Call Me Crazy

So ya’ll have probably been wondering what I’ve been up to this last month and a half. Besides neglecting my blog completely, I’ve been busy doing a million other things, like going across the US from the west coast to the east coast, seeing friends and family, and preparing for another international move (after which a baby will make his appearance–we hope not too soon!). So call us crazy: since July first, we’ve been on six plane flights (if you count layovers), six US states (three only in airports, though), said hello to about a million people we hadn’t seen in a year or more (I exaggerate only slightly), said goodbye to all of the aforesaid people, and are currently working and saying hi to a few thousand more people in the DC area before we head off to another new continent, at which point it will be only slightly more than six weeks before JQ is due to make his appearance. Stressful? Not in the slightest.

So, we started out in Oregon, where Jared made delicious molasses cookies (hey, I’m pregnant–I can think about food, and cookies are obviously some of the most important things in life).

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Don’t they look tasty? (They were!)

I had to take a picture of them because they were so shiny and chewy looking.

Besides eating cookies (did you know there’s good iron in blackstrap molasses?), we also went on various random hikes to see waterfalls,e

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This is what happens when I try to put up a picture of me–it’s either blurry or glowing or both. Enjoy!

and more waterfalls,

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Isn’t that pretty, though?

and some strange trees.

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They do weird things to trees in Oregon.

We also went to the beach, where I tried boogie boarding for about 30 seconds and decided it really wasn’t comfortable to try to lay on my (increasingly expanding) stomach while a giant wave washed over me.  My thoughts on the ocean apparently haven’t changed much. Jared, on the other hand, enjoyed it.

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Doesn’t he look happy?
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I got me a handsome one!

Then it was off to Colorado, where we enjoyed gorgeous sunrises and sunsets,

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God knew what he was doing when he created mountains!

great company (have you ever noticed how nice it is to be around people who actually care about you?)

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Chillin’ with the littlest sister.

and fabulous conversations along the lines of: “Annika, would you rather have Jared or a shark?” The decisions these people want me to make!

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Jared enjoyed the back porch.

It was great to be back on the farm for a while and able to see long distances again. Beijing just doesn’t have a wide expanse of sky.

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So here we are on the east coast, enjoying its particular brand of beauty as well (sorry, no pictures yet). It’s been a great trip back in the US so far, and we’re looking forward to our last month of it. And who knows–I may even blog a little more frequently now that my brain isn’t being assaulted with all the decisions like, “Would you rather have JQ or a mosquito?”!

I Love Vacation

I know this sounds crazy, but school is starting soon. (Yeah, don’t mock me, all you US readers. I understand you’re about to do midterms now. Well, China’s DIFFERENT!) I’m going to have to give up my life of leisure applying for jobs and filling out forms that I’m convinced were invented by someone with a diabolical imagination (sequel to the Screwtape letters right there) and going to Chinese class and tutoring in the afternoons and suck it up and actually work. On my four (4!) classes per week, that I’m hoping will have almost no homework to grade. Sounds pretty miserable, doesn’t it? I hope the tears of pity are dripping down your face right now.

It’s pretty bad that I have no idea how much homework these classes will have–and I’m one week away from starting to teach them. I don’t even know the textbook we’re supposed to use yet. But that’s China for you: keep you on the seat of your pants, they do, and only tell you things when you’re getting mildly nervous about what’s going to happen and what you’re going to teach and wondering if-anyone-shows-up-to-your-classroom-what-are-you-going-to-tell-them and will-they-all-think-I’m-a-confused-American-teenager-that-wandered-into-their-classroom-by-mistake. (Last time, a couple of my students said they wondered if I was one of their classmates. Good for inspiring confidence, that! I should figure out this “mature look” better, I guess.)

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You know you’re not very mature when you still take selfies, right?

But by the time class starts, I will know what I’m supposed to teach, and I will have a textbook. They’re being extra kind this semester and giving us our syllabus and information a total of two days before the semester starts. Two whole days.

So excuse me while I make the most of my break here–you can imagine me lying on the beach reading my favorite book or touring around China seeing the Great Wall and everything else.

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Oh yeah, that’s where I’ll be. Where it’s sunny and warm.

Imagine me there, because in reality, I’ll be planning lessons for my one-on-one students this week and filling out more job application forms while my brain begins to scream in protest. I vacation in style.

The Beach and I

Call me a landlubber, but the ocean scares me.

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Jared says this wave is small. I disagree.

 

Maybe it’s because I grew up in Colorado—it doesn’t get much more landlocked than that. The largest body of water near where I grew up was Windsor Lake, which is maybe—generously—a mile in diameter. I didn’t even see an ocean until I was nearly four years old and we took a family trip to San Francisco, and I definitely didn’t set foot in one until I was seven.

At that time, I was too young to appreciate just how vast an ocean could be. Sure, all you could see on the horizon was water and sky, but turn the other way and there’s good solid land.

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Jared as the master of all he surveys.

But now we’re visiting the beach—Rehoboth Beach in Delaware, to be precise—and this ocean is alive. It crashes, growls, roars, and howls, like noises in a swound. It sends out its tentacles of water gently, trying to persuade you to enter the water, and then sends another wave to crash right on top of you. Just looking at the ocean while standing safely on the beach makes me wonder how any human could be brave or foolhardy enough to try to conquer the ocean.

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Good vanishing point, huh?

So for now I will simply be that rarest of human beings—the sort who, while visiting the beach, writes blog posts instead of sunbathing. But I will include pictures so you can enjoy it vicariously!

THIS is the sort of solid ground I'm in to.
THIS is the sort of solid ground I’m in to.

PS: I know that courage is a virtue. And so I will try to overcome fear and cultivate courage today. So far, I’ve made it in the ocean to be pounded by the crashing waves—so it’s not all blogging around here!