Saturday, July 2, 2011


Since I and my three teammates are all leaving Qufu, we have had lots of students writing us notes and saying their goodbyes.  A couple days ago, I got an e-mail from one of my junior writing classes with a sweet "thank you" powerpoint attached.  It was nice, because I don't really love teaching writing and I found it hard to connect with my juniors this year.

So I started thinking about appreciation and how much it affects my job satisfaction (a lot) and my relationships.  I know my students love me, and they know I love them too.  What a happy circumstance for a teacher and cross-cultural worker!

I think I've been a little lax in showing appreciation to the people I love, so I'm taking this blog post to give some propers to the important people in my life.

My Stateside Friends

I started sifting through pictures to give a shout-out to my friends back in the U.S., and then I was afraid I would somehow miss someone important, so I decided to go with picture-less props.   Attention, friends from Cedar Falls, friends from Walnut Ridge, friends and roommates from Iowa City, friends from trips, friends from church, friends who eat dinner on Wednesdays, co-workers, classmates, and neighbors:  I miss you and I can't wait to see you and laugh with you when I go home. 

My Chinaside American Friends

I've spent two years on a small team in a small town.  Without my buddies from my organization, I would have been pretty friendless, especially in the first few months.  Plus, you guys are funny and quite proficient in Chinglish.

My Team

Saying goodbye to these people this week.  Team Qufu -- it's been good!

My Stateside Churches

Trinity in CF and Genesis in IC... I'm happy to have come from healthy, supportive churches.

My Supporters

Another category where pictures don't really do justice.  I'm so grateful for faithful financial support, for knowing that my team, me, and my students are regularly prayed for, and for the occasional e-mail, card, or package.  Thanks for taking care of me in so many ways and for caring about China.

My Family

My immediate family have all come to China!  Thanks for making the trek and for being interested in and supportive of my life here.  I'm grateful for my parents' love and good examples, for the friendship of my siblings, for our weird traditions, and for all of our fun memories together.

My Extended Family

One thing I love about my extended family is they don't seem to get any more normal over time.  Apple bowling, hocker, potato guns, nerd parties, bedpan awards, Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress, and stories about Emmet Mahoney...  Ah, awesome.  I love spending time with my aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins.

And last... Iowa.

You know that I love you.


(Two more weeks and I'll be home!)

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