international connections

Working at Sojourn is all about having international connections... Por ejemplo (for example):

My student Jackson is moving to Peru on Saturday.
My student Yena is moving to Colombia on Sunday.
My student Jordan is moving to Guatemala on Monday.

My friend Laura is moving to Argentina in January.
My friend Trisha is moving to Italy in January.

And that's only the beginning...

I had two students tell me today that they want to stay in 4th grade with me forever because it is so much fun... Ha, I think they would eventually get bored of all my antics, although I do try to keep them guessing. I think they just like to play games, and we play a game every time we are reviewing for a test. ... I've invented many a game on the fly this semester trying to bring back the vocabulary and concepts in their minds... :)
We've almost finished our read aloud, Esperanza Rising. It really is such a great book. My students beg me to read one more page. :) I think we only have 7 more pages to go... We'll all be sad when we finish it!
I'm going to post a trip itinerary soon so you can see what Aunt Janna, Uncle Jason, and I are up to! :)




Everyone at Sojourn is in transition right now. Everyone.

Teachers are anticipating the break and wondering how to close out the grades before traveling or heading to the States for Christmas. Grades will be due in January, but who is going to remember specifics about this semester after a 3 week break?

My students are thinking about friends moving to different countries, about possibly their own families moving, and many are thinking about how they won't be with their families over Christmas break. It makes sense that not many families can afford to fly back for a few weeks to the States, but the reality is difficult for these kids realizing they won't see their grandparents and cousins...

Students at ILE are anticipating being done with language school and transitioning on to different countries as well.

It's all a bunch of transition.

Then throw in a crazy week of Christmas celebrations and candy and love and goodbyes. ... My life. :)

One girl couldn't stop holding my hand today... I think it might be a security thing. Several students have told me how bored they will be over break... ha, they're actually asking for more homework! Loving learning is contagious in 4th grade, woohoo!

All in all, I know we'll survive, it's just a crazy rollercoaster ride right now...


Student Work

I'm like a proud mama, displaying her kids' work on the refridgerator! :) (and gearing up to update my teaching portfolio!)
the view of the mountains from my classroom
Just in case we forget... "How to Encourage" ... we in 4th grade need reminders.
Penmanship practice... it's amazing how motivated the students are when I get out the markers!
And drawings from True Stories... What was life like in colonial times?

And of course, more silly faces of my crazy class...


Ha, so today Trish says, "Oh man! I haven't posted on my blog since Monday!" and I say "Geez, your parents are wondering if you're still alive."..... ha, and now I'm on my own blog and realizing that I haven't posted since Tuesday, which really doesn't make me much better than my roomie. Whoops! So here goes...

YES I am alive. You'll be glad to know that. :)

I've been thinking a lot lately about how "normal" for me has completely changed. In fact, now I'm not sure what is supposed to be "normal."

For example, I rode a bus home this evening from the grocery store and it seemed rather normal to be standing on a crowded bus, surrounded by Spanish, holding my grocery bags and the bar above my head at the same time. Quite the feat when the bus driver is steering every which way and almost hit 2 cars... yup, 2 cars. Wowee.

It also seems pretty normal to go to the fruit market on Saturday mornings to buy our fruits and veggies... It also seems pretty normal to write my grocery list in Spanish, because then it's easier when I'm actually shopping to get the right word out.

"Normal" now is also not understanding everything around me... the fact that I don't understand doesn't exhaust me like it used to.

At school, it's very "normal" for my plans for the day to change suddenly because of an impromptu volleyball game or emergency dedication service that my students "must" take part in.

"Normal" is also the guy yelling down the street "Bye! Bye!" (Trish today -- "Usted esta una primero persona dice este frase!!" --"You are the first person to say this phrase!" of course being sarcastic)... and we don't respond at all.

"Normal" is laying out in the sun in DECEMBER.

"Normal" is wondering if the rainy season is over yet.

"Normal" is looking out at the horizon and seeing mountains on every side... and Vulcan Poas. Quite different from the landscape of Illinois... either the buildings of Chicago or the cornfields of Kewanee.

"Normal" is being told in the grocery store that I have "ojos hermosos"... beautiful eyes.

"Normal" is wondering whether it's a safe place for me to get out my camera.

"Normal" is .... I don't even know anymore.

So I'm excited to come back to the States for Christmas, but I'm afraid I might just be more confused about what "normal" really is...


Mi Tico Familia

I just spent the evening with my new tico family. Blanca and Manuel Enrique (ManRique for short... my spelling is probably wrong) are in their mid-fifties and have been married for 30 years. They have two daughters -- Rebecca, 28, and Judith, 26. Rebecca is married and Judith is studying architecture... They like to talk a lot, and they slowed down for me -- Whew!

They invited me to their church's service this evening, so I joined in the fun. When we walked in to sit down, we sat next to Sojourn's secretary! It's a small world... :)

I'll be moving in with them when I return in January. Que bueno!


22 Days!!!

I'm going HOME in 22 days!!! Wow, time is going so fast... 3.5 months ago, I was just arriving here! Sheesh!

Mom, Dad, Wes, Kallie, Austin! Hi :) I'll see you soon!

Who shattered my windows?

Difficult Monday morning to get out of bed... I'm sure you can relate. Shower, eat, read, stare, walk to school. Unlock my classroom door... stand, starstruck, not sure what to think. Um... why is there glass all over my floor?

Glance around the rest of the room, notice a note on the board that reads, "Suipe! the flor has glass all over the PLASE, even in the desks!"

Gee, thanks for the heads up.

I realized as I further analyzed the damage that while my windows were broken, new windows replaced them. All but one window... don't tell anyone, but my classroom could easily be "broken" into tonight from an open window that I have no control over closing... because there's no window to close!

But my question still remains... why were my windows broken? Why couldn't the window man take them out nicely rather than leaving glass everywhere for me to clean up? Isn't it his job to clean up after himself?

Everything in Costa Rica is different. Case in point.