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.


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!



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.


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 . . .


  1. Happy new year to you and Fred. We now know you are doing well (thanks for the new post!)….how’s Fred…has he been “subbing”? 🙂 Best 2011 wishes to you both.

  2. Welcome back to the blog world! I was thrilled to learn that Singapore is filled with sparkles. Although I try to keep my glitter-wearing in Bham to a minimum, I love me some bling. Perhaps I’ll have to let my sparkle-freak side out if I ever make it to Singapore… hooray!

  3. Happy New Year, Nancy! I was beginning to worry about you when you hadn’t written on your blog in so long. I’m glad all is well! Hi to Fred.

  4. Happy New Year Nancy! It’s fun following your blog. Made me smile about Shoe Obsession – that would be me. Some days I am thinking to myself “am I too old for this?” – only for a second though.

  5. Welcome back Nancy! Now that I’m all caught up on your blog, I’ve looked forward the update. Thank you for not letting me/us down. Can’t wait for the next entry.

  6. Nancy, I was so happy to see that you had blogged again! I just made a short, quick, surprise visit over to South Korea and showed up at my sister’s hotel room on Christmas Eve night. It was so fun, and I happened to stumble upon some similar bling and many very short, tight dresses. However, I brought neither of these styles back to the states with me, ha. I’m at a junior high now for my final quarter placement and loving every minute of it. I am so excited to have made the switch from 4th grade (which has its perks too, of course) to 8th grade English Language Arts. Please keep writing because I thoroughly enjoy your stories, the cultural exposure, your discoveries, and your appreciation/zest for teaching and life.

    I look forward to your next entry! 🙂

  7. Happy New Year Nancy! I too enjoy hearing what you are up to! I miss being able to share with and ask you about books…I requested “Touch Blue” from the library after I read about it in your blog. Have been reading aloud to/with my junior high students I tutor: so far has been Love That Dog, Hate That Cat and now, Holes. Look forward to hearing those next top 5!

  8. Hi Nancy!!
    I really have been checking your blog but never commented…I can SO SO SO relate to the “new hairstyle” line about humidity and hairdressers!

    Thank you for “writing small” about that.
    Excited for CLaC but missing you much.

    Can’t wait for your next top 5!!

  9. I’m still reading, too! I thought I’d left a comment here a while back but it appears I didn’t “submit” it on the comments page.

    If you buy something ultra sparkly, I hope you take a picture of whatever it is so those of us in Bellingham can enjoy some glam! We’re in need of more sparkles here. As I’m writing this, wind is around 60 mph–and has been all…day….long. If there were more sparkles in Bellingham, perhaps it’d be brighter!

    Maybe your year back for the CLC you can glam out in sparkles and show your sparkly Singapore pride (if you end up with some glittery stuff in the next year and a half)! I’m sure we’d all enjoy seeing that!

    Talk to you soon hopefully.

  10. I will wear bling at the CLC in honor of you! Sylvia (et al) are doing a marvelous job…you would be proud. We sure miss you around here.
    We have new offices here in Miller Hall now…with only enough bookshelf space for about 300 books…what were they thinking! I still have 20 boxes of books stacked all around me! Impossible to just reach out and grab the right book off the shelf! I’m still trying to figure out how to me inventive with the space!
    So marvelous that you are enjoying Singapore so much. I loved my time there in 1980. Clean, beautiful, exciting.

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