This month has been full of packing, handing over responsibilities, saying goodbyes and leaving Central Asia. Currently we are in the UK where we have enjoyed a few days of R and R, and I have attended an International Baccalaureate workshop. Today we leave to head for the states with a 24 hour stop over in Iceland. Once again I am joining others in what they have learned this month over at Emily at Chatting at the Sky. We share the serious, funny, and trivial lessons we have learned this month. Here are my lessons...
1. It is More Blessed to Give Than Receive.
I gave away a lot of stuff this month including half of my wardrobe. It was fun to be able to give to my teammates and friends especially if it met a need that they had. Mostly it was fun to bless them.
It was also a good exercise as we packed up to figure out what we really needed to take, what we could buy again easily, and what we had been holding onto for two long. We had one more crate than expected so hopefully we chose wisely.
2. Good Goodbyes are Important for Both Sides
From our time in Central Asia, we have seen many goodbyes. The best ones have closure where you take the time to personally say goodbye to each friend, teammate, and staff. It takes a lot out of you but is worth it. It gives you time to affirm them and to make sure all is right between you.
Our team was great in sending us off well. I am so thankful for that. They were supportive and affirming. Hopefully we were encouraging and gracious in return.
For more thoughts on goodbyes see my last post This Time I Am Leaving.
3. Transitions plus Time Zone Changes Make Me Tired
I feel like I have been needing more sleep these past few weeks. Sleeping in different places also hasn't helped with getting a full night's sleep. Goodbyes make me tired. They are good and necessary but they take a lot out of me emotionally. I either found myself with no tears or crying at the smallest thing. I have to remember to give myself some grace during this time. And remember to take time to rest even if it means an afternoon nap.
I am thankful we have had a few days here in the UK just Noel and I to rest with no agenda. It has been good to go on long walks, explore, read, and just hang out together.
4. The Food in the UK is Better Than I Expected
I had always heard that the food was not good in England. Apparently, the inn where we ate most of our meals didn't get the message. The food was a bit rich sometimes but delicious. Yesterday we had their traditional Sunday dinner of roast, potatoes, veggies, and Yorkshire pudding. On the other hand, if you see an appetizer called Deviled Whitebait don't get it even if you are feeling adventurous. It is basically little fried fish that has a bad aftertaste.
Another place we tried was called The Modern Kitchen. It was a quaint little place to have lunch and coffee or a smoothie. My husband ordered the New Yorker below. The rest of the time here he kept plotting how to go back and eat there but it never worked out.
5. I Could Teach in an IB (International Baccalaureate) School
On our stopover here in the UK, I attended an IB workshop in mathematical studies. This is a program that is used all over the world in both international, private and state schools. Currently there are over 4000 IB certified schools with the IB diploma being accepted at most universities around the world.
Since we don't know what is next, my husband and I thought it would be good for me to get some training in IB in case we end up in an area with an IB school. Truthfully, the whole concept sounded scary especially since students not only have tests they have to pass but a project that takes quite a bit of work. The workshop was very helpful and gave me the confidence and knowledge I would need to do the job. I found that it is not much different than teaching Advanced Placement classes. Plus now, I not only have the confidence but the certificate that says I can do it.
6. Sometime Even English Needs to Be Translated.
Did I mention that I went to a conference in the UK? It was in English but every once in a while I had to clarify what certain words meant. Such as "not set" meant the questions won't be on the exam and "revision" meant review. My fellow workshop attendees said they were a bit stumped for a moment when I asked about "proctoring" the test. So I guess it goes both ways. It was a true international experience since my teacher was Russian and the students were from different countries and taught in different countries.
What have you learned the month? Feel free to share in the comments below. Also in the Month of March, I will be blogging about what God is teaching me in this transition. Hopefully you will join me.