Martisor, 1st March, the first day of Spring!

Today is Martisor in Romania, which is the first day of spring here. We had lovely spring weather today (sunny and warm) and I really hope this weather stays like this now… All the snow has melted and I hope it won’t come back again until next winter! 

On 1st March, it is traditional to give little trinkets, bracelets, brooches and so on to your female friends (men don’t get any, sorry men!) Here is a photo of me, enjoying all of my little Martisor gifts! People don’t usually wear all of their gifts like this, but I thought it was more fun to wear them all at once. 😊

In Bucharest

So, now I’m in Bucharest, I’ve been here for one week and so far it’s been pretty hectic settling into my new school and work routine (hence not having any time for blog posts recently). Bucharest doesn’t seem to have changed much since I was last here (about four years ago) and my old friends and new colleagues have been really helpful, so in some ways it’s been quite easy to settle into being back here again. Although, I am of course finding various challenges along the way. Here are some photos of my school (yes, I teach in an old mansion!) and the park -my favourite place to go after work to relax.

On this day… 9th September 

Here are some interesting events that happened on 9th September over the years. 😀

1543: Mary Queen of Scots is crowned at 9 months old… That’s a lot of nines! And how was a baby expected to rule a country?

1776 Congress officially renames the country as the United States of America (Was the United Colonies) 

1892 E E Barnard at Lick discovers Amalthea, 5th Jupiter moon

1908: let’s fly a plane!

1945 1st “bug” in a computer program discovered by Grace Hopper, a moth was removed with tweasers from a relay & taped into the log (photo is of Grace and her computer, unfortunately you can’t see the bug)

1983: This is a very important date because I was born! 😀 (happy birthday to me!)

(The photo is of me with my mum, grandma and grandad. I am the tiny one.)

1999: Lauryn Hill and the Fresh Prince of Bel Air win some music awards. (Note that the date here is 9/9/1999. I remember finding this date great fun to write on all of my schoolwork that day!) 

2001: these two playing each other in a tennis final as usual… (Don’t know who chose this photo of Serena, but it looks a bit scary to me!)

2015: well done Queenie 😀

These are just some of the interesting things that happened on 9th September over the years. You can find many more fun historical facts on this website:


I was just reminiscing about some of the wonderful and amazing places I’ve been lucky enough to visit over the past few years. 

In summer 2007 I went to Ukraine with my dad and sister to visit some relatives there. We stayed with family in a small village and it was like going back in time -their way of life was so different from ours in England. Many things have changed in Ukraine since then, I don’t know if their life will be as simple now as it was then…

farm life in Ukraine

walking a goat in Ukraine

Then in summer 2008 I went to South Africa and Lesotho for a month with some of my classmates from university. This was my first time to Africa and I loved it! We spent a lot of time volunteering in an orphanage, as well as helping in primary schools there. It was a really special time.

my friend in Lesotho

In fact, I liked Africa so much that I got a job in Tanzania from 2009 to 2011. I taught in a lovely school with some great people -and we were lucky enough to go on lots of safaris!

safari time!

Then I got a job as a teacher in Romania -another amazing country! The people there were very friendly and I spent many weekends in the beautiful mountains in Transylvania (where they keep the legend of vampires alive for the tourists!)

vampire’s castle, Romania

I stayed there for just over a year, then came back to England for a bit, before starting a job in China in 2014. My experience in China was also amazing -my students were great and it was wonderful to spend time exploring the country and culture. But after 2 years in China, I felt like it was time to move a little closer to home… 

Great Wall of China

So, I’m currently at home, wondering where my next adventure will be! 

This post was inspired by “Building Blocks of History” on:

Leaving China 

So, after two years of living in China, the time has come to return home (to Bramhall, England) and find a new adventure…

Two years worth of stuff got squashed into these few cases…

Two of my students bought me some snacks for the planes! 😂😂 I still havent finished them…

The queues for check in at Beijing airport were ridiculously long! It took over an hour to check in, then another hour or so for passport control and the security checks. I found the process so long and tedious, that I have decided to make Beijing airport my new Worst Airport in the World! My previous least favourite airport was Paris Charles de Gaulle, because it takes so long to travel in between terminals and I always miss my connecting flights there!

I had three flights from Zhengzhou to Manchester… Two were with Qatar airways, which was quite a pleasant experience, even though they did charge an astronomical amount of money for my excess luggage! 😭 

I found the football-themed safety procedures video really funny! Much better than the usual ones… 

I was so excited when I boarded plane number two and discovered that I had no one in front of me -which meant I had extra leg room for eight hours! Wonderful! 

We saw a beautiful sunrise from the plane! Unfortunately I wasn’t seated by a window, so this is the view from one of the emergency exit windows. 😀

I was even greeted by some blue sky when I returned home (although it didn’t last for long… Good old English summer!)

Cassie’s Travels

So, I thought I’d elaborate a little on my previous blog post about the countries I’ve visited. As I’m from England, it was very easy to travel to a few countries in Europe, with family or on school trips. I even lived in France and Germany for six months each, as part of my university degree (of course I was a good student and studied hard 😜). I have family in Ukraine, so was very interested in visiting them one summer with my dad and sister. 😀
I left Europe for the first time in 2008, to visit South Africa and Lesotho with some girls from my university. We volunteered in an orphanage and some primary schools for a month. I enjoyed the experience so much, that I started looking for teaching jobs in Africa when I returned to England and was able to find a job at an international school in Tanzania. It was a great place to live and work, the kids, teachers and parents were lovely (well, with a few exceptions maybe 😜). And I was able to travel around Tanzania in the holidays, my favourite places to go were to the beaches in Zanzibar and on safari! 
After three years in Tanzania, I got a job at a school in Romania for a year, where I had many more adventures, thanks to some lovely people that I met there! Then I returned to live England for a while (squeezing in a trip to America), before coming out to China… 
So, as you can see, I’ve been very lucky to have lived in and visited so many interesting places in just a few years

Countries I’ve visited

For some reason, I have some kind of travel bug… I just love visiting new places, experiencing different cultures, seeing famous sights, cities and scenic spots, tasting interesting food and meeting people from all over the world. I’ve been fortunate to have been able to travel to (and live in) so many countries. Each time I look at a map, I think to myself… Where next?! 😀 

Life in China 

So, I have been living in China for almost two years now, and I must say that I love it! China is very unlike any other country I’ve visited – the culture, language and general feel of the place is very different in many ways! At first, the unfamiliarity of the country was very daunting, but now I guess I’m becoming more used to it. Most people are friendly and willing to help foreigners in any way they can. I speak a little Chinese, but often rely on my students to translate for me, or communicate with people through crazy gestures and so on. This is the way I communicate with the ladies who work in the college canteens, for example, who always seem exceptionally excited to see me! 

A disadvantage of living in China is the air pollution… we have days when the air is quite literally black and you can’t see things that are more than one meter away! 😜 Also the traffic can get a little crazy! There only seem to be two traffic rules in China: don’t hit another vehicle and don’t hit any pedestrians. Otherwise, pretty much anything goes! Cars, buses and motorbikes will do anything to overtake each other -just to arrive at their destination a few minutes earlier! And they love to honk their horns constantly, seemingly just for fun!

Advantages of living in China are the friendly people (I have met many people that had never seen a foreigner before -so were very excited to meet me!) There are some beautiful places to visit in China -spectacular scenery, stunning mountain ranges, famous historic sights, temples and so on. Plus, I love the flowers in the spring and summertime. And the cost of living is relatively cheap! 😊

China is developing quickly, I see evidence of this everyday, with the huge amount of construction taking place everywhere in my town. Amid China’s development, I find that Chinese people are proud of their rich, 5000 year old culture and will do all they can to hold onto their traditions in the rapidly changing world, for example by continuing to practice tai ji in the parks, restoring old buildings (or rebuilding them as many had previously been allowed to fall into disrepair), or practicing traditional Chinese art and calligraphy. You can see many of these activities taking place in the parks in China, which are often blissful havens in the busy, bustling and crowded cities. 

While I feel like I have gotten used to some of the more crazy aspects about living in China, there are some things that will never seem normal… People’s stares of disbelief at the sight of a foreigner, endless construction and finding a family of 4 squeezed onto a motorbike all seem quite normal now. Whereas, I will never be able to get used to the sight of children peeing and pooping on the street, the spitting and the overly crowded buses. But then again, who would enjoy travelling for an hour with your head stuck in someone’s smelly armpit, while the driver takes you over as many bumps and potholes as he can?! 😜
Photos are from the Green Expo Garden, Zhengzhou.