Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New Season

I've been thinking about how this fall feels really full and fast so I sat now to compute what  I have going on on a weekly basis. It felt good to list some things I have been intentional to cut out and feel less passionate about for activities that are closer to me heart. But I can tell at a glance that what I've added amounts to a lot more time than what I've subtracted. Since I'm an external processor I thought I'd post it here in case you care. What have you added or subtracted to your life this year? 

  • baking treats for Sunday School
  • greeting/ usher team at church
  • weekly volunteering at the kids’ school
  • sending out communication emails for mom’s group
  • tutoring 3 private students
  • leading weekly Mom’s Group

  • weekly Beth Moore Bible study (this is amazing)
  • teaching 2 weekly preschool playgroups (these are fun)
  • weekly rugby practice for Josiah
  • additional transporting of kids to school
  • maybe a new church . . .
  • organizing of mission trip of Philippino orphans TO Hong Kong this fall 
  • starting an online university program for Reading Specialist certificate
 And just because I love these photos so much, here is Josiah in his Rugby uniform. This has definitely been a fun addition for him and I can feel a little bit like an American soccer mom.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Going Chinese

Living in the Chinese culture is truly a fascinating privilege and persistent challenge in our lives. I still get a kick out of looking out my kitchen window upon ladies doing tai chi next next to their round baskets of fish drying in the sun. Sometimes old Chinese ladies walk by my house adorned in conical hats and carrying poles over their backs hanging with baskets of clams from the beach.That’s just fun. And of course we enjoy the festivals, like the four day weekend where we celebrated the Mid Autumn Festival. Our kids know mooncakes and lanterns more than trick or treating and pumpkin patches. 

 Annette made the lantern and mooncake at school
 Jason took this photo from our balcony. It was cloudy the night of the mid autumn festival, so this was actually the following night.

But as our kids get older, the effects of being raised as third culture kids  (not belonging to the culture of their passport country or host country- but a created third culture) feels more complicated. Josiah is very aware of his minority status as the only white kid in his class this year (although his teacher is a blonde American). He is very sensitive and aware of communication differences in cultures. We kept reminding him that he has a special gift for making friends everywhere and now a month into the school year, he has made a “best friend” in the class. That is really an answer to prayer. 

And then there is Chinese Language. Sweet Jesus. In Hong Kong we (I include myself in that ‘we’ very loosely) speak Cantonese. In school the children are learning Mandarin, which is a very useful language that I would love for them to learn. I used to think that kids absorb languages like water into a sponge. That if you just expose them at the right age they will learn by osmosis. This has not been our experience. From day one Chinese class for Josiah has been like trying to drink out of a fire hose. So much, so fast that he began shutting now. Now that he is in P1 they have added reading and writing. Remember Josiah is in Kindergarten and is just starting to learn to read and write in English. On top of that, he is expected to read and write Chinese characters AND pinyin (the romanized transliteration of Chinese) with 24 vowel sounds in different tones. As a former kindergarten teacher who knows the blood, sweat and tears that go into teaching kids 5 short vowel sounds this is totally overwhelming to me. 

Josiah is giving an “all about me” presentation at school this week and he chose to include an American flag because he is proud to be an American. We are certainly proud of him and hope that his international childhood serves to enhance his life rather cause him to need future counseling. (: 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Miss Annabelle Mei

Blogging is happening less and less for me these days thanks to other social media platforms and  generally life being busy!! But, I still love sharing in this space and the taking a moment to reflect on life as it whizzes by. And nobody is living in the fast lane quite like Annabelle!

Annabelle wears two expressions these days; a highly suspicious, furrowed brow OR an ecstatic, hands flapping, ear to ear grin. The more you're around her, the more you get rewarded with the later
Annabelle likes to be right in the middle of the action around our house. Like IN the middle. Like on the tiny stool with Annette in the kitchen, or clawing at my face to be in my lap during the story time or "helping" Josiah and Annette with the Lego tower or art project. Whew! She also has a current obsession with keys which has resulted in a few panicked searches for keys when trying to get out the door (:
She really turns on the charm for the camera and loves to receive one- on- one attention now. Her favorite activity with mommy is reading books, especially ones about animals. She likes to point to her belly button and nose and babbles a lot, although I wouldn't say she has a lot of words (mama, dadda, up, all done, more, one, two three etc)

This last photo cracks me up (ignore the fact she is in her bathing suit). I sometimes have her sit on the counter next to me while I wash dishes where she helps herself to jars of almonds, raisins, and fruit on the counter. On this particular day, I turned around to see her hand in the cookie jar, with three cookies in her hand and one in her mouth. Caught red handed!

The sweetest moments of the day are without a doubt at bedtime. As soon as I start singing "Jesus Loves You" she snuggles her head into my shoulder, then when I lay her down she blows big kisses with lots of "muah" sound effects. Melts my heart!