Friday, March 30, 2012

Huge life changing events on the horizon

The year of the Dragon and the month of March have been life changing events for Ying and I.  It all actually started in January/February during the Chinese New Year holidays.  I had a month off from school so we went to Yanji (NE China) to visit family and friends.  Once the holidays were ended, I came back to Kunshan for work and Ying stayed in Yanji to spend another 2 weeks with her mother then fly back.  While she was there, EVERYTHING that was supposed to happen did and  and on 27 February when she came home, there was the usual celebrating and re-bonding us married couples do after a separation.

In early March I got an e-mail that home office would be visiting the schools they were contracted with to administer the International (US High School (+AP)) Program to evaluate the teachers and decide who they would offer contracts for the coming school year.  I was dreading the day they would drop into Kunshan and observe one of my US History classes. For those who don't know I teach kids who have decided to forgo the China's National Higher Education Entrance Examination (the Gaokao) needed to qualify for the top Chinese universities and instead apply for universities abroad, usually in the United States.  So far three of my students have decided on schools.  Winnie, a small quiet girl has selected Miami University- Oxford, Ohio, Sarah, the class leader, has chosen on Ohio State and Mammon, a girl as devilish as her name implies, has decided to go to Univ of Washington.  Of the two boys, I think Daniel, a thinker if there ever was one, has expressed a desire to go to Boston University and Frank, a real basketball fan, is torn between Syracuse, Virginia Tech and Ohio State. 

Then last Saturday (March 25th) Ying notices her "usual monthly visitor" was late so she went to the pharmacy and got "THE TEST" and sure enough, she's pregnant.

Initially I was stunned, but then I got excited.  After so many years of waiting, I am finally going to be a father. We told family and friends on both sides of the world and all are ecstatic. Since then we discussed different names we liked.  The boy's name was easy.  My grandfather, my father and I all have a first name that begins with a C and the middle name Edward.  I wanted to continue the trend but also wanted to make some changes.  I have always liked the name Casey and even used it as my society name in the SCA (although I used the original Gaelic spelling of Cathsasch) and part of my nom de plume on the internet, we decided it was a perfect first name.  I wanted to get away from Edward as a middle name but still honor my family.   I had learned through my research that I had a Great (to the 8th) grandfather named Enoch, His name would be Casey Enoch Sharp.

A girl's name was difficult since there were to few girls on both sides of my family and Ying did not want ti give her an actual Chinese name, we decided on a western name that would be easy for the Chinese family members to repeat.  We decided we didn't want to follow the C-E trend for her.  I could have used the name Casey for her to, but I wanted her to be unique.  In the past, I've known many women named Lexi who were outstanding people.  Ying wanted her middle name to be Marie or something similar, but I told her my last two ex's initials were L-M-S and I just would not be comfortable seeing those initials for my daughter and not think of them so I suggested Ann.  Ying immediately liked it and said it could be easily repeated and if necessary "Chinafied" for the Chinese family members, so if it is a girl, her name will be  Lexi Ann Sharp.

Finally if this month wasn't eventful enough I get an e-mail from home office that solely based on excellent feedback from the students, their parents and I guess the woman who is the school liaison for the company my performance as a teacher and not coming to actually observe me in class, offered to renew my contract for next year.  Needless to say, I accepted and tomorrow (Saturday) I and the other teachers will be conducting interviews with the students who want to enter the International Program and eventually go to college in the US.

I'll be trying to remember to make regular reports about our progress as we wait for the blessed event.  Until then, Y'all  take care.