Visa Problem for a teacher in New Zealand

My friend is a great teacher for Year 2 students in New Zealand. She is American and was offered the job two years ago when New Zealand needed primary school teachers.  Last month she came home for her grandmother’s funeral and her visa application was denied because the recent labor and market search suggests their isn’t a need for foreign teachers. She has decided to return to her job as a volunteer so that her children can finish the school year with a consistent teacher. The school wants her. The children love her. Only a teacher would take a job unpaid for her children. She will finish out the school year and then return home. PLease consider helping fund her so she has a few living expenses these next few months. She’s only 24 and doesn’t need much but every dollar helps!

Read her story and visit her page below

http://www.gofundme.com/fk2yqk

#46 Visit the Dingos of Fraser Island: 100 Family Experiences

Fraser Island is a must visit when traveling to Australia. Wild Dingos roam the island and you are sure to see several families within close proximity. Just remember that they aren’t friendly. The Island is beautiful and every stop was completely different. We did a guided tour which is typically not our thing but it was great to see everything the Island provided and after seeing the number of people stuck in the sand in their own cars I was really happy we had the super bus. A two day tour gets you all over the Island to explore the many amazing ecosystems and areas it has to offer.

The ruins of the old Maheno shipwreck provided a picturesque photo op along the 75 mile beach. There were lots of places to go with amazing cliff views to look down at the water and see all the fish. We met lots of new friends wading in the tidal pools and getting crashed amongst the waves , swimming in lake Wobby, hiking through the rainforest, tubing,  running down giant sand dunes and laughing on the bus. It’s a tour worth taking.

#47 Visit Amsterdam’s Amazing Nemo Science Center: 100 family travel experiences

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Amsterdam is an amazing city. Easy to get around whether by foot, bike, taxi or water. There is plenty to do and sometimes it’s hard to decide to take time to go see another science museum when there are so many good ones at home. It is my recommendation that you take time to see Nemo. You can’t miss the Nemo building. It looks like a giant green ship in the harbor.  Once inside, every exhibit is hands on and fascinating. They even have a laboratory where kids can sign up to do there own experiments.  Kids will want to spend hours exploring each floor.

One of the most fascinating and unique exhibits in Nemo is their Teen Facts section. The Netherlands has a very different and open view of sexuality and Amsterdam is a town in which prostitution is legal. It’s not surprising that the science museum takes an open and active approach to addressing the body, puberty and sexuality at their science museum. To American’s it may come as a shock to visit the “teen peep show” where kids over 13 are given coins to watch videos of other children discussing sex, first experiences and answering questions.  You’ll find art figurines posed in sexual positions and even a manual french kiss machine. Where this is shocking to most Americans it is all part of good communication in the Netherlands.  If you are taking your kids to Amsterdam it’s probably a great idea to have these discussions as prostitution  is a part of the city of Amsterdam’s history and probably will bring up some questions anyway. I found we couldn’t visit several of the sites without passing side streets with women in the windows.

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https://www.e-nemo.nl/en/

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#48 Eat in Singapore’s hawker centers: 100 Family Travel Experiences

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Traveling for a year, I often wondered if my kids would adjust to the wide variety of foods they would experience. I have one kid who loves and will try everything and anything and another who generally limits his diet to noodles or rice. Generally, my kids adjusted really well to all the different foods thrown at them. They’ve tried everything from grubs to gourmet.

It was truly a pleasure to get to Singapore and find streets and plazas filled with choices. A beautiful aromatic blend of Malay, Indian, Chinese, and Western smells. You’ll find a similar blend of faces in the crowds of people gathered each day to eat. Pick a food and try to find a place to sit. My kids had a few favorite places they insisted revisit but what I loved was that everyone could get something different. It was like a food festival everyday.

It would take hours to go through every dish available and pointless to recommend a place as I honestly believe the fun is in the exploration and choosing.

As with any place when traveling, caution with food is important. As a rule I suggest one avoid anything that can’t be peeled(as in fruit or vegetables) or cooked thoroughly. As much as I love salads I’ve seen more travelers go down with a bad stomach because of leafy vegetables that can’t be peeled.

Nonetheless, I’m pretty adventurous and there are plenty of interesting foods to try. I loved the steaming pots, the satay, and fried carrot cake. Be sure to try a durian.

Kentucky basketball fans are dedicated!

If you have ever been to Lexington, Kentucky you know they are serious about their basketball. How serious?!

This video shows the appropriately named “tent city” that forms each September around the University where fans camp for at least three days before the release of tickets to the first University of Kentucky basketball open practice called midnight madness! Yes- you read that correctly – practice! Not game! It’s more of a show these days than an actual practice but none the less wildcat fans are dedicated!

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10204861987098385&l=8799528402123672839

#49 Visit Niagara Falls: 100 Family Travel Experiences

photoGrowing up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada one almost takes going to Niagara Falls for granted -what an absolute magnificent experience it is.  It’s a trip you do with your family, your school and when anyone comes to visit you. I’ve been so many times I couldn’t begin to list them and although I love it every time I see it. I never grow old of waiting in line with my poncho for the ride on the Maid of the Mist (The ferry ride underneath the falls). Or the walk right along the edge that makes me feel a little dizzy at the power of the rushing water flowing over the edge.

My daughter just got back from a school trip there. It was her fifth trip. She still loved it. It’s an amazing place.  If you can get a room overlooking the falls for a spectacular view then that is great but not necessary. You will have plenty of time to walk around and take in the sights.

In my opinion, don’t stay for the tourist traps in the area unless you love that stuff. They are over priced and full of tourists. See the falls and get out of town. If you have time go to a little town about 35 minutes away called Niagara on the Lake and spend a week. It’s worth your time. Check out it’s website.

https://www.niagaraonthelake.com

#50 Visit Tiger Kingdom: Chiang Mai: Thailand 100 Family Travel Experiences

I couldn’t wait to see Tiger Kingdom. The little kid dream of seeing a tiger up close. When I saw that Thailand had several places one could visit with Tigers I knew I would go. I read the reviews. I read about responsible tourism. I debated myself about whether I should go. In the end, I knew I had to go. I had to see it for myself. I had to have the experience. 

Tiger Kingdom was well managed and clean. Much like many zoos one goes to the tigers are in pens. The tigers on display have larger areas to roam and I saw no evidence that they were drugged. On the contrary, they were active and engaged in play with the handlers. They had toys, games and other activities to keep them busy. Nocturnal by nature, some tigers were asleep but would occasionally get up to wander. 

My kids were not allowed in with the largest tigers. My son stayed with the babies. He got to bottle feed them. My daughter enjoyed two different sizes. We encountered the largest.  Following our guide, he stated that we were to stay with him at all times, not make sudden movements and to stay behind him. Equipped with only a large prod, it was clear there was little he was join to do if our tiger decided to turn. We went in and our Tiger was might and magnificent. He lay down, head raised and we were guided to sit beside him. We could rub his side, touch his back and paws. Another guide took pictures. Anything our guide said, we did. At one point he said to lie down and put my head on it’s belly and I did. I kept thinking how My mother would kill me if she saw me doing this. All of a sudden, he jumped up and lunged at the cage in front of us a wheel chair went by. Clearly he saw the wheels turn and wanted to play or attack them. He paced back and forth watching the oblivious person in the wheelchair. We backed away.

We walked around to several other tigers. Each one allowing us to visit and touch them. One sleeping tiger was our guides favorite and he showed us his huge teeth. It was about then that I snapped back into reality and realized I was in a cage surrounded by tigers. 

I have since recommended Tiger Kingdom to friends. Yet, I do so with reservation. Please understand that I truly believe in responsible tourism and the importance of understanding what it is you are impacting when visiting places like this. It is also important to truly take time to understand the plight of the tiger. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLSigeW2FWc

So if you do visit, or just find this blog post interesting. Please take time to help the Tigers. 

http://www.savetigersnow.org

 

 

#51 Visit #Vegas with the kids? Yes! : 100 Family travel experiences

Las Vegas has a lot to offer families. Granted that our first family trip was immediately after a week of rafting in the Grand Canyon and we were very happy to just see showers and beds so Vegas looked like heaven.

Vegas is definitely sensory overload even if you aren’t coming from a week off the grid. People watching is better than almost anywhere else in the world. That aside, there is so much for families to do that you won’t even realize that you never saw a bar or spent time in a casino while you are there. 

My top family events are:

Cirque de Soleil (Any of the shows are great- Beatles LOVE is awesome)

Stratosphere Hotel Thrill Rides (Crazy rides on top of the hotel)

Serendipity Restaurant- Kids will love their Frozen Hot Chocolate while watching the people on the strip

Bellagio Fountains- Watch them dance https: //www.bellagio.com/attractions/fountains-of-bellagio.aspx

Mac King Magic Show-  The best magic show in Vegas. http://www.mackingshow.com

Zombie Apocalypse Store: My kids love the zombie craze and this store was ready to outfit anyone with everyone for the coming apocalypse. We could have spent a week there. http://zombieapocalypsestore.com

 

 

 

Encouraging families to live their travel dreams!

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