From Home to Home
Summer is coming to an end, however the leaves will not change colours nor will the temperature drop below 20 degrees celsius indicating the end of the season. Autumn marks the beginning of a new school year, but not the end of beach season here in Hong Kong. New teachers are trickling in from around the globe, while a few fellow faculty are still trekking around it, enjoying their last moments of vacation. Tomorrow we return for a week of preparation and introduction for the new crew.
Today I can’t help reflect upon my wonderful summer in Canada. Nance and I had a great time discovering some of the riches Ontario has to offer and of course catching up with family and friends. Nance was taken a back by the magnificence that is Niagara Falls, it was easily the highlight of her trip. From the crushing sounds that silence all else as you walk behind her, the roaring rapids that reach heights beyond imagination kilometres from her horseshoe, and most impressive, the constant mist she splashes up at her base soaking you as you push further into her fury only to settle for a fleeting moment as the sheer intensity of thousands of litres of falling water forces you back. I have seen Niagara Falls dozens of times, from high above at the railings edge,at the rushing waters before her precipice, and from within the gorge staring up at her, she never ceases to amaze. If you have never been go, if you have, go again. Niagara Falls deserves her place among the seven wonders of the natural world. And while her grandgure amazed the highlight of my trip was of course seeing family and friends.
Nance is convinced that Canadian cuisine consists of corn on the cob and BBQed burgers and thanks to many of you I can hardly argue with her. Summer was time to BBQ, laugh and enjoy the grass under our feet. The paved roads of Toronto and New York combined with the dirt paths of the escarpment and the patio loungers by the pool provided the best of both worlds this summer. Thanks for the memories.
Despite a great month in Ontario, we both got off the plane feeling like we were home. We landed in Hong Kong as if we were slipping into a comfortable old shoe. The ride from the airport through the tree covered mountains and window adorned skyscrapers was no longer foreign, but rather, familiar and even welcomed. Our flat had a new couch and chair awaiting us (the couch and chair were delivered while we were away, we purchased them used from our Principal) and was clean and ready from our many purchases. Waking up early for school was challenging but returning to teaching was like riding a bike. I taught Physical Education at summer camp and became Coach Fraser for the month. Nance coloured with the little ones and prepared materials for the coming school year. PE was a lot of fun, my days consisted of variations on tag, soccer matches (kids vs. coaches), a variety of other fun activities, and Robert Munsch stories. During the first week a class ended a little early and I told the children the story of Mortimer to run out the clock. The children were so engaged and appreciative that we decided to have me tell a few more over the course of the month. By the end I brought in the stories I could not recite from memory, though Mortimer was still a fan favourite and definitely mine. Summer Camp was nothing like my days at Wab, sailing on Vernon lake, portaging through mosquito infested woods, and singing Woodstock era tunes around a blazing fire. No, IMS Summer Camp ended at 3pm every day and while there were a few mosquitoes no one had to carry a canoe over their head and no one got to sail.
Sailing will be part of my week shortly, however. After the immense success of the program last year IMS will be offering sailing to the upper primaries again this year and I have the privilege of supervising it once more. I am excited to start school again. I have met my new counter part, Amy from Ireland, who will be taking over teaching Information Technology at our sister school in Tin Hau. Her and I have privilege/obligation of creating a IT curriculum together. It should not be too difficult, we have many International Baccalaureate examples to pull from. And for those of you wondering, yes I do teach at a Montessori school, it is just that Maria Montessori never considered computers when penning her pedagogy because they didn’t exist at the time.
It was a great summer, tomorrow will start another great year at IMS (assuming you read this on Sunday August 23 2015 within UTC time), and Nance and I are home, until home becomes another place and time somewhere down the line.