Exit strategy #blogjune 16

Only 6 1/2 days of school to go. I’m tidying my desk, my Inbox, my Documents folder…and I’m sifting through the “Things I Started But Quickly Discovered Nobody Cared About So I Stopped” pile. It’s an unfortunate side effect of this role that I have developed a Very Bad Habit that goes completely against my character: I have stopped completing some tasks I know to be important when I’ve learned nobody cares about them, or worse, if I learn that other staff, or managers, mock me for doing them. It’s last minute, but I am so disappointed to make this realisation that I am going to try to rectify it to some extent by setting myself the challenge of creating an annual report for the Library using infographics.

I’m testing these sites:

Canva (can’t get the templates to load without VPN *cry cry cry*)

Piktochart (like a lot. Easy to use, pretty templates, loads without VPN)

Infogram (could be great, but templates won’t load without VPN)

Easelly (already annoying because weird layout and templates won’t load without VPN)

So I reckon I’m pretty much stuck with Piktochart, but that’s cool because it is cool! There’s some excellent advice about creating interesting annual reports here and here.

While I was playing about with them, it suddenly occurred to me that an infographic would make an awesome CV. It seems I am not the only person to have this thought! There are even companies who you can pay to create amazing graphic CVs for you, like Story Resumes, the people who created my favourite below:

lucyin

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The unbearable sweetness of bread

We are officially in our 5th month in China. Last time we lived here (in 2009-2010) we stayed only 4 months due to some alarming issues with the school. So this is a milestone! I know a few more words of Mandarin, and I am surviving without normal bread and department stores.

I still haven’t figured out how people survive the 2 years (standard teaching contract), or how people stay 5 years or more. I like many things about China, but I can’t imagine closing the door on fresh air, wide open spaces, good coffee and decent bread for that long.

IMG_0082.JPG

Time has actually flown by here, and I’ve tried to figure it out. Firstly, I am full time in the library. There’s no ‘covering classes’ or filling in for teachers who don’t arrive. The staff at my previous school were all a lot older, and there was a gang of them who knew each other from home. Staff here are nearer my age, and many are single, which makes a huge difference.

Ms M is has a smaller class and has made friends who have already hosted her for sleepovers and birthday parties. This means I am meeting more parents away from school. I am also older and have been out of teaching for a while, so I have finally lost the mad idea that I cannot socialize with parents. There are so few expats in this city you can’t afford to draw those sorts of lines.

The other plus is having someone from ‘home’ visit us. My family are hopeless at this. None of them have ever lived away, so they simply have no idea how significant a visit can be. For a couple months we’ve had Ms M’s dad, and while the apartment has been cramped, we’ve had a third sidekick for our adventures in Chinese food and shopping.

 

Social media junkies unite

One of my key preparations for our upcoming European adventure and then Big Move to China has been to find social media that I can take with me.  You may have heard about the Great Firewall of China which blocks many popular social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter?  Last time I was over there, twitter wasn’t as much of a thing and I found I could survive without facebook, although it was frustrating as living 1000s of miles from your family and friends is funnily enough one of those times when a site that allows you to share pics and updates with them would be REALLY useful.

I did pay around $US14 a month to get a VPN/wormhole thing to circumnavigate the blocks, but it made Facebook look weird and I felt very dodgy.  And that was before smartphones were a thing.  I’m not sure how well the vpn model will work on a phone or tablet.

And I have grown to adore twitter.  I work in an industry where there are very clearly two types of people – those who use twitter, and those who don’t.  99% of my professional reading is via twitter.  I no longer watch the news because I’ve already read it all on twitter 6 hours earlier.  I’ve visited some awesome libraries and met some amazing librarians through twitter, including some who have become very good friends.

So I am more than a wee bit panicked to be heading to work in relative isolation where my colleagues and I don’t even share a common language and losing my PLN.  I need an alternative!

So far I have discovered wordpress works, but a blog is hard work.  I’ve also discovered tumblr works too and I find it a bit more ‘twitter-y’.  It seems to have a more social element than wordpress.  So I have started this blog there and will see which takes my fancy most.  It helps that I know librarians over there already.

I’ve also been revamping my neglected Instagram account after reading this blog post:

http://quicklistenup.com/instagram-in-china-does-it-work/

Loads of tweeps on Instagram, it has hashtags, AND according to the above blog I can set it to auto update my twitter and facebook feeds thus circumventing the Great Firewall of China.

Nice!

Tweeps
Tweep tweep

 

Leaving

I told my boss I think this is the first time I’ve left a job whilst still liking it, and I think that it is mostly true.  This is also the longest work commitment – or any commitment (besides child & study) that I’ve made, so leaving is poignant in many ways.  It’s been a difficult month as things get hectic China-wise there are so many loose ends at work and I’ve also had some staffing dramas.  Thankfully they seem to have passed and I am now on the final few weeks.

Flights are booked for 2nd June – was a touch decision as really wanted to do the wise traveller thing and fly by Middle East to UK (get the longest leg out of the way first) but it was more expensive and Singapore had great stopover options.  And Singapore isn’t somewhere I’d ever really plan to visit, so this way it’s off the list.  Not that I’m making a list.  Okay, I am.

Still can’t believe this is happening.  I have spent 3 years not looking at travel books and not going into travel shops.  Suddenly allowed to again and I am freaking out.

Round the world
Round the world