Saturday, February 14

memories of Asia

This amazing tree jumped out at me one drive home this week. It got me so excited because I associate this tree with the beginning of spring in Asia, particularly Korea. It looks like there are no leaves, like the blooms just appear out of bare branches, until you look more closely and notice a few green leaves. I didn't know we had them in Austin, and am now wondering if God has given this one to me in particular to add joy to my drive back and forth each day.

In Asia, this tree (I don't know the name, do you?) marked the beginning of spring. The beginning of spring in Korea, and more especially in China, was always greeted with a lot of joy because of the long, cold, dark winters. (And I love winter!) In Austin, spring comes more as kind of a run-on sentence that began with fall and had a few commas of winter thrown in. So, it's not as anticipated.

This tree sighting is part of a happy few weeks of memories that are coming back to me through phone calls from people I've known in China, whiffs of smells I only connect back to China, and meeting a lot of new people at work who ask me about China and Korea. Tonight, I have two of my best friends from my time in China coming to visit. They're coming from Pennsylvania and California and it's their first time to Texas! We're going to make a fast and furious trip at the end of the week to visit two other families from our time there. It's almost like as soon as I decide to commit to being here, the gates on the flood of memories of my "past life" have been opened to keep me from getting too comfy here. I don't mind that.

Tuesday, February 10


So, I've been a real slacker about this blog. I re-enter here with a picture of a whale tail surfacing. I went to Hawaii recently for a few days with my family and took this picture from the coast (with the help of a stranger's telescopic lens!).

Last semester, I was a substitute teacher in Austin. I enjoyed the flexibility of it and getting to see so many different schools and students. If I had a bad day, there was always a new job to look forward to the next day!

I finally decided to commit to a real job again, mostly because I have no idea when/if I'll go back to Asia. So, I applied to some openings in the Austin district. The school year started and I still didn't have a job, so I kept subbing for a week or so. I finally got a few calls about jobs and had an interview just before I left for a trip to Hawaii with my family. (See my sister's blog post for more on that.) That school called to let me know they wanted me on the day we flew out.

So, I started my new job the day after I got back to Austin. I'm now a 5th grade math teacher in East Austin! It's my first time to be an elementary teacher, and I have a lot to learn. My class was pretty crazy the first few days, and there's still a lot of room for improvement.

I've noticed a lot of the sassy attitudes of individual students change to cooperative attitudes with just one or two one-on-one conversations during recess, lunch, or after school. Once they see I'm a real person and we get to connect on some level, it's amazing how much nicer they can be in class. So, I have hope for the rest of the semester!

Sunday, February 1

narcissism version 25

These "25 Things About Me" have been all over facebook, so since I have so much to still get done tonight (even without a Superbowl party), I thought I'd procrastinate a little more. I posted it to facebook and since I have been really neglectful of this blog, I'm posting it here too, just to get something new up.

1. I'm a lyrics person. If I don't connect with some phrase in the song, I generally don't like it.
2. For this reason, it helps if I know what a song or two means before I can really enjoy a live show.
3. My bedside tables are full of stacks of books.
4. Since I got an Austin library card, I've filled up my online hold list with books and then had to return some without finishing them because I more than I could finish before the due date.
5. I took piano when I was a kid and played cello in the middle school orchestra, but can't play either one of them today.
6. I really wish I could play a musical instrument.
7. I love public transportation (especially in cities where many people use it), but since moving back to Austin, I've only taken the bus once.
8. When I drive somewhere alone (which is often), I sometimes feel a little guilty that I'm wasting gas, so I love sharing rides to places.
9. I just got a full-time job again after being back in States for over a year, but I'm probably more confused than ever about what the future could hold.
10. I love my church, even in all of our imperfection.
11. My mother is an artist and my dad is a physicist. That results in me being generally okay in a few things but not really great in anything.
12. I enjoy cooking for other people.
13. I used to love all things Taco Bell, but now can't really stomach the idea of eating anything with meat there.
14. Winter is my favorite season, especially in places where it's actually cold. I love snow, hot drinks, wearing sweaters and hats, and the anticipation of spring.
15. I lived in Seoul for 2 years and love Korean food. Bring on the kimchi!
16. I bought a used Canon digital Rebel from a friend. Now when I go places and pull it out, camera buffs assume I know technical photography stuff, but I don't. I usually just use the automatic features.
17. Since living in South Korea/China, I am used to hanging my clothes to dry. (A house with a dryer is extremely rare there.)
18. My grandmother (whom I live with) is opposed to hanging clothes to dry and gives me a hard time about it every time. She does not believe saving energy is worthwhile.
19. I love (visiting) West Texas. Cotton rows, amazing sunsets, feeling like you can see the whole half of the world you're on, being with family.
20. It's hard for me to sit in front of the TV without something else to do at the same time.
21. I love learning about other cultures, histories, languages.
22. I like it when I can break the American stereotype in someone's mind.
23. I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life in Asia. A good portion of my material possessions are still there, boxed up at a friend's apartment.
24. I'm really open to anything the future might bring.
25. After years of trying to convince Christians in the States that we are all missionaries, I'm finding it harder to live out a missional life here than it was in Asia.