Sunday, October 26, 2014

not-so-set routines

It's hard to believe I've been back in Canada for almost 3 months already! My life has finally settled into a routine (of sorts). Monday I have a class in the afternoon/evening. Tuesday and Thursday I work for the Engineering firm I was working for before I left Canada. Wednesday and the weekends vary from week to week. I usually do errands on Wednesday with/for my Grandma or else I try and get caught up on my school work. The weekends have been my times to travel and catch up with friends and family. I have been north (to Sudbury) several times to help out with my Mom's new alpaca farm. I was in Huntsville for my Grandpa's funeral. I have been in Toronto to speak at a Ladies Group and I am currently in New York (state) visiting with my friend Hannah who taught at Sakeji for 2 years. The drive down was pretty easy. It's a 6 hr drive (give or take) but I broke it up by stopping at my sister's place in Harrowsmith overnight. When leaving the next morning I forgot to add some time for the boarder crossing so ended up meeting Hannah 40 mins later then planned. The boarder guard wasn't so sure about letting me in when he found out I'd been in Africa recently. He wasn't mean, just wary. ***sigh*** I wish people would figure out that Africa is a HUGE CONTINENT and not a country. I wanted to tell him that I had more risk of getting the Ebola by entering New York (as there are apparently cases reported here) then they did because I was in Zambia. However, I held my tongue and tried instead to explain that Zambia was not at risk and was in fact thousands of miles from the countries affected. I know of course that it doesn't mean it CAN'T travel there (it has reached the US after all) but it IS unlikely. I did eventually get through and was able to reach Saranac Lake with no further issues (other than trying to figure out the speed limit). Unfortunately I won't be able to stay here more the 24 hours as I have class tomorrow; although 10 years ago I probably would have skipped without giving it a second thought. So tomorrow is back to the weekly routine for a few weeks. Not sure what's happening next weekend, but the one after that is going to be crazy busy! Then I'll be off to Mexico for a week (skipping both work and school :D - it was bound to happen sometime) with my parents, brother and sister-in-law. It will be nice to relax and hang out with them, although I have a paper due when I get back, so will probably not be relaxing too much! Well, I must go check out of the hotel and see if I can find my way to Hannah's house for a pancake breakfast and a day of exploring. :)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

culture shock

Finally settling in 'back home' in Guelph. Home is a word I use rather liberally. now that I'm back in Canada I use it to describe Zambia. When I was in Italy I used it when talking about our hotel room. Anyhow, I'm back at my Grandmother's house in Guelph and should be here until about 1/2 way through December. It's been an interesting last few weeks, always have some culture shock to deal with when returning. This time, as I was travelling first, I had the deal with culture shock in Italy as well. Even after driving in Zambia for 5 years, I was totally unprepared for the maniac drivers in Italy. I'm so glad I didn't rent a car although riding in a bus and taking a cab wasn't much better! The other thing I was unprepared for was the amount of smokers. They were everywhere and as I was already dealing with a cold, the smoke did not help my allergies and asthma. Thank you Canada for having smoking laws and Zambia for not having many smokers! It was weird coming back to my parent's place as seeing it as a working farm. they have had other animals (goats & fowl) before but now they actually have a tractor! I got to drive the tractor a few times, which was kinda fun, but I am still no farm girl! Guelph has changed so much, even since last summer (although I wasn't here enough to notice too much before). There's so many new building and some of the stores/restaurants etc have changed but I think I can find my way around ok as long as I don't have to go into any of the new subdivisions. The biggest change though for me is the technology. I know that sounds funny as I've only been gone a few years but man did I feel like an old lady the other day when I was trying to buy a phone! I haven't had a new phone in probably 8 years but as my phone has disappeared (with my luggage in Europe) I had to get a replacement. I pretty much knew nothing about smart phones and tablets, except that they existed. The guy at Staples was very helpful and didn't laugh at me once despite my stupid questions. I am now the proud confused owner of a smart phone. I'm slowly figuring out how to use it, but if you get a strange txt or call from me, I appoligize, the phone has a mind of it's own!

Monday, July 7, 2014

it's a whirlwind!

I think I missed a month. somehow June flew right by me! The first half of this term was busy, the 2nd half has been insane! I'm not sure what I'm spending all my time on, but apparently it's not the right stuff as nothing seems to be getting done. I guess that's not entirely true. Apart from the usual teaching/supervising duties; I have spent a lot of time trying to get everything organized for next term. it's a little insane that it's more work going home than staying! at the moment we still don't have a definite idea of who will be covering my classes, but Jill Avery has volunteered to cover some of the morning periods. This past weekend was a bit more "active" than usual as we had our Sport's Day (track & field) on Saturday. We usually hold it on a Monday or Tuesday, but due to stat holidays and such we had to shift some things around. I was the "race organizer" which meant I had to get the right kids to the right spots on time. it worked not too bad in the morning, but by afternoon their listening skills had disappeared. as usual I got sunburn, but this time I was smart enough to wear a had and a t-shirt instead of a tank top, so mainly it was just the back of my neck that burnt. this year we added a staff vs students tug-of-war event. first we went against the juniors and won 2-1. we weren't sure if we could beat the seniors but we managed to pull it off. (pun intended) of course we all paid for it with aching muscles the next day! Sunday was "normal" and then today and tomorrow are our 2nd 1/2 term holiday. We've had to change that around a bit too as we've never had a 2nd half term during this term. We couldn't do swimming in the morning as we normally would as the water is just too cold for the kids. (for all you Canadians, it's about the same temp as lake water in summer time.) so we've had to come up with activities in the morning to keep them occupied. I believe tomorrow we will be doing a staff vs student football (soccer) match. I think that's about the only thing i'll participate in as I'm using all this "time off" to get things in order before reports take over my life. can't believe i'll be flying out in 20 days!

Monday, May 12, 2014

True Peace

“I have told you these things so that in me you will have PEACE, in this world you will have trouble, but take heart. I have overcome the world!” This verse has been going through my head all morning in the form of a song I learned as a child. Such an awesome message! Then, as I was going through my devotions it too was talking about the PEACE we have in Christ. I think God may be trying to get something through to me…. In the devotional book I’m going through called Livings So That, the author, Wendy Blight , says “Through His Spirit, we will find peace in times of pressure & uncertainty and in times of fear & waiting because He is the Prince of Peace and His peace reigns!” Isn’t that an awesome thought! The “peace” that the world offers falls apart at the first sign of trouble. It really isn’t “peace” at all; it’s just a quiet time before the storm. God’s peace is eternal and carries on in the midst of the storm. I looked up peace in the dictionary and it said “freedom from war, absence of disorder or violence, calm, quiet”. I think the first definitions are more of how the world views peace. Whereas, God’s peace is a calm, restful assurance that He is in control always, and no matter what does or doesn’t happen, God knows and can help me through it. God’s peace is eternal, but I have to choose daily to let it work in my life. These are just a few random thoughts that have encouraged me today. I hope God can use them to encourage you too. Phil. 4:6-7

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

wracking my brain for ideas

I have been informed that I am way past overdue on a blog update and that I better 'get on it!'. so here I am. unfortunately I have no idea what to write about! the reason I don't blog often is because things here always follow the same pattern: term begins, half term, birthday party, half term, end of term. and all the in between bits are filled with the same-old-same... school. So after wracking my brain, here's what I came up with for this term: 1) I have 8 new students (blogged about that already). 2) The dorm is getting a 'facelift'.. 3) My parents and SBF team are here for almost 4 weeks. 4) Still working at the orphanage. 5) break plans in more detail... 2) Jim Smith (retired Brass Tacks worker) came out mid-term to help with some dorm renos. Yes, we have done renos on the dorm in the last 2 years but this is different. The front of the dorm/ main sitting room was literally falling off. There are huge cracks in the walls and the attic floor (sitting room ceiling) was unstable. Solution: get rid of the attic and have a huge cathedral ceiling in the sitting room. They have opened it up by taking out the bedroom beside it and making it one large space. They also braced it up underneath (can't explain how they did that one, barely understand it myself. They have extended the sitting room out several feet and changed the entrance way slightly. This is still an on-going project and will probably be on hold for the break and picked up again next term. 3) Hurray! My parents and 4 others from their assembly in Sudbury made up a short term team to come work on some smaller projects. They all arrived in one piece but managed to find out about army ants the hard way!:( They began by giving the house they are staying in a thorough scrubbing/cleaning and re-organizing. They are now working on one of our "guest blocks" which is used when parents come to pick up their kids at end of term. They or doing major reno on the bathroom area as well as electrical changes to the whole building. The ladies gave it a major clean, painted the walls and made new curtains. I'm enjoying having my Mom and Dad here and spending time with them when I can. 4)I do still get over to the orphanage but not as often this term due to some unforeseen circumstances. I haven't been able to read with the teens (timing isn't working out this term) but have spent a lot of time in the container. I have also had some fun playing with the kids. I took my mom and the other 3 SBF ladies over this past Friday and they got a tour and spent a lot of time singing and being entertained by the kids. 5) My plans for the holiday aren't too exciting. I have to do a lot of organizing of stuff. First in my house, so the team and 'bat-proof' it. Then in my classroom. I'm hoping to get my mom (the ultimate organizer) to help me out! We'll probably get rid of some stuff that hasn't be used in eons and re-locate others things to a "new home". At the end of the month, Lina and I plan to take the team back to Solwezi so they can fly out and then I need to get some dental work done... again. Other then that, i'm hoping to just relax.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Why can I never keep up with time?!

This weekend was my "catch up time". Not only was it a weekend off, but a long weekend as Monday and Tuesday were half term. So I worked on getting things done around my house and classroom that I have been putting off for one reason or another. I didn't get all the jobs done that I wanted to and still have many, many things to finish, but doesn't it feel great to get a few things done and out of the way! Things are going a bit smoother with my students and some have really woken up and caught on to reading and such. Others are still going to take awhile to get there, but that's all part of the "fun" of teaching. My students and I are really getting into the Olympics. I needed something to fill the Language section of my schedule for the first half of term (as the kids aren't reading yet, teaching them grammar is useless at this point). The best part is because it's the winter Olympics these kids have NO CLUE what the sports are so we've watched a few video clips for each sport we learn about and then try to come up with ways to "play" that sport. each child has also chosen a country to cheer for and they get quite excited when we do the daily medal count to see "who's winning". They get so into it that they congratulate each other and everything. it's awesome to see. One boy today was sad because his team only has one medal so one of his friends said "I can give you one of mine, we've got lots of extras! Even though nothing was exchanged this cheered the first boy up and made the second one feel good too. I'm glad they're learning important lessons from this because I was beginning to feel guilty about using class time this way! :) Hard to believe that Mom and Dad arrive in less than a month and the term will be done in just over a month! Why can I never keep up with time?!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

tired, so tired!

What a day! I am completely exhausted, but I figure if I don't get a blog in now, who knows when I will next! First day of the school year which is always a little crazy for me because I don't follow a schedule (which means it's all my fault... I know). It's usually rather interesting just discovering what my new little kiddos will be like; the different personalities to meet and issues to deal with and overcomes. This year was did not disappoint. I have only 8 this year, 2 girls and 6 boys. I was worried about having 6 boys in my class, silly me, it's one of the girls who is giving me the most trouble. She pretends not to listen and then does exactly what she's not supposed to do when I turn my back or she thinks i'm not looking. The boys that I will have trouble with it's not an obedience thing as much as a little boy - no attention span thing. this I can deal with... with some extra patience from God. :) We all managed to survive the first day of school and I did NOT lose any children at the river or pool today. :) The other thing that wiped me out was supper dishes. Normally we have a new group of kids come in every year as the young ones move up and the older ones leave. this year, it's ALL new ones and I get to train them as I was the silly one to sign up for Wednesdays. dishes tonight took until 6:35 - last year I was never out after 6:20. we'll see if they've picked up speed by Monday (my next dishes night). must go, have to get ready for classes tomorrow - start the "real" teaching.