Posts Tagged achievements

Why I’m happy Obama will be president in a few hours from now

Wow. Kinda feeling ecstatic tonight. Been reading the news about the US election, and getting very excited.

Whilst having Obama as president doesn’t necessarily mean huge changes for the better in US policy (such the entire defence budget being redirected towards peaceful solutions / humanitarian projects / environmental protection), it does give me hope.

For me, it’s not the political aspect of the US elections that excites me, it’s the human aspect. I admit to knowing nothing about US politics. I don’t know the difference between the republicans and the democrats – I couldn’t even tell you which George Bush is. That’s how interested in US politics I am.

But I do know that John McCain tends to go on about the war. And he’s 72. And if he dies in office, Palin would be president – how scary is that?!

So why do I want Obama to be president? For one thing, he’s inspiring. Have you heard him speak? He’s a fantastic motivational speaker. He knows how to tell stories. He knows how to engage with his audience. How to get them on board. How to get them laughing with him – as opposed to at him.

I’m genuinely inspired by Obama to be all that I can be. He proves that if you’re a decent person, if you have passion and belief, and if you try hard enough, if you never give up, you can achieve the ‘impossible’, regardless of what social norms suggest.

We need people like him in the headlines.

Oh, and did you know, he’s good news for tourism in Japan too?

I’m also excited by the buzz. Check out what’s happening on Twitter!

(I was shocked when I saw that McCain’s campaign crewhaven’t updated his Twitter status for almost ten days. Mind you, he only had about 5000 followers. Incidentally, Obama, with 114,143, is the world’s No.1 Twitterer in terms of followers- i wonder if he has it update his Facebook status too?)

We need a US president who knows how to update their Twitter status, and make use of the new media in general.

I’m also attracted by his efforts to not conduct negative campaigning (although I am aware that a significant proportion of his adverts have included some negativity). Positive is the way forward. Yay positivity!


I’m buzzing for other reasons too. Tonight I was contacted by the editor of a pretend magazine in Australia, and asked to write another story for them. I say ‘pretend’ because it’s only sent to about 7000 members of a penpal organisation – it’s not available in the shops. Nonetheless, I love having my stories published – this will be the sixth in a series; I think I’ll write about last year’s trip halfway around the world in 28 days.

I’ve also just taken delivery of my first ever set of professionally printed postcards, thus realising a dream I have had for some 15 years. These aren’t for retail purposes though – I got a batch of 60 as a trial, to see how my photos look in postcard format. Perhaps I’m biased, but I like them a lot.

Actually, I’m thrilled!

This encourages me to move forward with ‘doing’ something with some of my better shots. I know I’m no professional, and in fact it’s no dream of mine to become a professional either. Professional photography is tough, and I think the pressures involved rob the photographer of the freedom to shoot as they please, as amateurs can.

Nonetheless, I’m thinking that perhaps these images can play an important role in helping us achieve one of our goals: the establishment of a perpetual charitable fund. I could decide that any profits derived from the sale of any of my photographic products be placed in a bank account that we set aside for such a charity.

Hhmm, I like that idea. Yeah, i like it a lot. Mmm, it feels like the missing link. This gives me a real reason to pursue my photography. Makes it into a worthy cause, over and above making me (and possibly others) happy.

I like the idea of having multiple revenue streams. This can be one that is specifically for charity, complimenting our full time incomes, our monthly Amway income, teaching work, advertising on TGW, and ad-hoc translation jobs.

Then there’s ThreeSeeds too, our online publishing company. The website is all there, ready to go, but has been neglected in the face of the big changes that all three of us partners have experienced over the past few months. Must do something with that. Ha… if only I felt able to make the time for it!

Anyway, it’s late, and I must sleep. Up at 7am for the first of the week’s three jogs! Then work, and then I think in the evening we’re being taught Moroccan style cooking by a pro chef – perhaps I can extend my repertoire so that it goes beyond Wok Bread, miso soup and banana cake!

I look forward to reading the headlines in the morning :-)

[EDIT: Ok, so I know who are Democrats and who are Republicans now. And I’m delighted to see that we now have a President Obama :-)  ]

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Date set for departure for a new life

This morning I decided to have faith in the international postal service and the Japanese embassy in London, and buy my flight to Japan, despite not having yet applied for my visa, or having yet received the documents I need from Japan to apply for it.

Having been granted student status again I was able to benefit from STA travel’s ‘Blue flights” – £382 to Tokyo, direct with British Airways. I’ll be leaving on the 4th of September from Heathrow’s Terminal 5.

The documents (Japanese family register, *Twinkle*s certificate of residency, copy of her passport including all UK entry/exit stamps and letter of guarantee from her) are scheduled to arrive by EMS on Tuesday. Provided they do turn up then, I can go down to London on Wednesday (Wednesday being the only day i can really take off from CELTA due to it being the only day that we don’t teach on), if everything’s in order I should then (hopefully) receive the visa by the 28th of August, about a week prior to departure.

I will have achieved my goal of getting back into Japan on a long-term visa. It will have taken me five years and cost me in excess of £20,000 (US$40k) – but it will have been worth it. I mean, come on, I get to spend the rest of my life with *Twinkle*. Who wouldn’t invest that amount in order to be able to do that?

Hmm. So that means that in three weeks from now, I’ll be with my *Twinkle* in our flat in central Tokyo, at the start of a long and happy life together. It seems somewhat unreal. We’ve never been in that situation before. Up until now we’ve always been on ‘one year contracts’ – not just in terms of housing, but in terms of how our entire relationship is structured. This will be different. There will be no enforced changes to act as a safety valve. I’m going to have to start working harder on our relationship than ever before. I want it to be the most rewarding relationship it could possibly be, for both of us. I’m also going to have to work harder in a job than I have for many years in order to pay back the debts we have. I think I’m going to be very busy.

Anyway, my eyes are tired, and I want to go to sleep dreaming of what it will be like living with *Twinkle*.

night
xxx

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A CELTA weekend, and Family Planning

So this is what a CELTA weekend is like then: study, study and more study (and a very enjoyable 3-hour trip out to the Peak District to see friends – thank you!)

It’s been fun though. You know, I think I’m actually starting to get my head around English grammatical terms, after 30 years of being frightened of them (yep, right from birth). Did you know that a preposition is a word (or group of words) that is used to show the way in which other words are connected? I didn’t.

Spent a good few hours on my first assignment too – language analysis. I find it strangely interesting.

Today I’m creating my lesson plan for tomorrow afternoon, a 40-minute class teaching listening skills. My theme: “Mysteries of Everyday Life”. Looking forward to it. :-)

Joseph and Twinkle do purikura

Spent a while on the phone to my darling in Tokyo today. Crikey I think I’m rather in love with her. Anyway anyway, we’ve set aside a weekend soon after my arrival to make some life plans / family plans together. What we would like to achieve in life both individually and as a family, when we’d like to have children (being conceived in Paris so I’m told), that sort of thing. Once that’s done we’ll look at what we need in order to accomplish those goals, how we need to improve (or bring in outside help) to achieve them.

Of course we’ve both done this as individuals several times over the past couple of years, but this will be our first family plan as such. It’s very exciting!

Caw blimey, I’m going to be living with my cutey by a big pond ten mins from Shibuya in four weeks!

I love life.

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Graduation photos

Live from the Little Chef on the M6 heading south from Sheffield… some shots from today’s graduation ceremony.

Well done all of us. Thanks Sheffield!

seas on the steps_9125

joseph graduation ceremony_9102

joseph and twinkle graduation_9119

joseph anne peter twinkle_9148

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CILASS for Students website (private launch)

This mumble features a fair bit of bathing in my own glory (so no change there then).

I’m delighted to say that the CILASS for Students website is complete. It won’t be officially launched until the next academic year, but I won’t be around then, so I thought I’d quietly launch it to my friends now …as I made it :-)

http://cilass-students.group.shef.ac.uk/

The aim of the student-targeted site is to promote an understanding of and engagement in Inquiry-based Learning, raise
awareness of the work that CILASS does, and provide an opportunity for the amazing Student Ambassadors to tell the world about the incredible things that they do.

It’s based upon an original site created last autumn by all of the CILASS Student Ambassadors, with further input from the CILASS core team. Being an ‘official’ university site, last year’s attempt to communicate with students was severely limited by the uni’s CMS (Content Management System) which basically guarantees that even the most exciting of ideas end up looking about as interesting as a pile of rotting onion skins. Here’s the most exciting page on the university website :-p

I think it was around March when I proposed that we do our own thing. Take it out of the university template. Create our own site from scratch. I wasn’t really imagining that I’d end up creating a 50-page site. Bloomin’ crazy idea if you ask me, end of my final year and all. But it was something I really wanted to do, so it just sort of happened. I was able to use the material supplied by the SAN for the first site, and benefited from lots of feedback from them during the development process – special thanks to Emmy and Ali.

I must say, I’m really pleased with the result, and I’m delighted by the response it’s received. The CILASS core team have been very complimentary; seeing the site for the first time the director told me it had made her day. The university’s Pro-vice Chancellor for Teaching and Learning also emailed to say how good he thought it was, whilst central support staff were also very impressed by how comprehensive it was – yet studenty in appearance.

I should add that it is still in need of a lot of padding. My goal was to create the basic structure and core content – the plan now is for the SAN to fill in the holes and make it into a great resource.

I’d like to thank Sabine and Nicola for allowing me to do this, for giving me the freedom to pursue the project in google 20% time style.

I’m now in the process of creating support materials for the site (using the gorgeous Screenflow – OS X 10.5 only). One fear of mine (and of the core team) is that without me there to supervise the site might fall into dissaray (look what happened to the beautiful site I created for Milky House 5 years ago! Talk about cannabalisation). Thus, support material is vital.

I’d like to be able to use the site as a part of my portfolio. I don’t see myself going into website design for a living, but nonetheless, I think it’s a good demonstration of versatility (and I don’t want to be pointing employers at TGW now do i?!).

Thanks to everyone who contributed, a great team effort! I look forward to seeing it being developed further over the next year.

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