Name : Karla M. Gurley
姓名：Karla M. Gurley
Country of Origin : USA
Occupation : Kindergarten English Teacher
Years in China : 4 years
Let’s be honest, every little girl wants to grow up to be a princess. We all do! I know I sure did. As a child in Texas, I often found any excuse to don a fancy gown with a matching tiara. As an adult I have made numerous treks to Disneyland with friends and family. So, imagine my excitement in the fall of 2017 when Disney English (“DE”) selected me to teach!
DE was a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company designed to use immersive educational programs to teach English to children across China. I learned about them while researching opportunities to teach abroad. When DE selected me, it began the adventure of a Texas girl packing her bags to go to the other side of the world to be a princess. Dressing as Princess Tiana, the first Disney princess who looked like me, brought me so much joy, a joy I regularly share with children in Shanghai. Daily, it all feels surreal.
I had a lovely time working for DE, where I spent a year using the magic of Disney’s inspiring stories to teach English to children across Shanghai. It was a childhood dream come true!
After my time with DE, I transitioned to a traditional school where I could use my educational training and expertise more naturally. I have a Master’s in education and spent years teaching in various settings in the US.
In December of 2018, a little more than a year from when I first packed up and moved to China, I became a bilingual kindergarten teacher. Someone once said, “It takes a big heart to shape little minds,” and I am honored to shape little minds here in Shanghai. It has given me a plethora of beautiful experiences and opportunities!
2018 年 12 月，距离我第一次收拾行李搬到中国的一年多一点，我成为了一名双语幼儿园老师。有人曾说:“怀一颗温暖之心,开启学生智慧,引领学生成长”，我很荣幸能在上海教书育人，它给了我太多美好的经历和机会！
I never thought I would enjoy teaching people under four feet so much, but I do. I planned on leaving China in 2019, but these children have captured my heart. To quote my all-time favorite Disney movie, POLLY, when I walk through the doors of my campus, “I am profoundly inundated with maximum pleasure” teaching my kindergarten students.
我从未想过我会如此喜欢教小朋友，但事实就是如此。我原本打算 2019 年离开中国，但这些孩子俘获了我的心。引用我一直以来最喜欢的迪士尼电影《POLLY》中的一句话，当我走进校园大门时，“我被至上快乐淹没了”，那就是教我的幼儿园学生。
As you can see, I love teaching, but I also greatly enjoy living life to the fullest. There is always something to do here. From cooking classes, street fairs, cultural events, restaurants from around the world, yoga in the park, the Black EXPO, galas, book clubs, charity events, and volunteer opportunities, it’s all here, and I have had the chance to do them all. I would have never dreamt of such things while in Texas or California (the two US states where I lived the longest).
In short, living in Shanghai has been a wonderful adventure. One of the best parts of that adventure is having made lifelong friends here to join me along the ride. I’ve met dozens of tremendously kind and accepting people who I would never have met if I did not live in Shanghai. For example, when the city reopened after the pandemic, I attended a block party in Jing’an. While there, I noticed a group of people talking and, one person signing (yes, signing, not singing as I am often corrected by others). This caught my eye because in the US I was an ASL Interpreter at my church, so I introduced myself to the group.
Since this wonderful chance meeting I have attended a Chinese Sign Language (CSL) workshop and I recently started CSL lessons. For those who are wondering sign language is different in different countries though some words can be very similar. I am so excited to learn CSL! This was such a great experience because sign language was such a big part of my life at home, and now it’s also a part of my life in China.
Finally, hiking to the summit of Yellow Mountain in Anhui was another unforgettable experience I have had living here. I hiked Yellow Mountain with several friends last summer. I anticipated the hike would take about four hours. It took six! It was a beautiful, yet challenging hike, and I’m grateful to have done it with great friends. The view from the mountaintop made each grueling step worth it.
My life in China is reminiscent of the famous phrase from Forrest Gump, “Life is like a box of chocolates—you never know what you’re going to get.” Everyday has been an adventure, one befitting a princess.
Now, here’s a fun and random fact about my hometown, Dallas, Texas. You love Happy Hour and adult beverages-right? The frozen margarita machine was invented in Dallas, Texas in 1971. YOU. ARE. WELCOME.
接下来聊聊我的家乡——德州达拉斯。你一定喜欢欢乐时光(酒吧的减价时段)和成人饮品（含酒精饮料），对吧？事实上冰玛格丽特饮酒机就是于 1971 年在德州达拉斯问世的。欢迎来我的家乡。
作者：Karla M. Gurley 翻译：余欣阳
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