Monday, November 20, 2017

My Student, Bill

Six months ago this past Friday I started daily lessons four days a week with a kid named Bill. Bill lives in South Korea. He has two older brothers and he likes to ride bikes with his friends, watch funny videos on YouTube, and hike mountains with his dad. He was 12 years old back then and he was the lowest level student I had taught to date and I was nervous.

It's never really been completely smooth sailing with Bill. There have always been wrinkles to smooth out: maybe he can read very well but he doesn't comprehend what he's reading. Maybe he struggles most with free speech and can't just normally converse with me. Maybe he never does his homework. (And I mean never.)

Yet... Bill has become very much apart of my life. Guess that's inevitable when you spend time with the same people four days a week for six months. You do become friends. You do learn to understand each other through the language barrier. Wish we had had that skill back in our first class six months ago today, but I'm glad it worked out anyways.

Friday, November 3, 2017

A Love That Multiplies

Today I ran into Alice, one of my sweet 4th graders I hadn't seen in almost two months! I'll admit, I couldn't remember her name without looking it up. Sometimes my brain gets foggy with the 400+ names and faces of the 4th graders I've taught so far this semester.

Today, I'm thankful love is not a point system. Each of us doesn't just have one hundred love points to ration out to the people in our lives—the more people we have, the less love they get each, there's a limit to how many we can love, or anything like that. True, each of us only has 24 hours in a day, and sometimes the ration of whom we're giving that to isn't very balanced. But, with God in us, who is Love Himself, love never has to divide. It can multiply over and never run out.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Silver Linings & How to Find Them

Lately I've been homesick for my family and friends and Texas... And Oklahoma, I guess. And Missouri and Mississippi and Washington, while we're on the subject.

But for real. I miss my people and places and making memories with my people in the places we love. I miss laughing at inside jokes and praying together. I miss the convenience of driving myself to the grocery store. I miss my pianos. My dog. Sibling sleepovers. Nice shower heads and fluffy bath towels and the comfort of not having to spray vinegar around my bed every night before I go to sleep to ward off bugs (like bedbugs) (and spiders). I miss having a kitchen that smells like cinnamon and tacos and generally just all sorts of things that smell better than dead rodent. I miss ice water. I miss being in similar time zones with my friends and being able to text them throughout the day.

Silver linings, silver linings.

I have a lot to miss. Wow, am I blessed to have so much to miss!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Holiday Happenings

This past week and a half has been really special for me, so I wanted to share some pictures and show a little of what I was able to see and do!

Even though I love teaching, and my students are really truly my favorite part of this whole experience, after four long, hot weeks in a row of school (almost 250 4th graders), I was more than happy for a rest.

We had to go up to Taipei for a business trip October 2-3, so Kristina and I went up a day early. We got to attend a real-life English church service! I missed those! Then we went for lunch and an English Bible study. Afterwards we walked around and just kind of went sightseeing, had dinner with the Chens, and hiked Elephant Mountain.

Monday, September 25, 2017

A Mile in Their Shoes

Do you remember being nine years old? Ten?

I do. I thought I was pretty cool. I never spent a night away from family (if not home, grandparents or uncles and aunts) until I was 16 years old. I went to my friend Kate's birthday/slumber party, but I was sick and ended up going to sleep before everyone else, anyways. It was two more years before I spent a single night away from family again. But enough about me. 

At nine or ten years old, were you very brave? Adventurous? Could you have handled traveling to a strange school with strange teachers and staying there for a week, well? 

Maybe I was a cool 4th grader.... but I really don't think I could have done it. Nothing familiar? Nothing comfortable? No family? Foods I might not like? Why? 

But these kids I teach every week here in Taiwan. They're brave. They load up on a bus and travel hours to get here to the Character and English Institute, a place they've never been to and possibly know nothing about. Their school teacher accompanies them on the trip, but after a brief orientation Monday morning, their teachers are gone before lunch. 

65 kids from 7 different schools. 65 kids with 65 names to memorize. 65 kids with short attention spans to keep held rapturously during 12, 40-minute English classes every week. (Okay, okay, 'rapturously' is a strong word. It's more like a very concerted effort to be interesting enough so they don't all declare strike and walk out on us out of boredom.) 

Yes, it's a big job. Not easy. 

Kristina and I get up every morning and work all day, if not teaching, working on creating more teaching materials in hopes of providing better and better English classes. 

But lately God has been reminding me: walk a mile in their shoes, Kimberly. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

"How's It Going?"

For as much as I see God, and for as much as I know He's growing me, I've been struggling to write it out. Like, at all. Little journaling, little blogging, little social media-ing. It's not coming easily. 
I love my family and friends. Y'all text, email, message, leave videos and voice mails. You're so sweet and I love, love, love to hear from you. But when you ask me how I'm doing or how it's going or how I'm adjusting... I don't always know how to respond. 

I'm good. In all honesty, I'm great. I have everything I need. I see God working all around me every day. I'm healthy. I'm safe. I feel super blessed to have a teammate who is nearly fluent in Chinese and is willing, not only to teach me Chinese, but also to translate for me any time I need her. (That's awesome.) I get to turn on the A/C at night, which helps me sleep through the heat and humidity. I have electricity 24 hours a day. I have fast wifi. 

I'm great! It's easy here. There's not much culture shock. So blessed. 

But how am I doing? How is everything going? Do you really want to know?

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Branching Out // Part 2

My last post was short and sweet between classes, but there's more yet to say, I suppose.

The reasons 'Branching Out' felt and continues to feel like a good chapter title for this season go so much deeper than being in a new location (please see my last post for reference).

Please let me be as clear as possible: I do not wish for and am not working towards an independent life.

I don't want to be strong and solo. Can I? Am I capable? Could I figure it out and survive the foreign public transportation alone? Probably. But I don't want to.

Maybe that's the beauty of a godly woman: she's strong, but she packages it in a feminine and humble attitude. I don't know about y'all, but that's what I want.

Branching out. 

Because I don't have to leave the nest. I don't have to flit thousands of miles away and plant a whole new tree. I love my tree. I wouldn't be me without my tree. I just grow the tree a little farther. As I stretch (trust me, there's a lot of stretching going on), so does my tree.

01 09 10 01 09 10