Sunday, March 20, 2011

I'm growing up.

I would say, that up until recently, I was actually immature enough to believe that I knew the best ways someone should parent. I knew that my classroom was a working classroom and that if parents just implemented this philosophy that I had in their homes, their children would be better off. That's ridiculous! Homes are nothing like classrooms and further more, I have never been a parent, so who am I to judge?

Tonight, Matt and I went to a student's house. And, I know that I have grown up a bit, because I was way more accepting of the fact, that everyone does things differently. Who's to say, what's right and wrong when it comes to raising children and with the mix of cultures here there sure is a lot being said. Although, there were things happening in this house that I would have been uncomfortable with in my classroom, I was able to see that this is not my classroom and that this works beautifully in their family. The best part is, that on top of making these realizations, I was able to enjoy seeing the difference. Growing up can be beautiful!

Saturday, March 19, 2011


I'm foolish.

I have lived in Beijing for a year and half. When I got here, I was fresh out of college and thinking that I would just continue art like I did when I was studying art, but that is not the case when you begin your career as a teacher. Although, I had heard that that wouldn't be the case, I thought that I would be the exception. Foolish thing #1.

I have said more times than what I am comfortable admitting, "I'm going to get my art studio situated this weekend". I would buy colored pencils here, charcoal there, but never fully what I needed, like a pencil sharpener or fixitive and then I would complain to my wonderful husband, that I just don't have what it takes to really get started here and that I was afraid to spend the money because I didn't know how long we would be living here. But, I'm tired of living like this is a temporary situation. I have not really decorated my apartment either, and I'm not happy with it, and Matt sure isn't happy with my complaining.

So, for my birthday Matt started me a work area (furnished by IKEA). This has gotten me jump started. So today, I spent the day getting inspired at the art museum and then I went to buy all the materials I could possibly need, which is a lot because I do mixed media paper arts. But, now I'm set, and happy...well, all except for the fact that I am a fool for not doing this sooner.

Live and learn.

Friday, March 4, 2011


So, I teach a class called Crafts From Around the World twice a week. I teach one class for kids that are 4 and 5 and one class for kids that are 6 through 9. Yesterday, we did Gyotaku, which is a Japanese artform of printing from fresh fish. So, I had asked for some fresh, dead fish, and they obviously were fresh because a few of the fish were breathing, but I didn't know that at first. I laid them all out on the table and let the kids pick one. They were able to pick the kind of fish and the size. The fish had been in the freezer, but once the fish's blood started to warm up, a few of them would move. Kids, would say, "My fish is moving." At first I didn't believe them, and I said, "You just want to believe that they are still alive, it's just your imagination." But, then I realized that they were moving, slightly.

The fish were so close to death, they wouldn't have made it had I put them in water. And where was I going to take a twelve inch sea bass to live anyway. I grew up on water; I fished, and touched fish and learned how to treat animals with respect, even after they're gone, and these are some of my best memories...these kids have not experienced much nature. I'm supposed to do gyotaku in two weeks again, but with the older kids, but I don't know if I can do it. I might change my lesson. It really did go against everything I believe in as a vegan, and I really was feeling the guilt.