I feel like I live here now.

I feel like I live here now. I know where to go and when and what bus line to take to and from work. I don’t have to watch my phone to know which stop is mine anymore. I’ve developed enough of a mental map that I can estimate distances.

I know how to cross the street without the walk signal and where to get good noodles for a hot lunch. I no longer have to eat Subway every day for lunch.

I have a regular lunch date with a British colleague. We’ve exchanged teaching strategies, dog photos, and pins-and-needles giggles. I think we’ve become friends.

I know how to get around campus without getting lost (and that’s saying something, considering I work next to a building that is a real-life Escher painting). Sometimes I even get lost on purpose just so I can learn and navigate better.

I tutor an eight year-old and a forty something regularly. Both tell me that I’m their favorite English teacher.

I’ve hit a creative stride with teaching now that I know my students. They’re loving it and so am I. We laugh a lot more. I give them content MY way, all tailored to them, and the students are truly beginning to blossom. I love seeing them every day.

I delivered a lecture for about 150 students this past week and the students from my classes cheered for me. I have never felt more elated after a public speaking opportunity.

I volunteered to teach a lesson on “finding the right word” for the Student English Association this past week. I received another round of applause and many requests to come teach again. They loved my pebble in water metaphor.

I joined a gym. I also bought personal training sessions. My trainer is a South African man named El who is fluent in Chinese. (Wrap your head around that: me, an American of European descent, working with a South African personal trainer in Asia. I feel so very intercontinental.)

I am delighted that this is my experience in China so far. It was worth all the headaches to get to this point because I am fulfilled. I am challenged, loved, and cheered. I am excited. I am growing, learning, and expanding in ways I couldn’t have if I had stayed where I was. I have things to do, places to go, and people to see. My schedule is a bit hectic sometimes, but I am happier when I am busy. And I am so happy.

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9 thoughts on “I feel like I live here now.

  1. By far, THE sexiest thing I’ve read online in well over a year. I am SO proud to call you a friend; I check this site each day, and I really love your posts. You are the only person I keep up with online – literally, my one and only cyber connection. I’ve abandoned everyone else, because I finally realized how precious my attention and investment are. So, allow me to shower you with my own version of praise, and say thank you for being the one beacon of light in an otherwise dark, angry, and relationally empty medium. You make my life better. XOXO.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thank you so much! I’m honored to be on your radar. ❤️ Online communication definitely has its dark side. I find it’s easier for me to balance the dark with the light when I put my own light out into the online world. I’m so glad that means we still get to connect, my friend! 😘

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      1. To teach my students how to find the words they’re looking for, I use a metaphor of a pebble dropped in water. Plop–and you can’t see the pebble anymore, but you can see the ripples in the water. I ask my students to describe the word they’re looking for, use synonyms, and ask their conversation partners for help. Focusing on the ripples and not the pebble means they get to build meaning with their interlocutors.

        Everyone forgets words now and then, so this is common practice for native English speakers. But for non-native speakers, especially in university, the stigma exists that they should know all the words. When they hit a word they don’t know in English, I get peppered with requests for vocabulary lessons. The reality is that academic vocabulary study happens outside the classroom as much as in it, so I teach my students the pebble in the water metaphor so they realize they have the power to use other words to describe the word they are looking for and continue to communicate. It’s a winner 9/10 times I’ve used it. 😊 (And, yes, I invented it myself.)

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  2. Found this blog from your Instagram!

    This is such a cool post to read – it matches where I am right now perfectly! I’m also a teacher in Suzhou, and just like you it took me a LOT of time to find my pace, but now I’m here and it feels like home it was so so worth it.

    Definitely following this blog!

    Like

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