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I'm currently teaching English in Japan and traveling when I can. I don't want to forget anything. So, I try to blog. This is my life.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!

Well, today was an exciting day in the wonderful Dolphins classroom. We were getting ready to practice our Christmas dance before 1st bus left. The kids were slowly coming in from outside and going to the bathroom first. We were waiting on a couple of kids, so the rest of them were just dancing, jumping, goofing off. I turned around and hear, "Uh oh Ms. Kim" and turn to see one of my boys on the floor holding his mouth. Another of my boys says, "Broken! Broken!" I look and Wes (the boy on the floor) has blood running down his hands and his mouth is full of it as well. So, I calmly (on the outside) walk him to the office. I saw that there was a huge gap in his mouth but I wasn't sure what teeth he had in the first place. My kids are losing teeth like crazy these days- they're just at that age.

He had been dancing and jumping and fell mouth first into the table.

I left him with another teacher and went back to settle my kids down and to check for teeth. My kids are all standing at my door saying, "There's two teeth!" So, I picked up two teeth that were scattered on the floor. Poor kid lost his two front teeth! A third was also knocked loose. Luckily, they were baby teeth!

I told my boss I wish we were singing the song All I want for Christmas for our party- I'd have Wes sing a solo, hehe. :)

That's the third kid that's had to go to the hospital this year. Two of my kids fell and busted their chins open and had to get stitches (one in the summer and one maybe two months ago), and now two teeth. Hopefully this will be the end of injuries for the Dolphins this year!

On another note, it's hard to not be home for Thanksgiving. We had a Thanksgiving meal here last night. There was some amazing food! It helped ease the homesickness that comes with missing a holiday though, that's for sure. I will be home in 29 days- that is less than a month! I can't wait!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Darn pigs..

So, it's been around two months since I last posted. Whoops. I've just been busy. And then when I think about it, it's a bit overwhelming to think about all of the things that I should be writing about. But, I just decided it's time to just pick up where I am, and not worry about the last two months so far.

A quick re-cap off the top of my head..
My mom came to visit and it was so nice having her here. We spent a few days at the ocean in a cabin, a few days in Tokyo, and some time here in town. I know that it was an incredibly hard trip for her to make, but I am so glad that she did. She got to see my life, where I live, where I teach. I am so glad that she got to see what my life is like, even if just for a short time.
I really miss my family. I have just a little over a month until I am home and I can't even tell you how much I can't wait for that. To think of all that I have missed.. well, I just can't really think about it.
I missed Tanner's 2nd birthday, and that was really hard. I know that I have missed out on so many milestones in his life.. Thank God for web cam, that's all I can say. Although it isn't enough, at least it is something.

We had Kids and Parents Day in October. This one went much better than the last. I feel like I involved the parents a bit more, and felt more comfortable than last time. We did stations and then a 30ish minute English circle. It's always intimidating having close to 40 parents and family members watching your ever move, but..it was definitely easier than last time!

Another thing that happened in October, is that I made my decision to stay here for another year. I can't believe it. I honestly had been so back and forth leading up to that decision. I feel like I made the right one though, and I don't really have any feelings of regret. I feel excited for next year. I will be the only current K-5 teacher staying. So, it will be a whole other ballgame. This year I feel like I was being spoon-fed information (well, sometimes...ha) and next year I will be the only one experienced in K-5. Intimidating, but..I know that it will be such a growing experience for me. I'm excited yet scared about it at the same time.

Swine flu, Influenza A, H1N1..whatever you want to call it, has hit my school pretty hard. They have canceled classes. My class was canceled this past Friday and Monday because of it. I still have 4 kids out with it. 10 of my 16 kids have or had it. Our assistant had it. Sarah has it. It is all around me. I am praying with everything in me that I do not get it. The odds are currently against me though. I broke down and bought a mask (everyone wears them here, but I've kinda laughed at and sworn against them). But, I bought a mask. Only to wear in Sarah's apartment though! She spends all day alone, so I kind of want to try to keep her company to some extent at night, and being cooped up in that small room with no ventilation and her hacking up a lung is just probably not the smarted thing for me. So, I look like a goober and wear a mask. Yes..I said goober..but I just don't even know what else to say I look like!

I bought a cell phone. It feel so weird having one again. Although, I hardly ever use it. I forgot what it was like to be so totally tied to a phone. I lived here for 9 months without it..and it was quite the freeing experience. I'm going to try my best to not depend on it like before.
I am also about to get my Japanese drivers licence. That way, I can buy a scooter! I am so excited! I have an International Drivers licence, but that's not good enough to buy one I guess. I'm a little nervous about the test, but..eventually I will pass, ha!

Sarah and I are trying to plan our trips for next year. One in March, maybe one in May, and a big one in August. The sky is the limit..which is making it difficult to choose where to go. That is one huge plus to staying another year. I will get to travel so much, and I can't wait!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Baseball in Japan

I feel like I say this every time that I blog, but I can't believe how much time has gone by. I can't believe it is the middle of September. There have been so many times that something happened that I though, "oh, I need to blog about that" but never really had the time.

The past few weeks were crazy busy getting ready for field day. To get ready for field day was pretty stressful at times. We had to teach our kids a pom-pom dance. It was so cute, we danced to The Circle of Life from the Lion King. But, teaching it wasn't the easiest thing in the world. We also had to teach our kids how to do the maypole dance. This one was even harder to do. The kids pretty much have to weave over and under each other with two different colored ribbons to make the maypole look good. Kind of a hard concept for some 5 year olds, I would think. Also, the kids had to march and stay in straight lines which is quite hard to get them to do sometimes! Anyway, all of the stress and practice really paid off because the actual field day was great! It was so much fun. The kids did an awesome job, the parents and grandparents seemed to really enjoy the day as well. We had games for the moms, dads, grandparents, siblings, and then did all of our dances and such. We also had a relay race that the kids had practiced. My class came in 2nd (out of 3 classes, ha). But, I honestly was so proud of them for how well they did that day!

A few weekends ago I went to the Rakuten Eagles baseball game. It was an incredible experience. I thought St. Louis fans were the best fans. And, maybe that is true for America..but, wow..Japanese baseball games are so different! The crowd cheers the entire time. I mean the ENTIRE time. They are organized cheers and the whole stadium takes part in them. There is kind of an official cheering section, and the people in that section tend to start the cheers, but the whole stadium quickly joins in. It's just people too, not something started by music over the speakers. They also all have these two plastic bats that are tied together with a string that they beat together to go along with their cheers which makes it sound so cool! Honestly, even if you weren't a baseball fan, I think you would enjoy these games.

Another thing about the baseball game that made me laugh a little bit, is that they have girls going around selling snacks, drinks, and beer. However, the beer is not from a can. These girls pretty much have a small keg strapped to their backs and they serve beer on tap right then and there in the stands. They also all wear knee pads and quickly kneel down to serve you whatever it is you may be buying so as not to block the view of others. Only in Japan.

We also went to Disny on Ice. It was interesting since it was all in Japanese. They did say some things occasionally in English so we could get the main idea of what was going on. Some of the songs they sang parts in English as well. I honestly only stayed interested for maybe the first hour at most, but after that, it was hard to really not be bored. I am glad that I went, but I think I'd like it better in English!!

I feel like there were so many other things that I have been wanting to blog about, but..it escapes my memory at the moment. Surprise, surprise. We are taking our classes to the ocean on Thursday. I'm pretty excited, it should be a lot of fun! A friend of ours from college, Chris, is coming to visit on Saturday. I am so excited to see him. My mom will also be here in a few weeks and I really can't wait. I have been pretty homesick since I was in Australia. A lot has happened back at home to contribute to me feeling that way.

I have about a month and a half to decide if I want to sign on for another year. I honestly can say I have absolutely no idea what I will do. There are some major points pulling me in both directions and I am not looking forward to having to really make the decision. I am just going to really try to pray about it, weigh my options, and choose what I think is the best choice for me. At this time, I have no clue what that is. There is a song that has really kind of hit home with me lately called "The Motions" by Matthew West. It talks about not just going through the motions of life, but actually living it. I feel like the majority of my life has been me going through the motions rather than really feeling or experiencing the things around me. It's hard to break that pattern, but I am really trying. There's a lot more I could say about that, but I feel like this post has gotten a bit long, so..maybe another day.

If anyone actually still reads this, some prayers for wisdom and guidance would be greatly appreciated in the next month and a half leading up to decison making time. In the meantime, I will be doing my best to enjoy my kids and love on them as much as possible. Sometimes, I forget why I am here and need to remind myself once again. I absolutely love the 16 kids that I have been blessed with for the past 6 months.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Well, Australia was amazing. It exceeded my expectations as far as vacations go for sure! Here's a rough overview of what we did:

Saturday- Shopped at Target (yay!) walked around the town, went down to the Esplanade
Sunday- Went to the beach, shopped a bit, ate Mexican food (yummy!)
Monday-Went sea kayaking (saw a sea turtle, stingrays, random fish, barracudas, among others) Snorkeled a bit, licked a citrus ants butt (it tasted like lime!), fell asleep on the beach. Went to the theater and saw My Sisters Keeper and bawled through the whole movie pretty much, haha. :)
Tuesday- Shopped
Wednesday- Were supposed to go horseback riding/ATV riding through the bush but they forgot to pick us up. So, spur of the moment we decided to go bungee jumping. Jumped twice!! Pretty much the most amazing thing ever! Ate Mexican, again. :)
Thursday- Horseback riding and rode ATVs. Shopped in the Kuranda
Friday- Rented a car (we named her Tawanda!) she was a manual- it was interesting to say the least! Drove up the coast to a different(nicer) beach. Drove up the coast even further to Cape Tribulation and stayed in a hostel there. Saw the most amazing starry night imaginable. It was incredible. If you ever want to see an awesome display of stars, the middle of the rain forest is the place to do it!
Saturday- drove to a private beach - it was beautiful! We were the only people on the beach, which was both peaceful and a bit scary! (There were crocodile warning signs posted all over!) We went on a night walk through the rainforest- saw some really cool trees, a dragon, and some other stuff. Then we went out for the night to the "happening" spot in Cape Trib.
Sunday- Went to the ice cream factory- disappointing! It was not what you would envison an ice cream factory being by any means! We stopped at the WWII bomb site to get our cultural/historical experience in for the trip. Then we hung out on the beach for a while, then drove back down to Cairns.
Monday- Shopped around town
Tuesday- Went snorkeling and scuba diving. We saw a shark, sea turtle, Nemo, and a lot of other really cool looking fish! I went scuba diving and snorkeling twice each- it was amazing!!
Wednesday- Went to the beach and it started to rain. Went to the theater and watched another movie- The Ugly Truth.
Thursday- We rented scooters. It was so much fun! They were both bright yellow. I have decided, should I decide to stay in Japan another year, I am going to buy a scooter! In America, it might be a bit dorky..but here in Japan it's pretty much the norm. We drove our scooters up to the Crystal Cascades. That night we hung out at our hostel and played Trivia with everyone. Our team actually did pretty good!
Friday- We took a train up to the Kuranda. Held a koala, rode on an Army Duck, saw an Aboriginal show, threw a boomerang, watched a guy play the didgeridoo and throw spears, saw kangaroos, koalas, crocodiles, cassowaries, dingos and a couple other cool animals. Then we took the skyrail back down- an awesome view!
Saturday- Went to the beach. A festival was beginning in Cairns, so we went to the parade and watched fireworks at night. We also had a mini didgeridoo lesson and got to play them! It's harder than it looks for sure!
Sunday- went to a Baptist church. It was the most awkward church service I have ever been in. There was a guest speaker, and when he went to take an offering at the end, one of the ladies in the back of the church started asking questions and arguing with him! I mean, arguing! Talk about hurting the guys offering! After church we went to the beach to get our last little bit of sun in. We got some Pizza Hut for dinner and packed up all of our stuff.
Monday- Left the hostel, got on a plane, flew to Tokyo, got on a bus, drove through the night, got on the subway, got in a taxi, finally arrived home! Had to work just a couple of hours later.

It was an amazing trip!! That was a very long summary, but..I didn't know how to shorten it. I mean, it is two weeks worth of activities! It was a much needed vacation, but it has been very hard getting back into the swing of things here in Japan. I miss America. I miss English. I miss having a social life outside of work! But, I know that I am here for a reason, and there are 16 beautiful children to remind me of that! These next two weeks are going to be crazy. My kids have to learn two dances for Field Day- dancing is not my expertise! Neither is teaching it, I am sure. But, the kids love it..and I know they will eventually get it. I am looking forward to my friend from college coming in September, and even more so to my mom coming in October! Can't believe it has almost been 7 months since I got here. Time is flying! I miss everyone back home though, that's for sure!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


I am leaving in about 5 hours to start the journey to Australia! I can't believe it is actually here. It still doesn't even seem real. We will take a bus to Tokyo (about 5-6 hours), find our way to the subway, head to the airport, get on a plane (about 8 hours) and we will be in Cairns! I am so excited and need a vacation so much right now.

Summer camp and summer school both went pretty well. It was a little overwhelming since I was the only new teacher that didn't really know what was going on. Camp was a blast. I didn't realize how much I actually missed my kids until I saw them all again. I had really missed them! At camp we made three crafts- bottle art, fans, and t-shirts. It was so cute, the kids loved it. Then we made these hats that looked like a campfire. We stuck sticks in the middle of the "flames" and put marshmallows on the ends of the sticks. So the hats looked like we were roasting marshmallows, cute. We wore these hats at night for our real campfire when we sang songs.

We had water play which was so much fun. The kids (okay, I did a little too) got to use finger paint to paint their bodies. I may have started a few "paint your friends" fights. :) For snacks afer water play we made ice cream sundaes. Yummy! Then we had challenges for all of the kids to do (ring toss, walk on stilts, those kinds of games) all over the campus. The kids were in groups and were given maps to follow. It was so cute to see them all stop and look at the map together to figure out where to go next. At the end of the challenges we went on a treasure hunt. The kids had previously made treasure boxes, so we used those to fill up with candy and toys and put them all inside of a big treasure box that we hid.

At night we had the campfire and s'mores, and then we went across the street to watch fireworks. This school goes all out on fireworks for camps. They were awesome! After that the teachers did a skit (Bear Hunt) and then we put all the kids to bed in tents inside of the gym. My kids loved playing in the tents, they thought it was so cool. I ended up sleeping with my girls. I started out in one spot but one of my girls kept rolling over and kicking me, so..I moved. Haha. She thought it was hilarious the next day when I told her that. I definitely didn't sleep very well though. Every little sound was keeping me awake. Some of these kids, this was the first time they had spent the night away from their parents so I was a little worried. They all did so great though. Two of my girls were up at 5:30 so I had to convince them to lay quietly until we were supposed to wake the kids (6:45).

That next morning we had breakfast, watched a video, then played some games in the gym. All in all I think it was a very successful camp and the kids really had fun. So did I, really. I was exhausted at the end, but it really was worth it.

Summer school went well. Just longer days and some special things everyday. It was hard saying goodbye to my kids this time. It will be 21 days until I see them all again. But, at least this time I will be thinking about them while laying on a beach. :)

All of the craziness lately has thrown my back out of whack. I've gone to the chiropractor off and on since I've been in Japan, but lately it was just been really bad. I ended up going two times this week and really should have gone again. I actually went by myself this week, without a translator. My chiropractor actually knew English, who knew! I mean, not a ton, but enough to tell me what to do and to ask me simple questions. I've decided the difference between chiropractors in America and ones here. In America (as is everything else) it's all about speed. You are in, cracked, rubbed a little maybe, and then you are done. It is all so fast and so forceful. Here, however, they are all about slowly moving things back into place. At first, I thought it was weird and unnecessary. I am there for at least a half hour sometimes more, and the entire time he is working on me. I think I am starting to prefer the chiropractor here..less shock to my body, I think.

Anyway, this was a very choppy blog. It is 2:35am and I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. So, I thought I would get stuff about summer camp down before I go to Australia and forget everything around me. I can not wait to relax on the beach. This will probably be the last post until I am back from Cairns and back in the swing of things. Thank the Lord for vacations!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Busy, busy, busy

I don't even know where to start to catch you up since the last time I blogged. I can't even remember everything to be honest. I know one weekend I went and saw the new Harry Potter movie. Except when they say it in Japanese it sounds like "Harry Potato" haha.

Let's see, I had parent interviews (basically parent-teacher conferences) a few weeks ago. Overall they went pretty well. I was nervous about a couple. I don't like telling parents the bad things about their kids. Sometimes I still feel like, "who am I to tell them about their kids." But, then I have to remember that I am their teacher, that's who I am. I may not know as much as I'd like to know, but I do spend the time with them and I do see what's going on. Two moms inparticular were really hard for me. I mean, they are really nice moms, it was just hard to say the things that I needed to say. One because of behavior issues both at school and at home, and the other because her kid is pretty far behind where he should be. But, on the flip side, I loved telling parents how great their kids are doing. I loved telling those same two moms all of the amazing things about their kids. The kids in my class are so awesome!

Last week was a work week, no kids. It was filled with meetings and making up a pom pom and parachute dance. If I ever wanted to be a cheerleader (I didn't) I am definitely getting my fill of it now. K-4 does a parachute dance while K-5 uses pom poms and dances around them. We are doing it to The Circle of Life from the Lion King. It's going to be really stinking cute when the kids do it. We do this for Field Day which is sometime in September. The parents and families come and we do our dance, and some other outdoor activities which I have yet to learn.

This weekend starts our camp and summer school. K-5 has camp Friday and Saturday. The kids come at 9am Friday and we do three different crafts, 7 different fun activities around the campus, and then have water play. Then we have a campfire and stuff at night and the kids all sleep over in tents that are set up in the gym. Then we get up bright and early, eat breakfast, play some more games, and send the kids home right before lunch. That will be a long two days for sure! But, it will be so much fun. Then we have Sunday off and come back and have summer school Monday through Wednesday. Summer school is kinda just a longer more fun version of regular school. The kids are there a few hours longer and we do special snacks and stuff everyday. Then, one work day to get things ready for the next level and then I am off to Australia! I can't believe it, it hasn't sunk in at all yet!

This past weekend was an amazing weekend. I actually felt like a real person for the first time in a long time to be honest. It seems like my entire life is my job. I live at my job, hang out with people from my job- it's like a bubble really. Well, Friday night Sarah and I went out to dinner and then borrowed DDR (Dance, Dance Revolution) from a friend and played that for quite a while. Then Saturday night we met up with Aki (one of the girls we work with) and one of her friends. We went with them to a park and watched this incredible band play. Aki was friends with some of the people in the band. I had so much fun. We met a bunch of people and even though they didn't speak much English it was so nice to be out and be social. The band was kind of a jazz-type band. Kind of a little bit like ska music, really. But, they played some songs that I actually knew, and they really were just quite good. The concert was outside, and it was pouring down rain before the band went on. We were soaked, and it rained off and on througout their set, but nobody really seemed to mind. I haven't had that much fun in a while.

On Sunday, I went to the beach. One of my little girls, Mary, does hula dancing and she had a show on the beach. She was so cute in her little outfit and she did such a great job! After her dance we just hung out with her family. They are the cutest family ever. She has a younger brother and a baby sister. Her mom is young and hip and so sweet. Her grandmother was so nice and kept offering us food and drinks and places to sit. We went out and played in the ocean with the kids and sat and talked to the family as much as we could. Luckily, Aki was with us so we could talk a little bit more since they don't know much English. I loved hanging out with that family though.

10 days until Australia. It will be much needed after the next 10 days! I can't wait.

I know this wasn't the most interesting blog ever, and it was pretty jumbled, but I just wanted to get down some of what's been going on with me. Partly for you, if anyone even reads this anymore, and partly for me. I want to remember this stuff, and if I don't write it down I am going to forget so much. So, I really am going to try to be better at being a bit more consistent in my blogging habits. Until next time..

Friday, July 3, 2009

Thankful for the weekend

I am so thankful for weekends. Without them, I would go crazy! Ha. It's like the week is just long enough to put you on the edge of crazy and then the weekend just swoops in and brings you back a few feet. Today was mix and match day for us. It was also special snack day, which was kind of disastrous. The original plan was for each kid to make a word using cookie cutters out of sugar cookie dough. But, the dough was way too sticky and the letters were too small that it was not working. We quickly switched gears (thanks to my co-teacher Anne) and decided to use a round cookie cutter and then have the kids write words with toothpicks on the top. Not as exciting, but I think the kids still enjoyed it.
Mix and match day was so cute. I wore two different shoes, two different socks, one pant leg rolled up, a skirt over my jeans, a polo shirt, a polka dot shirt over that, and then a Cards jersey unbuttoned over that. My hair was in a high pig tail and a low one. I was looking pretty amazing if I do say so myself. :) Some of my kids went all out as well. It's awesome how much parents get into this stuff. My kids always look so great for all of our special days.

Speaking of parents, sometimes they are a bit too involved. We have had more drama and issues because of the parents than the kids. They get into the kids problems, they don't let things go, and they gossip. So bad. There are nights I leave work at 5:30, sometimes even 6 and I still have moms standing outside talking. The kids go home at 2:15! It really makes an impact on the kids, they start treating certain kids differently. Yesterday we got both of the classes together and my boss came in and talked to them all in Japanese about how they should treat each other, and about forgiveness and what it really means. I hope it sunk in with them, because things have gone a little too far.

We only have two more weeks of class. Then almost two weeks of work days, then summer camp and summer school and then we are finished with the first trimester! Crazy. Australia is only a little over a month away! I was just talking to Sarah tonight about all of the tickets I have bought since I have been here. Airplane ticket to South Korea, bus tickets to Tokyo, airline ticket to Australia, airline ticket home for Christmas. That's a lot of tickets for only being here 5 months. I'm thankful that I am able to though, that's for sure!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

When you're a celebrity...

I am so thankful for this weekend. I went to the cabin on the ocean and it was wonderful! Sarah and I drove down Friday night after work. We cooked dinner and ate out on the deck under the stars overlooking the ocean. It was so nice! The next day we cooked breakfast and then went and hung out on the beach all day. The water was a little cold, but not so cold we couldn't get in. It was so nice out! We definitely got some sun!

The beach in Japan is a completely different experience than a beach in America. First of all, everyone is wearing clothes. Longer pants, at least a short sleeved shirt, hats, and lots of umbrellas. I'm pretty sure Sarah and I had on the most revealing outfits and our suits are pretty non-revealing compared to most back home! Guys were pretty much the same I guess, some of them anyway. They just wore shorts or swimming trunks. Oh, there were naked little kids running around too. I just mean, the girls/women dressed very modestly at the beach. They believe the whiter you are, the more beautiful, so they avoid the sun getting to their skin. Weird, American girls think exactly opposite that usually!

Sarah and I got videotaped walking down the beach. We were probably on the news or something. I saw the dudes with the camera and made a joke about them taping the American girls, and sure enough the next thing we know they whip the camera up and point it right at us as we walked down the beach. We just laughed. The way people are to us here is a little ridiculous. People act like they've never seen a non-Asian before. They stare at us and talk about us all of the time. It's a little weird. I guess it's a small glimpse into the life of a celebrity! Haha!

Speaking of celebrities, can I just say how sad I think this whole thing is with John and Kate Plus 8. I mean, I'm not some crazy obsessed person, but it truly breaks my heart. They are real people, real kids, and that was a real family. They truly seem like good people that got lost in the wrong things and they forgot about the important things. Watching the episodes truly makes me want to cry. My heart breaks for those kids more than anything.

On another note, I miss going to church. I miss church so much. I never realized how much I took it for granted. I haven't been to church in almost 5 months. There aren't any English speaking churches anywhere around. We do have a little gathering/fellowship thing on Sunday nights with the American staff from school. They play songs, give testimonies, have a little message and such. It's not the same though. Nowhere near the same. It's a totally different experience not having God (or at least the word and an opportunity to worship) spoon-fed to you at least once a week. You don't realize how lucky you are to have that opportunity until, well, you don't. At the same time, it's definitely a way to develop your relationship with him in a completely different way.

I miss my family, I miss my friends, and I miss church. Those are the things I miss the most these days.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Teacher or mother?

I am so bad at keeping up with a blog. I'm trying though. Lets see..two weekends ago was Kids and Parents Day. This was an extremely stressful time. I worked way way way too many hours getting ready for this day and then was exhausted when it finally came. I think everything went pretty well though, but I am very glad it's over. This was an extremely intimidating day. Not only are you judged on your teaching you are also judged on your room- it had to be perfect. Japanese people are all about presentation, so..I tried my best to make everything look perfect. The day started out with greeting the kids and their parents. Then the kids went and did pony rides. After that, everyone came inside and I taught a 40 minute circle. Doesn't sound so bad, but.. I had close to 40 people in my room just watching me. Overall the teaching part went well. I had one little boy who was kinda making noises and stuff, and then a lot of my dry erase markers stopped working when the kids were writing their words. But, if that's the worst that happened, I was happy.
After that we went down to the play hall and played relay games. The kids loved this and it was fun to watch! The kids did relays with their moms and then their dads. Then we did the Hokey Pokey. Then we went outside and had a bbq. It rained a little, but over all was a pretty nice day.

We had the day off on Monday the 15th. Sarah and I went to the waterfalls. We packed a lunch and ate down by the water. Since it was semi-hot, we decided to be daring and try to get in the water. It was so so so cold. I mean, it hurt my feet to stand in it for even just a couple of seconds. We got in it a little bit, but it was just entirely too cold. We had fun though. It was a nice relaxing day, and nice to get away.

This past weekend, I went and saw the new Transformers movie. It actually came out in Japan before America. We usually get movies a couple months after America, but for some reason this one was early. Saturday I got another massage. It was pretty good. The girl I had this time had some crazy strong hands. She was itty bitty too! I have bruises on my back from her working out my knots! Saturday night there was a potluck dinner where everyone just kind of came to hang out.

I can not believe it is the last full week of June. We started level 13 today in my class. We started at 11 and go to 20. In less than a month the first trimester will be over. Crazy! We have parent interviews (like parent-teacher conferences) in a couple of weeks, then summer school, then..Australia!!! Let me tell you, as much as I am looking forward to Australia, I am not looking forward to parent interviews. Those alone honestly make me not want to be a teacher. Ugh..I hate talking to parents about how their kids are in the classroom, it intimidates me!

Today was an interesting day. I felt way more like a mommy than a teacher. I had six kids cry today. Two kids needed a change of clothes. Sorted out at least four arguments/problems through some broken English and tears. Cleaned cuts and put on several band-aids. All that on top of the normal everyday mom-type stuff that I have to do. I love my kids, but today was a bit draining!!

This weekend I am going to the cabin on the ocean. I am so excited. It will be so nice to get away and just relax with a few people by the water. I am hoping it is hot and sunny!! It has been raining so much, I just want a little bit of summer this weekend.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bible Talk

I am exhausted. I have already worked 43 hours this week and still have three more days to go. I haven't been sleeping the greatest, I am missing people in the States, and I'm stressed. I have no idea what the next step in my life is going to be, and I do my best to not think about it much.

But today, despite all of those complaints, I was reminded of why I am here. We took the kids up top for Bible Talk with the other kindergarten classes. They are Japanese kindergartens, so Bible Talk is all in Japanese. I had no idea what was being said other than from looking at the pictures. I know it was about Jesus, and his death and resurrection though.

In my classroom, I have a children's Bible that I read out of every so often. Today I took about five minutes and asked them questions about what was said at Bible Talk. I found the story in our Bible and read it to them in English. It was so amazing telling them about Jesus and how he loves them. They knew that Jesus came for all of us because we are bad (that's how they said it). So, I talked about how everyone does "bad things", even me, but that's why Jesus came. He loved us so much that he came to take our punishment. We talked about how we should love Jesus more than anyone, even our moms and dads. We talked about Heaven and how there are castles ( "Like sandcastles, Ms. Kim?" ) and streets made out of gold, and no more crying. They got excited about that!

I know it's only kindergarten, but those kids listened. I truly believe they understood it-as much as five and six year olds can anyway. It was so awesome to be able to talk to them about Jesus though. They loved talking about it, and I loved talking with them about it. Sometimes it is so easy to get caught up in the "school" part of the day that I can forget the real reason that I am working with these kids. Yes, I want them to learn English, but more than anything I want them to know the love of Jesus.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Time flies

I can't believe how fast time goes by these days. Things have been so busy lately. This weekend is Kids and Parents Day. I have been trying to get my room and my kids ready for this day. Ours is on Saturday, and the other campus' is on Sunday. We have to work both. For Kids and Parents day, we have parents, grandparents, siblings, and whoever else feels like coming at our school. They watch us teach a 40 minute block in the classroom. Talk about intimidating! They just stand there and watch us. Ugh, I'm not really looking forward to it. Although, I am starting to get a little more used to being watched. We constantly have people in our rooms watching us teach. We've had teachers from Korea here a few times, and then just random people every so often. They are selling the curriculum the school created, so they allow people to come in and see it being used. Sometimes I've had 15 people or so in my room at a time. I think it will be a little different with it being the kids parents, but I am just going to try to pretend like they are Koreans. :) South Koreans that is!!!

This past weekend was finally a relaxing weekend. The weekend before I had to work at 7am on Sunday. I sold cookies all day. Although on the upside- I had a real American style hot dog! All of the hot dogs here seem more like the consistency of brats, and I really was just wanting a real hot dog. Well, as real as a hot dog can be anyway. This weekend I went to a movie Friday night with a couple of girls. Saturday night Sarah and I hung out around the apartment. Sunday afternoon we decided to venture out downtown. We got some food and read at Starbucks. Nothing exciting, but just nice to be away. I never really thought living so close to school would bother me. It's great in the mornings, being about 30 seconds away from work. But, other than that I just always feel like I am at work. I can always hear the music over the loud speakers, or people talking, or kids outside. The kids know where I live. Ha, when we walk close to our apartments, one little boy always asks me "Ms. Kim's house?" and I seriously just ignore him. That sounds so mean..but, sometimes you just need your space you know?

We had an earthquake drill today. I'm glad we did, because I would have no idea what to do with my kids if we had a real earthquake during school. I'm not sure how together I would be able to keep it if we have a big earthquake one day. I mean, I've felt a couple that I barely even realized were earthquakes. But, if we have a big one..not sure how I'm going to feel about that!

Time in Japan so far: 4 months, 1 day
Australia: 1 month, 27 days
Mom comes to Japan: 3 months, 27 days
Home for Christmas: 6 months, 13 days

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A quick catch up

My apologies for the lack of blogging lately. I have just been so busy and so tired! Things have been going well though. I took my kids to the aquarium this past week and it was a blast! We first went out on a boat and fed these huge birds as they flew along next to our boat. You could hold out this puff snack and they would come snatch it right from your fingers! Um, I kinda am honestly afraid of birds. But, I did it for my kids. I didn't quite hold it out for birds, I just threw mine. But, I stood next to the kids for moral support while they held theirs out and acted like it was no big thing. Whereas on the inside there was a bit of panic the whole time! I survived. My kids were so well behaved in the aquarium, too. They really really enjoyed it!

I really do love my class. I feel like I have a handle on this whole teaching thing finally. I can control my class, I can let them act silly and still get them back under control pretty easily. I have been having issues with one little boy. He tends to use his hands on other kids and doesn't always say the nicest things. I've had a couple of parents complain about him, so it is a bit of an issue, but I hope I am handling it the best that I can. I had our head teacher (kinda like a vice-principal or something in the States) come in and talk to the class about how we should treat our friends and she talked to the boy as well. Once parents start complaining it becomes a much bigger deal. They handle discipline here a bit differently than I am used to, but..that's okay.

This week, my heart just broke for one of my little boys. A couple of weeks ago, he told me a secret that his mom was pregnant. I talked to her after class and she said that it was too early and they weren't really telling anyone. She said they told him not to tell anyone but he begged her to be able to tell me so she told him he could. He was SO excited about it. She was excited too, but cautious because she wasn't very far along yet at all. Well, Wednesday I got word that she started bleeding Tuesday and was in the hospital for a few days. Due to lack of communication we aren't sure if she lost the baby or not, but I would assume she did. The little boy in my class was so sad. He didn't talk about it at all, but I could just tell. It really, really broke my heart- for the little boy as well as the mom.

We have interns here now. They help out in our classes during stations, lunch, and playtime pretty much. I guess they are supposed to do office work for us too, which will be nice when I finally take advantage of that. (I mean that in the nicest way possible..)
I can NOT believe it is the last week of May. Time is flying by. We start the next level tomorrow. We go through 10 levels a year, so I am kind of 1/10 of the way through the year. Except the first level lasted about 2 weeks longer than all of the other levels will, so even more than 1/10!

I bought my plane ticket home for Christmas tonight! I am so excited about coming home. I was going to wait and see if I was going to stay a 2nd year, but I honestly just don't think I can NOT be home for Christmas. Plus, I got a really good deal on my ticket. I also am going to Australia in August! I can't believe it! My best friend Sarah and I bought tickets. We will be going to Cairns- bunjee jumping, sleeping in the rainforest, snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, etc! I am soooo excited! Our friend from college is coming out here in September. My mom is coming in October. And then I will be home for Christmas. It all seems so far away, yet so close!

Overall, things are going okay here. Sometimes it is more of a struggle than others. Working at least 10 hour days most days, without a break, really drains you after a while. I feel like I waste my weekends because all I want to do is..nothing. I need to force myself to get out and do things. It probably doesn't help that I got wrapped up in the Twilight series!! I am on the last book though, so hopefully I will be able to pull myself away from my apartment next weekend!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Turning 25

I have thought about writing a blog several times over the last couple days but just haven't gotten around to it. I should have lots to write about. Tokyo, people in my classroom watching me teach. But, I think I will have to save that for another blog.

I have been thinking a lot lately about how much I have changed in the past few months. I feel like I have grown so much, and I feel like I am starting to understand myself a little more than I ever have. I have realized things about myself and my life that have made me the way that I am. I realized some of the reasons why I don't very easily or very often really let people in. I realize that my relationship with God has been so surface level for most of my life, and I know some of the reasons why that is now. God has been working in my life and in my heart so much lately. I don't understand what he is doing, or what he has for me, but I am truly learning what it means to trust him above all else. It's certainly not always easy, and sometimes I just want things the way that I want them still, but I know that there is a purpose far beyond me.

I will be 25 in one hour. Well, in Japan at least. Maybe it's just the getting older-ness that has gotten to my brain.. but, I truly feel just a little bit wiser than I think I was a couple of years ago. I feel like I have a better grasp on myself, the things that I want and don't want, and the reasons why I am the way that I am. I know that there is still so much to learn, and so many things to work on in myself, but at least I am not blind to it anymore.

I have no idea what my future holds. And I mean..NO idea. I'm not one of those people that has a clear life long calling, or a passion to do one thing for the rest of their life. I'm a teacher right now, but I don't even know if I would want to do that for the rest of my life. I thought I had a plan, but God showed me that sometimes (okay, most of the time) our plans are not HIS plans. And, well, HIS plans are really the only ones that matter. I am just trying to trust that He knows what is best for me, and that He will let me in on it when the time is right. It's certainly not easy, because I really am a planner. It's a constant battle to not worry or be anxious about what is supposed to happen next. Like I said, he is teaching me to trust without understanding. And that is such a hard thing for me to do.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Another one

I can't believe how quickly the past week has gone. Good thing though, because it has been a rough week. I have just been stressed and emotional, and short on patience for some reason. And we even had a day off in the middle of the week! Oh well, tomorrow is Friday, and then Saturday we leave for Tokyo!
Let's see..last weekend was actually a really good weekend. I went to dinner with Sara Beeler, we had a really good time catching up and just talking. Saturday Sarah King and I went to Starbucks in the morning/afternoon, and then to a movie that night. We saw Gran Torino or whatever that movie is called, it was horrible! I am pretty sure that the people in the movie theater hated us annoying Americans because it was so bad we just had to laugh. The acting was bad, the storyline was bad.. The only good thing about the movie was a commerical with Brad Pitt and a Japanese voice in place of his! Oh, and we snuck Baskin Robbins in with us. Hehe.

I feel like I am getting to know my kids a little bit better. I finally finished parent interviews today, thank the Lord! Those definitely made for long days! I have found that a few of my kids are way behind where I thought they all were, so it is going to take a lot of extra time and work to get them up to where they should be. I'm just glad I realized it now rather than trying to make them read and write without even knowing what the letter is or letter sound. It's going to be a challenge, but I am excited to see how far they are going to go by the end of the year!

We had yesterday off due to some random Japanese holiday. A few of us went downtown and had lunch, got some Starbucks, and just hung out for a while. Then, Sarah and I decided to venture out to find Akiu Falls. We got directions from a friend, and found out the hard way that the directions were wrong! We drove around A LOT! But we honestly had a blast doing it, and finally made it to the falls. They were so beautiful! I can't wait to go back there in the summer when we can walk through and swim around the waterfalls. We did hike down to them and take pictures. We also scooped up some water and drank it. We were very outdoorsy. :)

Saturday we head to Tokyo until Wednesday. I am going with Sarah and the other two girls that I work in the same office with- Anne and Gwen. I think it will be a fun trip. My mom bought her ticket to come out here in October. I am really excited for her to come. She will get to come and watch my class one day, and then I will be able to take a couple of days off so we can sightsee. I honestly haven't done much sightseeing around Sendai yet, so it might be new to both of us!
I also found out the dates that I get off for Christmas. I am so thankful that I am in the program that I am because the other program, Friends Club, doesn't get off until Dec. 27, I think. But I get off earlier and will be able to be home before Christmas. Tickets are actually pretty low right now, so I think I will be buying mine very soon. It's a good feeling to know I will be home for Christmas. I can't imagine missing Tanner at Christmas this year, he is going to be a blast! I sure do miss that kid!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


So, I went to the chiropractor here for the first time. It was interesting. They made me change from my clothes into pajama-type pants and a long sleeved pajama top. Well, the Japanese women are a lot smaller than me on the..top.. so the shirt ended up being really short on me, haha. It went down to the top of my pants at least! I was worried when I first saw it. My translator was there with me the whole time, it was funny trying to answer about how my back was feeling and explain what I have had in the past. He did end up adjusting my back, neck, and hips. He also did some weird massaging to my neck and back. Not like a massage I've ever had. He also rubbed/slapped/squeezed my legs and feet. I guess it felt good? He told me that my hips are crooked (they usually are) and then told me to try to not cross my legs when I sit anymore (impossible) and to stand straight instead of leaning to one side. He then tells me that I have weak stomach muscles. I asked how he knew that and he said he could tell when he was trying to adjust my hips. Hmmm. So, I kinda laughed and said, "so, basically do some sit-ups." And then he said something about exercising my abs and told me to lay on my back. Well, told my translator to tell me. Jokingly, I said to my translator, "He's gonna make me do sit-ups." And then as I realized what he was doing I was like, "Rumi! He really is going to make me do sit-ups!" Haha..and he did! A little crunch anyways, twice. Wow. I honestly just laughed.
All in all, I think it was a positive experience. I don't feel as tight..I don't know if I feel great yet..but, better at least.

One cute story..today I was talking to my kids about always trying their best. A few mintues later, one of my girls, who is very bright and speaks English very well said "I'm besting." It took me a few seconds to figure out what she was saying, and then I said, "Besting? You mean you are trying your best?" And she said, "Yes." Haha.. besting. I mean, it makes sense..you run, or you are running.. you sleep or you are sleeping.. English is a stinkin' hard language. Props to Marilyn for a good try! Love that girl, she has an amazing personality! Here is a stinkin adorable picture of her from K4 on purple day:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I finally felt my first earthquake. I was sitting on my bed reading and felt my bed shaking a bit. If I hadn't been sitting still, I honestly wouldn't have even noticed it. It was so small. It just makes me laugh though, because today I was talking to this girl at work about earthquakes. I was telling her how I really hope the first time I feel one isn't when I am with my kids because I might freak out. I also was asking her what to do with my kids if it did happen. We talked about how we will have an earthquake drill in May. I'm pretty sure the last thing I said to her about it was, "well, let's just hope we don't have one between now and then! " It was so random that we talked about it today..and even more random that it actually happened tonight. Funny how things happen that way sometimes.

Today was a good day. I had more parent interviews and they all went really well. Tonight I went to a bible study that I am going to be doing with a couple of the other girls that I work with. I really miss going to church. I miss it already, but I think that will be one thing that I really really miss as time goes by.

I got to see Tanner, my nephew, on web cam this morning. He is getting so big, I can't believe it. I love it that he knew who I was and smiled when he saw me. I am worried he may forget about me, considering I will be gone for half of his life by the time I see him again. But, he was all smiles, danced for me, and even said "I love you." Makes me sad I am missing so much of his life, especially because this age is so fun! I'm just glad I finally got to see him for a bit this morning though. For the record, mom, I have been officially homesick off and on lately. :) (She was a little hurt about a month ago when she asked if I was homesick and I said, no..understandably so!)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lower the seat

It's been almost a week since my last post. Nothing too too exciting has really happened. Class has been going really well. My kids are slowly starting to learn the material, and I feel like I have somewhat of an idea what I am doing. Probably a good thing since I'm the teacher, right? Haha. This past weekend I rode my bike into Izumi, which is a specific part of town, and walked around and looked at some shops and stuff. I also got Starbucks, which, by the way, I have a new found love for coffee. It's probably not the best love to have, but..you can't help who (or what) you love, right? While I was there, I went down to the McDonald's in the bottom of the shopping complex. I met two of the tallest guys I have ever stood next to, I think. They were basketball players from America here playing for the team in Sendai. One dude was 7 feet tall. I have never felt so short before!

Saturday, I finally cleaned my apartment. Of course it is messy again, but at least it is clean underneath the clothes now. Saturday night Sarah and I went grocery shopping and then watched a movie in her apartment. Sunday we rode our bikes up the hill (yes..UP the hill) to a different grocery store. It wasn't really even that big of a hill. But, I found out on that trip that my seat was way to low. My knees were almost coming up to my chin when I pedaled. So, we raised my seat and WOW what a difference!! I'm not AS out of shape as I originally thought.

Today started my parent interviews. I was pretty nervous going into these. I did have our translator in there with me, so that helped so much! It is so weird talking to someone and looking them in the eye and knowing they have absolutely no idea what I am saying. Or..listening to them talk to me and trying to stay focused because I have no clue what they are saying. It's weird. Overall I think my interviews went really well. It mainly was just a time for them to tell me things they are concerned about and want me to work on with their kid in the classroom, or time for me to ask questions about their kids..what they like to do, who they like to play with.. just questions so I can understand their kids a bit better. I learned some important stuff that will help how I look at some of my kids. I have interviews again tomorrow and Wednesday and another one next week. It sure makes for a long day! My planning time is gone because we do interviews back to back after the kids leave for the day.

I am going to the chiropractor on Thursday. It's been almost three months since I went back in the States..so I would say that is pretty good for me. I occasionally had problems, but this time it really isn't going away and I just need to go. It will probably be a very interesting experience. I have no idea what to expect. I have a feeling Japanese chiropractors are probably a little different than the ones in America. We shall see!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Diet Pepsi

I am starting to feel a little more comfortable in my classroom. We have only had half days so far. Tomorrow is a no kid day, just a work day. Thursday we start full days. I am excited for full days. I feel like we hardly get anything done in our half days. I love my kids. I have one little boy who is going to be my challenge, I think. He is stubborn, so I am going to have to crack down on him a little harder than everyone else. I most definitely have the spacey class though. So many of my kids are just in their own little world a lot of the time. Anne has the stubborn class. We both decided that God knew what he was doing when he gave us the kids that we got because I know that I have a hard time with stubborn and bossy kids. And she has a hard time with kids who are kind of out there, whereas I have more patience with the spacey ones. And she is just as stubborn and knows how to set them in their place. So, we got the right kids for sure! My kids are so sweet though. So so sweet and so so cute!

I love that we can talk about God in our classes. Yesterday, before the kids left for the day, I read a story out of my children's Bible that I brought with me. We talked about God and what God made. When I pulled the book out, one of my boys even said, "Yay, the Bible book!" It's pretty awesome that we can do that in our classrooms.

Last night Sarah and I started out to go the the 100 yen store and then realized neither of us had hardly any money. So, we went for ice cream instead. :) Baskin Robbins actually. It was delicious! While we were sitting and eating, four high school girls walked over to us. They asked us where we were from, what we do here, how old we are. It was so funny, and so..awkward, haha. They were so proud of themselves for talking to us though. It is so weird to me that they think we are so unique. In America, you would never even think twice about two girls eating ice cream no matter what they looked like or where they were from. It's just so normal. Not here though.
Sarah and I also found Diet Pepsi last night! I can not even tell you how happy we were! They just don't have it here. They have Coke Zero and Pepsi Next, but not Diet Pepsi. I bought two bottles. I love Diet Pepsi! Since I've been in Japan, I have been drinking so much soda. I know that is so bad..but I think that it has been part of my comfort. When you are in a strange place, sometimes you just hold on to the familiar..and my familiar has been soda. I am trying to not drink it so much now that I realize how much I actually have been drinking.

The cherry blossoms are out! They are BEAUTIFUL! They apparently only last a very short time, so we are going to see them tomorrow. There are a few trees on our campus and just the few that I have seen have been amazing. There is some place we are going that has tons and tons of trees apparently. I am excited and will definitely take pictures.

Anyway, I still haven't cleaned my apartment. I did a couple of dishes though, so no worries..I have enough to get me through. I really am living like a bachelor or something, even though I'm a girl. Disgusting, haha. Who has time to clean when you teach kindergarten though, I mean for real. :)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lazy weekend

Finally, I had some actual time off this weekend. Friday night I rode my bike and got McDonald's for dinner and then just hung out in my apartment watching tv on my computer. Saturday was such a lazy day. Usually I would feel guilty for being so lazy and wasting the day away, but not this time. I needed it. Last night, Sarah and I went to a movie.

Today was Easter. I am pretty sure this is the first time I haven't been with my family for Easter. It didn't even feel like a holiday to me. I am sad that I couldn't be with my family. I did have a pretty good day though. I went to a soccer game. I have never seen anything like this. The fans are amazing. I thought baseball fans were nuts (and they are..) but this is a different kind of crazy. They stand the entire game, and sing, chant, and yell the entire game. Only it is organized yelling. It really was incredible to watch. Apparently baseball games here are pretty mellow, but the soccer games..not so much. I think going to the game today eased my jealousy of all of the people going to Cardinals games back home. Still not the same, but, it helped. The team lost, which wasn't so much fun, but we still had a really good time.

I really really need to clean my apartment. I haven't done a thing since I've been back from Korea. I haven't had time. I need to do dishes so bad, I had to use chopsticks to get a "spoonfull" of peanut butter. And, Sarah made cookie dough and we used chopsticks to eat it. This weekend, my only plan was to clean my apartment, but I was just too lazy! I did do a couple loads of laundry, and I at least organized the mess a bit. Maybe I'll do it this week. We'll see I guess. This week at school is half days, and no kids on Wednesday. Hopefully it won't be nearly as busy then! I hope everyone had a great Easter!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

"What's 'um' Ms. Kim?"

Wow. This has been such a long week. After tomorrow I will have worked 10 days straight, and most of this week has been 12-13 hour days. I am exhausted to say the least. Yesterday was opening ceremony for K5. My kids came in with their parents to the classroom. I helped them hang all of their stuff, fill out their calendar card, answer the question of the day, and then they played for a while. Then, I sent them to the bathroom and they all came back and sat in their chairs which were in two rows. I kind of introduced myself, even though they all knew me already. I talked for a minute or two (the parents were in the back of the room watching the whole time..talk about intimidating) and then had them go out and line up to get on the bus to go to the top of the hill for the ceremony.
We had a ceremony (all in Japanese) and then brought the kids back down to the classroom for about an hour. This time the parents were in meetings so it was just me and the kids. We talked about some of the fun things we will do this year, talked about our class in general, and sang a couple of songs. It went by really fast.

Today was a half day, but no parents at all. Today went pretty well for the most part. I kinda had to talk about some of the "rules" and such, so I felt like I was pretty boring, but it had to be done. I really did have fun with my kids though. Probably one of the funniest things of the day..I was teaching, and was looking through my stuff for my vocab cards and I said, "um..." and then something else. And of course, one of my kids said, "What's um Ms. Kim?" Because they seriously ask you what EVERYTHING is. When you grunt to get off the floor, when they tickle you and you make a screeching noise..I mean, everything. It's how they learn, and it is amazing, but sometimes it really puts you on the spot. I mean, on the spot try coming up with how to explain "um" in language that five year old kids can understand. So, I tried..and then we moved on. Literally like 1 minute later I said it again, haha. Some of my kids were like, "what's um?" and I couldn't help it, I just busted up laughing. They all laughed like crazy and I'm pretty sure we lost about 2 or 3 minutes teaching time because we were all laughing. It was cute. But, makes me really aware of how I need to be careful with what I say and the noises that I make, haha!

Tomorrow I do not have kids. We have K4 opening ceremony that we have to be a part of. Hopefully I can knock off a few of the things on my to do list tomorrow as well. I've worked so much this week, but still have so much to do. I have a feeling it will be a never ending cycle from now on. I really love my class, and I sometimes worry that I will not be enough for them, but I really am going to try my best to be the best teacher I can be for them. They are amazing kids, and I am so looking forward to this next year. Even though I have my doubts about myself and my abilities, I am looking forward to the year. There are some awesome personalities in my classroom. I know I will learn so much this year. It will definitly be an interesting one!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

South Korea part 2

Things I were already taking for granted in Japan but have a new appreciation for:
1. Heated toilet seats. Now, I know I talked about them a lot in the beginning. But, like everything else, you just start getting used to it. Well, go to South Korea for a week and you will quickly realize how important those heated seats really are to you. I mean, for real, it was a shock every single time I sat down in Korea. Even when I knew it was coming. I just don't get how America hasn't caught on to this idea yet. You might laugh, but just live a few weeks with heated seats and try to go back. You will understand.
2. My water heater. I can set my water to the exact temperature that I want and it automatically goes to that temperature every time. No messing with trying to get the hot and the cold perfect together. It just is. There is a little box on the wall in my kitchen (and one in the bath) and I just press up or down to set the numbers. Set it for one temp for your shower, another for doing dishes. It really is nice. I hated trying to find the right temperature in Korea. Always too hot, or too cold. This might sound petty to those of you who have to do this everyday and think nothing of it. But, if you had the automatic temperature, you would soon learn to appreciate it as much as I do!
3. Cleanliness. Japan is such a clean country. You do not see trash on the streets, and you don't even see trash cans! I do not understand how there are no trash cans anywhere, but still people do not throw trash on the ground. It's pretty amazing, really. South Korea was so dirty. I mean, sure I have see dirtier, but compared to Japan, it was dirty. I like looking at clean sidewalks and streets.

I can't remember exactly where I left off on what I did in South Korea. We went to the Korean Folk Village. This place was hyped up in the travel books and online to be the one place to go if you couldn't go anywhere else. Well, it was a dud. There was nothing there. We did see a traditional wedding, got to try on some clothes and take pictures, a cultural dance, and an acrobatic act. But, for how big the place was, there really was nothing. There was this one tree with all of these pieces of fabric hanging down. At the bottom there was something hard. We thought it looked cool, and being rude Americans, decided to try to swing on the thing. Well, this one family walks by and tells us that it is a suicide tree! And, they keep saying, "Dangerous!" Haha, whoops. We swung on it anyway. We weren't the only ones though. As soon as we got off another couple of people got on. So, we didn't feel as bad. :)

We also went shopping again this day. I'm pretty sure we shopped a little everyday. We also ate at TGIFriday's. Back home, this is one of my favorite restaurants! I was a little disappointed that my Caesar salad tasted fishy.

On Saturday, we went to the DMZ (Demilitarized zone between North and South Korea). Our tour picked us up at 7am! I am so glad that we got to do this tour. It was very interesting, and kind of crazy to think that this all is still going on even as we were there. Usually you go look at stuff that happend 100 years ago or something. Our tour guide, Mia, was amazing. She was down to earth and fun and told us all kinds of stuff you probably wouldn't get on most tours. We got to go down into the 3rd tunnel of aggression that North Korea tried to build to invade South Korea. We didn't get to go all that far, but did go down about 300 meters, I think they said. It was a little intense to think that on the other side of where we were was North Korea. We also went to the railroad station that is right between the two. There were guards standing there and we all go pictures with them. We also went up to this platform to look out over North Korea. There was a yellow line a ways back that you had to stand behind in order to take pictures. They were very strict about picutres beyond the yellow line. You could see the North Korean flag and the South Korean flag right on the border across from each other.
Funny story from when we were up on the platform. There were soldiers from all over there. Switzerland, Korea, America. People were so thankful towards the American soldiers. Shaking their hands, wanting pictures with them. It was really nice to see, actually. At least we are appreciated in what we do, you know? Anyway, there is this American soldier, and he just happend to be black. He had a huge group of people around him saying thank you and wanting pictures. Then I hear one lady say, "Obama?" And she just kept saying it. And then like a minute later she was like. "Obama brother?" I pretty much almost lost it, this lady asked this dude if he was Obama's brother because he was black! I mean, for real.. He was pretty much done taking pictures at that point, but I think he thought it was funny.

We ate at Outback Steakhouse that afternoon and I got ribs. You won't believe it, but my ribs tasted fishy! I made Sarah try them to prove I wasn't just going crazy. I think it was in the sauce. Disappointing. They were still pretty good though..minus the fishy-ness.

Sunday we went to the biggest church in the world. Well, the biggest church member wise. They have over 800,000 members. They had a special section for us foreigners and took really good care of us. We had headphones to listen in English. The songs they sang were the same as ours, so we just sung along in English. It really was incredible to watch all of these Korean people pray and praise God in a language that I can not understand.

On our last night there, we went to a martial arts comedy show called Jump! It was hilarious. We had a really good time. I saw a lot of awesome things in Korea and had a really good time. It probably was not a country on my list of places that I want to go, but I am so glad that I did.

Now it is back to work. My kids come on Wednesday. I can't believe it. I am so excited, but so incredibly stressed out. My classroom is nowhere near ready and probably still will not be finished when we start. I am just trying to get the big things done and have it look put together for when they come and then I can work on the other stuff that they can't see later. I just hope I get it all done though! I can't wait to have my own class everyday. I've been here almost two months exactly, so it's time to do what I really came to do!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

South Korea part 1

I feel like I have so much to blog about. That makes me almost not want to blog because I know that I need to write so much. But, here goes. This past week we went to South Korea. We had a good time. The first day we got there, we went to our hostel. That in and of itself was an interesting experience. Our hostels name was "Bong House." The guys last name was Bong. But, we soon found out that the name suited a little better than we knew it would. The first night we went out walking around, ate at Pizza Hut, and looked in some shops around our area. We almost seriously got killed by a Dominos delivery scooter. I mean, I have never been so close to being run over in my life..all three of us. Our travel book did tell us that 33% of all traffic deaths include a pedestrian. I understand why now. People drive like crazy and don't pay much attention to pedestrians. Scooters and motorcycles drive on the sidewalks and in the crosswalks. It's nuts.

On our way back from exploring we ran into some people from our hostel who were going dancing. We opted out and headed back. We eventually went to bed and woke up to a lot of noise right outside of our room in the common room. Our dancing friends had made their way back and it was 4:30am! We were all getting so frustrated because they were so loud! Needless to say, we learned our lesson and bought ear plugs! But, that was really the only loud night while we were there.
Our hostel was decent. A little dirty, but liveable. We, luckily, got a three person room. So it was just the three of us (Sarah, Becky, and I) and we got a key so we could lock our door and keep our stuff safe. The shower was a little gross, especially since the toilet is right under the shower. So, anytime you needed to use the bathroom, the toilet was always soaked. Gross. There was also a window in the shower that wouldn't close. Yikes! Haha. The hostel really was a great experience though, we met some fun people. Lots of English teachers from Japan there on break as well.

On Wednesday, we went to a Korean palace. We saw the changing of the guards and got to go stand up with them and take pictures. They had huge Samari swords, it was crazy. The palace was beautiful though. We also went into Seoul tower. It was on top of a mountain/hill type thing and we could look down over all of Seoul.
We also attempted to go shopping. Somehow we just ended up in this huge building full of fabric and got kinda lost inside. We ran out of time becuase we had to go meet this guy Jeff (he works at our sister school there in Korea) and our friend Joey who was also in Korea for break. We went do dinner with them and then walked down the street where they were selling everything from shoes to purses to jewelry to belts and so much more.

I am running out of time. I will have to finish telling you about my trip another time. I have to get ready for work. This is our work week. I get my kids on Wednesday. My classroom is so bare, I have so much to do in it before then!! I am excited that it is truly mine now, though. Can't believe school is about to start, time went by so fast!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I am a foreigner

It is a weird feeling to think of myself as an alien, or foreigner. But, I really am. People stare. People talk about us. They laugh. I've really learned to tune them out for the most part though. I'm used to not understanding what someone is saying to me, or about me. I'm used to not being able to read the signs around me.
Tonight I decided to ride my bike down to McDonald's for dinner. I kind of explored a bit on my way. I just got my bike yesterday, so I haven't had much time to ride around on it. I rode a ways past McDonald's and then decided to turn back. As I was turning back, I passed some dude riding a bike. He was a foreigner as well. He said something to me and stopped to talk. We talked for like five minutes. He was born in Morocco, but moved to the States as a kid. Kinda lived all over. He said anytime he sees a foreigner he tries to stop and talk. He was really nice. Maybe 35 or so? He had a hat on so it was hard to tell. Never in my life have I been the type to just randomly stop and talk to random strangers, but apparently that will become a new part of my life.
We also talked to a foreigner on the subway this weekend. He had on a Boy Scouts shirt from St. Louis, so that struck up a conversation and he ended up talking to us the whole ride. His wife actually went through MeySen (the school that I work for) when she was growing up here.

I officially have a classroom. The teacher cleaned out most of her stuff today. I will say, the bare walls and empty shelves is a bit overwhelming right now. Luckily I will have a week or so to get things going in there. I leave for South Korea tomorrow. I'm pretty impressed with my packing, but, it is still getting close to the weight limit. I mean, it's fine for on the way there. But, if I buy much (which I am really planning/hoping to) it could be an issue. I will just have to stuff my backpack as much as possible I guess. I am excited for the trip. Hopefully it will be an amazing time. We are staying in a hostel, so that alone will be an experience! We might have access to the internet there, I'm not sure. I will try to update if so. If not, I'll see ya on the 1st! Well, maybe I will write on the 1st anyways. :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I am sorry

For some reason, I can't comment on my own blog. I don't understand it. I can read your comments, but I can't comment back. I promise I am not ignoring your comments. I appreciate them! Thanks for reading, I love and miss you guys!!

Yesterday was fun. I went shopping for cleaning supplies, haha. I decided it was time to break down and buy a mop and duster and a few other things. After scrubbing the kitchen floor with a rag, a mop sounded like a good idea. Today I will be cleaning my apartment really well since I have people coming over tonight. Not that it is really dirty, just could use a good scrub down.

Then yesterday afternoon, I met two of my friends (Christina and Joey) at the subway station. We took the subway downtown. Our original plan to do the tour bus did not work out since we got such a late start. So, we just walked through downtown for a bit. I felt bad because really the only thing to do (that we know of) is look a shops and such. I know that probably wasn't much fun for the guy that we were with, but, he was a trooper. After that, we took the subway part of the way back and at at the yummy Italian place. I actually got really good food this time, no rice! Then, I had to walk back from the subway station (a different one than I walked to that morning, which was just a straight shot down the main road by my apartment). Sarah and I walked to and from this one earlier this week so I could learn my way back on my own this weekend. I had to walk through a park, in the dark, by myself. In Japan, that really isn't a big deal. It's pretty much one of, if not the safest country in the world. But, I just have a bad perception of walking alone in the dark through a park from America, I think. It was a little creepy, but really wasn't too bad. I am sure my grandma would probably yell at me for it, haha. But, I just have to keep reminding myself how safe Japan truly is. I was just proud that I remembered my way back!!

Today is cleaning, going to the store to get sodas, and having fellowship. Will be fun to have people over. :)

Friday, March 20, 2009


Who knew Kindergarten graduation was such a big deal? I don't even think we had a kindergarten graduation when I was little. If we did, I sure don't remember it. (Imagine that) Thursday was the last full day with the kids at school. We had a farewell lunch down in the hall. Sloppy joes, apples, bread with jelly or chocolate spread, and Mister Donuts! My kind of meal, if you ask me. :) The kids really enjoyed it, I can't believe how much they ate!

Then yesterday (Friday) was graduation. It was so cute, and honestly next year when those are my kids graduating, I am going to bawl like a baby! I mean, I got a little teary eyed this time and I was only with those kids for a few weeks! The actual graduation was cute..they sang a few songs. Some in English, some in English and Japanese. It's so cute to see them speaking Japanese because I often forget that they do speak something other than English! They marched up and got diplomas, there was a speaker (in Japanese, no clue what he said.), then there was a snack time. Cookies, cupcakes, ice cream, candy bars, soda, all kinds of goodies. We had our ceremony in the morning, and then had to go over to the other campus for their ceremony in the afternoon. Needless to say, it made for a very long day!

After the second graduation, they served us dinner. Um, it was sushi. I tried one, okay? I decided that I do not like seaweed. The sushi that I had was just rice and shrimp. I tried the shrimp by itself, and it wasn't horrible. But wasn't really something that I could see myself ordering for it's great taste. I pretty much ate a cupcake that my boss gave me, haha. It's okay though, at least I can say I have tried sushi since I have been here. Sarah says there is better sushi, with eggs, or cucumbers, no seafood. Maybe someday. But, no thanks on the seaweed part, please.

Last night, the girls that I work with all went to the cabin. It was a farewell weekend for the people leaving. I was a little worried, because I haven't really spent a weekend night by myself since I have been here. And, I know sometimes it's easy to get emotional or sad when you have time to sit and think about it. But, I really had a good night. I rearranged my apartment (again) and hung up some picture frames, a bulletin board, and my world map. Trying to make my apartment a bit more cozy.

Today, two of my friends from the other campus are meeting me downtown and we are going on The Loople. Which is a tour bus of some of the most popular points (or most historical/cultural) in Sendai. Hopefully it will be a fun day. It is sunny out and semi-warm, so I am happy! Sunday night we are having fellowship in my apartment since there are only a few of us left here and not at the cabin. It will be fun. I haven't really had anyone over (besides Sarah) so I am excited to have people here.

4 days until South Korea!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


A week from tomorrow I will be in South Korea. I am excited and really hope it turns out to be a fun trip. Today I was in Sarah's room, and tomorrow I will be in the other K-4 class. Sunday was a lazy day for the most part. The only thing I left my apartment for was fellowship Sunday night. I did clean and do some laundry, so I was somewhat productive inside of my apartment.
Yesterday Rumi took me to the bank. Turns out I did enter the wrong pin number (I just started second guessing myself..ugh). Anyway, after three wrong tries, your card isn't good anymore. So you can't go in and have them reset it, they have to mail you a completley new card. Frustrating. But, it's my fault I guess. Although, I'd like to see you try to get money out of an atm that is all in Japanese. :)

Today, my supervisor took me out driving! She drove us to a smaller, less busy neighborhood and had me drive around it for a while, and then drive to the other campus and back to ours from there. I have been really nervous about driving, but once I got behind the wheel it really wasn't that bad. She had a good tip.. to always have your body on the inside line. Which, is the same in the States, it's just your body is on the other side of the car. That really helped a lot, especially with right hand turns!! She told me she was impressed..I was the first person she has taken out that didn't accidently turn on the windshield wipers when they were trying to turn on the turn signal. It's so weird having the gear shift in the middle on your left side, the windshield wipers on the left side, the blinker on the right side, and the rearview mirror up on the left. It will take some getting used to. And, today I was driving a little car. The vehicle we get to use is a big ole van. Yikes. Oh well. She signed my papers, so as soon as I get a key I can actually take the van and go when I need to. Well, when it's available that is. This whole campus shares one van, but it doesn't seem too hard to get. So, I am pretty excited about being able to drive!

This afternoon, Sarah and I had to walk up to the top of the hill to turn in some paperwork. Instead of walking down all of the steps back to our building, we decided to take the big slide. One of the perks of being a kindergarten teacher..you get to act like a kid and no one will think anything of it. It was fun!! Later on, we had to go back up and decided to take the slide back down again. This time Anne was with us. We attempted to make a train, but..haha, it didn't quite work. It was fun though!! I love acting like a kid sometimes!

Also, today was the first day that my computer told me the temperature was higher here than in Bethalto. Come on spring!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Life is good

Thursday I taught the other K-5 class. It was a rough day. There were some rowdy boys in the class that I kind of had some issues with. I probably could have fixed the problem had I come down on them in the very beginning. But, it's hard to find the line between being firm and being mean. I don't want to be mean! I taught that class again on Friday and told them from the very beginning how the day was going to go and that what I expected of them. It went so much better than the day before. The boys pushed a little bit, but I kinda stopped them in their tracks before they really even got started. The day was fun!

Well, the teaching part of the day was fun anyway.. They say bad things happen in 3's right? First, I kinda flew off the slide. Haha. I was on the really long one. And there was bird stuff on it, so I was trying to avoid it and kinda lost track of how fast I was going and how far I was from the end. I still had time to slow myself down, but I didn't have on tennis shoes. I had slip on brown shoes, and well..apparently they are slick! I couldn't slow myself down enough..haha. Good thing they put a little fence like 3 feet in front of the slide, cuz I would have flown down the hill. I did bang up my knees and leg, two really nice bruises and some scrapes. Haha. Luckily, none of my kids saw me! How embarrassing! But, I got up laughing, so it's okay.
After school, I went over to the ATM to get money out so I could buy a tv if I found one since were were going to look. Well, if you remember..I have not had the best of luck with the ATMs here. I think they have it out for me. I must have accidently put in the wrong pin or something. But, I guess it locked me out. I kept trying it, and even left and let all of these people that had been waiting in line go. Then I went back in, and still, it wouldn't work. It kept spitting out this paper with my card, and of course I can't read it. So, I walked back home and got Sarah and Anne. Anne went in with me, and well..it still wouldn't work. So, I basically am money-less until Monday (hopefully) when I can get Rumi to call or go with me to the bank to get things figured out.
The third thing of the day? We went to eat at Coco's, which is American-type food. (French toast and french fries is my normal meal there!) Anyway, we ordered dessert. I got ice cream with brownies, strawberries, and whipped cream. Very yummy! I had finished (luckily) and reached to move or get something and knocked the glass over. It pretty much broke into a few pieces. Whoops. Embarrassment number three for the day. The waitress is all apologetic and asking if I am okay like it was her fault or something. That's the difference between America and here man..they are so nice here, always.

Today, I got my haircut. It was..interesting. There is a christian lady that one of the girls here met at church that does hair. She speaks some English, but recommended we bring in a picture just in case. So I brought in my pictures..a combination of Jennifer Aniston (layers) and one of the Olsen twins (bangs). Haha. There were two ladies there doing hair. Sarah and I were getting ours done at the same time. I specifically told the lady to please not thin my hair. Apparently they tend to thin hair when you are getting it cut, and honestly, if I thinned my hair I wouldn't have any left. I told the lady not to take much off the length, just a little to get the dead ends. At first, she was hardly cutting it, and I almost told her to take a little more. Boy am I glad I didn't! The lady just kept cutting and cutting. I'm pretty sure she was trying to thin the left side of my head to match the right side. But my hair was parted way on the right, so I didn't really have a whole lot of hair on that side. And, she kept trying to match the picture EXACTLY. I mean, the picture was just for an idea.. but she would cut, cut, cut..lay it down like Jennifer Anistons, and then cut, cut, cut some more. I seriously was starting to panic a bit. All in all..I don't hate my hair. I'm not sure if I love it or even like it..but, I don't hate it. It's growing on me, I think. It's really not even that different than before. Just kinda shorter bangs and some more layers. And..a little thinner. Ugh.

I can't wait for spring. I am so tired of cold and random snowflakes. Overall, I really am loving life here. Hopefully soon, I will be driving. I will also have a bike, so getting around will be much easier. Life is good. :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

One more thing

My heart just breaks for the church in Maryville. It makes being here in Japan a little more real to hear of something like that happening so close to my hometown. I can not even begin to imagine what that church is going through. My heart goes out to the pastor's family and to that entire church. My heart also hurts for the family of the man that did this. No one will ever understand why things like this happen. The church and all of the families involved are in my prayers.

Nothing too exciting

Wow, time goes by so fast and I completely forget to blog. Not that anything too terribly exciting has happened since my last blog. This past weekend, I went out for Sara's birthday Friday. Which..as a follow-up on that amazing Italian food I was going to get. Can I just say one word. Disappointment. Geez. I ordered Parmesan cheese riscotta or something. I have no idea. It sounded like cheesy pasta, which sounded amazingly good. Well, imagine my disappointment when it came out and was cheesy rice. Ugh! Rice. I eat rice like every single day (well, it seems that way). Needless to say, Sarah and I are going to go back to that restaurant sometime soon so I can actually get some good pasta.

Saturday Sarah and I went shopping. We went downtown and were gone for six and a half hours! I could not believe it. I bought a lot of miscellaneous things. A baking pan, things for my classroom, Kraft macaroni and cheese (from the import store, yum!) and a bunch of other little stuff. Oh, I also bought a world map. However, it is backwards. North America is on the right hand side instead of the left. Weird. Threw me off a little bit, but I guess it isn't really backwards to the people living here. Who knows.

Saturday night we had a get together for Sara and a couple other teachers who have birthdays this month. It was fun. Everyone brought snacks, and we played games. Catch phrase. I like that game, especially when you play with close friends because they tend to get your way of thinking!

Sunday was a lazy day for the most part. We had fellowship Sunday night, which was a good time. Just got together, sang some worship songs, a short message, a testimony, communion. We also ate dinner together. I think I am going to try a church this Sunday morning. I would really like to get involved in one.

Monday I taught the other K-4 class. Half of those kids will be mine in April. The day went really well. I think it will be interesting mixing the kids from each class. There is a different atmosphere and dynamic to each room. I am anxious to see how that all comes together in my room. I must say though, I am truly falling in love with my kids. They aren't even my kids yet! They are bunnies and puppies for another two weeks!

Speaking of two weeks..I leave for South Korea in exactly two weeks from today. I am getting excited about that. We will be going to the biggest church in the world, the DMZ (demilitarized zone), cheap shopping (hopefully some good knock-off stuff) and there is even a beach we are going to try to go to. I am not sure what else is on the agenda, but hopefully it will be a fun trip.

Today I taught one K-5 class and tomorrow I will teach the other one. Today went really well, which surprised me since going into it I didn't know hardly any of the kids names. That always makes me nervous. But, things went really smoothly.

I went to the dentist yesterday, I can tell a difference in how I bite down now. She evened out my bite. Hopefully it will relieve some of the pressure on my jaws and teeth. Which, the past few days have been much much better! Just kind of a dull ache, which I can honestly handle. Thanks for the prayers!

Friday, March 6, 2009

5 Little Monkeys

Today was a good day. I taught Sarah's class again. It went really well. I think I am getting the hang of things here. On Monday I will be in the other K-4 class teaching. I am a little nervous because I do not know very many names, which makes teaching a bit more challenging.

I met the mom of one of my kids today. She was really nice and spoke English very well. She has been to the States. I didn't talk to her long, but she seemed like she will be good to work with. Working with the parents, getting to know them, is something I have been worried about. Some of them know a little English, so that will help.

Yesterday was new student orientation for the new 4 year olds coming in April. They got to come in with their parents and play for a while. Then all of us teachers led some songs and read some stories. One story we did was "5 Little Monkeys." We acted this one out, haha. I was a monkey and had a monkey picture strapped to my head. I guess when you teach kindegarten you just have no shame!

Yesterday I went and got my re-entry visa. So I can now legally go in and out of Japan. Which is good since I am going to South Korea later this month. I can't believe how fast time is going. I am getting so excited about my class and classroom. There is a class in my room, so I haven't really been able to do anything with the actual room yet. But, I have been working on my materials for it. I think I have decided that the theme of my room is going to be the ocean, or under the sea or something of the sort. We are dolphins, afterall. And, our first unit is The Ocean, I believe. I found really cute name cards that have fish and such on it. I think my circle is going to be crabs and fish for the kids to sit on. My word wall, I am going to do in all different shades of blue (thanks for the idea, Sarah!). I really had no idea what to do in my room, but now that I have this ocean idea, I can't wait to think of cute things to use! I am getting so excited!!

Today is Sara Beeler's birthday, so we are going to this really good Italian restaurant. Sarah and I went there my first weekend here. The owner speaks English and went to school in Italy, so it is true Italian. Well, as true Italian as it gets in Japan!
(I just had to add this last paragraph for those of you that read my blog just to see what I have to say about food in every entry!) :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Dolphins

Last night, I went to sleep and did not wake up until the sun was up. I couldn't believe it. Lately, I have been waking up every hour and a half or so, get up, put my heat pack in the microwave, and go back to bed. I woke up and my mouth wasn't even hurting at all. Which, was awesome since I was teaching Sarah's class all day today.

Teaching went really well! The kids actually listened to me, and I think we all had fun. Halfway through the day we had to go up to the main campus at the top of the hill for Bible Talk. It was all in Japanese, but there were pictures so I at least knew what was being talked about from those! The kids sat so quiet and listened to every word that was said, it was pretty amazing! The walk up was cold, so..my mouth started hurting again. Ugh..I am so tired of this!

After that I taught some more, had lunch, and then sent all of the kids downstairs. Downstairs, the kids found out which K-5 class they will be in next year. Dolphins (my class) or Penguins. They also found out that I will be their teacher. I was up in Sarah's room playing a game with a boy who will not be coming back next year. The next thing I know, I see a bunch of kids in purple hats (the Dolphin hats) peeking in the door, and they all shout, "We're dolphins!" and then come and pile on top of me! It was sooo cute, and such a good feeling! I really only kind of know half of them, but everyone seemed pretty excited! Sarah took our first class picture. I will have to post it when I get it from her. It kinda started to set in today that I will have my own class next year (the school year starts in April)! I've been working in other peoples classes, helping out..kind of like in college for my practicums. But, pretty soon, those kids will be mine! I can't wait!

I also went to the dentist today. I did not get much accomplished there, but..that is another story. I am going back next week, so hopefully this pain issue will be resolved soon!

Monday, March 2, 2009

I wish I had a TV

Well, this weekend we went out to the cabin. It is on the ocean and is beautiful! Somehow we managed to have a beautiful day on Saturday, so we were able to spend a lot of time outside. The view from the cabin was beautiful. It was just a short little hike down to the rocks on the water, too. It was so awesome to stand and look out across the water. Funny to think if you just kept going you would eventually run into America! Sometimes I forget how far away I really am. This was the view from our cabin:
This is where we walked down to:

It was beautiful! That night they grilled out for us and we all just hung out and played games. There was also a bonfire. It was really fun hanging out with everyone, getting to know people more.

Throughout the night Saturday I didn't sleep much because my jaw/teeth were hurting so bad. We got up Sunday morning, I was feeling a little bit queasy, from the medicine I thought. So I pretty much ate breakfast and went back to bed. Later on that afternoon, I think I took enough pain medicine that I was feeling okay for a while. We went to the fish market. Let me just say...ew. I mean, interesting, but ew. I am not sure what came over me, but without even thinking I decided to try a sample of the raw octopus. Big mistake. It was horrible..more the texture than the taste. Anyway, I have pictures but they are on Sarah's camera. I'll put them up once I get them from her!

We went back to the cabin and played games for a while. I felt okay for a while, but then started to feel worse and worse. My mouth and my stomach were both bothering me. I actually ended up pretty sick, and stayed home from work today as well. I hated doing it, but I really didn't have much of an option. My stomach is feeling a lot better and I've actually kept a couple pieces of toast down this afternoon, so hopefully it was just a small bug or something.

I am finally breaking down and going to the dentist here on Wednesday. Unfortunately, the last few times that I had to go to the dentist sparked a fear for the dentist in me. I am not looking forward to it at all, but, I really can't stand to live in constant pain either! Luckily, the dentist they use here knows some English. That is a relief. I have a girl who goes with me as a translator, but still, there is so much to say and describe, it would be hard!

Oh, Sarah left me alone in her class on Friday to read a couple of books. It actually went really well and with her out of the room the kids actually listened to me. When their teacher is in the room, kids don't find it necessary to listen to anyone but them. So, it's been challenging, but was nice to have a chance to do it on my own for a few minutes!

PS- Can I please just tell you how much I missed tv today? Being home sick is boring enough when you can just lazily watch tv. But, without one..wow, it's been a long, boring day! That's all for today. I'll post pictures of the fish market when I get a chance...and maybe when my stomach has completely stopped feeling queasy!