Thursday, June 5, 2014

Cheesemakers in Korea

I know people say it is a small world.  I believe it more and more.  Here is a small world story.

From time to time as I walk the halls of Korea International School near Seoul, Korea, I see a young man from the middle school wearing a "Monroe Cheesemakers" red t-shirt.  Cheesemakers are kids from Monroe, a small community of 10,000 people in South Central Wisconsin.  It just so happens that my first teaching job 25 years ago was in Monroe.  How odd it is to see a Cheesemakers t-shirt in Korea!  My worlds across space and time have collided!

But let's dig a bit deeper.  How is this possible?  While the story itself is a bit long and winding, it also makes perfect sense.  

The aforementioned student is Allan the son of Neil who is a recent hire from Shanghai, China.  Neil and my husband Brent were buddies growing up and both attended Monroe schools where I later landed my first job.  Neil became a teacher, began teaching internationally and eventually ended up married and with kids and living in Shanghai.  Brent became a teacher, got married, had kids and eventually decided he was interested in international teaching.  Brent called Neil who helped to navigate the world of applying to teach internationally.  Brent and his family (that's me) ended up in Seoul.

Okay, so that brings two families to the same region of the world.  Good start.  But what about that boy in the hallway at KIS?  

Well, a year ago Brent knew that Neil and family were looking to relocate.  He also knew our school had openings in the teaching areas suited for Neil and his wife.  Networking and interviews did their magic, and voila, Neil and family ended up at KIS! 

What about the t-shirt?  Allan has never lived in Monroe, but he has relatives who still live there and they visit in the summers.  So, Allan likes the mascot and got himself a t-shirt that he wears at KIS from time to time.  

Pretty cool, eh?  And here's a little post script.  My niece has play dates with Neil's niece back in Monroe while my daughter and Neil's daughter have play dates in Korea.  

Now if that isn't "small world", I don't know what is. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Here we GO again!

The couch is gone.  The book cases are gone.  The table is gone. The extra dishes and winter clothes - gone.  The wall hangings are down.  The cupboards are emptying.  The calendar is full.  The cat is . . . . in Hong Kong!

What does it mean?

At this very moment we are 16 days from leaving KIS and GMH (Goodmorning Hill) and what we so affectionately call "The Dong."
Apt. at GMH
Sixteen days from boarding a plane and leaving home once again as global nomads.  Fifteen days from a completely empty apartment and tearful goodbyes in front of the fountain at GMH.  Fourteen days from completing grades and emptying our rooms and turning in our Macbook Pros that were never really ours but sure felt like ours for the last four years. Thirteen days from saying goodbye to the last of the students. We are about 12 days from Anna getting her braces off (she got them on our first year here).  We are 10 days away from the final "goodbye" for Alec and his buddies at a KIS pool party.  Six days away from a final sleepover for Anna with 8 of her friends. And 4 days away from the Farewell ceremony for departing staff.

The countdown has long been on.  1 year left.  1 semester left. 2 months left.  1 month left.  Such a countdown serves as a means to channel anticipation and melancholy.

What else does it mean?  We are sixteen days from arriving in Wisconsin, our other home.  Sixteen days from hugging family one more time.  20 days from seeing parents and the cabin.  26 days from summer fun in the Dells.  And 6 weeks from enjoying BBQ with old friends in our home for 17 years.  Life is wondrous and we are so grateful!

Are we looking forward to moving to Hong Kong?  Sure!  That's only 2 months away.  And 3 months until we can introduce Jigs our cat to his new home.

And doesn't time fly?
The views that await us.