Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Elsa the Elf

I never thought that trying to convince 2nd graders that a stuffed elf was actually real would be so much fun.  I am not outright lying to them, and honestly if they continue to just "pretend" to believe me I am okay with that too.  

What struck me yesterday was the amount of joy that Elsa brought to our classroom.  Just to have a fun game to play was enough.  My students loved coming into the room and seeing where she was this morning.  It was such a fun game to play.  I am excited to see what these next few days have in store.  Even if they don't believe...we will have fun pretending.  

Long time...time flies

I feel like I haven't written a post in forever.  I didn't do a very good job of keeping up with things that I am thankful for.  Thanksgiving and the month of November feel like they are part of the distant past.  I can't believe how quickly time is flying by.  

I am thankful for that though.  I am thankful that each day seems to go more quickly than the next.  I am ready for the next stage of my life.  As much as people are trying to tell me to just enjoy this single freedom that I have, and trust me I have enjoyed it...I think I am ready.  I am ready to settle somewhere and be planted in a community.  One that I enjoy, one that I can be happy to be a part of.  One that I don't feel like is fake or lacking.  

I don't know that I have really been able to connect anywhere for the past 5 years or so.  I feel like since I went to Thailand I have been keeping the walls up pretty tight around me.  Some things happened right before I left for Thailand, during my time in Thailand and right after that have caused me to feel like trust is never really possible.  

I know that there are certain amounts of pain that are going to happen in this life.  That is just part of it, but when I look around I feel like a lot of people have a more put together life than I do. I see their perfect classrooms, perfect families, and perfect bank accounts, and I wonder...how did I do it all wrong?  How did I go from knowing exactly what I wanted from life, to feeling confused and unsure of what my hopes and dreams mean.  

Maybe I have changed so much, that I can never go back to that 20 something year that thought it would be enough just to teach and live overseas.  I don't think it is enough.  I am not sure what will be enough, but I am done with this lifestyle.  The nomadic kind of life.  I am done reaching for straws and trying so hard to not make connections.  I need a place to belong.  I need a place to call home.  I want a family of my own.  

For now...I will press on and continue, but I'm hoping that somehow things can change...

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Thankfulness 15-16

Day 15- I am so thankful for where I grew up.  I am thankful that I was able to have a neighborhood pool in the summer, and friends pretty close in the winter.  I am thankful that I got to experience all four seasons.  I am so thankful that none of the i products were around when I was growing up.  I am thankful that technology did not rule the world back then. 

Day 16- I am thankful for all the Thanksgivings I have been able to spend in Missouri.  I love sitting down around the table with my family.  Eating turkey, making jokes, and enjoying each other's company.  I especially am thankful for the past two years when I was able to have someone to share that Thanksgiving tradition with me and my family.  Although he may not ever read this, I am really thankful that he was there for those celebrations.  I continue to be thankful that growing up we always had two Thanksgiving celebrations, one on Thursday and one the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  It is tradition, and a good one. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

My thoughts on Ryan Ferguson and injustices in this world...

I will never forget watching the Dateline special while I was in Thailand.  I still remember sitting in my apartment clear on the other side of the world, being so amazed by the evidence that was there and the conviction that came.  I prayed so much that night.  I prayed for justice, I prayed for peace, and I prayed for protection.  

I didn't know that his release would come when I was yet again on the other side of the world.  As I watched the events unfold via FB and the news I just simply was in awe.  Honestly I couldn't peel myself away from the social media.  I was watching the live blog while trying to do my best to get my students to and from specials in a timely manner.  I couldn't believe what was happening.  I couldn't believe that he was finally being set free.  

Then I thought, I thought about all the tears that had been shed by his family. The thousands of miles that they drove, the hundreds of dollars that they probably spent.  I thought about the things they probably heard, the things Ryan probably heard.  I thought about how hard it must be to get up everyday and keep fighting, for 10 years!!!  How hard it must be to stand by and watch your son live out his 20's in prison for something that he didn't do.  I thought about what that must feel like, and I just felt a loss because honestly I can't imagine that much pain.  I can't imagine that much heartache, day in and day out for a decade.  Having hope that justice would be served on numerous occassions and then having the door slammed in your face.  I just can't imagine.  

I don't know Ryan personally.  I have friends who know him and his family after all I did grow up in Columbia.  But I feel like I know him.  I feel like social media has allowed me to get a glimpse into his soul.  To understand the honesty that is in the way he smiles and the way he answers questions.  I watched an interview today and I was just in awe and the way he spoke and loved.  He simply did not show anger, or even one bit of arrogance.  I had to say a little prayer of thanks.  I have no idea why God allowed Ryan to stay in jail for so long, but I know that it was for a reason.  I know that someone has had their life changed for the better because of Ryan's experience.  

Then I got to thinking about how much effort and love were put into setting Ryan free.  Don't get me wrong I am so glad...and I know it is not over for him.  I completely agree that they should keep fighting.  But I wonder if as many people are standing up for the children in the world that are being put in prison everyday.  Maybe not a physical prison, but an emotional one.   The children that have to work for their food, and not any kind of work that an educated adult would take.  The children and women that are sold as slaves for others pleasure.  

What are we doing for them?  Are we putting this same kind of energy and passion into helping them?  

I know I probably am not.  I sometimes get so complacent about it.  Like it is just something that happens.  Being in the Philippines I feel like I am constantly surrounded by people that are living a lifestyle I don't agree with.  You know what I mean the 80 year old men with the 20 year old women (actually some of them look 15).  It sickens me, yet what am I doing about it?  

Am I paying as  much attention to the posts that I get about human trafficking as I did about the Ferguson case?  

I can tell you that I am not.  Why?  I honestly wish that I knew.  But I don't have the answer for that...at least not today.  

For now, just like I did for Ryan back when I was in Thailand...I will pray for those that are slaves, and those that right at this moment are being forced into a lifestyle that is not their choice.  I will pray for freedom, and I will pray that God would show me and everyone around the world what He wants us to do.  

Just like this case...maybe it will take longer than 10 years...but we can't stop fighting....we have to press on, because in the end the effort is worth whatever sacrifice we must make.  

Thankfulness 11-14...

Day 11- I am thankful for clean water.  I know that in many places they don't have clean water.  I know that in many places the idea of clean water is just this dream.  I know that I am so blessed to have clean water on a daily basis.  

Day 12- I am thankful for expression.  I am thankful that I have learned how to express myself through writing.  I am so thankful that I have been able to write during this month of November almost on a daily basis.  I have been able to write down my life, and my thoughts.  I am so thankful for the written word.  

Day 13- I am thankful that Ryan Ferguson was freed.  I am thankful that his story shows one of love and faith.  I am thankful that he is the kind of man that does not want to seek revenge, but justice.  

Day 14- I am thankful for Koreans.  I am so thankful for that culture, because even though I am in the middle of the Philippines I am learning so much about the Korean culture.  I am also getting to eat some tasty Korean food! 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Living Without Regrets...

We are never guaranteed a tomorrow.  We never know when the day we are walking around in will be our last.  For thousands of people in the Philippines this past week was their last week here on earth.  They will never again be able to physically hold their child, or kiss their mother on the cheek.  They will never again physically be able to say how much they appreciate that their best friend always knows when to show up with a Carmel Cappuccino from Starbucks.  They will never again be able to look their 8 month old son in the eyes and see his grin as he tries to grab the hair that is in his grasp.  For some people this past weekend was their worst nightmare. 

It causes me to think about my family and friends back in Missouri and scattered throughout the world.  Do I have regrets?  Is there anyone that I need to connect with that I haven't done so in awhile?  Is there anyone that I need to make sure I know that they know exactly how much they are loved?  I find that being here in the Philippines is giving me more time to live my life than it ever has before.  I am finding that I am able to ponder things that I have taken for granted before, and I am able to just sit back and be thankful for the moments I have to catch up and take notice of people that I have not heard from in awhile.  I am so very thankful that I am not caught up in being so busy that I don't have time to just sit and think. 

Being here in the Philippines when one of the worst Typhoons has hit ever has caused me to really think about life.  I don't ever want to have regrets.  I don't want to ever wish that I had said those three little words, or shown through my actions just how much I care.  I stink at emotions, and feelings.  I know I do.  I probably will always stink at it, most of the time because I am trying to protect myself.  I am trying to not get rejected.  But you know what? 

Rejection makes you stronger, and if that is the worse that can happen.  If the worse is that someone rejects you...then so what!  You get rejected and you move forward.  You heal and you move on, or you mend that relationship that got broken in the first place.  But you don't just sit around and feel sorry for yourself.  There is too little of life left to waste just feeling sorry for yourself.  Rejection sucks....I mean it really sucks.  It makes you feel like you are worth nothing, it makes you feel like maybe God made a mistake when he created you.  But He didn't.  There are no mistakes.  No matter what....there are no mistakes. Not in creation, not in orchestrating things, and not in the people that we meet. 

I pray for those families that have lost loved ones this weekend.  I pray for them because I know what it is like to feel loss and pain.  I know what it is like to want to call up my relative or friend and not be able to.  But unfortunately this world is not without pain and destruction.  It stinks and it makes us wonder why.  It makes us really just question how an earthquake and a typhoon can hit the same exact area of the world less than a month apart?  Why? 

I question why it needed to take place, but it is not for me to ask why...it is for me to pray and do what I can.  Part of what I can do is to live with no regrets.  To understand that no matter what I need to be able to be vulnerable.  Even if it means rejection.  Even if it means that I get hurt.  Being hurt and growing from that hurt, is better than taking no chances.  Better than living a life without risk. 

Thankfulness....Day 10

Today I am thankful for education.  I am thankful that I had the ability to go to school, get a great education and continue on to get my Masters degree.  I am thankful that despite my debt I am able to work in places around the world, and enjoy learning about other cultures.  My career has allowed me to see so many different places, and gain knowledge on a daily basis.  I am so thankful that I can continue to learn and grow in my profession on a daily basis.  I will never stop learning or teaching, no matter where life takes me. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

A month on this Island....

Tomorrow will mark my 1 month anniversary of being in the Philippines.  I still can't believe that I have been here a month.  I am so thankful for how quickly it is going. I am thankful that I have been able to settle into this new life.  I am thankful that I am able to be a part of a community.  Even if it is kind of a weird community.  Last night about 18 of us went out to celebrate someone's birthday.  It was so much fun, and I did realize that there is something about just being out with people that makes me happy. I miss having a community.  I miss just being able to laugh.  But the thing is that I would trade it in for my family.  To be able to hang out with them and watch football.  I would totally trade my exotic life for that.  

I am thankful for this opportunity.  I am thankful that I get to be here for this time, but I am also looking forward.  I am hopeful for what the future brings.  I am hopeful that there is something great about to happen.  Something that will change my life and other lives.  I am thankful for time to just think and ponder.  The fact that I can be surrounded by people, or completely alone.  

In this month I have learned so much about the Korean culture and the Filipino culture.  I am thankful that I can laugh and get to know both cultures.  That my students can speak 3 different languages, and that they are able to learn.  

My students all got over 100% on their spelling test this week.  Do you know how excited I was.  I was seriously so excited!  I am so thankful that I have a group of kids that want to learn!  

It makes me feel like I am really doing something!   

Days 7, 8, 9.....

Day 7....Thankful for Comfort Food...

Okay...I know that this seems like a dumb thing to be thankful for, but honestly I am so thankful for those things I find when I am living in another country that just automatically make me think of home.  I am thankful for Pop Tarts, and doritos.  I am thankful that no matter where I go, God gives me just enough of American food to keep me sane.  

Day 8...Thankful for Safety....

I have had my share of crazy adventures overseas.  The airport being closed for 2 1/2 weeks right during Christmas time.  A flood on my street causing school to be closed.  Army tanks rolling in to stop protestors.  Now I can add Typhoon to the list.  I am thankful that God keeps me safe, and continues to work in my life.  It is an awesome feeling.  

Day 9....Thankful for Friends...

I am thankful for friends to laugh with, and have fun with.  Maybe not all my friends are the share your darkest secrets kind of friends, but I am thankful that I have enough of those...that I am okay with just the hang out and have a drink kind of friends.  I am thankful for new connections as well as old ones.  So thankful for how God works to bring people in and out of my life at just the right time.  Ofcourse I can never forget the ones that have seen me through some of my darkest days.  So very thankful!!!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Day 6...thankfulness

Today I am thankful for God's control and provision.  Sometimes in the course of my life I have really been confused by how God was working, and if He was working at all.  I am thankful that today I see Him.  I see Him in such a huge way that it is almost unbelievable.  I am thankful that God knows exactly what I need and when even if I don't!


I'm not doing so great at this whole Thankfulness blogging....my mind has been a bit preoccupied...so here goes....

Day 4
I am thankful for Starbucks....yes I said it.  There is just something about walking into Starbucks, no matter where I am in the world that makes me feel like home.  I love it and am so thankful for it.  

Day 5
I am thankful for my family.  We have been through so many things together.  So many ups and downs.  But I am so thankful that they are always there for me.  They are my strength, and I am who I am because of them.  

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Day 3...Thankfulness

Day 3 I am thankful for football.  I am thankful that football is something that brings people together, no matter what team you cheer for.  There is always a football game to watch. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be part of a football-loving family!!!! 

Thankfulness Days 1 and 2

I decided that this year I wanted to do more than just write a thankful status.  I want to really understand for myself what I am thankful for...so look out....30 blogs of Thankfulness.  Hope you enjoy!  Some days might be together, because I'm not quite as good about blogging daily as I should be....

Day 1:  I'm thankful for Sunsets.  There is just something about seeing the colors included in a sunset that truly make me thankful for a Creator.  I can't stop loving them.  No matter if I am sitting on top of a mountain, at the beach, or driving down a mid-western road.  I love sunsets.  I love watching the colors disappear knowing that tomorrow will be a new day.  Knowing that no matter what good or bad things happened during the day, I can start over in the morning.  

Day 2:  I am thankful for celebrity status.  I know this sounds really non-humble of me.  Today though as I walked around I thought how thankful I am to be American and blonde.  I may not always crave attention and sometimes it drives me up the wall.  But I am thankful that I can be who I want to be in this place, and get compliments right and left.  I am thankful for my status as an American.  Even if I did nothing to deserve it! 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The lighter side of life

I got to watch the world series today.  It was from the comfort of my own bed, without anyone else helping me to cheer the Cards on, but I still was so excited to be able to actually watch it as it was happening.  I am simply in awe of how far the world has come even in the 12 years that I have been venturing overseas.  I am amazed that I can download and app....pay $3 and be able to watch the world series that is happening where my sister lives on the other side of the world.  How crazy is that? 

Its things like these that don't make living here seem so far away.  It makes life a little more bearable.  I am so thankful for the internet.  For the fact that I can have daily communication with my family and friends.  I am so thankful that I am blessed in this way! 

And for grills!  Even in the Philippines...Sunday afternoon is grilling time!  ;) 

Never going to get used to facing poverty

No matter what I will never know what it is like to stare poverty in the face.  I will never know what it is like to not have enough money to buy food for my family, to not live comfortably in a bed within a house with windows and doors.  To be afraid that my child will get deathly sick, and I won't have the means to take care of him/her.  I will never know what this is like.  

I was born privileged...in the midst of a culture that understands fairness.  In a culture that has pretty much every advantage there is in the world.  I can visit any country that I want to without wondering if I will be able to get in, or if I will have to flee once again.  I can buy anything at the store, or go out to eat when I don't feel like cooking.  I was born knowing as a woman that I have a voice.  I do not have to conform to men and I can stand up for my rights.  Rights that I have always had, I have never had to defend them.  Even when I am visiting places where women don't have those rights, I still do.  I am still able to live my life with a voice.  My voice has never been taken from me.  My voice has never had to be disguised.  I have always been able to say exactly what I feel with little or no consequences.  

How often do I take for granted the fact that I have been born privileged?  How often do I take for granted that I will always have a place to live, and food on the table.  Even if I am in a job change, there are people that will always be able to provide for me, because they were also born privileged.  Yes, we have worked for what we have, yes I have gotten into hundreds of dollars of debt, just to be where I am at.   Never really earning enough to pay off loans that keep creeping up on me.  But, if I am really honest, this is the least of my worries.  

I am able to live comfortably.  I still buy starbucks at least once a week, if not more often.  I eat meat, and fresh vegetables almost every single day.  I have a Kindle, Ipad and laptop.  I live with running water and electricity.  I ride on a bus to and from the mall, where I buy my groceries.  There is nothing in this scenario that says I am suffering, yet I always want more.  

I always want to have the best ipad...new clothes....and things that will make my life more comfortable.  Why is this?  When did I learn to want more.  When did I learn to never be content with what I have.  To always look for more?  

How do I step back and see just how privileged I am?  

I spent two years in the states.  Two years being somewhat unhappy with my state of life, because life was very convenient.  I was surrounded by family and friends, yet I found just about every reason to complain.  I was able to choose from about 20 different churches, yet I couldn't seem to find a place to "fit in."  

Here I am stuck out in the middle of nowhere and I find myself more grateful than ever before.  The fact that I have internet, running water, and air con.  I am so thankful that I spent the evening just hanging out and talking with a friend.  

Why can't I see poverty when it is staring me straight in the face, everyday.  Why can't I step outside of myself, and see just how lucky I am to have the bare necessities....but really so much more.  

I hate debt, and money....but at least I had the privilege to get an education, and the means to pay it off eventually.  

When I step outside the gate, and look around I see poverty.  I see people working their butts off just to make a dollar, and I think...I will never be able to understand.  I will never see clearly what it means to live their life...to walk in their shoes, and to live in poverty.  

Monday, October 21, 2013

Community means taking the good with the bad

I prayed for this... I prayed that I could live in community with people.  Fellow believers, people that I can cook with, laugh with and take pictures with.  I am excited to see how this year goes.  I am not sure that I will be here much longer than this school year, but I am thankful for this opportunity.  I am thankful that I can for once look outside myself and see what it is truly like to just give without caring if you get anything back in return.  Have I ever really done that?  No, probably not.  I am not even sure that I am doing it now, but I sure am trying.  I am trying to understand where others are coming from.  Trying to grasp how we can all be so alike and so different at the same time.  Its funny to me how many things get lost in translation.  How many times I have to remind myself that I am amongst people that are not speaking English as a native language.  There are going to be things that we don't understand.  There are going to be words that are misconstrued and there are going to be times when all I want to do is transform myself into a super hero so I can fly back to the U.S. where things make sense.  Or at least make sense in the way that I am used to. 

Tonight everyone who lives in my section of the school housing were actually in the same place at the same time.  We were all downstairs, doing some form of cooking/eating together, and it was wonderful.  5 people from 5 different backgrounds living in community.  I can't even describe how great I feel knowing that I have people here living near me that value me as a person and as an individual.  I think a huge part of it has to do with the majority being Korean.  There is just something about Asian cultures that draws me...seriously I just want to eat Kimchi all day long!  :) 

We have a bit of drama going on around here right now.  It has the ability to create major chaos into our lives. I hope that it doesn't but honestly there is nothing in the situation that is under my control, and honestly nothing that is of my business really.  Yet we all know about.  That is the part of  community that I could do without.  The fact that everyone knows what is happening, especially if there is drama.  Why can't we just live our lives drama-free?  Why can't we just look and things from others perspectives, and help each other out? 

Because we are imperfect, because we live in a world that is desperate for good.  Desperate to be taken out of the muck and sadness.  Desperate to be shown how to live without hate, without pain and without sorrow. 

If only we could really live our lives that way.  If only we could see beyond ourselves and understand what it means to have absloutely nothing.  I'm not talking about not being able to afford starbucks.  I am talking about not knowing how you are going to feed your family for the next 2 weeks.  Desperation that causes people to do things that are horrible.  Desperation that causes doubt of love, and forgiveness.  Desperation that gives up of ever having hope again. 

How do we live with hope ourselves when the world is crying out to be healed.  When we look at something that happened, and ask God why.  Ask God how that could happen.  How could someone who is already desperate be asked to do more? 

Walking in another's shoes....can we really ever grasp it? 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

New Start

New starts are the same as new beginnings
you never know how it is going to end
you never know how it is going to change

Stepping out and opening up
to a culture to a world that is mixed-up
a place that you don't always understand
a place that is yet to be called home

The beginning is tough,
individual needs and culture come above all else
Fighting to understand what makes a place a home
Fighting to understand how to communicate

There are so many differences
and so much change

Security and safety are there, but not
Vulnerability and love seem to be one in the same
But how do you put your  perspective away and see
someone else's way?

A Korean language journey

Three times a week there is a shuttle that goes from the school apartments/dorms to town.  You can hope on the bus and get dropped off at the mall.  I plan on taking advantage of this bus at least twice a week, just to get out and have some different scenery.  

Today on the way I was in the bus with all Koreans.  Granted it is a Korean school, but it just struck me as odd.  I have nothing against the Korean culture in fact I am excited to say that some of my greatest friends have been Korean.  But there is something about being in the Philippines, and being amongst Koreans.  Two cultures clashing, and bringing in a third to help go along with it.  There are so many similarities, and yet so many differences.  

I am thankful that I get this chance.  I get to break down walls and barriers that are built up because of language and the color of skin (even though we want to all pretend they aren't there...they are!)

Sometimes I don't mind not understanding what is being said.  It creates a safety blanket for me.  I can sit and observe without having to interact.  I get to be around people, but do not have to experience the social awkwardness of trying to speak in another language.  I have seen people struggle as they are trying to speak English and frankly I am thankful that at this point I speak neither Korean or Tagalog.

One day soon I might change my mind, but for now I am content to just sit and observe.  To take in my surroundings and be thankful that God understands us all! 

Emotions are raging...and I wonder why?

Today I got really angry at something that was not even that big of a deal, but do you ever have those days when you just don't want to hear a million explanations of why something is the way it is.  You just want someone to tell you what they want to tell you without giving you a 10 minute explanation of  why it is this way.  

That was me today.  All I wanted to know was what I needed to pay for bills this month.  I didn't need to know who got what money, and why.  I just wanted to pay my bill and be done.  I am still a little bit irritated about it, and I think I may have hurt someone's feelings, but the truth is that sometimes I think we feel like we have to justify every little thing, and honestly we don't.  There is no reason to explain to me unless I ask.  

I know I need more grace for others, because I know that I am not perfect.  I have to say that I am not perfect, and so I continue to learn how to handle things the right way.  Most of the time, I probably handle them the complete wrong way.  For that I am really sorry, and do hope that some day I can change.  Baby steps...a little bit at a time.  


Christmas comes early on this island...

Last weekend one of the things that I found just totally crazy was the fact that Christmas decorations were everywhere.  Apparently they start celebrating 100 days before Christmas.  So...there is Christmas music playing and Christmas decorations around every corner.  I am finding it a little difficult to get into the Christmas spirit.  I love Christmas, but I need Thanksgiving to come first before I can really get into the Christmas spirit.  It does give me a sense of joy though.  Joy to know that Christmas is not going to go by without being celebrated.  

This year I will be in the Philippines....a couple weeks ago I was really upset at the idea of staying in Kuwait for Christmas due to funds, but now...well I am pretty excited about what awaits this Christmas season.  Maybe a trip...and a trekk...and just some good fun!  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Light in a palm tree

I honestly have to stop myself and wonder if I am going to wake up at any minute and be back in my bed in Kuwait.  I have been just walking around so free from the things that were weighing me down.  I am still unsure if all of this had to take place.  How does one really know the will of God?  Can we change the will of God?  Or are we just living life, and we make choices and God is the one orchestrating our choices?  How exactly does that work.  I am sure that everyone has an answer, and honestly I am not looking to get into a debate, I am just curious at this point in time.  

Tonight I am writing this from my room!  For those of you that have never been without internet, well you probably don't understand what a huge joy it is to be sitting in my clean, organized room writing on my computer and enjoying the fact that I am able to just ponder and thing about what is to come.  

My students are amazing.  Today I had to implement the give me 5 rule, but honestly it was not even that big of a deal.  I don't want to just let them get away with stuff because it feels so lax from my other jobs that I have had recently, but I also just feel this huge joy in just letting them be kids.  They are truly super great.  I know it is only the first day, but honestly I just think about things that I have had to deal with in the past I am so very thankful.  

I doubt if I will ever be called a monster or the F-bomb in this school or this country for that matter.  

Today I had a co-worker ask what is wrong with America.  Why is it that you can step into an Asian (mostly Korean) school and find kids that respect you.  Even the older students have treated me with the upmost respect every single time they pass me in the hallway.  What is it that we are or aren't doing in America that is causing this disrespect for all adults, but I hate to admit it...mostly teachers and parents?  

Is it because we have stopped telling kids no?  Is it because we aren't wanting to hurt a kids feelings, so we just allow them to do whatever they want and talk any way that they want?  What is it that is causing our teachers to quit, and our students to utterly fail because they do not understand what the term respect means.  
How do we change this?  

I don't know...honestly I have no idea.  I wish I did.  I wish I could write a book called...The Secrets of the Asians....an educational guide to respectful students.  That has a catchy title doesn't it?  

My students are amazing!  They make me laugh, and they make me cry.  

I have two girls that can't speak English...really at all.  But I am seeing them as my challenge.  2 out of 10 is much better than 19 out of 23!  

Tonight I am praying that I can hold on to this perspective, this joy, and this view of adventure.  I don't want to lose what I am feeling.  I don't want to be here for 2 months and want to get out.  

Challenge accepted....look to the bright side...see life as the adventure it was meant to be!  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

grammar isn't my strong point today....

Ugghh...just read my latest post, and the grammar was horrible!  Sorry!

A new start....and a deep breath

My first day in a new place, surrounded by people that I have known less than 48 hours (for the most part) and I feel more at home then I have in a long time.  I am not ready to say that this is where I am meant to be, but I am thankful for a little less stress, and a lot more smiles.  I didn't really realize how much I missed walking down the hallway and being greeted with smiles.  Or walking just about anywhere for that matter.  

My first day was nothing like I expected.  The 10 2nd graders met me with blank stares and silent words.  I could see a lot of apprension in the way they entered my classroom, and the way they timidly answered questions.  The confidence was just not there.  There was this underlying timidness (is that even a word) that I have not seen since, Thailand.  So many interactions today reminded me of those first days in Thailand.  Before I knew the culture, before I knew the people, and before my students felt comfortable enough to misbehave.  Still it is going to be hard for me to believe that these kids will ever be to the degree that I have seen in my travels.  

As I looked around my class today, I felt this sense of wonder and awe at the fact that I was placed, here for these kids.  These kids that can pretty much write perfect sentences.  I know that seems normal, but I am telling you when you are teaching kids that don't even know how to put together a simple sentence, it is amazing to see some that just write away.  

Writing is one of my favorite thing, and so to have  kids that love writing I feel beyond blessed.  I feel like it is my special gift.  I get to teach kids that share my passion!  How awesome is that!  

I'm not saying that everything is perfect, there have been some crazy things today, but the thing is that nothing is getting me down like it was before.  I am not wanting to scream and cry right now, which is saying a lot.  I am even still at school and not feeling like bashing my head against the wall.  I am excited to see what these kids will do.  

I am excited to get to know this culture, and learn a lot.  

I am also excited to say that I will be writing my book...I'm going to do it!  This is my chance...living on a island in the middle of nowhere...can't get better than that!  

Monday, October 14, 2013

Tears of joy and heartache

Here I am...sitting in a classroom that will either be home to 1st graders or 2nd graders.  I entered this country in a Typhoon, the first of many apparently to come.  I am still a little apprehensive if this was the right choice, but honestly I felt like it was the only one I had.  I didn't want to quit, I don't like to give up...but my morals are higher than that.  I need to be able to look at myself in the mirror and be okay with who I am, and what I stand for.  

Since this is a public post I am not going to bash everyone and everything that happened.  But I am going to say that I am not okay with just giving kids A's.  I am not okay with making all kids take the exact same test, and learn the exact same way.  That is not the way this world works.  We aren't all the same.  We don't all have the same brains, and if we did it would be one boring world.  Maybe I am just an average teacher, maybe I don't belong in a private school that has crazy amounts of pressure.  I do know that I am worth more than just being an American face who gives whatever grade the parents want.  I am a good teacher.  I desire to see my students grow and learn more everyday.  

My choice to leave wasn't easy.  My choice to leave in many ways caused me to feel like I was giving up.  Like I was throwing in the towel, and not really trying.  The thing is that I have lived and worked places that made me a miserable person.  I have stayed in places where I didn't agree with the way that they treated their employees.  I know what it is like to go somewhere, and feel like you aren't valued.  I know what its like to have everyone forget to include you in a travel plan.  I also know what it is like to meet the best people in the world, and have great friends.  

So, the choice wasn't easy.  The money was great, the workload wasn't horrible.  But in the end I couldn't stand and watch kids pressured to get A's.  Kids that should have been practicing sounds and letters instead of being forced to learn words like Inquiry and Infer.  

I still am unsure if I made the right decision, but it is done.  

I have found myself at a school in the Philippines.  Smack down in the middle of a Korean community.  There are no taxis around, and the way I will be getting to the store is to take the school provided shuttle twice a week.  So, I will literally live and work with the people.  It is dorm-style housing.  With a common living area and kitchen.  We each have a room upstairs.  

3 years ago I would have died if you had told me that this would be my life.  I would have been so upset, but honestly I am excited to be in community again.  To have people to talk to, and eat with.  I am excited to make it in a place that doesn't have every modern convenience known to man.  Although the internet might not be reliable.  I can handle this for a year.  I can handle what is to come...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A first view...

I am hoping that this blog is going to filled with pictures and posts of adventures I take.  Right now I am kind of flying solo in all my adventures.  It is a first for me.  Usually I have at least one or two people that I find I connect great with, and we are able to go on some grand adventures.  Amy and Dami----I miss you!  But for now I have to be content with just hanging out, and trying things on my own.  So here's to adventure in a foreign land.  Hoping that I am able to meet people and visit places that will enhance my life, and others.