Tuesday, September 22, 2015
I can feel that I am beginning to emerge from survival mode a bit. This weekend I baked pumpkin bread, dusted off my guitar, exercised (for 7 whole minutes) and remembered that I had a blog. It was fun to engage in activities that were not related to keeping my head above water at home or at school. With just a few exceptions, the transition back to teacher after a 7 year hiatus has been almost pure joy. I love the productivity, creativity, and community (both with the little and big people at the school). I get excited Sunday night because I get to go to my classroom the next day. I know. it’s totally obnoxious to Jason.
We had a bumpy introduction to life with a domestic helper (long story short, she was too sick to work) but God sent great friends to smooth out the wrinkles. We now have a wonderful new helper named Mildred (she deserves her own post on another day). Annabelle really likes Mildred and is very happy when we leave the house and come home. There is so much grace in this. I had so many fears about “leaving” Annabelle. Several times I almost didn’t take the job because of them. I really felt God prompting me to never “hide behind my children” and to move forward in faith. Now on the other side of the change, I’m so glad I took the leap.
I’ve always thought teaching at ICS was my dream job (husband is there, kids are there, great pedagogy, strong Christian values etc) EXCEPT for all the rich kids. It is not uncommon for my students to have multiple maids and drivers. I get emails from parents’ personal secretaries and the paparazzi has been staked outside the school this year. I have always had a heart for the poor and LOVED teaching in two low- income, immigrant schools in Los Angeles. So, I have often struggled with teaching this demographic in Hong Kong. I have questioned the "mission" circle on the diagram above, wondering if the world needs what I am doing. I tend to feel that even without me they will be just fine. That even if I flop as a teacher that their private tutors will make up the slack. That I’d be making more of an impact teachings kids who are otherwise failing and without a chance.
The first day of school God shifted my thinking. I was reading a picture book aloud to the class called “If Kids Ran the World.” The book describes a world where everyone has enough to eat, a house to live in, is kind to each other etc. It paints a picture of a world where the air is clean and no trash litters the ground. After the story a bright- eyed student raised his hand to share that when he grows up he wants to talk to China so they’ll stop polluting the air.
Then it hit me. These kids ACTUALLY could do that. Many of their parents own those factories in China. In fact, these trilingual, gifted, international children are well positioned to change Hong Kong, China and the world. Every day we close our class by singing the song “Make Me a Servant.” It gives me goosebumps as they sing, thinking about what God could do with their lives of influence if they lay them down to serve Him and others.
I still love teaching poor children and hope that someday I will have that privilege again. But for now my students walk into room 410 every day with a sign on front that reads “1D World Changers.” And I actually believe it.
(I didn't feel that this blog post would be complete without some of Annabelle's cuteness)
Monday, June 1, 2015
(Me reading to Josiah's class this spring at Book Character Day)
I have accepted a job to teach 1st grade next year. The decision was not one I came to easily and took months of consideration. Now that the next school year looms before me I feel mounting excitement about the year ahead. Jason, Josiah, Annette and I will all attend the same school at the same time. This is such a dream scenario for me. Josiah will also be in 1st grade (but not in my class) and Annette will be just down the hall in P1. We can all commute together and Jason and I will even have the same lunch hour!
Another change that this will bring is adding Flora to our family. Flora is a domestic helper from the Philippines. She is a sweet Christian lady that we have known for 8 years. We are so thankful that she has agreed to come live with us. Flora will take care of Annabelle during the day, taking her to playgroups and occasionally to school to join us for lunch. Flora will also do all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping and housework so that at the end of the day we can just have family time.
I’m sure there will be some big adjustments ahead, mainly for Annabelle and I as we settle into a new routine. I’m so thankful for the chance to work with great colleagues in a school where we can share Jesus with our students. Knowing I won’t be home next year has helped me to more fully appreciate and savor the days I do have with my kids and make the most of them. It was encouraging at church last week a woman was praying for me who knew nothing of my current situation. She told me that she saw a picture of a door in front of me and the Lord was saying to just open the door and walk through it . . . (big breath) here I go. . .
(These photos are some of the precious mornings moments with my girls this year)
Friday, May 1, 2015
Josiah has been planning and anticipating his birthday party for months. The first words out of his mouth the day of his party were, "Mom, I figured out what to do for my 11th birthday party" (11th because he had already planned his 8th, 9th, and 10th). Whew! Ideas and fun are never in short supply for Josiah. We loved his idea to have a camping birthday party and he picked 4 special buds to join along.
Next they found fishing "rods" and navigated their way to the pier where they got fishing line, hooks and worms. Now I know to have a successful birthday party for 7 year old boys all you need are live worms.
We returned to the house for "dirt" cake and more worms. After opening presents the boys watched a movie and eventually settled into sleep in the tent we'd set up on the rooftop.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
This was the first Spring Break we've stayed in Hong Kong without having a baby!! I must say, it does make for a different experience. This has not been the year of travel for us, in fact we will have not left Hong Kong once between summer trips to America. That is a first. But 5 plane tickets are expensive and between having a car and living in a "beach house" we really enjoy our holidays in HK. We all went into the break a bit sick and worn down, but were much refreshed by the end.
Josiah really wanted to do a dissection over the break so we bought a squid at the wet market and Jason (former biology teacher) helped the kids dissect it then fry and eat it. I don't make this stuff up people. Next time they're planning to buy a frog.
We enjoyed the gorgeous weather at Clear Water Bay, a new- to- us beach that is easy to drive to with free parking. Needless to say, we'll be going back.
Easter morning we were greeted to this sunrise. It was such a beautiful display of God's glory. We also made resurrection rolls and ate yummy strawberries from Santa Maria, California. The strawberries were a personal blessing to me because I also miss "home" over Easter and this year was the last Easter service my dad will conduct as a pastor (he's about to retire from 40 years of ministry). He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!