APAC dance memories

Dance Gala 2011

This is the first year CISS will showcase concert dance. I am hoping we will have a nice turnout with parents, admin, teachers and friends. As our theme is "transform" this year, I am striving for increased recognition of the dance department, and continued transformation into a respectable program. WISH US LUCK!

Holiday Christmas Shopping

So today is Cyber Monday, and I took advantage of a few Black Friday online deals. However, I'm not really impressed with anything the average retailers are offering. In fact, I think it would be more wise for everyone to shop for unique, interesting, handmade gifts at local holiday markets. I wish I was still in NYC for the Columbus Circle market. It is absolutely phenomenal.

Between the romantic setting of Central Park, ice skaters at Wolman Rink, and general happy bustle of the crowd, I know for sure there's no place like Columbus Circle for Christmas! It's definitely not the same cozy shopping environment I experience online, or here at the markets in Shanghai, with people shouting "watches, bags, bracelets", or "lady, lady special price for you" in my face.

Just last week, it took over three hours to purchase sneakers, a winter coat, and a toy for the boy I sponsored through Concordia's Giving Tree. I hated wandering around the market, looking for not only a fair price, but for items that were of good quality. One lady in particular surprised me with her Spanish speaking skills (she overheard me speaking with Peruvians I met), but despite the warm bond over languages I thought we shared, I still couldn't get a good deal from her! The stress of arm wrestling over prices is definitely not my cup of tea.

For that reason, I do end up paying more for things I need because I seem to always end up at Carrefour, Ikea or at my favorite Spanish brands (Bershka, Stradivarius, Pull and Bear, etc). Case in point: my new overpriced Christmas tree from Ikea that has a Charlie Brown appeal to it:

However, in my defense, I have not been shopping for awhile, as I am planning on bringing two empty suitcases with me to Spain in 17 days, and shopping 'til I drop in Madrid. I haven't experienced Madrid during Christmas yet, so I am hoping to find some charm in the air. It may not be NYC, but I hope it will be a close second! :)

Fun in Seoul/APAC Dance Highlights 2011

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Teaching internationally:

Has made me physically, mentally, emotionally, socially stronger.

Has extended my frame of mind beyond the comfort of my parents' home/my community.

Has made me leave the safety and security of all I have known.

Has made me more patient.

Has made me more appreciative of good customer service.

Has given me a newfound appreciation of clean drinking water, clean air, and clean streets.

Has given me an exciting job when others are trying to make ends meet in a depression.

Has given me a chance to experience the world from a new perspective.

Has made me appreciative of the richness of language acquisition and application.

Has given me much more "adult" responsibilities.

Has made me more resourceful.

Has toughened me up.

Has renewed my love of learning.

Has taught me adapting means more than just being physically present. Adapting with 100% of myself has fostered my resilience and happiness.

Has made me more persistent about following through on research and legwork.

Has made me a better money manager.

Has reminded me why I love to teach.

Has shown me what I want to do in the future. No matter where I go, there I am.

Has made me appreciate life, and how precious my time here is.

Has given me a change of pace from routine living after graduation and before starting my graduate program.

Has allowed me to pursue my passion for dancing, exercising, traveling and socializing with people from all walks of life.

Has taught me that life is constantly changing, and humanity has transformed so much since it was created, with revolutionary growth each year.

Has allowed me to become more open-minded, and a better role model to guide our future generation.

Has taught me it's a wonderful life, filled with God's blessings.


PS I love Turkey the country, not turkey to eat! TRY A TOFURKEY! They are actually very delicious!

Powerful thoughts for powerful leadership in 21st century Education

11.11.11 @11:11

So this post is a bit late, due to the inconsistent internet connection/VPN functionality here in China, but I wanted to share a funny moment my students and I had at 11:11am on 11.11.11. They were so excited to read the poem about Veterans that our school administration had prepared for us, and they wanted to capture the magical moment of 1111111111 on film. I think they thought a Genie was going to appear and grant them all three wishes or something!! For me, it was a special day for a good childhood friend of mine, as she turned 25 years old. We left her a happy birthday voicemail, and I hope she knows how much I miss her and would have been there in New York celebrating by her side if I was able to. Here's to you, Wagonwheel :).

A true friend doesn't care when you're broke, being a brat, what you weigh, if you don't see them for months, if your house is a mess, what you drive, about your past, or if your family is filled with crazy people. Your conversations pick up where they left off, even if they have been years apart. True friends love you for who you are.

Trans-national Dance OFF!

My sixth grade Physical Education class, "Cassiopeia" has been creating a warm-up dance in conjunction with a class from Zaragoza, Spain. Click here for the youtube link of their last version of the dance.

Along with our most recent one.

This has been a fun project for the students to work on. The boys are motivated with a new reason to practice dancing, they look forward to seeing the creativity from the other school, the boys and girls both like to see the differences and similarities between both school environments (my students wanted to know why the students from Spain didn't have personal laptops or uniforms like we have here at Concordia!), and dancing is a fun way for everyone to express their feelings, and be creative. Special thanks to my student James Larsen who created our newest move for the KC and the Sunshine band song!


APAC Dance Festival 2011

So, this is it! We are off to the Asian Pacific Activities Council Dance Festival in Seoul, South Korea. After many hours of rehearsal, we are ready to showcase our "Women's Liberation" piece. Featuring music from James Brown, the girls are performing lyrical, jazz and hip-hop movements.

As per our program description:

We are a movement; a tidal wave of spirit and energy that seeks to challenge the status quo. We question the politics, power holders, and cultural beliefs or practices of our respective worlds. Our founding sisters have laid the groundwork in this man's world.

For many of us, opportunities are plentiful and increase rapidly. In places where the growth moves more slowly, we must get up offa our preconceived abilities and start to feel good about progression. For the ability to feel injustice towards anyone, anywhere is the greatest trait of a revolutionary.

Follow us at the festival at this link.

I can't wait to meet the students and faculty of the other schools and show off our hard work!

My week in review:

Random pics from the week:
My dog-son is so handsome ;)

Restaurant opening at Tavola, in PuDong. Beautiful people, live performance by Italian opera singers, and FINALLY, authentic Italian food in a genuine UPSCALE environment!

The beautiful new bulletin board I made to celebrate Thanksgiving and our turkey bowl. Students will write one thing they are grateful for on the display footballs, in order to make it an interactive artsy space.


Kylie's 1st birthday party with my coworkers and their beautiful children :)

HOPE YOU ALL ENJOY YOUR WEEKEND! Don't forget to exercise! Take 3,000 steps per day (minimum!).

Zumba class..Time Lapse

The 7/8th grade students were treated to Zumba classes by parent, Mrs. Larsen, who so graciously volunteered her time. The students practiced rhythmic movement, spatial awareness, balance, and cooperation. A great time was had by all, even the boys who were a bit resistant to the idea of "dancing". Of course they formed this idea without knowing what Zumba really meant, but they opened up to the idea once they started moving. In fact, some boys followed the sequences and showed more energy than the girls! Which just goes to show, the self-fulfilling prophecy is always at work!


International Day at Concordia International School Shanghai

WOW! was all I could say as I entered the gymnasium on International Day. The students, parents, teachers and PSO did a wonderful job of representing the 31 cultures of each nationality which make up our student body. Each country was represented through food, pictures and video, clothing, music, sports and dance entertainment. The students had the chance to collect passport "stamps" from each of the 19 tables that were available for "trips". I was very excited to see the students engaging with parents and chaperones, which is not easy for middle school students to do! Also, I'm happy that the boy who thought Spain was next to Nicaragua now knows it is a country in Europe! :)

I am so proud to teach such interesting, sophisticated and compassionate students. Furthermore, teaching internationally has given my life much more meaning, and I am happy to be a part of such a professional and progressive school.

Special recognition to the flag bearers:

Australia – Harry W.
Brazil – Bernardo T.
Canada – Duncan W.
Chile – Alejandra U.
Finland – Hilkka V.
France – Nina U.
Germany – Daniel R.
India – Shubhankar K.
Indonesia – Josh L.
Ireland – Colin M.
Japan – Yukine Y.
Malaysia – George L.
Mexico – David S.
Netherland – Avery B.
Nigeria – Iruma E.
Norway – Betsy S.
People’s Republic of China – Jean L.
Peru – Max K.
Philippine – Kurt M.
Saudi Arabia – Madison B.
Singapore – Pan Ling W.
South Korea – Dong W.
Spain – Andrea L.
Sweden – Nicky K.
Switzerland – Luke R.
Thailand – Mamie H.
United States – Shaffer W.
Tunisia – Ines M.
United Kingdom – Sam B.
Venezuela – Alexandra R.
Vietnam – Harrison L.

Napu Bridge on a [Shanghai] clear day

click on the picture to enlarge the size!