semester one reflections.

In college, I feel like it was really stressed to me that it shouldn’t matter to me if my students like me. I needed to “focus on being their teacher and not their friend”. I understand the logic behind this– I need to make academic and disciplinary choices that are focused on learning and utility. If I decided everything based on what my students wanted to do, we’d constantly be watching movies, reading Hyperbole and Half, and listening to country music.

But nothing is so clearly defined. If you catch me on a bad day, I can vent to you for hours and my frustrations toward my students and my job. There’s always someone making the wrong choice, either socially or academically. My classroom management is mediocre at best. I’m rusty at the more advanced content that comes up at the high school level- I never intended to leave middle school. I walk away from school feeling like a bad teacher more often than I walk away feeling like I nailed it. But those aren’t the things that keep me up at night. Continue reading


I’m not totally sure what’s happening to me right now, but I miss China.

I’ve spent the last two hours reading and re-reading my blog. And I get it. I cognitively understand all the reasons that I was so miserable, and I still wholeheartedly maintain that leaving was the right choice for me. But for the last two weeks I’ve been consumed by this strong, strong craving to go back and visit.

I think it all started with Micah. My friend Micah, who works with me at Cheesecake, is leaving for the Middle Kingdom in a few short weeks to visit his sister who teaches in Xinzheng. As his trip has drawn near, we’ve had a handful of conversations about what he’s going to do and where he’s going to visit. I think this is what triggered my China-brain; I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about all the things I liked about China, all the stuff that I could experience again if I visited.

So, I’m making another list. Maybe this will help me.

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25 ways to make me fall in love with you.

1. Be ambitious. Be going somewhere.

2. Smile a lot.

3. Make me laugh. Often.

4. Must love cats. Or at least, must tolerate cats that are constantly cuddling with me. Extra super bonus points if you don’t roll your eyes when they wake me up at 8 in the morning so I can feed them wet food.

5. Let me make you laugh. You must think I’m funny to be romantically compatible with me. This is just a fact of life.  Continue reading


For some unknown reason, this blog is still getting decent traffic, despite being completely dormant for 4 months. I feel flattered.

So I’m coming up on the 5 month anniversary of my return to America. At times, it feels like I was living in China yesterday, and others it feels like it was a million years ago. But as my life continues, in disarray, I’ve been spending more and more time reflecting on my life in China, what I learned, and what I’m taking with me as I continue down the path of my life. I decided to share these things.

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Firewall free

For those of you who don’t know, I am now officially back in the States. I had a big long post explaining why I came home, but I figure it’s more time-efficient for all of us if you just email me and I can explain it all there.

But, here I am, in the San Fransisco airport, waiting for my second flight to Kansas City, Kansas. I’m mostly posting so everyone knows that I’ll continue to write on this blog for a month or two; I have a lot of things that I haven’t chronicled yet, and it’s much easier to tell lots of people on my blog. Plus I’ll be able to post pictures.

This will be much easier because I won’t have the firewall to contest with, so uploading pictures will take minutes instead of hours.

I must say, though, that even though I’m really excited to be back in America (I ate a sandwich today that I didn’t have to order off of a picture menu, it was a religious experience), a huge part of me is really sad to leave China. Once I adapted to living in the Chinese culture, I really became endeared to the country. But my teaching situation was making me miserable, and Shijiazhuang is less than the ideal city. In other circumstances (aka if Tyler and I had gone to Shanghai from the beginning), I know I would still be in China. And that’s why it was so hard to say goodbye to Tyler earlier today.

….in other news, if Chinese people stared at me before, they EXTRA stared on the plane today. I imagine I did look pretty ridiculous; one of the only foreigners on the plane, sitting at the end of her row, silently crying for the first two hours of her flight. An appropriate way to leave the country that taught me the definition of humility.