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On Celebrating Chinese New Years In A Warzone

21 Feb


Everyone at The Child Academy dressed up for Chinese New Years

Celebrating The Year Of The Snake At The Child Academy

Ni hao!

TCA had a party to bring in the Year of the Snake and it was a lot of fun! Kids and staff dressed in traditional Chinese clothing and ate tons of dumplings. There was even a visit from the Fortune God with hong bao envelopes for the kids!


At the Chinese New Years Party with Oscar!


This little French student reminds me of one of the children from ‘Madeline.’

IMAG5827Here we are in our qipaos (traditional Chinese female dress)!


Shanghai Turns Into A Warzone

Ami and I had a great week off for the Spring Festival holiday. While we enjoyed the non-stop firework displays that go along with the holiday, it was easy to wake up to explosions and mistake it for artillery fire.

year of the snake fireworks
All over the city people light off fireworks that put Vancouver Celebration of Lights to shame. Here’s one exploding right in front of our apartment.


Highlights from the break include meeting friends, baking, and enjoying Shanghai’s empty streets (most of the city has gone to visit their home towns). Ami also surprised me with a visit to Shanghai Circus World on Valentine’s!


Gōng xǐ fā cái,



Jobless In China

18 Feb

The difficulty started when I found myself visa-less and jobless in China wondering what my next move should be.

Being Let Go

August 19th: I’ve been working for a Montessori preschool for about a month. The staff is great, the kids like me and I enjoy the job. The school claims they will have no trouble procuring my work visa and life was good.

August 20th: I am let go.

The school had realized they were not legally allowed to hire a foreign English teacher. The news, delivered a week before my visa expired, hit me like a ton of bricks. Shaken up, Ami and I headed off to Hong Kong for temporary visas.

Hong Kong Vacation-018

Visiting Big Buddha in Hong Kong

The Long Job Hunt

While the trip to Hong Kong was amazing, our return to Shanghai was followed by an excruciating job hunt. One month passed without success. Money was getting tight. I was going to dozens of interviews but nothing felt right.

Thankfully, after two long months following every lead, I stumbled upon The Child Academy, and it was a good fit.

The Child Academy is an international preschool run by two Canadian guys. As school nurse and float teacher I combine my love for health care and children.

I create emergency protocols, teach health classes, cover for sick teachers, and help with the occasional bloody nose. The kids are aged one to six years old and definitely make the job worthwhile!

Zài jiàn,


PS. We’re enjoying our first Chinese New Years in China. Look out for my next post coming later this week—I’ll show you how I rung in the New Year— at school and at home!

A Typhoon in Shanghai: Photos and Preparation Tips

8 Aug

China has been hit by three typhoons in the past week—but Hǎikuí is the first to put Shanghai on it’s highest storm alert. The storm has caused extreme flooding in the Phillipines, and 374,000 people were evacuated from Shanghai’s coast.

The storm gave Cecily a day off work, but we still had to (briefly) brave the storm—so I took the opportunity to document the effects of the 150 km winds and torrential rain. Continue reading

Dada, the Hard Call and Saying Goodbye

18 Jul
Dada and Dadai at our Wedding

Dada and Dadai at our wedding (Photo by Sakura Photography)

When we planned our move abroad we prepared for new experiences. Since then, we’ve learned to adapt to the excitement and frustration that accompanies every day in China. But we could never predict just how challenging things would get.

As some of you may know, Ami’s grandfather passed away in June. The nine days leading up to his death were the most difficult days we have experienced in China. Continue reading

4 Reasons Why Our Chinese Home Beats Our Vancouver Apartment

12 Jun

Ni hao!

Some people have been asking me about our new apartment in Shanghai so I thought I’d explain why we love love it!

Apartment Hunting In Shanghai

The apartment hunt started a few short days after landing in Shanghai, and our initial search was incredibly disappointing. The first places we saw were very ghetto-esque, with filthy buildings and dingy apartments the size of bread boxes.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, work quickly became too intensive for me to continue house hunting; so Ami had to go it on his own. Luckily, his solo search was successful and he found our apartment within five days of our arrival!

With me occupied at work, Ami was forced to sign our lease before I had seen our new home, but I was over the moon with the place he had chosen as soon as I stepped foot inside.

This new place is much nicer than our past apartment in Vancouver, and we’d love to find a space just like it when we come back to Canada.

Here’s why we love it: Continue reading

The Darker Side of Teaching, Nightlife and Food in Shanghai

24 May


I am enjoying the weather today in Shanghai. It is cool and rainy and it is reminding me of Vancouver which makes me happy.

Beware of Wrath

I am slowly adjusting to teaching ESL at English First.  While most of my students are well behaved, I have one difficult fourteen year old that caused me a lot of frustration last week.

He’s a typical teenage boy—too cool for school and wanting attention from his classmates. This particular lesson he was disturbing the class with his crazy high giggle. After a few warnings I finally asked him to change seats.

When he refused I had to threaten sending his parents an update about his behavior. I was surprised at how intimidating my own wrath could be—I never knew I had it in me!

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like getting stern with students—but this boy’s behavior has since improved drastically. At least it was effective! Continue reading

Homeless in China (And Other Genius Moves)

20 May


Ni hao!

I am sorry for the lack of communication recently but work has taken over my life!  That being said, I am starting to get into more of a flow with my schedule—so I’ll try to be a better blogger.

Do You Have Your Keys?

So on Wednesday we were winding down after a long day of sight seeing and errands, when we realized we were out of drinking water. This meant dragging ourselves off the couch to go down to the convenience store for a jug.

As we left the apartment I asked Ami, “do you have your keys?” He said that he did, so I swung the door closed. The sound of the automatic lock clicking shut was immediately followed by Ami muttering, “uhh, actually I don’t have it.”

“You’re kidding, right!?!?” Continue reading