Monday, November 13, 2017

a life update, the holiday edition

RUBY'S FIRST THANKSGIVING
I know it's silly, but I am so excited about Ruby's first Thanksgiving (even though I understand the entire concept of this holiday is ludicrous from a historical standpoint). I already have an outfit selected for her (thanks grandma Lisa!), and our plans are made. This will be our sixth time celebrating Thanksgiving in Taiwan; in all, we will have hosted half of the celebrations before we leave. This year, though, we can't have 35 friends and colleagues crammed into our apartment until late into the night because we have an awkward dog and a six month old baby who is on a strict sleep schedule. Instead, we invited seven of our close friends and their kiddos over for an early dinner that will still allow Ruby to be in bed on time. There will be chicken, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, salad, bread, and dessert (thanks grandma Jody for sending ingredients!). Confession: I know this year I will be the crazy lady who pulls out the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, but give me a break, this is the first holiday season I get with Ruby, and I can't wait!
GUN CONTROL FRUSTRATION & SECOND THOUGHTS
Honestly, I have had a million second thoughts about moving back to America next July. It mostly has to do with feeling like America and I have very few values in common. It also has a lot to do with reading stuff like this. Really, America? The solution to keeping kids safe at school is bullet proof panels for their backpacks? Really? I think we all have issues that are deal breakers for us, and the lack of effective gun control is it for me. If that makes me unAmerican or something, then so be it. If I hear one more person I know say, "It would be ridiculous to ban knives..." my head might literally explode. I am astonished that my 8th graders have the critical thinking skills required to identify that as a logical fallacy (weak or false analogy) and explain what is wrong with the argument, yet so many registered voters don't and can't. Why are my 8th graders better critical thinkers than many American adults who stumble into voting booths?

OUR SAVINGS GOAL: HALF WAY THERE
When Sean and I decided that we would move back to America next year, we started to save in earnest so we will not have to work when we return. While this might seem lazy or impossible, it's not. We very much doubt we will stay in America for longer than one year, so we would rather make it a memorable year for everyone, and that requires a lot of free time. Our savings goal is quite ambitious, and I am happy to report that we are half way there,, and it even looks like we will overshoot our goal by a few thousand dollars. In America, we will continue to live frugally so when we leave to go on our next international teaching adventure we still have some left in savings.

GRANDMA'S VISIT IN FEBRUARY
We are so happy to report that grandma Lisa is coming back to Taiwan! I go back to work in late February, but Sheila, our nanny, will be in the Philippines visiting her family for the first time in six years. Cue grandma. She will come to hang out with us but also to watch Ruby for the first 2.5 weeks of school until Sheila comes back! We are so excited that Ruby will get to spend some more time with family because July is a long way away. I know grandma Lisa is pretty excited too!

DOTTING OUR i's AND CROSSING OUR t's: DODEA
We have a lot of tough decisions to make in the upcoming years. I very much doubt that Sean or I will teach in the general American public school system, so that leaves us in an awkward place: being 30+ years old and trying to figure out what to do with our lives. I am almost certain that we will end up abroad again; however, this time around, we have a lot more to think about than we did in 2012 when we accepted our jobs here in Taiwan. We have Ruby and Bubu to think about. We both think that the DODEA sounds like a great fit for us. We will still be abroad with all of the perks like free airfare, housing, etc., but we will also be somewhere with more diversity, which I do think is important for Ruby as she grows up. I just submitted both of our applications for the 2019-2020 school year after skyping my former colleague who works for the DODEA in Korea. She and her family are having an amazing time! I really hope this works out so we can at least try it. I never in one million years thought I would ever consider working for the U.S. military, even if it is just as an educator, but with Ruby in the picture, I find I am open to more and more things.

LACING UP MY RUNNING SHOES
I went on my first postpartum run last week. I knew I had put it off far too long, so one night when the weather was cool and Ruby was asleep, I headed to my school's track. The last time I went on a run was in September 2016 when I was 1.5 months pregnant. At that time, I could run five consecutive miles. It had taken me quite a while to make it to that point. Last week, I walked my first lap and tried to pump myself up. I really didn't know what to expect. When I began my running journey in 2014, I could not even run one single lap. I was so worried that I would be back at square one again. However, I knew how to move forward from that place because I had done it before, so I knew I could do it again. I put in my ear buds and took my first few steps. I noticed immediately that my body just feels different these days, but I think that is to be expected after having a child. I was pleasantly surprised while on my first lap; I was definitely not back at square one. I knew I had started a little too fast, so I slowed my pace a little and made it easily half way through my first mile. In the end, I ran only one mile. I knew I could have kept going if I really wanted to, but I also learned the first time around that starting slow and building up stamina was better than overdoing it. I will be back out there on the track until I build my stamina and then road running after that. Hopefully, this year I can finally enter one race and cross that off my Life To Do list.

MORE BABY PLAY DATES
I am so lucky that by a random coincidence I was pregnant at the same exact time as two of my other 8th grade colleagues. We had out babies exactly two weeks apart with Ruby in the middle. We have been trying to get them all together, and it has finally happened! The three girls got to meet and hang out at our school's annual fall field day. It was a lot of fun to see the girls interact and to finally meet all the babies! I will really miss these ladies and their girls when we go back home!

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