Apparently it's been a while since I wrote here.
Well, life's busy. And since I'm headed out in a few hours for my new school in the boonies, we'll see if my frequency of posting improves any... (advice: don't hold your breath.)
It's been a very full couple of months. After Wheaton, I spent almost two weeks in WPA, a week in Colorado, and am just wrapping up 10 days in Beijing. I am excited (SO EXCITED!) to get to my school, find out what classes I'll be teaching, get to meet students and other teachers, and unpack.
Did I mention that I'm looking forward to unpacking?
I shot this picture of my bed full of random junk that was waiting to be stuffed into bags tonight. That's been a theme (messy, blurry packing) this summer, and while I enjoy a lot of traveling and adventures, at some point enough is enough. So I’m ready to go.
Still, leaving Beijing is bittersweet. I had the chance to meet up with two of my former students, to see a couple of other friends, because Beijing is a great hub. My cohort is good group of people, and saying more goodbyes is hard. “See you in Thailand,” we keep saying, which is something to look forward to, but the next six months are going to be intense for all of us, I imagine, in different ways. I’m tired of the goodbyes. It’s rough to get to know and love a new group, to play with kids and talk with adults, to share life and to laugh and navigate airports and headaches together, and then to scatter.
It has been fun to come home to China — and it does feel like home in ways that America doesn’t. (And vice versa, of course.) Tonight Rachael and Jonathan stopped by my room to return the extra jello shots that had been left over from our game afternoon a week ago. There are still plenty of aspects of China that are inscrutable to me — I think (hope) mostly because my grasp of Chinese is still so basic — but all of the weird things just feel like China. Of course this is how it is. How else should it be? Watching the brand-new-to-China-teachers is entertaining; they have lots of Why questions — which are very valid questions, but at the same time just not applicable in this context. (“Why is everyone on the front of the bus yelling?” Who knows.) It’s good to be able to get milk tea again everywhere, to be in a city where there’s all kind of snacks grilling in front of the markets at 10 pm, to get into the rhythm of walking across lanes of traffic again. Even buying drinking water, not flushing toilet paper, not even thinking about setting things on the ground — that’s normal. For here.
And I am so grateful beyond words to be back.
There are parts that are hard. Internet issues are always frustrating, because I love easy, reliable communication. Skyping Jacob and Merry and them both saying, “I think you should come back in the fall, Hannah Keeler, not wait until next summer,” straight up breaks my heart.
I’ve been listening to a lot of music by Chris Tomlin. His lyrics are good ones to have running through my mind and heart, keeping me focused on why I’m here.
I lay me down, I’m not my own
I belong to You alone
I lay me down, lay me down
Hand on my heart, this much is true
There’s no life apart from You…
It will be my joy to say:
Your will, Your way
I know Who goes before me, I know Who stands behind…
The One Who reigns forever, He is a friend of mine…
And so, we go.
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