Back in China!
Back to school!
Back with writing!
Back in China!
Back to school!
Back with writing!
After a whirlwind summer, I was off to a busy start for the 2019-2020 school year. I arrived back in country on August 3rd with no issues through my travels. PTL. On August 5th, in-service week started and it was full days and busy nights. A week of prep, meetings, and a lot of dusting, redecorating, and rearranging in offices and classrooms alike. Reuniting with friends and meeting new. There wasn’t much time to process my summer.
It had been emotional and a little heartbreaking to say goodbye to my family and my Benji boy after a long summer with them close. Life in America felt so “easy” in certain ways and I cherished the over 6,000 miles I traveled during my time in the States. However, once I arrived back in China, I found myself relieved to be back in a place that felt familiar and a little more like home than I when I left.
It was great to catch up with friends and hear about their summers. New staff have arrived steadily and we’re all getting used to the new dynamic that fresh personalities bring. I told people all summer that the school year was going to look really different for me this time around. I tried not to have too many expectations (impossible) and keep a positive outlook on all the change. New staff, new principals, new scheduling, new courses, and so much more! Here are the highlights!
BACK TO SCHOOL
I have one 6th grade English class (24 students) and two 7th grade English classes (13 & 16 students). It’s so great to be back teaching the same kiddos and watch them grow and mature. I’m looking forward to a year of English with these classes.
Also, for the first time, I am teaching a high school Fine Arts course. The class is a year-long study titled, “Fundamentals of Performing Arts” (or as I’m lovingly calling it FOPA). It is a course I’m building on my own (with the help of a number of online resources, my own experience, and co-workers). Units of study include Theatre Tech, Improv and Black Box Theatre, Solo Performance, Musical Theatre, and Directing and Acting. We’ve only had 4 classes so far, but I am absolutely loving teaching this course! It is my pr-y-r that my Father will use this course in ways I can’t even imagine. I’m learning right with the students and am adoring the learning I’m doing and feeling the excitement to pass on that learning.
I’m also having an opportunity to build relationships with my middle school students through a new FLEX time that has built into our schedule for the first time this year. We’ll be doing some fun activities like learning how to knit and cross-stitch. It’s not middle school theatre, but I recognize the opportunity I’ve been given.
My P. Requests when it comes to school is for time, on Tuesday/Thursday/Fridays I teach back to back classes from 8-1 and then go to my own Chinese class at 2:15… somewhere in there is a 15 minute break and lunch. I’m still figuring out my schedule, but this past week I felt like I had no time to breathe, much less check email, grade, or plan. I’m hoping that a routine will come with time and I’ll stay motivated and productive. I also would like g-dly wisdom in relationships with coworkers and heavenly guidance with leadership opportunities I am taking on/have been given.
BACK TO THE BEACH
Can you believe I’ve lived in Qingdao (known as a tourist destination for it's beaches and beer) for almost three years and just last weekend was the first time I went swimming in the Yellow Sea? I live a ten minute walk from the beach and have been down countless times, but this was the first I had actually gone in the water to swim. Not only did I have an opportunity to swim, but also I’m learning to surf. By learning to surf I mean I’m learning how to fall off a surfboard. Some of my coworkers from South Africa have been giving me the opportunity to try out their surfboard/paddleboards. At the moment I only have bruises and sore muscles to show for it, but maybe it’ll be a cool thing I learn to prove that I’ve lived by the beach for three years. We’ve had some gorgeous days of sunshine and clear air, so I’m trying to make the most of it before winter comes.
BACK TO RUNNING
Few of you probably know that I was a member of my high school’s cross country team back in the day. I wasn’t great, but I really appreciated all the sport taught me about myself. Through the discovery of an app (Nike Run Club), I have totally fallen in love with running again. NRC has “live” coached runs and helps you track growth, progress, health, and workout routines. So far, I’m loving it. My PR for this would be continued joy in being proactive about my health, but also avoiding injury (a few of you will remember when I started running again last summer I ended up with severe soft tissue damage and was on crutches for a while).
BACK TO THE MOUNTAINS
This morning, my roommate Grace and I got up at 4:30 and hiked up Mount Fu behind our house. It was so fun to get “away” from the city and into the forest. We enjoyed a cloudy sunrise of color and chatted while passing German mountain bunkers and caves. I love Qingdao and I adore every opportunity I have to explore the things that make it beautiful and unique.
BACK TO THE BEST BUDS
I’ve enjoyed reuniting with friends, both furry and not. I’m thankful for the support and love I’ve found in Qingdao. PTL for no coincidences and His perfect timing!
FINAL THOUGHTS ON BEING BACK
Today is actually the third year anniversary of my arrival in China. August 25, 2017. I can’t believe it. I made a comment in a staff meeting the other day that I’m not necessarily an “long-timer” when it comes to being around… a few people I consider long timers came to me after the meeting and said I was wrong. Year 3 and beyond constitutes the title of “Long-timer”. Haha. I guess I am.
So, you know what? PTL for that, too. That’s a pretty cool thing to celebrate. When I look at life right now I feel really good and thankful. I don’t want to be a person of circumstantial joy. I am trying my best to recognize blessings, and walk through hurts with thanksgiving in my heart… seeing the opportunities to grow and learn apart from doubt and fear. Thanks for joining me on another year in China! We’re back!
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