Friday, September 28, 2007

Life moves fast. That could be the theme for my past two weeks that have left me with little or no time to update this blog of mine. I apologize to the 3, maybe 4, people out there who check my blog religiously. Sometimes I just set myself up to fail. But anyway, these weeks have been full and tiring. The school year is in full swing with sports practices and games and fun get-togethers on the weekends. This last week was good in the sense that I was able to stay on top of my grading, planning, labs, and communication with parents. The week before, however, left me thinking that I needed to figure out how to organize myself in a new way. Those of you who know me well can attest to the fact that organization is not my greatest strength. I have trouble coming up with a good system for how to do things, so usually I have 3 or 4 different systems that work, and since I can't decide which one I like best, I use all 3 (or 4) at any given time. But because I also suffer from short term memory loss, I can never remember which system I chose to employ at any given time. Are you exhausted just reading this? This week, after meeting with my amazing mentor, I decided I just needed to choose one system and go for it. I even made myself a list that says something like, "Put things back right after you are done with them; graded papers go in this basket; copied papers go in these folders; papers that need to be graded go in this basket". I stuck to my list pretty well, and it's amazing how much stress was relieved because of this. One of my professors once told me that I needed to "work smarter, not harder", so I am trying to do that. So far so good.

As far as general life here in Kenya, it's always an adventure. Between dodging potholes, bicycles, and crazy matatu drivers on the roads, I am amazed we can make it to school on time. It's kind of scary how comfortable I have become on these chaotic roads. I would never drive this way in America. We have really cute little boys in our apartment complex who like to come visit us. The other day I went running, and when I came back, Jerome-Dwayne asked me where I had gone. I told him I went running, and he says, "Ah! And your face is pink!" He thinks my pasty, pale skin is fascinating, and I think his dark brown, almost black, skin is beautiful.

I have always enjoyed people-watching, and I think the best place to people watch is here in Nairobi. There is such a diverse mix of people here. Most people imagine Africa as a place with dirt roads, people living in huts, and bare-breasted women with children hanging all over them. This isn't realistic. In Nairobi there is everything from the rural, Kikuyu women with their hear wrapped in scarves and their long, bright-colored skirts. There are men in 3-piece suits riding their bicycles through the muddy streets. Then there are the more urbanized men and women. The women are wearing suits and high heals, the men are wearing neatly pressed, starch white dress shirts. And cell phones abound. There is a diverse ethnic population here. We see Indian people (people from India, not Native Americans) everywhere, along with Koreans, Americans, Europeans, and you name it, it's probably here. The same diversity is reflected at this school. And one day, when the internet connections are better, I will be able to post some pictures.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

This past weekend we had our West Nairobi School Staff Retreat at a place called Lukenya. It's kind of like a resort, outside of Nairobi and away from all the fumes which I despise. Last year we chased giraffes at this retreat, but we had no such luck this year. We looked for them, but it was to no avail. I did enjoy haning out with some of the new staff members as well as some of the old ones. I really am blessed to work with so many wonderful people. We had worship and communion on top of a mountain. After we caught raindrops in our communion cups, we decided maybe we should get off the mountain. Kayla, Heather, and I hopped in the back of our friend Mark's truck. As soon as we got in, it started to hail on us. Here we are, laughing our way down the bumpy road.
Amanda (left) teachers social studies, and Jen (right) teachers 3rd grade. Jen was one of my housemates last year.

my feet

Becca, Kayla, Jen, and Olivia (my principal's daughter). We were looking for giraffes here, but we never found them.

I am giving these pictures a second attempt. About two weekends ago, Heather, Kayla, and I joined a bunch of friends at Heather's brother, Bryan's house. He lives and works at a place called Mayers Ranch. It is a beautiful place, as close to paradise as I have ever been, perhaps!

Kayla and me beneath the acacia trees

The pond. They bottle water at the ranch.

me, Kelly, Kayla, Heather, and Hannah

Bryan, Hannah, Chris, me, and Heather about to have lunch

Kayla and me in the ginormous fig tree

My roommies (Kayla and Heather) and me in the fig tree

Heather beneath the fig tree. Told you it was ginormous!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

TIA... I just spent an hour putting pictures on my blog and writing about all my wonderful adventures this weekend, and now I have lost it all. Bah! So while I figure out what to do about my predicament, check out Kayla's blog. The link is on the right side of this page.