China 3: this is an update

Over the past couple days, I haven’t been able to keep up my blogging very well. Crazy busy! That first full week (that week I could blog a lot), I didn’t work much – I hadn’t been assigned anything. Now that I have an assignment, I have much less free time. As much as I would like to have time to write, I have things to do that are worth writing about. Because this is an update with a whole bunch of random stuff and I finished it pretty late, I don’t have time or energy to come up with a quirky title. So hence the title.

My assignment is twofold: in the mornings, I teach in the ‘backyard school’. ND has a preschool, but for older kids who have graduated in age and ability, the backyard school caters to their needs. So, it’s basically the equivalent of a kindergarten. Except it has three students. For someone who is teaching for the first time (AKA me), this is a great learning opportunity! Then the ‘handing off of the baton’ transition period got expedited as the Chinese teacher who was supposed to be in the classroom the whole time turned out to be on vacation. Well, it is what it is… but I’ve found that I can plan lessons/activities much faster than I thought I could! Still, though… even though I have three kids, they suck out all my energy. I take naps, every day.

The second part of my assignment is something called Little Learners. It’s a community preschool – a lot more kids, all from the community. Some of the kids are the children of ND workers, others are just members of the community. Either way, they are enjoyable to be around and all are very cute.

In both backyard school and Little Learners, we have to use English and Chinese, the goal is getting everyone bilingual – but the good part about Little Learners is that I don’t have to plan anything! I just come in, play, help out with the lessons, break up any fights, and help with the clean-up time. Ha.

In other news, there was a lovely mom and son from New Zealand. The mom, Andrea, is – well, a jack of all trades, really – but mostly a doctor for ND’s purposes. The son, Jack, is 13 – both were really great to be around and the summer staff shared some good times with Andrea and Jack! Sadly they were only able to spend one week at ND, and left today. Naturally, we had to send them off in style! Andrea requested a musicale: Abbie and Chloe sang a duet (Wicked’s ‘For Good’), Sam gave us country on guitar and found his piano talents, Thomas worked up his piano genius (but not without a good deal of prompting), and I played a little of my own as well, to add to the festivities. It was a great night, and I can only look forward to more.

On Sunday I went into Beijing, went to BICF and saw my dad, promoted Gordon College, and had AWESOME Peking duck, among other delicacies. Not only that, I got to see my good friend Maggie, who is an international student from Beijing, who goes to Gordon! It was so great to see her. Speaking of Gordon College, you may have heard about the school in the news. It’s received a lot of media attention – I encourage you to look at the original letters sent to President Obama and what the signers of those letters have to say about it, instead of the editorials and the opinion pages – of which there are many. Although I have to respectfully disagree with what was signed, I believe in the importance of unity – not necessarily in thought of policy or politics, but in the body of Christ. As such, I believe we should represent that body as best we can, and there are times when people do not represent that body well. So today, I fasted and prayed today for my school: for unity, the leadership of the school, the students, and the media.

Well, enough with the serious talk. It’s late… I always try to go to sleep before 10:00 and I always go to sleep after then. This would never be the case during the school year, but I need to get more than eight hours of sleep to feel like I can go on these days!


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