China: Here are 7 days for a holiday in which traveling in China is the busiest, most hectic, but here are 7 days for the.whole.country.at.the.same.time. Thank goodness I’m basically a local and stayed on the back streets away from the go-to tourist areas, but could still get good food and coffee and do yoga. Life essentials, right?
Also China: Now that we have given you 7 days holiday, you must “make up” the given holiday days by working Saturday thru Friday.
National Week. The holiday time has been filled with ups and downs…fun social activity, an amazing get-together with a dear friend from Korea, and spending a couple days in bed, coughing up gross stuff, losing my voice, and getting better. Awesome stuff let me tell you. Losing my voice is.no.fun. But thank goodness for home remedies and natural health cafes that make honey lemon ginger goji tea. Lesson planning ahead did not get done, but lesson planning for the 7 days did get done. And Sports Day is Monday. Sports day: when students ask to miss my class to practice basketball or to finish a mural (don’t ask) (Tuesday: No, you may not miss my class; Friday: just go. it’s whatever, have fun. Really teacher? Thank you so much!) All teachers must report at 7:40a.m. for the opening ceremony, classes are cancelled, but teachers must also stay until 4p.m. for the closing ceremony (my day usually starts at 10:25 and ends at 3:30) so there’s that.
On any given day I could be speaking to people from multiple countries. For example, today I texted my Mother “Happy Birthday” in USA, called a friend in Indonesia via WhatsApp, and spent the day showing my friend from Canada, whom I met in Korea, around the side streets of Shanghai. My favorite kind of day. I love these days. I am inspired by people all over the globe. Their words, their stories, their adventures and challenges have impacted me so. I met this friend 5 years ago when we first went abroad to live and it’s incredible how we both have grown and changed except for our friendship. How special to show her and her new husband around my city!
Ahhh Fall has arrived to Shanghai. It’s beautiful, cool air, fresh-ish air….and blue skies! It makes for a good start to a long teaching day. Trying to power through and stay positive on this long stretch. It’s only Tuesday when I’m writing this and it feels like a Thursday afternoon. Groggy and tired and my words don’t come out right when I try to explain something. Maybe teaching first graders dance and song isn’t such a bad thing at this point in the week. Ha.
And then I torn my hamstring during a yoga class. As many of you know I’m going on year 2 of rather consistent Ashtanga yoga practice. It’s a sequence of poses and breathing and once you have memorized and achieved certain poses you move on to the next. It’s a purely individual practice. So I was getting into a new posture and my yoga teacher was helping me. I have really tight hamstrings, but the stretch felt good up until the point it crackled and popped. For about a week now I’ve been limping around Shanghai. I can’t touch my toes. It feels better to stand and walk than to sit because then the back of my knees become stiff. Needless to say, I’ve been in a lot of pain and trying to work through it. This past week has taught my a lot of patience. I’m really frustrated, mostly because I had improved so much mentally and physically since arriving back to Shanghai. So I’ve taken this week to chill, drink wine, and sleep. My yoga teacher is the sweetest and has provided me with natural “icy hot” pepperminty oil that seems to be working. If it doesn’t improve, I will see an acupuncturist.
It’s hard to believe that it’s the latter half of October. The weather has still been warm, a bit humid, rainy some days, it’s been a pleasant temperate month. Part of me wants to just curl up in a sweatshirt and jeans, but I refuse to wish those days upon us now, because once they hit, warm weather won’t come again until April! BRR.
To make it seem a bit more like fall, my lovely sister has sent me pumpkin things like tea, scone mix, and cookies. I’m trying really hard to ration these things. And now I have mastered the perfect French press cup of coffee to make mornings a bit more cozier. Yay home things.
It’s nights like tonight with rain pattering, country music, red wine, and chocolate that make it good for writing and getting back to focus. It’s about perspective, about taking a step back. Thank you God for subtle signs that help me realize the importance of slowing down.
Reading List: Present Over Perfect by: Shauna Niequist. Read it, be inspired.
Music: “Gulf Coast Time,” Roger Creager and really anything by the Eli Young Band. Also note Hillsong Young and Free remixes are great jams for cleaning house.
And now it’s November. Oh my goodness. Sometimes the days go by too fast and then I realize a month has past and I haven’t posted. Stay tuned for birthday month updates.