Circular Thinking

I haven’t been writing and that bothers me.  Because I’m loosing my writing voice.  And because I read an article the other day that said that we mostly think the same thoughts over and over every day.  And I realize that it’s true and I wonder why my thoughts don’t make many progressions and I realize that perhaps my thoughts aren’t all that productive.  Hence, I should write? Who knows.  But I can at least try.  To reach out to the world with little keyboard taps of communication and try to connect to someone else instead spinning the web of circular thoughts I’ve been thinking and thinking and thinking these days.

That said.  I don’t know what to write about except the thoughts I’ve been spinning.  So I’ll try my best to arrange these repeats of mine into some cohesive line.

This month was my birthday month.  But you already knew that.  Turning 27 has been interesting.  It looks very different than 22, but I liked it.  On my birthday my coworkers bought me lunch and sang to me.  After 7 sessions of kids, back to back, it didn’t really feel like my birthday.  And I took a nap in the afternoon, which isn’t something I usually do on my birthday.  But I went out for Habachi for dinner.   Which also isn’t something I normally do, but it did make me feel more like it was my birthday.  Our chef wasn’t award winning or anything.  But we were entertained by the experience. 

November has also been unseasonably warm and beautiful.  Which I love. So much. Especially when my living room window has sunset views like this one!

Aside from my own personal holiday, November was riddled with celebratory days off from school,  Thanksgiving being my favorite of the options.

This year I did some new things for Thanksgiving.

  1. I went to central park and looked at all the parade balloons after they were blown up.  Instead of the parade floating by us, we floated by it.  The lines were unexpected but it was still mostly enjoyed in beautiful weather with my fun friends.

 

2. My WHOLE family came to visit.  This has only happened once before, for my graduation, and we didn’t spend any time in the city together.  But this year, we did.  A Thanksgiving feast, black Friday shopping at midnight (surprisingly manageable crowds), the Statue of Liberty, and Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway.  For now, we are all grown ups and we almost always get along.  Oh the fun we can have together!  Like my mom said, “If only we could freeze this time.”

{Shopping}

{Heading out for a day in the city.}

{I think we look terribly alike in this picture.}

{Look what I found!}

So really, these aren’t the thoughts I’ve been thinking over and over again.  But rather the highlights between them.  But in my attempt to avoid the spinning vortexes of subway schedules and therapy prompts, it couldn’t be helped.

That said, I would like to add that I am, in fact, 1/3 of the way through my second year of teaching!  Can you believe it?!? And, while my littles aren’t all that funny, they are terribly endearing and at times it’s thrilling to help them learn.  Currently one of my favorites is a little kindergardener with the beginnings of a mustache.  Oh he is so cute.  And he’s learning not to repeat everything I say.  That said, sometimes our conversations go like this:

Me: Do you have to go to the bathroom?

Him: bathroom?

Me: yes or no?

Him: (pause… thoughtful face) yes.

Me: Is it an emergency?

Him: emergency?

Me: yes or no?

Him: (pause… thoughtful face) yes.

Me: Can you hold it?

Him: hold it?

Me: yes or no?

Him: (pause… thoughtful face) yes.

Turns out it’s not just my thoughts spinning in circles these days. 🙂

Falling For You

Your twenties are such a great time in life to fall in love.  And October is such a great time to fall in love with Fall and small(er) cities.

Now, traditionally I do not like fall (mostly because it screams “WINTER IS COMING” to me for 3 months and makes me sad) and I love New York.  Which, in the past, has meant that I like (but don’t love) smaller cities and well, I don’t like fall really.

But this fall- they won me over- and it just couldn’t be helped.

I started the month with an anticipated trip to Philadelphia.  Now, I’ve been to Philly before. No big deal.

But Shannon just moved there.  And she’s been coaching me with my running this year. (Yes, this year I started running. At the Y. And she’s been telling me how.  Because apparently running isn’t entirely intuitive.)  That said, she and I have been wanting to run a 5k together.  Ideally, a color run since it’s on my 30×30 list.  All of these events and plans collided to a night Color Run (5k) in Philly at the start of October.

My trip to Philly was a little eventful.  Mostly because I booked a sketchy Chinatown bus ticket and they (apparently) don’t reserve seats for their passengers.  Which means that even if you are on time for your bus, you may not get a seat.  And then you may get cattle corralled into getting a post-it note stamped (to serve as a seat reservation ticket) and eventually get soaked in rain between the station door and the bus door and arrive at your destination 2 hours later than planned.  Thankfully I have flexible friends.  And there are still great Ramen places open after 9.

IMG_20151009_174106696a

The rest of my trip was full of brunches, walking, a museum, and, well, running!

 

{The Happiest 5 K on Earth} The color run’s claim to fame.  If you don’t know what a color run is.. google it. 

IMG_20151010_201441568

IMG_20151010_201917313

Philly has all the best brunches.  sigh.

I returned from this adventure feeling quite accomplished (yay! I ran my first race- even if it is untimed) and quite crushing on Philly.  It doesn’t help that Shannon just moved there from Brooklyn and knew all the things to rave about to make me jealous.  (She has a washer and dryer!  She can walk AND drive places.  Philly is a more manageable size- with good places to eat that aren’t so far from your house.  And not so many places to choose from that you just want to give up even trying to decide.)  Plus.  It has trees. And it was just the start of fall.  And well. sigh. It felt like a break from the city.  While still being in the city. And so, I liked it.

But I came home.  Helped a tourist find their way.  And ran into someone I used to work with while walking down a random street.  And I was reminded this skyline is still my home for now.

Home: (n) the place or region where something is native or most common.

My mid-October weeks were spent at home.  Watching fall around me and realizing that October has my favorite color of blue sky and the leaves are just to die for.

And I ended my October with a trip to Boston with Malinda.  For the sake of adventure (and every time we ever sang that VeggieTales song as kids, “And I’ve never been to Boston in the Fall!”)

{We arrived!}

It’s only 4 hours by bus from Chinatown to Chinatown.  Especially when you book with good bus companies that don’t involve pushing and post-its and do involve leather seats.

DSC_4659a

{We happened upon this lovely book shop.}

{Lunch}

DSC_4660a

DSC_4662a

{The Boston Common} I’m sorry I’m not sorry about how many fall pictures you are about to see. I went to Boston mostly to see the leaves.  So I mostly have pictures of leaves.  You’re welcome or whatever.

DSC_4673a

DSC_4674a

DSC_4677a

DSC_4679a

DSC_4681a

 

DSC_4689a

{Mike’s Pastry} Because everyone loves cannolis. And Mike does them best!  Even if our airbnb’s host’s dog ate my left overs without asking.

{Bunker Hill Monument}

Because Malinda is energetic she hiked the 294 steps to the top of the monument.  Because Camille calculated a cost-to-benefit ratio and decided it wasn’t worth it- she didn’t.  Go Malinda!

DSC_4694a

{The magic hour + ferry ride = harbor love}

DSC_4708a

DSC_4712a

DSC_4715a

DSC_4719a

 

After a day walking the Freedom Trail we went to check in at our airbnb.  After discovering our host had guests, we went to check out more of the city.  Nothing like strangers to inspire you to get out of the house.  We decided to visit the Prudential Tower and get a nice view of the city.

DSC_4726

DSC_4731a

{My face when I’m not sure why my camera is taking so long….}

DSC_4733

DSC_4743a

DSC_4750a

In our visit to the Prudential Tower we watched a little movie about Boston in which we discovered that MIT apparently has a pretty cool building.  We visited it the next morning.

DSC_4755a

DSC_4758a

DSC_4761a

DSC_4767a

{Then. On to Harvard.}

DSC_4769a

DSC_4770a

{The original ivies.}  (Just kidding.)

{We had brunch in the middle of our campus trotting. Because… food!}


See what I mean??? Fall.  I’m obsessed.  And cities small enough to walk and find places to eat.  Oh, just so much to love. That and puns.  I love puns. And Fall is just full of them! win. win. win.

But now. Now it’s November.  My birthday month (horray!) and parent teacher conferences (eh. They’re just okay.).  And just a few more weeks to savor it all before the dreaded winter is upon us!

That said.  Happy fall y’all.

Anne of Green Gables was one of my favorite book series growing up, and I'd have to agree with Anne about Octobers.:

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.}

IMG_20150925_135314622a

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

IMG_20150925_143801476a

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. 🙂

IMG_20150920_084309972_HDRa

IMG_20150920_085630722a

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

IMG_20150919_185134829_HDRa

IMG_20150919_184903433_HDR

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

IMG_20150919_185012453

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!

IMG_20150924_120249540a

DSC_4648b

IMG_20150926_164733405_HDR

DSC_4655a

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.}

IMG_20150910_143355043a

{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?”}

IMG_20150911_143122466_HDRa

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!}

IMG_20150717_125435063

{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!}

IMG_20150724_202250322_HDR

{I drank an excellent mocha. True story.}

IMG_20150725_105826722_HDR

{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?!? 🙂 )}

IMG_20150726_190653104

{Got more coffee with those same silly friends.}

IMG_20150727_174424327_HDR

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

IMG_20150728_181107121

IMG_20150728_212247608_HDR

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

IMG_20150731_093102955

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

IMG_20150731_212523431

{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. 🙂 }

IMG_20150810_150123296

{Some randomly beautiful gardens we waltzed about.}

IMG_20150813_195440338

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

IMG_20150817_200349818

{Saw some beautifully billowy sunsets.}

IMG_20150819_203740

{Walked this trail.}

IMG_20150819_180413249_HDRa

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

IMG_20150823_143427765a

{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.}

IMG_20150823_151745140a

{jelly fish}

IMG_20150823_153032342a

{Shark petting.  Ain’t no thang.}

IMG_20150823_154007202a

{A photobomb in the butterfly gardens.}

IMG_20150823_160549104a

{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!}

IMG_20150824_121400320_HDRa

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

IMG_20150824_124136946a

{Sunrise coming home.}

IMG_20150825_064511255_HDRa

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

Learning to Live Now

Life is one of those things that we measure by the way it fills.  I once had a supervisor who told me, “Everyone knows what YOU should be doing next.  Family. House. Babies. And they will tell you.  No matter what stage you are in, they will tell you what the next one is. Ignore them.”

This advise has been echoing in my ears for 2 years now and has become resoundingly strong as I live in this summer of Indiana sunshine.

When I booked my flight to come home I gave a little whine about my trip being so long. We’re talking 8 long weeks away from the city I love and the life that I know!  My biggest complaint about coming home is always the paradigm between 1. I’m on vacation and want to hang out with people and enjoy my time off and 2. My life isn’t going forward because I’m not doing anything ‘productive.’  I’m sure this stems from years of viewing life from a deadline/means to ends perspective with a bit of the unsettledness that is the stage of life I’m in.

These whines were cut short by my family.  I was reminded that no one wants to hear me whine on vacation (valid point).  And that my whining takes away from the joy of being home.

And I was struck with the reality of these truths.  So.  I thought about this summer.  What it was and could be and what I wanted it to be.  And I decided to choose joy.  To measure my days not by how they fill my life- but- by how they are filled.

So. I don’t always know what I’m going to do when I wake up.  But I’ve gotten really good at loving this ‘now’ living.  I think it’s called ‘grace.’  (Grace- the power to do what you know is right.)   And there is a certain peace that comes from living in the grace of gratefulness and patience.  I know this is a lesson I’ll probably learn a thousand times.  But, the first baby step of success in it has been fun.

Plus.  Along the way I’ve discovered some things that I like about Indiana!

Things that I like about Indiana:
1. If I don’t have any plans for my day when I wake up, my day still fills up with good things.  And I don’t even have time to be bored in-between.  I might have time for a nap.  Or a long talk with my sister. But not to be bored.  Just the perfect balance I’d say.

2. Everyone has air conditioning.  I spend more time being cold than hot.  That’s a lot to say when it’s 90 degrees outside and you are currently experiencing the medical phenomenon of heat induced hives.

3. Mennos abound.  Yes.  ‘Mennos’ is slang for ‘Mennonite.’  And here we have them in every strip and (almost every) color. Now. I don’t ALWAYS like to drown in a sea of mennos (ba dum- shhh) but- since I see so few of them in my ‘regular’ life- it has been a real pleasure.  Partially because children in little homemade dresses are adorable (and yes, I do stare and smile as I drive by their homes) and partially because as much as I self identify as this urban, educated snob- I am also Mennonite.  It is my first culture.  My fundamental world view.  And connects me in real ways to a community of family and strangers.

4. The food. Specifically- the food at “The Baker’s Nook Bakery and Cafe.” More specifically, my mom’s food.  It’s probably for the best I don’t live here anymore as I am a weakling compared to baked sugars and carbs.  That said, I’m lovin’ these homemade breads, cinnamon rolls, cakes and cookies.  (Not to say I haven’t lodged a formal complaint regarding our lack of green leafy vegetables in the home.)

5. Memory lane.  I always say that Indiana is a great place to be from.  And, when I’m here I get to hang out with my best friends from first grade and youth group and camp and we reminisce and realize that some friendships are lucky enough to last a life time. I also like that these friends know all my people, my stories, my dreams, and remember to ask me about them.  It’s fantastic.

6. Family time.  Living so far from my family usually means that my family time is a little wedge in a Venn diagram.  I have family and I have time, but they rarely overlap.  Well.  This summer they overlap nearly every day.  Sometimes for 5 minutes when we’re doing our hair in the bathroom or when I’m nagging for someone to help dust before our guests arrive.  But sometimes it’s spontaneous dinners at local hot spots and 3 mile walks around ponds.  And I like this the most.

So. Here’s to living Now.

That Family Time

This summer I have the inexplicable privilege of spending several weeks with my family.  At first I wasn’t so sure about this all. I mean, I’m not very good a living in the moment and ‘without a purpose’ (aka- too much free time- if there is such a thing).  So, I made a (functional) nerdy choice and decided to make my goal for the summer to live in the moment and spend time with people I love.  Reverse psychology.  But it’s mostly working.

It helps that I really do love spending time with my family.  And, Indiana is actually beautiful right now (due to the extra green plant life following some intense rains we’ve been having) which makes it easier to love this big sky place.

Also. I’ve been going on walks.  With my sisters.  win win win

Here are some pictures!

(Excuse me for posting so many animal pictures.  But, when we walked by, they just came charging up to the road to greet us.  So.  It really couldn’t be helped.)

IMG_20150707_210642590_HDR IMG_20150709_184412670a IMG_20150709_184553806a IMG_20150713_191403840a IMG_20150713_191449439a IMG_20150713_193411551a IMG_20150713_193615343_HDR IMG_20150713_195258010_HDR IMG_20150713_195305341a

Aside from all the walking, I’ve worked just a little bit for my mother.  It’s been very amusing to see what my brain remembers going back to my old job (like, where to find the twist-ties for example).  And, I’ve been hanging out with other people and doing a wee bit of speech therapy on the side.  Just for one kiddo.  Just enough for me to love it without feeling like I’m actually working over summer break.

Also.  A week ago I missed a step on a dark staircase and fell and scrapped my knee.  This story has some other pathetic details but it has proven to be an excellent conversation piece for me – telling the story, acting out the story, talking about my residual injuries.  I will say, this is the longest I’ve ever had a mostly open wound.  And since it’s this dull pain all the time… I bring it up, like, every 30 minutes.  Like I said, excellent conversation piece.

My sisters try to tell me that no one cares.  That this little knee scrape is of no consequence to others.  But, when you are on break mode like me and the nerves in your knee are telling you brain every 3 seconds about the pain therein- there is no completing information in my brain to mute these nerve announcements.  So, instead of talking about funny things my kids said today or obnoxious people on the train… I just say, “Do you think I should put more salve on my knee Vanessa?”  What can I say, older sisters have a very important job- to pick on their younger sisters.  And well.  For once, I have the time and energy to do just that!

So.. here’s to more walks on country roads and conversations about my knee cap. #summerhappy #happysummer

gratitude changes everything ~ drak gray linen free printable

Parlez-vous Français?

I have discovered that I never eat at French restaurants because…. I can’t afford it.

But this week I was on the hunt for one and found a nice cafe where I got to ask our waiter how to say… “I want the croque mosieur” in French (which, let’s face it- was a ham and cheese sandwich).

{Le Menu}

IMG_20150618_165336088_HDRa

{Not how your mother makes them.  (unless your mother is French)}

IMG_20150618_174521074a IMG_20150618_181511718a

The French continued with a brisk walk to Broadway- weaving tourists and dodging stop lights like the pros we are- for second row seats to Les Miserables.  $45 teacher discounts are SUCH a win!

IMG_20150618_185659586a

{Only some of my very favorite people.}

IMG_20150618_203607943b

And that was my fun French night.  My other French nights haven’t been that fun.  You see, I’m taking this online class because… I mean, French is cool…. and I’m only 3 credits from moving up the pay scale (wah wah).  But.  Let. me. tell. you. Learning languages from the internet is just… ridiculous. I CAN’T READ THIS LANGUAGE!  How am I going to LEARN it without a teacher?!?!?!? So puzzling.  I mean. I guess – according to my French quiz/game website homework I now know 8% of the language… which seems pretty accurate.  Even if I can’t speak or understand a lick.

I mean.

/komo ale vu/ is spelled  “Comment allez-vous.”  So yeah.  Me reading French actually is me 1. listening to google translate, 2. writing it phonetically like a nerd, 3. and reading that.

So… this summer online class is ganna be great.  I can tell already.  (But- win for living in a city that allows me to do my ‘cultural homework assignment’ by writing a 2 page paper about an event I was ALREADY planning on going to.)

Also this week. I took a selfie with a dog while snacking on a blanket listening to the NY Philharmonic in Brooklyn with new friends and old.  See, she looks JUST like our childhood dog!

IMG_20150619_191745276a

Which leads us to…. summer.  Which officially started today according to the Earth’s rotation around the sun… but starts for me on Friday.  Oh so soon. Horrah Horray!

Funny Photo | topnotchteaching.com

Post Hipster Takeover

June has included, for me, several visits to Williamsburg, Brooklyn- where hipsters dwell and bike and chat by with their mustache faces.

But, even if they all wear stinky deodorant (or whatever my co-workers rant about these ‘down to earth’ people) their gentrification of Williamsburg has formed a very interesting little sub-town.

You see, once upon a time Williamsburg used to be the ‘ghetto’ or something like that.  And.  It’s still full of great graffiti and under-developed parks and the like.  But now it also has places to eat with funny names like “Pies-n-Thighs” and, well, more graffiti.  It also is separated by the Williamsburg Bridge to the villages in Manhattan.  So convenient.

So. I went with a friend to Pies-n-Thighs.  We walked around and enjoyed the general randomness that gentrification brings.  And had fun.

IMG_20150604_182211177a IMG_20150604_193608230a

Then I went again.  After crepes in the village.  We were celebrating my roomie’s completion of the school year (yay Erleen for surviving!) and instead of going home we decided to find a place with a view.

IMG_20150613_193616a

We started by walking the bridge.

IMG_20150613_200823497a

It doesn’t really have a view.

IMG_20150613_200059690a

Although it’s interesting in its own right.

IMG_20150613_200328043aIMG_20150613_200040834a

{Unexplained lines taunted Erleen for miles— errr- feet}

IMG_20150613_200443031a

{There’s a perfect place for everything I guess??}

IMG_20150613_200722659a

{So much graffiti. Lots of things for literate people to do on this bridge.  But.  It was mostly just people’s names. Not that cool or anything.}

IMG_20150613_200927225_HDRa   IMG_20150613_201902384_HDRa IMG_20150613_202404917a

The quest for a view continued as we wove through Williamsburg and found our way to a tiny pier full of almost exclusively Jewish women.  Regardless of the sideways glancing, it was a spectacular sunset viewing local.

IMG_20150613_203022845_HDRa IMG_20150613_203312291_HDRa IMG_20150613_204114119a IMG_20150613_204118197a IMG_20150613_204122415_HDRa IMG_20150613_204143671a IMG_20150613_204852317_HDRa IMG_20150613_204915353a

{Me and Erleen.  She survived her 10th year of teaching the rugrats of Brooklyn. She’s happy to be alive and I’m happy she can stay out late and not grade homework. Also. I’m happy we’re friends.}

IMG_20150613_205137600a

And the sun set on the city that never sleeps as we walked home.

IMG_20150613_212354253a

bloom

May Dayz

May is spring and testing days in school and weather that makes us all smile.  This May also meant a trip home for a wedding and a trip to the city to watch the sunset.  Photos to follow.

Wedding

So. I have this friend Stephanie.  Who married this friend David.  And I got to go to their wedding.  And run the photo-booth camera. So much winning.  Not to mention – this was my first trip home since Christmas.

The journey started with an all night drive with my roomie.  It actually worked out well since I have the power to stay up late and she has the superpower of getting up early.  With that mix, we made it home in 13 hours.  But not without a traffic hold up in the city.

IMG_20150522_174636

IMG_20150522_170435074_HDR_edited-1a

It was decided that IF you are going to get stopped for an hour in traffic, SOHO, Manhattan is the place to do it.  So much great people watching to do.  (not to mention a street truck selling JUST socks.  not tacos.  or ice cream.  just socks.)

IMG_20150522_170903299_edited-1IMG_20150522_173415330_HDR_edited-1IMG_20150522_181818_edited-1a

So.  Like I said.  I went to this wedding.  David and Stephanie.

Well.  Stephanie and I?  We go way back.  But I actually met David first.  And once upon a time we all worked together in my mother’s cafe.  Life has changed much since then, but it was fun to be at their wedding after knowing them through the whole journey.  The wedding was incredibly sweet as they included a lot of personal touches that traditional ‘menno’ weddings don’t have- like writing their own vows and singing songs for each other. 🙂  Plus, they were both so happy.  Which makes everyone else happy too, of course.

{The Mr. and Mrs.}

IMG_20150523_145148385_edited-1

{At the reception.}

IMG_20150523_163532044_HDR_edited-1

{Stephanie and I aren’t used to taking selfies with David.  Sorry for squishing you out man.}

IMG_20150523_171159858_edited-1

{Some photo booth fun}

DSCF7053a

{This is, oddly enough, not the first time I’ve posed with mustaches with Stephanie.}  DSCF7078a

{4 years ago.  See?  (why yes, we believe in being totally proactive in planning roadtrip entertainment.  Don’t judge.)}

DSCN9650

{my parents!}

DSCF7123a

{My seesters and me}

DSCF7188a

{my mom and me (yes, it was very nice to have people I know walking through my photo booth line)}

DSCF7228a

My trip home ended with, two days back to back with my Esther, lots of family time, and another loong drive back to my city, with no traffic delays on the George Washington Bridge- a miracle!

IMG_20150524_131046097_HDR_edited-1

DSC_4107_edited-1     DSC_4177_edited-1     IMG_20150525_174852393_edited-1

The Sunset

This weekend was ‘Manhattanhedge.’  Manhattanhedge is the name for when the sun lines up perfectly with the east-west streets of Manhattan as it sets.  Malinda and I went to Long Island City to watch.  It was gorgeous until the clouds got in the way.  But we liked it anyways.

IMG_20150530_193316932_HDR_edited-1DSC_4233_edited-1 DSC_4237_edited-1 DSC_4242_edited-1 DSC_4244_edited-1 DSC_4265_edited-1 DSC_4289_edited-1 DSC_4341_edited-1

And that was May.  Now it’s June.  Only 25 days to my last day of school and this face says it all (can you believe it? I’ve almost survived my first year of teaching!)

IMG_20150516_164351837_edited-1