27 June 2009

Thatcham, Berkshire, UK

We landed in the UK on Thursday afternoon (about 2:30pm) having left Hong Kong in the morning (8: 30am, approx 1:30 am UK time). Although the flight to Hong Kong lengthened our night by 5 hours, Thursday was really our longest day on this journey. We arrived in feeling reasonably fresh but wilted by early evening.

Amanda told us that a university had tried to contact him yesterday. This turned out to be an invite for an interview. Not having computer access while travelling limited our ability to respond. Having an interview request makes the move feel more positive. Yesterday, another interview invite arrived by email so Errol now has some preparation to do since both interviews require a short presentation.

It has been good catching up with the grandchildren and sharing with them. This included going on a walk with Matthew's school yesterday. However, playing computer games is really Matthew's interest. He loves the Trainz simulation on our computer and a Rubik's World game for the Wii that we had purchased and sent to their place before we left New Zealand. I now have both grandchildren helping me write this blog. It becomes quite challenging but is also proving a valuable reading learning exercise for Matthew. Of course, he would prefer to be playing Trainz but that can wait until later.

The big achievement for the day has been downloading our photos and doing some photo merges and blends to high definition range images. I failed to use my polarizing filter and ND graduated filters with our photos in Hong Kong. Instead, I tried taking multiple images with different exposures and then blending them in Photoshop. I had done this with some 360° images using Hugin to merge and blend. This was my first attempt Photoshop CS4. I will endeavour to write something on my experiments in my reflective blog.

24 June 2009

Hong Kong

Hong Kong in summer is hot and humid. Both our experiences of Hong Kong have been in summer. In 2007, we stayed over on Hong Kong Island. This time, we were in Kowloon and close to the water front. Having arrived early on Tuesday morning, we checked into our hotel and then took a walk along the Victoria Harbour edge. Even at 9am, the temperature and humidity got to us so it was a retreat to the hotel and making plans that wouldn't see us getting to sticky in the heat.

We filled in Tuesday afternoon with a tour around Hong Kong Island. There were only two places that we really wanted to visit. These were Victoria Peak (see photo)and the Aberdeen Fishing Village (see photos). The stop that we really didn't want was a jewellery factory. It might have been fine if the factory shop assistants hadn't assumed we were rich tourists and could afford their $2,000-$3,000 NZ jewellery items. It was really nice jewellery but knowing we don't have an income guaranteed in the UK, we weren't wanting to use the capital from the house sale on items that we wouldn't use. By the end of the tour, we were both fairly tired so we retired to our hotel just as the laser light show started over the harbour.

On Wednesday morning, we did “The Land between” tour. This was really interesting as it took us to the border with China and out of the city. On this tour, we went up the highest peak (Tai Mo Shan), visited a walled village (Fanning), and a fish farm (Sam Mun Tsai Fish Farming zone). We found this tour really interesting especially seeing the differences between city and the country side. It was also interesting to see a large development of apartments targeted at the rich that remained empty. In Hong Kong dollars, the prices of these apartments was in the millions of dollars.

The afternoon saw us meet up with one of the examiners of Errol's thesis. This proved a valuable encouragement. This provided reassurance that Errol needs to write papers and articles related to his thesis work and get them published. This may open up other opportunities.

20 June 2009

Reached Auckland

Having left Wellington at midday yesterday, we have now reached Auckland. The weather has been really good and roads clear of ice. We stopped in Taupo last night and have two nights here before flying out on Monday evening.

We went to the house on the way out of Wellington to pick up the last of the things that we were distributing to people. It was empty and felt cold. The heating has been off since we moved out on Wednesday. It no longer felt like home so we didn't feel like we were really saying good bye.

It still doesn't feel like we are leaving New Zealand although when we booked in to the motor lodge in Taupo, it was strange being asked for our home address and realising that we really don't have a home address in New Zealand anymore.

14 June 2009

The bags are packed

“The bags are packed we are ready to go; We're leaving on a jet plane. Don't know when we'll be back again”

It certainly feels that way even though there is still another week to wait. Every cupboard and storage area has been sorted and the last of the big things to be got rid of have gone. The movers will come in on Tuesday and the final step of moving out will have begun. Come Thursday, we will be saying our final farewell to Haven Grove and the new journey will be about to start.

It is quite surprising how quickly sentimental attachment fades when you know that you haven't used something since you acquired it and now it is going to cost to have to move it. I wonder how many times now we have asked people whether they are interested in something. In some respects, we have moved on from many of the old attachments are are looking forward to the new journey.

When the last things move out on Wednesday, we will lose our access to the internet for a while so we are not entirely sure when we will get to maintain the blog. Still check in, you never know when we might leave a note either here or on our Facebook page.

07 June 2009

The next big adventure

Almost two years exactly after setting out on our 5 month round the world adventure in 2007, we are setting out on an even bigger adventure. This time, it isn't a journey with a known end date. We are taking the plunge and migrating to the UK. This means that the house has been sold and most of our furniture and electrical items. A new journey is really beginning.

Our departure is scheduled for 22 June and like the 2007 trip, we are flying to the UK via Hong Kong. This time, we will spend two nights in Hong Kong and take in some of the central business district.

From Hong Kong, we will fly into Heathrow and join our daughter in Thatcham. We will have a little over a week with her before heading to Paris for a Computing Education conference where Errol will again be involved in a working group while Marilyn explores the city. Unlike the Dundee equivalent in 2007, we will only have with us what we need for our week in Paris.

The return to England around 10 July will see both of us into serious job hunting. Errol is seeking an academic position preferably in a role that will allow him to focus on Computing Education and Scenario/Game-based learning. He would like to continue on from his completed PhD research. Marilyn will seek some form of administration role preferably with an education focus but she is reasonably flexible. Errol might have to be as well so he will be talking to industry consultants as well.

Of course, we would like to be near Amanda and Phillip in Thatcham but we need to ensure that we have an income so will be reasonably flexible.

To follow our general exploits then check in here. Errol will continue to write his more reflective blog as well.