Thursday, May 18, 2017

BEIJING BOUND, thanks to so many...!

AAAAAnd, I have my VISA! BEIJING bound so so soon! Indeed, it's been a "forbidden city" for me, 
until NOW! Just to clarify "WHY China?" (I have to focus on getting ready to skedaddle.) The position is to be a curriculum developer for the company's new on-line TESOL program, along with editing content and training, plus teaching a couple hours a day. Hoping/planning to turn it into a long-term gig, working remotely as on-line teaching spreads across Asia. 
Perfect outlet for art, stories and music, so China's the place for me next!
I want to post first about what it took to get my Z Visa to work in China.  This is fairly new for the company I'm going to work for, so I had to figure it out on my own.  If you find yourself in the same position, I want to highly recommend, after you've obtained your official documents from the company you're going to work for (they should be able to walk you through what to do up to that point), 
contact these people:
They're in the same building, on the 3rd floor up from the Chinese consulate.  
Everyone knows them and they KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING!  Even better, they're so nice!
The place was crazy busy and crowded pretty much all day 
(they're open regular business hours), but no one ever seemed annoyed or impatient.
Get your visa photos taken THERE, but don't expect to look pretty.  
You want to get the visa, right? Trust the photographer!

The biggest problem I've faced, over the past few months, 
is that no one seems to no anything.  It's cost me time, money and stress...
Nearly everyone I've talked to, even within the consulate (once I finally found it--
the Utah based company, recommended by my former college, 
sent me to the wrong address. The photos they took of me were wrong, too.  
Place to avoid: The Travel Broker in SLC, UT.), 
had differing opinions on what was required and what wasn't! 
Maybe there's someone in Utah who can actually be helpful, 
but, no one I've met.  So, again--go with this agency, Oasis China Visa Services.  
There may be others, but this one I know. I have several of their cards.
The guy drove me to and from my rental car and the Raegan National Airport is 
something of a philosopher, who's designing purses and listens to classical music.
A gentle, calming influence for a crazy trip.
Heaven bless the Charles family, for being an oasis and home-away-from home when I'm
in Maryland.  Surrounded by bird song, foliage and a lake, each day dawned with a sense of optimism 
and ended in peace. Having been there herself, Mel Charles is the one who 
gave me a heads up for what to expect at the consulate, and that my destination was NOT 
the embassy on International Place, but nearer to the National Cathedral.  
Thank you, Mel--for so many things!!
Oh, and here are some photos to help YOU find the consulate, or Visa Section of the Chinese Embassy, too.  
I had to pull over and stop an honest, kind-looking stranger on the street, who walked me to the place.  
He was one of the many earth-angels who helped me make it through this rushed, last-minute DC trip, successfully.
Here's the front of the Visa Section of the Chinese Embassy building: 
2201 Wisconsin Avenue, N. W., Suite 110,
Washington, D. C.  20007
No one there has time to answer a phone call or email, so don't try. Or try.  Go for it.  Things change.
But, that's why I'm not including a phone number for the embassy.  
Google maps on your phone will take you right to this place, but 
you won't see it if you don't know what you're looking for.
They are only available Monday through Friday, 
10 am to 3 pm, with an hour lunch break from 12:30 to 2:30 pm.  
You take a number and wait. Bring something to do to keep yourself sane.  
Here's what the front doors look like--you'll see this when you're right in front, not before.
 And here's a clue that you're almost there:
The guy on the street, who helped me, said he works in this building and that he knew there was some kind of consulate in it, because he'd been asked for directions on the street before!  He's that kinda guy--just nice.  He even told me where to park to avoid cost.  Just about 3 lights up from here, and around the corner, 
there's a recreation center and ball park with free parking--most days. 
Here's what you'll see across the street.  If you don't find anyone as nice and accommodating to direct you, like I did.
Speaking of awesome, helpful-for-no-good-reason people, the security guards inside, other agencies' workers, 
and this courier all made the obtaining of my visa possible:
Ron Green shared his number in line with me, and coached me through what to say and what not to say, which got me in that day, at least a couple hours early, and maybe even kept me from having to come back the following day.  
Everyone knows Ron, and he's usually smiling--not accustomed to being photographed!
Anyway, I have to pack and tackle my "to do" list.  
It was staggering before this 4000+ mile side trip, and even more so now.  
Lizzy's happily being a doggie with Chewie--who's moving away on the 26th.  
Big changes coming, which neither or them know anything about.  But, Lizzy loves and is beloved by
The doggie daycare people and pooches who frequent there. 
I'll cry. She'll get filthy dirty.
All's is well.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Just a Few more "T"s to cross and "I"s to dot until I have my Visa... work in Beijing.  I'm excited, nervous, and so many things...  
The chance to combine art, writing stories, songs, and lesson plans, is too good to pass up, 
even though I'll have to leave my adored Lizzy behind for a year. πŸ˜“
The new job will primarily involve developing lessons and editing, 
helping with the making of videos for the school, 
as well as teaching on line a couple of hours a day. 
Toward that end, they asked me to design a lesson for upcoming Mothers' Day.
Using a story and music from an idea that's been in my head for years,
here are some excerpts:
The only human images are photos, like this one of my son and I.  
He's the very best thing that ever happened to me.
Every living thing has babies, and every baby has a mom.
From there it's easy to pull from critters which follow the alphabet, like "A" is for Ant:
and "B" is for Butterfly:
"C" is for many things, but of course, what's cuter than a Cow and her Calf?
...and so forth and so on, including the letter "E"
and "F."  Did you know a Fish baby's a "Fry?"  Starts me wondering about some of the names we choose for food, hmm?
Naturally, we want to focus on what mom's do for us: 
Mommy cleans with me.
Mommy reads with me.
Mommy teaches me and holds me when I’m sad.
Mommy takes care of, plays with, and sings to me.
Mommy makes me happy!
Each of us loves our mom because she loves us.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Art & Japanese Classes Begin in September!!

Starting September 23rd, every Friday after school at 3:30 pm, 
Kids Kreate will resume at Hobby Lobby 
in North Logan, Utah. 
We're really excited to greet the holidays with art projects!! 
Scroll down to view images of what we'll do for the first 4 classes, 
using paint (& treats), pastels, water colors, & tissue paper!
 Register now: $45 for 4 classes, or $40 each with a friends/family discount. 
Class size is limited, so Email: to sign up!
Call or Text: 385-207-6623.
Make "Cow Pies" with paint & treats!
Tissue Paper Collage Kites, Windows, Fish, etc...
Water Color Holiday Scenes
Cute Pastel Spooks and more...!

AND the Intro to Japanese DVD is available for purchase
for $10 each (plus any applicable sales tax and shipping)

Google Hang Out &/or local classes to accompany the DVD
are available by appointment,
Monday through Friday 1-1:50 pm
beginning the week of September 19th through 22nd! 

Classes run for 12 weeks (skipping Thanksgiving week), ending December 16th, which will be the date of our presentation for family and friends.
Cost per student for classes will be determined by the number in attendance. 
Sign up with friends for as low as $85 for all 12 classes!! For more info,
check out my "Let's Learn Japanese" page on the right side of this post
Email: for more details and to sign up!
Call/text: 385-207-6623

Friday, August 5, 2016

Wrapping Up & Moving Ahead: Art and Language Classes

It's slow going, but my broken elbow is gradually mending.  In the process, sometimes large blocks of time vanish in sleeping and trying to find some way to alleviate the pain of the physical therapy designed to remind my arm how it's supposed to move.  That limb seems to have little to no memory of ever having been able to do what the right one can...Anyway, my deepest apologies for being slow in posting what's next in this coming up.
However, I'm gaining a deeper appreciation for people who struggle with chronic pain.
 Conclusion: I'm not good at it.

Back to business, starting with a clarification of what that means,
recognizing that it might seem a little ambiguous.

Simply put, Artwork by Joanna is Art & Language.

My blog/website has quite a few samples of mural and faux finishing
jobs from over the years (just glance to the right & click on any page). 
YES! I'd love to help you transform any space in your home or office,
so check out what's there, & remember, I can design something new for you!
It's also a rather literal embracing of the common term "language arts."
It's about children's books in English and Japanese, 
and educating with the Arts as tools and mediums of expression.
These blog posts will focus primarily on upcoming classes:
 stuff we've done & will do!
Having taught English in Japan, S. Korea and the states, 
North Carolina Virtual Public High School has also employed me
as a Japanese language coach for 3 years.
From this combination, the idea to use original 
stories, art and music to introduce an seemingly complicated language is evolving.

So, when Cara Rector, a long-time friend who's very involved in Home School Education, 
suggested I set up a booth at the LDSHE convention 
held in Logan at Utah State university,   
 I signed up.  
While there, I met home educators and suppliers, and made some great connections! 
I'm currently organizing local and on line small groups to learn Japanese hiragana,
along with some vocabulary and simple sentences.
Cara bought the DVD, and upon returning to Pennsylvania, here's what happened (quote): 
"My little girls spent...their morning using your DVD, then they started drawing some characters and writing the English translation underneath."   
The DVD includes each of the 46 characters in γ²γ‚‰γŒγͺ with an explanatory page like this one, along with practice sheets, activities and suggested cultural learning opportunities, and more.
 It can be purchased separately
(It's only $10.  I'd love to get a copy to you:
But it will also be part an integral tool for our on-line and local 12 week course.

It's time to sign up & move ahead, since classes need to begin by no later than mid-September.  
If you and/or your child are interested in Japanese lessons, either on line or in person,  please email, text, or call at your earliest convenience concerning what times work best for you. 
That way, we can organize small groups of learners
for optimal fun & a cost-effective learning experience!
Many, many thanks to Amber Bowden for helping create a powerpoint 
to bring Twinkle and Luna alive in Japanese (part of our young learners' final presentation)!
Yep, it's on the DVD!!!
Again, Japanese classes, both on line and in person, will begin in September.  
We'll meet virtually, or in real time,
once each week, for a 50 minute class, wrapping up in early December. 

ALSO, what about coloring, cutting, pasting and painting = ART??
Autumn Art classes will resume at the end of September.  
We had so much fun; let's keep it up!
(Psst!  Our next project: Cow Pies!  Don't worry, no actual poo involved!)
I'll offer 2 different classes:
Kids Kreate, for children ages 4 and up, 

and hands-on mural painting & finishing for teens and adults!

A "faux" finish just means a painting technique that makes something
ordinary look like extraordinary: 
It can be elaborate or subtle, depending on the project. 
For these faux finishing classes, we'll work on sight--
the 2nd level of a town home in Bridgerland Meadows, which
includes an open stairwell.
I'm looking forward to hearing from you and setting times, dates, and locations!
Phone: 385-207-6623 (leave a message or send a text if you miss me!
--even if it still says I'm in Asia--I'm home now.)

Monday, July 18, 2016

National Home School Conference... in TEN DAYS!!!  If you home school, or just want ideas for teaching, this is the Western Region's conference & it'll be held right here in Logan, Utah!  Go here to check it out:
And here to register on line (there are only 2 days left to do this online!):
Twinkle & Luna (γƒˆγ‚¦γ‚£γƒ³γ‚―γƒ« と γƒ«γƒŠ), along with Twinkle's friends, 
will debut sung in Japanese on a powerpoint to follow along 
at this conference in my little booth. :-)
Artwork by Joanna has 2 more Hobby Lobby Art classes: 
this week and the first week of August on Wednesdays (9:30 to 10:30 am)
& Thursdays (9:30 to 10:30 am and 11 am to 12:30 pm),
comes in between those 2 final classes.  
Several parents have asked if we'll still be holding art classes in the fall.
  My dream has always been to really embrace Language as one of the Arts.
We call it that, but treat these subjects as separate.  Are they?
Every Chinese & Japanese character began with a drawing 
and language is a big part of how we express appreciation 
along every thought, feeling we have.  
So, why not embrace the "Arts" more fully 
when we teach a new language?
Not only will every class will include some form of artistic expression, 
every student will conclude the 12 lesson/week J1 course having 
a binder with materials he/she can review, which will include 
all of the first phonetic alphabet: γ²γ‚‰γŒγͺ。The lessons are not
meant to be "kids only," and
activities will depend on the age, skill levels & interests
of the each group.
The words we learn with those characters...
...greetings, sentences and more...
We'll do fun stuff, to help us remember and...have fun!
To culminate we'll present Twinkle & Luna 
in Japanese for family and friends!
So, are classes over?  Hardly!  Starting in September, I'll be offering
Introductory Japanese classes through Home School, after school and preschool,
using Art, Activities, Singing, Stories and Drama!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Hobby Lobby Art Classes: Week 3

Who doesn't love them?
Oh what they can become...
when creative young minds get involved!