Sunshine Blogpost

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Rachel Kramer

What’s a Sunshine blogpost?

The Sunshine “chain-blog posting” is going around Twitter. I got tagged by @DanaAriss via twitter and then @SheilaSpeaking  direct-messaged me through Twitter to “tag” me too!

Rules: Answer the 11 questions posed by your now unfollowed-Twitter friend  Twitter PLN colleague.  In turn, TAG 11 other Twerps Tweeps  that you would like to stop following you in your PLN and then ask them 11 different questions.

Here,– Sheila puts the rules this way:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.




I’ll do Dana’s first and then Sheila’s afterwards…

My nominating blogger: Dana

I think Dana and I “met” through Twitter when #cdnedchat (Canadian Ed Chat) was starting up.  I wanted to participate since I love connecting with home and home is Canada for me.  Usually, I can’t participate in anything coming out of North America since I live in Europe as that means Tweeting in the middle of the night.  I asked if #cdnedchat was going to continue over the summer, since I would be in Canada during the summer. Dana was the one that replied and unfortunately, there weren’t any chats planned for the summer.  I still use the hashtag when I find an article of particular interest to Canadians but I have yet to participate in a chat!  When I do use the #cdnedchat hashtag,  a lot of the times, Dana replies to my Tweets.  She’s also from Alberta, where I’m from. So, it’s my way of connecting back home to Alberta too.  When Calgary flooded, I first learned of the flood through a Tweet she put out wishing Calgarians to stay safe.  I saw that Tweet early in the morning.  I was probably reading through my Twitter timeline while in bed but before the day started. I am sure I sat up quick afterwards and started a search through Google about Calgary.  When I realized what was happening to Southern Alberta, I was on Twitter every waking hour trying to figure out what was happening and learning news in “real-time” like most of the world.

Dana and I still have quick chats through Twitter about anything relevant to Alberta and Alberta education.  🙂 Reading her Tweets is like getting some news about “home” 🙂  She’s also super-positive and her Tweets often bring a smile to my face.  Some people are strictly business on Twitter but she (like I) take time to be personal and personable too. 🙂

11 Random Facts about Me

  1. I love Asian food but I don’t enjoy cooking and I don’t cook well.  Since I live in Switzerland now and it’s hard to find good Asian restaurants, I feel like I’m starving all the time. If you Tweet or post photos of Asian food, I will be incredibly jealous!
  2. I may have been born in Canada and grew up there, but I HATE the cold.  I do not like the snow.  30 degrees celsius is perfect for me, but it has to be dry heat! (I wilted in HK because of 30 degrees and 70% humidity!)
  3. My favourite holiday would be a beach holiday by the ocean or the sea.
  4. I love cultures.  I travel and live around the world because I love history, architecture, music, art, food.
  5. I’ve travelled to over 35 different countries in the world, including all the Disneylands (California, Hong Kong, Japan, Paris,  and Florida). Disneyland is not for the culture but for the “child” in me 😀
  6. I taught English (a university credit course) during two summers to graduate students at the University of Qingdao (China)
  7. My preferred way of exercising is swimming but since I hate being cold and I no longer live in Asia and my only choice now is to swim in a cold pool….I have recently
  8. … taken up running.  I ran the 5K Brooke’s Night Race in Calgary this past summer.  I then ran the 10K at the Lausanne Marathon this past October.
  9. I sew & quilt quite skilfully and have won trophies and ribbons.  I even won a 1st place red ribbon for a quilted garment at the Calgary Stampede in 2005.
  10. My passion in life (apart from career and family) is music!  I play 4 instruments.  My main instrument (and love) is piano.  This is followed by  flute, voice, and viola.
  11. Our family supports Room to Read which builds schools and libraries in developing nations.  They also provide scholarships for children in need to attend school.

Dana has 11 questions for me:

11 Questions from Dana

1. Why teaching?

I love that each day is different and gives me opportunities to be creative.  I love challenges and problem-solving.  Children deserve help and support to be the best people they can be (self-esteem-wise, character-wise, academically-wise).  That’s a huge challenge but a very worthwhile challenge!

2. Who or what is your  greatest inspiration?

I don’t have anyone specific that springs to mind.  I am inspired by all who overcome tragedy and personal pain to love & serve others.  Terry Fox is one example, but I am also moved by nameless parents who have lost a child through something tragic yet they go on to live and serve others.

3. What is one new thing you have tried this year?

Running.  I am not a runner yet.  It’s 9 degrees Celsius and I find it difficult to get outside because it’s TOO cold! 🙂  I’m waiting for summer again, to run again…preferably by water 🙂

4. What would your ideal day look like?

Sleeping in.  Eating Asian food.  Puttering around home with my family with no huge list of responsibilities to look after, or things to accomplish.  Music in the background.  A good book to read.  A news program from North America to watch on TV (usually NBC Evening News.  Occasionally the Daily Show or The Colbert Report—if you can call that real news!)

5. Who was the best teacher you ever had and why?

Mrs Thomas was my piano teacher.  She also attended my church and drove me to church all the time, as my parents couldn’t.  She always (even to this day) loves unconditionally. (She teaches my own children piano, now, when we are in Canada during the summer.)  She never gets cross or impatient.  You don’t have to dread going to lessons with her.  You can’t ever disappoint her.  Whatever you do, she is thrilled about unconditionally (even as she is correcting you and helping you improve).  My kids light up when it’s time to see Mrs Thomas, again and they love piano lessons with her (as I did).

6. If you could live anywhere in the world other than where you currently live, where would it be?

After living and travelling all around the world, I miss Canada and appreciate her more than ever.  Canada is friendly and generous.  I love my hometown of Calgary.  Yes, it gets cold up to -30 Celsius but it’s the sunniest city in Canada and I love the sun. I’ll take the sun & the cold over clouds & rain.

7.  What is something you are looking forward to in 2014?

I’m hoping for a beach holiday, probably in Greece.

8.  Are you an early bird or a night owl?

Night Owl.  My best writing is around midnight 😉

9.  What is your favourite band or music artist?

I don’t really have favourites.  I love all sorts of genres and many artists but a lot of what I listen to at home is classical music and classical music cross-overs.  I would love to sing like Sarah Brightman.

10. Why Twitter?

I’m forced to keep things short 😉  I think it’s fascinating how we can collectively participate in things via hashtags.  Besides the educational chats (ex. #pypchat), we can experience things collectively as a global community now, because of Twitter hashtags.  A few days ago, I noticed that Christine Luce was Tweeting about the Winter Classic hockey game on my timeline.  When it became apparent that the game was going  to a “shoot-out”, I just HAD to get in on the game.  I didn’t turn on the TV.  We don’t get the hockey games here.   I started following the #winterclassic #seaofblue hashtag.   I followed the game “live” via hashtag.  It was really surreal not being able to see the game, but only to be able to read people screaming about it.  What great fun, it was for me!  What an experience— “watching” a live game with the entire world, via hashtag.

11. Mac or PC? Android or iPhone?

Vivian<—– Mac fan-girl 😀

I don’t have nor do I ever want a smart phone.  I have a dumb phone that takes phone calls and sends/receives simple text messages.  That’s it.  I like it that way too. I don’t know what I will do when my dumb phone breaks down.  Do they even sell them anymore?

Now, I’m doing Sheila’s questions:

My nominating blogger: Sheila

I “met” Sheila because somehow I ended up on John Spencer’s blog (@edrethink) reading about numerics in Social Media. I probably followed a link through Twitter to get to John’s blog.   Sheila posted in the comments’ thread on John’s blog and I agreed with many of the things she said.   It was during that time that I came across this webpost about Numerics & Social Media and its effects on teenagers and we must have had a discussing about the findings on this blogpost.  I followed her comment back to her own blog home and then I commented on some of her blogposts.

The read about Numerics & Social Media was truly was an eye-opener to me! I had NO IDEA that the metrics (“likes, thumbs up, thumbs down”) of Social Media were impacting our children in such a way.  I was truly shocked!  Sheila, John, and I were sort of like-minded about the whole metrics issue as we discussed it.  I think I somehow connected with @bachtrac and @janemitchinson through Sheila.  It’s all such a blur now!  Sheila’s a Canadian too and I enjoy connecting with her because she is a Canadian; she shares similar views to me; we’re around the same age (and that may be why our views are similar?).  I enjoy reading her blogposts.  She’s been very supportive of me because she reads my blogging and reTweets them once in awhile.

11 Questions from Sheila

1. What is your favourite season or month? Share a reason, if you wish.

SUMMER!  I love the sun and I hate the cold!

2. Where would you like to travel next?

I would love a beach holiday in Greece for myself, but I feel convicted that I should plan a cultural visit to Ireland & Scotland for the kids.

3. What band/music do you enjoy that you discovered through a recommendation from a person younger than you?

My kids are always introducing me to new music that I enjoy.  Unfortunately, I can’t remember the names of most of them!  A lot of them are Youtube stars that I would never have discovered without them:  Lindsey Sterling (violinist who plays famous cover songs but dances as she plays!), The Piano Guys (piano & cello duo that sometime have other guys playing?  It’s all very confusing!), PTX (Acappella group)

4. What do you plan to eat more of in 2014?

Asian food (in order, starting with my most favourite): Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Malaysian (if we can find it).  This is the order we eat after we arrive in Canada, each summer!

5. What is your favourite flower or plant or tree?

I don’t have a favourite flower or plant.  I like pink and especially bright pink so I appreciate  roses.  If you click on my Twitter profile, you can see a beautiful Magnolia tree in bloom, here in Switzerland.  I took that picture.  I love it when the Magnolia blooms. It’s absolutely gorgeous and the fragrance is amazing too.  There are not that many interesting trees in the Canadian prairies so I was really blown away when I saw a Magnolia in bloom for the first time.  Otherwise, when I see a Maple Leaf tree all in red leaves in Switzerland, I get a lump in my throat as it reminds me of Canada.  Ironically, the first time I saw a Maple Leaf was in Switzerland when I saw a fallen red leaf on the ground during the autumn.  I was a bit stunned, as if Maple Leafs should only be found in Canada.  It seemed wrong to see it in Switzerland—as if someone had broken a sacred copyright or something 😉   It’s too cold in the prairies for Maple Leaf trees to grow.  I probably saw Maple Leaf trees when I travelled to Ontario or Vancouver but it was always summer-time so I didn’t realize what they were.  I recently moved to a house that has a Maple Leaf in the backyard and when it turned red, I was as thrilled as can be!  What a treat, to have a red Maple Leaf in my own backyard! and so ironic that it would be in Switzerland! (The maple leaves on the sides of my blog are leaves that I photographed in Switzerland too!)

My Maple Leaf tree in Switzerland. The irony!

My Maple Leaf tree in Switzerland. The irony!


6. What rock or crystal are you curious about?

I was about to write something facetious like, “I am curious about the crack-cocaine crystals/rocks that Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford smokes.”  Then, I remembered Sheila’s advice when I blog this that we are to be careful what we write online.  :p  So, I will say that I am very curious about diamonds and would like someone to send me diamonds (preferably 1 carat or bigger) so I can study them closely 😉

7. What was your most memorable grade level in school?

I have many memorable grade levels in school so it’s hard to choose.  I was proud to be asked to be my high school yearbook editor in grade 12 and I worked my heart out—the way I work my heart out in Coetail and blogging for and because of Coetail.

8. What book or author are you enjoying lately?

I have a hard time finding books that I can’t put down.  I love to read though.  The last books that I read which I couldn’t put down were:

  • Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón.  It’s a gothic novel set in Barcelona.  Then, I had great fun travelling to Barcelona and doing the walking tour provided at the end of the novel.  I got to “walk” the setting of the novel.
  • Undomestic Goddess by Sophia Kinsella.  I don’t mind an easy chick-lit book read, but I can be quite critical so if I think the plot is stupid or too contrived or too silly, I won’t like it.  This book was funny and good.
  • Love the One You’re With by Emily Griffin.  This might be classified as a chick-lit book but it has a deep side to it.  What if you ran into an ex-boyfriend that you almost married?

9. Book or movie first?

If the book was written first, then the book.  If the movie was made first, then the movie. The second version usually disappoints.  I was really unhappy when my teenage daughter saw the movie “The Hobbit” without first reading the book.  🙁   Ah, but this is the day and age we are in…. can’t fight it ….  🙂

10. Sweet or spicy?

Spicy!  Give me a bowl of Kimchi Noodle Soup and I’m happy!

11. Why did you begin to blog? Do you blog for the same reason now?

Coetail requires me to blog my assignments.  I’ve been blogging for 11 months now so the reasons haven’t changed much in 1 year.  I blog because it fulfills my Coetail Certificate requirements but I also blog because I enjoy writing, chronicling down important things for posterity; I find it hugely entertaining to try to be funny online while also trying to be informative through my blogging (and sometimes Tweeting). I love black/dry humour (the Canadian in me?!) and it’s plain fun trying to write for a purpose, but also to do it in a way that is entertaining.  It gives me something to balance out how serious I usually am in my off-line life.

This is WAY more than you ever wanted to know about me?!

I am nominating…

I don’t want to put any of my new Twitter or Blogging friends on the spot, as most of them are Coetail students who have weekly blog assignments for Coetail.  It’s a lot of work juggling teaching and our assignments.  I’ll tweet this link to ones I’m nominating and if they can respond, great!  If not, that’s OK too!

My Questions:

  1. What’s your favourite food?
  2. Why did you go into teaching?
  3. Where is home for you?
  4. Where was your first International School assignment?
  5. What country would you like to teach in, one day?
  6. What is one of your goals in life?
  7. What sort of volunteer work have you done?
  8. What’s your favourite book and why?
  9. What charity do you have a heart for and why?
  10. How did you spend last summer?
  11. What was the greatest thing for you in 2013?

Happy blogging!  Enjoy the sunshine blogging…and the sunshine! Spring is around the corner!  w00t!


Close-up: Magnolia Blossoms, Tour de Peilz, Switzerland

Close-up: Magnolia Blossoms, Tour de Peilz, Switzerland


Magnolia Tree by Lake Geneva, Tour de Peliz Switzerland

Magnolia Tree by Lake Geneva, Tour de Peilz Switzerland



About Vivian

Vivian @ChezVivian is a Canadian-born Chinese, currently living in Switzerland. She has also lived in Hong Kong and Indonesia. She holds a M.S. (focus: Educational Technology Integration), B.Ed and a B.A. and graduate studies in Kodály and Orff music pedagogy. She is an elementary school classroom generalist, but has also taught as a music specialist, ESL/EAL and also in Learning Support. Most of her teaching career was in International Schools in Hong Kong. She is excited about the IBPYP and the possibilities of using technology to Inquire. Recently, she has been looking at the opportunities that computer programming gives to put #TECHXture back into the hands of children. In other words, technology need not be just about looking at screens. It can be about building things with our hands; and computer programming levels-up what children can do with the things they build---encouraging higher thinking skills. She is a Coetail Post-graduate Certificate grad ('13-'14), a former Coetail Coach and one of the co-founders of #CoetailChat. Her blog home curates her assignments for Coetail and her M.S. graduate studies about Educational Technology integration and anything else educationally-related that she feels inspired to write about. Her twitter tagline sums it up: "Mom to 4, Mentor, Educator, Musician (in that order)".
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