Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Summer.

What a whirlwind seven weeks at home I had. On the beginning side of it, seven weeks at home was something to be excited about. What a long time that would be! I could see family, friends, take little trips, and surely check off everything on my to do list. SEVEN WEEKS! At home. What a treat! Well, I'll tell you now. I shouldn't have blinked, because those seven weeks flew by just like that *snap!*

First of all, can I just say, jet lag is a...bitch! Sorry for the bad language, I just don't know how I can express my sentiment towards jet lag in any other way. It sucks. No wait, it doesn't just suck, it is awful, no good, and screws up a lot of things. So, after traveling for almost 24 hours, and arriving home in Florenceville at almost 5am (which was 4pm that night in Beijing), I was NOT ready to go to sleep. Mom and Dad collapsed. So, I unpacked, had a snack, watched TV, and puttered until they awoke. I felt like a pet animal chomping at the bit waiting for their family to wake up so we could play fetch - in my case, so I could talk their ears off. I knew I was going to crash at some point, but it was suspenseful waiting cautiously for it to hit. And it hit hard! At about 4pm that afternoon on the way home from running errands in Woodstock. I dragged my feet into my bed and was out like a light. I could have slept until the next day. But I made my parents promise me they'd wake me up for supper. Which they did. I don't remember eating, but apparently I did and promptly went back to bed. For the next week, I was going to bed between 7pm and 11pm and waking up before sunrise. IT SUCKED! But I got through it and had fun in the meantime while my eyes were able to stay open. 

What a memorable summer I made. Mind you, it didn't consist of much relaxing, but rather running the roads and trying to see and do as much as I could with the limited time I had. (Which is a large reason why I did not post on the blog this summer. Oops!) Also, remember how I said at the beginning that I had SEVEN WEEKS at home and it was just amazing and blew my mind how long that was. Well, I take that back. Seven weeks isn't long at all when you spend 11 months of the year in a different part of the world. Nope, not long at all. 

In those seven weeks, I had family gatherings, Christmas in July, birthday celebrations, reunited with friends, went on two short trips to PEI (one with better weather conditions than the other), campfires, bumbles, best friend sleepovers, game nights, rounds of golf (can I just add here, that while I'm in no way a great golfer, I played the best rounds of golf in my entire life this summer), tried to get a tattoo, witnessed a beautiful engagement and a beautiful marriage (two separate occasions and not related), and ate some delicious, delicious, mouthwatering food. While I was able to accomplish almost everything on my to-do list while I was home, I certainly in no way came back to Beijing three weeks ago feeling relaxed, refreshed, and ready for a new school year.

OK! Now, please don't read all of this thinking I'm whining. I know it's coming off that way, and I thank you for pushing onward and continuing to read this far. I envision many people hitting escape and saying "What a brat!" I can't say it enough, I'm so thankful that the company I work for gives me the time off and option to go home for the summer holiday. I'm also so thankful that I work in an occupation that allows me to take that much time off at once. Not many people get to do that, I understand this. And I also know that I am the one who chose to move to China, and I am the one who also decided to come back for another year. But have you heard that saying "You don't know what you've got until it's gone." (In my case, it's more like "You don't know what you've got until it's not accessible anymore"(?)) Well, after living in a foreign country for a year and coming back home to the western lifestyle, I'd kinda forgotten how good it was to live in the same country as the people you love the most, and I'd also forgotten how "easy" life is at home. "Easy" in the sense that the things you like the most in your day to day life are accessible in so many ways. Craving a burger? Go get one. Need a checkup? Go see your doctor. Ran out of milk? Jump in the car and go to the grocery. Easy peasy. Also, being in the majority again is a nice luxury. No more being starred at, having your photo taken unknowingly, not understanding what people are yelling at you. It's pure bliss. I tried to remind myself on many occasions while I was home not to settle. Because I was going to have to pick up and go back to Beijing at the end of August. But the more time I was home, the more trips I took to Fredericton, the more laughter I shared with my longtime friends, the more comfortable I got and the less excited I was getting about going back. It wasn't until someone would ask me about my job that I would feel that excitement and yearning for my life back in Beijing. 

As the final week of my summer vacation was winding down and the packing began, I felt a mixture of sadness, heartache, excitement and anxiety (both the good kind and the bad kind - I HATE PACKING!). It was time to return to my life in China. I was excited. I was excited to see my friends there and share stories of our summer, I was excited to see my students and hear about their adventures over the summer and share in the happiness of reuniting, I was excited to meet my new students and create a new classroom community, and I was excited for the new adventures that would be sure to unravel over the next year of my life in Asia. At the same time, I was sad to leave my family again, I was sad to say goodbye to my friends (because who knows if we'll all be in the same place again this time next year), I was sad to say goodbye to clean air, I was sad to say goodbye to being in the majority, and I was sad to say goodbye to the comfort of home. Ah, the dynamic of bittersweet events. But I'm back, and it's good. It's always good to be back! I love my new students, I'm so happy to be back in the classroom, and trips are being planned for the coming months and I'm so excited for new adventures. 

What a whirlwind seven weeks at home I had. On the ending side of it, seven weeks at home was something to be excited about. But what a short time it was! I saw family, friends, took little trips, and checked (almost) everything off on my to do list. SEVEN WEEKS! At home. What a treat! Well, I'll tell you now. I shouldn't have blinked, because those seven weeks flew by just like that *snap!*

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Happy Birthday, Brad!

As my Thursday, September 11th is quickly coming to an end, it's just beginning back home in Canada. And that means that it is my "little" brother's 22nd birthday. I was sure to wish him a happy birthday in China time, and I wished him a happy birthday in Canada time, too (gotta make sure I cover all the bases because believe me, he'd hold it over my head if I forgot it...he's kinda like that!) So, I'm writing this blog post today to wish my brother a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 

My brother is a very chill guy. He has said on many occasions that he hates drama. Maybe that's why we clashed a little bit when we were younger, because I can be a dramatic person in that I experience my emotions on an extreme high or an extreme low. Let's just say I am an emotional person and my brother did not inherit those traits in our family genes. He is one of the most laid back, chill people I know. 

Common phrases that come out of my brothers mouth that are heard on a semi-regular basis include (but are not limited to):
"Don't worry about it so much." 
"Meh, I don't know." 
"Masel." (May as well) 
"I don't care."
"Sure. Whatever." 

Despite  how furious, frustrated, and crazy it makes me feel when he rubs something off or shows no emotions of any kind, I love him nonetheless. However, after being away from home for a year in China and coming back to Canada, I experienced something with my brother that I'll remember perfectly for a long time to come. 

When I saw him for the first time this summer, I was in a bit of a daze as I had passed out on my bed from an extreme case of jet lag whilst trying to will myself to stay awake for another hour or two while I waited for him to get home from the golf course (I had already been awake for 36 hours). When mom came in to my room to wake me up (as I had instructed her to) once Brad had gotten home, I slowly got out of bed, opened my eyes and made my way to the hallway just as Brad was rounding the corner from the kitchen. We both smiled at each other and I said "Hi there!" and we hugged. I didn't cry, but I did have a big lump in my throat. And we just hugged. It was the best hug I had ever shared with my brother. He didn't get awkward and let his arms hang down while I held on tightly. He didn't sigh or huff and puff while I laid my head against his chest. He just hugged me back. And it felt SO good. (Remember, my brother doesn't reveal emotion like this very often - so it was a pleasant and welcomed surprise). We spoke for a few minutes, caught up really briefly, then I headed back to bed as my body was caving in. I walked away and turned around and said to him: "Hey. It's good to see you." And he replied with "You too." It was perfect, simple, but at the same time was full of love and warmth. I remember it perfectly. I remember the tone of voice, the way things were said and what exactly was said. Because for me, it symbolized how much we have grown in our brother/sister relationship over the last 3 or 4 years. It's the relationship I've wanted for us for a long time. And on his birthday, I am filled with so much love, respect, and joy that I get to share this life with my brother, Brad. 


Happy Birthday! I am so proud of you. For always doing what you want, how you want, and when you want. For fulfilling your hockey career as you did. For impacting lives the way you do. And for choosing and pursuing a career that is what YOU want to do, not what you feel you HAVE to do. You are an amazing man, friend, and brother. And I am so excited to see what the future holds for you, for our family, and for us. (And don't get made me at me and roll your eyes when you read this with all its gushing, sappy, heartfelt sentiments!)

Enjoy your day! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I'm Back!

I'm back in Beijing for year 2. I'm excited, happy, and so looking forward to this new school year and what the future holds for me in Asia. I plan to do some exciting traveling this year to places like Hong Kong, Xi'an, Japan, and Indonesia. I plan to grow as a teacher and further my knowledge of ESL/EFL teaching. And, I plan to connect with, be inspired by, and make memories with my new group of grade 10 students. I love my job, I love what I'm doing, and I love this experience I am having and I am so happy to be back! 

Coming soon - a post about my summer vacation and time back home in Canada. I know it's been a while since I posted. I wanted to focus on having fun and seeing and spending quality time with all my family and friends back home in Canada. As a result, the blog fell to the wayside. 

Thanks for continuing to read!