BBG exam finished!

 

Like running a marathon for the recent one month, we have crossed the finishing line this afternoon at 4:30 in British Museum. With one lady in our group bursting into tears and the most of us laughing from our inner heart with slightly wet eyes.

The rest of the team who has finished their final ones at St Paul and British Museum this morning has been waiting for us to join in the pub since one o’clock, and when we arrived there, we were greeted with their huge round of plause and other people’s curious eyes. It was really one of the most emotional moments of my life with lots of hugs, encouragements, warm words and genuine love for each other.

When I look back for the recent one month, we had 6 exams in a row including the most challenging coach exam and London paper. My best friend in the course, a lovely lady from Brazil said that she was going to quit one or two because she thought she was never going to achieve it. Well, I said that at least give a try and she tried with the most effort she could give. And most of the practical sites exams turned out to be the best performance she had ever given! I’m trying to say that future badgers, we have received very sophisticated training and that is going to get us through all the exams. Yes, the exams they are scary but when that moment come, when you standing in front of the Rossetta stone, or Parthenon marbles, however nervous you are, how little sleep you had last night, you are going to be able to say something for five minutes. The solid foundation has already been laid from one or two years ago. The examiners are absolutely lovely people, they are trying to pass us all as they always said at the beginning of the exam. They showed their interest, they nod and laugh when you say the joke they probably have heard about hundreds of times so I would say that they are definitely well qualified blue badge examiners!

When I arrived home today, my fiancée prepared my favorite crab noodle for me at home, so the blue badge course has been a burden for him as well! When I’m focusing my mind at the final stage, he is doing most of the household work and this situation is certainly shared by other badgers. So a big big thanks!

Also when I look back, I would probably had huge difficulty without the help of “ Go and make it happen”. Captain Keith has offered great help not only financially but also a great motive to make me want to try my best to go and make it happen!

What a group!

One of the greatest things about Blue badge training is that you have another chance in your life to be in a great group. This feeling brought me back to my undergraduate and high school time that when we got all different kinds of tasks which need group working together. During Blue badge training, you don’t do group presentation, but it’s much more than that.

We have in our group 4 different nationalities, half male and half female, wide range of age from 20s to 60s. It seems to be a rather complicated combination to blend well together, however with our senior group leaders Sean and Barry leading the way, setting the good examples and contributing a large amount of knowledge and the rest of us following the right direction, every Saturday practice has turned out to be in great atmosphere! To be honest, the thought of trying not to lag behind the group has now become the ultimate driving force of my Blue badge learning now instead of passing the exam. This group has made me feel that the process of training is really enjoyable and full of good memory.

Last week we had our first formal group meal at Rob’s new home. Great food and interesting game about the famous people who have connection with East London. Non-stop BBG training!

Class is over, Holiday begins!

Although still having an anxious feeling that the background knowledge test result may be a bit dangerous for me, receiving email telling us that the result will be delayed until next month, how cruel! Anyway, the holiday for Badgers finally come after handing in the tour project.

Having taken advice from tutors, newly graduated badgers that this is not a holiday to forget about the blue badge, I constantly have all my blue badge related material and books on the lowest shelf of my bookcase. Read them whenever I’ve got some boring time to pass. However I think I am having a brand new feeling about them. I still remember the summer time last year after our induction day. I was really eager to go through as many books as I can but ended up reading none of them more than one chapter. Everything was so remote to me that I got tired in less than half an hour.  Now things are rather different! Having a general idea about the historical clue and geographical map of this country and also Europe in mind makes it easier for me to start those monster books I bought last year when I was in a thrilled mode of becoming Ms Know it all!

Well, I want to recommend some books really good for foreign badgers who are not brought up in English-speaking world. One called “What on earth happened” telling all the major civilization and offering great comparison and interesting fact. The other one is a series of books called 50** ideas you really need to know, it covers architecture, literature, paintings, etc. Easy to follow and again has great link between eastern and western world.

 

A trip to Bath

Last week was the most wonderful trip outside London so far. A nice and brief stop at a small village called Lacock on the road and final destination in Bath with beautiful sunshine and flowers booming everywhere in the city.

On the coach, I had my coach talk about Jane Austen. I chose this topic without hesitation on the first day of the course. Mr Darcy was the first English man I came to know rather than Issac Newton with his law of Gravity. Pride and Prejudice was the first foreign novel I read when I was only ten years old. For the first time, I knew something fascinating about a country far from the small village in China, far across the continent, 13 hours of flight.

It was a magic feeling when I arrived in a city where Jane Austen lived more than 100 years ago to see the building which she lived in, walk around it to imagine the view she had when she was writing the novels in her room. The amazing thing is that the city has not changed in its appearance since the honey coloured building was established in Georgian Times.

Not only the Georgian buildings are charming, but also the Roman bath standing near the Abbey, still preserving the roman structure of the bath, and a wonderful display of Roman period city of Bath. Not far away from it, is the modern Thermo Bath making use of the famous Bath spring to offer a real treat for people coming to Bath to enjoy a real bath.

At the end of the day, for the first time, I almost forgot about I’m coming to Bath to study.

Now I can say Bath is my favourite city in UK!

Learning to be a Guide……

Last week was the first time we were doing presentation all day long on Saturday. National Gallery paintings on the morning and city walk presentation in the afternoon.

In fact not only presentations. A lot of other things we should also bear in mind. I forgot about the right route to lead people from Postman’s park to Goldsmith Hall and eventually took a rather strange and uncomfortable way there. I forgot to repeat question for everybody from time to time. My hand is not nice and strong when pointing out things……

These little things seems rather trivial at first. When you are not receiving professional training as a guide, you may not realise it throughout your whole life. However, when you get into the habit of doing everything advised, you create a fabulous travel experience by making people very comfortable. They don’t realise it, and that’s it! That’s what is called a good tour. From the very beginning of a day, people receive warm smile, pre-informed plan of the day, comfort stop in between, wheelchair access if needed, safety advice which is above all important. Sometimes it is these things making a tour smooth and successful rather than the content you deliver.

Communication seminars

Possibly every Blue Badge Guide would remember their communication seminar for quite a long time. For me, this is the very first time for this type of training, Challenging, interesting, extremely useful, extremely scary and cruel!

The thing is that you will be filmed and later play back in front of everyone for picking up your unconscious behaviours such as the strangely moving fingers, ugly expression on your face, funny shaking legs, swinging body as if  you were on a ship, waving arms which are totally out of control……

You don’t realize that so many parts of your body have contributed in your speech before watching this! So it is terribly useful in future guiding and many other occasions in life! It may get you outstanding impression when you are going to meet with you mother in law for the first time!

I did really bad in my final speech about the painting of Queen Elizabeth I.  When I suddenly forgot the sentence I was going to say, I started to talk a lot of nonsense and ruined the remaining structure of the talk. My voice turned smaller and smaller because I didn’t know what I was going to say next.  The scary thing is that they help you to remember this painful process by replaying that!

The feedback from our tutors are really practical and helpful. I found the most important thing is that our fellow classmates are getting closer through this seminar. We support each other, encourage each other and give honest comments on each other. I like this feeling as if we all went back to the high school!

London on Thames,Teasure on Avon

Coming back from Stratford-upon-Avon, I’m now sitting in front of my desk with a warm yellow reading lamp on, carefully organizing the scattered pieces of information from this long long day. I went out in the dark and come back in dark. London winter has come and my first reaction is “How to talk about Dickens in this suitable background?” My boyfriend has started to call me mad for it.

My small but cozy room is in a Victorian style terrace house with a row of huge cherry trees in front of it. The sublime bright yellow rain triggered from time to time by unmerciful wind is one of the most attracting London scenes in my mind. (by the way, in winter we have cold wind from the north and warm wet wind brought by Gulf stream from the southwest, the cold and warm meet fiercely in November, so this month is always the most unpredictable and blustery in the year.) I have told this to my boyfriend already. At first, I receive “wow! Amazing”  After having received too much, “Mad” is what I got.

Come back to my true subject, The thing I want to talk is that the real beauty of UK lies in its integrity of good things. You will see the most spectacular views in famous London sites, also lovely pictures from quiet, ordinary residential areas, just like the house where I’m living in now.

When you go to a small town with 25,000 people far away from the capital you still find the London standard theatre there, good restaurant, good pub. Rather than only having a boring museum, they have honoured their ancestor by establishing modern theatres attracting people over the world to come here and the small town is no longer small by this means. This is what amazes me after visiting there, by making a small town as exiciting as London, English people make money and make a great living and keep tradition generation after generation.

Golden Autumn, Sun kissed Windsor

Looking from the north terrace in Windsor castle at 5 o’clock yesterday, with a ray of sunlight glowing on the colourful autumn trees below and grand castle behind me, I was wondering how can I introduce and describe Windsor to my future clients without spoiling the flawless picture.

I have been on Blue Badge training course for almost two months and I find it the most useful and interesting course I have ever had. I have been a student continuously for almost 20 years and you can count on my experience!

Before I started this course, I did not think a guiding job that difficult. Our blue badge tutors showed us various customer needs we should bear in mind, little tiny corners where stories happened, logical threads linking events together meaningfully……so much to learn from the course making me feel that a blue badge standard guiding work can be really challenging for you are looking at a tour full of information, smoothly arranged and fun!

Our Windsor tour yesterday gave a very good example of it. Wendy and Babara gave us numerous stories and strategies to “deal with” your future clients until my brain was clogged up and started to play slow motion like an overheated laptop. They are being wonderful tutors trying to give us as much as possible. SO huge thanks to them all!

I still have not figured out how to do my Windsor guiding without too much damaging, but I thinks we will eventually be there with efforts put in it everyday!

Windsor

Windsor