In my younger and more venerable years, my mom would blast music from her bedroom and wake me and my brother up for school. She is the person where I get my super loud and energetic personality from. So, naturally, every time I see Rex, my host brother, at school, I have a tendency to scream his name and run towards him, reaching in for a hug which 100% of the time takes him by surprise. And of course, when he asks me to wake him up in the mornings, I shed my knowledge that most people do not like mornings, and I brightly smile and sometimes say (a bit too loudly) “Good morning dìdi” to his sleepy eyed face.
Rex is goofy without knowing, always kind, and patient when trying to teach me Chinese. My poor little brother had no idea he was getting the loudest and most energetic person on the planet when he signed up for a host sister. Luckily, his family has welcomed me with the most open of arms and Rex has yet to say no when I ask if it’s okay for me to hug him. Despite my numerous mistakes, such as eating a melon with the skin on it and breaking dumplings with chopsticks when serving myself at dinner, my family is treating me like one of their own. I go to sleep each night happy, well fed, and filled with excitement for the next morning.
I do not know how many days are in my summer vacation. Maybe 104 like Phineas and Ferb or maybe it’s 5 since it goes by so quickly. All I do know for sure is that there is not enough time here for me to do everything I would like. For starters, I need to find Rex a birthday gift! Birthday’s are my favorite thing to celebrate in the entire world (besides Christmas) and I want to give him a full celebration. I have known him for all of a week, and yet the amount of kindness and hospitality his family has extended towards me has made my love for each of them grow every second. Next, I need to begin absorbing the Chinese language. Every night I sit down at dinner and all I want to tell my mom is how much I appreciate her and that I do not hate her food, I AM JUST SO FULL, but all I am able to mutter is a super simplified version of thank you. People are able to pick up their lives and come to America for something great without knowing English! Why can’t I pay my new home the simple respect of understanding its language? There is this really cool historic drama always playing on TV that we watch as a family. I usually have no idea what’s happening, but it is intense and I want to be able to ask my family what it’s about!!! I would also like to continue growing as a teacher. I am so energized by the small group activities and lessons we have been doing. Yes, I do not know Chinese and I am pretty sure sometimes the students are talking about me in front of my face, BUT ALSO, by the end of class we are all laughing and smiling and THEY ARE LEARNING. What is a more invigorating experience for a future teacher than the opportunity to spend time in a new place expanding the knowledge of future grown ups?!?!
When it rains, it pours, as seen by the endless rain this past week. I feel as if it has been raining good fortune along with all of the rain, though. We, as a group, have learned how to get through challenges and obstacles together (and even pull off some sweet pranks). Learning each other’s leadership styles this early will only help us as we prepare for our final performance. There is tension at some points, but when we all need a rest, we can feel it and we take that rest. There is SO much self care going on and people aren’t afraid to voice differing opinions or ideas for lesson plans and activities. As someone who will one day need to plan with other teachers, it is exciting to see what happens when a good group of people are working together.
When framed with one of those classic “what are you going to remember doing in 10 years?” questions, I always roll my eyes and ignore the silliness. I can’t even remember my phone number sometimes. Now, I am beginning to see that maybe there are some minor details in life which shape us so quietly, it takes 10 years in the future to be grateful for what we told ourselves to do. I’m tired and my bed is immensely comfortable, but at the end of this week, and maybe even in 10 years, too, I have come to appreciate waking up with the sun (6am, ahhh someone help me), getting ready for the day with Rex (I am a human alarm clock), and the conversations which happen on our little walks (he loves to ask me about the meaning of English words). Maybe, at the end of this program, I can sneak in a little music and reciprocated hugs into our mornings!