Monday, May 22, 2006


I'm not the only one studying. The girl in the opposite flat is home most days and her desk is right in front of the window. She seems to spend much more time at her desk than me and it's getting really annoying.

This reminds me of high school debating competitions where each team had an hour to prepare their argument. In our school library, both teams were stuck in in glass-walled rooms which faced each other. As the home team, we knew how to use this to our advantage by looking super confident - prancing around, clapping each other, making gestures and laughing a lot. Not going to help now...

Friday, May 19, 2006

I speak weird

I had a conversation today that highlighted the obstacles I face in trying to be an English teacher in England. I was visiting a community organisation where I want to refer some of my students for extra classes.

Me: Hi, is there anyone I can speak to about your English classes for asylum seekers?

English lady: Your English sounds very good...

Me: No, I work at _______ I'm looking for somewhere to refer some of our asylum seeker clients.

EL: Oh ok... so where are you from?

Me: Australia

EL: Really? I thought you sounded Eastern European.

Me: Oh, I've lived in Hong Kong for the last few years.

EL: So are you telling me that your accent is Chinese?

Me: No, no, my accent is just confused.

EL: So what is your job at _________

Me: I'm the English teacher

EL: (choking noise) Oh! Do you have any training?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Celebrity spotting

When I first moved in to central London I expected unexpected celebrity sightings on a regular basis. After six months and no celebrity I was growing increasingly frustrated. Particularly when other people have much better luck than me: Daryl Hannah, Darren Hayes and Ricki Lake with an unidentified male companion (jackpot!). I was sure that the celebrities were walking past without me noticing. I blamed it on white people all looking so similar.

So I was quite excited today when I made my first random celebrity sighting in the supermarket today. I was just deciding between red and green grapes (I chose green)...

...when I noticed that Gurinder Chadha (director of Bend it Like Beckham, Bride and Prejudice etc.) and almost equally famous husband Paul Berger were doing the same thing.

Yay! No knowing who I may spot next...

Monday, May 08, 2006


Apologies for my absence. I got back from Paris and started working like mad on mid-semester uni assignments. I'm studying almost full-time by correspondence and balancing that with two jobs (albeit little ones) is complicated!

Paris was nice. A lot like London except warmer, prettier, cleaner and everyone spoke French. And I didn't meet any of the rude French people that I've heard so much about. Then again, my standards have lowered. Oh, in the defence of England I should say that the amount of smoking in Paris is gross, even worse than central London.

Seeing all the main sights over the Easter weekend meant waiting in a lot of very long queues. And when we did get inside anywhere it was like being in the middle of a herd of very slow moving wildebeest. Resistance to the group direction was futile. Still, I saw all the big stuff and got this photo to go with the ones from the family trip to Pisa.

The museums were the most crowded places of all and Louvre would have been boring if not for the wacky antics of other tourists. I kicked myself when I missed a shot of a tourist holding on to the leg of an ancient Greek statue and posing for his friend's camera. Fortunately I managed to take this cautious couple.

And I discovered that there are much more exclusive locations for wedding photos than Kowloon Park.

The Musee D'Orsay was my personal highlight. Even there, I concentrated on a small selection of rooms. It's weird but my interest in art only extends to Impressionist outdoor scenes. I think it's because they were the only thing we had at home when I grew up.

So Paris was good but I don't want to do it as such a tourist again.