The Wedding! Someone else’s style.

Finally taking a weekend off from our full-tilt life. I  think we took a weekend off several months ago in NYC and since then we have been on the go throughout months in Australia and now for a month in China.  Today is five weeks since arriving on a Saturday morning at 2 am. We were so excited arriving in Dalian and meeting our new boss and entering our new home for the next couple of years. Since then we have had few stopping moments. It
is after 8 on a Saturday morning and Narda is still asleep. I was up, as usual, before six. Every other weekend we have been off to Dalian or Kai Fa Qu on the school’s shopping bus. During the week? Well we work and after school we are off to Kai Fa Qu on the shopping bus or riding our new bikes to the Jinshitan market, or walking to
Golden Pebble Beach in the morning before school. It is not just us, half of the teachers are where we are too. Last night we walked the five-minutes over to the Blueberry Farm. The food is really very good there. It came out to be about $12 USD for Narda and I with about seven dishes, about one vegetarian. The eggplant and sweet potato are my favourites.

The exciting new news is that we have found out what a big project going up across the road from us is. We have been watching a few French-type buildings go up and it does look like southern France. This is across from the large development called ‘Chateau de Burgundy’ which I spoke about in my previous blog it is a winery that will be selling wine from the new Golden Pebble Beach Grape Valley vineyards, just a bike ride away. This will surely make the school day end that much more pleasant. Actually we found an Aussie pub, The Jinshitan Kangaroo Bar, (read about it on the Dalian
Expat Page
)  a fifteen minute walk away on Jinshi Road at Jinshi square near Discovery Kingdom and the sprawling over the top Yosemite housing area for the Intel and other wealthy non-teacher types. Yes there is a Disney-like-theme-park just down the road along the beach from us. Narda and I will pop in someday when we need a break from whatever it is we would need a break from.  According to a blurb I found online about the Yosemite development; “The resort area is located approximately 40km away from the Dalian
central city. Tourist attractions already established at the Golden Pebble Beach include: Golden Pebble Golf Club (on the top ten best in the world list), Golden Rock Park, Waxwork Museum, China Martial Arts Hall, Mao Zedong Badge Exhibition Hall, Model Art School, and the International Hunting Club”. Oh yes there is a hunting club nearby – between the constant fireworks, the 24 hour a day building across the road and the hunting club nearby this gets to be quite the noisy place. It is a different noise than New York City – I have gotten use to it, though I do wake suddenly when a lot of fireworks are set off. There is a university – an art school, a technology college (this is China’s Silicon Valley) and a fashion school – nearby and those students love their firecrackers. Another piece on Yosemite says “The “Oriental Yosemite” is the biggest comprehensive tourism project in the Golden Pebble Beach State Tourism Resort. It is created by the Dalian Luneng Realty Co., Ltd. with 15 billion Yuan investment. A few days ago, another two projects were started. They are the Golden Pebble Commerce Centre and the Golden Pebble Ocean Hot Spring.” 15 billion Yuan is 2,349,580,000 USD, so it is nice to know they are spending some money on housing in our neighbourhood.. There is a bigger project than Yosemite nearby and I will put that into a video I am doing of this area
Other news: I got a soy milk maker for my birthday – and even though the instructions are in Chinese somehow I got the thing to make me a cup of milk from a cup of soybeans – seems like quite an effort but I know it is not going to have lots of other stuff in it. Another item to add to my tofu site at It was more than thirty years ago when I started making soy milk and from that, tofu for eight years, in Adelaide and now I am in China with my little soy milk maker all these years later. Tonight I am bringing tofu burgers to our neighbour’s birthday bash.

School is great – I will have some news about stuff regarding that in a couple of days. I am writing up on my educational blog later today or tomorrow or sometime soon.

Life is so different here at Campus Village. We seem to have lots of instant parties. Someone’s birthday and we swarm – beer is so cheap (though I am told not very good) here. Tonight it is actually a planned party, and I am making tofu burgers – seems I am stuck in my ideas of anything new. I never lived in a college dorm but I am told life in them is similar to this; a cross between a college dorm and a timeshare apartment. It seems we are on a permanent holiday.

This blog is not really about all that is above. It is about the wedding we went to last Sunday. Our first Chinese wedding. Aside of leaving Sunday morning on the ‘shopping bus’ to Dalian at 7.30 Am when all we wanted was a big sleep in we were most entertained. The groom was one of our IT staff. The first part was having a toast in the couple’s house. Marriage in China is a long drawn out event. They were actually married two months earlier, but the presentation or whatever it is – like coming of age or something was last Sunday. First of course was the fireworks – I will start my video off with that, which I hope to post tonight in between parties – after all we have that dorm-type of life with stuff always happening in our building. The teachers all live in this building, and the administration and couples with children live in the next resort like building. We have two floors of living, then the lobby and a restaurant and in the basement, the gym and recreation room. Like all couples here we have a two-bedroom apartment, so when you come to visit we can put you up; single people either get a one-bedroom apartment or a loft. People tend to not like the lofts; they are two-story with an open floor plan. I think if I was single I won’t mind, especially if it was in Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne, New York City or wherever there was a city. We are out in the country, about an hour from Dalian or half an hour to Kai Fa Qu which is a city-suburb and
fifteen minutes from Jinshitan but Jinshitan  is not really an expat type of area. There are
about 16 apartments per floor here at Campus Village and I think only a couple
of them are empty. There is a guest apartment for when one of us need a place
to put visitors – in-laws and people like that (down the hall and not in our
apartment – just kidding mum/dad). There is a huge shopping mall being built
not far away so that could make shopping easier though we prefer to go to the
local Jinshitan market and haggle for already cheap as can be fruit and veggies. Then before long there will be
the new city they are building, supposed to rival Hong Kong they say. There is
a model of it which we keep meaning to slot in time to go see that is really
quite impressive. With the new city there will be the new China movie industry
headquarters. They have been building the infrastructures for years with huge
freeways (everything done in China is huge) and lots of land clearing including
the leveling of three large hills that I spoke of a few blogs ago. It will rise
up between Kai Fa Qu and where we live here at Golden Pebble Beach. There will be a
world-class yacht arena too. I think we are mid-way through a ten-year plan for

After the fireworks the groom comes in then the bride all dressed in drag (no not New
York City drag) but wifey just married drag (OK so that could be NYC too). Then
lots of stuff is said in Chinese. There is a table with bowls of fruit and a
plate of cigarettes – they love their cigarettes here. And some stuff is drunk.
Then a little boy jumps up and down on the couple’s bed – this is too bring
good luck and a male child, then they throw nuts on the bed, not sure why, but
perhaps that too is in hopes of a male… then flowers are tossed on the bed and
well us males from the school kept our hands to our self, and then the couple
closes the bedroom door for a while and us male teachers as well as most of the
female all have our thoughts and try to keep them in check. The parents have a
bedroom too as the trip here is that the parents get together and buy a new
apartment for the couple and I think when they get old one set of them gets to
live with the kids. Not sure how that works out, perhaps they throw dice or arm
wrestle to see which couple gets to do the old age thing with the couple. It
all seems quite awkward with this one kid policy they have in China.

At some point we all take off the slippers that were given us when we entered the apartment and head out to the bus and go to the reception. The reception was in a huge
banquet hall with about eight people per table. I end up with about four other
couples from our school and we just were plain silly. The beer was flowing and
so was something that was about 60-proof, and it was only ten in the morning.
There was lots of food and of course a plate of cigarettes on the round thing
that the Chinese love to put on tables and that us westerns just spin around. I
guess I broke the silly barrier when they put the lone chicken head on the
plate on the revolving table and I stuck a cigarette in its mouth and sent it
for a bit of a spin. It is in the video – you’ll love it. I also like the part where the bride-chick comes around and puts a chocolate or a cigarette in each
person’s mouth (though she missed the chicken). That too is in the video.
Overall we were there for several hours and got home late in the afternoon
wishing we had another day to the weekend.

Today, Saturday, Narda went off to Kai Fa Qu shopping and I had a day home puttering around. She came back with a printer/scanner, lots of food and bags of stuff. It is
still hot here though I think it will cool down soon. Narda will be
writing in her blog tomorrow, forgot what but I know she has said a few times
of the past couple of days, “I am going to write about that in my blog”, so don’t
miss that at

Next Thursday I am off to Shanghai for a few days for an IT conference and Narda is taking a four hour drive with several of the women here to some really cool city north
of here for a few days. It is a long weekend, with Monday some sort of national
holiday. A lot of the people are going north to Dandong where the China-North Korea Friendship Bridge is. I really wanted to go but couldn’t fit it. It is only a couple of hours away so Narda and I will go up in the near future for a weekend. And that is all from here for today.















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Three weeks? I thought it was just a few days ago that I wrote a bit of a blog. It has been such a full-on section of life with non-stop everything. I look out the window and see (and hear) the 24 hour a day building across the street with eight cranes in one area and several a block away along with jack hammers, lines of trucks, and just so many workers and just like life in China it just does not stop. On the way to nearby Kai Fa Qu, Dalian counted 41 cranes working on buildings in the 25 plus story range – apartment buildings, then I saw as many a few kilometers further. And there is the new city they are building nearby that will not only host the new China movie industry but will have a yacht marina and housing for zillions or so people. The area across the street from us  will be million dollar homes (yes this is China) in a walled-in area called ‘Chateau de Burgundy’ and a block away what they are building is identical to where we were touring a year ago in southern France. It is even being built to look old.   french chateau next to Dalian American International School
french chateau next to Dalian American International School

As I sit here trying to get caught up from the past three weeks I hear the
fireworks. It is 6.30 AM Sunday. This is China – fireworks and more fireworks.
They love their fireworks. Anytime of the day or night there will suddenly be a
barrage of them. Whether here in the countryside, or in downtown Kai Fa Qu or
along Golden Pebble Beach, downtown Dalian, or where we shop locally in Jinshitan
(which is also Pebble Beach – go figure) there will be smoke and ashes and
noise of the fireworks.

The water to Pebble Beach (Dalian Golden Pebble Beach National Resort is the
first National Resort approved by the State Council of P.R China, the main
function of which is for hosting foreign guests) was turned off for a couple of
days. We filled our bath tub and every bucket we could find but since it was
Friday we decided to go into Dalian City (about an hour away) for the weekend
when school let out. Two other couples went with us. We took a car in (our driver
we call Jack, not that we know who Jack actually is, we just all have Jack’s phone number on our phone and we ring Jack wherever we are and a car soon arrives and we are taken where we want to go. It is often a different driver each time. We just go up to the car
and say Jack? and they nod and off we go. We try not to look out the window when in a car. It is the scariest thing you could imagine. Where there are three lanes marked, ‘Jack’, or the shopping bus, or whatever we are in, often makes a fourth lane. Drivers rarely signal and everyone goes really fast, beeping horns and coming so close to constant disaster. I had to go into Dalian for some medial stuff last week and my driver was easily doing close to a hundred coming back – it was a van. We came to a blocked area of the freeway so instead of patiently (there is no patience in our neck of the woods) he made a sudden turn off the freeway up a dirt construction road around a hill and got
back on the freeway further up where there was no traffic jam. It was absolutely terrifying. Oh, and he was on his cell phone most of the time. I suppose he felt he had to have me back at school as quick as possible so I won’t miss any work. And of course there are no seat belts.

So this past Friday, with no water into our building or the whole area we went
into downtown Dalian. Outside of too many dealings with government officials to
get my working visa finally through we had not been in Dalian, except for one
night we had a school trip to Brooklyn, the expat pub and pizza diner in downtown Dalian. Once our driver fought his way through the heavy traffic going into the city (we went in two cars for eight of us, four couples, and six of us ended up at the same hotel) and dumped our bag in our rooms we went out in search of a meal. Our Chinese lessons begin next week so for now we depend on our electronic translator. We went into a restaurant that covered several stories. When we made enough gestures to prove without any doubt that we were starving we were sent up to about the fifth or sixth floor. After being herded
into a small room the food started coming out and we cooked it in boiling somethings on our table. I have a video (and photos) that I will post soon on my Dalian Page that shows what would be too difficult to explain. Needless to say the food was really good and we had some of the best laughter up to that time.

So after dinner everyone seemed to be in the mood for a drink (it is difficult to
keep people over 55 from partying) and we went off into the night. Near our
hotel was a 30+ story hotel with a name very similar to ours (so we initially thought
we had booked into the wrong place) and we were riding up and down the elevator
looking for a pub type of area and on the fourth floor saw a sign that seemed
to mean a place to have a drink. We barged into a room that had a bar and lots
of alcoholic bottles on the shelf only to instantly be met by about a dozen
women with tight red dresses. Realizing that we must be in the wrong area we
looked into another room with the same response. (I have a video of this too
but I think we were laughing so hard – damn rude Westerners, that it may be a
bit shaky – it will soon be on my Dalian page in the video section). The third
room seemed better as no women in red tight dresses greeted us. We sat down at
a long table on comfy sofas and hoped that someone would soon be in with the
drinks menu. Instead two people came in and started handing out microphones and
put on the large TV screen, we realized then that this was actually a karaoke
bar/room and Shawn, one of our traveling mates/teachers/new found friend, said
that we had a friend downstairs waiting for us and off we went into the night
again. We never did find a place to drink. Like pirated DVDs prostitution is illegal in
China and like pirated DVD’s they are everywhere. We saw girls with flashing
neon badges dressed to the nines and signs that read ‘sex’ with large arrows.

The next day, Saturdaywe headed to Zhonshan Square and had lots of fun shopping,  hopped on a falling apart bus because we were so tired to go to the Ike store outside of downtown Dalian. We showed the driver an Ike shopping bag and he held up three fingers
so we paid the three yuan (47 cents USD, 45 cents Australian) and as all drivers he made his own lane which in our case was the opposition direction lane. Somehow he squeezed back into the lane that was our direction as cars came racing toward us and next we knew there was Ikea. I wanted to go see the aircraft carrier that China is building which is only a few blocks in back of Ikea but with all the bags of stuff we had purchased and five tired old
people trailing behind me it was not going to happen. We ended up just buying lots of Swedish food because we need a change from Chinese food and then Narda and I went to the Decathlon sports store next to Ikea and bought really good bikes and helmets an locks and etc. which will be delivered in a couple of days. Hopefully we won’t get killed ridin our bikes on these incredibly dangerous road ways. We plan on doing lots of riding. Then we took the light rail, so crowded that we barely got in – New York City subway you hold nothing on a crowded Chinese tram.

our new red-star hats

The shopping bus leaves Campus Village (where we live) on Tuesday and
Thursday evenings and Saturday morning. It stops in Kai Fa Qu on the way into Dalian. We use to go in during the week but after a day at work we just go in on Saturday to Kai Fa Qu. Two weeks ago we walked the hour hike to the light rail that starts in Jinshitan
(there is a planned station for our school but it may be another year or two  before it happens) and took the 4 yuan half hour ride and fortunately got a seat in and after buying way too much stuff we took the shopping bus in the afternoon back home. Home is great. It is like living at a four star (five star for China) resort/hotel. We are sparsely furnished but it is OK– our heap of junk we shipped from NYC won’t be here until October. We have a two bedroom apartment with a balcony (there is or will be a video in our video area of my Dalian site) for some photos see
(sorry about the URL will fix it sometime). We have a gym on the first floor,
it is not the New York Sports Club which I took a liking to for the past five years but there are some machines and heaps of free weights so I get to stretch and groan every day. Then there are the guards. Not sure why. It is safer here than most places we have lived. The whole property, Campus Village and the school have a large fence all around and there are guards at every entrance and every building. Twenty-four hours a day. They are not the doorman they are guards usually dressed in army uniforms. Whether they are protecting us or being sure we do not suddenly move out I am not sure but they are friendly and we have learned to say ni hao (hello) but I said hee haw for the first couple of weeks – probably means something not nice.

Narda and I found a small shopping area twenty minutes walking away. It is so local, and so cheap. We both got haircuts for 15 yuan – about $2.50 both haircuts look quite Asian.

School so far is great. After teaching at the NYC Charter school, Ross Global Academy (the Courtney Sale Ross, widow of Steve Ross, the former C.E.O. of Time Warner, experiment in education which was closed down by the city of NYC for its momentous failure) this is such a contrast. The kids are behaved, want to learn and we are having a great time. I make big mistakes such as asking if anyone could speak Korean as my student was not following me at all only to be told by a Korean student that ‘he is Chinese’. And names?  Forget it. Most of the Asians have taken on names like Tony and Oscar. Our life-saving secretaries, Snow and Sunshine keep things rolling. I still have not had time to set up a VPN so I can get on Twitter and Facebook and post my new lots of video on youtube but I have an eighth grade student who has found a Japanese VPN that he is setting up on my
machine. I have several students whose parents work for Intel nearby. Campus Village not only houses the teachers for DAIS but for the big overseas companies that are moving into this area which is kind of a Silicon Valley of China. They live in townhouses and we live in apartments so there is a difference but we are not complaining. Narda likes having a maid and getting our house cleaned and clothes washed and ironed but I am not sure – though it is cheap, it seems a bit unnatural to me.

The building around our area makes me dizzy but in the midst of it all, across the road,
five minutes away, is the Blueberry Farm. A very large area with a pub, tea rooms, lake, streams and a great restaurant. Nine of us trekked up to the restaurant a couple of Fridays ago. Nothing was in English, fair enough, this is China. I managed to get across I was a vegetarian and the first eight or nine dishes that came out were so amazing, some of the best food I have ever have had. There was so much food, and beer, and soda and at the en it came out to about eight dollars USD each. I have a couple of photos
and will put a video soonish in the video area of my Dalian page.

We rarely watch the news. There is just too much going on here. We get about 35 channels, mostly Chinese but we do get HBO, BBC, CNN and an Australian channel so I have gathered some of the males over to watch Aussie Rules Footy. It looks pretty grim in the States. I know we have lost about 15% on investments in less than a month and we have no intentions of selling houses.
We are becoming quite removed from the rest of the world and we are happy with
that. We have a two year contract which we may or may not renew or maybe they won’t want us. It does not matter now. We feel like we are on a holiday and life is just great. We have begun planning our trip to Hanoi for our October week break. Everyone here, being from the States, or in our case, Australia-States, the talk of travel is the number one conversation (after the academics of course – hey we are working) and where everyone is going is compared and shared. We are off to Australia for Christmas than to the ice festival in Harbin in January and maybe India for spring break then the States for a couple of weeks for summer than on to Australia then back here. I am so happy I managed to stay alive this long. There were some very rough years and for now life is great.

Well Narda is off with some ‘girls’ to get a foot massage in Jinshitan. They have rung ‘Jack’
and several cars are on the way to collect them. Me? I am finally having a bit of time to myself, think I will work on so many dozens of videos I have started and perhaps do some lesson planning for next week and edit some photos, go to the gym, take a walk, take a nap – it has been such a full-on three weeks, make tofu burgers for din din and try to figure out how to use my soy milk maker that Narda bought for my 64th birthday eleven days ago.

Next weekend we have been invited to a Chinese wedding so that will be fun. Apparently
it is a good thing to invite or have westerners at a Chinese wedding and these are big events here.

Narda has a great blog – well she has posted some and more is waiting to
be posted after her foot massage today.

tri color city in Kai Fa Qu
just a pub in Kai Fa Qu
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30 July Dalian Development Area

Thanks for everyone who emailed that they were able to see this post via a link from Facebook and Twitter. We hope to get a VPN soonish then we too can see all our friends having wonderful western fun (they did have a jar of peanut butter in our pantry so we would not have too much of a culture shock and Narda brought Vegemite).

After a two and half hour flight delay, we arrived at Dalian airport where we were met by our new boss, the headmaster at DAIS. We learned a lot in our one hour drive to Campus Village – our new home, arriving five AM Saturday (Melbourne time, three AM). We got to bed at six AM – exactly 24 hours after leaving Melbourne. Now I am sort of awake and exploring our new home at 9 AM Saturday. Three hours sleep is enough though Narda seems to want more and I will be quiet.

My favourite tidbit on the way in is that here in the Dalian Development Area they have leveled three large hills. One of which was the largest in the area or province or whatever these sections are referred to. All done in eleven weeks of 24-hour earth movement. The dirt, rocks, fossils, trees and whatever that was in the way has been dumped along the sea where a new coast line is being constructed for the new city (a mere two-million population eventually) and the new industry of movie making. Hollywood folks have already been here putting in bids for studios. Gosh. It won’t all be done this weekend. Apparently they are only in the third of a ten-year plan. The film industry (Is it Chollywood?) is suppose to be like everything in China, a bit big. There will also be a marina for a yacht club. I want to be the token American/Australian old person in a sitcom here, wish me luck.

So our home. New, large two bed-room, big walk-in closets and two full bathrooms. All modern furniture which left us to say ‘what were we thinking?’ The fact is somewhere out there on the ocean blue is a lift-van, seven/six/five feet of our stuff steaming at a rapid rate to here. Full of “antiques”. We even sent a large desk (well it has been in the family for a long time) chests, bookshelves, dishes, junk and more junk. Where all those pirates when they are needed? Not only is there no room but basically, how embarrassing. It all looked good in our one-hundred year old house in upstate New York and our one-hundred year house in the hood in Jersey City, but here, heaven help us all.

We are excited about our school. Our headmaster is looking forward to our involvement and I have lots of ideas.

Well off to explore. And again thanks for letting us know that the Facebook/Twitter links work from this blog. We will make Narda’s OK to view soon.

cheers from over here

Narda Music Room View

Narda's Music Room View

front of Dalian American International School

front of Dalian American International School

Swimming Pool at Dalian American International School

Swimming Pool at Dalian American International School

Swimming Pool at Dalian American International School

aside view of our building

a side view of our building at Campus Village

My biorhythm chart but I feel great so obviously these are nonsensical

my biorhythm chart

my biorhythm chart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I grew up surrounded by bits and pieces and stories from/of China. Clifton Park New York in the 1960s  was/is a long ways from anywhere.

Clifton Park New York
route 9 & 146 Clifton Park NY. Now there is a shopping centre here.

I left ‘the farm’ when I was about 16 or 17 – there was a blurring effect toward the end of the 1960s. Firstly I went to Orlando Florida then Key West then New Orleans then San Francisco for the summer of love and New York City in between then on to Oregon and to Hawaii, and on and on with so many places and memories between then and now.

Growing up in upstate New York I heard the stories of my relatives who were missionaries. Some in Cambodia and Viet Nam and some in China. I still have a suitcase of silk robes and bound-foot wear from the 1930s before the missionaries were shown the way out of China.

We have been packing all year – that is eight months. Firstly it was our house in NYC and sending a 7X6X5 foot crate to Dalian and leaving a house of furniture then renting it out. Then there were the two houses in upstate New York with more stored stuff and now rented out so we can forget those belongings for the time being. In a long round-about route we ended up in Clifton Park in 2002 to look after my father who lived to three months short of 102 for four years before grabbing some teaching gigs in New York City for these past five years.

But it is here in Adelaide, South Australia where I lived for twenty-years the largest pile of the past has lived. A shed full. Now that the in-laws are in their 80s and moving into a smaller home we had to move our shed of crap to Narda’s son’s house in the hills. were more than one-hundred boxes of the past and in one was the passport of my aunty from my childhood who went to China – in the 1930s. Now we are going to Dalian China for two years, not as missionaries – well missionaries of capitalism I suppose, but as school teachers. We have been to China four times in the past: Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. We never thought of living in China, we had planned to move to India but all these years after living in a house with a lot of items from China we are off to there in six days. I will take my aunty’s passport with me and perhaps leave it in China. I have spent a few hours on this chilly Saturday 23 July reading about missionaries in China in the 1930s. An interesting study but sorry mate and my family’s past but I left those beliefs behind back in the 1960s except for a seven year period (1969 – 1978) in a cult order that I would like to leave further behind than Clifton Park. 

My aunty's Chinese passport 1934
My aunty’s Chinese passport 1934
passport 1934
Just another American to China My aunty’s Chinese passport 1934



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

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




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I have had visiting visas in the past, Cambodia, Viet Nam, China (three times) and India. Other countries visited we did not need visas for: Guatemala, Mexico, Ecuador, The Netherlands [heaps as my wife is from there], do we count Canada?, Puerto Rico, All those British places [England, Scotland, Ireland], Germany, Italy, Korea, Greece, Belgium, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Vatican City, New Zealand, Fiji, France and I suppose the two countries I am citizens of, USA and Australia and several I no longer recall.
Where was I?
Yes, China. So now it is a working visa, a two-year working visa. What a lot of paper work and preparation. So we have this pile of papers from China from our employer all set and ready to go but as there is no consulate in Adelaide we have to either post or front up somewhere with a consulate. The nearest is Melbourne and that is what our visa papers from Dalian say. But we are suppose to post them as there is no place in Adelaide but if we post then they have to go to Sydney but if they go to Sydney they won’t take them because the employer’s invitation says Melbourne and by the time we get the visa our plane would have left at the end of July.
We decide one of us will deliver our passports to Melbourne and the other collect them a week later.
Not so fast mate!
An hour after we purchase Narda a ticket on Tiger airlines we get a phone call from the Chinese consulate in Melbourne wanting us to have a medical exam before filing. We had been told that we would get them in Dalian and not to do it here. They want x-rays too. So Narda cancels the flight and luckily Tiger lets us put it forward to the following week, in the meantime we rush around Adelaide seeing doctors and getting x-rays (something about seeing if we have TB) and by the end of the day we have everything in hand and get a ticket for the next day, Wednesday 29th June. We are up at 4 am and get Narda on the first flight out at 6 and she delivers our passports by ten AM. They want a Melbourne address, my son lives there so that works out, and we say we will pick them up a week later. Of course we are nervous for the rest of the week worried something might go wrong and we will never get to our jobs. The fact that we seem to worry too much and have a history of staying awake at night because of things that really work out well anyway is passed over and we worry some more.
The Chinese had not rung us by Friday night which meant there was no problems with our visa request. Saturday morning I booked a flight on Qantas, for Tuesday 6th July. Saturday came the news that Tiger airlines was grounded for the next week because of safety issues. Luckily I was booked on Qantas.
To make a long story short, and the fact there is not much of a story except what we created as a worry in our head I collected our passports with work visas firmly pasted in, had lunch with my son, Sacha, and flew back to Adelaide.

With 23 days left in Australia I will spend most of my spare time working on integration of technology. A lot of time will be spent going through what we stored in our shed a decade ago when we went off to New York, what a night mare. We left Adelaide to look after my then 98 year-old father in 2002. (see Narda’s blog on this We had planned to be in New York for a couple of years. Now we leave behind three houses, all with some of our stuff in them and once again we are off to somewhere for two years. I really doubt we will spend a decade in China but who are we to predict the future? When do we retire?


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