Estos Días

These days have been fuller than I could have anticipated.  All in the best ways of course.

Work:  We’ve only had 9 days of school so far.  Since starting September 8th.  So.  Work hasn’t really been full of that much work.  But I have had full days of therapy now.  And two IEP meetings already.

{The view from my office door- of the doors that always bang as children run to the bathroom daily and I yell “WALK!” after them.}

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{Just a fun start of the year bulletin board.  Can you guess which hand is mine?}

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But mostly- work has been full of Spanish.  With kiddos from kindergarten through 2nd grade- many of them speak Spanish better than English.  And since my goal is to teach them LANGUAGE (not English.  I’m not an ESL teacher.) I teach in the language they are strongest in.  Which means, I spend a large portion of my day plowing through Spanish verbs.  Also. I had to translate for an hour and a half during parent curriculum night.  Now, talking to kids about what they did this weekend is very different than talking to parents about ELA and Math curriculum. (aka: AHHH Vocabulary words I don’t know!)  Not to mention, following the teacher’s opening soliloquy and her follow up question, “Now who understood that?” it was discovered that in the room of 20 parents – about 2/3 spoke Chinese, 1/3 spoke Spanish, 1 spoke Arabic, and 3 (total) spoke English.  The school wasn’t able to get a Chinese translator for us but the one bilingual Chinese-English parent helped out nicely.  Side note: not a lot gets covered in an hour and a half presentation when you have to take the time for translation to Spanish and Chinese.  Annnnd… half way through my tongue collapsed from all its foreign language use and disconnected from my brain.  I accidentally called the teacher a man.  The parents snickered.  I pulled it together and corrected myself.  At the end I decided that I must be able to speak Spanish after all.  Which is a fantastic thing to discover as I’ve been ‘learning’ it for… 12 years.  That said.  These days my brain is doing a lot of code switching and I find myself surprised at times by the language that comes out- especially when speaking to strangers, children, and stray animals.

Not Work:  When I’m not at work (which is has been statistically more common than not this month) I have been having some unexpected adventures.

1. I went to the beach for a sunrise baptism.  It’s pretty pathetic that I live on an island and it was my first time going to our beach all year.. To state the obvious- it made me happy. 🙂

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2. The Guggenheim.  I haven’t been in 3 years!  My, is it just me- or have I been living here a while?

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{We both wore bird shirts.  What are the odds?!?}

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3. A naturalization ceremony and PARTY!

This week my roomie invited me to watch her get sworn in as an American citizen.  Since I didn’t have to work (we were off for a Muslim holiday), I was excited to join her.  Upon arrival we forfeited our phones and cameras.. waited in lines.. and were separated from our friends – left to imagine what a naturalization ceremony is like by piecing together blurred images from a silent TV monitor in a large waiting room.  Thankfully, after the 4 hour ceremony was almost over, someone turned up the volume on the TV screen and we got to hear the actual taking of the oath, their first address as citizens, and cheer right along with them.  Oh what fun to become an American!  (Especially after 15 years of waiting and test taking that many of them had endured.)  Needless to say- Karen was very happy and Erleen and I hosted a party with some of our friends from church to celebrate!

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To end… a reminder… that the sunsets in Brooklyn are even nice sometimes!     IMG_20150922_185749232_HDRa

First Impressions

Tuesday was day one. No kids. Just teachers.

I had forgotten how long my commute is!  Nearly late for the first day.  A nice adrenaline rush plus a half mile walk up the hill to school makes for a great start I’d say.  That and meeting one of my kids on the school steps.  His mom wasn’t sure when school started.  I sent them home.  Happy last day of summer, kid.

This year I’m full time at one school.  Praise the Lord.  No more carrying all my papers and games and games and papers back and forth between schools.  No more forgetting things at one school when I want them at the other school.  Now I can just forget things at home like a normal person.

I was late to our first meeting.  Mostly because it wasn’t announced.  It was implied.  “There’s breakfast in the cafeteria B.” apparently stands for, “Come eat a bagel and listen to a beginning of the year welcome and orientation.”  Thankfully our principal has a head on her shoulders and let us set up our classrooms and read the handbook on our own time instead of listening to the droning of power point presentations that cover fire drill expectations and tardiness policies.  As a plus, once you’ve read all those policies yourself in the handbook, you just have to sign this handy little form and you get to pick up a free teacher tote bag, complete with some new classroom materials!  (How great is that!?!)

Following our meeting we headed to our rooms.  This year I have inherited a reformed storage closet with a window (in the door- not the wall.  No, sunlight needy plants would not thrive in my office).  Which is SO much nicer than sharing half a room with 3 other providers. (I think).  Don’t worry.  Neither speech office has AC.  So that’s all fair.  And really, really warm.

What a happy discovery to find my office filled with teacher tote bags. 150 teacher totes.  For the 150 teachers at our school.  It just makes it hard to, you know, move around in my closet office.  So then I got to help move half of them to the main office.  But they ran out of room to store them there?  (Interesting.  I’ve run out of room to reach my bookshelves without walking in arches around piles… it seems we have a similar problem…)

That said.  The first week of school this year turned out to be a breeze.  In the figurative sense.  It helps that I’m at one school instead of two.  It helps that I’ve done this before and have a guess at what I’m going.  And I like that I know people at work (I’m full time at a place I was part-time at last year).

It makes me excited to start.  Happy to be there.  And sane when I go home.

So far.

Even if the internet was down on Friday and I spent the day moving around tote bags to access corners of my room and cutting out letters for door signs and bulletin boards.  It’s nice to feel productive again.

{1/3 of the original tote pile remains.  Also yes, you can fit 3 of the walls in my room in a photo when I stand against the door and lift my phone really high and angle it.}

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{My door.  I think it’s important to identify where you are and who I am.  I don’t think it’s important to cut out the center of small vowels with large scissors.  Like Erleen says, “In 10 years, who will care?”}

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It’s also nice that Jews have so many holidays in September.  Four day weekends are a very nice way to end the first half week of school.

Here’s to starting something new, again!

Alarm Clock Conditioning

It’s been three years since I started this blog.  But it’s been almost two months since I posted.  Do those months count toward my blog total if I didn’t use them?

Yes.  It was summer.  It was home with my family and out with friends.  It was zoos and parks and ice cream and pie making.  It was one of my favorite summers and here are some pictures to ‘tell’ you all about it.

{A little friend came to visit and help in the cafe.  I made her a baby hat just 4 years ago!}

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{I spent a lot of time with this one.  Much ice cream was involved.  How nice it is to actually live near your life-long friends!}

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{I drank an excellent mocha. True story.}

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{I went to the fair with some friends. (Maybe it’s just me- but we all look the same here- menno girls with brown hair and blueish eyes.  How do people even tell us apart?!? 🙂 )}

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{Got more coffee with those same silly friends.}

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{Walked around the fair with this one.  She even posed as a superhero for me!}

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{That week, when I wasn’t at the fair- I was making pies for the fair. Livin’ that bakery life.}

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{Also, I have officially decided that llamas are my favorite fair animal to visit.  They are just down right hilarious!}

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{We didn’t go to the fair.  Instead we got fro-yo.  And when we sat down she made this pose- and deja vu smacked me in the face.  I’m pretty sure every time we sit down for fro-yo she sits exactly like this.  Who knows.  But it felt so happily familiar I made her freeze for a photo. 🙂 }

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{Some randomly beautiful gardens we waltzed about.}

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{Oh yeah, I also ate my share of chief ice cream.}

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{Saw some beautifully billowy sunsets.}

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{Walked this trail.}

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{Birds at the zoo make excellent leaves on trees.}

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{Only part of our 13 person (mostly adult) passel of people traipsing around the zoo.  All-in-all, a very successful summer family day I would say.}

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{jelly fish}

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{Shark petting.  Ain’t no thang.}

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{A photobomb in the butterfly gardens.}

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{seesters.  (no. we aren’t twins. no. I am older.)}IMG_20150823_161547723a

{Lunch with this one on my last Indiana day.  How have I never been in the restaurant?  It’s downtown- my town!}

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{But it does taste like elementary school cafeteria food.  Maybe that’s why we never come?}

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{Sunrise coming home.}

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and now I’m home.  On my last week of vacation before school begins again.  Running errands and conditioning my body to arise early with alarm clocks (I have a fear of missing work the first week of school since I am used to sleeping till 9, so, I’ve been practicing getting up a little earlier each day.)

And that, was my bare bones summer summary.  It also included a lot of reflection in the form of reminiscing (going home always does that to me) and reevaluating.  This summer some things kind of hit me in the face – causing me to realize that New York has changed me.  Living away from home.  Making my own life.  Navigating a new culture and taking on some of it’s norms.  It makes going home a different kind of challenge.  Not only of pausing my life here, but of navigating it there.  But I wouldn’t change it for — anything? even a free trip to Hawaii– because I know it’s so much of where I come from and who I am.

So, here’s to another year of New York living.  I love New York differently than when I came and am keenly aware that I probably won’t be here forever.  So, as with all the things I’m learning in life right now, I am savoring it.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18 #Faith: So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18 #Faith