Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My New Portuguese Lifestyle in Macau

Calsada streets around old Macau in my neighborhood.

       Well I have officially been adopted by my Portuguese roommate and I am living a European lifestyle here in Macau eating dinner at 9 and 10 at night and getting fresh vegetables from the markets only steps from my home. Walking around the old Portuguese cobble stone streets or as Ana my flat-mate would say “calcada” I have learned more about Macau’s old Portuguese history than many might learn in a lifetime in just 3 days in Macau. Ana is born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal and teaches Chinese to Portuguese translation at The University of Macau. Since she found out she is exactly twice my age, Ana has taken me under her wing and has shown me all the best places around our neighborhood. I was very sick with a terrible head cold when I first arrived and so my first two nights she cooked us a lovely dinner and we chatted all night long with Frank Sinatra and Beethoven playing in the background. The first dinner was a mix of broccoli and red vinegar as a side dish and green tea pasta with mussels, shallots, tomatoes, Chinese peppers,some other spicy Chinese oil, and other veggies that gave great flavor to the dish. We chatted about our families and our lives and I found out that she is the daughter of 2 university teachers and grew up learning English, French, and of course Portuguese and took on learning Chinese when she was 29. “Oh good! There is still hope for my Chinese!” I remarked to such a talented peer.
One of the churches I stumbled upon walking around my first day.
Ana calls herself a philosopher and I think she is just that. She has a Ph.D in East Asian Studies from Lisbon University in Portugal and loves chatting with me about the secret of life and the relationships between men and women. Though she has one daughter and granddaughter she is unmarried and explains that she leads a lonely life, but that it is one of joy and happiness with her research and family. She often brings up the topic of love, and says that she encourages me to get married and to make sure that if I date any men in Macau they must be tested first because people in Macau have too much money and they can’t be trusted as good men. Because people have so much money in Macau she believes that with money comes problems.
The dinner Ana cooked on my first night in Macau.
“Aaaaaah” I think to myself. “I have noticed a lot of BMW’s, Lamborghinis, and Maseratis, being driven around the town.” Actually, all I have seen is beautiful luxury cars all over this city! I think that Ana and I are going to get along very well. Who knows how long she will be living here with me since tenured University Faculty are very high on the list for housing at the new University Campus. She will be going on vacation for about a month in a few weeks and then I will have the apartment all to myself. We both admitted to each other that we prefer to live alone and have our own space. But, off-campus faculty housing from the University always has apartments with 2 rooms for the time being. If she moves out, I will have the place to myself unless another faculty member is hired from out of the country and chooses to live through the University housing system. I do have my fingers crossed though that I end up having a 2 bedroom apartment to myself! Mainly because this is great when friends come and visit from out of states and Hong Kong. But until then, I am really enjoying Ana’s company and friendly advice and attitude about life.
The street names in Portuguese and Chinese around the city.
Ana really reminds me of my old Canadian co-worker in Korea, Joan who was also twice my age, became a very good friend and mentor to me during my time there in 2010-2011. Joan and I were more alike as she was a shopper and an eater and of course much more of a people person than Ana seems to be. But, I can see what the life of a true researcher and professor is like that is so dedicated to contributing learning in this world.

                On the topic of teaching, I have my first meeting tomorrow for the summer session here and I’ll be writing more about the University and the city as my Wi-Fi capabilities allow. Next Wednesday I am getting Wi-Fi installed in my apartment and then I’ll be updating more regularly about life and work in Macau. 

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  Creative Commons License  Gone Seoul Searching by Marie Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

Monday, July 8, 2013

An update from row 45 of Singapore Airlines on my flight to Hong Kong

I lucked out with my own row of seats!
Dear friends and family!

After a wonderful send off in California I have started my long journey to Macau. I had a 4th of July party and dinner on the 5th and feel so supported and loved by everyone as I begin my next 11 month journey abroad. I flew out of San Diego at 7:35 with a lovely free upgrade to first class seating on United Airlines, and enjoyed a beautiful, golden sunset over the coast of California as I touched down in San Francisco Airport. My Hong-Konger shopping instincts might have already kicked in again as I picked up some dark chocolate raspberry Ghiradelli chocolate for my friends and co-workers that are helping me upon my arrival. I also picked up a tiny charger that gives an extra 17-20 hours of battery life on your I-phone and talked to some helpful clerks about the pre-paid airport chips found in the vending machines in Hong Kong Airport.
A beautiful sunset over San Francisco.
 As I waited to board my flight on Singapore Airlines leaving at 1 a.m., I Skyped and Facetimed two of my best friends for 2 hours and then my mother for another hour. They gave me a lot of pep talks and we gabbed about how exciting and lucky my life as a teacher can be. This is my third time going abroad to teach and I am so lucky to have been accepted for a position at the University of Macau.
Right now it is 11:48 a.m. in San Diego and 2:49 a.m. in Macau and there is about 3 hours left on my flight. I don’t know why I end up being so lucky on flights with my legs stretched out over an entire row of chairs and three pillows behind my back, neck, and feet! This has actually happened to me on 3 flights in the past year, one home from Chicago back in November, one from Thailand to Vietnam, and another from China back to Japan where I was teaching last summer of 2012. So with an upgrade to first class on my commuter flight and an entire row to myself on Singapore Airlines for the 13 hour flight, I’d say my trip has started off nicely
Flying into Hong Kong Airport.
Melanie and Laurent, two of my best friends from Korea in 2010-2011 have relocated his company and her teaching skills to Hong Kong and will be graciously picking me up at 6:30 am at the Hong Kong Airport after I go through customs. I am beyond excited as I get to see their sparkling faces on my first day back in Asia! They will help me with my bags and we will then hop in a cab over to the Hong Kong Ferry Terminal so I can get on an earlier Turbojet boat over to the island of Macau. The ferries leave every 15 minutes from the terminal but less regularly out of the airport terminal so this is why I have decided to just go through Hong Kong customs and leave the airport. Then we will part ways and Carol, one of the administrators at the University will be picking me up at the Macau ferry terminal after I go through Macau customs and we will head straight over to my apartment which is only about a 15 minute journey from there.
Watching Gangster Squad as Lauren requested!
I have quite a sneezing fit going on right now on the airplane ever since I sat down. But after sleeping the past 7 hours sprawled across three seats with my funny green eyed eye mask and giant earplugs, I am now feeling much better and sipping on a nice hot cup of tea. I also gargled down some dissolved Advil in a cup of warm water, a trick of the trade that my old British co-worker Kate taught me in Japan to cure a sore throat instantly. I am thinking about how wonderful my day was yesterday and as I looked back to my waving friends and family into their teary eyes I knew that I would feel down for about an hour or two and then I would be back in the international section of the airport which is a place I have come to feel very familiar and comfortable in. My sadness about leaving the people I love most is already almost completely gone. If I had to put it on a meter I’d say I feel about 10% sad about leaving and 90% excited and ready for another teaching contract abroad.
In a couple of hours I’ll be putting on my Rainbows and heading off to meet my friends in Hong Kong! I am always surprised by how small the world seems to be and my studies about globalization at USD have really come full circle since I completed my Masters. I will be constantly re-designing some of the pages on my website to make the sections more clear and will add all new posts about Macau to the Macau, China page as I continue to update regularly. I invite you to follow along throughout the year and hope I can stay in touch with many and inspire others!

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  Creative Commons License  Gone Seoul Searching by Marie Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Gone Seoul Searching in Macau: Takes on the Las Vegas of Asia in Macau, China

Hello Readers!

After a few months of relaxing from the blogging world, finishing my Master's degree in TESOL, and a crazy teaching schedule in San Diego I have returned to the blogger world! I am excited to take on yet another contract teaching abroad on the tiny tropical island of Macau, China. Here I come Las Vegas of Asia!
I was recently hired as a visiting instructor at The University of Macau where I will be teaching ESL full time and conducting research within the English Language Centre. For those of you who are not familiar with Macau, it is a small island of about 12 square miles in the South of China. Many people may know the nearby island of Hong Kong which is an ex British colony and Special Administrative Region of China with its own rules and governing system. Macau is the same scenario as Hong Kong with its own rules as it was returned to China from the Portuguese in 1999.

I have had some readers contact me asking why I haven't returned to teach in Korea or Japan and my reasoning is because I like to have as many experiences as possible. I am one of those people who can make a home very easily in almost any place, thus I like to keep forcing myself outside of my comfort zone and learning how to better serve my diverse populations of students. There is no better way to do so than by living in their countries and learning their cultural nuances and language tendencies first hand. Through my masters program I discovered a passion for research in ESL and The University of Macau seemed like a great fit for my future goals. I will be updating about Macau regularly and invite you to follow along!

About Page:

Gone Seoul Searching began in Seoul, South Korea in 2010 where I began teaching adult ESL at YBM in Jongno and continued with updates from Tokyo, Japan in 2011 where I wrote about my time in the Westgate University Program. Since 2010, I have worked at 5 ESL schools and have traveled to 10 countries including Korea, China, Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Australia, and Mexico. I have also completed a Masters Degree in TESOL at the University of San Diego. My posts are focused on my travels and experiences teaching ESL abroad and within the U.S. with hopes that my readers can learn and connect in our globalized society.

Gone Seoul Searching is currently living and working in Macau, China.

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  Creative Commons License  Gone Seoul Searching by Marie Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

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Creative Commons License
Gone Seoul Searching by Marie Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at
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