Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Final Chapter

I'm way behind in writing this final chapter of our China blog since have already been back in Canada for a month and 1/2. Yes, we are back to stay this time. Carole may go back for some shorter stints of maximum one month but I won't be going back as I will (hopefully) be working full-time again soon.

Anyway, back to November, after I finished my mountain moto tour and Carole got back from teaching Phase 1 in Canada, we still had 2 months in China. Here is a short snapshot of those last 2 months.

One of the major tourists sites that we had not yet seen was the Temple of Heaven, so off we went to Beijing one weekend to see it. Here's one view:

And there were even a couple of hobbit doors. They certainly weren't the nicest we've seen,  but even basic hobbit doors like this I love:

Back at work, one of the things we've been doing is corporate team-building. Here is a small company from WuYunShan (near the Shaolin Temple) that had a fun team-building day with us:

And here is some the staff of the House of I (the company we worked for in China) posing after a teambuilding activity we led:

Somewhere around the first week in December (when the temperature was still a bit above 0) I packed up my motorcycle with all the associated spare parts and supplies so I could drive it in to Beijing where a friend will store it for me and sell it in the spring. I was surprised to see how much associated stuff there was once it was all strapped on. Goodbye Bike!

The following weekend we took a trip to Tianjin which a another huge city just a 1/2 hour away from Beijing by bullet train. We stayed the first night in Beijing. Just another day in the city, maybe a tad more polluted than average, but not at all unusual:

The train to Tianjin was fun. Since it's only a 1/2 hour ride, the upgrade to Business Class was not that expensive, so we tried it out:

Once it Tianjin, we ran into Bugs Bunny on a bridge greeting everyone who passed. Mickey Mouse was on the other side of the bridge:

This has got to be the cutest electric trike we ever saw:

Tianjin is an interesting mix of ancient China, Colonial European architecture, and ultra modern:

And they have lovely hobbit doors:

We outfitted our house with some Christmas lights. These we actually bought last year in Cambodia and lit them up for the first time this season. They are so lovely we'd have liked to bring them home to Canada - but they are 240V and won't work in here:

The Canadian Leaders here hosted a Christmas party for the preschool kids:

Complete with Gingerbread house decorating:

Christmas day is pretty much a non-event in China, so we had a quiet day with a friend who came all the way from Beijing to visit us.

And then it was time to leave. Jan 5 we had all our luggage packed and ready to go:

And on the very same day, at almost the same hour as we departed,  we arrived in Canada:

We then made a short trip to Kitimat for Mum's 80th birthday party. It's not often we all get together in the same place at the same time:

Back row: Mitch, Tim, Trevor, Barb, Bill, Carole
Middle row: Susanne, Katie, Kathy, Vi, Tien
Front Row: Landon, Jacob, Mum, Skyla

We moved from our temporary studio in Nanaimo into a temporary house in Victoria where we will focus our job search efforts. It is a beautiful waterfront house that we have use of for 3 months. Here's the view from our window:

And now we are on to a new adventure - job hunting. I have a some anxiety about this as many employers don't want to hire 57 year old employees even if I am the best fit for the job. Also it seems having just returned from China isn't helping. One of the jobs I applied for is with a company who contracts to the federal government. To qualify for this job I have to pass a security clearance. I thought it was no big deal as I had this same security clearance before I left for China. But, the company called me for an interview and in their pre-screening, asked me if I had lived outside the country within the last 5 years. Well I found out that I am now ineligible for any government job or any job with companies who contract for the government. And Victoria is a government city so it really does limit my opportunities. (if I had lived in the US or a Commonwealth country it would have been OK, but not China.)  So, let me know if you hear of a good job for a systems administrator or network technician, especially in the Victoria area.  Here is my new job search optimised website: