We've been back in China now for about two weeks. Paul is still in the US and planning on flying here on Tuesday. He will overnight in Seoul and then arrive here Thursday morning. His time in the STL/Columbia area was way too short and he didn't get to see all the people he wanted/needed to see. He had some important things to take care of and that cut into his time quite a bit.
So, it's been two weeks and it all feels normal again. The first year I was here, I carried my camera everywhere so that I could capture that sense of newness and uniqueness. Yesterday, I was in a van coming home from the school, and I saw the following- two women walking under umbrella's in the sun. A woman on a motorbike wearing bright orange skin protectors on her arms. Two men walking on the streets in their pajamas. A group of men in camouflage pants, all with their shirts off- not a good look. Later, when I road my bike to the grocery store, I saw two families from the upscale kindergarten on the corner, holding their children near a tree so that the children could defecate. All of these things were unique and new to me two years ago-now I hardly even notice.
We've had many changes in our life in the last two weeks. I've gone back to teaching. I am teaching three middle school English classes at the international school that Elisabeth ends. They are classes for students whose native language is not English. We use the same curriculum as the regular class-it's just modified somewhat. It's a very different kind of ESL than I usually teach and I am enjoying it. I get up each morning and hang out with the sweet baby. At 7:30 the ayi comes and then I get on the school bus with the kids and go to school. I prep and teach until 1:00 and then go home. It's a good schedule that still allows me to do other things that I need to. The kids are sweet and the other teachers are great.
Elisabeth started her Senior Year. She has 4 AP classes, Chinese, Choir and Model United Nation. She is working hard on college applications and looking for scholarships.
Our little guy has struggled a little with the transition back here. We have struggled, also. He is now very mobile, very curious, very active and very persistent. He is a whole different baby than when we left in June and we have some adjustments to make. He is very, very attached to his ayi-excited to see her when she comes in the morning and sad to see her go. He is relearning to attach to us. Sometimes life for these little guys is just so tough- so many transitions, so many people.
After two weeks, he seems back to his happy, sweet little self. It's amazing to think that we have had him for a year. A year! What a difference.