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.

Killing Time…

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I am currently typing this post at my “Base”; it is the office where I am based out of (even though I have been at the same school of seven years?!). I have been asked to come here today and I have been here since 8.30am BST (this is my start time); however, my Line Manager has not yet arrived. Oh well!

I have completed three modules of some online courses I have been requested to do and now I do not know what to do?! I thought that I would have Jackie and her The Budget Minded Traveler podcast on and fill my Wanderlust fix.

It is not long until I finish for the summer and I will be able to ACTUALLY be travelling on my own in sunny USA. I have been packed for a few days now; I know that I do not go until the endo fo the month – I have been using Her Packing List and Jackie’s tips for my packing. I am so glad that I found those websites – if you have not already found them – head over to them now! I know that you will love them! I have also downloaded the HPL podcast ready for my trip; there are currently only 15 episodes.

I have been thinking about doing some blog posts for Bloggers Required for another blog – The Writing Rants; has anyone done any posts for them? How have you found it? I will let you know on how my posts go…

I have been worrying about my jobs prospects as a TEFL teacher – is it worth it? I know that does sound like I have lost passion, maybe I have but if I have, have I wasted my time on my studies, blogging and planning my Vlogging videos? Please guys, do you have any tips to improve my mood?!

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

Feeling sad…

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Hey everyone, I hope that you are well! I am currently feeling sad! I have had no response from the Portuguese applications; nothing, not a peep. I have been looking at other places. I am also waiting to heard from my current “part time” job to see if they are willing to take me on full time and as the Duty Manager. We have had a chat but they cannot say “yes” or “no” to me taking over the position – this is the reason why I am sad – I will have to hand in my resignation to my current “full time” employer on or before July 31st; which is only a month away. I have the letter ready; as I have done since last year as we were going to be made redundant – which never came to pass; all I need to do is change the date on it. That will not take me that long to do…

Also, I have been thinking should I start looking for a place to work that starts in September or January. If the job is a September start; it will not give me enough time to get the flights, visas etc. ready in time. However, a start date of January could be more viable – especially as I have been looking for places where they pay for the flights – for example: Korean Horizons. There is an allowance amount; if your flights is less you keep the cash but if it is more you pay the extra. To me that sounds reasonable. I have been doing some research though; I saw an advert on the I-to-I TEFL Job Boards for Korean Horizons and with any advert that says “Recruiter” I do a quick internet search. There were some interesting and helpful reviews of KH and its staff’ However; there were a few that made me a little nervous.

Has anyone got any experience of using a Korean recruiter or have used KH in the past?

I really need to get myself sorted not, as I am starting to hate what I am currently doing…

Sorry that it has been a while…

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Hey everyone, I am sorry that it has been a while since I last wrote. I have been a little down in the dumps (a quick idiom for you there!) about my TEFL career recently. As you all remember, I have been applying for jobs all over the world as well as thinking about the internships.

I have been feeling a little let down, that the jobs I have applied to in Europe have not come through or that the companies have not contacted me about the positions I applied for. If, I am to start my TEFL adventures properly in September I need to hand in my resignation by July 31st. That is not that far away…I will need to keep hurting!

I am going to look on other TEFL jobs sites; like Dave’s ESL Café for example.

Is there anywhere you think I should look? If so, add it to the comments below!

 

Applying For MORE Jobs…

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Did you know that I-to-I TEFL have joined forces with Love TEFL? Amazing news right?! Congrats to everyone on this amazing merger!

I am wondering if the Internships that were available at Love TEFL will be coming to I-to-I? I will need to ask about that next time I send an email over.

 

Anyway; back to the actual post! After the my last post about job hunting (Some Job News…) I had my interviews for “schools” in china. However; even though I had applied to schools I was actually going through Recruitment companies – which I have heard some bad things about the companies out in China. I felt under a little bit of pressure and I did not fully understand if I had been offered the jobs or not. This is due to them not actually saying “Congratulations Jemma; welcome to the team!” Confusing right?! I decided to decline all three of the jobs and keep my options open.

This is the reason why I have been doing some more applications. I have applied to Tree House, My English School and LearnEng in Italy and EIS in Spain. All four schools sound very good and seem to be legit.

I have been researching about flights to Italy and Spain and they are very reasonable compared to flight to Thailand and China. One-Way flights vary from £66 to £75; depending on where I fly from. I prefer Birmingham as I can use the train to get there and East Midlands as it is a direct route from my home.

I have emailed Fun Language Viseu and asked if there is any news, but there is nothing yet. I am getting nervous; a I need to let my current workplace know when I am finishing!

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.