Thursday, June 25, 2009

Closing Up

Sorry this is really late, but I felt that I should give some closure. The end of the year was great, because I started a reward system in the classroom that worked really well with my kids. Having a quiet, controlled classroom was refreshing! Reflecting on my year, I found that I had become comfortable there. In fact, I wasn't quite sure I wanted to come home! Saying goodbye to my kids was the hardest, especially since I don't think they quite comprehended that I was leaving for good (since I left earlier than some of the other missionary teachers). As I gave them little end-of-the-year goodie bags, one of my kids hugged me around the waist and said, "I don't want nothing from you. I just want for you to stay here!"

When people ask me how my year was, I usually respond, "It was good", which doesn't say a lot, but it's hard to express exactly how it was! It was a valuable experience in which I learned a lot and made life-long friendships. I battled with my fear of cockroaches, traveled around the country, ate lots of cake, and practiced the virtue of patience. Thank you for your continued prayers throughout this year!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Attack of the Munchkins!

I was attacked yesterday in Bible class by 1st B. I don´t know who started it, but one of my boys reached his hand up and tickled me under the chin (for those of you who don´t know, I am extremely ticklish. The slightest wiggle of a finger in my direction can make me giggle). I laughed, which meant (in their eyes) that this was fun. Before I knew what was happening, I had little hands tickling me all over! I couldn´t stop laughing to show them that I seriously wanted them to stop, so for a few panicked moments I had no control over the classroom and no hope of ever gaining control over the classroom. I kept having visions of the principle walking by and seeing me pinned against my desk with little bodies all over me. Luckily, they did stop eventually, because my neck was turning red (I also have sensitive skin) from their fingers grabbing me. Even though I wasn´t hurt, some of them felt bad because I looked like I was. New classroom rule: No Tickling the Teacher.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Semana Santa

Last week was our ¨Spring Break¨ (titled Semana Santa: Holy Week), which was nice to have a break from school. It´s scary to realize that last week was our last break before the end of the year! I´m not quite sure how I feel about that yet.......time is certainly ticking by.

Two Sundays ago I headed to Copan with two of my friends. It is the cutest town I´ve seen in Honduras, and it was my first time visiting Mayan ruins! The school had given us some money, so we stayed in a nice hotel (with AC!) and splurged a little with going out to eat. When we went to see the ruins it started to pour on us (which I didn´t mind, being and Oregonian and all, but my friends weren´t too thrilled), so we retreated towards the museum. We had thought that our ticket to the ruins also got us into the museum, but we were soon informed that no, it doesn´t. So as we stood there in the entrance of the museum looking pathetic and a bit like drowned rats, the lady checking tickets at the door waved us in for free (I still feel a little guilty about that...).

We got back into Comayagua on Wednesday so that we could see the carpets and parade on Friday (the busses shut down on Thursday). All Thursday night families work on making ¨carpets¨ for Friday morning. These carpets are mostly made out of colored saw dust, but some are made from other materials such as coffee, glass, seeds, rocks, etc. Patterns and huge stencils are used to make the picture, and then everything is pressed down. So they look like huge carpets, but they can´t be walked on without being destroyed. At noon a parade celebrating Jesus´death passes over the carpets, ruining them.

Yesterday was our first day back in school. It actually felt good to wake up again with purpose to the day (and as fabulous as the break was, I did miss my kids). That concludes my Spring Break, and the bell is about to ring for class!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

I don't remember which day was Father's Day (I think it was a couple weeks ago), but we celebrated it last Friday. Last week was partial tests, which was really nice, because it meant that we only had school until 9:00 A.M. So Friday we celebrated from 9:30 to noon with a soccer tournament and random games such as Twister (that was my station), foos ball, and ping pong. The main attraction was, of course, the soccer tournament. I was looking forward to watching the dads play, but Twister was inside. I'm still blown away how much soccer unites people in this country!

Tomorrow Bridget, my room mate from last year, is coming to visit, which is more than exciting! And on that positive note, I hope everyone else has had a good start to Spring Quarter!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spanish Praise!

Wow, it's been awhile! Or, at least, it feels like it's been awhile, because a lot has happened. Two weekends ago we went to an awesome waterfall three hours away! There's a zipline that runs across the falls, or you can hire a guide to take you behind the water. We didn't do either, but we plan on returning someday (although we're running out of time! It's flying by!).

Last Tuesday was my 21st birthday, which turned out to be a very memorable day! My first graders showered me with birthday cards all day, which also meant they weren't doing their work, but I couldn't exactly scold them for making me a sweet little cards, right? My 7th graders threw me a birthday party with cake, chips, popcorn, balloons, and confetti during literature class, which completely took me by surprise! I'd heard of kids throwing their teachers birthday parties, but I guess I didn't expect it to happen to me, since I only teach them one class. But it was a good excuse for them to get out of the test they were supposed to take that day!

This week Kandice's mom, brother, and boyfriend (Jared Anderson) are visiting, which is exciting! Kandice's brother, Christopher, is giving an evangelistic series in the evenings and doing week of prayer for the high school. So far it's been going pretty well. The missionaries are in charge of song service, which we have to sing in Spanish. I'm loving it, except that I have been blessed with a cough (horrible timing, if you ask me). So I've been singing, as in, I've been up front staying away from the microphones.

Speaking of which, I need to make some lesson plans before the meeting tonight!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

In Only 24 Hours

The "adventure", as we like to call it, began at around 10:40 yesterday morning when Sasha, Kristen, Joy, and I headed to the bus station. An hour later our bus pulled out bearing us towards Pito Solo where we caught a rapadito (a small van that packs people like sardines in a can) that would take us to our destination: the hot springs Aguas Termales. We hiked another 2 km to find the hot springs and the cabins we were planning on staying in. The guy who had the keyes to the cabins wasn't there, but we were assured that he would arrive sometime that day, so we headed down to the springs in the meantime.

I had never been to hot springs before and found it to be an interesting experience. Despite the smell of rotting eggs, the steam and bubbles gushing up out of the earth were fastinating and beautiful! I almost felt as if I'd stumbled onto the set of some fantasy movie. We walked through a steamy tunnel to find a small cool river with hot springs bubbling on the banks. I quickly discovered, however, that hot springs are better admired from afar. Rocks or water along the bank could suddenly turn unusually hot. My worst encounter was when I tried to cross the river at a calm spot to join Sasha and Kristen on the other side. My first step off of the bank and into the mud brought instant and unexpected pain! I danced around frantically for a few excruciating moments until I finally got out of the sucking mess and back onto cooler, solid ground. Glancing behind my shoulder, I noticed a spring bubbling a few feet away. Hot springs do not accurately describe the temperature of the water. "Boiling", "searing", or "scalding" is more like it! Aside from my burned feet (no, they're not that damaged), the place was absolutely gorgeous! The river was calm with a few small rapids and gentle waterfalls. Tall trees dripping with moss and green ferns and leaves surrounded the banks. Everything seemed so perfect, including the slight breeze.

We headed back up to the cabins at around 4:45 to find that the guy with the keyes still hadn't arrived. The man helping us began pulling out camping gear in case, but we weren't entirely sure we wanted to camp out without any bathrooms. Fortunately, Paul (he works in the office at the school) had gone to Santa Barbara (30 min. or so away from the hot springs) for the weekend without his soccer gear, which he needed for a game that night. We brought his gear with us so that he could meet us somewhere and get it, but we ended up meeting him at the springs. He brought his friend he was staying with, and they both hung out with us all afternoon (and watched our stuff while we frolicked in the river, which was really convenient) and acted as our translators (also really convenient).

Paul's friend offered to let us stay at his house, which seemed better than the alternative on the ground, so we hopped into the back of his truck and headed to Santa Barbara. We watched their soccer game before going into town for some food. We ate the biggest baleatas I've ever seen in my life (baleatas are tortillas with beans and cheese or whatever else you want in it. They don't sound that special, but they taste amazing!)! These baleatas took up the whole plate! We ended with some ice cream and walked around the central plaza (sadly, it was under construction). Santa Barbara is a cute little town. We caught the bus at 8:30 this morning and made it back to Comayagua by 11:00. Looking back, it's hard to believe that our "adventure" only took 24 hours.

Friday night we had the opportunity to Skype the Walla Walla University church after vespers, so THANK-YOU to everyone who said hi (and if you were there and didn't say hi, I would still like to thank you for sticking around to see our glowing faces)! I feel bad that our connection wasn't that great (it kept cutting out on us), but we had such a blast seeing all of your faces nonetheless! I don't think I can thank you enough for the support!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Roses, Red Hearts, and Sugar-Highs

Happy early Valentine´s Day! Today Valentine´s Day was celebrated at the school, because it´s our last school day of the week (tomorrow we are handing out grades, so no, I don´t get out of not coming to school. Instead of teaching, I will be sitting behind a table talking to parents all day!). I don´t know how everyone got the memo (I didn´t hear anything), but all the students came to school wearing jeans instead of their uniforms. My kids are so cute dressed in normal clothes (not that they´re not cute in their uniforms of course), and I tood double-takes on a couple of them!

The tenth graders wandered around the school handing out roses, hearts, and mugs full of candy that the kids had bought for each other. I love the energy of the holiday, but I did have trouble focusing my first graders on school work. I´m fairly certain that more than one of them was on a sugar-high (usually they were the ones clutching their giant mugs of chocolate)! But it´s days like today that gives a break from the normal ¨grind¨ and routine.

I hope everyone enjoys Valentine´s Day and sees it as a day to do something special for someone else (and not merely as singles´ awareness day)!