default)
 You know what sucks? Periods.

You know what makes periods suck more? The fact that if you try to talk about this regular, normal event that happens to every healthy woman, people get squeamish and don't want to hear about it.

You know what makes that EVEN WORSE? That even though you're having a shit time, you feel awful, you're in huge amounts of pain and discomfort and yet you somehow STILL make it through a normal workday and get everything done (having had to put twice as much effort into it as you normally would), you can't tell anyone that you did it all while feeling like you just got run over by a bus because nobody wants to hear about your period, so you don't even get acknowledgement of the fact that you worked extra hard to get through a day while feeling really bloody awful.

And because nobody will let you complain about how bloody awful you feel, nobody realises just how awful it can really be. So when they feel awful, they don't say anything and thus we perpetuate this myth that periods don't actually affect our daily lives, and that we should all just pretend nothing's different, or we'll get looked down on and seen as weak complainers who can't even deal with their period. And this is absolute bullshit. 


Jun. 23rd, 2013 06:27 pm
nimthiriel: (Default)
 So the third group have left and I'm now on holidays! XD So awesome. We'll be leaving for Shanghai on Friday morning, and then the following Tuesday (I think) we're off to England! 

In case you missed it, my Wordpress blog is back up online. There are photos and stuff up there too, here is the link.
nimthiriel: (Default)
 I finally have something resembling a decent Internet connection! Hooray! My main blog is therefore up and running again. I'll be updating it on a weekly basis as planned, and those will generally go up on Sunday nights. Here is the link in case you need it again. That's the place where I'll tend to put up photos and stuff, or links to photos that I have on my main photo site when I put up some more new stuff.

In brief: In the middle of Group 3 right now, and they're really good students. I'm also really tired and looking forward to my Summer holiday!
nimthiriel: (Default)
Yep. 3rd time in about 6 weeks. It's nasty and horrible, and is actually causing me an existential crisis. That's how bad it is.

I hate colds. I'd attempt to destroy the world in rage at being sick, but I'm not well enough to try. Uuuugh. 
nimthiriel: (Default)
 There's this cultural practice here where people will wear a mask if they have a cold in order to reduce the risk of passing it on to others. Very considerate. Unfortunately, it doesn't do shit if you are in a crowded place and then TAKE THE MASK OFF when you need to sneeze! Bloody moron did this in Shanghai while we were in line for a tourist attraction. I blame her. This is all her fault. 

Yep, sick again. It's only day one of the sick and I already can't stand up properly. This is a particularly bad problem given that one of my students LOST MY MEDKIT on the Great Wall, the trainee in charge of the first aid stuff hasn't arranged a new one for me yet, and the entire medical supply is on the first floor while I live on the 5th. We have no lift, and the dumbwaiter hasn't worked in the entire 15-year history of this place (not to my knowledge, anyway).

Phil is even more sick than I am, which doesn't help matters. It means that *neither* of us is in any kind of shape to be traipsing around campus, collecting things we need. And I have work to do. I was going to do some field research and come up with some activities at various sites we visit with the students, but that's not an option now given I can barely walk across my apartment, let alone make it down the stairs or around the city.


Worst case, I can call the school nurse and ask her very politely to please bring up some medication for us, but I'm hoping to avoid that. 

Seriously pissed off right now.


Apr. 5th, 2013 06:06 pm
nimthiriel: (Wine)
 So I'm between groups right now, and I have just spent several days living it up in Shanghai! There were beautiful places and the buying of beautiful things, sometimes both at once!

We visited a number of attractions, including the Yuyuan Garden, the Science and Technology Museum (mostly geared toward kids, but the robot exhibit was awesome fun!), and Tianzifang (a really nice area with shopping and bars). 

Things we bought include tea, a teeny tiny gorgeous tea set, a hat for me, a coat for me, and jewellery (also for me). I call this a productive trip ;-)

The hotel we stayed in was absolutely gorgeous. It was quite small, but the room was beautiful with wooden floors, a king-sized bed, and a hair dryer that actually worked. The hotel also smelled really nice from the moment you walk in, which is quite a bonus.

I'm now going to have several days of relaxation and preparation for Group 2, and hopefully I'll be able to keep this updated more regularly.
nimthiriel: (Default)
 So Group 1 went home on Wednesday afternoon. It has been an incredible first month. There were frustrations and annoyances, but over all it was a very positive experience.

One of the key things that I know about this program is the change that it instills in the students. They come out of it more mature than they came in, and that's huge given it's a noticeable difference in just one month. Having taught year 9 for 4 years, this is not something you get to see happen in any normal school programme. The fascinating part for me was *literally* seeing it happen overnight, and I can tell you exactly when the change occurred: Between day 1 and day 2 of their trip to Shanghai. I did once or twice need to remind them to keep that positive change happening, but only once or twice. It's not something I can describe easily, but it was a clear change in attitude and expectation. They realised that what they were doing wasn't working, we all discussed how to make it better, and they changed. Amazing.

There were a lot of tears on their last day. I cried too, though not nearly as much as the kids. But then, I didn't cry on my last day here as a student, no matter how badly I wanted to. One of the boys gave me a present; it was a little teddy bear money box. Most gorgeous thing ever!

So that's group one over. I'll try to update more regularly over the next 5 groups, but as anyone who's ever started a new job knows: It takes over your life and you have no time for a while. now that I have a better idea of what I'm doing, I should be able to stay in touch more often. 

Minor irk.

Mar. 27th, 2013 05:40 pm
nimthiriel: (Default)
 I realise this is a minor thing, but it irritates me because it's so bloody childish and I expect a bit more perception from adults.

Person A posts something on Facebook (or Livejournal, or some other social media).
Persons B and C complain about it being posted because it is somehow insensitive, or possibly worse.
Person A cracks a wobbly, saying things like "This is MY wall and I can post whatever I want on it!"

That is bloody stupid, because the fact is that it's NOT your personal wall. It is a place where you PUBLICLY broadcast things to the world at large. This goes the same for Livejournal or any other social media out there. You're not keeping a private journal, you are BROADCASTING to a large group of people, and on a space that you have rented (in most cases paid for by the advertising that you see when you log in).

It'd be like someone hiring a large billboard and putting something insensitive on it, then responding to complaints with "But it's MY billboard! You can't tell me what I can and can't put on it!". You can imagine what public perception would be of any company that did that!

It's little, but it's been bugging me for a while and I felt the need to rant :-)
nimthiriel: (Default)
 So the students were away on homestay this weekend, which meant that the staff went out to dinner together and then partied on a bit into the night. It was a great way to spend the evening, and I met some lovely Irish blokes and one Canadian. They were good fun!

In general, I'm really tired and loving my job, though report-writing really needs to start at some point soon.

We'll be in Beijing this week (leaving tomorrow night), then we come home and a few days later the students leave for Australia. And that's my first ever China group, done and dusted. Feels a bit weird, actually. I'm supposed to give the students a personal reflection on the wall, while they do theirs. I'm not really sure what I'll say. I've been thinking about it but not a lot springs to mind, I'm afraid. I also need to decide where to take them for dinner on their 2nd-last night in China. I'll ask the other staff for some ideas.

Tonight I need to pack, and prepare a bit more for tomorrow. We also need to start making plans for the Easter break, which we hope to spend about half of in Shanghai. I plan to do LOTS of shopping! :-)

Week 1

Feb. 28th, 2013 02:44 pm
nimthiriel: (Default)
 So it's the first week with the kids, and I've already had to take a sick day because of this ridiculous cold virus that one of the students brought with them and has now spread to EVERYONE on campus. Well, not everyone. But at least 4 of the girls have it, and so do I. Not happy.

Apart from that, my group are a lovely, if quiet, bunch. They do what they're asked and they generally behave themselves. They're also really polite and just generally nice kids, which is so lovely as a first off.

I'm coping fairly well with the program. Had an amazing first day, and a bit of a shaky 2nd. Third day was already much better, and 4th day was my RDO. Yesterday was pretty good too, and now I'm in my apartment feeling lousy. But I think I'm prepared for tomorrow, which is good. I feel like I missed out on a lot of fun today, which is a bit sad. It was their 2nd day on the bikes, going to the Yangtze Bridge, which is HUGE and amazing. Oh well. at least I should be fine for tomorrow.

Ah well.

Feb. 17th, 2013 01:01 pm
nimthiriel: (Default)
So, I have to go shopping. In a country which has miniature sizes. Because I only just found out that I have to wear collared shirts for my job. 

This means a trip to the market to bargain my little guts out and hopefully come away with some good polo shirts to last me until I can get some proper shirts tailored.

Wish me luck.
nimthiriel: (Default)
Been doing all of the things. We've now pretty much gone through the entire program that the students go through. We've been to Beijing and Shanghai (both of which were AMAZING), and a small town called Tong Li (同里), which was a quiet change from the craziness of everywhere else.

I'm thoroughly wrecked. The next few days will be really hectic, but in a different way. I need to get a lot of resources organised, but first I need a rest. I had hoped to do more this weekend, but it hasn't panned out that way so far. I went through the route I want to take my students on during their first day here, which took up a fair amount of time because I'm also trying to find some collared shirts that I can wear until I get that appointment with a tailor. tomorrow I have a Chinese lesson at 10am, followed by several Skype dates, and I need to fit research of sites in there somewhere. 

I think the first couple of groups I teach will be very much like my first year of teaching, only much more intense. I have so very much to learn, and so little time to do it in. Wish me luck!

Also, I have some photos up here, if you're interested.
nimthiriel: (Default)
 About 2 years ago, I got married. I married a man I am committed to and in love with. Two very important things in a marriage, certainly in our contemporary, Western view.

Since then, a lot has happened. Phil has finished a Masters thesis, and we've moved to China. This has had me thinking about my view on commitment and how it's been tweaked since I was a teenager.

As little as 6 years ago, I would have considered myself to be in a committed relationship if it was a case of "we're in this together and we want to keep it that way", but these days I would consider that to describe any relationship I'm in, be it family, friends, or lovers. These days, I view a commitment as working together to achieve individual and common goals.

For instance, while Phil was doing his MA, I was working full time. He had a part-time job, which meant taking longer to finish his thesis, but the sacrifice of that time meant that we were able to live together and have the sort of lifestyle we wanted.

I am currently the sole bread-winner, but he sacrificed the life he knew to move overseas with me so that I can follow this dream. When we get back, I will probably go back to study and he will be the primary breadwinner for a while.

We are helping each other achieve personal goals. We are also working for joint goals, like owning a place and possibly even living in the UK eventually.

So these days, I see commitment more as an ongoing, joint effort toward achieving big things that benefit both of us, even if they're individual endeavours. My underlying "we're sticking together" philosophy hasn't changed, but it encompasses a broader range of criteria.

In China!

Jan. 26th, 2013 08:54 pm
nimthiriel: (Default)
And utterly exhausted. I have't really given my brain a chance to adjust to China time. It means that I'm about as tired as it's possible to be right now, and I just need to push through it, because I'll need to be able to stay up until at least 10pm once the students arrive.

For more details on how my week's been, click here. There will be a photo post in the same location tomorrow :-)


Jan. 19th, 2013 12:46 pm
nimthiriel: (Default)
Tomorrow is my last day in Australia. We'll be finishing packing tomorrow morning, and we're pretty much set to go. I've restarted my Project 365, and for those of you with a LiveJournal account, the blog where i'll be doing most of my updating on CHina is listed in my LJ personal info.

I'm a bit tired and a bit nervous, and also very excited. I'm also having trouble with the idea that it's really happening. For real. Actually, truly, finally happening. 

nimthiriel: (Coffee love)
 Well, only 5 sleeps to go until my new life begins. Today's been a day of packing and sorting and doing last-minute things. There will probably be a fair bit more of that before Sunday.

The stress of it has sort of hit me in one big burst and I had a great big cry over it this morning. Which is weird, because I felt fine until it actually exploded. I feel mostly fine now, too. Hopefully that's now out of the way and I can get on with things!

I had a good birthday. It was nice to see people and catch up properly, it was also nice to go to Moonlight Cinema again. 

Now I'm just trying to stay sane while getting things done. Wish me luck!


Dec. 26th, 2012 10:02 am
nimthiriel: (Broken Things)
So I know I'm done with classroom teaching. I'm a good teacher and I'm still passionate about education, but I can't work in a system that's as broken as ours. I don't even want to try for a private school and hope for better, because there is a limit to how much better it can be. Once this job in China finishes, I want to do something else. 

Thankfully, I now know what that is. I'm going to do either a Master of Sustainability, or whatever the most similar course is that Monash offers at the time. Had I the choice, I would have done Environmental Science as my major instead of maths (thanks a lot, mum) and probably been a lot happier for it, so now it's time to build on that. 

In my final year in China, I won't be applying for full-time classroom work. Instead, I'll be applying to university and hopefully getting in to this course. Then later, working in some other capacity that isn't teaching regularly in a school.

Wish me luck!
nimthiriel: (Default)
So after several days of feeling amazing, I had one thing yesterday that is on a number of "do not eat" lists for histamine intolerance. I had chicken. I had reason to believe it was quite fresh, as that's how any meat or fish needs to be in order to avoid having too many histamines. I'd also had an antihistamine that morning.

Within an hour of eating lunch, my nose started blocking up and my throat got croaky. Things that tend to happen to me with mild hay fever. This lasted a few hours.

Well, I now have even more evidence for that particular condition.
nimthiriel: (Default)
 So I may be intolerant to histamines. This might sound weird since histamines are what cause an allergic reaction, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about histamines in food. 

I was told this might be a possibility after relating my experiences with red wine headaches. Apparently histamine intolerance causes those, among other symptoms. For instance, random bouts of gut problems, frequent bloating and chronic rhinitis (the latter of which I've struggled with for as long as I can remember).

I'm now on day 2 of a low-histamine diet and going OK. It's kind of weird to get to mid/late afternoon and not be bloated enough that my trousers don't fit. I mean, it happens occasionally! But not 2 days in a row! Choosing what to wear to a party was always determined by what my tummy was doing that evening and what I expects it might do. Some of this was solved by cutting out two types of preservatives, burn not nearly completely. It'd be wonderful if this is the answer to my problems and I didn't have to think in those terms any more.

it's a fairly restrictive diet, but no too bad. I can't drink red alcohol for the time being, also no yeast or wheat. No tomatoes, no citrus fruit, and no berries. Meat has to be ridiculously fresh so no aged steak, processed meat, and no fish unless it was caught that morning at the latest. Barbecues could be a problem.

i'm not worried about China, as the main culprits are easy to avoid. Soy won't be as easy, but I'll manage. I also very clearly remember feeling healthier there than I ever did here or in Europe, so there may well be something to that.

wish me luck,,hopefully this will be the final one!


Dec. 12th, 2012 10:19 pm
nimthiriel: (Default)
 I may find myself having to go back on something I swore to myself I'd do. 

I feel uncomfortable about this, but the stance I was going to take may not be the most productive one. I may have to just face my discomfort. I don't like this.


nimthiriel: (Default)

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