Friday, August 10, 2012

Adiós Mallorca!!


Summer 2012 has come and gone... 

I had a great time this summer studying with TCNJ Mallorca's Global Graduate Program.  It was wonderful to network and meet international educators from around the world, and I am excited for future prospects.  My course load was pretty intense, and it took extra willpower to maintain focus, considering the hot summer heat and appeal of the beach just a few minutes away from campus.  I took Intro to Administration, School Law and School Finance.  I will post some materials and other reflections this weekend.  After three classes in just twenty five days, I was happy to take a deep breath and relax.  Then I realized though-AHH!-I go back to Shanghai in six days!!! It was a real bittersweet moment to come to grips with reality.  At least I left with a 3.8 GPA :)



That all being said, here are some highlights of my time spent in Mallorca:


Downtown Palma, old city.  Lots of cute boutiques and standard Spanish fashion brands (Zara, Bershka, Stradivarius, Blanco, Mango, etc).  Wonderful restaurant district in Santa Catalina and Calle de Fabrica.

                                                                I like street signs.  :)


                                            Cala Mayor, main tourist beach outside of school.
                                                       


Apart from the sun and surf, the most beautiful part about the Mediterranean region of the world are these flowers.  Please enlighten me, should you know the name of them!




                                                         View from Paseo Maritimo.



                                 Really beautiful view from my classmate's apartment/rooftop deck.


                       Surprise, surprise. I found traditional Mallorquin dancers performing in the street.


                 On the snorkeling trip/Catamaran boat.  Too bad we didn't see any fish.





Catedral de Mallorca.  The oldest, biggest and arguably the most beautiful, church on the island.  It was built between 1229-1436.  It is absolutely gorgeous during the day or at night. There are concerts in front of the large fountain (not pictured) every week.

A cove on the southeastern side of the island.

                                                 


                               City of Palma, Plaza Mayor--looks exactly like anytown, España. :)


Chasing the sunset/trying to catch the sun kiss the horizon at Portals Nous.  I was not successful throughout my whole summer vacay! :/  Good thing I finally saw the sunset in Ibiza at Mint in Sant Antoni.



Posing at the restaurant we ate at called Mood Beach.  
It was absolutely gorgeous, great food and service too!





                             The view from the road while I walked to the beach in Illetas everyday.


Porto Pollença-another of the 250+ beautiful beaches to visit on the island.  



An amazing sunset.  
Gosh I never get sick of the warmth and sensuality the sunset brings to a beautiful Spanish summer.


BACK TO REALITY.....................


I arrived to Shanghai to start the 2012-13 school year on Monday afternoon. 

Work started Tuesday morning-hello jet lag!  We had HR review new health insurance information and other policy/procedure updates, then it was off to IKEA to help new teachers buy things to help them settle into their new apartments.  Wednesday and Thursday we had a typhoon! so there was no school.  Today, Friday, my colleagues and I in middle school PE attempted to unpack our new equipment and organize it in our storage closet.  However, we encountered two hiccups-one, there was water flooding in from the typhoon and two, shelves that we requested had not been installed, so we couldn't get much done.  We also had an unpleasant run in with a ginormous roach!! eek!! but my vice principal came to the rescue on that one! Such great leadership, huh? :)


It's now Friday night here in Shanghai, and I think I'm going to cry.... REALLY? Rain all next week too?!  I moved back to the wrong city! :/ My sinuses are killing me from the pollution-the humidity just traps all of the dirty air and it's so hard to breathe outside.  I thought maybe I was just being overly dramatic and sensitive to the air quality, just coming back from Spain.  I decided to follow the Shanghai US Embassy twitter feed which updates the air quality readings every hour.

The US Embassy has been reporting particle counts (PM 2.5) converted into air quality index score-AQI between 70-110 and claimed the air was safe this past week for everyone but "People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children. These groups should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion".

I believe their sources of reporting to be more accurate than the Chinese gov't, who claim "normal" or "moderate" while the foreign gov'ts are issuing warnings.  In fact, the PRC has been warning foreign embassies to stop reporting the particle counts.  For a very long time, PRC faced international criticism for not reporting the PM 2.5 values-which is the most dangerous and lethal particle, as it can directly enter your lungs or bloodstream.

Either way, both PRC and US gov't reports are under reporting and minimizing the truth.  The World Health Organization (W.H.O.)-another US gov't agency-recommends that air with particle counts of less than 20 micro grams/cubic metre of air of particles between 2.5-10 microns in size and less than 10 micro grams/cubic metre of air for particles less than 2.5 microns in size is safe for human health.

Regardless of scores/numbers/ratings, my lungs feel like they are going to collapse here whether I am walking or riding my bike outside.  I hope this gross weather clears up before school starts because I honestly don't want to breathe this pollution in.  I miss running, swimming and breathing in clean, sunny Mallorca.

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