To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. ~Winston Churchill

Hmm, I must be getting close to perfection then. I’ve changed just about everything in my life in the past month: job, location, my mind (several times), this blog…

Long story short, I quit my job with Best Learning and took a spur-of-the-moment trip home for the holidays. I didn’t tell anyone I was coming so it was fun to surprise everyone. It was a great two weeks!



I decided to sum it up in pictures. I got to spend quality time with my dogs, (oh, and my family), bake cookies, wrap presents, drive (on comparatively quiet roads), enjoy some clear, clean blue skies. I saw the new Star Wars movie almost a month before it comes out in Beijing. And my aunt got everyone hooked on playing Carcasonne; lots of fun! We got enough snow to make everything pretty, but had the side effect of canceling my return flight, so I ended up staying a couple extra days.






And finally, some Kansas City BBQ my last night in town:


Now I’m back in Beijing, which also feels like home now. I think I’ve overcome the jet lag, except for waking up at 5:30am the last couple days. Although it’s definitely easier coming back than it was going home. I’ve got things unpacked and my apartment clean and organized. Spent the last couple days settling back in and making plans.

I decided not to take any teaching job offers and just try tutoring and get more hours at the recording studio, so hopefully I’ll have some more time for my own classes now. Because I actually really like the courses I’m taking with the Art Institute but I just haven’t been able to devote as much time as I’d like to them, or look into any freelance work. So today I just signed a contract with a new company, looking for a teacher for adults, but only part time, about 10-15 hours a week. I’m supposed to meet with 2 or 3 others this week too. So there’s no shortage of work and I’ve had time to relax as well, which is nice for a change.

Changes on the way…

Well I had a somewhat topsy-turvy weekend but overall it was good. I haven’t written much about work stuff lately and I try not to get into the gory details here but it’s been awful. My kids are a lot of fun and I like teaching more than I thought I would, but Best Learning in general, and my center in particular, is a mess. So I’ve been doing a lot of research and lined up a couple of job interviews. Then to be safe I signed up for a tutoring company and some more voice work. And two days later I got a job offer from another training school and four tutoring clients, and my recruiting agency has two other offers to set up interviews for me. So now I have so many options my brain hurts. I wasn’t even 100% sure I wanted to leave my current job since my contract is ending in March and I’ll be foregoing my end of the year bonuses. But then I think I would really love to free up more time for my schoolwork and stuff I’m actually interested in. Decisions, decisions! I honestly don’t know what I want to do now.

In the meantime I had fun, as always, with Jess. We met at Solana after my interview yesterday and enjoyed all the decorations and lights; it’s the first place in Beijing that really looks like Christmas. It’s a little over the top but felt festive and pretty:


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Today I had another interview, then went to Liangmaqiao to check out Baker and Spice, this bakery/coffee shop in the diplomatic office building. It’s a really upscale area, beautiful building. It has a really comfortable atmosphere and super delicious food and pastries. I tried their chicken bacon pasta, actually the first pasta I think I’ve had since I moved here, and it was awesome. Then Jess and I went to see The Martian, and I have to say, I was impressed. It was actually the best movie I think I’ve seen in a long time, surprisingly funny too.


In other news, the airpocalypse continues. We had a lovely three day break last week, with sunny blue skies and virtually no pollution, but then the AQI levels started rising again this weekend. There’s been a lot in the news about Beijing’s first ever red alert. Just to set the record straight, this is not the worst pollution there’s ever been. Not by a long shot. Last week the levels were almost twice as high as they are right now and last winter they were even worse. It’s just that Beijing is actually choosing to use their warning system now because so much international attention has been focused here lately. It really is all about appearances. But it’s still beneficial since the officials are actually actively trying to reduce the levels and have taken some cars off the road and enforced factory and school closings. My classes for the next two days have been cancelled. I still have to go in but my kids don’t.

November 10, 2015

Teeny tiny post-let with belated Halloween photos-

I just wanted to post a few pictures of Halloween since it’s now halfway into November. Time is flying by this year. I had taken a few weeks off from my studies but now I’m back to going to school full time, working at school full time, and working the studio part time. So spare time? Not so much. I planned to do some stuff this week but it just didn’t happen. Friday was the first snowfall here in Beijing and it was a beautiful walk to school with big fat flakes fluttering around. Of course they were completely gone by noon but it was nice while it lasted. Sadly, however, the rapid changes in smog levels and temperatures this week has left me sick, yet again, and I have barely any voice. It’s now 12:23 am and I’ve been up doing homework and planning lessons for the weeks so I’m going to keep this short and sweet so I can take some NyQuil and crash before all the crazy starts up again tomorrow-

Just goofing around with PK1 kids on break time. These guys are crazy (and a big part of the reason I am losing my voice)! Left: William, August, Sky. Right: Freddy and DuoDuo.IMG_9327

Pipe cleaner “goggles” and straw “snorkels” for my PK2-we went “under the sea” to learn about sea creatures this week. 🙂 Clockwise: Charlie and Stella, Rachel, Kitty, Harry.IMG_9328

Left: me with Cyrene, Charlie, and Stella. Right: Mike as a magician and Rachel as a fairy princess. Hands down my favorite kids are in this class.IMG_9331

Halloween with my other PK1 kids, clockwise: Tony as a wizard, Tracy, Jason as Spiderman, and Yancy.IMG_9329 T

Tiffany and I on her last day. I’m going to miss her. We had fun teaching together; she’s such a goofball!


First snowfall! And the last of the roses. It was a beautiful morning-