Thursday, November 28, 2013

Lean On Me

Check out this video on YouTube:

Sent from the iPhone of
Paul R. Koch

Our fantastic assembly - 2-ML (Lane)

Our fantastic assembly - 2-ML (Lane): "Our class performed at assembly this morning and the students did a fantastic job.  I have heard lots of compliments about the students' singing and ability to do complex hand claps, so the kids are very proud.  It was great that so many parents were able to come and support us this morning.  Just in case you weren't able to come, here are a few photos from the performance. "

'via Blog this'

Friday, November 22, 2013


Thanks to Ms. Bradley for this shot of Devon - Artist in Action



Parker's Abstract

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Passing of the Cell Phone

For most of the last 40 days, whenever the phone rang “Dad” a picture of Pop-Pop displayed on the handset.  Pop-Pop or MeeMaw were calling to check in, make plans, or ask for a translation from Mandarin.  When they first arrived back in September, we handed them a cell phone, one we keep on hand with a Chinese SIM card.  Dad scrolled through the address book, making sure all the important numbers remained from their last trip. I must have been listed as “Daddy” - this used to be Parker’s phone – because every time I called, Pop-Pop would answer with a, “what’s up daddy?”  The address book also had a listing for Joanne – probably Mommy – the US Embassy, ISB, River Gardens, and thankfully, Driver Tom.    The latter was frequently put to use as Tom took them from place to place most days in and around Beijing.  Tom got them to Tea street, 798 Art District, Chinese Military Museum, The “knock-knock” store – dad upgraded his eyewear style to one pair of Chinese wood frames and another, tortoise shells.

I guess it turned out a bit different than Mee-Maw and Pop-Pop’s previous visits to China.   We were busy hosts.   I often had to remind myself that we asked them to come to visit at this particular time to help us out; we knew it would be busy.  During their visit Jojo spent 10 days in the US, I spent 4 days in Shanghai, and 5 days in Kobe, Japan coaching baseball, and of course, Joanne and I both spent 4 nights in the hospital with Parker. 

We planned, and cancelled, a trip to Bangkok – it was too much with school, work and baseball.   We planned, and cancelled, a trip to Shanghai - Jedi Jugglers, Halloween, art exhibit.  We planned, and cancelled, a trip to Chengde – emergency appendectomy. 

What we did do though –

On a smoky day, we walked through Tien An Men and The Forbidden City.

We all celebrated Pop-Pop’s birthday in San Li Tun, shopping and eating Mexican food with friends.

Pop-Pop and I watched Li Na wow the home crowd at The Beijing Open.

We played Jianzi in Ritan Park and had a beer at The Stone Boat.

We looked at the city from the Atmosphere on the 80th floor of China World.

We walked Hou Hai and had a burger at The Great Leap Brewery.

Mee-Maw and Pop-Pop spent International Day at ISB with the boys.

Pop-Pop escorted Bennett to Harrow school and watched Benne compete in his first cross country meet – I think it was the first genuine competition of his young life.

They introduced the boys to the Blue Zoo and The Bookworm.

They welcomed Joanne and Granny back from the US.

They visited the The Orchard to celebrate Mee-Maw’s birthday.

They witnessed Devon qualify for, and then compete in, Jedi Jugglers – an extraordinary ISB production.

Mee-Maw planned and executed costumes for a ninja, a Halo soldier, and a scary ghoul, all while making sure the house was appropriately fearful for Halloween.

Mee-Maw, Pop-Pop, Granny and Joanne experienced Devon and Bennett’s art on display in 798 art zone.  The boys had the chance to collaborate with visiting artist Ann Webber.

They cleaned, and ate, a lot of vegetables – our weekly delivery of organic Chinese produce.

Granny and Mee-Maw fed us a wok-ful of eggplant and potato they learned to make at cooking school at Black Sesame Kitchen.

They shopped for calligraphy scrolls at Liulichang Avenue – the oldest street in Beijing.

They planted flowers and sat in the sun on the back porch when they first arrived, and then saw us right into the Beijing Fall, where we moved indoors to read by the fireplace.

They did homework, made the morning coffee, watched football, cared for the puppies, and tuk-tuked around River Gardens and Shunyi.

And Mee-Maw finished knitting another masterpiece - Devon's black and blue hoodie.

As they packed up this morning, we hugged and kissed goodbye as we headed out the door to school and work. They spent their last day here with Granny, helping Parker mend from his surgery – the kind of event you never plan for, but feel blessed that family is here to be with him.

At some point during the day Dad must have passed that cell phone off to Granny, because today when it rang “dad” it was Granny’s voice on the other end. I guess tomorrow I will change the name and avatar; the next time that number rings, it will be Granny’s smiling face on the display.

Mom and Dad, as you get off the plane, certainly weary from your long flight, know that we love you and appreciate your kindness, love and help, and the example you set for us everyday.