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Forsake Not What's Around You, For Simple is Close at Hand...

September 10th, 2011

Talk about slacking...sorry for the delay in update! I also don't have any new pictures from this week to share, so this blog might be a bore! Hopefully B comes home with some great pics from his XC meet in Unalakleet, and we'll get right on sharing them with you :o)

Week 2 has officially been "successfully" completed! I felt like I was drowning last week, but I think I managed to tread water this week! I had one rough day this week where I thought I might burst into tears, (and didn't) but one day out of the 10 I've taught so far isn't so bad! I think that before you become a teacher you have this vision of what a successful classroom looks like, and an unrealistic anticipation that your classroom will look like that by the first week. (At least I did!) Well, now that I'm two weeks in, I've changed my perception of a successfully functioning classroom a little bit. (But I don't feel I've lowered my expectations...just reformed them.) I think the combination of being a first year teacher, and also being immersed in a brand new culture, has caused me to reevaluate everything I've learned about classroom management, teaching and learning, and I'm trying to focus it through a new lens. My educational experiences thus far have been different in almost every possible way than the students' that I am teaching now. How can I be a successful teacher if I'm teaching them only based on my experiences? If my students can't relate, then they're not going to learn...and neither am I! I'm trying to incorporate a mixture of values and cater what I know about teaching to my students' learning needs. Since I feel like I don't know all that much, it's a challenge, but I'm hoping I'm at least stepping in the right direction!

Updates from the week outside of school: we thoroughly enjoyed our PB & J's on our freshly baked bread all week! I'm looking forward to a lazy Sunday at home tomorrow, and perhaps trying out a new recipe! (That's assuming I get everything accomplished that I need to at school today.) If I can figure out how to get some daiya cheese shipped up here, I'd like to make some pizza dough and enjoy pizza this week! I caved and ate some dairy last night after paying $11 for a frozen pizza, but would really rather keep the meals dairy-less! It's a constant challenge, but I'm determined to make it happen!

Brendan may be finally content with our living arrangement, as we acquired a treadmill this week! It's big and loud and shakes the house a little bit, but it's a means to stay in shape and I'm looking forward to using it too. I've really enjoyed getting back into yoga and have been putting those and my pilates DVD's to good use. It's nice having a means to unwind after spending 10+ hours at school most days.

Our mattress pad arrived from amazon...I think it's a blessing and a curse. Our bed is super comfy now, but it's much harder to leave it in the mornings! We are losing quite a bit of daylight, and it seems we are losing it the most in the morning. The sun is still out pretty late, but man is it dark in the morning! It's an interesting adjustment, and it's difficult to be ready for bed at night when the sun is still up, but hard to wake up when it's still dark! We haven't been relying on the melatonin to regulate our sleep anymore, and it's a pretty strange cycle we are living on!

We'll be getting into our normal routines this week, as tutoring just started and it will be our first 5 day week of school. The weeks are already going by fast, I feel like it will be Thanksgiving before we know it! Even though the days go by fast, the daily pace we move at has slowed down significantly from our lives in Virginia Beach.

I don't think I realized what a high stress/high speed life we were living when we were living it, but I'm really appreciating the slower pace here. We are coming from constantly running between two jobs, getting stressed out in traffic, running to tables and customers at work, trying to schedule time to see friends and family (something I've realized should not be stressful...which now seems so blatantly obvious, but wasn't realistic) and literally jam packing every minute of every day to be utilized. Now we've come to a pretty abrupt halt in Savoonga, where we don't have a microwave and use the stove to heat things up (but the power goes out pretty frequently so we need a back up plan.) We have a 15 ish minute commute every day on foot, depending on which direction the wind is coming from, but we aren't rushing or stressed and we don't have to worry about traffic slowing us down--instead it's relaxing and a quiet time to either prepare for the day or wind down after school. We traded Starbucks and our beloved bean grinding, delicious coffee making coffee maker for a french press, which we actually have to take time to make every morning, instead of having the timer pre-set. I think it's the best coffee I've ever tasted, and I can actually enjoy drinking it instead of gulping it down trying to get my caffeine fix before work! The store is unpredictable in what will be in stock, but we wait for our fresh produce every week and make with it what we can. It's fun being creative and having to think outside the box!

We've simplified extremely and are really appreciating the simple pleasures that we have. The one time of day we are rushing is usually dinner time when Brendan has to be back at school, but how can we complain when we are actually able to eat together? The days are a unique mix of rigorous and relaxing, and I'm not sure how many places in the world you can experience that. We're learning a lot about ourselves and what we really need, and I hope we can carry what we are learning here everywhere we go in life.

T minus 2 hours until Brendan gets home from Unalakleet...can't wait to hear how the team did! We will let everyone know and hopefully have some new pictures to post soon! He's been an amazing coach so far and has settled into the school seemingly effortlessly! He'll make a great teacher if he decides that's what he wants to do...more to come on the program he's applying to as well! Hope everyone has a great week and that all of my teacher friends are transitioning well into the school year!

We love and miss everyone more than words can say :o)

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