So I'm 23 now and I'm not sure that it is much different than 22. It's funny to think that last year at this time I was occupied with China, but only because I was writing my senior thesis and taking a class on Westerners in Asia. Being in China was about the furthest thing from my mind then and yet, one year later, here in sit in Jiangsu Province, PR China!
The conference in Beijing was a wonderful experience. It was great to see some familiar faces and to talk to like-minded friends. More people in country are aware of our situation here and we may be getting more school supplies as a result. The hotel was relaxing--a wonderful Western style breakfast, outdoor swimming in October, and multiple English-language TV channels. I really enjoyed getting to reflect on our first month of school; it was nice to sit down and evaluate our situation. I have a few ideas now of things I can do differently in my classroom as a result. Some of the sessions addressed the differences between Korean/Eastern thinking and American/Western thinking, which was very helpful in understanding where my students are coming from. Overall, it was great to get out of Wuxi and see other Westerners, but it was hard to come back and it will be even harder to go back to school tomorrow. At least Thanksgiving is only 7 weeks away! But in all fairness, it is nice to be back. When we returned yesterday, it was interesting to note how quickly our surroundings have become home. This all, my apartment complex, our orange restaurant, the little grocery store, even the school...all of this is comfortable and familiar now.
As for my birthday, it was wonderful. The Kennedy's were able to come visit from Tianjin and I spent the entire day with them. Hotpot for lunch, Western food for dinner, Catan at night....I really couldn't ask for more.
Me and the Kennedy kiddos at dinner on Wednesday.
Hotpot for lunch on Thursday--this restaurant was my first taste of Chinese food way back in August.
A new shirt from my parents.
Mia being adorable as can be!
Our team after the banquet on Friday night.
The girls being silly in the hotel bathrobes and slippers before going swimming.
My newly decorated living room!
The runner and basket were gifts from the Kennedy's, under the theme of "embrace the orange couch." Now it is well embraced and the living room looks quite complete now, I must say.
Teacher observing week begins tomorrow and I must say I'm not looking forward to it at all. With that in mind, I should probably stop procrastinating and get to those lesson plans.