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Beijing 2006 - 2007

Welcome to my Beijing diary! Since I will be a genuine Beijing ren for the year I thought this would be a good way to keep you updated on life in the rapidly-changing China and to send some pictures of the changing city and those pesky middle school children I am attempting to teach English - ha ha!!

Diary Entries

Saturday, 10 February 2007

Location: Beijing, China

Okay so this diary entry is well and truly overdue – the more I put off writing it the more daunting the task ahead seems but here goes anyway …

Well I’ve now been living in Beijing for nearly 5 months and I can say with certainty that is has been 5 months of laughs, tears, adventures and struggles!!! One can not experience China without going through a sea of emotions and experiences, that is what makes the country so appealing and interesting after all! Whatever my time in China has been thus far, I certainly have no regrets about coming! I have made some really good friends and have gained some invaluable teaching experience!

Since 2005 when I was last in Beijing, the city has changed drastically! The country in general is in the midst of a massive modernisaton drive and particularly with the Olympics fast approaching the country and its people have/are becoming more and more concerned with how China will be viewed by the international community. Their previous insular outlook is being discarded as rapidly as ‘modern’ China is being constructed! It’s quite unbelievable, whole streets are being torn down in a couple of days and huge office blocks/shopping malls/apartment complexes replacing them in a week! Already since I’ve arrived a tube line has been built and extended to where I live in Chongwenmen, a whole intricate network of Hutongs (the traditional Chinese alleys and quaint little houses) behind where I live have been pulled down, the fascia of the building I live in has been pulled off and replaced and the railway bridge next to my house has been pulled down, rebuilt and renovated about four times … if there is one thing you can say about China it’s that they can not only construct things incredibly quickly (and dangerously, they build with no protective gear whatsoever) but they also manage to make work for millions of people out of nothing!!! In any industry there are always about 10 people doing the work of one person. For example on a small scale you may go to the supermarket and there will be one person to show you where a product is, a second person to suggest the best one (always interesting when you have no idea what they are saying), a third person to tell you how much it is and give you a ticket to pay for it, a fourth person who is at a cashier usually at the other end of the supermarket, a fifth person (who is sometimes the third person again but is often another person) who takes your receipt as proof of payment and gives you the product, oh and usually on the way out there is another person who checks your receipt again and stamps it so as to check there was absolutely no way you managed to fool the other five sales assistants!!! I do like the fact that nearly everybody is working and there seems to be little unemployment in Beijing itself but it is quite ingenious the way the Chinese manage to make what would be one job in London stretch to the job of ten people … and of course this makes doing anything in Beijing pretty frustrating and always an ordeal!!!

Another side effect of this huge modernisation drive is that oftentimes it feels as though you live on one huge construction sight. Everywhere around you things are being pulled down, smashed to pieces and ripped from the foundations. In fact as I write this diary entry my bedroom door is being taken off at the hinges and a newer (in my mind uglier) one that can be opened electronically is being put in place of the reasonably good door that stood there when I left for work this morning!!! If there’s one thing Beijing’s not, it’s quiet!!! But this is not necessarily a negative thing about the city. Beijing has a certain vibrancy about it that makes it an exciting place and you definitely feel that you are in China at an important juncture in its history. These important historical changes can be detected perhaps most aptly by its changing architecture. On nearly every Beijing street you will see magnificent traditional Chinese buildings left over from the days of the Ming and Qing dynasties, mixed with huge, concrete government buildings from the days of Mao. These are now interspersed with steel and glass monstrosities being erected in an attempt to show the world that China too can be a genuine contender in the modern world. For tourists and ex-pats alike this is sometimes a sad sight and you will hear many Westerners moaning about how it is just not the same China it was 5 or 10 years ago (after all we want to see the quaint little China we saw in history books, right???) but to the Chinese these monumental steps towards being a modern nation are not only essential for China to take but also ones that most Chinese are ready and excited about taking – and who are we to judge, right?

I suppose another important step China has taken towards becoming a force to be reckoned with within the international community is to encourage as many Chinese citizens as possible to learn English! This is a step that certainly Beijingers take quite seriously. Nearly every Beijing taxi driver now has a book with key English phrases in his/her glove compartment (the fact that they have no clue what to do with it or what any of it means is beside the point!!!), Chinese and English sign posts are being erected everywhere around the city and the National History Museum now has some half-decent English translations (which I was personally pleased to discover after my last trip, when I was highly disappointed to find a whole, incredibly interesting history explained only in Chinese characters). Don’t be fooled though, the fact that there has been a concerted effort by the government to encourage people to learn English does not mean that most Beijingers’ English extends beyond “hello”, which they often shout at you as you walk, cycle or drive past them. All it means is that taxi rides can now be quite amusing as you comically and always theatrically go through the “Essential Taxi English” guide with you driver and that whenever you meet any Chinese people they all want you to be their new English teacher … I have about 2 dozen numbers of random Chinese people I have met and often drunkenly agreed “I teach you English, you teach me Chinese, yes?” (oh and just as a side point, it seems to be a fact that becoming a TEFL teacher abroad means that your English actually becomes worse and you revert to speaking like your students or what is fondly named in China as ‘Chinglish’).
I suppose this is where I should talk about life as a lowly TEFL teacher in China but I have managed to go off on a rant about China’s changing architecture for about two days and us poor (he he) TEFL teachers are just about to embark on a much needed trip out of China and are going to the Philippines so I will leave you with this for now and I will finish the rest of my diary when I return and I promise to actually write about something that might actually be of interest to you all.

Bye Bye xxx

Sunday, 23 October 2005

Location: Delhi, India

Okay guys this is it ... after this one I will well and truly be signing off from Planetranger and sadly leaving behind all the adventures I have tediously relayed to you all over the last six months!!! Unfortunately in just over a week I too will be stuck behind a desk staring at a computer occasionally brightening up my days by re-reading my diary entries and reminicsing about jumping out of planes and climbing mountains ... okay before I make myself well and truly depressed I will give you a brief update on India (I know sounds impossible right?!)

Okay so we have now been in the India for almost a month and we will be leaving this amazing but crazy country in two days ... so like you Zoe we too have been having quite a few lasts of late. For instance we have had our last overnight train journey two days ago(thank god), our last check-in (usually into shabby guesthouses so again, thank god!), our second to last Indian meal (this would not have been thank god until Tara and I both got food poisoning from some mint sauce that hadn't seen a fridge in a few days ... I know it wasn't curry but I got to see a lot of the Indian I ate that evening in quite a horrid manner so associations and all ...), our last day of cheap shopping ... okay you get the picture! It's really quite sureal to think that in a couple of days we will all be back in miserable blighty and that a whole six months will have passed in which I have seen and done some amazing things ... oh and of course met some really cool peeps! I was just thinking the other day that we will have seen three out of the seven great wonders of the world on this trip (the Great Wall of China, Angkor Wat and the Taj Mahal) ... how cool is that!!! When I think of all the things we have seen and done it is then that I realise how lucky we've been to have come and done these things and I shouldn't complain that I have to come home, especially as we have met so many young Asian people who found it incomprehensible that someone could go away for that long and visit that many countries, many of them have never even left their own city/town let alone their country! Anyway ... back to India I realise you don't want to hear the inner thoughts of Nancy, get to the real stuff woman!!!

So I really will keep this one brief cos I will be home soon and I can tell you stuff in more detail when I see you all ... this is just a quickie in case anyone reads it before I get home and for those of you we have met along the way who 'claim' to read our webpages ... you know who you are!!!

So we have well and truly done a whistle stop tour of this massive country ... and boy what an enormous feat it was!!! We started in the South where we visited Mumbai (and for those I haven't told already (I know there's not many!) we made our debut into the film industry there... huh um, Bollywood extras I'll have you know!), Vagatore and Palolem in Goa (beautiful beach resorts), Hampi and Jog Falls in Karnataka and Cochin and the backwaters in Kerala ... I know I'm exhausted just writing all that!!! Yep, we did over do it I have to say and I think after five months of travelling in Asia (those of you who know ... it's not always the simplest of things!) it was probably a bit over ambitious to try and see so many places in such a short amount of time! But hey we still saw some amazing things and the few days on the beach in Goa were very much appreciated! By far my favourite place in the South was Hampi. It is a beautiful, dusty (as much of India is) little town that was once the grand seat of the famed Vijayangara empire. Although it was devastatingly destroyed by Moghul invaders in the 14th Century the town still contains an amazing charm and the splendid remains of palaces, temples (which are still active - thousands of Hindu devotees visit them every year) and gateways are really mind blowing. I have to say (probably to much disagreement) that I found Hampi much more enchanting than Angkor Wat, which although magnificantly grand, lacked the charm and sense of spiritualness that Hampi naturally oozed! Angkor Wat, for me, was too much of a tourist attraction, which therefore made it hard to envision the old active empire it used to be. The people and city of Hampi was still very much entwined with the ruins of the old empire and that is what made it so special ... however, it has only recently been recoginsed as a world heritage sight by UNESCO so I'm sure things will change there quite drastically in a few years. Also at the moment it is not that easy to get to and there are not any posh hotels so it is not quite catering the rich, two-week holiday type tourists yet ... in fact when we walked around the ruins we didn't see one other western tourists, which was very nice and very unusual for tourist attractions in Asia!

We also had a really nice time in Kerala, where the way of life is very relaxed and easy going making it quite different to most of India. In fact as the only state in India to independently elect a communist party there is a distinct difference in the Keralan way of life. Homelessness and unemployment is still significantly lower than other states in the South and education for both men and women is marginally higher ... in all this leads to a less competitive, and therefore often aggressive, character in Kerala making backpackers' time there generally stress free and much more enjoyable. The state is very green and lush - palm trees absolutley cover the whole state - and the backwaters give it an added beauty as boats slowly meander along them all day with fisherman, tradesmen and quite often tourists. I do have to say though that backwaters in no way compare to the Mekong Delta ... I can't really tell you why but the Mekong had something special about it!

Just a quick tip for any of you venturing into South India at any time soon ... unless you are interested in seeing a mediocre waterfall, scattered with monkeys that chase you if you growl at them and which is only reachable by a number of horrible bus journeys give Jog Falls a miss!!!

Okay so after just over two weeks in South India we ventured up to the North ... absolutely knackered and heads full of horror stories about Delhi belly and unwanted male attention. I have to carify that on most counts the horror stories are absolute nonsense and just make a good story for a 'hardened' backpacker to recount. Until now (and I don't feel too much that I am tempting fate as I only have one whole day left here!) we have only encountered one over friendly kiss goodbye, a few invasions of personal space and a couple of spine-chilling stares! We are quite good at avoiding eye-contact now though and are not too put out of shape by constant staring and the occasional wondering hand as you brush pass somebody ... oh the joys of backpacking!!!

Anyway, in the North we had set ourselves a bit more of a realistic itinerary ... Delhi, Agra (the Taj Mahal), Udaipur and Jaipur. We haven't been to the Taj yet but I think this will remain the same even after we have seen it ... hands down my favourite place in the North was Udaipur. It is an absoultely beautiful place (I know I say that a lot ... oh god I'm starting to sound like a certain person ... beeeautiful!!!) but really the Lonely Planet is not wrong when it says it is one of the most romantic places in the world! It is a city (although it avoids all the hustle and bustle that dominates all of India's main cities) that is set around 5 lakes and is surrounded by mountains. The main lake is the artificial Pichola lake that has at it's centre Lake Palace and other such intricate buildings, at it's borders beautiful old white buildings, and as it's backdrop tumbling green hills and mountains. It was really nice to just sit on one of Udaipur's numerous roof terraces enjoying the stunning surroundings and listening to the washer people below who slap colourful clothes against the lakes shore all day while their children splash around and swim in the lake itself ... really it is like a dream place and the perfect place to recuperate after a few days of hectic travelling! We also met a guy who my mum had met when she went to India who lived in Udaipur and he showed us some of the less toursity parts of Udaipur (particulalry the surrounding countryside and villages) and this was really special ... when he told us he felt very happy and privileged that he lived in Udaipur he wasn't wrong ... also he was an artist so lots of inspiration there that's for sure!!!

Jaipur was a horrible place where we got hassled unbelievably and got sick so there's not much to say there really. Delhi is pretty cool and although mental I quite enjoy the buzz here ... like much of India if you can get pass the fact that lots of the country is used as a public toilet, a public dustbin and a public farm you can start to really enjoy it and you begin to see all the colours, smells and sights that make this country so fascinating and enjoyable!

Off to see my third wonder of the world tomorrow ... won't be saying that again in a while ...

Cheers for listening!


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Recent Messages

From Debbie
Once again you have blown me away with your beautiful photos! I now have a file on my computer called scenery - largely comprising photos from your travels and I use them as wallpaper on my computer when I need to chill out. Marley informed me [rather glumly] last night that you are now not coming home until the 23rd of October. This may co-incide with half term and your mum may therefore be able to pick you up, but the offer still stands and I will liaise with her about it nearer the time. I can't see how you could ever do a desk job after this, and I think you will have to go into teaching or some sort of support/ social work in order to get enough fulfillment out of life. [You can take the woman out of recruitment consultancy but you can take the recruitment consultant out of the woman!] - Sorry!!
I met your mum again on Sunday - I've started a little side line in selling pure Aloe Vera products and she came over to buy some stuff before her trip to Portugal today. She is well but missing you [as are we all!]
Keep taking the photos and making the diary entries.
All my love to you and the others, stay safe Debbie xxxxx
Response: Hi Debbie - I'm glad some of my pictures can provide a little bit of serenity to what sounds like your otherwise hectic life - a full time job and a sideline business!!! My mum tells me that you are also looking great at the moment and that I won't be able to recognise you when I get back, it's amazing how much weight you've lost! Thanks for the offer of a lift but I think I'll be getting back at the weekend so even if it's not half term my mum should be able to pick me up! Take care and keep in touch xxx
From Megan
Hi Nanc,
Me and mum have just been looking at all ur pics looks like ur having a great time!!Really envious of u!!Hopefully next year ill be doin some of these things although im not sure if im as brave as u and i really didnt like the look of that spider in aus!!Have a brilliant rest of ur travels and keep puttin more pics up me n mum had great fun looking at them lots of love XXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Response: Hey Megs good to hear from you! How's uni going? I'm glad your checking out the website, some of the pictures are quite funny! What's you plans for travels then, you should def go, it's the best thing I've ever done, although it does make going back to England and work a lot harder! Keep in touch and send my love to your mum and Tessa for me. LOL xxx
From Lynda
Hi there hun, WOW!! Seems like yr having the time of your life. Good news on you joining the team again soon although it is a lot smaller than when you left. Good news is were thinking of doing another christmas trip so we can make up for you missing the last one. Stay safe and have fun!! LOL Lynda x
Response: Hiya Lynda - it's good to hear from you and I'm looking forward to working with you guys again, especially now you may be doing another Christmas trip!!! Say hi to everyone for me xxx
From Laura
Hi Nancy,

You sound like you are having such a fantastic time- I'm not sure I could have done half the things you have!! I mailed you, but I'm guessing you've been far too busy flinging youself off of bridges and fighting monkeys to have time to mail back!!! The photos are really cool- keep them coming!! I'm doing my best to keep Marley outta trouble and have even got him applying for jobs too!!!

Keep having a great time, miss you loads,

Laura xxxxxxx
Response: Hi babe - sorry I haven't emailed back till now but I'm sorry I'm crap! Hope you are well and keep in contact I will write back this time, I promise! xxx
From Anna
Hi babe

Well thats two of my old mates that have both travelled the world this year Lucy is currently in Sydney!

The pics are wonderful and I have been reading every week your stories are very interesting the monkey ones made me laugh so hard everyone in the office was wondering what had caused me to laugh like a hyena.

The bombs were scray especially as my office is right round the corner and my bus goes to Russell Square eeek but thankfully I was on the tube that day and walked from Green Park.

Keep safe babe and enjoy xxxxx
Response: Hi babe - glad to hear you are safe, as I said it was pretty surreal to hear the news of the bombs when so far away but it seems everyone is safe! Glad to hear you have been checking into my we page and I'm glad to hear they gave you a bit of a giggle! Keep in touch x
From Debbie
Wow Nancy!
the china photos are amazing -really stunning views. You all sound very brave to have even run away screaming from the monkeys - I'm sure I would have just cowered!!
We are all really missing you and envying you.
You won't recognise me when you come back I have now lost more than 5 stone - and still going! in 21 weeks.
I thought you were coming home in august but Marley tells me it's september, so plenty more chances to make us all jealous as hell!!
Love and best wishes to all of you
Debbie xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Response: Hi Debbie - wow, I can't believe you have lost so much weight that's amazing! I'll keep the stories posted and try no to make you all too green with envy! Keep in touch x
From Dare's
Hi, The pictures look really great we enjoyed looking at them. We are all thinking of you, Looking forward to the next diary and will see you soon. Freya, Louis and Lynda
Response: Hiya - lovely to hear from you all again! I hope you are all well and looking forward to the summer holidays! I'm looking forward to seeing you all again when I get back to Blighty. I have lots more pictures to bore you with (I bet you all can't wait!) Lots of love x
From marketa
hello my love, just wanted to write a quick hello letting you know that even though i havent been writing anything doesnt mean that i havent been reading about your adventures. I glad to hear that you have been having a wonderful and definately interesting time. hope all your family and friends are doing ok over there in london. Love and miss you tons.
XXX
Response: Hi my love - so happy to hear from you, I REALLY MISS YOU GUYS! Everyone seems to be fine in London but it has been a bit of a shock hearing such bad news when we are so far away from home! Thanks for the concern tho babe! Keep in touch, love you lots x
From Nat
Nancy,

Great monkey stories.........they must make you laugh in hindsight?!

Love the piccies - keep them coming.

N x

p.s. when you get back i'll have relocated back up north where I belong!
Response: Where are you moving to? And with who???

Monkey stories definitely make us chuckle now we're safely in the city! Apparently we will have lots more to contend with when we get to India ... joy oh joy! Love ya babe and keep in contact x
From Sophie
so where abouts are you now? want to see some pics of China, it sounds amazing!Turkey was really great, although it just wasn't the same without the usual crew- there were no kunana,WHAT!s or tales of babycakes to report on this holiday!(although there were plenty of spinning pigeons!) xxxxx
Response: I've got some piccies for yoi now babe! Hope all is good in London, thinking of you all ... xxxx
From Ian
China already! Have you been spat on alot? Make sure you take notes - I have my eyes set on China. More pics please!!
Response: Hiya mate - yep still in China, you know how it is you kinda get stuck in these places! China is really cool though and we are having a fab time, spitting becoming second nature now, god knows how London is going to take our uncouth ways when we return!!
From uncle petey
China sounds wonderfully interesting - don't like the sound of the pollution though. Reminds me of twenty years ago in Bangkok, where I thought I was going to suffocate - to the point where I had to bang on a shopkeepers door to let me in so I could actually breathe. The shop was shut, but could see the guy inside. You literally couldn't see across the street in those days. Never been to China - always found it a bit scary. We were all Marxist-Leninists in the sixties- not Maoists. The Maoists were the weirdoh's.
I bet the new book on Mao (your Mum's reading it, while I wait for the paperback) is not available in Beijing bookshops - though I heard some rumours that there are plans afoot in China to finally admit the guy goy it as sadly wrong as we all know he did. Like Kruschchev did to Stalin.

You missed a great concert in Hyde Park yesterday (or maybe you didn't and they relayed it to Beijing) Pink Floyd (all 4), the Who (Who's left? only 2) -can you believe it? The old geezers really showed 'em how to rock. Brought it all back. Enlightened musically if somewhat ideologically misguided. Imagine Madonna singing for the poor! Makes you laff.

Keep on rolling.

Love

WUP and Mara


Response: Hiya Pete - you're right China is certainly fascinating and it seems to get more so everyday! However, the authoritarian grip that is still held in China is not so apparent to the wandering Laowai, I imagine this is not the case for the Chinese! We had our first real taste of China's present day Red Guards when we were drinking tea in one of China's traditional little side alleys - a number of scary looking officials entered the shops and homes of all the local Chinese in this area demanding paper work regarding permits, sanitary conditions etc. We were with a Chinese guy who could speak English and he told us that they were government officials who visited this street everyday to give the locals trouble. The street had recently been bought by a huge estate company who were going to knock down the street and replace it with modern high rises ... all in the name of modernisation hey?! (not sure what Marx or Lenin would have thought about this!) The tactic seemed to be give the locals shit until they are scared into relocating, as for compensation the guy we were talking to couldn't answer this, worrying as it was his home and teahouse that were in the plans for 'modernisation'!

Hope you're all well, send my love to Mara, Jed, Clare and the babies xxx
From Nat
Hey Nanc,

Survive the overnight train?! It sounds like you're absorbing all the history and culture in China..........so very jealous! The heat might be unbearable but to make you happier our heat wave has been replaced by thunder & lightening - great!
Look after yourselves
Miss you,
Nat
Response: Shame bout the weather babe but to be honest thunder and lightening sounds really nice bout now! Hope you and Ali are both well, miss you x
From Sophie
Ok- still jealous but we've got a heatwave at the mo so have finally been able to spend a few days sunning myself on the bowling green (without the fear of huntsmen or dingos)!!Me and spro are off to Turkey on Friday- yeah!!!! xxx
Response: Turkey sounds cool, will definitely be thinking of you guys - Croatia memories still living strong x
From Ian
Hi Nancy

Sophie told me about you piccies - looks like your having fun.

enjoy
Response: Hiya mate - got the idea for the website when I saw yours. How's Milton treating you?
From Lizzie
Hey pants,

amazing photos!! Im loving those of the mountain trekking! Though the photos of the partaying made me jealous as hell- wish i could share a sweet bottle of amarettoa and have a day kicking back out in Nimbin. Bit of a different scene from tanks and minefields!

Anyway keep the tales coming,
miss you and love you as always,

Lizzie XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
From Nat
Looking at the photos makes me even more jealous!
Should have warned you about Surfer's P.......me and J weren't exactly impressed by it - you have to get drunk and get on with it!
Hope you liked Noosa - one of my favourites - v chilled - you get to see any dolphins?
Love N xx

p.s. v impressed you stayed on a board long enough for a pic to be taken!
Response: Didn't see the Dolphins unfortunately don't think I will now cos am in cairns, did just spend the last two nights in a rainforest will be happy not to see wildlife for a little while - it was a very hairy experience! Cairns seems pretty simialr to Surfers ... joy oh joy!
From uncle petey
Hi Nance,

Just been looking at your supercool website blog thing. Really looked cool - especially the glacier ha! ha1!

We are at Harriett's loking at your piccies with Alice. Definately far out piccies. Wish we were there too. NZ looks great - apart from the bungie jumping - which alawys struck me as mindless stupidity anyway - bunch of people hanging aroung high bridges in rubber - tossing each other off. Don't do it. Never trust latex.

Anyway - mum says you're off to China. Don't hang around there too long or you may "come back all slitty-eyed" (The Duke of Edinburgh said that - not me!(Edinburgh 2001).
Anyway, all you need to do now is to learn how to spell definitely, and you'll be a famous travel writer.

Lots of love

UP





Response: Sorry Pete actually just signed up for the latex and tossing myself off a bridge! thing! Figured I couldn't do it when I got wrinkly - but am petrified! Will work on spelling, promise! Good to hear from you, hope Mara is well. Keep in touch x
From Jane
Hi Nancy
Really good to see you're having such a fantastic time. It looks brilliant and Molly can't wait to set off on her gap year. Barney is now coming back in August (or so he says) but is trying to spin it out as long as possible – I'm not sure I would have made it further than Byron Bay! Our news by comparison seems very dull. The normal round of work, exams and wall-to-wall estate agents' details. But we had some sunshine yesterday! We all send you lots of love and can't wait to see you when you return.
XXXX
Response: Molly will have a fantastic time - I'm already dreading coming home! Barney and I have not managed to cross pathe yet but hopefull we will meet up in Thailand, I think he has left Aus now! Nimbin definitely took a while to recover from. Hope you're are all well, send my love to Molly and Tom x
From Ben
Hi Nancy

Sounds like you're having a brilliant time. You won't want to come back.

Best wishes

Ben
From Sophie
Check you out surfer girl!! Another new skill to add to your cv! Have fun on Fraser Island and keep the updates and pics coming. Love you lots-Sxxx
Response: Cool ha! I thought you guys might appreciate the pics - now I know what I'm doing I promise to add more. Love you lots x
From Debbie
Hi Nancy, Wow! surfer dude! I'm soooo impressed!

I have a fab new job - started last monday. Maybe things will start going right for me now.
[fingers crossed!]
Missing you loads. xxxxx
Response: Looks quite impressive doesn't it? It was a lot easier than I thought! Really pleased about the job, good luck with it all x
From Nat
so unbelievably jealous!

caught up with pebs, spro & jac yesterday over a drink (well a few drinks) - not as exciting as your stories but fun nonetheless!
looking for a new job - want to regain a social life!

love you loads babe - keep having a ball,

nxx
Response: Hey Nat good to hear from you - I really miss my girlies it would be great if you were all here! Have a drink for me when you're all together next! Love ya x
From Louis
Hi Nancy, Your trip sound really exciting. I am sooo busy at the moment with my students final assessment I wish I could jump on a plane and forget it all ! Take care. Lou
Response: Hi Louis - great to hear from you! Hope work isn't too stressful, I'm sure I'll be there myself in a few months - aghhhhh! If you do ever wanna jump on a plane let me know x
From Freya
Hi Nancy, looks like your having a brill time in NZ, can't wait to hear about your sky dive and fujian dancing next time I see you. I hope that the rest of your hols is brill. Love you loads Frey's
Response: Hi Frey - I promise I'll teach you all the dancing when I get back - you would have loved it! Hope your dancing is going well still and school is good. Love you lots x