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Archive for September, 2011

Ants

So I didn’t want to include this in the other post simply because there are two completely different thoughts, but I think it is posting worthy.  I’ve mentioned to in various skype conversations that I have an ant problem in my bedroom and in my classroom.  Thus far, I’m just accepted it as life and endured annoyance.  Though today, it reached two new lows.

First, after having sat at my computer entering grades today I got up and was walking around the room and noticed a sensation on my arm.  Sure enough there are those pesky ants crawling all over me.  That was annoying but fine.

Second, I made a late night dinner of veggies mixed with pasta, a little butter, oregano, thyme, and a few other herbs around the kitchen.  I ate my bowl of food in my room, which I never do, and then set the bowl down.  I had an hour-long skype call and then turned around to pick up the dirty bowl and it was swarming with ants.  Half out of disgust and amazement I took a picture.  Maybe I could understand the problem a little better if I had food in my room, but I don’t.  I almost never eat in my room and there isn’t any other food for them to eat in here!  The trail of ants extended from the bowl to the door, about 6 feet.  I need a remedy for this ant problem, suggestions? (I also think these ants are immune to Raid. I sprayed them with it, and they just keep working.)

 

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A Quote

I’ve started going to a Bible study Wednesday nights with a few other teachers at Lincoln.  When we first got together we didn’t really know what we wanted to study, only that we wanted a community that could grow in our love and knowledge of God and grow in our love and knowledge of each other.  Last Wednesday another teacher quoted a pastor, David Platt, regarding Ruth. (The series we’re studying.)  Have you ever heard a quote before and just thought, wow?  Here it is…..

“May there be more Ruths. Woman who forsake earthly pleasure and worldly security and comfort and boldly, with adventurous faith, trust deeply in God.  That do what makes no sense to the women of the world around them, and do that which seems to forsake all the good stuff this world has to offer and says, ‘I will trust in You not just now, but for all of eternity.'”

I have never before read something over and over and been so convicted with the thought, this is what I want.  Yet at the same time feeling, do I really want this? I suppose some of the fear lies in, what if forsaking the “good stuff this world has to offer” and “what makes no sense to the women of this world” means that I never get married and have a family? That may seem trivial or old fashion to some of you, but it is something that I genuinely desire in my future.

I’ve been staring at the point for a while now and no real way to effectively communicate my thoughts.  I guess I’m going to fade out with this.  Jeremiah 29:11 says, He knows the plans he has for me. Plans to give me a hope and a future.  I commit to trusting this promise and all of God’s promises daily, and I know that means that what ever happens in the future, good and bad, falls within his promises. I trust him now and for all eternity.

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A Car = Freedom

I’ve always known that a car is a symbol for freedom and adventure, but today I “knew” what that truly means.  A few months ago my pastor was talking about Ephesians and explaining that the Hebrew word or Greek word for know not only meant head knowledge but personal experience.  I personally experienced the thrill and adventure of freedom in a car.

Although this was not my first time driving in Mexico, it was my first real trip.  Charla, being the wonderful woman she is, graciously allowed myself and three other girls to use her van to drive to Tonala. I won the opportunity to drive because I’d been to Tonala once before…….. a year ago. 🙂 Parents, don’t freak out but driving to Tonala is not a short trip.  I think it was like 30/45 minutes, I’m not sure cause I was so focused on the driving.  What a thrill though!!! I was so nervous, and couldn’t believe these girls were allowing me to drive them.  I made it to the first large glorieta near Plaza del Sol and it was locked up with traffic, I wasn’t exactly sure where to go but I was pretty sure I was in the wrong lane.  Bah! I made it around, and eventually all the way to Tonala.  We never got lost, and although there were a couple close calls with other drivers being reckless,  there were no issues!  On our way back, I started to relax and really enjoy the drive.  Not only was I out doing what I wanted in a car, but I was confidently driving at this point.  FREEDOM!! Today I experienced what freedom in a car means, something that hasn’t been felt since I was 16.  🙂

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What a….. day……multiple days?

Week 6 is complete!  And not without a bang!

Thursday night was rough emotionally for me.  I’m beginning to wonder if there is a week that I won’t say this.  I had the wonderful opportunity to skype with Bethany and her two wonderful nephews.  They just kept saying my name, talking to me, and jumping around. It was beautiful and much wanted, and yet at the same time caused me such pain.  Those little boys mean a lot to me and seeing them and hearing them brought the desire to play with them to the fore front of my mind.  Unfortunately, at this point in my skype date the internet went out for the rest of the night.  Lucky me.  I was pretty upset and frustrated with myself, the internet, life in general.  I ate dinner with my house girls and truly tried to put on a better attitude and enjoy their company but my tears were winning out.  I headed to bed around 9 and spent some time reading a book.  The book I’m reading, Heavenly Man, is such an encouragement and spiritually challenging.  He is a man who has suffered emotionally, physically, and truly in every way for Jesus’ name.  While reading last night I realized that not all suffering for Jesus is physical.  I would definitely say that I was/am suffering emotionally for Jesus at this point in my life.  Before you raise an eye brow and go, “Really?” let me explain.

It truly is difficult to pack up your life in three suitcases and move to a new country.  To a place where you constantly stand out.  Eyes follow you wherever you go, it’s difficult at times to find the things you want at grocery stores, or any store for that matter, and things that used to be simple, like going to the bank, now require paperwork and a translator.  In some ways I feel like I am so dependent on other people to exist here that it is hard to feel like I’m 23, almost 24.  I feel like I’ve regressed back into college, but without the freedom of my car. This is simply just life and normally these things I embrace as a challenge I will overcome, but this week it’s more exhausting.  The truly difficult part is being separated from family and friends.  I know they love me and that doesn’t change with distance, but it isn’t the same.  No matter what you say or try to do, typing (hug) doesn’t satisfy the need and desire for real human contact.  Talking with those back home is difficult.  Finding coordinating time is difficult, and when we do the internet fails or it’s so good to hear their voice that I end up in tears. It’s also hard to admit and accept that people, regardless of age, will not be the same when I return as they were when I left.  My relationship with that person will not be the same as when I left.  Because my life is so different from people’s at home, it’s easy to feel like everyone has moved on and forgotten about me.  It’s easy to believe the lies that Satan starts to whisper in those moments of missing people at home.   I started this rant with a purpose, so I’ll get back to that now.  All this said, it is difficult for these and so many other reasons, to live in a new country with new people.

I do feel that I am emotionally suffering for Christ because I fully know and acknowledge that He is the reason I am here right now.  As I tried to explain to a friend,  I love my job, my students, the people I live with, my city and I know about all else that this is exactly where God wants me.  These truths don’t change the truth that is also difficult to be so separated from family and close friends.  Although I may not face the extreme suffering of Brother Yun,  this is the suffering that has been placed in front of me right now, and how I choose to respond and glorify God through this suffering is no different that if I were physically being beaten. This was Thursday last night, Friday morning brought a whole new set of challenges.

I had to miss the day of school yesterday.  Yes, I said, had.  I was required to go take care of some paper work in order to be a legal working resident here.  After a crazy morning collecting papers for the sub, I traveled to downtown Guadalajara only to discover that I could not do any paperwork for various reasons.  Despite this set back, I truly enjoyed the day talking with a fellow teacher and grading work.  The teacher and I talked about a lot, and it was so good to talk to someone here where I live about some of the emotional challenges of living so far from family. It was just another example of how God provided the person and opportunity to talk, without distractions, at the point in my week when I really needed a listening ear and someone who can truly understand these complex emotions.

For my sub, I prayed she would understand my lessons and that the students would behave.  I arrived back to school about 5 minutes before dismissal and discovered there had been a pretty serious problem during the day with several of my students.  I was so embarrassed. Four of my students had been passing around a paper during an activity and then another two students used the paper to start writing a note back and forth.  It started out as any note does and then quickly turned to some pretty vulgar language. When the sub confiscated it she saw what it was and turned it over to my principle. So as soon as I walked back into school I had to deal with these six students.  Again I say, I was/am so embarrassed. I have never had any trouble with notes being passed or students saying vulgar words, but as soon as I step out of the classroom……… sigh, I need to remind myself that it was only two boys out of my 23.  So I officially passed out four discipline forms and two suspensions for the first time.

Immediately after dealing with this, I rushed to meet my Spanish tutor for our weekly hour lesson.  I think I’ve said this before, but she is an angel.  I truly appreciate the time with her.  Once again I kind of dominated the class with conversation, but I love trying to speak with her in Spanish and listening to her.  I want to know her better and I’m grateful for Friday afternoons when I can.  We talked about a variety of things, and she truly helped me understand some complex relationships and issues in my class.  It was a great conversation, but it left my head full of thoughts.  As I left school I was overwhelmed with a sense of loneliness that I was going home and there was no one whom I could share these thoughts and concerns with.  I needed to process them with someone and although I love the girls I live with, I’m not the type of person to just walk up to one of them and spill my guts.  As I walked in the door, the three girls I’m the closest with were sitting in the kitchen waiting for me.  They immediately asked about my day and continued asking questions, loving on me in a way that I needed.  They patiently listened as I shared the issues on my heart, and contributed to the previous conversation in a way that helped me think through some things.  Although the girls may not be aware, I 100% believe they were specifically placed in that kitchen by God to continue to remind me that he knows my needs and is providing for me while I’m away from family and close friends.  More so, God is providing me a new family and another set of close friends. As I’ve reflected on these past 48 hours, I’m realizing that although I miss my relationships with people in the US, God has provided me with genuine relationships here and I shouldn’t minimize those.  I’m so thankful for them, more than my words can express.

This is an extremely long post.  If you’ve read it all, congratulations! Charla, thank you again for the sweetarts!  I’ve finished them as I wrote this blog.  🙂

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Recent Pictures


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Independence Day Weekend

It’s Sunday night and I’m about to start my 6th week of teaching.  This past weekend was wonderful and unique for many different reasons. I arose early and headed out of Guadalajara to the beautiful city of Guanajuato.  Its picturesque buildings nuzzled in between the mountains was breathtaking.  Much of my time was spent walking around, taking pictures, talking with friends, eating great food, and taking time to rest.  Although, I don’t think these last two nights have been the best nights of sleep I’ve ever had.  I experienced my first hostel, and was over all extremely pleased.  It was safe, cozy, and relatively close to everything.  Unfortunately, I’m just not used to such noisy sleeping arrangements. Between the party above us and the traffic outside my window, I think I slept in increments of thirty minutes all night.  It’s a strange sensation to feel like you’re sleeping but to still hear all the traffic noise.  Needless to say, I’m tired and apprehensive about school tomorrow.  It’s time for bed now and hopefully some day in the future I’ll post important things about this weekend and possibly some pictures.

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Another week ends and another adventure begins.  This morning began with a flag salute in honor of Mexico’s Independence Day.  What a fun experience!  I enjoyed dressing in the Mexican colors and celebrating with my students.  If I’d been thinking I would have brought a camera to have taken pictures….. sorry.  Never the less, it was a fun morning.

Later in the afternoon I further expressed the idea with my students that we are each part of the 5th grade body.  I had them first trace and cut out their hands.  We tried to make a body out of their hands, but obviously it didn’t work.  Next, I had them draw out of a jar a body part assigned to each of them to draw.  On the body part they drew, they wrote their name and one thing they like about themselves or that they are good at.  While they were cutting and drawing I read from 1 Corinthians 12 and talked about we need every part of the body and we need them to be different.  When they were done I called each student up one at a time and had them glue their body part to a large sheet of paper.  I introduced each student, what part of the body they were, and what they were good at or like about themselves.  I put my arm around each one and verbally affirmed every student.  Then I had the rest of the class applaud for each student because we are excited and glad that they are part of the 5th grade body.  By the time we were done we had one of the most unusual looking “bodies” I’ve ever seen, and I love it!  It perfectly describes my class.  Each student different, unique, and wonderfully made!  It was a great afternoon, and I think my kiddos loved it too.  It was great to see them eager to applaud for each other, and at the end of the day so many of my kids just wanted to stand around me.  It was so darn cute! They just wanted hugs and to be loved on; who doesn’t want that?  I’m so glad that I’m at a school and in a culture that accepts and encourages this.

Tonight has been full of lesson planning and relaxing. I’m so worn out. I know it has everything to do with staying up late, but I’ve started this habit that I can’t seem to break.  I’m home alone at the moment, a nice change from the normal, when I was walking back to my room I discovered a tiny brown gecko/lizard/salamander outside my door.  Now, there had been a similar creature in my room a few days ago and my dad had asked only an hour before if I’d found the little guy.  And behold, there he was!  Needless to say, I trapped him and have decided to make him my pet.  Unfortunately, I have no idea what he (maybe a she) is or what to feed it.  My research is proving to be worthless.  I need someone to just tell me what it is and how to feed it.  My concern is over this weekend.  I leave at the dark hour of 6:30am tomorrow for the lovely city of Guanajuato for our extended weekend.  I’m looking forward to a new town, with new experiences.  I sure love living in Mexico, and I think it’s time some family headed this way to see the beautiful place I live and love.  I hope my new little friend survives.

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