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He’s moving on to 8th grade! Jacob is a pro at being a middle schooler. His favorite classes were Bible, Pre-Algebra and Social Studies. He liked chapel and his small group, too. If we can get him to stop carrying everything in his bookbag, I’ll be happy.

A few 7th-grade highlights 

Week Without Walls in Korea (ziplining, lots of outdoor activities, traditional Korean food, etc.)

Everland (amusement park)

Skiing over Christmas break

Turning 13 in Hong Kong

The New York City Subway System is the largest subway system in the world, with 468 train stations and 26 subway lines. That's one massive subway system!

 

 

 

First Grade Success!

Julianna has completed first grade! Her teacher was the sweetest and her TA was great, too. As her speech/language skills improved, naturally, other areas became easier for her, too. She has an amazing speech and language therapist, along with a support teacher that helps with reading and writing.

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This year, she took ballet, sports, and swimming during after school activities. She loved all 3! She enjoyed her Korean class, art, music, recess, and Math. Also, she memorized her Bible verse for their Spring program and quoted it perfectly.  First grade went by so fast!

 

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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!