random, The China Chapter

Post Proposal Poem


a rock
a drop
a hit
of knee

an offer:

a ‘yes!’
‘of course!’
and ‘silly’

the start
the years

a hug
a hold
more tears
and sway

central park
and time
move on
we stay

*Because I know I’m going to have confused relatives asking me what this is about: No, I am not engaged.  But this couple is!  I don’t know their names nor their faces, but I watched their moment unfold in Central Park yesterday.  Congratulations, oh nameless ones!

random, The China Chapter

本尼迪克特·康伯巴奇 – Benedict Cumberbatch (in all his glory)

Okay, for me, it’s not his name or his face, it’s his voice.  Caitlin Moran of the UK’s The Times wrote that Benedict, playing Sherlock, “(is) lavishly, wonkily beautiful, 900 ft tall, has a voice like a jaguar hiding in a cello…”  How perfect! So, today, nothing profound.  Just a few clips to admire that deep, resonating tone of his.

Benedict tries on new names:

Benedict tries on new accents:

Benedict tries to escape being typecast as a detective on Sesame Street:

China, holidays, random, The China Chapter

谋杀在东方 – Murder in the Orient

Let me start this post with late Happy Birthdays to Meghan and Colin and a timely Happy Birthday to Sean.  I love you all!

The past few weeks have been so jammed packed with activity, it’s been hard to have time to sit and think, much less reflect and process.  This past weekend, especially, was a very busy, crazy time.  Friday night was full of friends, loud singing at the Beer Nest, dumplings, and lost glasses, but the weekend really revolved around Saturday night, when Ashley and Josh threw a murder mystery party.  Everyone dressed up, crowded into a Chengdu apartment, and acted out their parts.  I had never been to a party like this before, but I had a blast getting yelled at by my Director (completely part of the game) and bossing my Director of Instruction around (humorously part of the game).  I was wanted by the FBI for murder, on the lam, skimming money from my business, and lying through my teeth about nearly everything (according to the instructions I was given).  It was a wonderful evening and I was thoroughly impressed with many people’s acting abilities.  No one ending up solving the murder, but a bunch of us went out afterwards, still costumed up, to grab a bite to eat.

Me, playing the manager of the midway

On Sunday, Kristen and I went to see some of the high schoolers perform The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged) at a local hotel.  I ended up sitting next to my buddy Franscios (who reminds me a lot of my brother Colin) while we watched his brother and a few others perform.  It was a hilarious production, well worth having to wake up early on Monday to finish lesson planning.  Monday, yesterday, was yet another busy day.  After working late, I went out with a few friends to Peter’s for Mexican food.  Afterwards, my friend Adam indulged me by watching a few episodes of American Horror Story.  After that, I tore open The Fault in Our Stars (oh, man, our secondary school’s library is awesome!  because books.  in english.  yumm.) for yet the thirtieth time which, I believe, was the perfect end to the night.

But the part of the week I’m most excited about is still to come.  A few families are hosting a Thanksgiving feast on Thursday night.  It should be crazy, loud, and basically everything an American Thanksgiving usually is…(or…is…not…for my family?).  It’ll be a good way to see how I handle the holidays abroad.  Although, Thanksgiving I never really get choked up about.  Christmas, however, will probably be a very different story…

China, random

World ’round count down…

Chengdu, China

And the countdown to China is officially on.  My ticket has been purchased for August 5th to give me a little bit of time to explore the city of Chengdu before new teachers report to work on August 13th.  That means I leave in 134 days.  I have so much I have to do before I move and so much I want to do before I leave the states.  So, we have the Fredericksburg Bucket List…a few things I really want to do while I’m still in the states:

1) Go to a musical with Meghan
2) Visit relatives in Knoxville, TN
3) Hang out with all the Super Seniors
4) Explore at least 3 wineries near here that I’ve never been to before
5) Spend a night in the Kenmore Inn
6) Go on a good vacation with parents and Meghan
7) Go out to eat in Richmond with the boys
8) Finish Breaking Bad
9) Visit the Mr. Rodgers’ Memorial Statue when near Pittsburgh
10) See the Benders again
11) Carl’s Ice Cream
12) Go on a riverboat cruise somewhere
13) Take a long barefoot walk along an east coast beach in warm weather
14) Have a happy hour with my team (and any other staff mates who are up for it)
15) Kappa Gardens at least once a month until it’s time to go…

China, holidays, random, teaching

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho

A Snowy St. Patrick’s Day
(My stretch of Virginia rarely looks this beautiful in winter)

Well, yesterday was Monday which, this winter, seems to mean SNOW DAY!  Originally, snow days were freaking me out a bit as I thought of all the writing I still had to cover with the kiddos.  Fortunately, I came to the revelation that I can’t control the weather so…stress less.  Instead, I enjoyed the extra time off catching up on a few things since I was in Virginia Beach last weekend.  I did laundry, wrote lesson plans, read, and then drove over to spend a few hours with my friend Rachel and her baby boy who were in town for a long weekend.  Not only was the drive to Rachel’s amazing (see the top of the post), Cole was precious.  He smiled, he cried, and he smelled like…well, a baby, which is just adorable.  (Speaking of which, what does make a baby smell so good?)  He is also extremely gifted at the art of cuddling which makes me wish, now more than ever, that Rachel and her family didn’t live so far away.

And speaking of living far away, I got an email late last night that it was time to contact my school to purchase a ticket for August.  Work permit paperwork has been turned in, but there always seems to be more to do.  I have a criminal-background-check affidavit to send in, flight booking, and the small matter of going through all my stuff for a rousing game of send*, sell**, stash***, or trash****.

*to China
**a bit obvious
***in my parents’ basement
****again, obvious

I suppose I should go get my things ready for work.  Enjoy your Tuesday!

holidays, photography, random

School Log: Wednesday, Week 14

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving!  Let’s finish this “Thankful” list!

November 12 – The Rest of the Week.  Mondays are not my things.  But they only come one day a week and then we adjust back to working…until…time for the weekend again!

November 13 – My Roommates.  Sometimes I feel like just being a bum at home, but then my roommate will convince me to grab sushi with her or go on a walk downtown.  It’s nice to share living quarters with someone who makes you move and keeps you company.

November 14 – Life.  Today, an awesome college friend gave birth to the cutest little boy I have ever seen.  I can’t wait to actually make my way south to see him in person.  Such a beautiful reminder of this holiday season’s gifts.  See how adorable this child is?

November 15 – My siblings.  Today is my sister’s 17th birthday.  On the 20th and 25th, two of my brothers will celebrate another year on earth.  We might not be as close as we were when we were younger, but I love my siblings.  They are intelligent, snarky, and humorous.

November 16 – My parents.  They annoy me and I annoy them.  Still we love each other very much.  We’ve lived down the hall from each other to over 1500 miles apart.  But I know they are always there for me when I need them.  And vice versa.

November 17 – My Co-workers.  Today I went to the mountains with a friend who happens to teach across the hall from me.  I love turning co-workers into out-of-work-friends.  But even those I haven’t, I still enjoy spending time with on a daily basis.  I work with such an amazing group of people!

November 18 – Change.  I love the times of change in the world: spring, autumn, sunrise, sunset.  In the adventure that is life, change keeps us from becoming complacent and boring.  Plus, change has the added benefit of allowing us to grow closer to others going through the same things as us.

November 19 – Compassion.  I have a child in my class who leaps up whenever I ask any other child to do a task.  “I’ll help!” he interjects.  Sometimes, he speaks at inopportune times, but usually, I’m just very glad that he is so caring, so eager to help.  Sometimes life is hard.  And it’s fantastic to see those small things that men and women go out of their way to do for others…just because they can.  If you want to be inspired by compassion, check out this video.

November 20 – Friends.  Once strangers, now people I care about deeply.  From South Korea to down the street, I adore these people.  They hear my thoughts, my dreams, my goals, and share theirs.  And having friends, literally, around the world, makes this immense planet seem just a little smaller.

November 21 – Love.  Need I say more?

…and for tomorrow….

November 22 – My God.  He’s an awesome god.  He reigns from Heaven above (with wisdom, power, and love).  Yes, my God is an awesome god.

Happy Thanksgiving!

holidays, random

School Log: Sunday, Week 13

Tonight’s post will be very short.  While I am very thankful, I am also very tired.  And my bed looks very comfortable.

What else am I thankful for?

November 7-Reminiscing.  I ate dinner on Wednesday night with two friends from my first year of teaching.  We laughed and caught up and while we don’t see each other every day (or even often, given our proximity), I love having friends that I can meet up with and–no matter how long it’s been–relive a part of my life that has already passed me by…which takes me to Thursday’s item.

November 8-Acceptance.  Another dinner date with another old friend.  This one, I met when I was sixteen and bound for Israel.  Over a decade later, we’ve both grown older and, we pray, a bit wiser.  We’ve also both, undoubtedly, done some very idiotic things in our lives.  But he looks over those silly missteps of mine.  This is bliss: letting someone see the incredibly messed-up work-in-progress you are…and having them like you anyway.  And I am blessed with many accepting people in my life

November 9-Spontaneity. 
 I love “peacing out” from the world on
Friday nights.  Usually, I take a bath by candlelight, read a book, and generally ignore the outside world.  On Friday, however, a friend came over, bringing me out of my reclusive state.  We watched Pirates of the Caribbean, which he had never seen.  We were soon joined by my roommate and her visiting mother.  My homebound plans had been expanded to accompany others.  And, while not the most spontaneous thing in the world, having more people around really did make the night a lot more fun.

November 10-Mouse Free Housing.  Saturday, I caught a mouse in my house.  I let it go outside (but far from where I live).  I wonder how Mr. Beady Eyes is right now.  He was a cutie…but he ate my bread and had to go.

November 11-Those who served.
The only words that seem good enough here?

Thank you.