* Obligatory message about how I haven’t posted in forever, but have been meaning to, and have delayed it
I just read the last post I made in the Summer of 2020 and it’s wild to reflect on all that has happened since then. I could make a list of 2022 things that happened, both big and small. But I have a brunch to go to, papers to write, and spring cleaning to do. Firstly, Happy Chinese New Year! Here is a look at the biggest events since August 2020. I will attempt to do one for each month that has gone by to where we are now in January 2022.
And just like that the school year finished! It doesn’t feel like it in many ways with the changes because of the virus, but it’s over and my little zebras are off to primary school! We have started summer camp right away with a mix of my students and another class and and have finished a week about Albert Einstein and Tu You You. I was so happy when kindergartens in Shanghai were given the clear to open at the start of June. I really had missed my students, a sense of routine, and being in the classroom. We did online classes for two months and I was ready to be done with that! Online teaching is a lot of work also and required a different type of energy and innovation compared to the classroom. I learned a lot from it but was super glad we didn’t have to continue it any longer. I thought I would share memories from graduation night as it was spectacular and what we had practiced for 5 weeks. Nobody does a kindergarten graduation like China!
After returning to Shanghai at the end of March (a week before the borders closed to foreigners), I spent two weeks in a hotel being quarantined. Truth be told it wasn’t that bad and I felt lucky to have had the privilege of mandatory quarantine given the state of the world right now. Life has slowly transitioned back to a new “normal” in Shanghai with the opening of Kindergartens at the beginning of June. Other grades had resumed prior and they slowly phased in lower grades. So what does life in Shanghai look like now? When I look at the rest of the world, I know I’m one of the lucky ones who has returned to work and able to go out and about.
The Christmas season is here and I am on vacation in Philippines as I write! It was a crazy first two weeks of December that involved an unexpected move! I loved my past apartment, but after deliberation with my roommates and landlord we decided not to re-sign. It was an amazing place to call home for a little over a year and I’ll miss that place a lot! However, I am super excited and loving my new place. I have my own apartment in the Former French Concession. It is in a lane house with creaky stairs and only a block away from my yoga studio and gym! Amidst moving I also was working like an energizer bunny on work for the students while I’m on holiday and preparing for our Christmas party. The foreign teachers go on holiday in December and our school hosts Chinese science week! The kids love it. So here’s our super fun holiday party!
This past week, we took a class trip to an organic farm. Our school has a fall and spring outing and my coworkers warned me prior that it is one of the most tiring days of the year. Very accurate! This farm was about 40 minutes from the school on the Pudong side of Shanghai. We had a wonderful day and it reminded me of all the amazing field trips I had growing up!
Yes it is still raining rainbows and sunshine in Shanghai! It’s been a while since I’ve posted so there’s no time like the present going to work on the metro! I am still loving life here and so many exciting (and exhausting) things have been happening! This picture above is our class picture. Look how cute they all are in their white polos.
I took an incredible three day trip to see the Rainbow Mountains which are a geological phenomenon! I planned this trip Sunday night and left Tuesday morning. I’ve had this past week off post-summer camp and pre-school year. My passport is currently at the bureau to transfer my work visas which means I can only travel within China! If I had my passport I would’ve left the country, but I’m so glad I had this opportunity to visit another corner of China! I stayed in a yurt for two nights, gazed at stars and decompressed from the insanity of city life in Shanghai. Currently I am in Xi’an for the day before I head back to Shanghai.
I always enjoy reading other people’s posts going through what their day looks like so I thought I would do my own! The summer schedule won’t be too different from the fall, but there are changes in the logistical parts of the school day and curriculum. Summer is much more laid back and less focused on specific primary preparation curriculums. For summer camp we also welcome kids from other schools around Shanghai.
When I say 48 hours I really mean it! It was a blitz creek trip to one of the most amazing and beautiful places I have ever been. I had just completed my first week of my new job and was exhausted, but had planned this trip before I signed my new contract. I decided to go with a group as I wanted to take a break from planning and let someone else do it! There are pros and cons to group travel, but overall I am happy I decided to this time as the park is massive and I was able to make the most of my time with a guide. Not to mention the group I went with was a laugh and a half and we had a good time!
I took a few days off from work and headed back to the province I was born in, Kunming! It was a busy few days where I didn’t get much rest and was busy from sun up to down. I was able to do a lot, met up with some connections and friends and went back to my orphanage. The night before and the whole drive going to my orphanage I was quite nervous which really surprised me.
China is such a diverse and beautiful place and I was excited to go back and explore. Yunnan has stunning nature, views and I already want to go back to spend more time hiking away from the borders of the cities.