Thursday, August 30, 2007

Walking with Dogs

I am punishing my dogs for one week. They are crazy! Lately I have been taking them for about 30 minute walks in the morning. The bigger one, Nosa, likes to bark at random people, but mostly men on bikes, so that they just bout fall off. Today, however, was a nightmare. I ran after them 3 different times to try to stop them from attacking other animals! I do not know what their problem is, but if i were a dog physchologist, i would say that they, especially Nosa, have anger and abandonment issues. Nosas last 2 owners left her here with us to go back to their own countries.
today they nearly mauled two scrawny, helpless street dogs and left them squeeling like little piggies. But the worst was when they ran ahead of me around a corner and i heard squawking, and stopped at the intersection was a man on his bike watchin, so i knew it was bad, but i thought it was another dog. Well, when I turned the corner, each one had one end of a chicken in her mouth! I sprinted after them, screaming, waking neighbors, and grabbing their necks while all the while thier mouths are filled with feathers! The poor creature had just enough time to hobble away, probably to die peacefully at home, if not from body wounds, then froma heart attack. As we walked away, i saw a lady standing outside her door. I felt like saying, [All right, everybody back inside. There isnt anything to see her. Right then we came upon a man walking his dog. I told him what had just happened and he said, Oh, my dog is well educated and polite.
Well, good for you, i thought.
my rude and poorly educated dogs will be incarcerated for the next 5 to 7 days, depending on their behavior.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I’m beginning to see that my first grade class for which I’m the homeroom teacher is going to be a big challenge. I teach English and Math to them in the morning and the same subjects to the other 1st graders in the afternoon. I think I’m going to get some gray hairs over about 5 of them, out of 20. One of them has a muscular disorder that causes him to fall or accidentally hit other kids, but he is smart and pretty obedient, when he chooses to listen.
Please pray for me that I will show Jesus’ love and patience to all the children in my classes this year and to have God’s wisdom especially with these challenging ones.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007

This morning we got to school around 8:45 instead of before 8. There was what one might call a “traffic jam” on the last hill up to the school because of all the mud from the rain. The busses wouldn’t go up full of kids for fear of fishtailing into someone’s corn field, or worse yet, a parent’s car, so we waited in the bus for about 45 minutes. One bus let all the passengers out and they had to walk up the hill, some little preschoolers with backpacks bigger than them. Our buss driver, the same from last year, is the best, and he waited until everyone was cleared out, almost, and then sped his fastest and let us out at our normal drop off in front of the school. I white-knuckled it and closed my eyes because I could feel the bus skidding. One of the new teachers turned to me if this was normal. “Well”, I said. “It’s not normal to have to wait like this because of mud, but it is normal in the fact that something exciting is happening the majority of the time like this.”
For instance, it’s not normal to have ugly, skinny, mangy, dirty, stray dogs running around a school, but today I saw one of my petite first grade girls run one off from the playground.
Today was very hectic at times. We don’t have our completed schedules yet, so I was with one class the whole time instead of rotating to the other first grade. I’m not really able to teach much yet. All of the students have to bring all of their own supplies, including things like a hand towel, toilet paper, soap, toothpaste and a toothbrush. I have to go through a list of what seems like 1,000 things and check off for all 20 or so students that they brought it all. Some of them don’t even know what some things are when I say it in Spanish, so I have to go through their bags and help them. Meanwhile the boys are playing sword fights with their rolled up poster paper and no one can hear me asking them to put their supplies in a certain place, etc. Tomorrow I will have more help and maybe get to rotate to the other room. I seem to have some mighty challenging students. I was going crazy so they got to play a lot today. I just couldn’t finish checking the supply list even though I just wanted to get it over with.

Please continue to pray for all of us as Hepatitis A is going around. Today a family owned pharmacy brought in someone to give injections to anyone who wanted them, so I got one. Mr. Ken is doing a little better but has beeen suffering with back pain and is slow to get better. Thanks.

tues. aug. 22

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

This afternoon, since school let out early, I went shopping for some necessities, like a hairbrush, which I forgot in Long Beach. Beto accompanied me and after shopping for about 2 hours, we were both tired and hungry, so we went to the only fast food place, Mike’s fried chicken. Fried being the understatement of the year. Singed is more accurate. Anyways, as we were eating there were two young girls just staring at us straight on through the window as we ate. Whether they were trying to make me uncomfortable or not, I did and so we bought them some food and began talking with them. They are sisters (2 of 4 kids) and one is 10, the other 8. Their clothes looked like they needed a real good washing, their hair needing some care, and they shouldn’t have been out alone at night. They said they weren’t waiting for anyone or anything and weren’t on their way anywhere. They live nearby, go to school and help their mom in the market selling tortillas, mostly on the weekends. The older one makes about $10 a month with whatever work she can find. Their dad lives in the States, which is so common here, but doesn’t help them. Like so many children, even those more wealthy, they live with their grandparents, or someone besides their birthparents, because their parents are in the States working and have been for many years. We talked to them a lot about Jesus’ love for them, that He is always with them and that the most important thing they can do in or with their lives is to follow Him and give to him their lives. We hope to see them in the market on Saturdays and we invited them to church with us this Sunday. Please pray that the words spoken to them with grow in their hearts. May you feel God’s love surround you today.

monday aug. 21

Thanks to Sylvia Heida for accompanying my mother and I at the airport Sunday night. She stood up for about 3 hours straight while we waited in line. It was such a comfort knowing my mother didn’t have to leave the airport alone after I went upstairs.
I had a great trip. I fell asleep before the plane even took off, and didn’t open my eyes until after the movie when “Smallville” was playing. Also, a bag of chips had magically appeared on my tray table, but I quickly went back to sleep. I opened my eyes a couple of house later and moved around some. The lady to my right didn’t waste anytime getting my attention and looked right at me and asked me if she could get out to go to the bathroom. From the sound of desperation in her voice I guessed that she’d been patiently waiting for me to wake up and move my feet out of the aisle for quite a long time.

I stood in line too and not 3 minutes later did they say over the intercom, “Please take your seats, we are getting ready to land.” I felt so bad for her!

I thought Amber was out of town but she surprised me and came to pick me up, so we sat in Dunkin donuts and talked for a couple of hours before she took me to the bus station. One home I had an apartment to unpack. It was going to get painted during the summer, so when my mom and aunt were here we took everything off the walls and shelves and covered it up: on my bed, on my kitchen table, and on and inside the stove/oven. I was so dreading having to clean my apt., unpack, and go shopping for food, but it didn’t take very long at all. With all the sleep I did during traveling I wasn’t too tired, and even got to bed at a decent hour, so today wasn’t nearly as exhausting as I’d expected.

Today was a great day! First day back. It was pouring rain this morning when we got on the bus. It stopped around 8:30 but supposedly we’re going to get a lot of rain this week from the Hurricane that’s in the Yucatan Peninsula right now. It took us about an hour to get started this morning as busses were late, causing the secretary, who had my room key, to be late. But it gave me a good chance to talk to the parents more and get to know some names of my students.

I’m really excited about this year and my students. They seem like they’re going to be a good class. Today all I did was try to get their supplies organized, labeled, and checked off, but since that leaves them nothing to do, I’ll probably be spending after school hours on that.

Please be in prayer for our health. Mr. Ken and Ms. Corita already have Hepatitis A and it is going around, I know some kids have it too. The administration was going to pay for all the teachers to get vaccinated this afternoon but the clinic misinformed. They only have the Hep. B vaccination, which most of the foreigners like myself have already had, and doesn’t help the others much anyways since that’s not the virus that people have.
Thanks always for your prayers. I’m so hopeful this is going to be an even better year

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


My parents have a high tub/shower. I always have to be conscious of lifting my foot up extra high, like doing a reverse back-kick, when I get out of it so as not to bang my foot/feet. we have sliding doors that slide on a metal track, and we have to be careful not to cut or jam our toes in there either.

Today I was hardly half awake, let alone thinking with my conscious mind, when I wickedly banged my right foot on the metal track while exiting the tub.

Not only did my mom hear me scream from where I was in the back to where she was in the front of the house, but she first heard the thud of my foot hitting the tub.
It made me think(because by then I was awake!) how fleeting life is. Now, I know this is no big deal compared to what so many people are going through today, but it did make me think that we never know what can happen to us. We go through life, years sometimes without any major accidents, and then out of nowhere something happens to alter our lives dramatically all of a sudden, without warning.
It's a wake up call of sorts, and today for me a tiny reminder, that I shouldn't take anything in life for granted, and that I also have nothing to complain about.

and of course, a simple reminder to lift my foot up extra high.

May you be accident free for many years to come!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Get me outta here!

Well, "culture shock" is beginning to happen. I nearly had a nervous break down the other day in Wal Mart.
First of all, just being in Wal Mart is difficult enough. I confess, I'm more of a Target girl.
Anywho, now that I've stepped on some toes, I'll try to gracefully finish my story.
I was just trying to pick out some toothpaste. OH MY GOODNESS! How many choices does a person really need?! In my town I always buy the same thing: the only paste that is approved by the "American Dental Association" out of the other 5 pastes. I don't even browse; I go to the one 3' x 5' shelf in the corner, find my box, and that's it. There's no new choices, ever. There arent' any that whiten, or have baking soda, or floride, or all kinds of protection against any possible disease that could possibly, someday, take up residence in your mouth.

I eventually caught up to my mom, exhausted, having not picked out anything. I couldn't do it. I didn't have enough hours to contemplate and read the 100's of different boxes in able to make an informed purchase. By that time, the high shelves, heat, music, crowds, and merchandise was beginning to make me a little light headed. I was happy to get back out to the great outdoors of Lakewood, CA!

So while I love Long Beach and visiting, I'm looking forward to getting back to my one grocery store with its 5 boxes of toothpaste. Although there I can't find the same people I love seeing here.

That experience just makes spending time with my family and friends that much more enjoyable. I have been so blessed with, given, wonderful people by God. I couldn't have chosen better if I'd had to choose my loved ones among 100's of people. All are unique, special, and talented in their own ways, and are encouraging and blessings to me in different ways, but all together complete the mosaic of loved ones in my life.

I wouldn't trade my hometown and not one family member or friend for anything. I am so thankful to God for the wonderful family he's given to me.

Psalm 37:23
"The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives."

Monday, August 06, 2007

Hanging out with family

Lately I've been spending a lot of time with my family and it's been really great.

Last week Shelby spent at my parent's house and we had a lot of fun. Saturday she got up early with me to hunt used books at yard sales. I rewarded her with a sugary fruit drink from Starbucks, but she had all day to work it off, so all was good.

I have enjoyed seeing my brother in law and sister, but i'm sad that he left for 3 weeks because of his job so I won't get to see him till December.

This morning on the way to It's a Grind I saw two friends who worked with me in Watts. They were driving next to us, and I knew they were going to their usual spot...Starbucks, so we ended up going there instead to visit with them a few minutes.

I love when God puts people in your path like that and does "little" things to bless us and remind us of His presence and love.

May you feel that today!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Stinking Rose, Shelby's Yatzee

Just another tough day in SoCal. Today my two aunts, mom, Shelby, and I had to go up to LA to the TACA office, and while we were there we ate at the Stinking Rose. If you don't know, their slogan is "We flavor our garlic with food." Let's just say that I'll be able to ward off vampires easily for the next week, at least. For example, we had garlic bread and garlic french fries as appetizers! mmmmm mmmmmmmm...
Last night Shelby and I were home alone...dangerous, I know. We played yatzee, watched a movie, and made our own Oreo Milkshakes! There's Shelby with her first Yatzee of the evening! Congrats, girlfriend!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Carrot Juice, anyone?

So far my time at home has been really nice, a good balance of rest, play, and, well,,, no work! Yes , quite the perfect balance!
One of the things I look forward to when I come to visit is FOOD! Not that we don't have that in La Esperanza, but many of you probably have guessed by now that there's just not the best selection there.
I enjoy the conveniences here...bagged salad, already cut up fruits and veggies, healthy frozen foods, etc.
I have a juicer at home, but of course, to buy it already made is so divine. But alas, I realize that convenient doesn't equal perfect! Here's my friend, Vanna Heida, nicely modeling why I couldn't (sigh) drink my carrot juice when I so wanted to! It must've sat in the sun too long on the truck or something, because it was a thick, slimy, smelly thing! Just a reminder that there's nothing like the real thing, baby.