Friday, June 28, 2013

Egypt, Year Two

In a couple of days, I jump on a plane and officially say farewell to my second year in Egypt.  As much as I enjoyed year one, year two held many things that I learned and people I am going to be forever thankful for.

This year I learned that even though we live in a third world country, so many of our problems are first world problems – can’t load my TV show, I only have large bills to pay with, etc.  Such little problems – until they aren’t.  I have learned there are things that I will never again take for granted.  Things like consistent electricity, access to internet, drinking water you don’t have to question, being able to get money out of the bank, and availability of gasoline for your car.  It’s amazing how just these five things make such a huge difference.  It’s also amazing how you learn to live within the craziness of not having them.

I’ve learned the importance of having a comfortable, relaxing home.  I’ve been blessed to live in some nice places here in Egypt but we found an amazing one in March.  The moment we walked it, I knew it was the place.  It’s been a place of rest and laughter.  I’m so thankful for these walls.

Most importantly, I’m so thankful for the people that I shared life with.  I’m thankful for Jeff and Cathy who adopted us and made us feel like family. 

I’m thankful for #twitclub.  I’m thankful for Kris who can make me laugh like very few can and has seen the good, the bad, and the crazy in me yet still tolerates me.  I’m thankful for Maia who is my entertainment soul mate and one of the most real people I know.  I’m thankful for Tim whose sense of humor makes every moment enjoyable.  I’m thankful for GJ who carries laughter with him and opened my eyes to the neon around me.  I’m thankful for Abby who is so loyal and kind but most importantly, taught me the correct way to eat M&Ms. Each of these friends was a source of joy and a breath of fresh air as needed.  I could write an entire blog post on each of them individually.  Thankful is not a big enough word for the way I feel about them.

Most of all, in year two of Egypt, I am thankful for Sarah.  After saying goodbye to some very dear friends last year, I was unsure of what this year would hold.  Sarah has been the friend who I’ve laughed and cried with, done couch time with, and talked to every day.  She’s been able to sympathize with me and tell me when I need to settle down (in the loving way like only she can).  God knew what this year would hold and knew Sarah would be the friend that I needed through it.  

Thank you, year two, for reminding me that its the little things that make life good - silly games, inside jokes, dinners on Friday nights, and people you can do nothing with and plan adventures with.  You've been great!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Year 10 in the Books!

This week I put my 10th group of students on the buses for the last time.  10 years.  

300-ish students. 
4 schools.
5 grade levels.
2 countries.

Extreme thanks.

In some ways, year 10 was like the previous 9.  Sweet children that could make me laugh one minute and crazy the next.  Such great personalities that make their frustrating moments just melt away with a simple look or hug.  Personalities that even when they were making you mad, you had to turn away so they wouldn't see you smile or laugh at the cuteness of them.  Children you could scoop up and hug, cuddle on your lap, or just dance/flip/spin around.  Just as the years before, there were the one or two that were so unique, its easy to impersonate them.  I wish I could show them to you but I still have too much public school teacher in me to put their photos online.  Take my word for it, they're cute.  And sweet.  I'll miss them.

As much as every year is about the kids, for me, this year was extremely different in one regard.  This year was more defined by the adults.  Despite being team leader in the past and working with teachers in various positions, this year was a whole new experience.  It stretched me farther than I've been stretched before in every way possible.  There were days I wanted to walk into the office and quit this part of my job.  There were days that I really could not have been more proud.  I think my favorite aspect of team leader was working with one particular teacher.  She came in last year as a first year teacher with no training.  This year, I got a front row seat to watch her become one of our strongest teachers.  She outshined me on so many days and I'm so honored I got to witness it.  She is the reason why I'm pursuing the master's program I have chosen.

And can I take a moment to brag on these two women?

These are the faces of my sanity this year - Tessa and Marian. They laughed with me, advised me, dried tears, and listened.  They watched every moment of the year and stood by me every step of the way.  Whether it was a funny moment with our kids, getting stuff done, laughing, or just helping me remember what I was supposed to do next, they were my rock and my friends.  I don't have a work picture with Angie and Randee but these girls joined us for lunch each day and were a much needed break.  They were a breath of fresh air every single day.  These four women made my work days possible.

A few years ago I went through a phase in which I prayed that teaching would be a ten year career for me.  In August I start year eleven.  It will be in a new grade level with a new team and new administration.  I am so excited!  There are things I will miss about Early Childhood and kindergarten but I can't wait for the year ahead.  Well, I can wait about two months......