Kari Beauvais: Warmed-up to a cool mountain Christmas | CraigDailyPress.com

Kari Beauvais: Warmed-up to a cool mountain Christmas

The classroom of Kari Beauvais features holiday decorations as well as a corner with an atlas and globe. Beauvais spent several years teaching in the United Arab Emirates before returning to Colorado to teach third-grade at East Elementary School this fall.

This Christmas season is a special one for Kari Beauvais — the sensation of a cold but fun holiday in the mountains feels just right after several years in desert climate.

Beauvais, a third-grade teacher at East Elementary SchoolEast Elementary School, comes to Colorado following a stint of nearly five years as an instructor in the United Arab Emirates., comes to Colorado following a stint of nearly five years as an instructor in the United Arab Emirates.

East Elementary School, comes to Colorado following a stint of nearly five years as an instructor in the United Arab Emirates.

Originally from the Centennial State, Beauvais was a gymnastics coach and substitute teacher with Boulder Valley School District when she first embarked on teaching full-time.

Her interest in travel led her to the Abu Dhabi Education CouncilAbu Dhabi Education Council, teaching young girls in the UAE., teaching young girls in the UAE.

Abu Dhabi Education Council, teaching young girls in the UAE.

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Getting immersed in the culture required some adjustments, including her surname, which she was in the process of changing back from the married name, Morris, but kept it to make it easier on her children.

"They actually would have five names over there, like my father's name, my middle name, it's just the way the culture is," she said.

Beauvais' son and two daughters joined her overseas, with her youngest daughter, Sarah, with her the entire time. The 18-year-old currently attends Colorado Northwestern Community CollegeColorado Northwestern Community College..

Colorado Northwestern Community College.

"She spent her entire high school career in the Middle East, so she's still getting acclimated to all the systems here," Beauvais said. "She went from riding camels to riding horses."

The "fast pace" of American life is another change for both after being in a more "leisurely" culture.

"They're not very stressed-out people," she said of the populace of UAE. "It's not like in the U.S., everyone trying to do everything and be involved in so much."

Another difference is more openness among those in the Emirates to speak about religions — whether Christianity or Islam — and a certain amount of shock for her prior students that Americans don't always want to approach such a topic.

Likewise, American kids have far more exposure to the media, and many locations educate boys and girls in different schools.

"I was in a very conservative area, and parents there did not want boys and girls being mixed. Even in kindergarten," she said.

As for the pupils' personalities themselves, Beauvais said there are few contrasts between children in the UAE and in Craig.

"Kids are kids around the globe wherever you go," she said.

Being back in Colorado this time of year is what Beauvais has looked forward to, with snow and chilly temperatures a reminder of her background. Though Christmas celebrations exist in the Middle East, the presence was not the same, and the heat emphasized that further.

"I'm so glad to live in the mountains," she smiled.

Beauvais' co-worker, Tiffany Trevenen, said she loves the new teacher's excitement about being home for the holidays, as well as her everyday enthusiasm in the classroom.

"She's just a ball of sunshine," Trevenen said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.

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