Eat, Pray, Love…

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I have been a little down in the dumps lately (I love a good idiom in the morning!) as I have been trying to work out my TEFL lifestyle. I have been getting the YouTube channel all sorted and researching video editing programmes. i-to-i have brought back the Thailand Internship and recently it has been looking more appalling than it did before. There have advertised the 2018 dates and I REALLY want to go.

Alas; the italki teaching has not happened yet; as I now work “full time” for my part time job – they have messed my shifts up which has made it impossible to get any classes booked or even taught. To cheer myself up last night; I decided to watch “Eat, Pray, Love” with Julia Roberts in. The film is based on the book by Liz Gilbert (which I have on my TBR list; I need to start this book!)

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Some of what was said during the film really struck a cord with me. I have watched this film many times but this time it was different. I am wondering if I am heading towards the same fate as Liz did before she wrote the book.I know that there is only my family keeping me here in the U479402584-6239c2245158220e99e2e2376df524eaK (oh, and the lack of funds to pay for the internships). I have had enough of dreaming about living it. I want to live it for real!

I have been looking at Workaway again and think I should do one here in the UK before I head off to one abroad.

 

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Leaving SkimaTalk…

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Yes I have finally done it! I was with SkimaTalk since March 2015 and I loved teaching for them. However, they changed their T&Cs – it is their prerogative to do so – but I had to do the Teacher Guideline test TWICE and had to create ANOTHER introduction piece. It seems that they have had some issues. I was hoping to be teaching on a regular basis with SkimaTalk; sadly this is no longer the case. I have been trying to sort “the issues” out since November – alas it has come to nothing.

I have decided to leave SkimaTalk and focus on italki in 2017. I am in the process of scanning all my certificates; as italki have requested them. Very efficient I would say. I am exciting about working with italki and I will also be able to learn American Sign Language and Spanish on the website!

I will keep you all posted about that. I am also going to continue with some of my i-to-i studies. I want to finish the Advanced Grammar course I started last year. There are some new courses since i-to-i joined forces with LoveTEFL. These courses have taken my eye:

Also they have now added a 15 day extension! I am super happy about that!

Travelling around the USA – Part Two

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Welcome to part two of my recent trip to America, we left part one with myself in Philly. It was only a day and a half but I loved every moment of it. I think that next time I will stay there for three days (or a week?!), so I can get everything in. I missed the “Rocky Steps”, maybe next time!

gp40ph-2bAny how; after Philadelphia I used the NJ Transit to make my way to Girl Scout Camp in Newfield, NJ. It was a rather easy journey – much nicer than I thought it would be. However; I wanted to hold some of my luggage in storage at the station but I was unable to as I was not using Amtrak – I will remember to check that next time I travel to the USA. The website that there was storage for luggage but it did not say for Amtrak travellers only. I left Philly early and the journey was very straightforward. The conductor was not happy when he saw me get onto the train. I had to travel to camp in my Guide uniform.

I used a car to make my way from Hammonton to Newfield; I just squeezed in!

The car is filled with items that needed to be taken to camp; I think “last minute items” they were called. I was glad to be sitting on a comfy seat with decent air conditioning. The NJ Transit train has a leak – it was not a pretty sight. I wish that I had took a photo of it, so one I could show all of you and also I could have sent it to NJ Transit themselves. That is another thing I need to remember to do – keep photographic evidence of things that are broken or incorrect.

Camp went too quickly and I made new friends and caught up with some ‘old’ ones. It was fab to be at camp in America again. Bring on 2020; that is when that next Celebration camp will be. I am already planning on what I am going to do. Crazy I do; I do not know where I am going to be in the world by then – but I will still be going to the camp!

While at camp; I tried my hand at driving an automatic – never again! Did not like it! I also took my golf buggy driving “test”; there were two buggies for the staff members (which I was kind of classed as) to drive around the site. 13934623_10153743348221500_7361974994854980582_n

 

Here I am with three other British attendees – one from Northamptonshire and two from Staffordshire. I had loads of fun while at Camp – I miss all the new friends I made and all the ‘old’ ones I re-met!

I used NJ Transit to get back to Philly, as this was where my Megabus was leaving from. I had the same problems with this train that I had with my first train. I did have the feeling that it was the same train – the conductor was even grumpier than the first one. He practically pushed me onto the train. img_3880This is why this photo does not really show me. I was not looking forward to getting into a leaking train. Sadly, I feel that I would not use NJ Transit trains again; this was due to the amount of water that was being leaked from the air cooling unit. I would like to try the bus system next time I am in New Jersey. I spent most of the journey trying to get myself all organised. I had packed away my ticket of the Megabus deep within my hand luggage. One more thing to add to my ‘do forget’ list – handbag with tickets etc. in always!

The Megabus section of my trip was reasonably okay – it was late by twenty five minutes and there was no proper shelter for us to stand under. I am glad that I have reserved my seat as I was able to get on first and sort myself out. I slept most of the journey and I was glad to get to my friend’s house. However; my Greyhound experience from Buffalo to Orlando was not good at all! 33 and a quarter hours (twice!!) on a bus (well, two buses) and with three lovely drivers and one horrid driver. I know that Greyhound are supposed to be the best way to see America, but I felt that it would have been better for me. The buses has WiFi and electrical sockets (outlets for the American reader); which worked intermittently. Also the buses were never on time. I tried to get my money back from my ticket before I left Buffalo, however, I was not successful. I am so flying next time!

Things that I need to remember when travelling around America:

  1. Always have an American number (which I now know I could have had my old US number re-activated instead of buying a new one)
  2. Flying wherever possible!
  3. Always have my camera to hand to capture photographically evidence!
  4. Definitely buy local sightseeing companies day pass tickets
  5. Always to have all my travel details in one place that is accessible!

Travelling around the USA – Part One

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As some of you all know, I have been away in the USA. I was attending a Girl Scout camp out there for a week; but I thought that I would make it more of a proper holiday by visiting my friend, Amy and her family. Very last minute; I decided to attend an International Conference. Therefore, I ended up travelling all over the Eastern coastal States. At first, I thought was going to be amazing; however, I am going to tell you all a different story…

national_express_7102_caetano_levante_fj08_knw_metrocentre_2009_pic_1I used National Express to make my way to the airport; I chose to fly from Heathrow as I know my way around the Terminals. The National Express bus journey was fine, I was going to reading but I was too excited. It was a 5.10am departure – I know that I am a crazy person; but I need to get this departure as my flight was at 12.45pm and I needed to arrive at the airport three hours before departure – I arrived a 8.15am. There is no traffic “at the crack of dawn” on the British Motorway; which I am very glad about.

heathrow_airport275-1024x768However, on my arrival to Heathrow – I did not have to wait awhile before I dropped off my bag. I checked in online 24 hours before my flight – I do recommend that you do that, as it made life much easier as it was rather busy at the airport – Top Tip #1.I am glad that I still had some British Pounds on me, as I knew that I would be hungry before boarding my flight. So, Top Tip #2 is have some of your “Home” Currency for the airport.

The flight was excellent; the staff were amazing and the people who sat next to me were good too. We didn’t speak much; so therefore, I thought I would catch up on some movies that I had missed at the Cinema. Seven hours were filled with six and half films. I think that is a record of my binge movie watching.

On arrival in to Philadelphia; I was going to use public transport to my accommodation for the next day and a half – however, I was a little worried as my Uber account was not working properly – I still haven’t worked out why?! – I found a cab that took me; sadly it was more expensive than Uber, oh well! I was using a AirBnB home for my accommodation. Pat, my host, was amazing. He made me feel welcome and safe, even though the neighbourhood did not. However, I found the links into the centre of Philly very good. I got myself a “Day Pass”; however I do not know if this it was it is officially called – it was only USD$ 8 and I was able to use it on train, trams and buses!

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Excellent buy I feel. I also used the PHLASH bus; a circular bus route that ‘visits’ all the tourist places in Philly – that was only USD$5 for the whole day – I was unable to use the NJ Transit train ticket on this bus. I found that this mixture of tickets I could see a lot of Philly, both the tourist side and the not-so-tourist side. a4fed877e046075266a113fd5d70348fI went over to Pat’s King of Steaks – I was introduced to this heavenly place in 2012. I helped an Asian customer with her order; I felt like a local. I had onions on mine; I forgot that it gets messing with them on it! I did have to walk in Philly, but I had not bought myself an AT&T sim card by this time, so I was using local WiFi hotspots.

Hello July!

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Yippie! It is July and soon it will be the end of the school term. But; what I am going to do in September? Well; I have been told that on Thursday I will be finding out where I am going to be placed – I have a few days off as of end of play on Friday (nice little sporting reference for you all!) and I will be popping into the office to have a meeting. I am nervous as I am having this feeling that I am not going to be placed in Secondary, however; I still have until July 31st to make my decision. I do have some options, that will enable me to teaching more online and save my cash for moving abroad.

As well as making decisions; I have been planning my trip to the USA. I am pretty excited as it is only 28 days until I fly out there! A year of planning has been amazing! I have created a TripIt itinerary, so all my friends (here in the UK and in the USA) know where I am going to be and when. I felt that this would be a good idea, as I am travelling by myself and using public transport. I have also been sorting out what I am going to pack; I have already done a “dry pack” and I am currently underweight (Yippie!); which is good as I am travelling for 22 days – which 7 are Girl Scout camp and 4 are at Disney.

I have decided that I will do some VLogs of my trip and I will upload them onto my YouTube Channel – My TEFL Adventures – as I will be using A LOT public transport

What will I pack? I need some tips!

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Image from Frugal Frolicker – many thanks!

Being a Guide (yes, I am still in the Girl Guides) I am always most of the time ready for anything; being a teacher abroad I will still be prepared for all that will happen abroad. I know that I will need to pack a lot of things; here is what I would pack in my suitcase (or cases):

 

 

I will definitely need some of this in my bag;

  • Aloe Vera Gel – I swear by it! Excellent for everything!
  • Factor 50+ Sun Screen – You can never know how strong the Sun wherever I go to teach; also I do burn even though I am a brunette.
  • My Jamberry Mini Heater, some wraps and Plug Adapter – I have got to have pretty nails wherever I am!
  • All my TEFL teaching resources – I have QUITE a lot of items; from lesson plans to Register Books and stationery.
  • Solar Chargers – I love my solar chargers; one of the best things I have ever bought as they work even in low light. However, I would to love to have more!

I found some posts called “Ways to save space, what not to take!” and “8 Essential items to pack when moving abroad” written by Amy of Teacher Traveller Money Saver. Both posts were very interesting and I have taken some tips from the lovely Amy – many thanks for sharing! I also read Claire and Anthony’s (of To Love, To Live) post – TEFL: packing for every eventuality and I watched their video TEFL: Travel Preparations.

I have been researching what other people have done when they have been moving abroad. I found Her Packing List; which is a travel blog/site that is aimed at women and gives us girls tips about traveling. Brooke and her team area amazing and I have saved it to my ‘TEFL Bookmarks’. I will spend some more time and work my way through the site. Of what I have found it is very interesting and informative. Another site I found was Frugal Frolicker; another female traveller, called Lindsey, who blogs about her adventures. The image at the top of this post is what she packed for one of her trips in Asia. I have also been using Jackie’s website – The Budget Minded Traveller and all of tips and itinerary lists for some ideas. Not forgetting her amazing Podcast that have hints and tips!

I know that packing “my life” into my 70ltr backpack and my “daysac” is going to be hard. I have already decided that my “daysac”; which will be my carry on, will have my Laptop (as it is designed for laptops), passport and all my paperwork (tickets, visas, cash etc.). I cannot go anywhere without them; in theory. Talking about paperwork; I know that I will be including the following:

  • copies of my passport – at least two copies.
  • medical prescription (as am an EpiPen carrier – Nut allergy) – at least two copies
  • a letter from doctor – I am thinking of doing a medical check; but as usual with the NHS here in the UK, there will be a charge.
  • copies of any visas I have – some will be in the passport but I will photocopy them just in case.

However; what about my things that are staying back here in the UK. Currently, I am still living with my mum and as time goes on my things are reducing. I know that what things I do have left will be okay; as hopefully my family will look after them. The house is fully insured as is the contents of it. I know that it will be mostly Guiding items (my camp blankets etc.). There are other options to be; for example putting all my things into self storage. However; I am a little nervous about that as you don’t know who has the Master Key and have access to your belongings. I have already started to reduce my clothes; I have been losing weight for the last year and a half – lost two dress sizes – and therefore most of my clothes do not fit me anymore. There are products in the market that can help myself and others protect their homes – for example like a Wireless Alarm System from Simplisafe; an American award winning company. With the Simplisafe Free Apps for iPhone, Android, & Windows smartphones we can take control of your security with a more sophisticated personal Command Centre. A fab idea right?

While I am abroad, I know that I will have to keep myself healthy and safe. I do some self defence moves and I am willing to learn the language so I am able to communicate with the locals.

Planning for 2016…

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Well, happy new year to you all and I cannot believe that it is now 2016. 2015 was a year full of excitement and despair for me; being in offered jobs in China, Poland and Thailand and being unable to take them as I could not afford to get there. My current jobs are trying their best to keep me happy and pay my TEFL adventures. I have almost finished the Advanced Grammar module (to be honest I need to be pretty quick to finish it…) – I wonder if i-to-i will have any more modules for me to complete. 😂

This year I have decided that I WILL be teaching the English abroad. I am waiting for a call from the lovely people at i-to-i to discuss the internships. I want to do a payment plan with them. Hopefully this will show them how committed I am to taking abroad and representing them. To save money, I will be doing more of the Rewards For Thoughts scheme from Avios to gain something towards my flights. I will be having a massive selling session of all the items I have not used in 2015 – this includes books, clothes and DVDs. I will be releasing most of the second hand books that I own via BookCrossing. I will post where and when I will do my releasing, for everyone to see. My beloved Starbucks card collection will also be up for grabs! I am looking forward to seeing there the cards will go to.

I will be teaching more at SkimaTalk; I now have a tablet with I have connected to Skype so I can teach anywhere. I am very excited about this year…what about yourself? 😁