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London

Moving to and Living in London On a Budget

Today marks my 6th month anniversary in London, England! Additional comments added in dark blue. Moving to London Prior to moving to London, I found the blog posts on moving to the UK on Alyssa Writes extremely helpful, particularly regarding the Youth Mobility Scheme (Tier 5) application for Canadians. Alyssa has written two posts on the subject, …

New Canadian Passports (available in 2013);
Travel

New Canadian Passports (available in 2013)

New Canadian Passports (available in 2013) Such a pity I had no choice but to renew my passport this spring 2012. These new Canadian passports will be available by 2013.  What’s new: Computer chip 95 countries are already using this. We are quite behind, eh? Patriotic Canadian images with security features! In order, these images …

Tips for Newcomers to Vancouver, Canada;
Travel, Vancouver

Tips for Newcomers to Vancouver, Canada

Welcome to Vancouver! This is a multicultural and multilingual city, filled with more and more interesting glass buildings and delicious international cuisine. The latter is especially important as you will no doubt be spending most of your evenings dining out at restaurants opened by top chefs from around the world. Perhaps it may be too …

15 years since Hong Kong was returned to China;
Travel

15 years since Hong Kong was returned to China

My family and I moved to Hong Kong in 1992 (work opportunities I think?). We lived in a city full of expats, mostly from the UK, and Hong Kong locals. During the 4 years I’d lived there, I never had to learn Cantonese because all the schools I’d attended were taught by teachers from the UK (mostly from England) and just about everything was in English. Because I was so young, I can’t remember what life was really like except for the fact that there was a major British influence – which became more apparent to me when I returned to HK for a visit in 2003 and discovered how Chinese it had become.

We left at the end of 1996 and the next thing you know, I woke up in a new country in 1997. I attended my last British primary school then finished classes at the end of June. On the eve of June 30 (I know this date now, mind you!), I sat in front of the telly with my family, watching Hong Kong’s ‘handover’ to China. I remember seeing Prince Charles get off the plane (I was sad not to see ‘Princess Diana’ – as I’d called the late Princess of Wales then and will use for this post – but I think I knew they were divorced already), make a speech (seemed solemn to little me) and next thing you know, there was a hoard of Chinese army men marching from who-knows-where. That scene, to me, was one of the saddest things for me to see. Just like that, GB had lost a colony and its influences on a much beloved (for its expat inhabitants) international city.

Flag of Hong Kong 1959
By Designed byEnglish: College of Arms中文: 英國紋章院 (http://flagspot.net/flags/hk-colon.html) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Not that 1997 was an annus horribilis for me, but there were definitely 2 events that occurred that year that marked the ‘end’ of something. The first, I’ve already mentioned, the second was the death of Princess Diana.

You have to understand that the late Princess of Wales was my childhood role model. I’d always wanted to meet her and I’d hoped she would visit my school(s) in HK. Sadly, my dreams of meeting her were dashed to the floor when I heard about the car crash in August 1997. I couldn’t have been more devastated. I was even about to visit London that year or the following year – which didn’t happen until 2000.
However, I do remember meeting one staff member at our school named Ms Nurse (or perhaps she was the school nurse?). She was very sweet and caring and she even looked like Princess Diana! Of course, I was absolutely elated and I even asked her if she knew who Princess Diana was. I was surprised that she did not (hmmm….); nevertheless, to a certain extent, meeting Ms Nurse was like meeting Princess Diana. 🙂

I started a new international school, an American one, in the autumn of 1997, which practically purged much of the British influence I’d grown up with. It was the end of the “British era” on me and the start of the “Americana” (which is another story and that concludes my post for the day!).

Toytown Germany;
Travel

Toytown Germany

Your recommendation du jour is… Toytown Germany http://www.toytowngermany.com “Germany’s English-speaking crowd” Help for Jobs, Events, Accom, etc. in: Berlin Munich Frankfurt Hamburg Other misc. cities Recently I’ve been consulting this site to see their recommendations for jobs and accom and even local Irish pubs to go to. Although I am still jobless and permanent-home-less (residing …

Ich hab’ mein Herz in DEUTSCHLAND gelassen…;
Heidelberg, Travel

Ich hab’ mein Herz in DEUTSCHLAND gelassen…

S.O.S.! I am experiencing Reverse Culture Shock… in my HOMELAND! =O For a girl who’s travelled all her life, lived in 3 continents, 5 countries, 6 cities, innumerable homes, and attended 3 different educational systems, 9 schools, and 2 universities (in 3 different locations), I really should be used to this. What I miss about …

Post-Exchange: An Unpleasant Return to Vancouver;
Heidelberg, Travel, Vancouver

Post-Exchange: An Unpleasant Return to Vancouver

Meine liebe Freunde in Europa, My dear friends in Europe, zuerst muss ich sagen, dass ich euch VIEL vermisse! Die letzten Tage in Deutschland waren sehr chaotisch… Ich war in Muenchen von 24-26. Am 26. war ich wieder in Heidelberg, um mehr zu packen & zu putzen. Ich hatte um 3.30 geschlafen; am 27. war …