my students made me these so i could sleep while sitting up.

School is in FULL swing, and something about checking a thousand emails, attending meetings that could have been emails, lesson planning, and dealing with 27 nine year olds all day long sort of sucks my creative energy out and away from blog writing. I sit down at my laptop, scouring my brain for those little tidbits I’d thought of during the day that made me say “ah-ha! That would be an EXcellent blog. I shall remember that later.” I’ve started trying to do talk-to-text into my notes feature to remember these ideas for later. But the last one transcribed came out like “grandma taught me to Chevy’s upon the tortilla machine with Carmen Sandiego” so I don’t think that’s a trustworthy recording device. 

our morning surveys are super revealing

But I want to resume blogging regularly; to record the small happy moments that make up life. So I’m bringing back my weekly updates. And we will start with Highlights.

There are a million things I could say about my class – how they are a big group of really weird and special and funny and kind kids, how their prayers make me laugh and cry, how I have to repeat the same direction at least 100 times before they have heard it enough to follow it, how I have taught them that they aren’t allowed to yell things out in class because I don’t need an announcement unless there is a fire, a landshark, or free Cheetos. They drive me nuts but I think about them all the time. I am sleeping SO well at night. My highlight of the last week has just been teaching. Having my own classroom again for the first time in three years, feeling useful and needed and appreciated. The busyness of it all. The quirkiness of kids and getting to relive my own childhood in a way as I watch them discover and wonder and learn. I’m especially loving reading out loud a novel to them, and their little faces just looking up at me like I hold all the secrets to the world on the next page, and sighing and gasping at all the right places, and begging me to keep reading until we’re almost always late to our next class. That’s my favorite. Reading’s my favorite.

love my gym classes :)

Physically, at my gym, I hit my 50th class, and I wanted to do something hard to celebrate. We were pushing the sleds, which already had 40kg on it and a sled is another 20kg, but my trainer Nizar hopped on, so I pushed him across the track, too, which is 140kgs total. That felt pretty dang good. Getting stronger is cool.

I got a foot massage, which was a gift from a parent from last year’s class, and a tiny glimpse of Heaven. And I’m almost done with Sober September! That will be a whole other post because it’s been a journey, but three weeks is feeling good. I’ve also spent significant time in editing my book. Will I actually finish? Will I publish? We shall see.

hong kong moments

Week Lowlights: Being sick and on my period. Here’s a list of all the things that are great about being on your period: 

  1. Free temporary boob job. 

That’s it. That’s the list. 

I’ve also had this chest cold since I got back from Sophie’s wedding, and it just won’t quit. Or it could be the mold and pollution allergy I’ve diagnosed myself with, but it makes it hard to sing and I’m constantly congested.

our weather today was monsoons and also red fire warning, so
“windy hellscape.”

Something you might not know about Hong Kong is that pollution here is so bad, we have several phone apps that tell you when it’s not safe to be outside or let kids run around. The air often looks foggy, but it’s pollution blowing over from factories. Really fun to breathe in and wonder what it’s doing to my body. Because of the constant humidity and the fact that we live in a really old building, we also have this black mold that creeps in, despite some aggressive paint jobs by our land lord. I like to think the constant exposure to deadly toxins just brings me one step closer to meeting Jesus but that’s about the most positive spin I can put on it.

If you’ve kept up with the news, you know Hong Kong is a generally scary place to live in right now. Next week is a big day – October 1st is the National Day of the People’s Republic of China, and there are a lot rumours going around about what kind of action might happen from both sides. I don’t know what the future looks like for me or anyone else here, or long term for Hong Kong. The uncertainty produces this kind of low-grade stress and fear that looms in the background of our normal lives and springs forward violently every weekend with the scaling protests and police action. We’re not leaving the house much on weekends anymore.

love seeing this guy every once in a while

To try and combat those sometimes overwhelming feelings, I’ve been trying to take more pics of my life in Hong Kong, to hit some things on my HK bucket list, and appreciate it more intentionally.

Last meal: I went to my favorite American contraband store again last week, because if I’m not going to be drinking alcohol, I deserve TREATS! And I got myself some cookie butter, pumpkin bread mix, and hot salsa. For dinner I whipped up some mock tacos and POURED that green salsa all over it. Thank goodness for smuggled goods. Right now I’m murdering some Cookie Butter from Trader Joes.  

Currently wearing: It’s still summer in Hongkers, which means real feel in the upper nineties and lotsa humidity, but we’ve had the AC on so that means shorts and a sweatshirt. This one in particular says “Yosemite” on it and is mustard yellow, as is about 30% of my wardrobe. 

Fav recent joke: Where do cows go to learn about their history? 

A mooseum.

The Media that has Helped: I binged the Netflix series on “The Mind, Explained,” which is pretty epic and led me down a rabbit hole of neuroscience stuff on the internet. I’ve always been interested in things like memory and sleep deprivation. I started watching TED talks, too, and it feels good to nourish my brain with information. The effects of sleep deprivation are astounding – not only does your hippocampus stop recording memories, lack of sleep actually changes your DNA. Your immune system stops functioning and things like body inflammation and tumor causing factors rise significantly. So get those eight hours, folks!

epic tinder profile

I’m also reading Life of Pi for the first time, after casually watching the cinematic version over many shoulders on airplanes, and . . . book does not really match a lot of what I’ve seen onscreen, but I am enjoying it.

Quote of the Week: As you might know, I spend a lot of time scrolling Tinder to feel better about myself to feel worse about my life and the very shallow nearly dried up pool of eligible men there seem to be out there for comedic material to try and find some dates, and occasionally I come across a profile that begs for public recognition. This wasn’t the first time I’d seen Jesus on Tinder, but this was a different profile. I posted a screenshot of it on my instagram, and my funny friend Ben left a fantastic comment. Made my whole day.

the location says Jesus is 7 miles away . . . XD

Best Conversation I had: This is shallow, but it was with the neighbor kid, who told me that his family is moving out. I can’t stand these people. One of them has been bouncing a basketball on our roof for the better part of the last hour, they scream at each other all day long, potty train their toddler in our foyer onto newspaper, have the entire contents of their closet and laundry hanging from our mutual stairs, and hoard things. They’ve stolen from us in the past, smoke on our roof, and one time there was POOP IN MY SHOE and I’m convinced it was them. So please, please please Jesus, let that statement actually be true, and not just a miscommunication. Let hot single men move in next door. I’ve been mostly good recently.

our neighbors closet in our shared stairwell. this is quite clean for them.

Looking forward to:

  • Hold the phone – we have a Live Update on the neighbors and the cookie butter situation – I went upstairs to tell our neighbor to stop playing basketball, because there is a freaking park across the street, go play there and not so the whole apartment building can hear you (I am a grumpy old man). I came back down, had another heaping spoonful of Cookie Butter to celebrate, and now feel quite ill. Gosh darn. Still going to make some popcorn in a bit though. 
  • ALSO looking forward to smashing through some episodes of “The Office” with roomie. We’ve been on a months-long quest to rewatch the entire series (I think we started in April?) and are speeding things up because Netflix is taking it away from us! GASP!
  • ALSO looking forward to spending a weekend at a learning conference in Kuala Lumpur! I’ll be with some fun people and hoping and praying to feel inspired about teaching. Also hoping and praying quite hard for there to be some eligible bachelors at this conference. You never know.