Friday, October 2, 2015

October Again

It's been a long time, I know. I'm three and half years into this journey, and excited about what's to come! It's October again, and this year I'm actually enjoying it. Fall blend coffee, yeast bread, and homemade vegetable soup tend to do that for me.

In terms of an update on the 30 Before 30 project, I have the following snippets of new news...
  • I have opened a money market account that is growing interest at a slow and steady rate. I'm saving money in the account regularly as needed for future goals, such as a house or a computer or whatnot. It feels so nice to be putting money away instead of getting a credit card.
  • This fall, I became re-certified for CPR First Aid through the school where I am working. We sat through the class, practiced on dummies, and watched a little bit of a video. It is great to know I can help protect and rescue the lives of children and adults.
  • Yesterday, I mixed, kneaded, and baked two beautiful loaves of homemade bread. I used this simple yeast bread recipe and it turned out great. Unfortunately, the last step about rubbing the bread with water made the loaves a little soggy, but I've dried them out as best as I could, and they taste great. 

Many more updates to come! 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Conversaciones En EspaƱol

As an elementary school English to Speakers of Other Languages teacher, I work with a lot of children who speak English as a second (or third) language. Most of my students either immigrated to America from a Latin or South American country as small children or were born in America after their parents or grandparents immigrated.

I have had the joy of meeting a little boy who was born in the states (before moving to Mexico at a young age and then moving back) who did not speak English when he first arrived at my school. I screened him with our screening test and placed him at a non-speaking level. I see him over four times a week, either in a small group or one-on-one, usually both during the course of the week.

Every time I pull this little boy, he repeats to me: "How are you?" When I say: "I'm good, how are you?" He responds: "Good, thanks." Sometimes the roles are reversed. That entire dialog is scripted and we repeat it every day I see him, sometimes in Spanish as well. He is making connections. The rest of our informal conversation, before we get to my portable (aka "learning cottage"), is in Spanish. Often, I have to use a translator app on my phone. Many days, I ask him to repeat himself. One good thing is that because he is young, he uses simple dialog and phrases. We have had several conversations together about his family, his favorite things to do, and what he ate for lunch. I even had to explain a lock-down drill to him... In Spanish!

I guess this means that I have completed number 28 on my list: Converse with someone in a language that is not my first. It wasn't magical or easy or even extremely difficult. It was just using the words that we knew in each language (and a whole lot of code switching) in order to understand each other. The goal was a human connection and we did not want to let language get in the way.

This little boy is learning English much slower than anticipated, and we think there is another issue at work, perhaps a learning or processing issue. I'm working on giving him grace and supporting his development, one slow step at a time. In the mean time, I am enjoying code switching with him and practicing my on-the-spot Spanish skills. This is not my dream job, but some days it is pretty close.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Graduation Update

So much has happened since I last wrote: I spent three months in Thailand. I student taught sixty-six crazy and beloved teenagers. I went through entry and culture shock and re-entry and reverse shock. I completed my undergraduate career. I will be graduating from college in two days with a B.S. in Secondary English Education, an endorsement in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and an Evangelical Training Association Diploma. I will graduating Magna Cum Laude and Dean's List. I will be moving in with my dad and stepmom (with two good friends) over the summer and searching for jobs in the area where my friends want to attend graduate school.

I am blessed beyond measure and overwhelmed to be at this point in my life. God is so good.

I am excited to continue posting about my 30Before30 project. Only eight years and twenty-one (and some parts) goals left!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Big Sights

Yesterday, my grandma and I began the day in Lancaster, PA on a Amish buggy ride, then we enjoyed Hershey Chocolate World with my friend Tori, then we drove through north/central PA and Western NY before settling just outside of Rochester, NY for the night.

And let me tell you - even though that was a long drive, longer than we anticipated, the mountains of Pennsylvania and New York were breathtaking last night in the sunset and dusk. I believe it was the Alleghenies we were driving through, and I was in awe. Huge peaks rose on the either side of us and the road curved in a large, wide arc to go around giant formations. I felt small, and that felt good. It's okay to not be the center of the universe. It's okay (and good) to contemplate the hands that formed those mountains out of nothing. Wow.