Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Shooting The Canon

I have been told many times that I am a true Pisces (whatever that means). I tend to excel at whatever I set out to do but I also get bored just as easily. With that being said I am already looking for my next challenge and I want it to compliment my teaching. I can see working in a classroom losing it's luster in about 3 years so I have been interviewing with various agencies to teach English online as this is becoming a large market. Recently I interviewed with Boxfish English online and should hear back from them soon. How is that not a karmic company to work for. Boxfish, I am a Pisces and I am an aquarium enthusiast. Fish for everyone!!

Who doesn't like ducks?
I have also signed up for a language swap website that has lead to 2 people telling me they would pay me to teach them on-on-one as it would be cheaper than joining a school. I have a PayPal account and having private students sure would make my future a bit more interesting. I am just working on finalizing that.

So with that being said working/teaching online for 5 hours a day and living in a country where the cost of living is "Not Canadian"  is exactly what I want to be doing one day. To compliment this I have met people along my journey that have become "stock photographers" and make more than enough money to supplement their income and that peaked my interest and with that I dove right into it.
 ** As an aside I have a long term goal to be a beekeeper but let's take one crazy step at a time.**

I remember on my trip to Antarctica in 2011 there were a few guys with DSLR cameras. Each night after dinner we would hit the bar and sit around looking how fantastic their photos were. My point and shoot were, well point and shoot and did the trick but these were brilliant.

Here is how I roll now. My fancy ass Canon EOS 1300D/Rebel T6 DSLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens 64GB Bundle 28PC Accessory Kit. Includes 64GB Memory Card + 0.43x Wide Angle Lens + 2.2x Telephoto Lens + 3PC Filter Kit (UV-CPL-FLD) + TriPod + Mono Pod and a snazzy backpack to carry it along.

I quickly set out with all settings on auto mode, basically point and shoot, to see what would happen.
Here are a few test pictures

As with using YoYo Chinese to start my mandarin studies there are many online options on how to use this camera and expand on the "point and shoot" auto mode that I currently inhabit. YouTube has great videos on various shooting techniques which opened my eyes to how those "fantastic photos" are setup and shot.

I have subscribed to Jarod Polin's YouTube channel for quick answers and tutorials. This is going to be a long journey but not impossible. When I first thought about Driving Rig in the Oilfields or learning to teach English as a second language that was all fairly daunting as well. Well why not add photography and Mandarin to my toolkit and see where I am in a couple of years.

My Official Letter of Invitation
As an update. Today the DHL driver arrived with all my documents from China that I need to take to the Visa processing Centre in Toronto. That's the good news. The "ah maaaan" news is that I need an appointment and the next available time is Monday, March 6th at 10:00 am.

What does this mean you ask? Well no visa in my crispy new passport until at least March 9th and no boarding that big bird to Asia until at least March 10th. Chinese Bureaucracy is going to test my patience that's for sure.

I have at 2 and a half more weeks of mandarin lessons and taking photos and learning my new camera. You can learn allot in 2 weeks, well except for mandarin. If I can understand the 4 tones plus the neutral tone and have a good grasp of the pinyin chart before I head over then I am golden. Actual words and sentences will have to come later.

One final thing for this boring post. I have started a YouTube Channel. I would like to expand on this blog by offering video posts. I am going to post my first one before I leave with the content being Niagara Falls and the surrounding area. It has been done to death but it will give me the opportunity to start and work on a video presentation format.

Until next time. I have some learning to do.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Chasing the $$$

How much is enough? Lets be clear most of the people I know, grew up with, associate with and are in my orbit are not suffering financially. None of us are wealthy by the standard definition of that term in Western society but nobody is suffering. Everyone works and has worked at decent jobs and like the rest of the world we have all had financial bumps along the way.

I look now and see people with mortgage free homes, pension and RRSP accounts that are fat (the markets have been generous the last 25 years) plus a solid paycheck arriving at it's regular scheduled time. I do not know everyone's situation but I constantly hear how "broke" everyone is. Seriously broke? This is worked into the conversation about overspending on Christmas, a new car payment and the high cost of petrol, a vacation that was just taken or an series of activities including dinners and lunches and decent restaurants. I am awed by the the perpetual chase for $$$ that thrives in our world then only to be spent on things you do not need to impress people you do not like. When I hear the term "retail therapy" I completely shut down. Anyways this is what much of my exposure has been back in Canada. Everyone has a different life and life choices and I sure a shit do not have any of the answers but I do know that one day the road will run out.

I am now about 2 weeks from "wheels up" to Xi'an. I have had to wait for the Chinese New Year celebrations to cease plus the general bureaucracy of China to get all my documents in order for me. These include my working visa plus my letter of invitation from the Chinese Government, so I wait.  "It is happening" are the best words that I hear when I start to lose my grip on being patience. A dose of positive reality always goes a long way.

I have been hammering away at basic Mandarin. I am not saying it is easy but it is not as daunting as you would think. I understand the 4 tones plus the neutral tone plus as I said before I have a great Pinyin chart to babysit me through pronunciation. I now have my 6 month subscription to www.yoyochinese.com. I have also found  Popup Chinese that has a huge list of free podcasts which I can practice my listening skills which was one of the most difficult things for me when learning Spanish. Of course there is my nightly one hour live lesson with Olivia from Xi'an so with all of these tools I can keep myself occupied without overloading myself.

I have made a basic list of places I want to visit in China and have expanded that to places I want to travel to while I am in Asia. Aside from the beat path countries of Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia I want to find my way into North Korea, Papau New Guinea, Mongolia, Tibet and I will absolutely head on the two week trek to the Everest Base Camp in Nepal. There are countless countries in the area that are calling my name an my goal is to visit and spend time in at least 20 of them....but for now I patiently wait.