End of Semester and Welcoming Chinese New Year!

(Gave all my students red packets full of chocolate)

The semester is drawing to an end before we welcome and the whole country goes on holiday for Chinese New Year. There is something so special about “firsts” and my first semester of teaching in China is something I foresee as always being incredibly meaningful in my life. My students, ages 4-11, have put in so much hard work this semester between the rolling of the eyes and “teacher no homework” complaints. My littles have learned to write the alphabet, blend sounds and read while my older students have learned to crank out five page essays like it’s nothing. I have been told dolphins look like me, pictures have been drawn of me dying by shark attack or explosion and I have gotten all the little squishy hugs. I have learned the art of bribing by stickers, taught them various high-five games to keep them focused and can shut their “bad behavior” with my famous glare. I have assured all the parents that their kids are wonderful and making progress (except that one kid who never does his homework….just kidding. He’s a doll). And most of all I have absolutely LOVED this first semester. I decided to write reflect and write a note to all my students.

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First Few Days of 2019: Shanghai Edition

Ni Hao 2019! 2019 is here and the holidays have had me in a state of sentimental reflection thinking about the past year and immensely looking forward to this one! There are so many moments in life, and even more now, that I pause and think “is this real life.” So many funny moments that are absurd, magical, wonderful and sometimes heartbreaking. I spent New Years Eve with my favorite British gals, Stacey and Fran eating delicious food, watching Taylor Swift on Netflix and popping some Proseco to ring in 2019. I was also introduced to the show the Inbetweeners, had a proper cup of British tea and danced around in a circle singing some old English song.

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Lessons in Life

You know you live somewhere and are not just visiting in the smallest of ways that are all related to people. Life is about relationships. Not just with our family and friends and coworkers, but the daily people we pass by and have interactions with. Living somewhere is when the local Family Mart cashiers know you like the brown sugar syrup in your latte, the bakery cashier assumes you want honey lemon ginger tea whe she sees you and the dumpling lady doesn’t ask for your order because she knows you want two orders of the first dumpling on the menu. I have been listening to a lot of podcasts lately and one was talking about making impact in the world and how they are often big and small. Yet, these labels are just what they are, labels. Because what is often perceived as a big impact is actually much smaller compared to the waves that small impacts continue to make.

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Life Lately in Shanghai!

Merry Christmas Eve to all! While there is an abundance of Christmas decorations around Shanghai, it doesn’t really feel like Christmas. This isn’t bad as I’m not having the nostalgia for the holidays and missing home that much. I’ve been busy with yoga, work, reading and all the good stuff. I will be making some Scandinavian cookies per tradition this week and treating myself to a holiday massage. 2018 has been quite the year that started with a trip to Mexico and is ending in Shanghai! Who would have guessed. I finished writing the family holiday letter and am headed out to find some dumplings before work. Here’s a look at some photos of my life lately!

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I’ve Got (Holiday) Spirit, How About You?

Happy Holidays! Did Thanksgiving even happen? The Christmas spirit is here and thriving in Shanghai through excessively decorated malls, bright lights and consumerism. The holidays can often be a tough time for everyone no matter who they are or where they are in the world. Ive been doing lots of fun things to celebrate including going to a German Christmas market with the girls, decorating gingerbread houses with coworkers at my apartment and happily accepting the chocolate presents my students are giving me. Shanghai is very festive this time of the year and I am loving it!

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The Power of Thoughts

I joke that I like gloomy and cloudy days because they are thought provoking days. It’s funny because it’s true. As the days in Shanghai are becoming increasingly more cloudy and cold, I find myself making more time to create through art, writing, photography and my yoga practice. One of the main reasons I love yoga and meditation so much is that it has helped me learn to not think and find clarity in my thoughts that like anyone can look like a Picasso painting exploded.

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A Canadian in Shanghai: Interview with Andranik .A

One quality that I really appreciate in a person is the ability to unapolagetically be yourself. And that is exactly what and who Andranik is. I first met Andranik four months ago when I moved to Shanghai and he is a colleague and someone I am happy to now call a friend. Besides fully and always being himself, he is a great conversationalist, gym enthusiast and can give the blue steel look just as good as any model. We love exchanging stories about our very fabulous and hilarious students throughout the day and searching for the best salad places in Shanghai in our off time. I asked if he would want me to take some professional and fun photos for him and we turned it into a morning of laughs, lunch and of course good lighting. After our photo shoot around Shanghai, we sat down over salads and rice bowls and talked life and all things Andranik.

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Happy Thanksgiving From Shanghai!

Happy Thanksgiving from Shanghai! Life lately has been a lot of fun, very busy writing midterm reports and of course funny because what is life without humor. A few days ago I was at a museum with a friend and sat down only to be bombarded by Australian high school students who after learning that I was American proceeded to interrogate me about the news. “What do you think of Donald Trump and gun control” was the first thing out of their mouth. Nice to meet you guys too! It was actually a very interesting conversation. They were on a six week trip, spending two weeks in China and then the other four in Israel as they went to a Jewish prep school in Australia.

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Creativity: Here to Create

Part of the most beautiful thing that has come from my move to Shanghai and my own desires is that I have made time to pursue lots of my own passions. Through my daytime job as a teacher I have been able to become a student (again). I would hope that we all want to be lifelong students, but dedicating the time to learn and explore can be challenging when our lives seem like they are going a million miles an hour. Creativity has always been such a huge part of my life and something I use as an outlet for stress, place to find serenity and for pure fun too! Fun and silliness is so important.

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Kids These Days

The other day I taught two impromptu classes to a student one-on-one to catch him up from prior missed classes. I had met him as he was in one of the classes that I observed and knew that he was an energetic and smart little boy! I taught him one block of reading and another of writing with a 10 minute break in-between. He already understood the words and phonetic sounds from the chapter, so we played a lot of games to review including word tic-tac-toe, hangman and some games I easily made with blank paper and markers.

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