We must not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. - T.S. Eliot


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentine’s Day

My greatest narcissistic fear is that I’ll arrive in China and immediately be named “the fat white woman.” My repetitive overindulgences of the last 10 years will be exemplified in a country that embraces routine group exercise and 3 helpings of rice a day.
So I decided I must drop a few pounds in preparation for our move, and that my husband must get me a treadmill for Valentine’s Day. Much to his surprise, I located a used one on craigslist, negotiated the purchase ($40), and agreed to pick it up last night. Of course I notified Casey immediately after the purchase.
I have decided you pretty much always get what you pay for. Well, not this time. I got a little extra with this purchase. It came with a nice helping multi-colored green and blue mold.
I thought it was a bit suspicious that when we arrived in Madison to claim my purchase, it was already setting outside in the dark. The dark also masked the missing knobs, the spray painted conveyer belt, rust, and a thick layer of dust that can only be removed with a very sharp razor blade.
The prior owners assured us it worked and graciously appeared with a screw driver to dismantle this beast of a machine. There is nothing compact about this piece of equipment. It looks as if it came directly from Olivia Newton John’s 1980s basement gym. Upon getting it home we found that an addition would need to be added to our bedroom in order to house it properly. For now we will just leave it parked firmly between the footboard of our bed and the chester drawers. The good news… because it extends into the entryway of my closet, it can also serve as a wonderful clothes rack. (Nice selling feature!)
Maybe it would serve its purpose more effectively if I relocated it to the kitchen, in front of the refrigerator. Even if I do manage to move it, just looking at the thing makes me lose my appetite.
One way or another it just might do the trick. Happy Valentine’s Day! I’ll be “getting physical” for the next 5 months!

Monday, February 14, 2011

China, China, China...

I will admit it … I’m obsessed. I’m completely obsessed with China. I think, study, read, breath and sleep China. While those who know me well fully understand what I mean when I say obsessed, others may think it’s expected and even anticipated considering the circumstances. In any case, this is definitely not the time for my compulsions to take over. Yes we are moving to China in five months, but I am completely besieged in the US NOW. I am restructuring my dissertation, giving evening professional development sessions, trying to focus on my job, taking an extremely time-consuming course on current issues in education and another in advanced statistics. Let me expound a bit further on that last tid bit.
Me, in all my wisdom, decide that instead of making up the statistics course I missed, last summer while on my Fulbright, before taking the subsequent advanced statistics course, I would just skip it and make it up in June. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that taking Advanced Statistics before Statistics isn’t the greatest of ideas. However, it does take a genius to pass Advanced Statics without having Statistics. So, while I stay up until the wee hours of the morning soaking in everything China, “Statistics for Dummies” awaits me on Amazon. To expound a bit further…
Guess where my advanced stats professor is from! Yep, China! Yep, the Sichuan province in southwestern China! So either God is playing some kind of sick joke on me or I’m fully being tested. I mean really, it’s kind of like an insatiable force propelling my China delirium, a free pass to procrastinate statistics. It’s a sign! Actually, I think the reason people like me develop these unquenchable obsessions is because people like me reason their obsessions, giving themselves permission to indulge.
Not only are there 1.3 billion people in China, compared to a mere 300 million in the United States, but Chinese students are known for their brilliance in math. All things considered, I guess it’s not too much of a leap to have a Chinese advanced stats professor. Ironically enough, just Saturday my friend Jamey said to me, after my outburst, “It’s a sign!” “Oh, you’re one of those people.” Yes, I’m one of those people… completely, insanely obsessive compulsive.

Monday, February 7, 2011

It’s Personal

I’m beginning to come to terms with society’s overabundant need to share their lives with the world… thus the blog. While blogging or writing in general gives me an outlet and generally allows me to plead insanity when needed, I still blush when someone says I read your blog. Yes, I did put it out there for the world to see and even sent out e-mails to family and friends notifying them of my blog, but it kind of feels like that reoccurring dream, the one where you show up to school in your underwear.
I don’t stake claim to a Facebook page(revolt against Mark Zuckerberg and his brilliance), although I think one is swarming about in cyberspace, and my twitter days have come and gone so the blog will have to do.

Goodbye Tax Return, Hello Passports

In anticipation of our annual tax returns, we are trying to determine passport costs for our children. While I understand that every penny spent on a passport will undoubtingly be a penny well spent, I gasped… $250 a child times 3, it didn’t take long to conclude it was going to cost a LOT! Thank goodness Casey and I already have valid passports.

Not only expensive, but intensive! Getting permission for a 4 year old, a 7 year old, and a 12 year old to leave the country is quite overwhelming! … as it should be! I mean what idiot packs up their entire comfy, suburban existence and deduces they should move to China. “I think I’ll move to China. … let the kids learn Mandarin! It will be a good experience.”

Yes it will be a good experience! I am absolutely convinced of that. So, goodbye tax return, Hello world!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Grayce's Announcement

Grayce on her way to inform her classmates of our move!

High-Jacked and Hilarious

Okay so I high-jacked it from another blog, who in turn high-jacked it from YouTube, but it is hilarious and quite appropriate.

The Martins take Chengdu... Chengdu, China!!!

So it hits me last night as I'm walking Grayce, my 7 year old, next door to a sleepover. WE ARE MOVING!!! Then after a short (seemingly crazy) explanation to our neighbor of why we just recently posted a “For Sale” sign in our front yard it hit me… WE ARE MOVING TO CHINA!!!

FYI – My very first conversation with our new neighbors. Crazy yes, but my absolutely exasperating life barely permits time to write in a blog I promised myself I would.

So … while I see her, the neighbor lady (yes, my child attends a sleepover and I don’t even know her name… I’m sure Casey might?), I realize she is giving some thought to what I was telling her. The response was an overall, ARE YOU CRAZY?? … CHINA!?

The walk back across the soggy lawns to my own home gave me a minute to think… ARE WE CRAZY?? The undisputed and overwhelmingly evident answer … ABSOLUTLY!!

An awarding feeling then entered my mind… WE ARE DOING IT! We are following our hearts, and giving our children a piece of the world. We are giving ourselves a piece of the world. My kids are going to be the coolest, most open minded and understanding individuals!
Okay… I’ll quit gushing!

More on Chengdu!!!

This is what I've discovered from a little research.
Neat Insight
• Home to the Giant Panda Bear Research Centre
• Known for “great” food (spicy)
• 4th largest city in China, but very different from other large cities
• Known for a “laidback” lifestyle
• Often beginning point for travelers going to Tibet – (Everest)
• Largest Buddha statue in the world
• Rated as one of China’s most livable cities

The Skype Interview - 1/11/2011

Casey and I officially had our first interview today, via Skype, with the Anglo-American International School of Sophia. I’m not sure which seemed weirder, getting up extremely early and putting on my best black interview dress to be interviewed in front of a computer screen at my kitchen table or interviewing alongside my husband.
Our interview was set up for 6:00AM TN time/ 2:00PM Bulgarian time.
So there we sat, at our kitchen table, holding our breaths in anticipation. We adjusted and re-adjusted the webcam and waited as patiently as we could. Waiting, I envisioned our 4 year old crying at the bedroom door in desperation for his morning bowl of cereal. I’m not sure what type of impression this would have made, but luckily no noise from the bedroom until around 7:00.
The interview went well… I think. I was enamored by my husband’s interview skills and it was nice to interview as a team. I’m sure the chances of actually gaining employment with this school is quite bleak. Besides the fact we have no IB experience, having 3 children kind of does us in. I actually cringed when I was asked if we had a family. I will remain hopeful!