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Thanksgiving trip to Buenos Aires

I know, I know. I am trips behind in blogging. Such is the way of the writing life when there is just too much living happening. And I’m ok with that. But before I lose the pictures, and more accurately the memories, I want to share about our trip to Buenos Aires for Thanksgiving of 2017. It was our first intercontinental, international South America adventure. Such easy and quick access to another country was surreal and awed us again with this blessed life we are living. For the most part, we ate and drank our way through town–as is our Read More

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wonder

Tonight was a miracle. Dave and I sat on the world famous Ipanema beach, eating acai with granola and bananas. In every echo of our ears, there were the accented voices of vendors: Aguuuuuuuua, cervejjjjjjjja. Queijo, queijo, queijjjjjjo coalho. Limonada, mate, Globoooooos. O cammmmmmmarão. Hola Heineken. Longe neckeeeees. Later, we met up with colleagues from Caminhoes Language School to play volleyball. There we were, covered in sol and sand, while the setting sun painted streaks of magenta stripes across the sky, a sly hide-and-go-seek with Pedra da Gávea, ocean rippling lava and light. In the north sky, lightning danced the illuminated Read More

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an open reflection on my practice: semester one of teaching abroad

“As I draw the curtains on the sleepy eyes of 2017, my mind turns to the power of reflection. It is my first semester teaching internationally. How has it gone? What are my strengths? What are my next steps? At the end of the semester, I presented a survey eliciting student feedback. It is a survey provided by my school leadership that I modified for what matters to me most as a teacher. Here are the results (prompts are at the top). Some thoughts: I need to improve in clarity. 1, “In this class the expectations for assignments, quizzes, tests, homework, summatives are Read More

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holidays: the rhythm of life

I sit here in the glow of a twinkling tree. It is my in-law’s tree. It is Dave’s parent’s tree. It is the tree of the only parents I have anymore. My eyes feast upon the bird feeders that gather feathery visitors of brown, yellow, blue, and grey. Flashes of red draw my attention to a couple-eternal of cardinals. Acoustic Christmas music caresses my ears, wrapping my heart in a bow. A melody of holiday angels. It is the first time this season I have let myself feel Christmas. Nostalgia drips from my eyes and rolls down my cheeks. My folded hands Read More

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road trip to Guarujá

  The middle of November brought a three-day weekend due to the Brazilian holiday of Dia da Consciência Negra. So, naturally, this little adventure-seeking-couple headed to the beach! After less than three hours in the car, we arrived at the coastal town of Guarujá.     It is a long stretch of beach dotted with colorful umbrellas, open-air restaurants, and hotels. We stayed in one of those where we could literally walk out the front door, across the street, and onto the beach. Perfect location!       Friday night, we headed to a delicious Thai restaurant. So much so we Read More

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all about the bump: promoting positive adult culture in schools

The post that appears below is the original draft I submitted to Edutopia, an amazing website of all things education! (To all my readers in schools, it is highly valuable and worth following.) Here is the link to the edited post as it appeared on Edutopia. I cannot count the number of times I have heard a colleague advise a student to “do what makes you happy.” Yet ironically, I wonder often how many teachers are happy in their jobs. Research indicates job satisfaction was at a 25 year low in 2012, turnover trends are alarmingly high and costly, and Read More

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the untethered expat: culture shock

I’ve been a bit off lately. I’ve seen it coming, and I recognize it for what it is, but nonetheless, it’s unsettling. I felt it on our school trip to Belem. The last presentation–the culminating speech–was in Portuguese. Again. Chaos erupted across the room as Brazilian friends leaned in to translate for their foreign peers. Someone leaned over and began translating for me. I was hot. I was itchy. I was tired. I was annoyed by an earlier rude interaction. I couldn’t focus on the speaker, I couldn’t focus on the translator, I couldn’t focus. My skin crawled. I left the room Read More

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first Brazilian road trip: Ilhabela

October 12 in Brazil was a holiday, Nossa Senhora Aparecida, resulting in a four day weekend. Seeing as we live in South America (that still feels cool to type), a trip to the coast was in order! So Dave and I planned our first Brazilian road trip! Our destination was Ilhabela, a small island reachable by ferry from the coastal city of São Sebastião. We left São Paulo bright and early on Thursday in an attempt to beat the massive migration from the city to the beaches that occurs every holiday weekend (think I-70 in ski traffic). Armed with breakfast from our Read More

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expat insecurities: how moving overseas turns you into a middle schooler

This post has been marinating a while in my mind (often around 1 or 2 middle of the night: time to wake up and worry about things you can’t control. yippee!). A variety of factors have appeared on the radar recently that I’ll attribute to a storm of culture shock brewing off the shore. An extended commute where I was stuck in a car in a land where I don’t speak the language (where is a restaurant where we can stop for a quick meal where we actually fully understand the menu without a million Google acts of translation?). My Read More

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mindfulness in the classroom: for them, for me, for the world

This past summer, I took the course “Mindful Educator Essentials” from Mindful Schools. I knew from personal experience the power of mindfulness to steady myself, as well as to benefit students coming from traumatized backgrounds. But I was also looking ahead. My future students–now my current students–would largely represent the opposite demographics of my entire teaching experience: wealthy, advantaged, political, prominent. And those kiddos have parents in the same category. And with such privilege comes an enormous amount of weight: the strongest drive to get the best grades and the most extracurricular sports and activities to get into the elit-est schools. Just typing that sentence stresses me Read More