I’m sitting at a coffee shop on the mezzanine of the mall directly beneath my parents’ apartment. This is surreal for so many reasons:
1) I finished my first year of teaching and I’m on vacation for the next two MONTHS!
2) I’m at a coffee shop blogging with my KIDS — Lucy’s playing a game and Anna is reading and listening to music. So weird to enter this new (awesome) parenting stage.
3) I’m in the Philippines!
4) Paul’s not here — he’s been in Tanzania teaching a college program for the past 2+ weeks and won’t join us here for another 10 days.
There’s so much to reflect on at this moment, halfway though a calendar year and at the end of a school year. I feel a great sense of accomplishment for making it through a year as a teacher — everyone says the first year is the hardest — but now that I have this time under my belt, I’m also well-aware of all the things I want to do differently (better!) the next time around.
I do think some parts of teaching have come naturally — caring for the students, being excited about the subject matter, showing kids the real-life relevance of what we do in class. But other parts of teaching are HARD and, I think, not things I’m naturally good at — class management, organization, keeping my cool when things feel out of control. It’s hard to celebrate the successes instead of dwelling on the failures.
Oh, and remember my equanimity goal? Hahaha. Let’s just say I’ve failed in so many ways.
But! We love Taiwan. I still sometimes get choked up doing run-of-the-mill things like going out for a Taiwanese breakfast. It still feels like such a gift to be back after missing Taiwan for most of my adult life.
We love our community. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I think living in staff housing is just fantastic. In my years living in America, I had so many conversations with friends about how awesome it would be to live in an intentional community, where kids go outside to play tag after dinner and you can still do things like run across the hall to borrow a cup of sugar. That’s totally the life we’re living now and I LOVE it.
I also love that I have a job with a natural end and beginning. I love the idea of a fresh start and I’m glad for a break so I can reflect, rest, and recharge.