I'm Annabelle. I was born in 1991, in a town just out of Wellington, New Zealand. I have a mum, dad, and two older brothers - all of whom pop up in various posts on this blog.
I had a pretty normal kiwi childhood. I travelled around the country with my family often during school holidays. We went to Australia a few times, including to the Gold Coast when I was 9, which is probably the first international trip I remember well. When I was 14, I visited Rarotonga in the Cook Islands for the first time. Around that time, I also started studying Mandarin Chinese at high school, which would spark an interest in China which stays with me to this day. Whilst studying Chinese, I happened to hear about the JET Programme, and also developed an interest in Japan. A year later, I started working at a local supermarket, a job I would progress through for the next six years, and which funded not only a lot of my travel, but also my future university studies.
|Me as a child on holiday in Australia.|
When I was 17, I visited Hawaii with my parents, which was the first trip I took out of Oceania. I became really interested in travelling, and took more trips to Australia over the next few years. After high school, I enrolled at Victoria University of Welington, and graduated three years later with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Chinese and Second Language Education. I then re-enrolled for one more year to study a Graduate Diploma in Primary Teaching. That year, I spent about four months at two very different elementary schools in my town as part of my teacher training.
|A beautiful beach we visited in Hawaii.|
|Resting in the Forbidden City, Beijing.|
|Shinkyo bridge, in the beautiful town of Nikko, Tochigi.|