Thanksgiving to the New Year

Thanksgiving was spent in Hong Kong this year. Workshops, meetings and sightseeing. Jacob turned 13!

McD’s birthday breakfast (notice the green bottle in the corner…free shampoo with combo!)

Hong Kong at night

…Christmas concert, ballet and basketball



Christmas 

The flu visited us over Christmas break-ho, ho, ho! We had a low key break in Seoul and enjoyed the down time. Movies, staying up late, video games, and a quick ski trip kept us entertained.


2017!!! Happy Year of the Rooster


Back To School 

One week back and I’m exhausted. Julianna turns 7 on the 16th and Caleb will be 16 in February. Ahhh! We’re in the 2nd half of our 2nd year in Korea. Do I want time to slow down? I’m not sure. I love watching my kids grow up.

“Always in motion is the future.” -Yoda

Friday at the Han and other nonsense

There is a seasonal night market that happens on weekends along a section of the Han River. We went there tonight, along with thousands of other people. Food trucks, a few musical acts, street food…think fair atmosphere. 

A fun part of being in a big crowd outdoors is the people (of all ages) whizzing by on scooters (the little kid kind and the motorized kind), bikes and segues, and also seeing some extreme couple matching (of all ages). Couples, friends and families picnic along the river (it’s massive) and bring food, buy it or call and have chicken delivered right to their location. There were, at least, 200 people in line for shrimp skewers. The burger and nacho trucks were wildly popular, too.  And that’s why I ate empanadas along the Han.

  
So many chicken restaurant flyers!

  We had major issues attempting this selfie. The lighting was bad and this was snapped mid argument.   
  Julianna took a nap right before dinner. The options were chicken meatballs, skewers of chicken, fish cakes and right out of the frame was pupae, which smells as nasty as it sounds. I’ll never be able to tell you what it tastes like, but Caleb can.  
This is the ridiculousness that we bring with us daily. I proudly ordered my coffee in Korean and it only took twice as long as it should. The vendor was super nice and turns out, completely fluent in English. (Sadly, Julianna did not have a coffee to show.)

 But she did get this very special magic wand!   

A very diligent attempt at reading the menu. I’m not sure why Jacob’s hair is sticking out either.


Fun fact: There are a few “letters” that are interchangeable. P/B, T/D, L/R.  

Fall is arriving just in time for Chuseok! The weather was beautiful tonight. The kids are out of school for a full week and we are all ready for the break.

On that note, I’ll leave you with some reggae from the night market… 

Take care!❤️

 

full swing

Status

Setting up classrooms, smelling paint, meetings, seeing old friends, the exhaustion…..school must be starting. I believe I speak for many teachers when I say that I am excited/sad/tired/hopeful all at the same time.  I love school but I also love the beach. And sleeping later.  Lots to do, but I will love getting to know my new students and seeing my former kiddos.

Kids show up next week and another year begins.  Cheers to my teacher friends around the globe!

 

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Tonya….soon to only be known as Mrs. Garrick;)

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So Close!

Aside

Only 2 1/2 more school days! Jacob asked me what we would be eating during the summer. I guess he questions my abilities to provide meals. 

That means that next year we’ll have 1st, 7th and 10th graders. Mhmm. I’m not sure that’s going to work for me. 

I was chatting with my British neighbor (so, read with an accent) and her friends who are also teachers and they said that the first year overseas is terrible. The hardest. You can’t make decisions and feel out of control. Really? You don’t say… 

This school year is ending with saying goodbye to students and friends, some only for the summer but some for longer.  Bittersweet is an understatement. I’m not usually the “girlfriend” type but I’ve met friends that I didn’t know I needed.

Everyone is ready for the break. Time for relaxing (after the flight, of course!) and visiting our people. We’ll be in our Southern homes mid June, where there is brewed iced tea. Jacob wants fried rice when we get there and we all want Memphis Pizza. But, I’m sure we’ll miss our Gong Cha!

A few “day in the life” pictures:

   
    
   
Happy Spring and Summer!

Reaching Reluctant Writers

My dear, smart friend helps me be a better writer/teacher/professional. Despite what my picture says! We always have fun in Writer’s Workshop–you should try it, too!

prairielearning

How do we inspire kids to be writers when they just don’t want to? This is the case for lots of kids. English Language Learners, perfectionists, those with insufficient experience or knowledge of a subject, those who prefer to tell stories rather than write them… the list is endless. Some kids (and adults) just don’t want to write.

Teachers can easily Google strategies to help reluctant writers- and find a plethora of resources to guide their lessons. The surest way to inspire writers is to be one… and share your ideas, your struggles, your stories. When I show a student the way I have used a certain strategy, in my own notebook, it shows them that I am in this with them- not teacher to student… but writer to writer. That is deep.

My Writer's Notebook. I need to fancy it up with pictures and ideas for stories! My Writer’s Notebook. I need to fancy it up with pictures and ideas for stories!

This morning, I…

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Holding Space

City life has been quite the adjustment. Seoul is busy, noisy, crowded with parks and green space mixed in. There is always something to do/go see/visit.  I’ve found that I have to guard my time or I am constantly going, going, going. Not unlike life in the states. While living in a new country has been an adjustment, life is the same everywhere. Family, work, rest…it’s always a balancing act. My goal this year, being our first year living as expats, is to soak in as much of the culture as possible while also making sure there is space for rest.

I need to let other people be. Be themselves. Be authentic.  I believe this is referred to as holding space for people. Just letting people be people.  We move forward at our own pace. Let’s hold space for one another.

This Is What I Do

I’m a support teacher so I get to work with students one on one or in very small groups. It’s so fun to help them learn, understand English and believe in themselves. First quarter is a wrap and I’m looking forward to implementing a few more strategies to teach my students. New curriculum, just finished a great conference, ideas rolling around in my brain!

A bonus is discipling middle schoolers! Some don’t profess Christianity but that’s ok. God’s love is for everyone. We have a Week Without Walls coming up soon; I can’t wait to spend some time with the 6th graders away from school. Of course, my own 6th grader will be there, too!

Life in Seoul….still an adjustment but always a adventure! 

   

Anniversary Shoutout

18 years! Babies, moves, jobs, rough patches, high points, more rough years, easy times, questioning, loss, joy, grief, love. Everything at different times and all together. At the same time. Seperately and always together. You can love and be sad, grieve and be joyful, sail through life and wonder why. The human heart is capable of so much. 

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;

where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,

grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

to be understood, as to understand;

to be loved, as to love;

for it is in giving that we receive,

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen.

st. francis of assisi – 13th century

Remind me to always be mindful of my beautiful, complicated life. Happy anniversary, my love.

Fall in Seoul

I love fall! It’s cool in Korea so that means no more tank tops for this southern girl.  But here, that means pull out all of your big coats and bundle up.  It’s just fall, y’all, not winter. The leaves are changing and it’s really beautiful here.  My dear hubby bought me a little pumpkin and my dear friends (here and in Mississippi) bought me some fall decorations. Now I can decorate! Pumpkins, leaves and well, that’s about it. Decorating for fall is not high on Korea’s list. Maybe I could carve a sweet potato.

Hanging pumpkins!

Hanging pumpkins!

My brain is on overload from a conference I’m attending.  Report cards come out soon and we’re about to start the 2nd quarter. This school year is going by fast! Jacob has asked every day what we’re doing for Halloween.  Sad to say, probably a bit fat nothing. I’ll find him some candy so he’ll be happy.  Julianna loves kindergarten but is exhausted everyday. She has more good days than bad but she’s still adjusting.  It’s hard for a little Korean girl! The boys are doing their thing and still enjoying school.  IMG_2039

Here is my challenge to you:  learn about trauma in kids.  Learn about transition with adoption.  Read about how trauma affects learning.  For the sake of all the kids who didn’t get a fair start, please do it.  Nothing hurts a mama’s heart more than when their baby is not understood.  And as a reminder, adoption is not all sweet and cute.  There is so much loss and confusion.

Thankful for big brothers.

Thankful for big brothers.

We are thankful for friends here who love on our girl.  (the boys opt out of being loved on!) We are enjoying Korea and venturing out more and more. And we bought a car!  We’re adjusting to life here and feeling more at home.  And we bought a table! We look forward to going to the states in December.

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KIA

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Happy fall, everyone, and be sure and hug someone you love today!

Happy Fall from the Garricks!

Happy Fall from the Garricks!