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Monday, June 04th, 2012 | Author:


To all my lovely students at Wuyi University,

First I want to say thank you to all of you for giving me a wonderful two years in Wuyishan. I’ve really enjoyed teaching you. It’s been a very fulfilling experience for me to see many of you become more confident and relaxed about speaking English with a foreigner, and I hope you’ll continue speaking whenever you bump into any backpackers or visitors in China. I will miss you all very much, but at least I am leaving here with some great memories and, I hope, some lifelong friends.

I’ve had so many good times here at Wuyi University. Some of the things that will always stick in my memory include coming home on Friday nights from English Corner and hearing, from down on the ground, my daughters laughing on the 5th floor of our apartment building because they’re having so much fun with their babysitters (so thanks Jean, Ruby, Irene, Alier, Stella, Vera, Niki, Dawn, Vicky, Shakira, Tyler, Avril and all the other students who have looked after our daughters at various times over the years, and sorry to those who I haven’t named here!).

I will also remember the class parties and crazy games you made up for us to play…  the birthday visit to KTV with Ben, Ruby and Irene and our horse riding trip in Sichuan…  trips to Xiamei village with Alier and Sally…  hiking up Tian You Feng with Mavis and Sunny…  sitting outside Building 1 on a beautiful sunny day and singing Pengyou with Class 2…  sharing tissues with Stella and Kathy while crying over Titanic 3-D at the local cinema…  being guests in Jean and Butterfly’s family’s homes during the Spring Festival celebrations…  celebrating Christmas 2011 with tens of students in our home…  talking with my research/writing classes about foot binding in the old China and superhero movies in modern America…  watching Crystal endure almost 10 hours online and on the phone trying to book our flights back to Australia…  eating snacks Fanny and others brought back for us from your hometowns after various holidays…  and many, many other things.

So all in all, the best thing about my time in Wuyishan was not the fresh air, gorgeous mountains and beautiful scenery, but you — my students. I wish all of you the best of luck in the future and hope all your dreams come true. And if any of you ever come to Xiamen or in later years Australia, please look me up. I’d love to welcome you and guide you around and catch up with you. In the meantime, it’s goodbye for now, but hopefully not forever!

With love from your English teacher,


Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 | Author:


How cool is my Nana! 86 years old and still globetrotting!

We recently had a visit from Nana, my aunt Alison and her husband Robin. In fact, my intrepid Nana celebrated her 86th birthday here in Wuyishan. After a month of rain, the weather cleared a little during their stay. So we were lucky enough to get to see the ancent village of Xiamei and some of Wuyishan’s gorgeous scenic spots, such as Tian You Feng (Heavenly Tour Peak), Yu Nu Feng, and the Da Hong Pao tea plants. I also took Nana, Alison and Robin to a local teahouse with a beautiful, traditional interior decorated with wood carvings, calligraphy and calligraphy tools. And they were kind enough to come to some of my classes, where they enjoyed superstar status for a day and posed for countless pictures with my wonderful students.

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Wednesday, February 08th, 2012 | Author:


The Chinese really know how to celebrate. On the 7th February we went into town to join in the Lantern Festival festivities. Wuyishan town centre was packed despite the rain and cold. The endless racket of the fireworks made it sound like WW3 had broken out. But the atmosphere was magical: strings of lanterns glowing in the darkness, periodic rose and green flashes from the fireworks, happy smiling faces everywhere…

Wednesday, January 04th, 2012 | Author:


We had a wonderful Christmas Day. About 30 students and teachers, foreign and Chinese, gathered in our house to open presents and drink rice wine and eat a roast Lazar cooked in our tiny portable oven. Boxing Day we headed to Shanghai. Now, after 16 months away, we’re back in Australia. It was all a little confusing for Aria at first. She keeps asking when we’re going home. But what she means by ‘home’ varies between our old house here in Sydney and our apartment in Wuyishan. She’s spent almost half her life in China but still remembers the house she lived in for the first two years of her life.

Australia looks to me impossibly clean. So nice not to see piles of rubbish everywhere. But I’m missing our friends in China and especially Chinese food.

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Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 | Author:


Last week the university hosted a visit from 60 or so foreign teachers from all around Fujian province. Together we all went bamboo rafting down the Nine Twists Stream and visited the girls’ preschool to view a tea ceremony performed by kids. It was a little nerve-wracking watching 4 and 5 year olds handle kettles and boiling water by themselves, but they managed to make the tea without injuring themselves. And they looked so cute while doing so!