Friday, October 10, 2014

I am long overdue on an update! Thoughts are always floating around in my brain. But finding time to actually  sit still long enough to WANT to process them into a post...well, that is where I fall short. :) I have written dozens of blog my mind.  But that doesn't benefit you, does it? ;)

Let me catch you up on what has happened since my last post in February, 2014. Finished out my first year of teaching overseas (20th year in the classroom!) in June, 2014. What a year it was! I learned so much. And was stretched so far beyond my comfort zone I could have been elastic girl. I absolutely fell in love with my students. Teaching 15, mostly ESL, children was one of the hardest and most rewarding things I have ever done, next to parenting my lovely daughter, Shelby.  So, here are some bullet points highlighting the many areas I was stretched in.

  • Learning to live in a foreign country.  Grocery shopping and cooking here took some getting use to. I am able to find most of the things I am use to cooking with. However, the question then becomes, "Do I want to pay THAT price for it?"  I will occasionally splurge and pay an astronomical price for a little bit of comfort. (Can anyone say Breyer's Oreo Cookies and Cream?)
  • Teaching a class mostly made up of ESL (English Second Language) students. It was a challenge, but one I absolutely LOVED!! I was so very grateful for all my years of ABEKA phonics training. Whether you love or loathe the ABEKA curriculum, one thing you have to give them credit for is their phonics program. It does the job well for most students.  Using my knowledge of phonics made teaching my sweet ESL babies a lot easier. 
  • Roommates. The house we live in is divided into two apartments. An upstairs apartment where 3 ladies  live, and a downstairs apartment where I live with 2 other female teachers.  Living with the same people you work with is different. Not bad. Just different. I am an introvert. Extreme introvert according to the facebook quiz. ;) Finding the balance of being sociable and hibernating in my room has been a bit difficult for me. While I enjoy the company of my roommates, I also enjoy the solitude of my room. As someone just recently said to me, "I am comfortable in my own company." That was a spot on comment.  I am quite content to be alone. BUT there are times where I do enjoy mingling with others. It is necessary to stay balanced and sane. 
  • Bathtubs. I MISS BATHTUBS! Bathtubs are a rarity here. I don't mind showers. Even in the states, I took mostly showers. But there are those times where a nice, long ,hot soak in a tub overflowing with bubbles is greatly needed.
  • God.  My relationship with my Heavenly Father has indeed changed. I have learned to depend on Him more than ever. And He has shown me things that I have never before understood. I love Him more today than I ever thought possible. I am hearing Him more than I ever thought possible.  At times, the spiritual stretching has been down right painful. A lot of tears have been shed. Tears of sorrow, tears of repentance, and tears of joy. 
After the school year ended, I stayed behind to help with the English Summer Camp. That was a difficult decision. But in the end, it boiled down to money. In order to claim the foreign income credit, I had to live in Suriname for 330 days. Which means I couldn't leave for the states until July 15. So, I may as well be productive and help out with camp. Which also helped me earn the money I need to buy my plane ticket home. :)

While home, I ate way to much American food. But I enjoyed every calorie. I was able to see my grandma, my mother and one of my brothers. I got to spend a lot of time with my church family. And of course, I got see my Shelby and meet her now husband, Ryan. Yes. You read that right. I now have a son-in-law. Sept. 10 Ryan and Shelby eloped. They are crazy in love and happy. They are living in Dothan, Alabama.

The new school year began August 18.  This year I only have 7 students. I am loving the smaller class size. They are a sweet bunch and I am loving the fact that I GET to be their teacher! They are from Brazil, China, Australia, Indonesia/America and Zimbabwe.

So, do you know what this introvert is doing this year??? Leading a Bible study. Yes, you read that right. I wrestled with the Lord on that one for a few days. But finally gave in and offered to lead one.  It has definitely been a learning experience. Our little group is great. I am enjoying their fellowship.  We have been having some great discussions.  Right now we are in Ephesians. Next, we are moving on to 1 John. I LOVE first John. Of course, I said the same thing about Ephesians. ;) I just love HIS word.

My days and evenings stay pretty busy.  There are things I am committed to on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings. The school staff also meets once a month on a Saturday to worship and pray together. I help out with an after school Bible club on Wednesday afternoons. Do some cooking for the Bible studies here and there. I don't mind the cooking. I love to cook.  I also started attending a local church here. I am enjoying His teaching. I am learning a lot.

So, that pretty much catches you up on things with me. I do have some prayer requests though.

  1. Please pray for my students. Pray that I am the teacher they need and that I effectively teach them not just academically, but also the truths of God's word. May they know His love for them and one day follow Him. 
  2. Christmas vacation is coming up. I would love to go home. But, if I want to go home this summer, I most likely can't go home Christmas too.  Tickets are just a wee bit pricey. I sometimes feel guilty praying for a Christmas trip home when there is so much suffering and tragedy in the world.
  3. I am in my second year of a two year contract. I have to let them know in December whether or not I will return for a 3rd year. Please pray that God will show me if I am suppose to stay here or move on to another country.
Enjoy these few pictures!

Several of the IAS teachers were invited to the Chinese Embassy.  These are two of my fellow teachers.

Here I am on the first day of this school year. 

These last two were taken last June.  The one below is me in front of the Suriname River. 

Thank you for reading!

May the Lord bless you, and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.