Wednesday, September 24, 2008

first week PHOTOS!

why, of course i have pictures from the first week of school.. enjoy :)
marileidi (this is her first school experience), ashley (lives with cristina, the other teacher), and daribelto- doing puzzles and reading during our short "break" time between lessons
carlos alfredo.. sweet, sweet boy.
jeyson and franchesca are apparently play-doh genius children. really. oh, and i LOVE them!
they make me laaaugh.
shallan is trying to corrupt the children by teaching them the "gig 'em" sign.. don't worry. it shall stop.
my class in what i like to call "cara time" where she works with them on movement, art, and expanding their minds in many areas
yunairi- this is her first school ever! she is tiny and precious and comes to school now without crying!
we brush our teeth after lunch- yeah hygiene!

yes, i know it. they are precious! thank you, Jesus, for these kids!

school lessons (for me!)

we finished the FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL!! on my agenda, there is an unending list of things i desire for these kids to understand and truly learn. our time together at school is only from 9-1ish. this week, in that limited time, i wanted everyone to grasp the idea of creation, understand a calendar, learn to look at people when they talk, hold scissors, trace lines, experience all of our senses and know why God gave them to us, expand and use the mind in new ways, practice hygienic skills (teeth brushing, hand washing..), share our books and puzzles, feel accomplished, know they are loved.. it goes on an on.

the umbrella ideas, (teacher language - "themes"), this week were the story of creation and our senses. i want them to fully explore the world around us and know that God created everything we experience and the way we experience it all. how much of this was grasped? i don’t know. and might not. BUT for now i DO know i learned plenty from them:

1. stickers = big deal. i announced in front of the whole class that franchesca was getting a sticker for sharing her puzzle with carlos alfredo. man, did she stand tall or what.. big deal.

2. it IS possible to stay in a line.

3. i do not know every dance move there is. there are apparently all sorts of good ones..

4. vinegar looks like coffee.. and smells like “caca.”

cheerios can be SUPER interesting.. so interesting, in fact, that it is fun to feel, listen to, smell, look at, and eat a cheerio multiple times.

many of the kids are at completely different levels. God will continue teaching me through them where they are and how to meet them individually.

i make sense when i speak spanish sometimes.

apple cores are edible? (during a “guess the smell” game, one student decided to use his vision and taste senses to peak and bite an already-eaten apple. i mean, why not?)

we can get through first times and feelings of being overwhelmed. thank you, raidi, for your random bursts of tears.. and then for holding scissors quite possibly for the first time followed by your wide-eyed expressions of pure surprise and joy.

even when craziness is really quite humorous, there are appropriate times for it.. and i have to lay down the law, gosh darn it (even when all I want to do is laugh.. they are funny!)

it’s important to learn why it’s important to learn.

where I feel completely insufficient, God is more than enough.

Friday, September 19, 2008

blow out the candles!

we have had THREE staff birthdays so far this month! cara's was on the 4th. shallan's on the 12th. jonathan's on the 13th.

cara's bday- we met up in cabarete at the german bakery for breakfast. we hung out at the beach for a little while and were able to relax a bit. that night we had a party at robin and cara's apartment- complete with peanut butter cookies (yeah, robin!) and carrot cake (yeah, anne!). for enternatainment jonathan spun the twins on the tile. A LOT of times.. they were CRAZY for daaays- not even kidding. here are some photos from cara's bday:

after breakfast at the beach

los tweems all dressed up for cara's party!

los tweems and their mama before the party ( i have bunch of great ones- watch out i will put them up soon!)

SPINNING..... aka- making the twins loco!

i like jonathan's head poking through the window..

lots of visitors..

another group photo!

shallan's bday- pizza and a movie on the roof at the mak house! candace, georgia, robin, and cara all came over- it was sooo fun! perfect night. good people. happy birthday.

jonathan's bday- melissa, shallan, jonathan, and i took the twins to cabarete to meet cara, robin, candace, and georgia for some fuuuuun on the beach and time to relax and all hang out. we got some sun, cara got to shop a bit, jonathan saw some football, i had some time with my crosswords.. we ate some goooood food on the beach behind "lax" where we'd hung out that day.

happy birthdays to you, happy birthdays to you. happy birthdaaaays dear cara, shallan, and jonathan..
happy birthdays to you!!

meet. my. roommates.

meet my roommates. (yes, we share our space with many critters):

they have found a home in my computer. my floor. my water cups. my bed.. they’re tiny and pretty friendly- good thing because they are everywhere.

flies. quite annoying. they are primarily in the kitchen.. probably from the dumpster outside or horse behind our wall.

crabs. not too common but jonathan brought dinner home today and let them crawl on the floor.

mosquitoes. not a fan. at all. in fact, i would say i loathe them which probably isn’t fair because they love me unconditionally. unfortunately they are all over the place (especially under the dinner table). tip- they cant fly as well in front of fans. when the power is out- watch out.

lizards. kinda cute but like to surprise people..

termites. i learned termites have wings that fall off before they crawl all over everything. learned this the hard way- when they INVADED our house.. i wrote about this before so i wont go into details- not fun.

banana spiders. ok, i was shocked to learn we do NOT kill these.. they are our friends. yes, friends. they kill moquitos (sweet!) there is one that lives in my bathroom. i also found one with our cooking pans the other day.. giving them names has helped.

so there you go.

oh yes, i do also live with some wonderful humans.

running in circles

it’s friday evening. friday. that means tomorrow is saturday. then sunday. then MONDAY. the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL.

this past week has been a myriad of so many errands and steps towards getting ready. the school bathrooms were tiled, table legs were sawed (we bought little plastic chairs so the kids’ little legs don’t dangle- BIG deal), i had my first copy/laminating experience-dominican style.. on top of many physical tasks, my mind has been spinning like crazy. lesson plans for example- where do I start? what should the first week look like? Is there actually a “should”? IS there a “right way” to do this? these little ones are so unique..

i feel like all i should want to do is run around in circles.

oh yes, on top of the craziness experienced before a first day that is rapidly approaching, hurricane ike is brewing and looming near us. we have been watching it all day- category 4. as of right now it appears to be heading straight for the north coast (for all you non-geography people, that’s where puerto plata is.. we can walk to the ocean). time to think of evacuation plans.. we did. this morning it looked like we would just get some of the rain from it so i suppose all we can do is wait. and watch. and pray.

circles. normally i think i’d expect myself to be anxious about the storm and going crazy with a list of to-dos but God has grabbed my ankles and is holding my feet down. no running. no arm-flailing. just peace. and trust in Him.

i am excited.

lots of earwax

time to experiment? let’s just say an interesting conversation about earwax cleaning methods lead to curiosity about whether or not one of them worked. jonathan was the brave volunteer (yes, volunteer. he was not forced) conclusion? with the proper equipment (not our ghetto paper version) and more time, it would likely work wonders.

beginning the burning of the paper..

robin prepared to catch the ashes

anne and kate laughing at garrett's comments (before the revealing of the earwax) the ashes kind of got all over jonathan's face

the reaction after we unrolled the paper to see the earwax- it worked.


wednesday (the 27th of aug)- yep- still catching up..

heck yes for productive days! we got a TON figured out about our individual afternoon projects, broke down the entire daily school schedule, discussed ins and outs of staff duties, etc. we worked for hours and got a lot done. that afternoon we split to run individual errands- registering kids in the villages, searching for cheap cubbies in puerto plata, dumping loads of trash from our clean-out, preparing wall decorations and calendars.. busy, busy, busy.

thursday (the 28th)

another work day! we started the day with girls’ staff prayer which was such a great way to begin. garrett made fancy omelets because josh brought new skillets for the house! things like that make the biggest deal to us. anyway, after a good morning we left for a long meeting/planning/cleaning session at the school.

today we developed the week planning format we will use for circle time and lesson plans. some more MAJOR cleaning out took place and cristina and i continued setting up our classrooms! ☺ we had tons of help from everyone of course and a bunch of kids from tamarindo came in to help too. while we were there it started thuuundering (which is exicting bc that means we will have power and it will be cooler). on our way back, we picked the guys up from the job site and went to town to finish running errands. long day but a good one.

new discovery- termites have wings and look like small moths. then they lose their wings.. i know this because hundreds of termites came in the windows and overtook the house when it rained. this is on my mind because 1. we spent forever killing them, shooing them, sweeping them.. and 2. little termite wings are currently covering our room- in our beds, on the floor, in our lamps.. sweet.

sadness- kate leaves tomorrow. i am NOT ready. there are so many things i will miss about her- her humor in every situation, raw honesty, deep concern and thoughtfulness to others, passion in prayer or praising the Lord, spontaneity, being my roomie, randomness, love for people through God.. ☹

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

staff retreat

after church on Sunday (the 24th of august- i know that was awhile ago but this doesn't work at the house..) we packed our bags and loaded up in the truck and headed for our RETREAT! yeeeaaah, staff togetherness! the people who live in montellano met us there- let the bonding begin..

true to dominican style (and efficiency) we got there and sharla had to deal with rooms, keys, etc for 2 hours that had already been worked out. bummer. BUT then we took our stuff to our rooms and enjoyed AIR CONDITIONING. the resort was “all-inclusive” – fancy schmancy, huh? it is funny what that means here.. anyway, after our buffet dinner we met in our room (kate, sharla, me) for worship and prayer. a friend of sharla’s, josh, flew in as our speaker/worship leader for the weekend. he is a wonderful person and was a huge blessing to our staff.

it rained most of the weekend (which was actually quite alright because it was cool outside and allowed for some time in the air conditioning. we ate meals together and had multiple sessions (Bible study/prayer/worship) on monday- our full day there. tuesday afternoon- back to our homes we went. here are a few photos i took monday afternoon between times it was raining..

little cove where we could have kyaked and such. pretty..
view of the cove the resort was in
one of the buildings..
the beeeach (in case you were wondering)