Education, Personal

I‚Äôm way too good at goodbyes

Some amazing people that I’ve met, worked with and taught over the past 9 months.

Unbelievable how emotional I felt having said goodbye to you all.

Thank you so much for everything.

I know we’ll meet again in the future ūüíē

Claire in China



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Panic. Panic. Panic.

On the plus side, my last few days have been pretty wonderful.

On Monday I had my last, final day of teaching (for real, this time).
It was lovely and the classes I taught were super. Genuinely brilliant students and some that I’d taught at some point over the last few months.

I honestly felt so emotional when I said my goodbyes at 2:30. I don’t know how I didn’t cry. Then after wandering around the town for a little while I met up with some colleagues for a goodbye dinner and that was¬†brilliant!¬†

We went to my favourite restaurant in Bournemouth, called El Murrino, which is a lovely, family-run Italian place, and had cocktails, beers, pizzas, pastas! Such a great evening. I laughed so much and naturally that made me even more emotional when I had to say goodbye.

I text my mum to say I’d missed the early bus, therefore making me pretty late getting home. She took my text as ‘I’m stranded, please come and get me’ and she sent my dad in the car, pretty much immediately. So, I had to rush my goodbyes before I’d even finished my dessert and drinks. Which upset me immensely as I was having a fantastic evening. Anyway. I knew it was my last day with students, friends and colleagues, so I made the most of it.

Tuesday morning I awoke to a call which I thought might come, “Can you come in to cover one last time?” and unfortunately, sadly, I had to decline. I’m not even ready to go now and I certainly wasn’t ready 36 hours ago. I had said my goodbyes and wanted to leave it at that.

My entire Tuesday was spent packing, unpacking, washing, drying, drinking coffee, snapchat-ing my extremely boring packing situation. AND stuffing my face full of avocado toast.

Today has been one ball of freaking stress!

I had to pick up my contact lenses and cancel my payment.
I had to refund a dress and buy some extra items of clothing for the trip.
I tried to have a ‘quiet’ coffee break but that didn’t work.

My mama bought me some lovely new charms for my bracelet, which was a wonderful surprise! And we sat and had coffee and avocado toast together in the sun!

Since then I’ve been packing, unpacking, weighing, etcetc.

Then I had the email to say my flight’s been cancelled and after 20 minutes of mad panic, that’s all been sorted out. However, I will now have a 7 hour wait in the airport as my parents have to drive to Wales before the evening. It’s going to be such a pain. Then if I take the coach I have to spend money, risk being late. I will never forget how much I dislike flying, travelling, organising for trips etc.

Roll on Saturday when I finally arrive. Although I know I have a hugely long list of things to sort out when I arrive as well.

Sorry for this super naggy post.

I’m stressed as hell.

Claire in China, Personal

Pre-China Weekend

As my last weekend in the UK draws to a close, it only seems right to reflect on everything that I’m feeling at the moment.¬†Wow.¬†I am¬†terrified.

Friday was the start of my ‘official’ goodbyes as I met up with a friend who I haven’t seen in over a year, and as soon as we met I instantly felt guilty for being such a rubbish friend to her. I had such a great time catching up and trying to fill each other in on our lives.

Just before meeting some students of mine I had a call from my boss / ex-boss to ask if I wanted to work one final day on Monday, and of course I said yes! So actually the next meet-up wasn’t a goodbye, it was just a really nice, relaxing few hours hanging out and eating burgers, talking about our families and cultures. It was lovely!

That meant my evening plans also weren’t ‘goodbyes’, they turned out to be a fantastic, hilarious, lovely Friday night of catching-up, listening to some great music and laughing at the crazy drunk people.

Saturday was lovely, especially as I had a lie-in! I had lunch with my parents, sister, uncle and my beautiful little cousin. We went to the beach and ate at a family-favourite restaurant called Vesuvio, in Westbourne / Alum Chine. Pizza, pastas, falafel burgers! Yuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmyyy!¬† My cousin, who’s only five, is one of the smartest, coolest, kindest, funniest children I’ve ever known and I absolutely adore him. His eyes sparkle when he talks and he laughs so honestly it’s amazing. Spending time with him just lifts my mood instantly. The only down side is my instax decided not to work and our pictures didn’t come out.

Saturday afternoon was standard. Football, reading, coffee and a nap. Whilst contemplating packing but really not getting very far with it.

Sunday, today, was pretty wonderful.

My mum, sister and I spent most of the day in Winchester having coffee, lunch, shopping for new work clothes, browsing… The weather was absolutely gorgeous, but bitterly cold.

I watched football, of course, had a little nap and finally made a start on actually packing my clothes. I’m in 9kg out of 30 so far and¬†most¬†of my clothes are packed. Onto the heavy stuff now like shoes, books, make up etc which will take up far too much space.

Since it’s my last Sunday in the UK I decided to make myself a roast dinner, which is my favourite English / comfort meal and it was deeeeeeeeeelicious! Plus, we opened a really special bottle of Doennhoff wine, that my parents gave me for my graduation back in 2016. Oh my gosh. It’s like drinking magical potions. It’s absolutely fantastic wine.

Now I’m sat on my bed surrounded by suitcases, documents, clothes, random things I may or may not need to take to China. With only 3 full days left, I’m 100% not ready yet. I can only hope by Wednesday I have sorted myself out. I still have a lot to do and tomorrow will be an emotional, real goodbyes day.

Goodnight all.


Claire in China, Personal

Checklist for China




Okay. Freak out over. Sort of.
I’m not even kidding when I say I AM SO NERVOUS.
Especially¬†as I’ve had the worst stomach pains ever for 3 days running now and I have NO IDEA WHY!!! Why?! I just hope this isn’t going to continuously happen when I get to China.

This morning started off with us driving to Winton (a small part of Bournemouth) and dropped off EIGHT BAGS of clothes / stationery / random things. EIGHT BAGS. We took a trolley from Waitrose to push them round to the shop because they were so heavy.

I can finally see the floor in my room again!

And of course, being in Winton meant SMMOOOOOOTTTHHHIIIIEEEEESSSSS!!!!!

(The best smoothies IN THE WORLD!)

Next, I needed to stock up on medicine and flu stuff. Thanks to Boots I feel like I’m ready to take on my first cold in China! I’ll be like a walking pharmacy! But hey, I picked up some new, pretty clothes from New Look that I’ll be able to wear casually and for work, so I’m pleased about that.

My auntie made time to have lunch today which was awesome. My auntie is just amazing. Even though there’s not a big age gap between us I’ve always looked up to her and I feel sad that she won’t be ‘just down the road’ anymore. Still, it was great to catch up and say goodbye.

I BOUGHT SOME US DOLLARS! WOOOO! My last currency change was for Switzerland, but getting US dollars was weirdly exciting despite how totally dull the money actually is. Swiss money is kinda cool, pretty even. But no, not the dollars.

THEN. OMG.¬†My parents, amazingly and wonderfully, agreed to lend me some money to buy a new phone. My iPhone SE is seriously giving up on life right now and it’s been driving me insane for weeks. I planned to wait until I arrived in China before buying a new phone but I changed my mind. As much as I’d liked to have spent ¬£2-300 on a phone, not ¬£700+, I wanted an iPhone. They make my life so much easier. I was originally deciding between the 7 and 8, but after looking at the cameras and talking to a few of the staff, I went with the 8 PLUS!

Aaaaaaaaaaah. My poor bank! Well, future bank balance. My current debt to my dad is ratherrrr a large number.

It’ll be worth it. I haven’t had chance to try out the camera yet but I need a proper case before I dare take it out of the house. I bought a shatter-proof screen today and then realised I’d applied it OVER the plastic sheet. How¬†stupid¬†can someone be? Ugh.

Anyway! The rest of the day was spent backing up phones / ipods etc and trying to relax. Not that I could since my stomach is still giving me so much pain, for some bizarre reason.

Then at 8pm we decided to do our weekly shop… wow is it nice shopping with no one else around. I stocked up on coffee beans to take to China, just in case there’s nothing decent in the town I’m moving to. And when I say town, I mean it’s a town by Chinese standards. By ours it’s probably a country. Ha.

And that’s it for now.

Less than one week to go and I still need to buy some insurance, decide what I’m actually taking and organise some sort of teaching materials. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEK.

Stay tuned guys xo

Claire in China, Uncategorized

8 days until the BIG MOVE!

Moving to China? Yes, I am.

In eight days, to be exact.
I am absolutely terrified.

Last week I took three huge bags to the charity shop and threw out another two.
Today I have five bags for the charity shop and another two for rubbish.

The closer I get to leaving, the more I have to get rid of.
Why have I hoarded so much crap over the last few years? I really don’t know.

What I do know is, I’m ready for a new start. Terrified, but ready.


When the teacher becomes the student.

Since it’s Monday, now’s the perfect time to reflect on the weekend,¬†amiright?

Well, WOW.

I wish every weekend was as wonderful as the one just gone.
Since I’ve only got a week (ish) left in England, some of my students wanted to organise a day together as a thank you / goodbye for me.

I’m not going to lie when I say my anxiety kicked in. I thought of all the millions of things that could go wrong, such as, they’ll realise I’m actually a complete moron, I’m the world’s fussiest eater, I’m not at all funny, I’m really lame, I’m totally boring…

Thanks for that little visit anxiety.

I had absolutely nothing to worry about.

We met for breakfast in this tiny, but amazing, Mediterranean cafe and had huge plates of falafel, hummous, breads and really delicious tea! We sat for about 2 hours just relaxing and eating – I wish every day started off that way!

We took a bus over to Poole (it took an hour!)¬†but the weather was absolutely gorgeous, which meant walking around the town centre and along the harbor was just lovely! And much to two of the boys’ disgust, we went into the local museum. They weren’t impressed, which made us giggle like school girls.

I enjoyed it! But I’ve also been there before. It’s four floors of history about Poole, the harbor and has lots of artifacts and pictures – some of them are really,¬†really, old!

Due to our trip to the museum we missed the last boat of the day, and that was probably the only disappointment of the day, since the skies were clear blue and none of us had been on a boat trip in absolutely years! Thankfully the boys rescued us with their AMAZING Arabic coffee – I’m completely in love with that stuff and really need to find out where I can buy some so I can make it at home.

We sat under one of the gazebos, drinking coffee, eating chocolate and laughing about the most random of things. It was such a calm, simple 30 minutes but it was perfect!

Since we missed the boat, and the guys didn’t want to play crazy golf, we decided to head back to Bournemouth so we could go bowling! I haven’t been in years and since the new place opened in the centre it made it really convenient. After Ahmed and I totally smashed the others at table football, we had two¬†extremely¬†competitive games of bowling!

Thankfully I won the first game (huge surprise! I’m usually terrible!) and the second game I was, true to my normal standards, absolutely awful. It didn’t matter at all because we all had some terrible goes, a few spares each, but mostly it was just such fun. We laughed almost the entire time we were playing, despite the obvious competitive streak some of us have!

It wasn’t late enough for dinner once we’d finished but we all agreed on one thing, we needed coffee. We sat on the balcony at Aruba for about 2 and a half hours just talking about everything and nothing. Families, football, travelling, languages –¬†everything!¬†

I’m still processing some of the things I learnt that day. I learnt so much about Spain and Saudi Arabia and it’s all so fascinating – we could have talked for another few days about it all and it still wouldn’t have been enough!

Dinner was the same – we barely stopped talking! Pizza Express was extremely impressive and we all shared pastas and pizza – delicious food! We sat until nearly 11pm, until the restaurant was closing. I’d never thought it was possible to spend 12 hours with people without running out of things to say, but it is!

I honestly wasn’t ready for the day to end and I can only say how much I wish every Saturday was just like that.

For once, I wasn’t teaching (well, not really), I was listening, learning, being taught new things! I haven’t enough words to say how grateful I am for everything that happened on Saturday.

It’s been hard to socialize lately. Friends have moved away, or they work full time, or they’re not free until I’m finally home relaxing or without the car. Which made this day even more amazing that my students took time to plan a day out with me.

Plus Laura got me this adorable mug!

Thank you so, so much guys.

Personal, travel

China, are you ready?

SO after 8 weeks of waiting for my work permit to be issued, I finally received the email last Sunday saying it was all done and ready for me to apply for my visa.

With Chinese New Year on the 16th, I knew I wouldn’t have enough time if I waited until Monday, so I applied for an emergency 48 hour visa (¬£250!) and sure enough, I had my passport back in my hands on Friday afternoon.

WOW! This is it guys… I am going to China. For real this time.

March 1st 2018.

I need to pack…