Monday, December 29, 2014

The RULE follower

By very nature I am a rule follower and people pleaser. 

I grew up in a fellowship with a list of rules and regulations... some spoken but many unspoken.... can't dance...don't drink... must be affluent and white.  And as much as I wanted to follow the rules I always felt  like a failure because I could not meet the standards of others. 

It wasn't until my high school years that I realized that it wasn't about a list of rules but about a relationship. 

It wasn't something I could do on my own but what had already been done.

It wasn't about me striving for perfection in my own strength but totally relying on His strength.

Intentional 2015!

It is 4 am on the eve of New Year's Eve.  It has been ages since I have awoken this early for no good reason.  I have laid here for almost an hour pondering why I am awake... bathroom? Check.... food? Check... stand in the gap for someone? Check... And the sleep still has yet to resume so I am laying under the covers in my 14 degrees Celsius hotel room blogging what is on my mind with hopes that it will allow me to go back to sleep for a few hours before breakfast.

I could start off by saying this year has flown...which it has.... I could say 2014 will go into the record books in less than 48 hours as a crazy year...but that would be an understatement... I could set resolutions for 2015.... but we all know my feelings on that (search blogs for past new years updates!)... so instead I am going to write down what I have been mentally processing through over the past few hours and days...

My goals for the next year on this quest to live intentionally are grouped as follows...

1.  Invest in I learned recently...people are going to say and do things that hurt... I want to love them anyway and that takes supernatural strength.
2.  Be healthy... this may be the first time I have ever had to state this but that means eating regularly.  Since moving here and my new work schedule... I have yet to find a comfortable eating schedule where I am not eating super late or skipping meals.  Hoping once I have my own place I can actually cook and pack food with me that I want to eat! 
3.  Exercise more... I want to not just exercise because I have to but find ways to include it in every aspect of my life.  Love living here where I can walk to work or bike to the store.  Want to live life actively with friends!
4.  Live intentionally... there are so many things left on my bucket list to do and this is the year to get some of them done plus add a few more.  I want to wake up each day spending time with the one who created me... working on goals set before me!

I am really not sure what this year holds but if it is anything like the last couple I know it will be filled with great adventure and lots of fun stories!  It is already off to a great start as Friday I get to move into my apartment AND get my own classroom with 8 classes per week due to the unexpected departure of a coworker. ( I have been floating... doing demos... and subbing since I got to Chengdu and I really want the consistency of regular classes!)

May your 2015 be filled with His amazing blessings!

Grinch or Scrooge...what will it be?

Yes I realize Christmas has past...but this blogpost has been rambling around in my mind for quite some time and I just haven't taken the time to sit and write down my thought...

I recently heard that the singer/songwriter, Adele, is only able to write songs when she is unhappy or going through a difficult time in her life. Now that she is in a good relationship and a mother... she is unable to write the songs she is famous for therefore her career is at a standstill until something tragic happens.

How often do we live our lives this way... we are only "happy" when everyone around us is miserable and we take pleasure in the unhappiness of others  We sit around focusing on the negative and complaining about the horrible hand that life has dealt.  This is what I am going to term... Grinch or Scrooge Syndrome. 

There are times in life that things happen... relationships fail... trust is broken... harsh words are spoken... accusations are made.  We can't help when those things come our way but we can control how we respond.  Are we going to attack back with harsh, unkindness or are we going to rise above the circumstances and keep movng forward?

Grinch and Scrooge would respond with unkindness... words and actions....attacking those around them that are trying to be nice and then complain that things are so awful.  The glass is always half empty.  They will belittle and put down others just so they don't feel as bad about them self.

Steps to not be a grinch or scrooge...not just during the holiday... but all year round...
1.  Love intentionally with no conditions...people will hurt them anyway!
2. Count your blessings... even if it is for waking up with a roof over your head
3.  Be thankful for the people in your life... even if they are grinches or scrooges... they teach you how to rise above.
4. Give... even when you have little... you can still share
5. Forgive... let it go... you don't have to forget and keep allowing those things to happen in your life... set boundaries but forgive.
6. Positive, kind, uplifting words carry you much farther than negative, condescending words.

I don't want to be either one of these infamous Christmas characters... I want to be known for the one the season is truly all about. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Chengdu or bust!

Made it to my final destination yesterday... my home city...Chengdu!  Home to pandas and spicy food!  May not be leaving China with any tastebuds at the rate I am going.

Left the hotel a little before 6am to walk to the metro to get to the airport with luggage in tow.  Made it to Hongqaio airport in about half an hour then checked in and found my way to the gate where we boarded and took off almost on time.  (Very unusual due to all the air traffic here in China. )

Landed in Chengdu around noon... was met by my Language Learning Director (LLD) Jeremy and Senior Foreign Trainer (SFT) Tracy.  We took a cab to Hong Pai Lou where the hotel is that I am staying at and the Disney center is literally a 10 minute walk.  Love the 10 minute commute!  Checked in the hotel and dropped my stuff off then Jeremy took me to the center and introduced me to everyone then on a walking tour of the area... good places to eat... the grocery store... good apartments to live in... etc.  Came back to the hotel and started getting settled in. 

The television in the room has 4 English stations... CNN, MTV, HBO, and Discovery channel.  I don't think I have ever been this excited to watch CNN in my life.  Slept really well as the bed is super comfortable.

Today met up with another FT (foreign trainer) that arrived last night and is staying at the hotel as well.  We had breakfast and  then wandered over to the center.  The center staff took us out to lunch then we went grocery shopping.

Currently I am sitting in the hotels laundry room waiting for my wash to dry.  First time I have actually used a washer since being in China... yes that means hand washing all my clothes for 5 weeks. 

Temperature wise I think it was getting up to 7 degrees c today... but I think this morning it was supposed to be 1!  Winter clothes... heavy coat... scarves... and boots... are all being put to great use!  This Hawaii girl is freezing!

Looks like I will be spending the holidays in a hotel but I am really close to numerous center staff and I have really nice accomodations.  It is a holiday in express.  :)  Feel free to write or send cards etc to the full address below.

P.R. China 610000
Disney English (c/o Angela Calhoun)
No 53,55,57 First West Great Wall RD
Wuhou District Chengdu
P.R. China 610000

Thursday, December 11, 2014


With 24 hours left before I head out of the world's most populated city... I have been thinking of how much this city has grown on me over the last 5 weeks.  Yes...I have been here a month...and this country mouse may be turning into a city mouse!

It is 6am on Friday  morning and I have been awake for an hour or so.  Woke up sweating as I had turned the heater up way too high when I went to bed a little after 1am.  Still getting used to living in a cold wintery climate... however I didn't open my window to the single digits outside... just turned off the heater in the room!

Yesterday on my way to work... the realization hit that I am moving to an 'unknown' city in 2 days... christmas is in 2 weeks... and all the people I have grown close to I am leaving in Shanghai... plus missing family and friends.  Was almost to work when the song from Les Mis 'On my own' started playing through my earbuds and I couldn't help but have a twinge of sadness over missing certain people in my life and saying goodbye to more.  Sat down in my classroom to prep lessons for my 3 afternoon/evening classes and then took my Chinese learning partner out for coffee and donuts as it was her last day working. 

I have been blessed with dear friends here in China that are from China that make living here so much easier.  From helping to translate coupons to shipping luggage and packages to ordering food to directions... they have definitely assisted this not mandarin speaking American to settle into life here!

One of the additional perks of living in China... teaching English for an international company is there are lots of other expats around.  After living in the village for a year as the only one... it is a definite perk to have other native English speakers to go out to dinner or drinks with and to show you where to go and find good Mexican food.  And yes I discovered really good Mexican food in Shanghai! 

I also love love love the learning center I have been working at over the last 3 weeks.  I came in to sub while they found a permanent teacher for these classes and the staff and management have taken me in as family.  They have invited me to their houses and out for dinner... they have assisted with lessons and given this newbie lots of valuable information on how to teach certain topics.... they have shown me where to get the best Christmas decorations and they have made me feel welcome.

As half an hour has room is now at a temperature where I can curl up under my down blanket...and comfortably go back to sleep until breakfast... I will sign off!