Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I've been back in the United States of America for just over a week now, and so far I have driven on the right (and correct) side of the road and have been enjoying the exhaust of cars that have to pass an emissions test. Quite lovely. Here are some pictures so far.
Two of my dearest friends in the world, Kendra Crosby and Katy Rogers, came to visit last week. They spent the night with me in Bend, and then we went hiking here, at Smith Rock.

Katy is on the left, and Kendra is on the right. I met Kendra my junior year of college when she was a freshman, and I was her R.A. Katy was inherited through my friendship with Kendra. And a rich interitance at that.

Kendra, Daylan, Katy

I visited Drew for a couple days at his school, Oregon State University. The mechanical engineering classes were a bit above my head, but it was really fun to hang out with him! I missed my little (or maybe I should say younger) brother.

This is my friends Michael and Debby's little girl, Ellie. We were fast friends.

Brother Dayn, brother-in-law Steve, sister Denee, and me eating at Kell's. It is ranked the number one Irish pub in the U.S.

Mom and me at Crater Lake

Crater Lake in all its glory.

My mom's sister Kathie is visiting, and her friend Cathy Dunham from Alaska is also visiting. From left to right is Mom, Aunt Kathie, and Cathy Dunham standing in front of Smith Rock.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

One thing I will miss about my house in Nairobi is my neighbor, Miriam.

My future roommates, Heather (left) and Kayla (right)

Me and some of the girls from my class

They cleaned their desks with shaving cream...and their bodies too.

Adrian, Kelly, Amy, and Priscilla reading to the class on reading day.

One part of the Amazing Race involved sticking faces in a plate of flower to find a jelly bean. This is Christian after he was victorious in said endeavor.

Joseph having the same success as Christian (see picture above).

Muthoni, J.T., and Harriet waiting in line for lunch.

Well I am back in the Unites States now, and it is about time for me to write about my last few weeks in Kenya. After the Mt. Longonot field trip, things slowed down a little in my classroom. The problem was that, though things had slowed down, my stress level was still somewhat high, making for a cranky 6th grade teacher. The week before school got out (May 21-25), my class was in charge of chapel. They had wonderful ideas of how we could communicate James 1:19-21 to the rest of the school, but there were so many things going on on top of that. Unfortunately, when my stress level goes up, so does my level of sarcasm, while the patience goes out the window. I found myself saying things to my students that were unkind, and I would go home a miserable person because I felt so terrible about the fiery words I had let fly from my mouth. One morning I woke up and these words were going through me head. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness, Oh Lord.” Being the non-Bible scholar that I am, I can’t remember where this verse if found (though I do know the song), but these words were ringing through my head, and I knew that it was time to change. I thanked the Lord that that morning was fresh, new with no mistakes. I thanked Him for His mercies that never run out. And when I gathered my class together at school, I apologized for my unkind words and was able to share what God had done in my heart. It was a precious time, and though I would like to think I will never get to that point again, that’s probably not realistic. I will always be wrestling with the things that come out of my mouth, but I am so thankful to serve a God who gives me another chance and loves me through it.

The last week of school was filled with games and closing activities. On Tuesday, May 29th, one of the moms in my class put together our end-of-the-year class party. We had a barbecue and then played the Amazing Race. These kids were running all over the school doing crazy things, and it was a lot of fun. After that, we watched a video one of the dads from my class had put together of the various field trips and fun things we have done this year. It was quite the video! If you watched it, you would think that all we did this year was have fun and never work. If only that were the case! I’m only kidding, of course, but the video was awesome. Then I handed out awards to all my students. They all really enjoyed being recognized for their various talents and quirks.

In a lot of ways, it was hard to watch this year come to a close. This has been one of the hardest years of my life, and also one of the best years of my life. I have absolutely loved teaching these 6th graders, and though it was more work than I could handle at times, it was worth every moment. I have grown so attached to these kids, which is why I am moving up to teach middle school this next school year. The sad part is that some of my students are leaving Kenya, and some of them won’t be coming back. There were a lot of tears shed on that last day of school as many of my students were facing the reality that they may never see each other again. That’s the way it goes with missionary kids.

The last day of school was May 31st. I finished packing up my classroom that afternoon and then headed back to my house to pack things up there. Kayla and I are moving to a new apartment in August, so we began moving some of our things this past weekend. It’s amazing how everything has worked out. A few weeks ago we didn’t have a place to live, and we didn’t have a car. Literally within two days of each other, we had found a place to live and a car. We will be living with another teacher, Heather Adkins, and we will be buying a car from a family who is leaving Kenya. It’s so amazing how God literally placed these things into our laps. We are so thankful!

I left Kenya on the night of June 3rd. It was quite a process to get home, as I had a long layover in Amsterdam and then an even longer layover in Seattle before finally flying “home” to Bend, Oregon. I am with my mom in Bend now. It felt strange to not go to Alaska right away because that has always been my home, but I’ve learned that home is where your family is. This is where my family is, so it is home for now. I’m still getting used to seeing white people and SUV’s everywhere, but it is nice to have fast internet connections! I realize this post is getting quite long, so I will sign off for now. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The time has come for me to leave this African soil. I have so much to write about the past 2 weeks, but unfortunately there are empty suitcases at home calling my name. Since my final destination is Bend, Oregon where my mom is and none of my friends are, I will have plenty of time to update this blog upon my arrival. Until then, I hope you can wait a few days to hear about everything. I know you're just itching to hear it all. Toodle-oo!