I am a Librarian

I have mentioned my job as a Librarian on here before but I have not directly mentioned where I work. I try to keep the two a little separate. I enjoy my job – it has its challenges but I do very much enjoy working in the library world.

Reading and Education are two things I am pretty passionate about. I live with an academic, I work in Further Education so we can’t really avoid the subject. The Boyo’s field is Human Geography which was incidentally my first degree. Our house is filled with maps and books.

I’m very privileged that I grew up in Scotland and that I have benefitted from an excellent education system that has been mostly free, that I have family who were supportive and willing to help me whilst I studied and that studying was accessible and open to me.

I’m also lucky that my parents were happy to indulge my bookworm habits and that we had a very good public library in my hometown.

If you are interested in How I became a Librarian you can read it here on the 23 Librarians Blog.

If you want to know more about supporting libraries in the UK you can read some information on the CILIP website.

Throwback Thursday #TBT – My Hong Kong Days

It is Chinese New Year today – Kung Hei Fat Choi! and 5 years ago this week I left Hong Kong and returned to Scotland. So I thought I would do a little reminiscing about my (nearly) 2 years in China & Hong Kong.

I left Hong Kong at around 24/26ºC and flew into Glasgow airport where it was around -9ºC. Thankfully my Dad was waiting with a coat and a blanket for me. I spent the rest of the month wearing 2 jumpers indoors much to the amusement of my family.

Jetlag is a funny thing and without knowing it I had become pretty used to Hong Kong so my first week back had a few interesting moments. I tried to reason with my Mum that is was perfectly acceptable to have chocolate cake at 8am as it was teatime in Hong Kong. I accidently swore when I walked into a door in M&S (a very minor swear word as I don’t normally swear at all) and an elderly lady gave me a funny look, I had forgotten that everyone now understood English again. 5 days after I got back we went up to Aberdeen for a University Open Day and it started to snow. I was so confused about time, I was cold and tea with milk tasted funny. My Aunt was pretty shocked when I asked for my tea black, I had previously had quite a bit of milk and 2 generous sugars in my cups of tea. I met up with my best friend who I hadn’t seen in nearly 8 months. I offered to buy her a coffee, when we got to the till I only had HK dollars as I had not been to the bank to change my money. Luckily she took sympathy and bought me my cup of mint tea and cookie. It took me months to get used to UK prices and pounds again. I did not realise how immersed I had become in Hong Kong life and although I was happy to be home it took me quite a while to get used to everything again.

There are certain aspects of life in Hong Kong I think I will always miss but I’m glad I made the decision to come back. I went to university to do a Masters, I got to spend a lot more time with my family & friends (especially my sister) and then I met The Boyo and I’m pretty content with my life now.

Working abroad is one of the best things I have done. I had amazing experiences, met lots of wonderful people, saw fantastic sights and I ate a lot of really good food. However working abroad gave me so much more. I developed many skills and I gained a lot of confidence and knowledge. For the first 6 months I lived in Zhongshan in Mainland China. With a population of 3 million it is pretty massive by UK standards but by Chinese standards not really big at all. There were not many other foreign people in Zhongshan and my height, fair hair and pale skin meant I couldn’t blend in at all. English wasn’t spoken and there wasn’t any media such as books or newspapers in the English Language available. The internet was also censored. In that situation you have to adapt and become resourceful. I definitely enjoyed my 6 months in Zhongshan but I was glad to move to Hong Kong where I managed to blend in a tiny bit more. I could probably write quite a bit on Teaching English as a Foreign Language but I’ll save that for a post another day. Hong Kong was challenging in other ways – it was so busy, working hours are long and then there is a very vibrant social scene. Hong Kong doesn’t really seem to sleep which can be a fantastic thing (Midnight wandering for food of any description!) but also pretty exhausting. The weather is fantastic but in July the heat and humidity are almost unbearable – most people will try to go on holiday then. There are so many things to see and do – Island hopping, treks, shopping, temples, museums, fortune telling, markets, races, theme parks and thats just the first few that come to mind.

Towards the end I was working 6 days a week and travelling for about 3 hours a day, I was tired and wanted to go back to University. I wanted to leave whilst I still loved Hong Kong and although I sometimes look back wistfully on those days I think I made the right decision. Although this week I have longed to go back but I think that is largely to do with the lack of sunshine and long hours at my computer over this winter.

AQua luna Bhudda Hong Kong M&S Many Classes Socialising Teacher Mode Tower of Buns Guilin Sevens

 

Merry

 

 

Merry in The Ferry..

Valentines Scrooge

First of all I want to clarify if you like Valentines Day and wish to do something special I absolutely do not judge you, you can go and be romantic (or not) and that is fine. I am glad if something makes other people happy. I just don’t partake because it doesn’t make me happy.

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I have never been a terribly romantic girl. My friends know me as the anti-mush person. I’ve  always been this way whether I am in a relationship or not. Since meeting The Boyo some mush occasionally seeps through my defences. My friends even once overheard me calling The Boyo honeybunch.. oops. The Boyo accepts that I am not very mushy, he knows he is the more romantic one and that when I do occasionally say soppy things I must really mean them. Haha, poor Boyo. In the past in my single student days I would meet up with my best friend, we’d eat a ridiculous amount of ice cream and watch films, unfortunately we don’t live nearby anymore so these spontaneous film nights happen a bit less. In fact I really must arrange one soon and get some Ben & Jerrys for old times sake.

Ice Cream

Anyway back to present day and The Boyo & I.

My idea of what is romantic for us is to do our favourite things; which would consist of going walking in the wilds, going back to somewhere with a cosy fire and eating nice food, doing the crossword and reading books, with a wee dram of whiskey and a glass of Baileys on the go. I have had flowers I think twice from The Boyo in the whole time we have been together. They were very unexpected both times and were lovely and made me very happy. Equally though The Boyo offering to go somewhere with me (like the cinema which I know he doesn’t really like) or suggesting wee weekends away make me all fuzzy and super happy. I think the things we do for each other everyday are probably romantic to me. In fact I’d say the way The Boyo quotes Mrs Doyle “Teaaa Father” and makes me cups of tea every weekend are my favourite romantic gesture.. which is not really romantic .. but it is to me!

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Old photo from our early weekends together. 

But here is the thing… often these things are unexpected or as I mentioned above they are part of our daily way of showing love and appreciation for each other. Valentines Days is not unexpected…. It is the opposite. To me having a day that says oh ‘you must be romantic today’ actually kills the romance. ‘I’m only being romantic because the calendar says I have to’ doesn’t really make me feel loved. Then there are all the cards, balloons, flowers, chocolates and a bazillion other things that are made in industrial quantities and pushed  on us everywhere we go.  I don’t need any of those things to feel loved & appreciated and those spontaneous wee acts throughout the year are a million times better.

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My Mum thinks I’m a rude besom, my friends chuckle at my ‘anti-mush’ stance and The Boyo doesn’t really mind. We do make a point of doing something on the 3rd of September every year which is our anniversary. This is usually a meal out at a lovely restaurant and a bit of reflection on our time together and our future. Pretty simple but you know the most romantic thing for me is just doing stuff together which makes us happy.

So this Valentines Day I will be away with my Mum and sister and will likely forget that it is even Valentines Day at all. At some point in the next couple of months The Boyo and I will try to have a wee night away as we have both been really busy and will continue to be pretty busy until May at this rate. So a night way will be a lovely treat.

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If you do celebrate Valentines Day ponder what makes you really happy as a couple and do something that fits in with that. If you are single but do love Valentines Day why not have a day treating yourself…. After all loving ourselves is very important too!

Merry

Merry in The Ferry..

A wee cup of tea please.

Right now I am having a tea break and reading this link: 22 Teas From Around The World

I am fairly sure even those of you who are not tea drinkers will want to go put the kettle on now. In fact I feel inspired to try new varieties of tea, although I feel bad that when I lived in Hong Kong I didn’t try any ‘Silk stocking tea’ (No. 7) but I did drink a lot of Jasmine Tea in my Hong Kong days.

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Other happenings this week

I am not sure if I have mentioned before that I am a member of Girl Guiding. Before we moved house I was an assistant leader at a Brownie Unit but I’ve been involved with Guiding for over 20 years. For those who aren’t sure what Girl Guiding is have a look at the UK website: Girl Guiding UK IMG_20150201_150554

After we moved I didn’t volunteer again straight away. We’ve had a busy year and I’ve been working hard on beating my chronic headaches and migraines, I felt that a little break wasn’t a bad thing. Guiding is huge fun, but it is a commitment and I didn’t want to start helping again and not have the energy to enjoy it. Just before Christmas I started thinking about getting back involved again. I was debating this when my colleague found a notice in a local newsletter that said the Guide unit in my village needed help. I wandered in, found out that they needed a new leader and now we’re in the New Year and I have myself a Guide Unit. There are 10 girls and they seem like a really lovely group. The meeting is every Monday evening but there are already fun ‘extra’ activities planned, like a Thinking Day Party, a trip to the swimming pool and county camp in May. I really enjoy Guiding and I will dedicate a full blog post about Guiding soon and share some of the ideas and activities we are doing.

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Getting involve with Guiding in the village has also meant getting to know a few more people in our village and the Boyo and I were invited to the village ball last weekend. A chance to put on a pretty dress, eat nice food, chat to our neighbours and a bit of ceilidh dancing was very much enjoyed by both of us. I really enjoy village life and whilst we don’t know if we will live there long term for the next 2 years I can certainly see it being a happy place for us.

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Tomorrow the Boyo and I will pick up a van and he will drive us 130 miles to my home town. We have needed a new bed for a while and there is one that is not needed in my parents house. It is exactly the kind of bed the Boyo and I wanted so it makes sense to get it. Whilst we have the van I’ll pick up the last of my books and bits and bobs that have been sitting in my parents home for years. The Boyo plans to have a quiet night in on Friday whilst my Mum and I go to a fashion show organised by a family friend. The Boyo and I will have to hit the road on Saturday by 7am to get the bed returned so our weekend wanderings on Sunday will entirely depend on how we feel after our 260 mile round trip.

The prospect of getting the bed has prompted me to sort out a few more things round the house, I spent last night hanging pictures up that have been sitting in a box since our house move and tonight I’m going to tackle the cupboard with all the bedlinen in. I guess I’m on a spring cleaning kick… but spring is still a while away yet. I’m starting to see little signs though;  the mornings have not been quite so dark and I saw some pretty little snowdrops on one of the walks near our house. The thought of Spring definitely makes me feel a little bit more Merry.

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