Sunday, December 31, 2017

That Was 2017

When the Calendar turned to 2017 and I found myself in Tehucan Mexico. Jan 1, 2016 it was Leon Nicaragua and now in 2018, Xi'an China. I am finding that the years are clicking by as fast as the kilometers. That is a reality observation not a melancholy and the infinite sadness statement.

2018 ended with a school Christmas party. A Christian celebration using pagan customs and fantasy characters in an atheist country. I love waking up in the morning. I was elected to be Santa because I am "charming and kind" when in reality it was because I was the oldest and chubbiest of the teachers. Plus the costume only fit me.

My role was as simple as it was fun. I greeted the families at the door and posed with all the kids for pictures in front of our tree. We had activities planned and near the end "Santa" charged into the main room with bags of presents to deliver gifts to each student. Then Santa drank beer with the parents. I was up for the challenge.

We have a great crew at the school. Beibei, Ella and Ting are the school administrators. Irene and Ciscola are the tutors and Nick, Owen and myself are the foreign teachers. We have one adult class with Cindy, Peter, Lee and Lee who join us for these activities.

Fun fact. Many Chinese give themselves English names. For example Peter, or Big Peter as he likes to be called is Pan Bin. Names can be random but usually are well thought out. Names that rhyme or sound similar to their Chinese name. Names are researched for meaning such as strong, beautiful, careful or other adjectives. Names that are not common or names that are just fun. Rabbit, Echo, Star, Dora, Miracle and Angel. More times than not new students will ask you to give them an English name and this is not to be taken lightly. I recently gave a student the name Henry which I think is a great handle.

I have Sophia, Annie, Angel, Carrie, Zoey, Hilary, Miracle, Cindy, Peter, Lee, Lee, Henry, Anna, Billy, Jason, Wendy, Gordon (Zhan Ke) and Peng to keep me busy during the week. Starting in the new year I will be heading out to a different school to teach 3, 45 minute kindergarten classes of 20 students each. The school is expanding so I better start getting creative with English names. Maybe I will use the Western Tribal naming conventions. Pees a Lot, Screaming Short Hair, Running Nose, Happy Face, Sit In The Hall, Cries For Mommy, Always Eating, Throwing Pencil, Writes on Wall, Speaks Quiet, Scared Eyes.

The crew in top and bottome picture on the right.
Front row: Ting, Ciscola, Cindy, Ella, Beibei, Irene
Back row: Ken, Owen, Lee, Lee, Nick, Peter

 I have some travel plans/goals for 2018. I will go to Cambodia for 2 weeks during the Chinese Spring Festival in February. April brings the Nepal Trek to Mt. Everest. In China I plan to visit, in no particular order, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu. There are also lots of smaller day and weekend trips available from Xi'an. Being a major transportation hub has it's advantages. There is a town on the North Korean border that I would like to visit, Dandong but it would need time some time and effort. Heading into North Korea peaks my interest but even my open attitude of the world is stunted towards the DPRK right now.

What I plan to do in 2018
Rise to the challenge, no matter the size
Exercise more
Start every day with good energy by doing something positive
Only focus on the good
Love every day.
Use my time properly and stop wasting it. There is no "time well wasted"
Think before speaking
Instill a positive attitudes and good routines
Open any door to all possibilities
Never stop believing in what is possible
See the whole field and avoid tunnel vision

What I will do in 2018
Roll over and hit the snooze button multiple times
Exer....ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
See "R" above
Oh hell. The world is falling apart.
Lose my shit when I can't find my keys.
Use Netflix as much as possible
Talk about anything I want, when I want
I think this list is stupid
Only open the door when the food delivery guy arrives
Never run out of coffee again
Stop at the eye doctor and get a check up

Make this the year that don't believe everything your read or hear. Use your experiences to form your opinions especially if they go against the common view. Read more, Anti-Social Media less, put down the mobile device and look around, get out in the natural world, ignite a passion, find a creative outlet, rediscover the joy in music, learn a new language, ride a bike, drink tap water, don't use retail as therapy, say Fu** off more, be generous, do something good and forget about it.

Make 2018 the year you discover kindness. One that does not require a photograph.

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