Well hello there!

Wow! It has been FAR to long since I’ve posted in this thing. Seriously. Way. To. Long. I mean, since my last post I’ve been home for spring break, been home in June. Got married in July. Went to Cozumel for my honeymoon and started my 2nd year of teaching. That’s a lot of stuff folks! ūüôā But I’m back now. And hoping to be more diligent on posting. Anyways. Let’s start with the wedding and move forward from there ūüôā
Our wedding.. man oh man. They really aren’t kidding when people tell you it’s the greatest day of your life. The whole day seems like a blur, so much happened in such a short day. I remember waking up and thinking, IT’S TODAY! Wait… wow… today. Today is finally the day I get to marry my best friend. Horray/whoa. Crazy. I went downstairs and my dad was waiting for me with some fatherly sweet advice. (I can’t remember what all he said, but I remember it was sweet) Then it was time to quick eat and go get my hair done. That’s when the whirlwind started. Hairspray, pictures, laughter, coffee, more pictures, dress, first look and some more pictures. *deeeeeeeep breath* hug my daddy, sneak away for a min to pray then.. the bridal march. And down the isle my daddy walked me. The longest and shortest, best walk we’ve ever been on. And at the end, well, ¬†there stood my groom. My best friend. The one made for me. Then some music, a message I don’t remember much of, then vows, rings, sand, communion, a prayer and then.. Just. Like. That. It was done. We were married. Years of waiting, hours of prayer. A year of planning. And shazam. In 45 minutes we were married. *blink* wait.. what? Me. Married? Yep. Me. Married. To a wonderful man who loves me, treats me like a queen and makes me laugh. Whoa. Then there was a receiving line. Seeing old and new friends. Shaking hands and hugging. Quickly grabbing some delicious treats that my wonderful aunts made, and then taking a spin in an old car. Coming back, playing lawn games, taking photo booth pictures and then inside for the reception. Clinking of glasses, watching a beautiful video my mom made, more clinking of glasses and shaking of maracas, quick kiss. Yummy food, dancing, laughing, more dancing, quick signing of the marriage license, and then.. off we go. Bubbles blown, kisses and well wishes followed us as we drove away. Wow. What a day. ¬†The day was such a blur. But I will never forget all the hours and hours my mom, sisters, aunts, and cousins spent making decorations for our big day. I won’t forget the endless conversations we had over the phone and skype so that we could have the day I’d always imagined. I’ll never forget all the teeny little details that went into making the day so sweet. Holding my great grandma’s handkerchief. Or the little puff balls that were so painstakingly tied onto the napkins, only to be taken off in 15 seconds. Or the little tags that went on the burlap bags that were made for our guests to put candy in and take home. Or the last minute painting of a J & A with our wedding date painted on it and hung on the bridal table. Hundreds of details, all for 1 special day. Words can’t even begin to express my gratitude. Words can’t even describe my feelings of love towards my family who helped without expecting anything in return. It was a day more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. And I am just.. So, so, grateful. And so happy to finally be married to my best friend.¬†
Then.. There was the honeymoon. Our beautiful. Wonderful. Honeymoon. We decided to stay at an all-inclusive resort in Cozumel. Best idea ever. Guys, seriously.. all inclusive is the way to go! The resort was beautiful, the food was delicious and the snorkeling was incredible. If you are into diving, we were told that Cozumel has the 2nd best diving (after Australia). Apparently the reef goes all the way to Brazil (I think that’s what they said anyway). But even if you are a bit of a chicken like me… the snorkeling is beautiful. CLEAR blue/green water and beautiful fish. We even saw a barracuda and a nursing shark. (I may or may not have swam like a crazy person when I saw the shark… I might have pictured something out of the movie Jaws..)¬†

A couple weeks after our honeymoon school started for me. Josh was back in classes and we got a puppy ūüôā His name is Tuck and he’s a jack russell terrier. Super cute. Super smart. ¬†But Very much a puppy! Good thing he’s cute.¬†

School is great. My kids are adorable, and dare I say WAY better behaved than my class last year. I had no idea how crazy my kids were last year until I got this bunch of kids. Their bad day was a normal day in our classroom last year. I’m getting spoiled. ūüôā Everyday has some sort of story or quote to try to remember. Everything from “Mrs! I woke up looking like Joshua! I had Korean eyes” LOL! Or like today.. “What the F**k” Yep.. the F bomb was dropped. By an 8 year old. When asked if he knew he told me it meant the same thing has holding up a middle finger. Ya… he knew what he was saying. Sheeish. Kids! Luckily, the cute stories are in abundance and the bad days aren’t too often.¬†

Josh and I are enjoying married life. It’s funny living together. I mean, we dated for 5 1/2 years before we were married. You would think we’d know almost everything about each other (I’m sure you married (longer than 2 months) folks are laughing at me right about now). But nope. I am surprised pretty often by things that he does, and I’m sure he says the same about me. I mean, people are right when they say… “Oh you’ll fight over the silly stuff… like how he/she puts the TP on the roll.. or how he/she squeezes toothpaste..” No joke folks. No joke. Although I suppose it’s just normal roommate kinda stuff. I remember kinda squabbling over stuff like that in college. And even being annoyed with little stuff like dishes with the ladies I lived with before Josh and I were married. Either way though. It’s still fun. I love being married. I love seeing Josh pretty much when I want (depending on his school schedule) I love being able to eat with him most nights. I love not having to go anywhere at the end of the night when I’m ready for bed and seeing him when I wake up each morning. Yep. Married life is awesome ūüôā¬†

Last weekend we took a trip to a super cute town called Guanajuato. It’s an old town with a TON of history. Old mines, cute cafes, museums, and lots of brightly colored houses splattered along the mountain side. It’s way adorable. And I loved it. If you ever get a chance to come down here, you’ve gotta check it out. You’ll love it. I promise ūüôā¬†

 

Welp, I suppose that’s all. Now you are all caught up ūüôā Adios friends! I promise to do better this year ūüôā¬†

Advertisements

inspired

Good morning friends,

As I’m sitting here at my desk at school this morning I’m procrastinating from filling out student reports for Friday’s parent teacher conferences and checking facebook. My friend Amanda and her husband Derik are living in S. Korea right now and I L-O-V-E to read her blog. She is so creative and makes the coolest stuff! Plus, she’s a great writer. (if I knew how to add her link I’d totally add it, but you can see her website at the bottom of the post) Anyway, she recently wrote a post about being an expat. It was so interesting. She inspired me to write a new post.

Over spring break I went home to visit my family and finish planing my wedding. While I was home people kept asking me what it was like living in Mexico. And all I could think was, “well, it’s just different, but also the same as the States as well.” I wasn’t really sure¬†how¬†to put it into words. I mean, Mexico isn’t all¬†thaaaaaaat different from the U.S. Of course there are cultural differences and the scenery is a bit different but over all, I don’t know that Mexico and the U.S. actually differ all that much. And to be honest, I don’t really pay that much attention, so when people do ask me I’m caught off guard and I feel silly because I can’t give a good answer. ¬†So, friends, those of you who wonder and were unsatisfied with my answer over Christmas and Spring break here is my post (mostly) about the differences and similarities of Mexico and the U.S.

Culture: 

In Mexico the culture is VERY different from our U.S. culture. For starters the kids actually¬†respect¬†their elders. Shocking right? I didn’t really realize how big of a difference this was until I went and visited our (adorable) pen pals that we’ve been writing to all year. They were great, but they were just different when it came to respect. Parents here DEMAND respect, and it is understood that you respect all others who are older than you. ¬†The school handbook states “any student who is showing lack of respect will immediately be given a discipline form with the maximum amount of points taken off, -3 ” (students get a behavior grade here, each discipline form has a certain amount of points taken off). It’s crazy, and wonderful. I rarely have my students argue with me, you don’t EVER hear of a child talking back to a parent. In fact, another teacher here was reading a book to her class, and in the book the teenage girl has some serious attitude (imagine that!) and she was talking back to her mom… this teacher looked up from the book, and her students had a look of pure shock on their face. She asked what was wrong, and they asked if this girl was really talking to her mom like that. When she said yes, they gasped in disbelief.

Another cultural difference is the driving. Oh lordy, the difference is incredible. For starters, stop signs are optional, running a red light is normal and cops have their lights flashing all the time. You know you are being pulled over if they flip on the siren. Along with cops you have¬†bribery¬†at it’s finest. If they think you might even possibly be breaking some sort of law (even if you aren’t) they will pull you over and give you a bogus ticket unless you pay them. I am PRAYING that I never get pulled over. It makes me sick to think about getting a stupid ticket for something and the cop making it a crazy fine unless I pay him. Crazy. Anyway… the roads here are a total joke too. They make zero sense. Last night was a perfect example. I was meeting Josh for dinner and the restaurant I needed to get to was on the other side of the road. There was a stop light, so I get in the left lane thinking I can turn there. Nope. I needed to be on the other side of the road (the right side, on the little side road that runs along the main road) and get in THAT left turning lane. How does this make ANY sense? I mean, come on. Maybe I’m not making a clear picture, but I promise, it’s totally ridiculous. The roads are also unmarked, thank goodness for a 1/2 way decent phone GPS. And during rush hour, the shoulder of the road becomes a whole new lane. And “road rage/aggressive¬†driving” takes on a whole new meaning. I”m willing to bet Chicago and NYC drivers look like pansies compared to Mexican drivers, especially in rush hour. Guys, it’s crazy driving down here. I’m so grateful that I get to drive Josh’s truck. At least I’m bigger so if I get hit I’ll be safer ūüôā

Clothing

Women LOVE to dress up here. Especially here in Guadalajara. Going to the mall is an event. Better not show up in a t-shirt and flip flops or you might get a funny look. Better to show up in a pair of nice(r) jeans, a cute top and a pair of HIGH heels. I didn’t believe it till I saw it. I’ve made the mistake of going in flops and t-shirt a time or two.. I shudder at the memory ūüôā I think when most people think of Mexico clothing they think of the typical¬†Mexican¬†dresses and maybe slightly mismatched, because we think of Mexico as being super poor (at least I did). ¬†In the smaller towns this is typical, but in a big city like Guadalajara, people dress in “normal” clothes.

Population and City life

People think that I live in this itty bitty poor town that is struggling.. that is so far from the truth. GDL has a population of over 4 million people. It’s the 2nd biggest city in Mexico. ¬†We have a few really nice malls (I can’t afford to shop there) and some SWEET movie theaters. Josh and I LOVE to go to the movies on Tuesday nights. They offer a buy 1 get 1 free ticket at any of the theaters as long as you have the special card. We go to the VIP theater, complete with reclining chairs (think leather lazy boy) with waiter service in the theater. Order it at your seat and they bring it to you. It. Is. A-w-e-s-o-m-e. The city is big, and offers a variety of things to do that you could do in any major city in the U.S. shopping, night clubs, delicious restaurants etc. Its great. And truly, not that different from a U.S. city. You can find a lot of “american” stores and restaurants here. Walmart, Auto Zone, Best Buy, Office Max, Starbucks, Applebees etc… sadly, no Target *sigh*

Food

Mexican? Of course. The BEST taco’s you’ll ever find are down here. They aren’t taco’s like what we make/order in the states though. They are little open faced tacos with meat, cilantro, and whatever else you want on it. But they are small. You really need 4 or 5 before you feel satisfied. Burritos? Not so much, although I¬†just¬†learned about a burrito place that Josh and I will be checking out ASAP ūüôā But as mentioned in the city life, we have typical American places too. Chili’s, Applebee’s, Outback, McDonalds, Burger King, Krispy Kream, DQ, etc.. Oh and seafood. DELICIOUS seafood. We love to go out and get an order of ¬†ceviche . So, so good. And SO cheap!

I think those are the main things. Of course there are other differences and similarities, but in general I don’t think Mexico, or at least GDL is that much different from the states. Obviously, when we go to the little towns its different, much poorer and whatnot, but in general there isn’t that much difference. It’s a big city, typical violence, typical restaurants, etc. Just a little more dirty than the U.S. Oh and, you can’t always flush the t.p. down the toilet (it smells lovely in the bathrooms as you can imagine) And yes, I feel safe here. No I don’t see/hear about the drug stuff as much as you do in the states. Of course it happens, I know that. I know (or strongly suspect) that there are parents involved here at school, but it’s not as intense as the U.S. media makes it seem.

 

Well friends, I think that’s about it. I have grown to love this country even when I’m frustrated with the driving and the “Mexican time” and the lack of being able to find exactly what I want all the time, but I love the culture and the people. Now, if I could only grasp the language I’d be a-ok ūüôā Have a great day friends and if you think about it, say a prayer for Friday’s Parent Teacher conferences..

 

Oh! And here is Amanda’s super awesome blog. Happy reading ūüôā http://livinginanotherlanguage.com/

Back in the swing of things

Hey guys! Well, I’m back from break and back into the full swing of my crazy, awesome job. Christmas was amazing as most of you know. We (my family) adopted 4 wonderful kids. They are a sibling set and they are fabulous. So cute. So fun. And I’m so glad God brought them into our family. I am a little afraid I won’t get to know them as well as the rest of my siblings. But then I remember thinking that about Cameron and bada-bing. Although we don’t have the bond that the rest of us have, I love that kid. So with time, I’m sure these other siblings and I will eventually have a good relationship as well. Even if I am more like an Aunt than a sister to them ūüôā

Anyway, now I’m back full swing into the 2nd half of the school year. I ¬†can’t believe I am already 1/2 way through my first year of teaching. Guys. Time seriously flies when you are having fun!!! My kids are incredible, and they make me laugh all the time. And I think I have a couple class romances going on.. ūüôā 1 little girl wrote a letter to God thanking him for 2 boys in the 2nd grade because “They are so beautiful and kind” HA! And the 2nd one is a little boy and girl who always end up being paired together (I promise I don’t do it on purpose), today I caught her reach out and hold his hand, he looks at me, shruggs and says “What?” It was so funny. The shrug and the look on his face was like he was saying “yep, she’s cute. And I’m holding her hand” heheh. I’m secretly hoping to find a “do you love me, do you want to be girlfriend/boyfriend? Check yes or no” note sometime in the near future. ūüôā
Anyway, ¬† I’m so excited for next week, it’s the 100th day of school and it’s going to be awesome!! We are also having a Friday February First Frog Fest to wrap up our frog unit. The kids can hardly wait. We are opening our classroom to anyone who wants to come and the kids are going to present their frog that they researched to whoever will listen. We are also having frog snacks (made out of oreo’s, pretzels, m&ms and frosting). Seriously. They can’t wait. We are also starting to learn about things that these guys don’t know anything about in math. Which is both frustrating and super fun. Today I introduced geoboards. It was chaos. But so much fun. They love them! I’m convinced, 2nd grade is the best grade to teach. They are still uber excited about learning. They think that I’m the best thing (other than their mom). And they do anything I say. (mostly) I may, or may not make them do silly things just so I can laugh ūüôā ¬†(does that make me a bad person??) But seriously. They are great. They are still so young, and so impressionable. And we have so much fun. I also have some pretty awesome pictures of Josh and I. The latest one is the one of ¬†Josh and I as aliens… yep. I don’t ask. I just laugh and say “I love it!” I’m seriously considering making a book of all these pictures. They are pretty great.

Since being back from Christmas break I’m starting to feel more at home here in Mexico. I can navigate the bus, I can (almost) sing an entire song in Spanish (with the words on the screen) and I know how to order chilaquiles at a restaurant. ¬†Although the language is still so dang tricky, I know I’ll eventually pick it up. I’m starting Rosetta Stone this weekend, ¬†and I’m really hoping that between that and some tutoring my little 1st grade cousin won’t outdo me in Spanish over spring break ūüôā But seriously. I’m really, truly starting to enjoy the culture and the language and I REALLY enjoy the food. I’m so grateful for my wonderful friends that I’ve made here, the incredible people that I work with, my students and my ever so patient, wonderful fiance. I have an amazing support system down here. Once again Jehova Jireh. God my provider. Now. And always. Thank you all so much for all your prayers. On the tricky days, the days where I melt into a puddle of tears because my brain simply refuses to register any Spanish, or I can’t find something that is just so easy to find in the States, or whatever the frustration might be, I can feel your prayers. Thank you for being my wonderful, praying support system. You guys all rock! And you are all invited to a pretty awesome event coming up July 6th in Pella, IA ūüôā

I’ll be home for Christmas….

Guys, seriously. I am the WORST at keeping up with this blog during this adventure. I was so good in Holland, not so much in Mexico.. maybe I’m becoming a Mexican…. eek. Anyways. It’s been almost a month since I wrote last. Here’s whats been happenin’ in my part of this awesome world.

I am happy to say I had not one, but TWO Thanksgiving celebrations. The 2nd was much better than the first I must say. But I think that had more to do with the fact that I actually had enough hot food to fill my belly :o) But both really were great.¬†It was a bit weird having to work that day because in my head it was Thanksgiving. Not a work day. But I had fun with my kids anyway. The day before the other 2nd grade teacher and I got our kids together and we went to our house and had a mini- thanksgiving. Complete with “Turkey Day” crafts, games, a thankful circle and worship. It was awesome. Then on actual thanksgiving I read a Thanksgiving story to my kid-o’s, we went up and down the rows before lunch and each student said something they were thankful for then we went to lunch and I brought pumpkin pie for all our students. Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be the same without pumpkin pie for dessert.. Then that night I had my first Thanksgiving. It¬†¬†was here at the Casa Grande. Each year this house hosts a Thanksgiving celebration for anyone from Lincoln School who wants to come. It’s kind of fun celebrating an American holiday with our Mexican friends. We had a little less than 100 people I think. It was fun. Us Casa Grande girls had the opportunity to serve our coworkers and their families, and open our home for the evening. I got to talk to some people that I wouldn’t normally interact with so that was really nice.

The 2nd Thanksgiving was the day after. It was much better. Josh and I had some friends over to his house and we deep-fried an actual turkey. IT WAS AMAZING. I’m convinced that deep-fried turkey is the way to go. So stinkin’ good. We also had green bean casserole, stuffing, pie, sweet potatoes, normal potatoes, and so much more. It was so good. And it was so good to have a smaller group of Americans to celebrate with. The big one was fun, but I honestly enjoyed the smaller one better. After we ate we went out on Josh’s mountain boards. (basically they are like giant skateboards that people use to go down the mountains when there is no snow on the ground) it was super fun. We used them like sleds, and like skateboards. It might be my new favorite thing to do :o)

Other than that. Not much is new. I’m anxiously waiting for Christmas break to get here. The kid-o’s are bouncing off the walls, which means they are driving me UP the walls. But I did discover the best classroom¬†management¬†tool E-V-E-R. Elf. On. The. Shelf. Its like magic. They don’t do Santa down here so I wasn’t able to read the story with them and make them believe that if they didn’t behave Santa would know b/c the elf would tell him.. so instead our little Elf, Max, is my super secret spy. And at the end of every day he leaves me a note telling me how the students behaved and how many party points they deserve. MAGIC. I’m telling you. They need one of these puppies for every season!!! :o) Our elf is quite silly. He hangs from the fan, hides in our fireplace by the stockings, changes everyone’s name to Max, dresses up like a mummy and tells jokes. He’s a lot of fun and the kids love him just as much as I do :o) Even with Max though, Christmas break can’t get here fast enough. I’m ready to be home with my family. I’m sure I am going to freeze to death. Especially since yesterday I laid on the roof in shorts and a tank-top… Weird… but I’m excited to drink real hot chocolate. Not this crummy stuff they have down here. Real. Swiss-Miss Hot Chocolate. I’m excited to drink good hot tea, not weak tea bag tea, real yummy tea bag tea (I didn’t even know there was a difference till I moved here..) I’m excited to eat yummy food that my daddy will make. Yummy treats that mom will make. I’m excited to do wedding stuff. I’m excited to finally get to adopt the 4 youngest ones officially into our family. There is just so much awesomeness to look forward to! I hope these next 11 days fly by extra fast! :o)

 

Looking forward to seeing you all. Hugs!!

 

 

Aloha

Aloha! Hawaii was amazing. Hokey Pete. I didn’t know one island could be so beautiful. I mean, come on. The entire week it was as if I was living in a post card (I stole that from Josh’s uncle). But seriously. Maui = my new favorite place on earth. We left Guadalajara on Wednesday afternoon and got to Maui Wednesday night pretty late. (well, late for us since GDL is 4 hrs ahead of Maui). His dad and younger brother picked us up at the airport and took us back to their condo that they were staying in. I really wanted to look around but it was pitch black except for the brilliantly lit starts above our heads. Honestly, those stars were so beautiful and so bright. It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen stars like that. Thursday morning I woke up SUPER early, as in 3:30 am because my body is thinking its 7:30 and I’d already slept in from my normal 6 am wake up time. I managed to drift in and out of sleep till about 5. So I got ready and by the time I was ready for the day the sun was just starting to rise so I crept out of the condo and to my pure delight I was about 1 minute walking from the sand. No lie. I was almost giddy. I ran inside grabbed my ipod and just walked along the beach listening to some worship music. Great way to start the weekend I thought. I also found a pair of sunglasses that had washed up (or down) onto the beach, another good omen for the weekend. :o) After everyone had woken up we headed to a volcano about an hour away. It was so stinkin’ cold up there, but it was so pretty too. It was pretty cloudy so we didn’t get to see much, but right before we started heading down God blessed us with an opening in the clouds so we could see just how awesome the view was. I mean, it was cool. I’ve never been on a volcano before, so I didn’t know what to expect, but it was pretty sweet. Lots of rock, and valleys. We walked along a natural bridge and saw some more of Gods handy work. It was really really neat.¬†

The view from the top:

Image

 

Cool right??

Image

 

 

 

After we came down from the awesome views we hit the beach. ahh.. paradise. We just hung out and¬†snorkeled¬†a little. I was pretty nervous since I haven’t been very much, ok 2 or 3 times before this trip. And the idea of having my face in the water with just a tube to rely on doesn’t make me feel thaaaat safe.. especially when there are all these pokey sea urchins all over the coral and supposedly there were some eels and stuff. Doesn’t make me feel safe. I was so afraid of scraping against the coral and getting pokey things in my skin and being hurt the rest of the trip so the first snorkel adventure didn’t last long for me. I headed back up to the beach and read a book. It was fabulous.¬†

Friday Nate and Jennie decided to have a beach day for all the friends and family that had arrived so far. So we met up with everyone at their favorite beach and just relaxed in the sun, some scuba dived, some played sports, some snorkeled and some of us just ready gossip magazines and talked on the beach. I loved it. I did go back in the water again Friday to try to overcome my silly fear of death-by-coral. And I was rewarded big time. Right before I got out we saw a HUGE sea turtle in the reef. He was in between 2 big chunks floating on the bottom. It was seriously one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. No lie. I mean, I’ve seen them before in the ocean floating on top of the water, but to see it under the water by all kinds of beautiful purple, yellow, spotted, funny looking different fish it was simply amazing. And I was totally blown away by the thought that God designed each and every one of these creatures and there are millions of others similar to the ones that I saw in the ocean, yet he loves¬†ME¬†more than all of those creatures. I don’t know. It was just a cool thought. It was a lot of fun just relaxing and talking to his aunts and cousins while the boys did manly things (like tackle each other in the sand…)

 

Image

 

 

Image

 

Saturday Barb (Josh’s mom) taught me how to make a delicious, traditional Mexican drink called Horchata. It tastes a lot like rice milk. It is SO good! I could honestly drink that stuff a few times a week. It’s quite a process to make it, but it was fun being in the kitchen with her learning how to make something yummy and just getting to talk to her one on one. After a few hours in the kitchen she told me to get out and go enjoy the beach with Josh. She didn’t have to do much to convince me that I should do that instead of stay inside and run the blender :o) So I headed down the the sand where Josh and his cousins and uncles were. We decided to hop into one of the kayaks that they had down there and try our hand at ocean kayaking. Now, here’s a little fact… I’ve never been kayaking. I mean, I’ve ridden in one, but I’ve never had to help with the paddling.. I love to canoe, but never have I kayaked. So I hop in with Josh and away we go, along with me telling him that he better not flip us on purpose b/c the ocean is pretty deep and it just freaks me out. I don’t know why. Its not like there are sharks right there.. but still.. *shudder* I just wasn’t sure. So we paddle along and before long we see a sea turtle just bobbing in the water, and then I see a school of beautiful fish below us and suddenly I¬†almost¬†wanted to get out and snorkel. It was so cool. CLEAR blue water. We could see straight down. It was breathtaking. Seriously so so beautiful. I know I’ve said that about everything in this post, but seriously. How do you NOT believe there is a God when you see beautiful things like that?! That night was the¬†rehearsal¬†dinner we had some great food and just a relaxing evening.¬†

 

Sunday was the big day. Well, for Nate and Jennie. I still enjoyed the beach while they got ready :o) I went to Hawaii with the hope that I would get to try paddle boarding. And sure enough at the condo they had a paddle board that we could use. So 2 of Josh’s cousins and I tried our hand at paddle boarding. Of course they sent me first and I was nervous! I’d never done it before it didn’t look thaaaaaaaaaat hard, but still. So his cousin gives me a push out over the 1st set of waves and off I went. It was SO FUN! Oh my word. My legs were soooo shaky but it was so much fun. I didn’t go out very far, but it was still so much fun. My legs are still sore from it, but it was so worth it, even if I did pull a muscle :o)¬†

 

weeeeeee!!!! I’m doing it!!!!

Image

I did it!!! 

Image

 

That afternoon was the wedding. It was breath taking. It looked like something off a movie. We were on a little grassy area right above the water. There was a little cove with some palm tree’s off to the right and to the left it was just a bunch of trees. They got married at 4:00 so the sun was getting ready to set. Josh’s dad, Tim, performed the ceremony. His uncle gave a short message before and then Tim married them. It was so beautiful. The setting, the look of love in their eyes and everything else. It was so great. I’m so glad that I was able to go. I want to go back right now. I told Josh that I think he should try for a residency in Hawaii… :o)¬†

 

Well guys, I really need to get to bed. I was there juuust long enough to get adjusted to the time difference so I’m not tired yet, but I know I will be if I don’t go to bed now. I can’t wait to see some of you at Christmas. I also can’t wait to go “America crazy” again as Josh called it once I get to the airport. He thought it was so funny that I wanted to get some Reeces Peanut Butter cups and a starbucks as soon as I got there. I said that the P.B. cups are about $10 for a small bag and they don’t have Peppermint Mocha’s or Pumpkin Spice Latte’s in Mexico so ha. He just laughed. He also thought it was so funny that I looked at a drinking fountain for a min before I remembered what exactly it was and then took a nice loooooong drink out of it. Hey, it’s the little things in life right? Man. I can’t wait to get back and get some yummy tea, good chocolate (Dove Dark or Reece’s P.B.) drink out of the tap, take a HOT shower and just spend some quality time with my family. EEK! December 20, please come QUICK!!! :o)

 

Love you all!!! xoxoxoxoox

 

 

 

 

November

Holy¬†Guacamole! Its November already!!!! I can hardly believe it! It seems like just yesterday I was saying goodbye to Iowa and getting on the plane to start this new adventure. Man oh man. Time sure flies! I’m so sorry that I’ve been terrible about keeping this blog up. I’ve been a little bit busy these days just trying to keep my head above water. I had no idea that teaching was so much planning, thinking, revamping and just overall work. Thank goodness for Pinterest! :o) But I LOVE it! I am so incredibly glad that I get to do it. And I am so blessed to have a school that supports me and is willing to help me. And my class truly is wonderful. I’ve been told over and over that this years 2nd grade class is a terrible class to have. Its the class with lots of problems. Problems with behavior, problems at home etc. Overall people have said “good luck I wouldn’t want to be in your class.” And i just think.. How dare you. How dare you not give these precious kids a chance. They are certainly a challenge some days. But these other teachers haven’t had a chance to see the GOOD side of these kids. The times when they have me laughing like crazy, when they say something so sweet, when they draw me a cute picture and when they show genuine compassion for others. I sometimes wish that these naysayer teachers wouldn’t get the¬†privilege¬†of teaching these kids in the future, but then other times I wish that they would, just so they would feel badly about all the mean things they’ve said about these sweetie pies. *sigh* This week the director of the school came into our classroom 2 times. Because our class was the class that he and the other dads at the school were praying for this week. When he came in he asked if anyone had any prayer requests. And 2 of my sweet kids said something that made my eyes start to water. One said, “Mr. Glenn, I would like to pray for you. You do a good job and do so much and I just want to pray for you.” The other one said ” I want to pray for Miss. Mitchell because she is the best teacher in the world. And I want to pray that she has a great week!” HOW PRECIOUS! These sweet babies pray for me. I love it. And when we have worship time during Bible one of our songs that we’ve been singing is “From the Inside out” and these sweet kids stand totally still, eyes closed, smiles on their faces, worshiping while singing. It is truly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. There is just something special when my kids sing. And I’m not being biased here. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had several teachers tell me that when we sing they go to their doors to listen, or staff members gather around the tiendita (the little snack bar) and just listen with tears in their eyes and smiles on their faces. I love it.

Last Friday I had my first Parent Teacher Conferences. I was SO scared!!! But, the parents were great. And they went so well. Only 1 upset parent, and it wasn’t even anything I had done. Over all. It was a success :o)

Last week I had a new cultural experience. It was¬†Halloween. Apparently they don’t celebrate it down here. Well, some do, but most don’t. About 1/2 of my kids are totally convinced that Halloween is totally from the Devil, and by celebrating it we are worshiping the devil. What is so¬†interesting¬†about this is that they celebrate day of the dead. A holiday where they leave food, say prayers and build alters to dead relatives. I just think its odd. I was talking to a friend about this and we came to the conclusion that there is just a big cultural difference. I’m sure that there is more to day of the dead than just praying, leaving offerings etc to dead people, just like there is lots of fun aspects to Halloween. I just thought it was funny that even doing stuff about spiders and bats last week and this next week several teachers were giving me a hard time for “celebrating halloween” in the classroom. Funny funny. 1 more cultural difference. Its not weird. Its just different.

Next week Josh and I are headed to Maui. WHOOP! His brother is getting married and he’s the best man and since we are engaged I¬†haaaave¬†to go, you know to be supportive and whatnot since we’ll all be family in 9 months and 3 days (but who’s counting). Twist my arm right? :o) I’m pretty excited to go. I’ve never been to Hawaii, and even if it is a super short trip, I’m stoked that I get to go. I’ll miss my sweetie pies for the days I’m gone, but somehow I think I’ll be alright :o)

Well guys, I’ve gotta finish plans and make Chicken Pot Pie and apple cider. Tonight Josh and I are getting together with some friends of ours. I’m so blessed to have such wonderful friends down here. Especially another couple friend so we can do stuff together. Its fun. I’m always blown away at God’s faithfulness when it comes to friends for me. Jehovah Jireh. :o) Have a good weekend friends! Can’t wait to see most of you NEXT MONTH!! WHOOP!

fall?

So, it’s October.. or it will be in just a little bit since it’s crazy late.. But it’s going to be October tomorrow. I can’t believe it. It’s still about 80 here. NOT fall-like at all. And a little ¬†part of me.. ok.. a BIG part of me is really missing fall. I never thought that I would literally miss a season. I mean, I use to think that was so crazy that someone would miss a season.. but I really do. I am SO glad that it’s warm and I’m not cold and that things are still vibrant colors.. but I just really, really, really miss the reds, oranges, and browns of the leaves and the sound of crunching beneath my feet. And the smell of fall in the air, the slight crisp in the air. I also miss all the apple goodies that come with fall and the pumpkin too :o) *sigh* apparently it does get “chilly” but I’m not super convinced just yet.. I’m sure I will be wishing for warm weather in a few months when it really is chilly and there is no heat in the house.. but for right now I just really wish that since it’s October that it would be a little cooler.

Oh well. The GOOD thing is, the beach is close by.. and being at the beach is almost as great as having leaves crunching under your feet :o) Also. I got my plane ticket today. Whoop!!!! I’ll be coming home December 20th and leaving Jan 4th. I can’t wait!!!! ¬†Well guys. I’m off to bed to shake off this bit of homesickness/get some rest before another week begins.

Hugs to you all!!

 

Hello there!

Goodness, it’s been a whole month since I’ve written on here. Time goes so quickly. Especially when you are SO busy. Goodness gracious. I feel like all I do is go to school, teach, work after school on stuff for the next day, come home, eat and go to sleep and do the whole thing over again. And somehow that takes up a whole 24 hrs. And I am utterly E-X-H-A-U-S-T-E-D every single night. But I love love love my class. I have a couple of tricksters in my class, but they keep the class lively and me on my toes.

2 weeks ago I had a student draw on the wall. And then another student said, “Meiss (b/c they can’t say miss. it makes me laugh) someone wrote my name on the wall!!!” So I look back there and sure enough. In black marker little Javi’s name is written on the wall. So I go collect the 3 students who sat back there during the course of the day and they all swear it wasn’t them (of course). I believe the 1 kid. He’s super sweet and wouldn’t do a thing wrong ever. Except maybe talk to much… So I question, well,¬†interrogate¬†is more accurate, the other 2. 1 is new. 1 is the one who told me his name was on the wall. The new girl wouldn’t even look at me and she got in trouble for playing with her markers during center time for math.. I’m pretty sure it was her. Why on earth would the kid who drew his name rat himself out? But I can’t prove it. The handwriting test didn’t even work. So I called Edgar in.. Now.. Edgar is like.. The ULTIMATE punishment. He is the school disciplinarian. (The class next door say’s his office is Davy Jones Locker Lol!!) So Edgar comes in and lectures them. Gives them the chance to confess. Nothing. So he say’s he’ll do the handwriting test later. So for 2 weeks now the kids have asked every day if Edgar found out who did it and every time they bring it up this girl goes white in the face and starts biting her lip. GUILTY! But I can’t prove it. So on Tuesday Edgar and I had a little chat and decided that as a class they would miss an entire recess and they would have to write an apology letter to the school for writing on the wall. As well as the Golden Rule 5 times. So I gave a nice little speech about how God know’s when we lie, and he know’s who wrote on the wall but since I don’t the entire class will be punished for 1 person’s bad behavior. Boy oh boy, those kids were looking around trying to figure out who did it. And that poor girl looked sick. It was so funny!! Well, not funny.. but sort of. Then the janitor came in and I made the class apologize to him too since he has to repaint the wall now.. but not for a few more weeks… I’m going to let it sit for awhile….

That’s really been the only BAD thing that’s happened so far… I’ve had my funny moments. Here are my favorites:

“Meiss, I have an.. ummm… insect in my stomach!” (meaning a¬†parasite or something¬†from some bad food, but since I don’t allow Spanish in the classroom since it’s a school rule he used insect instead of parasite)

“Meiss, how much did your pencil sharpener cost?” Umm, about 15 dollars. “GUYS! That’s about a 5 million peso’s! We shouldn’t touch it!!!”

“Miss, I don’t feel very good today.” Awww…I’m sorry me either. (fast forward to after lunch) “Miss. I still don’t feel well. I thought for sure the chocolate cookies would make me feel better” (If only right?!)

“Meiss, how many years do you have?” ( That one makes me laugh every time!! They all say it that way, b/c literally translated from Spanish to English that’s how it is said, instead of how old are you)

There are many others. But those are my favorites so far. They are pretty sweet kids. And I am amazed at the support I get from the parents. They truly care about their child, and they back me up 100%. It’s great. There is 1 student in particular who’s parents email me once a week to ask how they can support their son and I in the classroom. Its the sweetest. I love them.

Other than school, things are going well. I really am loving Mexico. It’s a beautiful city with delicious food.. i’m a little nervous about trying on my wedding dress over Christmas break now.. Those dang taco’s, churro’s and everything else are just so good and CHEAP! I started my tutoring for Spanish a couple weeks ago and that is going well. I was really surprised and excited when I took a take-home test today and I could read and write almost the entire page. Granted it was easy stuff, but still. I was thrilled! Baby steps right? And I’m starting to understand what people are saying to me now.. I haven’t a clue as to how to respond, but at least I have a general idea of what they are saying. :o) And the whole being close to Josh is really nice too :o) We get to see each other pretty often even if it’s only him studying and me doing school stuff. Its still nice to be able to hang out again.

Well guys, I’m headed to bed. I”m battling this stinkin’ cold and I think sleep is the best way to kick it. All the Mexican’s have asked why I haven’t been to the doctor yet since I’ve been sick since Sunday. Finally I told them if I wasn’t better by Monday I would go. These people go to the doctor for everything! But it’s super cheap so I guess I understand why. Alright. Bedtime.

By the way. Please, please, please pray for Josh and his uncle and his family. His aunt (Karen) is really sick. She’s been fighting cancer for a few years now and 2 weeks ago took a turn for the worse and has been in the ICU for 2 weeks now because her lungs were filling and some other stuff was going on. I guess today the doctors told the family that it would be anytime now that she would pass away. Her and her husband (Kenton) have 4 kids all about my age. I can’t even imagine… So please keep them in your prayers, and Josh too because he’s grown pretty close with his aunt over the last couple of years while he’s been here in Guadalajara… ¬†Thanks friends!! xxx

1st day? Check!

Well… I survived my very first day of teaching. No bumps, bruises, tears or behavior problems. Only a minor oops with my spanish.. and that was a funny oops.. The computer guy came to my classroom to fix my computer and I meant to say “Muchas Gracias” instead I said “Mucho gusto!, er. I mean, thanks.. I mean.. gracias!!!” he just shook his head and left. Lol.. silly gringa! I’m sure that won’t be the last time that happens :o)

But seriously. Today was A-mazing. I was so incredibly nervous last night when I went to bed. It took me forever to fall asleep because I just kept imagining closing my classroom door for the 1st time and not knowing what to say/do. And then I pictured the kids going crazy and me having Miss. Frizzle hair (Magic school bus lady..) and running out of the classroom saying I can’t do this!!!!

Ok.. maybe that’s a taaaaaaaaaaad¬†exaggerated.. but seriously. I was super nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. And I didn’t feel fully prepared. So I put a prayer¬†petition¬†on facebook and within minutes I had friends and family assuring me that they would pray for me and letting me know via emails that things were going to be ok. So this morning when my alarm went off at 6am (I haven’t had to be up that early in ages.. unless it was to fly somewhere! Who knew it was still pitch black outside at that hour??) I was nervous. I felt pretty rested, but I was nervous. So I jumped into my luke-warm shower (not so nice when you are already nervous) and just prayed my way through my getting ready this morning. Prayed on the way to school, and at 7:00 there was a prayer meeting at school. So I went to that, and just prayed a prayer of peace. Specifically for the new teachers. Because we were all feeling pretty nervous this morning. When I went to my class at 7:15 there was a sweet little boy waiting at my door for me. Wanting to come put his stuff down and just watch me get ready. Wasn’t quite what I had in mind, but he was a good distraction. When the rest of the kids came flooding in around 7:35 I greeted them all with a confidant smile, had them sort their supplies out into boxes for me and off we went to start the day. It wasn’t until about 10:00 that I realized I wasn’t nervous at all this morning when I first started. And by 2:30 when I was walking home I was totally speechless at God’s grace today. You guys, I never, not once felt any anxiousness after sweet Pablo came into my class. I just sort of did it. I didn’t think about what I was doing.. it just sort of came. I am 100% positive that it was all of your prayers that got me through today. Now I feel like I can walk into my classroom with confidence tomorrow, (I’m sure the kids will too.. hopefully they are still mild tomorrow…) and know that I AM the teacher. I’m no longer the student, but I’m the one teaching the future generation. No pressure right? ūüėČ I can’t wait. Although I didn’t get nearly all that I had planned today done, and I found out the kids don’t¬†appreciate¬†Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books (crazy right?! I think she’s¬†hilarious!!) I feel like I got the important things done. The kids listened well, I was able to pick out my Spanish translator in the group (mr. talkative himself..) and figure out who is going to be super shy and who’s going to be not so shy and we got our rules and procedures down(ish). Tomorrow will be good. Tomorrow can be more structured. Tomorrow will be full of grace once again, because after all: His grace is¬†sufficient¬†for us. AND I¬†can¬†do all things through Christ who strengthens me…

Good night friends. Thanks for the prayers. Please keep praying me through the week.

Mexico? Here I go!!

Hi friends!! Or should I say, Hola Amigos? :o)

 

I decided to keep a blog again this year to record my adventures, share frustrations, talk about the funny things etc. As you know I am not an eloquent writer, I write for the sake of sharing stories and whatever else is on my mind. So please forgive me know for anything posts that make no sense :o)

I have been in Mexico for exactly 1 week now. I can’t believe how quickly the first week has flown by! I’ve been in meetings and in my classroom all week and finally today my room looks ALMOST ready. I didn’t realize how much I forgot until I started setting up my classroom.. however, if you knew how much I brought down you wouldn’t believe that I forgot anything. Haha. My room is teeeeeeeeny-tiny. They literally took 1 classroom and put a wall in the middle of it to make it 2 rooms. ¬†I have 13 kids in my (7 boys, 6 girls) and Chelsea (the other 2nd grade teacher) has 12 (all boys! God bless her!!) in her class. ¬†I really hope that I can pronounce all their names correctly on the 1st day of school.. I’ve been practicing, I guess Monday morning I’ll know right? Anyways, Lincoln school is nothing like the schools you see in the States. 1st of all the hallways are outside, so are the bathrooms and all that. Its not an enclosed building. Which is nice for a breeze when it’s warm, but I think I’ll have other thoughts about it in November/December/January when it gets into the 30’s at night and up to mid 50’s during the day. I think I’ll be wearing lots of layers since the school isn’t heated nor does it have A.C. But it does have fans :o) There are so many things that are different about the school, some things that are better, some things that I have to remind myself that this is Mexico, not America… But all in all, I think I’m really going to like it.

Sunday night we had a new teachers meeting, the packet that we¬†received¬†said ” Welcome to Mexico! (Don’t drink the water..)” It made me laugh… here are a few things we covered. Hopefully they make you giggle a little bit :o)

1) children have loooong names: Carlos Santiago Perez Hernandez… they have their 1st name, their middle name, the dad’s family name and lastly the mom’s family name. So here in Mexico I am: Angela Lynn Mitchell Van Wyk. Crazy huh?

2) Mexican terms of endearment:
~ Gordito/Gordita- literally means fat, but they use it as a cute/sweet name
~ Guerra/Guerrita- Little White blonde girl
~ Gringo- Green-Go but its a funny name to be called apparently..

3) In Mexico I live on an apple, not a block..

4) When they say:
~ Manana- we think it means tomorrow morning.. it really means probably in a week
~ Ahorita- a day or 2
~ Proxima Semana- this means approximately in a week, or never

5) You put your T.P in the trash can here… not in the toilet b/c the sewer system isn’t very good. (weird right?)

6) One of the categories was called “Aerobics for your Intestines” that made me laugh! Not necessarily b/c of the warnings about eating in sketchy places but just that they called it aerobics. Lol.

 

Things really are different down here. And I just have to keep reminding myself that this IS Mexico, its not America. And yes I will probably be exhausted after a trip to Wal-Mart since I’m having to look twice as hard for something that is similar to what’s in the states. And I won’t be able to find some of the things that I really want, But eventually with trial and error it will come.

Friends, please pray for me. And for these other girls who have moved down here to do this teaching job as well. Pray that we stop thinking like an American all the time, that sounds funny, but its annoying when you just keep thinking “well, in the states it’s like this..” its quite easy to get in a bad mood when we do this, and we ALL do it! Please pray for us as we start teaching on Monday. For a lot of us this will be our first year teaching, so pray for us and the kids. And pray that we can find a good tutor SOON :o) There are at least 2 of us who’s Spanish consists of “Hola, como estats…” but we did learn a few more words thanks to Spanish praise and worship music this week :o) Slowly but surely right?? :o) Anyways. I don’t know how often I’ll be updating this.. hopefully often, read it if you want to keep tabs on me, or just wait for Christmas to get an update :o) Love you all! Thanks for your prayers!!!

 

xoxoxoxoo

P.S. here is the school website if you want to look at it: http://lincolnschoolac.com/