Thursday, January 7, 2016

First Semester Recap

In a perfect world, I would have been posting a lot more regularly and done {at the very least} monthly updates.  It would be a great way to connect with family and to help me remember in years to come what our lives look like these days.  That would have been nice.  

Instead, I was busy and consumed emotionally with transitioning to our new lives in Thailand.  I'm allowing myself some leeway.  However, one of my 'outlets' and ways of processing is to write.  I want to document these days for the reasons above and also to help me truly experience and find joy in the present.  So, I will be a bit more active here.  
In the interest of chronology, and because I'm a bit too particular to start with now, here's a bit of a recap of our first 5 months in our new home.  

August~We literally landed in BKK on the first of August which makes it wonderfully easy to remember how long we've been here.  Most of August was spent in the awe of being back here with our son in tow.  We made LOTS of trips to Big C (the Nonthaburi equivalent of Super WalMart) to make our home more home-y.  We eventually purchased some living room furniture, a 50" tv, some rugs and decor to help us settle in.  Each day, this new place became more our home.  We spent time reconnecting with friends and students who were here 7 years ago as well as beginning to get to know all the new faces.  MUCH has changed.  Some things are the same.  Once school started, we liked getting into the new routine and learning the new schedules and students and systems of life on a school campus.  We had a couple of weekend outings to explore the city.  We went to Dusit Zoo and got annual passes to Ocean World. Mostly, we focused on adjusting to our new jobs and home.  Speaking of jobs, here's what we do: 
Matt is teaching second grade and has 14 kids in his homeroom.  He also teaches the higher-level English students for all of Grade 2 and Science for both Grade 2 classes.  In the first semester, Tricia was working 3 days a week as a substitute teacher for all grades.  When she wasn't subbing, she was working in the office as an assistant to one of the school administrators.  (This is changing for 2nd semester.) Tyndall goes to Nursery Monday-Friday from 8:00am-3:00pm (naps for a couple hours there).  It's on our school campus, and we get to peek glimpses of him during the day.  

September~September was definitely about settling in.  We had a staff retreat out of town for a couple of days.  During that time, Tyndall fell off an incredibly tall ladder, so we had a bit of a health scare.  Thankfully, he was totally fine, but it was definitely a monumental day for our family.  I think it helped us become closer to more people here as well.  In September, we started investing more in relationships with people here.  I had a couple of one-on-one coffee morning dates with new friends, and we went out with a couple families for dinner.  We also spent a lot of time in the evening watching shows like Parenthood, The Walking Dead, and Bones.  I started doing a women's Bible Study group through our church on Monday evenings and was teaching ESL at our church on Tuesday evenings.  We also had Overnight Camp on campus where all of elementary school kids have extra time at school (grades 2 and above spend the night).  Matt became really sick that weekend, which caused him to miss a couple days of school the next week.  Everyone said our immune systems would be weak this first year as we adjust to a new environment and living at a school.  Which brings us to October... 

October~was a very different month.  We had committed to teaching Joy Club, which is English school on Saturdays for (mostly) kids who don't go to GES.  Matt teaches K2&3 (ages 4-6), and I teach K1 (ages 2-3).  We started that on Saturday mornings, but we were both feeling run down.  Matt started feeling better after about a week, but I started feeling worse.  I broke down and went to the doctor one day and found out I had pneumonia.  Yuck.  They wanted me to stay at the hospital, but that was intimidating to me in a new country, away from my family, so I opted to just travel to the hospital each day for breathing treatments and IVs.  That lasted about a week, and then I just had to go a couple times a week.  By the third week in October, I was starting to feel better but was still just wiped out.  That happened to coordinate with October Break for the school.  We had originally planned to travel to Cambodia for the break, but opted to stay home and do day adventures instead.  We did things like Imagania, Ocean World, Safari World, Ikea, Tyndall's first movie at a theater, and hanging out with families at the school.  The Ikea trip was fruitful in that we got lots of more things to make our home more home-y.  My birthday also fell over October Break, and I share a birthday with another teacher here.  So, we took our families to lunch and to the Children's Museum together.  Then, we left the kids with Matt and went and got foot massages. Then she babysat Tyndall so Matt and I could have a date night.  So sweet!   Even though I probably should have rested a lot more, October Break was fun!  I remained pretty exhausted and out of gas for the rest of October, even though I returned to work, and we both started tutoring kids after school.  Our friend George started hanging out with Tyndall after nursery while Matt and I were tutoring.  My pneumonia stayed around until the 2nd week of November, but I was feeling much better by the end of October.  

November~November was busy.  I did a LOT of subbing and even worked extra days to make up for time that I would miss from school in December.  We also had a lot of teachers out for various reasons, including the birth of a new baby. While the new daddy was out for a week, I taught his high school chemistry classes.  Hilarious.  I also spent a few days shadowing one of the first grade teachers because I will be long-term subbing for her while she is out for maternity leave.  Between normal jobs and tutoring and Joy Club, we kept ourselves busy.  In November, I was also back to Bible Study and ESL on Tuesdays most weeks.  But when I committed to teaching full-time this coming semester, I knew I wouldn't be able to teach ESL as well.  I was a little sad to give that up, but I know I can do that in another season.  I realized that my time at home with Tyndall was becoming pretty limited, and I want to have more of that.  Thanksgiving was definitely different.  On the actual Thursday, we ended up having friends over for dinner at the spur-of-the-moment and didn't actual realize it was Thanksgiving dinner until after. Our school did a BIG Thanksgiving dinner the Saturday after.  We had about 100 people.  Ham, chicken, and sides-a-plenty!  It was good.  Definitely started missing family (and familiar traditions) more though.  

December~was CrAzY.  Matt was getting his kids ready for the big Christmas program, and for the end of the semester.  The first week of December, I worked extra days to get ready for the time I was about to be off...
On December 5th, I flew to Cancun, Mexico for my best friend, Ginger's wedding!  Mom met me there, and we spent a few days on a beautiful resort hanging out with the Henry~Hudson wedding guests which was so much fun.  It was honestly the best resort I've ever been to and the people were really fun to get to know.  Very, very fun and refreshing few days.  Not to mention getting to watch Ginger marry the man of her dreams, a man we have prayed together for for years!  After Cancun, I flew to SC for a few days and spent a little time trying to see a lot of people and get a lot of stuff done.  Overall, it was a great few days.  I feel like I got to have time with almost everyone I wanted to and it was even quality time.  I got to see Valerie and Zeb's new house and dance around to Disney songs with my niece Sadie.  I got to have a mock Christmas breakfast with the Flagler fam and even a typical Sunday lunch on my "bonus day" (my flight was delayed leaving Charleston, and by then I had missed all connections to Bangkok, so I had to stay an extra day).  Got to see the James Island Christmas lights with the Flaglers and my other nieces, have Panera dates with friends and even an airport breakfast with the fresh-from-her-honeymoon Mrs. Hudson.  A great, whirlwind trip for sure, but praise God, jet lag didn't put a damper on things!  Once back home in Bangkok with my boys (and SIX suitcases!), it was straight to working in the office then time for Christmas program (a 3 day intense event right in our front yard.)  Tyndall handled the change in schedule and loud music outside his bedroom window quite well.  But we were also really glad when it was over because then it was time for CHRISTMAS BREAK!  

{Forgive the lack of pictures.  Again, this is really just for my remembrance down the road.  Plenty of pics can be found on Facebook.}

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