the place

growing up, china was my friend's thing.  sure enough, during college, she told me over the phone that she was going to china for junior year to study chinese more intensely (she was minoring in chinese).  cool.  at this point in time, i'd gone to england with my university.  maybe i could go to china next.  but she moved, didn't have reliable internet, and we didn't talk for a few months.  over christmas break, i visited italy with a school trip, then the spring semester started.  next thing i knew, she was back in the states for a quick visit, and i found out she was planning on spending two more years in china!  she asked over the phone "are you going to come see me?"  being an hour away at college, and in the last weeks of the semester, i said "i'm really busy but i'm going to try!"

"you're going to love china!"

what?  oh no.  i just promised her i'd try to come to china, not drive an hour to our hometown.  hmmm.

well, my parents were oddly game for it, and with my dad's frequent flier miles, i was in a plane just four days after the semester ended.

and i liked china.  a lot.  everyone said "come back next summer."  "come teach english."  but i had a year left of college, plus, next summer i'd be looking for a job, a job teaching art, not english.

but my friend's computer was broken.  a friend of a friend took us to the international school where some computer guys could help her get it fixed.  i walked into my school, or what would be my school, for the first time in may 2007.

a year later, i graduated from kutztown university and began packing to move back to china.  in the meantime i'd been to prague and vienna, student-taught in england, traveled to spain and morocco, and became an aunt, all while completing the long application process for my school (including a phone interview in sweatpants while drinking a diet coke).  so i hopped back on that 14 hour flight in july 2008 and moved to china.  for two years.  with no plans to visit home in between.  in fact, i wasn't on US soil at all in 2009.  then i signed on for two more two-year contracts.  but while i loved life in china, 2013 brought me to thailand, and more than once.  in the process, my heart moved from the people and places and job i loved to a new work in thailand.

on june 12, 2014, i said goodbye to my crazy/normal expat life as an art teacher at an international school.  i'm finding a new normal living and learning and loving along the border between thailand and burma.  i live and work at an orphanage for children who are victims of the longstanding conflict in burma.
For more information about this new journey, check out my newsletters:

[the practical] blessings along the border--ministry facts and figures
[the personal] blessings along the border--a journal into what God has been teaching me on this journey 

on chang cheng (the great wall) during summer 2009.
my family came to visit and insisted on buying these hats and
wearing them around beijing.  at least they helped combat the heat...

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