About Me

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Yilan, Taiwan
I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Consider the Lilies and New Beginnings

Lanterns, CNY holiday, Old Bagan, Myanmar 2014
Lantern festival was last week, formally closing the Chinese New Year festival and Friday the rain stopped after weeks of gloom, so it finally feels like Spring! (Reminds me of George Harrison's Here Comes The Sun).

 I have started my new morning job at a Canadian owned kindergarten just down the road from me near the Sports Park. I am going to start riding my bike in this lovely weather once I buy a lock. I should mention I applied to 2 editing jobs in Taipei before the CNY holiday. I haven't heard from the one, but the other I did hear through the grapevine that they gave it to an under-qualified white, 24 year old dude. I wasn't a top contender, they had a qualified American Asian woman with a 4.0 from Berkley, and they gave the job to him. (Shaking my head in disgust).

We also started going to a church in Loudong, they have English translation and I can't tell what denomination is it which is a good indication to me. ( In the paraphrased words of Peter Tosh, "Denomination is segregation"). It's indubitably a joyous vibe, quite a lot of aboriginal tribes come down from the mountains make up the congregation. Z actually loves Sunday school, which she hated in Tainan. I don't know if she is just older or in more a receptive place, but she certainly can't wait to go. She loves being with the aboriginal children.

A happy dolphin greets everyone at her school entrance

My daughter started at her new local school which is a 5 minute walk away. She absolutely loves it. It's a nice change to hear on a daily basis, "This was the best day ever!" Last semester at her prestigious and expensive bilingual school, it was constant stress, anxiety and her being the victim of bullying. Her previous class went through two different homeroom teachers in one semester to no avail. Managing them is problematic, managing the parents, not much better. Our neighbor, her former classmate said the new homeroom teacher (now #3) neither is handling them with any success.

Her new school and class are like night and day from last semester. Her new class is smaller, with again quite a few aboriginal kids, the campus is bigger, greener, more play time and a half day on Wednesday and Friday. She takes guitar and recorder classes, helps her teacher and classmates in English and to her delight her class grows their own little garden (now she wants to be a gardener or landscaper when she grows up). She pretty much is outside playing everyday, which hasn't happened as a student in Taiwan til now. It should be normal right? Having my afternoons free and not sticking her in an anchingban while I work makes a big difference in our time, in her well being and happiness.

Her first day at her new school

During the gloom of the weather I also felt a bit discouraged. After not working in February and post Chiang Mai trip, I was disheartened at my lack of funds and lack of future funds. Its a bit scary having to plan on living on half of my previous salary, when I was already pretty much living paycheck to paycheck while saving for the next trip, blowing that and starting from zero. But when you believe in Divine Providence as I do, then being at zero means being a prime candidate for receiving abundantly. I built up my inner spirit by realizing the closeness of Presence. I call on that same Christ power that can feed a multitude with a boy's small lunch, and this hope got me through a week or two of 'back of my mind' worry of if can I make it or not.

5 loaves and 2 fish feed 5000

Also therapeutic for me is volunteering at the local orphanage (Home of God's Love) on my free afternoons. There are about 9 babies from 7 weeks to 21 months and when they all wake at 2, its 3 of us quickly changing and feeding and then playing. They eat some solids/porridge at 3:30 and then I leave to pick up my daughter at school. I brought her once during one of her half days, she was like a fish out of water, babies so not her thing right now! I remembered how I always wanted to adopt, since I was a child and now that I'm 40, I can barely take care (financially) of myself and my daughter. I felt disappointed in myself. I had imagined that by this age I would of had my shit together. I had to stop comparing myself to how I thought I should of been and keep my eyes focused on my blessings which are more than sufficient. ("The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not lack-for anything!" Psalms 23)

What is getting us by are three weekly tutoring gigs. I went by a few kindergartens and anchingbans to see if they need an English teacher for an afternoon, but they don't. I hung up a few posters for teaching English and yoga, but havent heard anything yet. I just got a new University student, through my daughter's Tai Chi teacher so I am hoping she will recommend me to her friends. I'm not worried about it anymore. I actually have time to study Chinese (ya right) and catch up on reading. I certainly have been luxuriating in my yoga practice and daily visualizations.

This post became quite unintentionally ecclesiastical (Just say, "NO!" to religion) but one of my favorite sayings of Jesus really has been my mantra. He basically says to take a giant chill pill, stay present, and don't worry.

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