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Showing posts from April, 2006

Lost in Space

No I am not in danger, nor have I met someone named Will Robinson. I am however in a state of abstract conciousness.

So many things seem to be happening so quickly. I feel like I accomplish nothing during the day, but so much gets done all the same. I have tried to keep myself moving for multiple reasons - not the least of which is that for some reason my nose is less stuffed up when I am walking around. There is so much in my head.

So much....
I haven't said to all of the fabulous people I've met here.
Haven't done (ridden the slides at the community pool, played laser tag with the kids, been to the Ardennes Museum in town, taken pictures of the daily things like the Rue des Pietons, etc.)
I still haven't packed or distributed to all of the appropriate places.
Written here in my blog about my life here.

I want so much to share everything with you, because it has just been so moving. Tonight there was a stellar turnout for volleyball, I mean really excellent. And I had…

Sick and Moo

I will not miss being sick all the time. I hate being sick. It drains my energy, especially when I need it. And here I am, sick again. Ugh. It is gross and snotty and horrible. And I am really glad I have that Lysol so I can spray everything as it goes in the suitcase so I don't bring any of these nasty germs home with me.

Did I tell you our tent was next to a cow field? It was pretty cool. Sleeping in the tent is what did this - drastic weather changes of 40° in day when sleeping outdoors is really not the ideal situaion for staying healthy.

I mention the cow field because Marco and I were just talking about conversations or situations being mute (or moo as he put it, stealing from Joey on Friends). I make disaterously ridiculous links in my head between things.

And I have run out of regular tissues and cannot bear to buy more considering I will surely not use all of them before leaving. But resorting to toilet tissue has made my nose sore and so, in general I am insuffera…

Taizé (the experience)

WARNING: Religious ideas to follow, so those disinclined to read about my Christian principles or experiences are encouraged to read Taizé (the basics) or wait for my next blog. Sorry for the possible inconvenience.

I don't have the words I need to explain exactly what happened the five days I was on Taizé hill. I don't think it was necessarily a defining moment in my life where everything will now change because of it. I mean, it isn't like I am going to become a member of a religious order now because I have been transformed. But, I don't think I'll ever be the same again. I think that no one is ever the same as they were after having ANY experience, so the statement would always be true. However, I think I am just outwardly recognizing the change.

For one thing, I understand the gospel of Mark for the very first time. I see it not just for its stories and history but for the little details that make the story. It is the first time I have spent alot of time asking …

Taizé (the basics)

The Taizé adventure started Tuesday morning as I hauled two tents, three foam matresses (matelats), a sleeping bag, my winter coat, a small rolling suitcase, and my backpack (lunch, journal, medicine) about six blocks. In one trip. I am so cool. And was also exhausted when I got there.

Taizé is a small village in south central France. In the 1940's Brother Roger founded the monastery as a place to pray and worship with a specific focus on understanding differences in culture. The message veered towards becoming a welcoming place for young people not long after. The monastery sits on top of Taizé hill and includes a number of buildings of various ages and a large camping ground. The slopes of the hill are either covered in pastures, the workshops, or walking paths. There are gardens, fields, and a natural source all reserved as "silent places" for reflection and prayer.

The first important thing to note about the community is that it is inter-denominational. I always though…

Long Time No See

This is in reference to two things:

First, that I have not blogged in a significantly long time for me (yes, nine whole days without words from your inspirational master herself).

Second, that I never knew how much of the Bible I was overlooking, how much of my life I was missing, how much simplicity could not only be pleasant and relaxing, but comforting as well.

The past five days at Taizé have probably been the most transforming days of my entire experience in France. I met people from all over the world, got to go to church three times a day, danced and sang all sorts of songs in something like 13 languages, and managed all of this while sleeping in a tent covered in spiders.

(You know if there were lots of spiders and I still had a good time, it must have been something really big, because I HATE spiders. (Internal note: I do not hate spiders in general, because hating is very mean and also because ther would be alot more bugs and hungry birds if it weren't for spiders. All I&…

And then there were none ...

I taught my last class today. I don't even know how to feel about it. I know that it is probably not the last time I'll ever teach, but for sure one of the last times I'll teach in a foreign language. I am going to miss the students. I am going to miss watching them learn and better understand English. There are students who understood nothing at the beginning of the year who are bilingual now. I don't even remember when it happened; when they started being able to understand everything I was saying.

Mind you, there are still some groups that I have to repeat everything for, and some groups were already really well off when I got here, but this is different. I hope they write. It is obviously hard to take all of their addresses so I can write to them - which ones would want letters anyway? But it will be good to see who took advantage of my address and then correspond with them.

I think the hardest part about teaching is probably the end of the year. You let th…

The Plan

The plan for next year, as it stands now, is American University. But what does that mean? Where am I really going? What will I do when I get there? Hehe, I'm just joking. But, I did run across this link to Fodor's Guide to DC where you can read about most things online. So, if you haven't recently been to the nation's capitol, or you are planning on visiting me in my new digs (currently roommate less and apartmentless, anyone gonna be in the area next year?) you'll already know all about the city.

However, I think we should start with the present and work our way out....

I am going to finish teaching tomorrow and then spend Easter weekend here with my French family. I have Monday (packing day) and then a whole week in a tent (okay, 5 days). I am going to Taizé, which is a monastery in the middle of France. It is an international prayer and music retreat for young people from all around the world. 3,000 high schoolers and university students are expected to be attend…

Shocked and Wowed

As opposed to appalled, WOWed was all I could think of. I went to turn in my attendence book today (a whopping 3/9 came to class) and the aide stopped me. "There are some students that want to talk to you." Two of my kids came in and asked if we could have a double class tomorrow so that they could learn the long lesson in dance I am planning on teaching on Friday. They want to spend an extra hour in class. I mean, I know it is something ... I was exceptionally happy and ... proud? It was a surprise and an honor and all sorts of wonderful things.

I am off to get things going for the session on Friday ... I have to borrow the projector from the physics department so I can show a bit of the film in the gym later this week. The camp guy got back to me this morning - I felt kind of bad (I was getting rather annoyed about the lack of contact) because they took awhile to get back to me due to some serious family things, including a new baby that arrived early! And last nigh…

Rameaux and More

Friday night was quite relaxing. I played volleyball with the kids after dinner and then went for a walk by the river (thank you Ben Franklin and President Roosevelt for Daylight Savings Time - extra hours of light!) then I spent my entire evening on the internet. I am sure you can see the fruits of my labor on my other site and in my much enhanced intelligence. (haha)

Saturday I slept late, got up and did a little of nothing (scrapbooking, shopping, cleaning, laundry) and then went to hang out with Alice for a bit. We talked and walked and then I ran home trying very hard to not be late for my last volleyball game with the team. Well, I was usccesful only because my ride was late (thank goodness). Anyway, as usual, we lost. It would have been alot better if I had had fun losing, but that didn't happen either.

Afterwards, the whole team took the coach and I out to dinner (him for coaching, me for my last game in France) and it was alot of fun. We had pizza followed by ice cream and …

As it turns out...

I will not be a Latin teacher.

I have the tendency to be funny at inopportune and usually inappropriate moments.

I am, nonetheless, funny.

All the students in the school opening their umbrellas at the same time is considered art.

Red Rover is not a game played in Europe.

They sound pretty funny trying to pronounce the command to "send 'someone' over."

Someone in Mexico has recently read this blog.

So has someone in Ireland.

Nancy Drew does not have the same international acclaim as Harry Potter.

Neither does Anne of Green Gables.

This computer doesn't allow access to the internet through Explorer, but can through Mozilla.

One of of my students is half-American and knew the answers to most of the US History questions I posed this morning.

A huge portion of the class I was working on National Treasure with thought the whole thing was fiction. They did not figure out that all the clues were actual historical facts.

They thought I was lying about the invisible ink.

I am not allow…

College Admissions

I know it is two in a row of things that aren't journal related, but I really feel passionate about this. And thanks to Melissa for bringing it up. Here is the article in question.

First, yay! to the reference about American not being biased. I think that is really important. Check out the Melissa's blog and her interpretation of this catastrophic change in sexual discrimination. I would suggest clicking on the link for the feminine point of view, but it is not well argued, so prepare for disappointment.

My complaint is that there are three direct references to women being happy about this later, and not complaining now, and we've gotten this in the past, etc. They say it could upset the blanace of the country. They're on drugs. These horrificly sexist arguments do not take into consideration the most valuable point - they aren't qualified. We chastise colleges (not enough obviously) for taking in classroom-stupid students so they can play on sports teams.…

Being Catholic

Read all of the Ways to Know you are Catholic on Gashwin's Blog. Here are the ones I thought were representative of my life.

You know you're Catholic when...

2. ...guilt is your best friend, and you feel obligated to share it with others.

4. ....if you only crave hamburgers and steaks on Fridays during lent and you crave fish every other day in Lent...just never on Fridays.

6. can only recite the Creed when around large groups of people. [Isn't that strange?]

10. have an overwhelming compulsion to say, "And also with you," when Yoda says, "May the Force be with you." [Travis, we should do this next time we watch the movies]

17. pray a Hail Mary when you hear a fire truck or ambulance siren. [Thanks to good solid, parental training]

18. ...all your children [family members] have saint names instead of names chosen from celebrities.

19. ...You have a rosary hanging from your dash. [Mom]

20. have a holy water fountain at your door and a…

Declaration and Thomas Jefferson

I have been working on teaching the film National Treasure to one of my classes. Then, gettnig all excited as you know I do, I decided to teach American History to all of my classes this week. I start them off with a picture of the Louisiana Purchase.

Napolean I sold it to America in 1803 because he was fighting a fierce war with Spain (among others) and couldn't afford to lose the European battle. He also couldn't defend his non-continental land masses. So, he sold it to the US to gain money for his wars at home and save himself a possible defeat against the better prepared Spanish military in the western hemisphere.

This was an important purchase for the US (about $1,800 an acre by modern standards) because it doubled the size of the country overnight. The president who made all of that possible was Thomas Jefferson.

Then we move on to how Jefferson was a founding father (someone who figuratively found the country by helping to start it). Jefferson also had one other great achi…


Here are some tidbits I have received lately that bring a light to my eyes and a smile to my face.

This is credited to my Aunt Barbara who sent this out as a "brighten your day message."

On Wednesday of next week, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning, the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06. That won't ever happen again in our lifetime.

However, if you do some quick calculations, I think you can find some other fun dates and times.

From my Aunt Rosemary, Proof that Global Warming Exists:

How about that for sad but true?

And this is significant proof that they need new analysts.

"There is a lot of dissatisfaction with the state of communications, the daily communication from the podium, the congressional communications and strategic communications from both in and outside the White House," said one White House insider.

Firing the Press Secretary because the leader of the country can't open his mouth without tripping over something. Yeah. Q…

Arc en Ciel

Otherwise known as a rainbow.

This weekend, though full of rain was also full of beauty and fun.

Friday night - Hugues birthday party

Saturday - Walking, movies, lots of phone time, time in the park, church, dinner with friends, Narnia

Sunday - Volleyball, lunch with friends, walk along a different river, snacks, neighborhood chat, movie delivery, an evening of Will & Grace, sleep.

Oh yeah, and I decided on my plans for next year. I'm going to American.

Love always, ~Heather