Many people have reached out to ask why I am back in the US. So, here it is! I have this whole hip thing–aka femoral ascetabular impingement. This basically means that I was born with the head of my femur having too much bone; any movement irritates my labrum in my hip socket, which then leads to micro tears. My pain started roughly two years ago, and it has not gone away since. I am home exploring my options–surgery or no surgery. If I don’t have surgery, I can return in May–ish. If I have surgery, I cannot return until August.
Before leaving for China, I was still confident I could handle the injury. I moved to beautiful Liu He, had a surprisingly good first semester of teaching, and fell in love with Johan Luiz Rocha–the sexy Brazilian man I somehow got placed with. I love my life in Liu He. As it turns out, rural China is also hard on the body though. Many other TFC fellows can relate to the lugging around of water buckets, wearing low-support backpacks to go on three, four hour hikes for student home visits, and of course, the wonderful piece of wood we sleep on. I also fell down a rice terrace after celebrating a little too much for the Chinese new year. Strangely, my back and hip started hurting more as the semester went on.
As my physical therapist and chiropractor did my evaluation last week, they were blown away by the changes in my body and were fairly confident that the water bucket was the biggest culprit! They said even without surgery I need a minimum of six weeks of physical therapy before returning to Liu He.
Before today, my consult with the surgeon was scheduled for April 23rd. Lucky for me, I got a call this morning asking me to come in tomorrow morning! This is fantastic news! The surgeon’s opinion will most likely inform my decision more than anything else, as he is specialized in treating my condition. Furthermore, I can now get the surgery in May/June, versus having it in June/July. This means an earlier return to China.
Leaving China so unexpectedly was the hardest decision I have ever had to make. I am in my first year of teaching; my students would have greatly benefited from my growth in that second semester. They had such confused looks on their faces when I told them I was leaving. My third graders are especially disappointed. They often come skype with me when I am talking to Johan and beg me to come back. May, arguably my favorite student, said, “You are our English teacher. Ms. Qiong Qiong is giving us too much homework and I don’t know how to say the Unit 1 vocabulary words. ” I distracted her by quizzing her on Unit 1 vocabulary words; she nailed it.
I am lucky that my teammates have stepped up so much. I want to give a shout out to Johan, Qiong Qiong, and Yunte. Johan is now teaching an additional five periods a week for my fourth grade; Qiong Qiong has an additional seven periods with third grade; and Yunte has all of my activity classes. This is a significant increase in workload for them; they are the shit. Luckily, my school has a powerpoint room, so I am still able to plan all classes for them. I am thankful that I have been able to stay involved in my students lives through planning and through photo bombing powerpoints. This is a family tree slide I made for them last week. I might not be in Liu He, but they still know every member of my family.
I do want to let all of my TFC peeps know that I miss the shit out of you guys! Shawn Martin, I can’t wait to get a Beer Lao and some Sweet Tooth with you in Dali . Matt Venker, take care of Shawn Martin and kick ass in your first semester of teaching. For all the other first year fellows, I am sure you are rocking it in your second semester. 加油！If you have any requests for candy or school supplies send them over!
In addition to the PT or surgery, I will make sure to eat the necessary amount of cheese, chocolate, and bread that it takes to get healthy.