Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

Here is my promised Thanksgiving blog! Strangely enough, we celebrated Thanksgiving twice and neither celebrations were actually on Thanksgiving day. Wednesday all the missionaries were taken to eat at the military base, who were celebrating a day early to give the military personnel the day off on Thursday. It was nice to have some "Thanksgivingish" food such as corn, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, and turkey (for those meat-lovers) and to finally see the base (since you have to have a pass to get in). I tried egg nog for the first time, which was so thick I couldn't finish the whole glass but was surprisingly better than I had expected. We threw a Thanksgiving party at school before we left, so all the kids thought Thanksgiving was on Wednesday. On Thursday when I wished them Happy Thanksgiving, they all replied, "Miss, Thanksgiving was yesterday!". Our second Thanksgiving occurred yesterday afternoon in one of the missionary houses. Once again, we had fabulous food, and we made so much, we finished it off as left-overs tonight!

We couldn't celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday because there was some sort of talent show at the school that evening which we were required to perform for. It was really neat to see all the different students from almost every class perform, especially two of my seventh grade students! The two songs we sang went well, considering we didn't really practice extremely hard for them. We got a little nervous when we arrived at the school and saw everyone dressed in suits and fancy dresses. It turned out to be a fun evening.

It is hard to believe that it's only two weeks until Christmas vacation, which also means that I've reached the half-way point in my SM experience (crazy!). In two weeks I will be boarding a plane to come home (my older brother's getting married December 28th), which is incomprehensible. If I don't write again before break, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Hopefully I can see some of you soon!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tying Up the Loose Ends

These past two weeks have been crazy, because it has been the end of the partial (or quarter, in my terminology), which means that grades need to be submitted. This has left me scrambling to test and re-test my kids (we believe in second chances here), collect back work, attempt to conquer excell, etc. I think I've finally taken care of everything (although I never know, because just today I was called back into the office to fix some of my grades. Apparently I can't add. Maybe it's a good thing I'm teaching first grade, so I can learn basic addition again!). Grades are handed out to the parents next Friday, which is a big deal, because we don't have school that day. Instead I think we're going to meet with parents all day.

Besides trying to get things under control at school, we've had a few weekend adventures. Two Sundays ago, 10 of the missionaries jumped on a bus with one of the kindergarten teachers and drove to the beach. Pulling out at 6:30 A.M., we arrived on the stormy coast four hours later. The plan was to go swimming, but we were chased away by the wind and the thick clouds threatening to rain. But just seeing the water was beautiful! We visited an old castle and then drove to San Pedro to walk around the mall. As I stepped into the mall, I felt as if I'd stepped through a portal into the States. It was huge (and clean)! Everyone was really excited about eating a "real" burger in the food court (I'm not as lucky as a vegetarian, but I enjoyed a nice burrito all the same). We finally arrived back into Comayagua at around 8:30 P.M., making for a very full and satisfying day.

Last weekend the school took the missionaries on a day trip to The Valley of the Angels, which is a cute little town up in the mountains about Tegusigalpa, the capital. There we were able to tour an Adventist hospital, buy real whole wheat bread, and go Christmas shopping in all the touristy shops. It's always a nice change to get out of Comayagua and see other parts of Honduras. We ended with lunch at a rather nice restaurant where I had a delicious plate of rice, beans, and mixed vegetables! It was very nice of the school to take us on a trip, and we all enjoyed it immensely! It was also interesting to drive through the capital for the first time. For almost as far as the eye could see houses seemed stacked up on top of each other covering the hills. The city is enormous!

That's all the news I have for now. I'll be sending a Thanksgiving update soon. Until then, I hope everyone enjoys their Thanksgivings!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thank You, Thank You!

I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all who have made efforts to contact me in whatever way that may be. Thank you for the e-mails, comments, notes, etc.! I really do appreciate them! I received my first package from Walla Walla on Monday, and the best surprise were all the notes! So thank you, thank you!

Partial tests are going well. It´s refreshing to only have three periods in the morning and then have the rest of the day off. I did some Christmas shopping on Monday, which was fun to brouse around the souvenir shops. However, testing first graders has been a little more difficult than I expected, especially since English is not their first language. I spend the whole time circling around the room answering the same questions (it doesn´t matter how many times I say something in front of the whole class) as little voices echo, ¨Teacher, like this?¨. Testing is also kind of scary, because I learn if I´ve been teaching them anything or not. At least there´s hope, because a new partial begins next week!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fall was in the Air

Even though we don´t have the signs of Fall such as crisp cold air or leaves changing colors and falling off the trees, we did get our spell of cool weather last week. Every day was overcast and somewhat chilly (chilly in the sense that I got to wear a long-sleeved shirt) which felt heavenly!

Last Thursday night there was a dance competition at the school, which looked fantastic! I didn´t even recognize the place when we first walked in. Outside around the concrete, which served as the dance floor, were huts decorated with bamboo and branches selling food. One hut even had a live chicken tied to a box as a decoration. Almost every grade participated, and select students from each grade did a dance together. It was so cute to see the younger grades dressed up in their outfits (matching pants and shirts with hats for the boys, and colorful full dresses for the girls)!

In celebration of Fall, we, the missionaries, had our own ¨barn party¨in one of our houses. We each dressed up and brought food, played games, and talked. I was very impressed in the creativity presented in our outfits. The best-dressed award went to Heidi, who was a very cute Christmas tree. Other characters present were: marathon runners, a Honduran soccer player, musical gypsies (myself and Bethani), a Honduran superhero (cockroaches, bring it on!), a jester, and a goddess. It made for a festive evening!

This week the sun has broken back out, and it doesn´t quite feel like Fall anymore, even though I know that Thanksgiving is only three weeks away (how crazy!). Our first partial (which is like a quarter) ends next week, which will be exciting to start again fresh. I have high hopes in being more organized with grades, etc. for the next partial. Even though we are already two months into teaching, I am far from perfecting my teaching tecniques! I hope everyone at home is enjoying the cold weather and Fall festivities!