Reset

The few hours Lyra and I just had were just what I needed. A chance to reset my mindset and for me to start again.

I’ve found it difficult when I’m either with my own children before and after work and other people’s children between 6am and 9pm. Much as love my own children and I do enjoy my teaching other people’s.

It’s one of those things about teaching that, when you’re working, yes you’re in charge but your time is very much not your own. You can’t leave the room to go to the toilet or go speak to someone, you can’t sit and have a think. While we do get some ‘free’ time during the time, it’s incredibly difficult to switch off. When you’re teaching them there’s a million other things to do.

Anyway. I feel very much better for the evening off of parenting and teaching.

Best thing you can do for your children sometimes, is to be away from them!

24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

When your job involves working with young children (I teach Year 1(kindergarten)) and you have small children of your own at home. So your life involves the associated testing of patience before, during and after work. It’s a little emotionally taxing.

In other news grass is green and water is wet.

This is also me thinking I should be a little kinder on myself.

Ok, I didn’t make it to the gym this evening but I did do some KB swings, squats and press (push) ups on the balcony - which is better than nothing. Only in 31c heat, so not too hot…

Feeling all the better for it too.

exercise plans

In theory it made sense.

I want to exercise more regularly but I’m also aware that when I exercised straight after work it impacted on the kids and my wife. Since I was getting home late. I didn’t like it and always felt guilty for working out so it never felt like ‘quality time’ and, honestly, it wasn’t enjoyable as a result.

Over the summer, we joined a gym and while the equipment selection was dire it was better than nothing.

So the idea was that I could go to the gym after the kids went to bed in the evening. I could come home straight from work and spend more time with them and help with cooking dinner etc.

In theory it made sense.

Except, unsuprisingly, after being at work all day and then coming home and dealing with that stuff, picking myself up to go to the gym and work out is proving tricky/difficult/impossible.

I did it once last week.

And today is the same.

I like the time I get with the kids but I also would like to exercise - for my emotional and physical health. I don’t know, I don’t have answers honestly. Just lots of questions. Should I put myself first more often? What about my wife? Or is always that my children come first?

Do. Not. Know.

The Home Office

This story of a British lawyer being refused a visa he didn’t apply for always gets me as I imagine us in that situation, trying to navigate the UK Home Office to get Lyra a visa. It’s not a simple process.

Rereading and enjoying Ted Chiang’s - Stories of your life and others, a collection of short stories that includeds the story that the film Arrival was based on. Now, want to watch the fim again.

A friend came around this evening so Elise could give her her birthday present.

Elise and Yumo were very excited to see her and help her unwrap her present. Elise didn’t stop talking.

I felt like I saw Elise through different eyes today. It’s the wood from the trees isn’t it?

Deep breath

The classroom is nearly as set up as it’s going to be. We have new students coming in tomorrow for a short while to meet us. Then we start in earnest on Monday. Most of our students will be in school, with a few not because they’re unable to get into the country.

It feels like this will be the last pause before everything becomes chaotic next week. Trying to take a moment to breathe before that all starts.

FYI running in 36 degree heat will leave you feeling unwell. Wouldn’t recommend it. Who knew?!

Nervous flyer

I remember the first time I was nervous flying.

Growing up, it’s not that we flew a lot but when we did it was relatively long flights. So i’ve always been fine flying. It’s the safest form of travel! All the same, you’re pretty high in the air arent’ you often over boundless stretches of water,

It was after Elise was born and suddenly everything was different. The first time we flew a shortish flight and I was suddenly nervous on take off. It wasn’t about just me anymore.

I think this thought popped up because I was in the hospital today and that’s always a good place to get you thinking about things.

Full names.

It’s interesting to hear Elise talking to classmates as she leaves school. In Chinese she uses their full name - which is normally two or three characters and so that many ‘sounds’. So, it doesn’t make saying the whole name too long.

I thought how strange that would be if children did that in the UK or similar places.

exercising

Workout today was supposed to be 3 X 1000m row but I was forced to run instead. First time I’ve run in quite a while. I realised:

  • Sometimes I like running - it felt pretty good
  • But I don’t like treadmills as I could maybe have gone faster but wasn’t quite brave enough.
  • I’m not confident about my Airpods Pros staying in.

After I did some farmer’s carry’s and then some side plank. Lyra and I have been exercising more regularly than I have in the longest time and I feel so much better for doing it. Would love to continue but how I fit that into my schedule when I go back to work is to be decided.

Adventures.

Our youngest likes to see the light rail trains.

We always point them out when we see them. Yet, we don’t ever take them even though the station is only 5 minutes walk from our flat. It’s easier to drive or take a Didi (Chinese Uber). So this afternoon we took the kid on it. Lyra found a restaurant near* a stop that’s 6 stops away. So we donned our masks since it’s one of the few places that you still have to wear them and we went.

It was nice. It felt like an adventure.

We walked (and walked). We saw things. We explored a new area a little. It made us realise we didn’t do this much. We drive and and we go to the same places a lot. We said, we should do this again soon. Admittedly we also said it would be easier when the kids are bigger too!

Then we found the place, a Korean bbq restaurant, that was busier then we expected but was worth the wait. We’d bought some baozi (steamed buns) for the kids on the way to keep the kids occupied a little. I had a couple of beers, Lyra and I shared some plum wine too. The place was busy in a good way. I started to feel a little drunk, in the best kind of way.

Here’s to next time.

*It wasn’t near.

An Unlived Life

I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.
— Dawna Markova
via swissmiss

I’m aware how much I gloss over most of what I read online, taking the time when there’s some more scrolling to do. With that in mind, I’m copying some of the poems down into a notebook to help me take more time over them.

Holidays.

We travel a fair bit. Partly, I think because of our location - which makes Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam relatively short flights away but mostly because of our global family. We travel a lot to see family. The joke is that we couldn’t be further apart. We’re in China, Mum and Dad are in Mauritius, sister is on the West Coast of America and my brother is in the UK. Mum and dad buy round-the-world tickets to visit us all.

When we had just had our eldest we travelled a fair bit with her because 2:1 is a decent ratio for childcare but we’re finding that with a second child that ratio ain’t so grand. It’s a holiday, but not as you know it.

We’ve just got back from 6 days in Sanya on the island of Hainan on the south coast of China. I realise we are lucky to have gotten away in the current situation.

It was very up and down. The pools were lovely, obviously hotel breakfast is great but the much smaller space of a hotel room made things more difficult sometimes and stressful.

I am glad we did it though. I am back and feeling a little calmer about things generally. Now to start put my computer down a little more, spend a little more time with the kids and wife, exercise a little more and read a little more.

There’s a thousand things swirling around my head. That I’m hopeful I’m going to have time to put down to paper over the coming weeks as I try and wean myself of my compter a little. We’ll see…

School finished today.

Students had their last day yesterday and teachers finished today. We did a little more packing up and that was that.

It’s always a strange day. In international teaching, there’s always staff leaving as contracts end. As well, this year, some teachers are still out of the country. Of whom some will return and others won’t. The last we saw of them was them was the end of January. Those who won’t return, we likely won’t ever see them again.

I’m trying to dampen the anxiety of next year. There’s going to be so many changes and I can’t help let the worries build, a little at least. How will I do this or that and how will things work out? I’m trying to let them go, for now at least.

Instead, to try and relax a little. To maybe reflect on the last 5 months. Of our the quarantine, e-learning programme, of going back to school again.

Engaging.

After reading some of @MDonaldson’s newsletter about starting to use Micro.blog and how it encourages people to interact. It has got me thinking about how I find it hard to engage online. In that, I actively choose not too. I spend a lot of time reading, but not interacting. I’m thinking particularly about Twitter and Reddit. That that is a for a variety of reasons. I feel like I’m breaking that habit more and more with Micro.blog but it’s still hard.

Lyra has taken the kids out to a friend’s for a few hours! So, I’m obviously, struggling to make the most of it. Which, obviously, means I’m not relaxed at all. With that in mind, I’m starting with some meditation and then some exercise.

Morning jealousy

I’ve always been a little jealous of other’s morning routines. Since, these days, mine rarely involves, peace, quiet or stillness. Instead it involves 1 or 2 small children, argy-bargy, nappies, a rushed coffee and getting out the door with my head-not-right at 7am.

It wasn’t always like this, and I’m sure it won’t be like this forever but for now, it’s hard. Especially since work is especially is, how to put it - time-consuming at the moment. We continue to support out students not coming into school, while some students are in school.

With all that said. Every morning, either in the Didi (Uber) or sitting in the car park after driving to work, I’ve been putting a few words into my Day One journal. And it’s been good, actually. Not all of it has been positive but I’m hoping it’s a start of a habit…

Our team is a little more on top of things today. And as a result, have a little more time to talk (not just about work!), to work things out, to work on things. To give things a little more of my time. To have a little more focus, less rushed.

How nice that feels!

School.

In no particular order: - Reports are done but… - Doing e-learning and teaching students in school is ‘time-consuming’ and draining. - It doesn’t feel like the end of term. - I don’t know what it feels like, honestly. - Starting to learn a little more about what next year will look like since our student and teacher numbers will be down. Lots of change. - There’s going to be an, optional and paid, summer school for a week. - Is it worth it?

A morning routine Darling children all around Everyday a storm

Having small children awake from 5:30 when work is stressful is the worst way to do a morning routine.

We were watching the Matthew Mconnughey and Anne Hathaway film Serenity last night and the best bit was realising some of it is filmed 5 minutes walk from my parents house! If that means nothing to you, save yourself and don’t watch it. It’s not great.

Up

This site said we were 439m on the 69th floor. Now, most of the time I take things for granted. Planes can fly thousand of feet in the air, there’s people on the International Space Station, I can send messages in the blink of an eye - my dad tells me when he first moved to the UK he had to schedule a long distance phone call, and it’s all normal.

But last night, as we sat there I felt a little nervous. Not sure why now. Being so high up in this man made structure.