Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Consolidation: Moving from 4 websites to one

What's the situation now

Being a freelancer, I've got lots of different work aspects. I do graphic design, illustration, and writing. I work on virtual events where I get to use a lot of the above skills as well as my technological and social media skills that I've been learning both formally and informally (aka practicing) since 2008.
So right now I have 4 different websites:

This one http://teachergraphics.blogspot.com which specializes in the illustration and design that I do for teachers. I've got my online store set up here as well.

The Tech Goddess http://www.thetechgoddess.com : I love this site. I love the name and I fought pretty hard to acquire it. This is purely for my Virtual Event and Web Design Clients.

Newbie Yoga http://www.newbieyoga.com : This was my first content site. I have moved on to specialize in yoga for children, but there are so many people who learn about me and what I do through this site that I don't want to take it down, and finally the newest site:

AYogaStoryforKids http://www.ayogastoryforkids.com : This is for my book series for children. I am planning to write a series of yoga books for children. However, I already have a book that doesn't fall into this category and I'm currently writing another one that doesn't fall into this category either.

Why I decided to operate under one umbrella site instead of many

When I first decided to have so many sites, there was one underlying factor: my name.
My name isn't the easiest to spell or remember. Lakshmi Gosyne is very unusual. It has its perks. I know that my name and username would never be "taken" on social media sites, but again, it's very unusual and I have been advised many times NOT to use my name as my website.


The world wide web is changing. It's becoming more and more social and most people don't want to connect with companies. They want to connect with people. This makes sense to me. I don't follow companies. I want to connect with people. Which is why I'm "retiring" this site.

Where do you find me now?

I am not taking this site down; not for the next year anyway so you will still be able to access the store and my other pages. I'll slowly be moving to www.lakshmigosyne.com where I'll be sharing everything that I do with you. My illustrations, technology, writing and traveling. Currently this URL redirects to ayogastoryforkids.com, but again I will slowly be rebranding.

I hope you join me on this journey.

Lots of Love and Gratitude,

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Disney “Snow White Syndrome”

Actually it should be the Disney Princess syndrome. I’ve seen it in Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty as well.
I’m not talking about the clinical “Snow White Syndrome” with a wicked step-mother and envy issues. I’m talking about when we first meet Snow White. She is busy cleaning and she is singing “I am Wishing” and draws a group of doves to her. Shrek spoofed this with their version of Snow White.
Now I don’t have chipmunks help me out with the cleaning, but I seem to draw the weary and downtrodden to me. It drives my husband insane!

My family have never own pets except goldfish in Canada. Mom was allergic, and in Toronto, most animals are firmly attached to leashes. But, once I moved to Keri Keri, this soon changed. I don’t think there’s been a place that Jonathan and I have lived where we didn’t have some kind of dog or cat hanging out around the house. Jonathan is a great dog handler, his mother is a dog breeder and he loves them. We both agreed though that with the amount of traveling that we do, we should not own pets. It would be unfair to them.
One of our friends here in Thailand had a cat, which quickly has multiplied to 20 cats. He’s running a cat empire (and you thought it was a “cat lady” didn’t you?).
Dogs in Thailand are another issue. I think that you truly understand the saying “It’s a Dog’s Life” here in Thailand. Even the most loved dogs with owners and regular feedings get hurt by interacting with the “strays” around the island. Dogs have a distinct pecking order and often run in packs here. Many of them have “mange” a skin disorder caused by parasites. (You may have heard the term mangy dog before).

Many of them don’t have enough food to eat.
And some of them are injured from being run over by cars or in fights with other dogs.
I think many tourists feel that they can pet the animals, but you need to be very careful. You never know when a dog will think you are aggressive and bite you. Running on the beach may be an issue as sometimes there are packs of dogs around.

(**Warning the following picture, even though it's a before and after is disturbing**)

I’ve never been bitten, but I tend to leave the dogs alone. Even though I feel really sorry for them. It’s one of the things that are a sore point for me, living in Asia.
Luckily, I’ve learned about a dog shelter and program here on the island. They run strictly on donations. http://www.samuidog.org/

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Scooter Driving: My Current Nemesis

So I am learning to drive a scooter. It’s not very technical. You just have to turn on the ignition turn the handle to drive and there are two brakes for braking like a bicycle. That’s the easy part. Yes I can start the scooter and drive it around a parking lot.
The trouble is driving it on the roads in Samui is it can be very dangerous. There are more accidents and deaths from driving a scooter in Thailand (and Greece) than anywhere else in the world. Why? Well there’s the issue of tourists driving scooters around with no helmets, narrow roads and no set traffic rules. We’ve had friends who have fallen off their scooters and gotten the infamous “Samui Tattoo” which is basically a where the fall has scraped off skin from a large part of your body (arm or leg usually).
There’s also my personality that comes into play. My husband is terrified that I will just dream off at the wheel, just like I do at home, and hit something.

Why I want to learn to drive a scooter

So why if it’s so dangerous do I want to drive a scooter?
1. We own one
This is probably the main reason I want to learn to ride a scooter. We’ve already got it sitting outside the house. I just need to learn to drive it well.
2. It’s the most cost effective way to get around the island
Gasoline costs us 130 BHT ($4.50 USD) to fill up our scooter and we usually need to fill it twice a month.
Getting the “practice” in is what is the most annoying as it never really is a “convenient” time for me to take the scooter around for a spin in the parking lot. Usually when we take the scooter out, it’s to run errands and pick up stuff. I can’t take the time to drive the scooter around while Jonathan waits around with groceries in his hands.

Why not just buy a car?

Since I’ve been driving cars since I was 16 this seems to be the most sensible option. However there are a couple of downsides to having a car.
1. Parking is near impossible
We borrowed our friend’s Vios once and unless you’re at a mall, there are no set parking spots. It’s really difficult to park your car anywhere.
2. It is really expensive to own a car
Unlike the scooter, owning a car would cost us 3-4 times more than buying the same car in New Zealand. Used vehicles start at $10000.
3. The roads are incredibly narrow
... and the cars for sale here are usually large pick up trucks.

So I will eventually get this scooter out on the road… one of these days. *sigh*

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Living in Thailand

If you've read my "About Me" page. You probably know by now that I currently live in Thailand. How did I get here? Long story. How did that happen? I'll give you a quick synopsis.

1. I've already moved countries, twice.

See, I was born in a small, Caribbean country called Trinidad and Tobago. I was nine when we moved. Then when I married, I moved to New Zealand, so moving again didn't seem as daunting as it would for others. This doesn't mean I don't miss my family, I do. It's just that I've gotten used to communicating online with my loved ones.

2. I love to travel

I've been bitten by the travel bug since I was 24. I did a European tour back then and fell in love with travelling. Full disclosure: travelling isn't always as glamorous as it sounds, but being patient and staying in the moment is a good practice and getting to the "other" side is totally worth it! I love learning about new cultures, ideas and values. I appreciate that things are different in a different place and respect it. I also love the fact that the more I travel, the more I learn how similar people are.

3. I work from home

What really stops people from moving to their favorite vacation spot is work. How on earth are you going to support yourself? Well, lucky for me, I work "from home". Which means that I can work from anywhere in the world. This does have it's drawbacks. I'm not really an "extrovert" or into "sales" so I don't get as much work as with a job. This means that my income is pretty low, which may be a factor in moving to Thailand, where the cost of living is significantly lower.

4. We are not part of the rat race

We do not keep up with the Joneses, we don't have a huge house with two cars and we don't wear the latest designer brands. One of the reasons I married Jonathan was because he and I valued our lifestyle over what was "normal". We also don't have children. This is huge. Although it may not be by choice, not having children does make moving countries easier.

Where I live

Where we live in Thailand was important too. We would not have moved here if we didn't feel there were enough "English speakers" and ex-pats that we got along with. We knew people from New Zealand here and quickly gained some great friends from Australia, Japan, the UK, France etc. Koh Samui, Thailand gives us a nice balance. We can go to the movies and go shopping in a mall if we want, or visit the local Thai market.
That being said, we've been really lucky to live in an area where we've been able to hang out with Thais. They aren't local as many of them have moved to Samui for work, but, we learn a lot about Thai culture and language from them.

This is our one bedroom villa by the beach 
This is our one bedroom villa by the beach
This is the beach in front of our villa. 
This is the beach in front of our villa.
Sunset at Fisherman's Village, just a short drive away.
Sunset at Fisherman's Village, just a short drive away.

Sensi Paradis Koh Tao 
Koh Tao, where I went for my birthday is a 4 hour ferry ride away

Things that are different here from North America

Don't expect people to communicate the same as you do

So you think this might be just about speaking in Thai, but, it's not. One of my friends from New York and I often have this conversation as terms, phrases and ideas are significantly different between North America, the UK, Europe, Asia and Australia/New Zealand. Luckily, having lived in New Zealand, I'm aware of this. If you mention SNL, or Jimmy Fallon no one may know what you're talking about!

Be aware of the predominant culture

Thai people are very conservative and very Buddhist. They generally dress modestly and have strong lines between men and women e.g. a strange man speaking to a strange woman. Although they make exceptions for us farang (foreigner) Thai couples generally don't go around holding hands or being very affectionate.

Reading signs, labels and directions is hopeless

Unless you spend a lot of time and effort learning the Thai alphabet, reading food labels, some road signs and even some websites can be frustrating.


Lakshmi Gosyne is an author, illustrator, web designer and teacher. She worked as a preschool and primary school teacher for 16 years before writing two yoga story books: Jungle Walk: A Yoga Story for Kids and Waiting for Dad: A Yoga Story for Kids. You can find out more at www.ayogastoryforkids.com

Monday, August 12, 2013

Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale!

Hi just wanted to let you know that things are going to be on SALE at Teachers pay Teachers for the next 4 days. So if you've wanted to buy something from my store, you can save some money during the next 4 days! Just click the image below to be taken to the sale.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Just for $1 Numbers and Operations Penguins and Polka Dots Graphics Pack

Hi everyone, Just thought I'd do some Maths core curriculum items to go with the Penguins and Polka Dots packs. This works with Grade 2 Core Maths for Numbers and operations. The pictures are in 300 dpi .png format they are 8.25 by 11 inches and they are easy to print and use for your classroom or to include in your core curriculum lesson plan. You get 4 sheets in total

  • number chart to 100
  • number chart with 10s highlighted 
  • number chart with 5s highlighted 
  • number chart with 2s highlighted

Friday, August 2, 2013

Who Buys Children's Books?

Here's my second infographic on Who is Buying Children's Books? You'll find out whether it's men or women, the age group as well as their buying habits. I've done a lot of research for marketing my kids books and I've found this information interesting and insightful.
Who buys Children
Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.