My Next Adventure!

It is official! This May I will be flying halfway around the world to China, more specifically Shanghai, to teach English for a year. To say that I am both nervous and excited is just a bit of an understatement. After all there is only so much reading can prepare you for, and it is a fair old distance from home.

But enough of all that, how did I get to this point I hear you ask? The process (so far) has been fairly straightforward and uncomplicated. After graduating from university I decided I would embark upon a year (or more) abroad, you know to expand my horizons, find myself, discover what I want to do with the rest of my life and experience the world etc. Shanghai was always pretty up there on my shortlist of places to go, aided, of course, by the current residency of my aunt and uncle. It’s a pretty nifty way to visit some family, wouldn’t you agree? Locale settled, next I simply applied to Eastland Recruiting, who put me in touch with Kid Castle in Shanghai, a few interviews here and there and what do you know, I had a job offer. Oh and there was the small matter of doing a 120 hour TEFL course, we must not forget about that.

Now the teaching part, why teaching? Well that decision was a little less straightforward, although it hardly constituted the need for words like complicated, perplexing or perhaps difficult, if difficult could indeed apply at all. I was faced with that aged old question: What am I going to do next/with my life? Depending upon how dramatic you feel. The answer to which, is never a simple or an easy one. I had, once or twice before, considered the noble profession of teaching, shaping the young minds of the future. But I could never bring myself to commit. Now I am presented with the perfect opportunity to test myself and test whether teaching is for me, or more accurately, if I’ll be any good at it. Other than that I have always been more academically minded and I have, more often than not, assisted or tried to assist anyone who has asked me with English and essays and all such wonderful things. It is just in my nature to try to help (maybe a little too much at times).

So here I am, convinced my future, no, my destiny lies in wait in the East …. watch this space!

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Are You Feeling Small Yet?

I often sit, pondering the great mysteries of life, such as: what happens to us after we die? Do you pour the water or milk first, when making tea? Why do cats reach the lofty heights of YouTube stardom? But, more often than not, these conundrums pale in the face of perhaps the most important puzzle. Are we alone in the universe?

NASA have recently released a 1.5 billion pixel image of the Andromeda Galaxy (2.5 million light-years away), taken by the Hubble Telescope. The image itself is outstanding, if not mesmerizing, spanning a region of 40,000 light years. Astonishingly the image does not cover the entire galaxy itself! Such a scale is difficult to comprehend. Such a scale, therefore, begs the question, if it does not demand it, are we alone? To which the answer must simply be no, no we cannot be alone. Statistically, it seems incomprehensible, but even attempting to understand how we could be the only ones, it is difficult to put into words. That we alone reside in the vast darkness punctuated by small blips of light, how could that be possible?  Have we been cursed by the random but precise paradigms of creation? Despite probability and all the maths humanity could muster, are we destined to roam this void alone? The Milky Way and Andromeda remain two galaxies in well … a soup galaxies.

    Picture from: http://www.iflscience.com/space/spectacular-new-hubble-image-universe

Hubble’s picture of the universe (as seen above) shows just that. Equally both the Milky Way and Andromeda house billions of stars, orbited by countless plants, many of which sit in ‘habitable zones’. We may never met or see another race or civilisation, humanity may burn itself out by then, Earth may not be able to support us long enough, or some cataclysmic event may occur. But to assume we are alone is a narrow minded outlook bred by our seeming position of dominance in our known universe. We may never be able to truly comprehend or wrap our minds around this fundamental question. But I say, we cannot be alone.

(This of course is my point of view and in no way reflects the views of NASA, or anyone other than myself for that matter)

For more information, and to see Hubble’s sharpest picture yet, look at these links below and enjoy:

NASA/Hubble: http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/heic1502/

IFLScience: http://www.iflscience.com/space/one-and-half-billion-pixels-andromedan-magnifcence