Another year, another “Illustrated Year in Review” … Top 10 Style (in roughly chronological order)
1. David’s Job
This past spring our school announced a slight change in administrative structure. With our assistant academic principal leaving, it was decided that instead of replacing that position, they would instead create a new coordinator position responsible for “pastoral care.” This seemed like a great opportunity for David and our family considering that ministry is a likely next step. David applied and got the position, which involves overseeing student small groups and handling student discipline issues, basically promoting student well being. He’s technically a “half-time” teacher as well although as the year has progressed, he’s had to take on some additional responsibilities there. Overall we are so thankful for this opportunity to better serve students and our school community.
While I didn’t write a series of blog posts this pregnancy, our journey to conception this go around was astonishingly similar. After months of trying and beginning to dabble in assistance, we decided to take a break. And then I got pregnant the next month. We found out days before traveling home for the summer, and Clementine was so excited to share with family that she was going to be a big sister! Thankfully it’s been pretty smooth sailing (no asthma issues, praise the Lord) although I am much more tired with this pregnancy … the fatigue is never ending! Our official due date is February 5th, so all Jakarta could be celebrating this baby’s arrival with Chinese New Year fireworks!
3. Visit Home
Our summer consisted mostly of time spent bouncing back and forth between Dallas and Abilene, culminating in Clementine’s flower girl debut at my cousin’s wedding in Cincinnati. She out-danced everyone at the reception, at one point attempting “the worm.”
The summer was filled good food, outdoor activities, and time with friends and family.
Clementine got to see about half of her Hall-side cousins and most of her second cousins on my side.
Best of all we spent plenty of time with Gramps and Gran and Nonny and Grandaddy, Clementine’s favorite part of the summer by far.
4. C Turns 3
Three years old! She’s definitely not a baby anymore. It’s incredible to see her sweet, funny, smart personality emerge more and more with each passing year. Thanks to some family friends, C rang in her third year of life with her very first horse and tractor rides.
5. English A
For the past two years I have taught English B (basically a high level language acquisition course) within our school’s International Baccalaureate program. However, our beloved English A (similar to AP English) teacher left at the end of last year, which meant a transition into English A for me. While I enjoy the course even more than English B, it does mean more students, more prep time, and wee bit more pressure … : / I love it, though. The students are insightful and hard working, and I’m thankful for the change.
6. C Starts School
I thought I would have a few more years to prepare for this, but kids start school at three years old over here. Clementine was so excited to be “a real student,” complete with her school backpack and uniform. There are only seven students in her K1 class, which allows for plenty of attention and skill development. A truly international class, her classmates represent five different countries.
7. Hong Kong
My teaching a new IB course this year meant IB training in Hong Kong. The last time I went for training it was in Singapore, and David flew up after school on Friday to hang out with me in the evenings. The distance and addition of a child ruled out that possibility this go around, which meant four nights away from my family. The training was excellent, however, and I got to explore HK a bit in the evenings on my own. Dim sum … yum. 🙂
The highlight of the year!! This really should be its own post, but who has time for that … This summer we found really reasonably priced tickets and figured with baby on the way, now was the time to make this bucket list trip. We split our time mainly between Sydney and Adelaide with a Great Ocean Road trip thrown in to bridge the two. The Neales moved back to Sydney in June, and we were ecstatic to spend quality time with some of our favorite people on their own turf.
The Berrys moved away a couple years ago, so we were pumped to visit our Adelaide friends who made our first year in Indonesia bearable.
Australia is so beautiful and despite our tropical wardrobes, it was wonderful to experience the cool spring weather of an Australian October. We could not have asked for a better trip right up until the end when a delayed domestic flight caused us to miss our flight back home. Three one-way tickets later and we were home, metaphorically richer and literally poorer for the experience. 😉
It wouldn’t be a D&SH end of year blog without mentioning books! This year was a record for me (I think … at least since I’ve been keeping records, that is) with 35. David’s 38 still beat me despite being a record low for him.
2018 marked my third year in book club, with this year’s list including:
- Siddartha – Herman Hesse
- I, Robot – Isaac Asimov
- Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
- A House Without Windows – Nadia Hashimi
- Destiny of the Republic – Candice Millard
- Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
- Columbine – Dave Cullen
- The Birdwoman’s Palate – Laksmi Pamuntjak
- Year of Wonders – Geraldine Brooks
- Nathaniel’s Nutmeg – Giles Milton
- Reading Lolita in Tehran – Azar Nafizi
I’m proud of myself; it’s the first year I read ALL the books on our list (excepting Little Women and Columbine, which I had already read), with Jane Eyre standing out as my favorite. 2018 also marked our 5th year of #DaSHbookdates! We started in December of 2013, so A Farewell to Arms, this year’s November pick, was our 60th book.
- December 2017: Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
- January: Sing, Unburied, Sing – Jesmyn Ward
- February: Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
- March: Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
- April: Purple Hibiscus – Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie
- May: Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
- June: The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver (with the Lucases!)
- July: Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng
- August: A Separate Peace – John Knowles
- September: Othello – William Shakespeare
- October: Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
- November: A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway
Maybe it’s because it’s so fresh on my mind, but I think it’s my book of the year (David’s was Great Expectations). I might not have had quite Bradley Cooper’s reaction (spoilers in video), but let’s just say it was not the wisest choice to read at eight months pregnant …
10. Goodbyes & Hellos
Ugh, I wish I didn’t have to include this one! We said farewell to some dear friends in 2018, one of the hazards of the expat life. We had to say goodbye to my cousin (now teaching in Malaysia), our pastor and his incredible wife, and several coworkers including our sweet friends, Joel and Amanda. Our whole family mourns their loss, especially Clementine as she was looking forward to starting school with her friend Evelyn. While no one can replace these beautiful people in our lives, we are thankful for the new friends God has brought to us including a few families with young children around Clementine’s age.
So 2018 was a big year, and 2019 promises to be even bigger! We hope this blog finds you well and that you richly experience the goodness of God in the new year.