Twenty-Ten Pleasures ~ Part 1

G-H-poetry-cafe-wave-small-300x225In a few short hours Bellingham time, 2010 will be just a memory . . . one filled with more “new” than I imagined as I sat in front of my MacBook last December 31st.  A new passport.  A new home.  New city.  New friends.  New job.  New food finds.  New hairstyle (thanks to the humidity and the challenge of seeking someone who cuts non-Asian hair).  New appreciation for middle schoolers and for a teacher’s life. New, new, new.

My promise when we moved to Singapore was to maintain a blog — hoping it would allow me to keep in touch with family, friends, and colleagues Stateside AND serve as a way to chronicle this new life. I got off to a rather decent start . . . and then teaching took over.

Thanks to those of you who followed along those first few months and apologies for becoming a blog drop-out.  My 2011 goal is to make time for more than teaching, including re-igniting the desire and B-I-C (butt in chair — thank you Debbie Wiles for that phrase!) requirement to kick start this blog again. I begin with this short but hearty salute to twenty ten . . . a year that expanded my notion of what I call home, a year that brought me full-circle as a teacher.

[Part 1 of] Ten (new) pleasures from this past year:

1) Middle Schoolers — Goofy, smart, roller-coaster-ride savvy.  They’ve taught me far more than I’ve taught them.  Who’d have imagined I’d look forward to a 5 a.m. alarm clock five mornings a week.  But I do and much of that is because of the gift of middle schoolers.

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2) Top-notch Teaching Partner — Reminded of the rewards from collaboration, this teaching journey works because of my colleague/partner, Brian Arleth.  The hours devoted to planning, revising our plans, creating curriculum, sharing the read-alouds, discovering what engages (and doesn’t engage), and generally leaning on each other, have energized me professionally and personally.  Kudos to our administrators who created this partnership.  I can’t imagine anyone I’d rather teach with side-by-side at SAS than Brian.

3)  Life Without a Car — The MRT (mass rapid transit) has become my favorite form of transportation — reliable, clean, efficient, inexpensive, convenient, etc., etc. etc. Between the trains and buses (which we rarely use since we live .3 km from the closest MRT train station), we can get nearly everywhere in Singapore (as long as we head home by 11:30 p.m. — trains stop running before midnight EXCEPT on New Year’s Eve when they extend service to 2 a.m.).  It’s my “office on wheels” every afternoon as I either respond to student writing or read uninterrupted during the 30-40 minute journey from school to our condo.  Owning a car in Singapore is ungodly expensive, it’s a hassle to negotiate traffic, parking, auto taxes.  The MRT allows me anonymous time to work, people watch, rest.  I’ve become a mass transit addict!

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4)  Bling — It’s everywhere — shoes, handbags, clothing, Christmas trees — and it’s not just for evening!  While I haven’t (yet) succumbed to too much sparkle, I find it’s creeping into my wardrobe (or at least into my shopping taste).  My newest flip-flops have a gem or two but not quite the glitter of the Singapore set.  I’ve become attracted to the sparkle and will need to make some adjustments when I return to the States (how will it go with my Bellingham fleece?).  For now, I’m enjoying the gemology, curious how much of it I’ll own in the next year and a half.

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5)  Shoe Obsession — For the fashionistas in SE Asia (and also in Australia), shoes are the thing (second only to short, skinny dresses).  The higher the heel, the better. Or so it appears.  While I’m not a convert (not enough skinny — or balance — in me), it makes for good people watching.

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Since this blog entry has exceeded my intentions (that’s what happens when I wait two months between writing), I’ll save the last five 2010 pleasures for the next blog entry (to come very soon, I promise).  If you’re still reading, thanks for your interest and welcome to a brand new year . . .