Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Where has the month gone?

Really?  The calendar says it is November 26, but I still working on my to do list from the first week of November.  If this is any indication of how the rest of 2013 will be going, I should just forget a December to do list.

In October I started teaching just one class.  You teachers know that the first year you teach any new class it takes 3 times the amount of time to prepare your lessons.  Add to it that the class is 12th Grade English, British Literature, and I was sunk. 

Then, of course, there was the whole language proficiency exam (that happened last week) and the fact that I have no aptitude for learning a foreign language (I am sure what I am saying is what they are saying, but why do they look at me with that "I have no idea what you are saying" expression?  Could it perhaps be that my pronunciation really is no where near right?)  Desperately wanting to pass the exam this time I had tutoring four mornings a week (1 on 1) and then a group class for 10 evenings.

And oh yeah, then there was the whole let's see how many times we can go to the doctor in one month and how many different medicines will fit on the kitchen counter part of the month.  It started with a simple low grade fever, followed by the flu, then a cold, then a sinus infection, then an upper respiratory infection, and finally ended with bronchitis. 

Yep - that pretty much sums up my November. 

Everyday I would stop and think of what I was thankful for and be determined to write it here on the blog, and then.... well, just re-read the top.

So, so much for the daily thankful list... instead I think I will be thankful for an extra cup of coffee this morning and enjoy the fact that I am headed to the mountains this morning with Scott (so craziness equaled my forgetting all my cooking utensils at English camp (I taught a cooking workshop) a couple weekends ago and since I have 25 at my house for Thanksgiving lunch on Saturday I must go reclaim them.  But hey, the camp is in the mountains, there are bars (coffee shops) all over Spain, and it is only 28 degrees outside right now. 

And tomorrow, maybe I will write about other things for which I am thankful. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Catch Up Day

The best laid plans were led astray by a sinus infection and upper respiratory infection.  After not feeling good for a month I gave in and went to the doctor this week.  Between starting a new exam prep class, new medications, and fighting this infection I got way behind on the blog.  But today is catch up day in so many ways - laundry, cooking, studying, correspondence, and yep, blogging.

Evangelical Christian Academy
#4  My students - I am thoroughly enjoying being back in the classroom.  I forgot how much I enjoyed teaching!  These 8 students are fabulous.  Each have their own story to tell - some are missionary kids others are not.  Some have lived more time in Spain than in the US, while others began their lives in other countries, including Morocco and Mexico.  Two of them are learning English as a second language and one is here only for a 6 month intercultural mission experience.  I am learning more from them than I think they are learning from me.

#5  Doctors and Medicine - Although I try to avoid the medical system here, it is actually very good.  I avoid it only because dealing with a foreign system while you are sick is just incredibly taxing, however, when I finally give in and go I am thankful.  I am thankful that the doctor understood my need to feel better quickly (exam is less than 2 weeks ago) and was willing to aggressively treat these infections.  I have been on a regimen of drugs for four days now and am finally beginning to feel better.  Now praying that this is the end of being sick and that I catch up on all I let go.

#6  2nd Chances - So many times I "mess up" and am so glad that God and life offers second chances.  I failed the Spanish proficiency exam last May and will be taking it a second time on the 22nd.  I am so glad that I am not judged on my first attempt.

#7  Flexible Husband - In preparation for taking the exam a second time I am taking an exam prep class.  It is from 7 to 9 PM at night and is in the town where I teach, an hour from our house.  As a one car family this has created a need for flexibility and creativity.  I am thankful for a husband who has been willing (and will be for another week and a half) to be creative in our daily routine.

#8  Fellowship with Friends  - As a result of the class I am taking I have not been home every night and have had lots of hours to kill.  Sophia and the Davis family have opened their house to us, allowing either Alex and I both or just Alex to crash at their house throughout the week.  Friday I got to have lunch with a group of 7 friends, some new and some old.  Then we went to a fellowship with a few teachers and their spouses.  The host even made a bed for me and let me crash for an hour so that I had the energy to enjoy the party.  I am so thankful that God created us to be relational people and then put beautiful relationships in our lives.

#9 - Sunshine  - It is November so the temperatures have dropped but today the sun has been shining.  Although I am always thankful for the sunshine in the winter I am especially thankful today because it means I might actually master the laundry pile this weekend.  Without a dryer I either depend on the sunshine to dry my clothes or allow 3 days for them to dry inside.  After a crazy week of classes with another crazy week ahead I don't have three days, so I am thankful that God blessed me with sunshine today.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Small Victories

Life is full of changes when you move to a foreign country.  One big one is that you find victory in
Alex and I at our victory lunch
things that are much smaller than when in your homeland.  I am learning to appreciate these small victories and to celebrate them grandly. 

We only have one car and and we live in a pueblo that has VERY limited train service, so we do a lot of driving to the next town to take the train.  There is a bus from our pueblo, but I have never been able to figure it out (normally there are signs on the bus stops that tell you which buses come there, which direction they are going, and the schedules - but here in our pueblo, just white little buildings).   However, for the next 2 1/2 weeks I am taking a class in another city and we are having to be creative with transportation, thus it was time to learn the buses.

I spent 30 minutes with my neighbor and google street view to understand the system.  Then yesterday Alex and I attacked the problem.  We won!  We made it to Madrid and celebrated with lunch out then managed to return, all without problems.  I was giddy with excitement that I had the language to ask the bus driver if we were on the right bus and had the knowledge of how things work to attack this problem without fear.  For many of you, it seems silly to be celebrating this - but for those of you who live in a foreign land you will understand. 

Small victories are precious gifts that I have missed before but am learning to stop and celebrate them.  I am thankful for the way God is teaching me to look for these small achievements and to celebrate them.  There are so many more little ones than big ones and that means we get to celebrate more often!

Saturday, November 2, 2013


Today I am thankful for water.  Earlier this week we found out that our mosquito infestation and high water bill and broken doorbell at the gate were all due to a broken water pipe under the house.  It took all day for them to fix it, but it is working now. They still have to return next week to finish putting things back together, but we have water.

It was kind of comical here on Thursday.  We live in a chalet (known as a townhome in USA) and they are connected.  You can't get to the backyard without going through the house.  The broken pipe was in the front of the house, but under it.  You can't get under the house from the front yard, only in the backyard.  So all day there was a constant flow of people going from the front yard to the backyard.  I kept thinking of all those days when the kids were little and we would tell them to use the gate and not walk through the house to get to the other side. 

But around mid-afternoon I realized how grateful I am to live where I turn on the faucet and water comes out.  Something so ordinary that I take for granted, yet life changing.  I wonder how many other ordinary things I will notice this month.

Friday, November 1, 2013

November Already?

How did it already get to be November?  I have done a horrible job at keeping the blog up to date, although it makes it to my to do list on a regular basis.  Life has just been crazy and the Spanish exam is in three weeks and I started teaching a 12th grade English class at the MK school, and .....  Somewhere along the way the blog got left behind.

But it is November and the posts may not be as long as in years past, but I want to once again return to the month of Thanksgiving.  So here we go -

#1:  I am thankful for the fabulous neighbors that we have.  God has richly blessed us with a family that feels fills many relational holes in our lives.  For example, this morning I had sent a "whatsapp" message to her asking about buses.  After a couple messages she sent back a message that said "ven."  Which in Spanish means, come.  In other words, come on over.  So we did.  Scott and I found ourselves still sitting at their table drinking coffee and chatting and practicing our Spanish and sharing stories.  Relationships like this don't happen often in Spain and we do not take this friendship for granted.  It is truly a gift from God for which I am thankful!

Taken in February when we celebrated the 2nd anniversary of Laura's heart transplant (the 8 year in the middle)