In case you haven't heard the big news... I'm engaged! Joel and I are getting married in January! So very exciting and so much to do. So please do not hold it over my head for not posting. I have been a little preoccupied lately. I wish I had more time because there is much that I would like to share here about life, about teaching, about Indonesia, and some random musings that have been on my mind. For now a couple of pictures are all I've got with the hope that I will be back soon to share more.
Somehow life has gotten away from me. These past few weeks, ok really months, have been so busy. Each day seems to have enough trouble of its own and each day takes all my energy to keep up with all that is going on. In the midst of it I am reminded that God is gracious and gives me just the strength that I need for each day. The other day I walked out of our school to this beautiful sunset. The whole sky was filled with orange rays. Another reminded of God's presence.
In the month of April we were busy around here with: *a wonderful friend's birthday celebration *Family Fun Festival *picnic day *sea tribe party... celebrating a great trip as a team *baby shower for two beautiful staff women here *spirit week *swim pep rally *spring concert *science fair *amazing StuCo Talent Show *quick weekend trip to the beach with great friends *simple celebration of Easter
Between now and the end of the year somehow all these things will be accomplished: *house hunting *one last Picnic day *ESO portfolio due *8th grade banquet *big philosophy of education paper due *StuCo service event *a couple more baby showers *high school BANQUET, which I am in charge of this year *all night after party *5th grade move up day *senior exit interviews *awards assembly *high school graduation *secondary exams *FiElD dAy *moving *end of the year staff banquet *saying goodbye to good friends who are leaving
Please pray for me... Regardless of how it all goes I will be getting on a plane headed to the States June 10th.
Way back in November, our school had its annual Week Without Walls. This is one of my favorite times of the year because it means the whole school steps outside of our school building and serves the local community in some way. The students split up into groups and participate in a wide variety of projects. Then at the end of the week we come back together and share what we have seen and experienced and learned. Everyone from Preschool up thru 12th grade.
This year I was supposed to participate in a project in my neighborhood but that ended up getting canceled. So they switched me into the kampung school group to go back and teach English like I had done last year. Then at the last minute they needed an adult to sub for another staff members who was sick.
So this year for WWW I ended up joining the Desa Project group. We teamed up with some local workers and went out to a village in southern Bandung. We visited a community development site where they build water filters for those in villages without access to clean water. We built a bamboo fence (hard work!) for the property to keep it safe. The night before we came all their chickens had been stolen because there land was open for anyone to come onto. So our work building the fense really helped bring more security to the property.
We also worked with the school next door, a local school for kids with disabilities. We painted a mural at the school. We also spent a morning playing with the kids. I really enjoyed getting to know the kids and watching them interact with one another. They were a wide variety of ages and had all sorts of different disabilities- some were deaf, others had serebral palsy, others were down syndrome, and more.
One night we slept down at the site so we wouldn't have to make the long drive back home. We had a lot of fun being together, experiencing how local Indonesians live in the village. We stayed with a host family and slept all around on their floor. The students were great and worked really hard. They had great attitudes and really learned a lot from the kids at the school. We were all blessed by our interactions with the students with disabilities.
Here are some pictures of my experience. We had such a great time. We laughed a lot, worked hard, loved on a lot of kids, build strong relationships amongst our team, and more.
Playing in the courtyard of the school.
Lena and Luke showing off their stilt skills.
Playing with the kids.
Lena with a mom and her daughter.
Kelly and I working hard at our mural project.
Taking a break in the heat of the day to enjoy some watermelon.
The night we slept over, we enjoyed a special Indonesian meal. These giant leaves served as our plates.
We sat around on the floor and ate with our hands, like local Indonesians do.
After dinner we sat around and played games and talked and laughed lots.
Me with my beautiful friend, Monica.
The next day we finished our murals! So much detail... they were lots of work.
Our painting team in front of the other mural.
Our girls with some of the students at the school.
The boys with some of the students in their new pink uniforms.
A few weeks ago I came home and noticed some debris on my bedroom floor. I looked up to find there was a large hole in my ceiling. What in the world?!
I have no idea what kind of critter was crawling around in the ceiling, but I bet it was surprised when it hit a soft spot in the ceiling and just fell through.
I was worried about the size of such an animal that would cause a hole that size, but found no traces of anything inside our house.
Then awhile later I was having trouble sleeping one night. I heard noises in my ceiling. Normally that would not bother me (every house I have lived in here has had critters that crawl around in the ceiling and make noises day and night). However, as I lay there all I could think of was the hole in my ceiling. Whatever was making the ruckus most certainly could find its way into my room and thus into bed with me. So I tossed and turned and tried to ignore the noises.
As a result, the next day we finally got around to asking our landlord to come fix the hole. We also mentioned the noises I had heard all night. He climbed up onto the roof and found the opening the animals had been using to come in and out. Then he went into the space between the ceiling and the roof to patch the hole in my bedroom. There he discovered what had kept me up the night before. A whole litter of kittens!
He put them in a plastic bag and brought them downstairs. I was a little nervous about what was in his bag. I thought possibly it could be dead. But no they were all still alive. I think there were 5 of them. He took them outside and called to some neighbor kids to come take them away.
The beginning of February our school held its annual spiritual emphasis week (SEW). We had three speakers come from the States- one to speak for elementary, one for middle school, and one for high school. Each morning the whole school gathered on our school's sports court for worship. Then we split up for our speakers sessions followed by small group discussion.
Our theme this year was SEW good, SOW good, SO good. For high school our speaker focused on Micah 6:8 "Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly with your God."
Here are some pictures that one of our talented staff members- Melissa- took throughout the week. She captured some great moments.
Gathered together under our sports court
Started with some singing each morning
Leading the school in worship
Brian, the middle school speaker
Kurt, the high school speaker
Emma, my old roommate and good friend, came back to speak for elementary. This is from the closing ceremony when we were saying thanks and saying goodbye.
During Christmas break, which was awhile ago now (sigh... I am so behind on blogging), I went to visit a friend's house helper who had just had a baby. I took my helper with me so she could show me the way. We chatted for awhile, admired the baby, and drank some hot tea (with lots of sugar... as is custom in Indonesia).
Just thought I would share a few pictures from my visit:
Sleeping baby... do not know how under all those blankets.
Keep in mind that it is at least 80 degrees and humid here.
The other day I took a walk through my neighborhood. It had been awhile since I had been out and tried to interact with my neighbors and be visible in the community. So I left my house with my camera, not sure where exactly I was headed. I ended up walking around and snapped a few photos of daily life.
Rice fields... always in different stages of growth
I walked up upon this group hanging out by the side of the road. I love this old man and the little boys together.
He's got a pretty good Indonesian squat (which I personally find very difficult to do).
You would think they were watching something cool happen, sitting there together. But actually I think they were just chilling and watching this- an empty rice field. The word nongkrong in Indonesian literally translates 'sitting around doing nothing'. Pretty sure they have this mastered... and perhaps I could learn something from them.
As I continued walking the sun started to set and I was awestruck by the beauty that surrounded me. It spoke to my heart and to my soul. Life has been so busy and I rush around failing to just stop and take in the good gifts God gives. I need a little more nongkrong in my life, especially if it involves sitting and doing nothing but enjoying things like this.
As I was out walking it started sprinkling so I decided to turn back toward home. Suddenly it started raining harder and then started pouring. As I got nearer to my house my neighbors had already all returned home. Indonesians really don't like being out in the rain or being wet. Huddled together on their porches, out of the rain, they made comments to me as I passed by. "Hujan!" they exclaimed. Yes it is raining. I know. I am walking through it and very wet from it. But that didn't stop them from informing me anyway. I have yet to understand why they like to state the obvious. Clearly I know it is raining but they will always tell me anyway.