Sunday, November 30, 2014

Back in the classroom

Yes I know I have had a lot of questions about my sanity to return to the classroom after some time being an administrator and finishing my master's degree in early childhood education. 

I do realize that I could have taken another admin job getting paid the big bucks and being "in charge".  However I didn't get into education to sit at a desk all day with paperwork... nor did I get into educatoon for the money.  I got into education to make a difference in the lives of children.

After finishing training last Tuesday... I changed centers and became a floater.  Which means until I leave for Chengdu the middle of December I get to fill in for people that are out for various reasons... ie sickness...vacation... or let go.  Due to the later circumstance... I am in my own classroom for the next couple of weeks teaching 7 classes of children that range in age from 3 to about 10.  And may I add... absolutely loving it!

I really think it is the best teaching situation I have been in... the teacher's guides and curriculum are very detailed... I have a room of realia (hands on learning props) at my disposal... I have roughly 20 teaching hours per week leaving the other 20 for observations, lesson plan prep, and meetings!  Yes I actually get paid to lesson plan!  Plus I am currently working with a great staff that share some of my same interests in music and mexican food!  We don't have to stay at the center to lesson plan so starbucks and dunkin donuts are popular places to sit and write up lessons!

Now onto the children...  granted I am in a very different situation than my last couple of positions but still working with little brown eyed cuties and teaching them the basic skills of the English language.  For the most part these children want to be here and their affluent families want them to learn English so they work with them outside of class. 

I was teaching a class of 7 and 8 year olds on Friday night.  Our vocab list was daily, weekly, monthly, often, sometimes, rarely, always, never.  We were coming up with sentences to answer the question....What do you do _blahblahblah_? The kiddos were struggling with the concept of rarely so my learning partner explained it in Chinese.  Thinking they had the concept... I asked one of the boys... What do you do rarely?

Just as my senior foreign trainer Bryan walks in... the boy answers... I rarely brush my teeth. 

I could see Bryan grin at this comment and I decided to play off of the comment and I think by the end of the class they had the concepts.  Oh the joys of teaching!  So love watching the faces of these children as they finally get a concept that they have been struggling with.

Living subtitles

Tonight as I waited in the crowded metro station for a friend to join me for dinner I enjoyed watching people. 

It is always amusing to me when you watch people where don't understand their language and
2... they are very animated when they speak to one another.

This leaves a lot of room for creative subtitles. 

I watched two employees having an 'argument' while one was changing out the coffee machine.  It was animated and the woman kept showing the man who was removing the coffee machine an empty coffee cup.  If I had to add subtitles... it would look something like this...

W... we need more coffee
M... what kind of coffee?
W... WE ONLY SELL ONE KIND OF COFFEE.  The kind that goes in this cup.
M...if you only needed one cup, you could have justntold me and I could go to the other side for a cup of coffee.
M...Why didn't you just say so?
(Add woman slapping man as he walked off)

And this is how I fill my time waiting!  You should hear the dialogue going on in my head!  LOL!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Tribute to FRIENDS

And I don't mean the tv series!

The last ten days of my life have been a bit crazy... with relocating to China... meeting new people... starting a new job... training and observations... along with finishing my grad school portfolio... preparing for my oral defense which was from 2am to 6am this morning... all while living out of a hotel and trying to figure out this thing called life in a big city.

With all that said... there have been no tears and more blessings than I can count.  One of the reasons I knew I couldn't live in Uganda permanently was the lack of like minded individuals that could understand me...friends to hang out with after a long day at work or someone that checks in when they haven't seen you around or someone that just breaks into song at certain key phrases. 

Many of the blessings over the past few days have come in the form of friends.  Several friends from my onboarding team have come alongside in this journey and listened as I practiced my oral defense... or called to go for a walk when a break was needed...or just checked in to see if I wanted anything.  I have also had friends else where that have messaged or skyped asking how the adjustment is going or just checking in on life in China.  I have been too blessed to be stressed!

As today was the culmination of 3 years of grad school work... my onboarding team had promised to take me out after I had rested from my "all nighter" oral defense due to an 18 hour time difference.  So we met up to celebrate with drinks then walked to find dinner... and then followed it up with ice cream.  A great evening spent with friends out on the town.  I really wasn't expecting much but was treated to lots of hugs, gifts, and just a lot of fun. 

So THANK YOU to all the amazing people in my life that make me feel so special!  I am truly blessed to have such great friends!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Getting oriented...

For all of you that keep saying that you are living vicariously through me... thought I would share the first official day of Disney orientation...


Walter Elias Disney was born December 15th, 1901

Oswald the lucky rabbit was created in 1927 and taught the disney company about character integrity

24 hand drawings for 1 second of air time so an animated movie like Snow White would have more than 3 million hand drawings... yeah for the current digital age!

Disney has a total of 180,000 cast members... 60,000 work at Disney world in Florida

Motto:  Disney is special entertainment with heart!

So the majority of the day consisted of hands on activities ... the Disney experience... and history.   I have to say it was very entertaining and motivational of why I am working for Disney.  Their business model is definitely a giant takeaway for the future for me.

And if you are curious... yes I have disney perks which means getting into the parks (except Tokyo) for free with 3 friends... basically 18 times a year.  :)  plus lots of other disney discounts and perks.  So anyone interested in meeting me in Hong Kong for a disney excursion?

Going to sign off tonight as I have a mandatory health check for the Chinese government in the morning.  Will report how that goes tomorrow,


When visiting a new city... there is nothing better than going downtown to explore.  As a couple of us were discussing what to do during our free day ... we decided to go downtown (which brought on us singing... "downtown.. down where the lights are bright... downtown"...I think I am in good company!)  So Sunday a friend and I went to downtown Shanghai to explore ...

We meet in the lobby and unfolded the map only to find we really had no clue where we were going so we took the metro map to the receptionist and were able to use the point method of what we wanted and figure out what metro line to take and what stop to get off on.  Oh the joys of not knowing mandarin!

So we were able to get to the metro... go 5 stops... get off and the explorations began...

We weren't really sure where we were in the middle of Shanghai nor which way we needed to go so we just walked around taking it all in. 

Taking pictures... at one point a group of 4 chinese ladies stopped Lindsay with her blond hair and blue eyes to take their pictures with her.  I then got pulled into the picture and each one wanted a picture with us... like we were celebrities.  We walked away laughing and starting a  mental tally of how many people take our picts while we are out and about.

Lunch... in order to get our bearings straight... we stopped at McDonald's for lunch and to consult the map... and decided that we were heading in the wrong direction so after visiting M&M world and the Great Wall of Chocolate we looped around the block to find the Bund... which is on the waterfront.

Lots of people out and about... walked through a huge tour group of Japenese in their matching hats... it was like swimming through a huge school of fish... keep on swimming!

The water was very dirty with lots of debris floating but the city scape was amazing including the Pearl tower.  Their was a war memorial but due to the fact it was all in Mandarin... not sure what it said.  Explored until tiredness kicked in and then headed back to our side of the city.

Epic love story

During one of my flights I watched a movie entitled 'the fault in our stars'.  Very heart warming and touched my heart to think of my own epic love story!

From the beginning of time our hearts were created to desire to be loved.  Our creator wrote the greatest love story ever and it has made me set my standards high knowing that I was created to be loved.  I have said numerous times that I just want to be loved for me...craziness and all.

Will a man not just love me when I act silly... but join me in the silliness?

Will a man not just love me when I sing at the top of my lungs to "Let it go"... but turn up the music and sing along?

Will a man not just love me when I am happy... but reach out big strong arms to hold me when I am sad?

Will a man not just love me when I am dressed up... but thinks I am gorgeous with no make up in lounge clothes?

The answer to all of these is yes with the right man.  I truly beleive that each of us has an epic love story written by a divine hand that is tailor made for our individual wants and needs.  As an uncle recently shared as he went over his own love story with his bride... "when I met her, I knew I couldn't find anyone better so I made her mine".  That really touched my heart.  My epic love story will not be like anyone else's but is progressing just as the designer created!

"Some people are worth melting for!" -Olaf in Frozen

Here we go again...

Differences in cultures...

After a couple of days in Shanghai... I have some random thoughts...

Does the face mask really make those who wear them healthier?  Good research project or science experiment...

How do women walk all over down town in the fanciest...frilliest...adorable outfits with stilettos and not be uncomfortable? I spend a couple of hours walking around in heeled boots and my feet are not happy with me.  Personally much prefer comfort over cute!

Do children prefer corn instead of apple slices with their happy meals at McDonald's?  Corn is served with almost everything here... including as a pizza topping.

With so many differences within the Asian culture from the American or African culture... there are a  lot of similarities again reminding me  that people are people no matter where they are in this third planet from the sun!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Upon arrival

Well I made it!  After two delays... one in Honolulu and one in Tokyo... and almost 15 hours of flying...not including airport time... I arrived into Shanghai a little after 10pm (was supposed to be in at 8ish).  So at the moment I think I am either 17 or 18 hours ahead of Hawaii???   Now my body has to get used to another significant case of jet lag!

Was meet by a Disney rep and driver... sorry no live Mickey upon arrival!  The driver took me to my hotel which was about an hour car ride.  Upon checkin at the hotel I did get a plush mickey like in the movie Saving Mr. Banks... just a smaller version.  Plus got a bunch of other goodies.  Will post picts when I get internet.

At the moment... just took a refreshing shower and since it is after midnight ... going to bed.  I have on boarding at 9:15am!

Let the fun begin!