A Travellerspoint blog

Canada

Visa approved

Well, I was just given notice that my work visa has been approved to go to Singapore in about a month. After two employers that insisted they would get my work visa after I got there, this is a refreshing change.

I'm currently working at The Source in Seaway mall in Welland for the Christmas season, my friend from high school is the manager there.

In Honduras, I managed to quit/get fired, get brutally dumped and contract a giardia parasite all in a matter of a few days.

Here is the story of that:

I complained A LOT at the Honduran school about the off-site photocopier situation, the LOCKED UP water jugs, the lack of books FOR TEACHERS (all the students had iPads, it was not for lack of money that I didn't have any books) and the fact that I'm a science teacher and do not have keys for the science lab. This led to ill-feelings by the principals at the school, who were all very closely related to each other.

The students in one of my classes were terrible, so I gave them marks they deserved. This didn't go unnoticed and before long, they were making things up about me to the principal. One of my students even apologized to me, saying she did it because she was mad at me for having some of her participation marks taken away.

I would mutter things under my breath like "This school can build a giant telescope on the roof but they can't have any extension cords," which would be reported directly to the principal by my evil students. On top of this I was making the grand total of $600/month for all of my troubles here (37 hours of in-class teaching each week for advanced high school lessons). One of my co-workers also blabbed to the principal, because I said I was going to leave at Christmas and not come back. I would remind you also, at this point nothing at all had been mentioned to me about my pending work visa, or whether I would ever be working in this country legally at all. That was the case for all new teachers at this school.

One day, the principals sat me down and accused me of hitting a student in the temple and that was it. I was not welcome anymore on the premises. I WISH there were cameras in the classrooms at this school. Completely fabricated story, obviously. The principals offered me money to change my flight and I took it gladly, on the acknowledgement that I would "help them" by not saying anything bad about their school when I left. Pffft, whatever, jerks.

So, I had nothing to do for a few months. I had a flight booked home for Christmas on Dec. 20. Thinking I would take the flight change money and bum around Central America for a while, I started setting up couch surfing hosts. Things were looking up. I was gonna go diving on Roatan and Utila and have a grand old time exploring Mayan ruins etc. etc.

The day before I would venture out on my grand tour, my favourite person in the whole world Skyped me and informed me that he didn't want to "date" anymore. I can't remember the last time we were dating, but the point was that I was also not welcome to visit him in Italy next year. The reason I was given, was that he's "just not into that" and that he thought I was planning his life for him or something… After going along with the Italy plans for what, three months? OK… well great, thanks. Good timing, jerk.

Trying to forget everything, I took a bus out of town the morning I was supposed to be kicked out of the crappiest hotel room in the world. I guess the principals thought I was going to trash their apartment, so the school graciously put me in there. I don't know.

On my way to the first host, a day's travel away, I started feeling sick. I was feverish and queasy. I thought I was just stressed and needed to rest. My first host, Luis was awesome about it. But before long, my butt was exploding in his toilet and in the morning, I went to the doctor. He gave me three shots in my hindquarters over the course of two days and some crazy strong antibiotics. The sickness became more manageable after that, but I was still feeling terrible. I had giardia. REALLY! AWESOME! My host Luis let me stay in his small town for three days until I felt well enough to continue on my way.

After visiting the Mayan ruins of Copan, staying way too long at my second host's house in La Entrada, accepting and quitting a volunteer job the very next day, I gave up. I found a cheap flight change price to Toronto and went home, where I would stay, wallowing in my sorrow for a month and a half until leaving for Singapore.

Wow! A work visa BEFORE I go! How refreshing!

Wow! A work visa BEFORE I go! How refreshing!


Apple blossom at Ridgeways

Apple blossom at Ridgeways


Me and Melo on our 5km run

Me and Melo on our 5km run


Welland canal

Welland canal


Me and Jayden painting fairies

Me and Jayden painting fairies


Welland canal

Welland canal


Me and Jayden painting fairies

Me and Jayden painting fairies


Welland canal

Welland canal


Tea latte

Tea latte


Melo on the run

Melo on the run


Me and Jayden painting fairies

Me and Jayden painting fairies


Welland canal

Welland canal


Hawksley Workman

Hawksley Workman


Melo at the halfway point

Melo at the halfway point


Hawksley Workman

Hawksley Workman


Bangers and mash

Bangers and mash


Other volunteers

Other volunteers


Me and Anabelle

Me and Anabelle


Hawksley Workman

Hawksley Workman


Me vs. Niagara College wine

Me vs. Niagara College wine


Building the Girl Guide float

Building the Girl Guide float


Tea cozy during Snowpocalypse

Tea cozy during Snowpocalypse


Me vs. Niagara College wine

Me vs. Niagara College wine


Mulled wine

Mulled wine


Washing my clothes at volunteer job

Washing my clothes at volunteer job


Reading by the fire

Reading by the fire


Me vs. Niagara College beer

Me vs. Niagara College beer


Hawksley Workman

Hawksley Workman


Melo at the halfway point

Melo at the halfway point


My volunteer bedroom

My volunteer bedroom


Melo tired out after running

Melo tired out after running


Steeped Tea party

Steeped Tea party


Pumpkin soup and pretzel

Pumpkin soup and pretzel


Me vs. tea

Me vs. tea


Medicine!

Medicine!


Pizza and wine at the neighbour's house

Pizza and wine at the neighbour's house


Me at The Source

Me at The Source


All packed up

All packed up


Mom vs. Christmas dinner

Mom vs. Christmas dinner


Christmas Day

Christmas Day


Nice necklace

Nice necklace

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Day trip to Toronto

We went on the Go Train up to Toronto to the Art Gallery of Ontario and then dinner at Tournesol, a nice small French restaurant.

The exhibit done by the Guggenheim wasn't that impressive to me. Mom and I lost dad and did some magnificent colouring while dad patiently waited downstairs, unaware that we were waiting for him.

Tournesol had a special dinner on that was really nice, nothing outrageous, but we had a pretty traditional tasting coq au vin.

Me on the train

Me on the train


Mom and me on the subway

Mom and me on the subway


Mom and Dad at Tournesol

Mom and Dad at Tournesol

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Ice caves!

We went to see the ice caves that popped up along the beach. So cool. This only happens once every 30 years or so.

Frozen Lake Erie

Frozen Lake Erie


Sandy, Elsie, me and Dad

Sandy, Elsie, me and Dad


Ice bridge

Ice bridge


On the frozen lake

On the frozen lake


In a cave

In a cave


Mom, Elsie and me

Mom, Elsie and me


Ice chunks

Ice chunks


In another cave

In another cave


Point Abino lighthouse

Point Abino lighthouse

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Grandma's birthday

We had a buffet breakfast at Betty's for my Grandma's birthday.

Irma and Grandma

Irma and Grandma


Everyone

Everyone


Uncle Joe and Oliver

Uncle Joe and Oliver


Danielle, Aunt Diane, Uncle Joe

Danielle, Aunt Diane, Uncle Joe


Dad, me, Mom

Dad, me, Mom


Irma, Aunt Diane and Grandma

Irma, Aunt Diane and Grandma


Michelle, Emily

Michelle, Emily


Tim, Emily, Michelle

Tim, Emily, Michelle


Irma, Michelle, Grandma, Emily, Uncle Joe

Irma, Michelle, Grandma, Emily, Uncle Joe


Irma, Michelle, Grandma, Emily, Uncle Joe

Irma, Michelle, Grandma, Emily, Uncle Joe


Me, Danielle, Tim

Me, Danielle, Tim


Everyone

Everyone


Irma, Grandma, Emily, Uncle Joe

Irma, Grandma, Emily, Uncle Joe

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Lunch at Benchmark

Niagara College has a nice restaurant for culinary students. We went there for Aunt Gisele's birthday.

Aunt Gisele, dad, mom, me

Aunt Gisele, dad, mom, me


Aunt Gisele, dad, mom, me

Aunt Gisele, dad, mom, me

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Poor Otis

Eric's dog Otis was sick so we visited him in the vet's office.

Later we went into the woods and found the vast tundra beside Netherby Road. It was exhilarating for Sandy.

Otis

Otis


The vast tundra of Stevensville

The vast tundra of Stevensville

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Short Hills Park

Now that I'm looking at all my pictures, I never got any at home or with any other people! I'm sorry. But, that means next time, we need more people to come with us on hikes.

This would have been a really awesome hike if we turned right instead of left at the first intersection. But who am I to judge?

A little stream

A little stream


We are so cute

We are so cute


Me on the bridge

Me on the bridge


Crazy waterfall at the mill

Crazy waterfall at the mill

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A little urban exploration in Welland

My aunt and uncle came over for New Year's Day instead of Christmas. My other aunt, uncle and cousin came over sometime before that. I hung out with the Girl Guide leaders another day and Aleasha and Bill came over a few days before. So it kind of spread all the visiting and parties out a bit. It was more relaxed that way.

My first hike of the year was to the train tunnel in Welland where it was spooky, windy and icy.

Train tracks

Train tracks


Train tracks

Train tracks


Eric on the ladder

Eric on the ladder


Me vs. Main Street tunnel

Me vs. Main Street tunnel


Eric vs. tunnel

Eric vs. tunnel


Icy

Icy


Ice

Ice


Icy

Icy


Me vs. ice

Me vs. ice


Welland Canal

Welland Canal


A giant boat in the canal

A giant boat in the canal


A giant fish in the aquarium

A giant fish in the aquarium


A giant fish in the aquarium

A giant fish in the aquarium


A giant fish in the aquarium

A giant fish in the aquarium


He follows your finger

He follows your finger


A giant boat in the canal

A giant boat in the canal

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More hikes and NYE at the falls

I haven't been to New Year's Eve at Niagara Falls for 12 years! It's widely televised now and highly scripted. We couldn't stand it too long. We saw Dragonette and went back to Randy's house for his party. I guess he's married to Jessica Eckhert and I didn't even realize. She made some awesome samosas and French onion soup though!

The Welland Canal

The Welland Canal


Me vs. the Welland Canal

Me vs. the Welland Canal


Mud Lake

Mud Lake


Mud Lake

Mud Lake


Mud Lake

Mud Lake


Me vs. Mud Lake

Me vs. Mud Lake


Me vs. Mud Lake

Me vs. Mud Lake


The Mud Men

The Mud Men


Me and Eric, wanting to leave

Me and Eric, wanting to leave


Me vs. Dragonette

Me vs. Dragonette


Dragonette

Dragonette

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The gorge again

We took Sandy to the gorge with Eric's uncles and cousin. I thought I forgot my camera so I don't have any photos from the whirlpool. But it was the furthest down I ever went there! Sandy was a ball of snow when we got back. Then mom made us chicken pot popcorn pie for dinner. We also went to a magic show, Greg Frewin something or other. It was terrible. The dancers looked liked strippers and no one showed any enthusiasm at all. Maybe you shouldn't work so hard, Mr. Frewin. Take a vacation and refresh your show.

Me at the top

Me at the top


Sandy with snow balls

Sandy with snow balls


Sandy in the car

Sandy in the car


Dinner

Dinner


Greg Frewin show

Greg Frewin show


ICICLES

ICICLES

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We went on a little hike

Also we found a very large man with a heavily made up wife, who was yelling at him about their van stuck in the snow. We tried to help, but a man on a tractor got them out.

Me in the wilderness

Me in the wilderness


Me and Eric

Me and Eric

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We hiked the gorge with Sandy

Christmas Eve I went to see the kids' play that my mom does every year at church.

For Christmas, Elsie and Martha came over and I got a timely new suitcase. Mom made a bunch of awesome real Canadian food and I gave out a lot of candy and food from Korea to everyone.

I went to some of Eric's parties too, that was fun. At the boxing day party, I saw Jason, Joe and Kirk, but no Shylo. That was sad.

We went to the gorge with Sandy on boxing day in the afternoon where I haven't been in a while. It was a good day to do it, because the next day there was a lot of snow.

Eric is probably strangling Sandy

Eric is probably strangling Sandy


Me vs. gorge

Me vs. gorge


Eric vs. gorge

Eric vs. gorge


Little icicles

Little icicles


This is a sweet cave!

This is a sweet cave!


Eric only got coal

Eric only got coal


From Santa

From Santa

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Lost and totaled bags

I bounced around from Tokyo to New York to Buffalo and didn't sleep very much before I got to Buffalo. I think I watched about 8 movies and didn't see the end of any of them because I dozed in and out of consciousness through each one.

In Tokyo at Haneda, I really wanted to sleep in the Sky Lounge, where you can pay $10 for a night on a little couch. I arrived at the airport close to midnight, but they wouldn't check me in for the next day. Sky Lounge is past security, so without a ticket, I wasn't allowed in. I had to sleep in the noisy lobby. If you call that sleep.

In New York, I was able to get on an earlier flight to Buffalo and I asked the woman at the JetBlue desk if they were able to transfer my checked bags too, she said yes. When I got to Buffalo, of course they weren't there. Then, the missing baggage person said to me, she won't send them to me, because it's "my fault" I took the earlier flight.

So I had to wait for the next flight. So tired and dirty. Eric and I killed some time at Target, because you know how much I miss shopping at big box stores...we also played hide and seek in the airport. Did you know there are not many good hiding spots in the Buffalo airport? Eric managed to find a pretty good one behind a garbage can. It took me a while to find him.

When the next flight came in, only one of my bags was there. It was the important one, so we just filled in a form and then went home.

The handle on my bag was cut off because it wouldn't go down. Eric smashed all the little cakes in my bag because he didn't know how to carry it.

Anyway, when we finally got home, mom made big steaks and I passed out.

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

All visa'd up

So, I picked up my visa and booked my flight.

Leaving Toronto on Aug. 10, stopping in SFO, then direct to Seoul. Singapore Airlines too, yippee! All for $955, which is pretty much the amount that I get reimbursed from the government.

So far, I only know that I'm going to Jeollabukdo province. Please don't ask me what city, because I won't know until Aug. 30.

I'll be teaching English with a local teacher. Apparently, the teacher is supposed to do the reading and writing and I'm supposed to do the speaking and listening part. We'll see how that goes, I've heard some horror stories about how the local teacher does nothing and the foreigner has to do everything. I hope I get paired with someone nice.

I'm supposed to get paid for working eight hours a day, and teaching for four hours a day. So, I have four hours a day of prep time.

It all sounds nice on paper, but we'll see what happens when I get there. Let's not bring up what happened last February.

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The moto home

We left around 11 a.m. and had a picnic in Cobden by the river. It was a little windy and cold and I could feel the rain coming.

Well it rained about 1 hour from home, so by the time I got home I was soakeddddddd. It was kind of bad and dangerous and I probably should have waited it out in Kanata, but I just wanted to go home and sleep!

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