12 January 2014

Six Month+ update

I haven't written a real blog post since last June - that is over six months ago.

Here's a quick recap of what has happened.

I went overseas with 12 students, four mothers, and two other teachers in the end of June into the first week of July.  We went to France (Paris, Nice), Monacco, Italy (Piza, Florence, Rome, Vatican City).
Me getting into my new
car while in Monaco

It was an awesome experience - my first time in Europe beside stopping through airports.

The kids were great, the mothers irksome - one of them even had the nerve to tell me and another teacher that teaching is easy and that planning and organizing the trip was easy.  It took everything in me to not go off on her.  She also was perpetually late and even had a male guest stay in her hotel room in Paris one night (she shared a room with another mother).

Hotel window view each morning
a small town in Italy
There was a student on the trip who had body odor issues so much that other students, though they tried to be nice to her, got to the point where they did not want to room with her.  Her clothes and body smelled so much that we had to have an intervention. She was only in 6th grade, so perhaps did not understand the body changes and the need for proper cleansing and deodorant.  We teachers taught her how to thoroughly wash her body in the shower.  That did not help, so we teachers then had to wash her clothes in three sinks, a shower, and a bidet one night.  It took us about four hours and so much soap and detergent.  The smell was so revolting and our hands smelled like it for days.  She had been putting her wet towels back into her suitcase each day (we would travel most days).  She had her own towel that was the most revolting, mildewy, molded, disgusting thing I have ever smelled.  She didn't want us to wash it since the smell reminded her of her dad.  I had to walk out of the room when she said that.

Despite my promise to myself when I started teaching 10 years ago that I would never do so, I taught summer school last summer.  Living in NYC is expensive and I wanted to see what it was like. I only taught the second half of the course since another teacher taught the first half.  It wasn't too bad, though the commute was super far each day.

My sister who lived in NYC with me moved to Houston where another sister lives leaving me here in the big city with just the boif as the immediate family.

Perhaps you remember the heat
wave, summer 2013. It was so hot,
I looked like I was lactating.

I moved into a new apartment.  No longer in Harlem. Now just inside the Bronx close to Yankee's Stadium.  What a difference an apartment makes.  The last place was so horrible that I didn't even buy furniture for the living room. Now I have a nice place that is modern, clean, and the floors do not squeak incessantly.  I have bought a couch, I can watch tv, I got Roku, I use the living room for more than a storage place for my yoga mat.  I live in peace - though people in the Bronx have a problem of playing their music really loud at all hours of the day and night.  There are also no convenient places to buy simple food items that don't cost an arm and a leg and the 4 train is slower than dirt compared with the 2/3 that I used to be able to take.

I experienced the hottest summer ever in life.  My sister, her two 1/2 kids, and my brother came to visit NYC for a few days this summer as did my parents for a conferences.  It was nice to see them all.
Kid Sis #2's Kid #2 - So cute!

My parents have decided to move out of our childhood home that they have lived in for over 25 years.  I got to go into it a last time and say goodbye to the memories from there. I also was able to go through old items that I have been storing there such as pictures and track awards and memorabilia.

I got to spend a weekend in the summer with Kid Sis #3.  We went to the Lake of the Ozarks, almost got lost in the-land-where-no-black-people-want-to-get-lost, found our way to the resort, and had a great time. I parasailed for the first time ever, went jetskiing, and went ziplining for the first time ever.  It was so fun and so awesome to get to do so with my youngest sister.

School started back in September.  I am teaching the same classes as well as a zero period computer science class.  Those early mornings are getting to me and making me super tired Monday through Thursday. I love Fridays since I get to sleep later.
Picture I saved from the parent's house
before their move - me as a toddler.

I feel more competent in the classroom this year, but am still working hard planning more and doing better things in the classroom than ever before.

Kid Sis #3's newest son trying on
his mother's wig.  SO CUTE!!
Kid Sis #2 had her third baby late last year - the third boy.  I am looking forward to meeting him in person.

My students at school are great! (Most days)  I had one student bring me some bugs to taste after we practiced reading strategies on an article that talked about edible critters and I said that I wanted to taste some and see what they were like. I tasted them.  They were not bad.  I felt like I channeled my inner Andrew Zimmern.

I feel closer to the teachers at school and for the first time since working at my first StL school, find that I can actually call more than a small hand full of my colleagues my friends.

I went to India to attend a colleague's wedding in December.  It was the first time in eons that I have had a vacation that was truly a vacation.  I had a blast and want to go back to Goa.  It was beautiful and not anything like most of what is seen about India.  We performed a dance for the bride that reenacted the relationship of her and her husband from their first meeting, to their first date, to their engagement where he did a flash mob dance for her.  I felt like I was in a Bollywood production. It was amazing!  On the last day there, I went to a spice farm and discovered that vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world and that anything vanilla flavored that I have eaten in my life is likely not really real vanilla.

On the way there, I took a flight by myself since I didn't book tickets with any of the other five colleagues who attended. I flew through Cairo and was super fortunate (?) to have a long layover (I concluded that the airline does it on purpose).  I took a tour of the city and saw the Nile River, the pyramids, the sphinx, a perfume factory, and was able to shower, and have a nice dinner.  All this cost me only 30 dollars American.  It has been a dream of mine since high school to get to the Nile and the pyramids, so that was AMAZING!!

Happy New Year!!

Dream come true - accidentally!!
View from the beach on the
coast of Goa, India
Mehndi on my hand for friend's wedding
Me at the spice farm