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Archive for April, 2012

Late April Break Update

So here is what I’ve been up to since Wednesday.

Thursday: Got up and started strong working on plans and projects for the remaining two months.  Sadly, didn’t get much accomplished before Chelsea, Shelia, and I headed to Bancomer to see about getting our debit cards to work. 4 hours later, in total, we have access to our paychecks! I finished the night out strong with a skype date with Bethany.

Friday: I slept in! I mean, really slept in ’till like 10:30am. That’s saying a lot for me, but I put the rest of the day to good use creating lesson plans and mapping out curriculum. Chelsea and I, being the only two left at the Big House, took a short break to get paletas and then built a fort in the back yard and set up our own kiddy pool. Then it was off to another skype date with Miss Sarah Caley!

Saturday: Being inspired by Sarah’s plan to read through the Bible, I began my own plan until Chelsea roused me from my bed. The next several hours were spent cleaning the house. Finishing at about 3, Chelsea and I hopped in our much deflated and water depleted pool for some reading and sun bathing. Then it was time to shower and get ready for our third Salsa dancing lesson.

Chelsea is a natural dancer and picks things up extremely fast. I’m enjoying it too, but I think our instructor realized this week how little I understand of what he is saying. We learned several new steps and towards the end of our lesson he said we were ready to join the big circle. To which I turned to Chelsea and pleaded, “NO, not the big circle!” You must understand that in the two previous times we’ve been in our own little side class. It’s where you learn all the basic steps and practice them at your pace while those with experience learn and practice in a larger group at a much faster pace. Although someday I would like to be “with the big kids” I’ve only have 3 lessons! That’s only 3 hours of instruction! That’s not even mentioning that I don’t understand the verbal instructions because their in Spanish! I’ve only been learning because I can watch his steps really slowly. Sigh, it’s a week away and I’m already feeling anxious. *Cough, cough…I think I may be sick next week.

After Salsa we headed over to church were we met up with some other people about our age and had a short Bible study with games and a Carne Asada. It was really fun and a good mix of Spanish and English while meeting new people and worshiping God. I really want to make it a weekly habit, but finding a ride each week may be a challenge. We’ll see though. A friend and I have been toying with the idea of getting motorcycles……… I really like riding on my dad’s and I’m sure he could teach me this summer. It would make going to church and other places so much more accessible. Something to think about. Chelsea and I finished the night out singing worship songs on the roof until close to 1.

Sunday: Today I have spent most of the day reading. I’m waiting to skype with family tonight and then go for a run with Renee. While I’m waiting to skype, I think I’m going to try my hand at baking a new pinterest recipe. Today has been a bit difficult knowing that my younger brother is graduating from Davenport.  I’m so extremely proud of him and all the hard work he has been through to bring him to this point. It isn’t without God’s sovereign mercy, wisdom, and strength that Jason has made it to this point, and I wish I could be there to celebrate with him.  Jason, I’m so proud of you and love you very much! Congratulations and I look forward to giving you a much deserved hug. Love you little brother.

That’s all for now. Two more days of break to go, and who knows what type of adventure is still to be had.

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Why?

Ah, if anyone still checks this blog, I apologize for my lack of effort and commitment. Life here has become more routine and therefore less interesting to write about. Unlike the previous week, this week has been full of interesting twists and turns.  Bare with me as I ramble on about this previous week.

Saturday Night: I agreed again to join the lovely Shelia in stumbling my way through another Salsa dancing lesson.  Upon arriving I was partnered up with a man who had some experience dancing and was able to lead me through the steps. SO MUCH FUN! I honestly didn’t realize that 2 hours passed or that I was not only stumbling through the steps but also through a mostly Spanish conversation. I think successful Salsa has everything to do with a confident man leading the woman through the steps. Hm.

Upon leaving we crammed 9 people into a little four door car and in passing my dance partner on the road he waved us over and offered to give half of us a ride. Thank you Emmanuel!  While driving he made a comment on how beautiful the sun looked while setting, which I’ll attempt to paint in verbal form. The sun was bright orange and red, shining through the billowy clouds of what looked like pollution from some city industrialization. The sun’s rays bounced off and through the smoke cloud creating a beautiful array of purples, oranges, and reds. How ironic I thought, that such a beautiful sunset is a result of our mistreatment of this earth.  Later that night I was dragged to a birthday party, but had a few lengthy conversation with a variety of individuals.  In one such conversation I was able to express that I desire to join some sort of ministry at church and have been looking for opportunities to serve. I’m eager to see what comes of that conversation.

Sunday: I went for ride on the via recreative and honestly had a pretty sour attitude most of the day.  For a variety of reasons, I just needed someone to pray with me.  Shelia and I showed up right on time for church and surprisingly they sat us in the very first row.  This is even more up close and personal that I’ve ever experienced in the States, and shockingly (or maybe not shockingly) I wasn’t in the least bit sleepy all service! When we stood up to go the woman who stood in front of us (a prayer partner) was the mom of a friend of Shelia’s and asked if she could pray with us. I honestly have no idea what she prayed for (it was in Spanish) but I have a feeling it was exactly what I needed prayer for. I thankfully left before I shed too many tears.  That night I headed over to a friend’s house where we began planning a trip for the upcoming weekend. According to the school schedule we have April 30th and May 1st off of school and we wanted to use our long weekend to get away to the beach.  The whole time we were looking up beaches I had a feeling that I should not go away and that I should tell Abby right then. To my shame, I ignored this feeling and continued planning.

The thing is, I really like traveling. I really like it.  I love the adventure, I love seeing new things, I love being outdoors and away from the city. Everything about traveling, planning included, is fun for me. I really wanted to go to the beach, especially with Abby.

Monday: Pushing away the feeling I continued on to Monday night where we talked with a couple other girls and planned what we were going to do.  Everyone eager and ready I headed back home pretty late.  Everyone except me. Sigh, the whole time, I had a gut wrenching feeling that I was disobeying God.  That I shouldn’t go away and that by being silent I was lying to these girls. I went home and prayed about it, finally crawling into bed with my head under my blanket. Tuesday I pulled Abby aside and apologized. I explained what I was feeling and how sorry I was but I just couldn’t go away this weekend. The hardest part is not knowing why. Why not the beach this weekend?

Other interesting fact for the day, I learned Monday that the billowing clouds that so creatively produced a brilliant sunset on Saturday was the result of a forest fire beginning in the nearby forest.

Wednesday: That brings us to today….. and oh what a day it would be. Unlike the other days this week, this morning the area smelled of smoke. It was even possible to see ash floating around in the air. My coordinator approached me a bit upset with the air quality condition and informed me that it was possible that Thursday and Friday were going to be canceled if things didn’t appear to get better.  A short while later she confirmed that Thursday and Friday were indeed canceled and if parents desired they could come and pick their child up early today. You may be able to imagine how the rest of the day went. From 9 am to 2 pm students vanished like sweetarts in my possession. Lincoln was chaos and teachers felt defeated in attempting to teach.

So, currently I sit comfortably in my beanbag contemplating what God has in store for my now, on a six-day weekend.  With no internet at the house, no travel plans, and most of my friends gone, I don’t know what to do and I’m left with the thought of, why?

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Spring Break!

So many things come to mind when I hear the words Spring Break! Some good, some not, but lately I’ve thought how wonderful it is to spend time with family and friends.

In two short hours my first spring break as a teacher will be over. I’ve come to the conclusion that I appreciate and value breaks more as the teacher than I ever did as a student. To top it off, I’m in a different country away from much of my support system and having the opportunity to go back and visit was the whipping cream to my sundae!

As most of you already know, I began my break with a few days here to get caught up on work and then headed to my nation’s capital to visit some long known high school friends. I first stayed with Sarah and experience a small piece of her life before spending a day with Megan and experiencing some of the beautiful countryside. The next day we were joined by the beautiful Jenna and Alyssa to finish off my DC trip with a classic girl’s night. Although Kate wasn’t able to join us in person, Megan and I were able to have a short phone conversation with her! Spending time with these wonderful women was refreshing and appreciated, but only concluded the first half of my vacation. Saturday I headed back to Michigan where I was able to spend a whole week with family. It was wonderful.  It really didn’t matter what we were doing, just spending time together was all it needed to be.

That brief summary is only one side of the teeter-totter I’ve experienced lately. In returning to my school, colleagues, friends, community, my life; I feel an overwhelming sadness in not being there to see my brother throw, graduate, or be a present part of his life. Or be there to shop with my sister, annoy her while she’s sleeping or talk about relationships. The lists could go on, not to mention the comforts of living near family or in the United States. As I flew from Grand Rapids to Houston I reflected on what was on the other side of my teeter-totter. Why was I leaving when my heart wanted to stay?

It’s no secret that I’ve known God has given me a passion to teach and a desire to teach here in Mexico. In obedience to his calling, I am here.  But I think this is where my obedience ended. In a new country, with new people, a new language, and the desire to experience everything, I’ve been distracted. Like many of you, each week looks fairly similar. Monday night dinner, Tuesday night tacos, Wednesday night Bible study, Thursday night lesson plans, Weekends include various fun or restful activities. Although some familiarity isn’t bad, I’ve grown complacent; and in my complacency I’ve filled my time with things that comfort me.  I didn’t really realize this until I read this sentence in A Case for Faith, “The point of our lives in this world isn’t comfort, but training and preparation for eternity.”  (Peter J. Kreept PhD)  Then it struck me.  So if one side of the teeter-totter is comfort, than the other is self-sacrifice and obedience to God’s will.  I’m still working through what His will looks like and how I am called to sacrifice for those around me and maybe even for those far from me.  But I’m certain that as I teeter up in my comfort, God’s will and purposes teeter down.

In recognizing my selfish motives to stay home, it helped bring to light the comforts I’ve surrounded myself with here in Mexico. I’m not sure exactly how my life will change, only that as John said, “He must become greater, I must become less.” (John 3:30) So here is to the last few weeks of school and identifying how I can love other with a sacrificial heart.

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