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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Grateful



I'm full of the conflicting feelings of sadness and gratefulness.

I'm grateful for my amazing friends, ICSA family, and family.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to come home when I needed to be with my Dad. I'm grateful to have understanding and compassionate bosses that supported my trip home.

I'm grateful for the chance to say goodbye. So many people are not granted that opportunity.

I'm sad that Michael will not have any memories with my Dad. He will never experience for himself the kind, generous, compassionate, and giving man that he was named after.

I'm sad that my family has to endure this incredible heartbreak.

I'm sad that at every family event from now on, there will be someone missing, who should be there.

I'm sad that my Dad is dying, right before my eyes.

This is the hardest thing I have ever done. I pray that this is the hardest thing I'll ever have to do.

On Tuesday, March 22nd, Amy sent me a message to call her. She said that Dad had refused further treatment and the doctor was giving him a month the live.  I made some calls and did all the housekeeping things that were needed and about 24 hours later, Michael and I were on our way to airport. Our ICSA family was incredibly helpful. I will forever be thankful for those angels who made a tough time much more bearable.

Michael was a rock star on the flights. God was looking out for us. I've never been able to gate check a stroller to Paris. Paris has free strollers but they don't recline and are hard to find. We were able to gate check the stroller this flight. We ended up with a 9 hour lay over in Paris and it was wonderful to have our stroller.  Michael was able to take a few naps in the airport. Our last flight was non-eventful, which is an accomplishment for a 9 1/2 hour flight. We arrived in Atlanta on Thursday night around 10pm. Amy and the boys came to meet us.

We came to Alabama on Friday. I was just not prepared for the condition of my Dad. I mean, I knew, but I was still shocked at what I saw. I think he recognized me, but I can't be sure. He has not really left the bed in a week. Saturday, he stood up and asked to take a shower. He said 'Hi, buddy' to Michael.

Hospice made their first visit Friday afternoon.

Dad has stopped eating but is still drinking water. He can ask for water.

When I tell him 'I love you,' he replies with an 'I love you.'

The doctors said 1-3 months, but closer to 1. I don't think it will be that long.

I was secretly hoping to miss the funeral. My return ticket is bought so I wanted to come and spend time and say my goodbyes. I don't think it will work out that way.

I know that God grants miracles and could intervene and heal him, but I'm just not sure that its God's plans for him to recover. That is a hard pill to swallow.

I'm thankful for this time to spend with my family. Michael has warmed up nicely to the cousins and Nana, even though we have only been here 2 days.

I enjoyed going to Walmart and buying stuff for an Easter basket. They now make fake eggs to decorate. This is what happens when you leave the country for 5 years.

This will be the first year for Michael to do an Easter egg hunt. I'm excited for that.

I also have 2 job interviews for next week. One is a second interview for a school in Panama; the other is for a school in Singapore.

We have had breakfast at Crackle Barrel and Waffle House.

Michael has been sleeping from 9pm-5am. Not too bad for a 6 hour time difference.



Monday, February 17, 2014

2 months old

My little M&M is 2 months old. I cannot believe how fast time has flown. I can't help but think that I only have a few weeks left before going back to work. Part of me is looking forward to this. I am not a homebody and there are many days that I have just had to get out of the house. The other part of me thinks of all the moments I will miss. I love just watching him sleep and his different facial expressions. 

My personal goal for the next few weeks is to live in the present, and not dread or look forward to the first day back. 





Monday, April 23, 2012

33 days to go

Today marks 6 weeks left in the school year.  Its amazing how quickly this year has gone by.  I'm actually dreading the end of the year.  I will really miss my class.  I'm excited to move to a new position next year though. I will be teaching the gifted and talented kids.  I'm super excited about that.

Catching up:

I finally made a trip to Lake Atitlan With Joan and Heidi.  The scenery was gorgeous.


Hank and I both had birthdays in March.  I bought him a dog cake!  I went out with friends for school.



I spent Spring break in Jamaica with my sister Amy. We got to be there to celebrate Emily and Tim's wedding. I also jumped off a 35ft cliff.  We went snorkeling and horse back riding.  It was a great time. I even got to see Colleen on my layover in Miami.




Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Reality

     As I get ready to return to the states after 4+ months in Guatemala, I have been rehearsing my answers to the questions I expect to hear numerous times.  Today, however, I realized how much my reality has changed by being here. 

Here are a few examples: 
* My security fee at my house is more than my electric biil or my cable/internet/phone bill 
* Every time I go visit a friend, I have to check in at the guard gate with my id
* Every time I enter a shopping center, I have to get a ticket or a card so that when you leave, you have the same card and the car is supposedly not stolen
* My mind immediately divides by 8 to see what it would cost in US $$$
* I see guns everywhere, since every guard carries one
* Stop signs are treated more like yield signs
* I sometimes don't notice if the radio is in English or Spanish
* I could buy flowers, nuts, and fruit, from my car, while waiting for the light to turn green

     This all came to me the other day when I was having dinner at a local restaurant.  The guards came in for the cash drop and 3 of the guards had, what looked to be, double barrel shot guns.  I know very little about guns so I really don't know what kind they were, but I just went back to eating.  I didn't even think twice about it.

    Reality can change based on a lot of things, but I certainly say that location can make things change the faster.  Its safe to say that that is why I am here.  I was ready for a change and here it is.  It seems so second nature though, in such a short time.  I wonder if anything back home will strike me as weird, after being away.







Sunday, September 18, 2011

2 months

I have been in Guatemala for 2 months now.  Here are some of my thoughts, feelings, and observations thus far

The Good:
I love my job.  I love the people on my team and basically everyone that I have met has been awesome.  Everyone is super friendly and helpful.  I cannot say enough positive things about the school and the fabulous people that I have met. I am soooo glad that I came.

ES Administration is amazing as well.  Things are organized and most things make sense.  Tracy and Tete ask for and are open to suggestions from their staff.

My students and their parents, thus far, have been great.  

My new house is finally looking like a home.  I have it 95% of the way that I want it.  There are still a few items that need to be fixed and I have to go pick up some furniture this week that was ordered.

The weather is nice.  It has not been too terribly hot, nor to cold.  I honestly have not missed air conditioning.

There are several vacations spots within less than a 4 hour drive.  This makes weekend get always possible.

The natives are very forgiving when I botch their language and work with me to figure out what all my gesturing means.

Services are very inexpensive.  I can get a manicure and pedicure, with tip, for $13, & a 45 minute massage for about $20.  My maid comes 8 days a month for $100.  Hank can be picked up at home, given a bath, and dropped off back at home for $13. A car wash is about $4.

I have meet some people that I hope I will be friends with for many years to come.

I can stream any game that I want to watch for free on the internet so I am not missing any Braves or Falcon's games.

The not so good:
I miss my family and friends a lot.  Tough when you can't just pick up the phone or walk down the hall to say hi.

The traffic and the fact that traffic signs are more like a suggestion vs a law.

Shipping items from the USA to Guatemala is expensive, due mainly to the duty/custom fees.  I had a text book sent to me for my online class.  The book cost $53 and the duty fee was another $40.

Electronic devices are expensive.  A DVD player to play both US and Guatemala dvd's is about $60.  32" flat screens are about $500.

Some people are really negative about life in general.  It is hard to avoid such people when we are all in this CAG bubble together.

The rain sucks.  Not sure why but Florida daily showers are different than the storms here.

The complex where I moved into has a rule that dogs cannot be walked after 8pm.  This means that Hank is away at 5AM every day.

The rate at which I am learning and using Spanish.

My car will need hundreds of $$$$ in repairs.  

The Future:
We have 2 more 4 day weekends before the Christmas break.  It looks like one will be spent visiting the Mayan Ruins in Tikal.  The other looks like Honduras or El Salvador.  I may also take a few days before flying home to go get my scuba diving certification in Utila, Honduras.  But depends on the finances.

I am going to Jamaica for spring break to go to Emily and Tim's wedding.  I have the hotel booked and paid for.  Now, I'm just looking for a flight that doesn't connect through the US.  If I read the info right, there are about $200 in fees and taxes just to connect through Miami.

I am planning to take the GACE in December so that I can be certified to teach middle school math.

The Unknown:
Since there is a new president taking office in January, rumor has it that the new teachers may not get our work visas in a timely manner.  This can possibly make leaving and returning problematic.

I have no idea if I will stay longer than my 2 year contract.  I do know that I cannot ever imagine returning to the states to be a teacher.  I can see myself being an international teacher for many years to come.

Important lessons I've learned:
We work and socialize in the same circles.  Nothing you say or do will ever stay private.  Everyone knows everyone's business.

Collect money from everyone when its due.  Certain people never seem to pay you back.

Most people decide to become (and remain) international teachers for one of 2 reasons; 1. for travel/adventure/change or 2. to run away or escape.  Keep this in mind when getting to know people.

Eat dinner BEFORE going to the marine house happy hour.

Rum and coke is cheaper than beer.  Shots of tequila are 3xs more than a beer.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Friends

I have spent a lot of time this past week thinking about my friends, new and old.  I feel that I am making a effort to keep up to date with my Georgia and Florida friends, even though I am much farther away.  Facebook makes this fairly easy, at least for those people that acutally use and update fb.  I have sent some personal emails to people, just saying hi and asking how things are going.  Most people have replied, but a few have not.  I honestly didn't expect to maintain all my friendships, certainly not at the same level, but I really thought it would take longer than 6 weeks before people didn't bother replying.  That is hard to accept.  Maybe people are just busy.   Maybe I expect to much.

As I am here in Guatemala, I have meet some awesome people.  90% of the folks here are super friendly and hang out a lot.  Its a lot like college.  We are all in this place so we mine as well make the best of it.  I wonder, however, how many of these new friends, that I will still talk to in 5 years.  The whole reason, season, lifetime thing.  People come into you life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.  Are we simply just riding out a season or 2 while in Guatemala?  Or will some of these new friends become lifetime friends.  I certainly hope that many are lifetime.  But who knows.  Outside of facebook, I talk to 1 friend from my undergrad days. (Love you Colleen) and about 4 from my master's. 

Time will tell! :)


P.S. My house is suppose to be painted this week and the rest of my furniture delivered.  Once that is done, I will post pictures of my new casa!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First Day of School

I must say that this has been the easiest first day/week of school I have ever encountered.  Or at least, that I remember.

I was not able to get my classroom 100% set up but I think I got it 85% of the way ready.  I slept like a baby and got up on time. I arrived at 6:40AM to see some parents already there.  School actually starts at 7:30AM. 

I was in my room and waiting and my first student arrived around 7:05.  I had 19 on my first day.  I have 21 on my roster.  The other two will be arriving.  One is still on vacation and the other is transferring from another school so he will be coming in a few weeks.

I share my class with a Spanish teacher.  Laura is great.  She is working on her English but we seem to communicate well.  We spent the first part of the day setting up supplies.  They had recess, then P.E. we did a short, "get to know you" activity then it was lunch.  Laura did an activity in the afternoon and that was our day. 

Overall, I could not be happier with the school and my teammates are the best.  Today is the 3rd day of school.  I have 6 weeks worth of daily math plans, including all my copies of worksheets.  Also have 4 math tests to review and resubmit for copies.  I have the same set of documents for the first 4 weeks of language arts and social studies.  I need some papers to grade :)

Check out the schools website http://www.cag.edu.gt/






http://www.cag.edu.gt/