Sunday, September 30, 2012

Giving for others.

Ok, two post in one day. WOW. Only because this is a big deal and a really awesome opportunity.

On thursday I was at the Youth for Christ (YFC) meeting (yes, I didn't get lost this week and made it to the meeting), and Bartek the YFC director was telling us that his birthday is on the 29th. He began to tell us that this year he is only asking for donations to YFC as his birthday present. He spoke with so much passionate for the kids he works with, he has one big heart for these kids. And he decided to give of his birthday for the kids. He has a goal of raising 5,000pln, which is about $1,700. Doesn't seem like much huh? Please check out his facebook site and continue onto his website that hold more information about his birthday wish. What an awesome opportunity to help an amazing organization. 

soothes the soul.

This weekend I left the big city life for a smaller city (I say city...because everything is a city compared to Becker and Winona). I went to Krotoszyn with my housemate, Ilona. She needed to record vocals for her EP, which is coming out soon. She is really good, check her out: I went along to take pictures of her while she was recording, but really I went to see another city and hang out with her while she wasn't singing. I was excited to see another part of Poland and get out of the city.

Ilona and I in the recording studio
I know I enjoy nature and smaller towns more then I like cities and I was reminded of this as the bus drove through the forest. Oh my goodness, it was beautiful. As the bus drove down the winding, narrow roads I soaked in all I could. I was amazed at how seeing that made me feel refreshed and renewed. I wanted to run through the forest. Ilona laughed at me. And thanks to my Dad's influence, I also wanted to drive a car very, VERY fast down the road. :)

Friday night was spent in the recording studio, where I took some pictures, tried to remember how to knit, and read a book. Saturday I finished my book, and then decided to venture out into the city. Its a very nice town and I enjoyed my walk around. It was a fun little adventure.

For the past month being here I have not been crafty: no sewing, no knitting, no nothing. I was itching for something. On thursday a friend took me to a store where they sold yarn and I bought two scans of yarn and knitting needles. I was so excited. My friend was amazed and wondered if all american girls knitted. I reassured her that no, not all do. I explained to her that many of my friends call me a grandma. This made her laugh. And now I begin to make a cowl, following a pattern...something I'm not very good at, especially without my mom's help. 

I may or may not have recorded my own song. 
Next, week I will also be leaving Wroclaw to attend a Central Eurasian Partners (CEP) conference in the Czech Republic. The place we are going is at the foot of the lysa mountains. So, once again I will find myself in God's beautiful creation. I will let you know how the weekend was on my next blog! 

Now, please go do something that brings you joy. It's wonderful to use the gifts God has given us and to enjoy his creation. Go. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Small challenges.

I would like to apologize because I feel like I have not been too faithful at updating this, so I pledge to be a better blogger! I would like to share with you some of my small challenges this past week. They may be challenging but its all in the attitude towards the situation. And most of the time...usually...I laugh (when my stomach is full and I have slept).

1. The family I am staying with left for a weeks vacation. So I decided to do some laundry. I sorted my clothes like my mom taught me and washed my darks. It was a success. Then I moved onto my whites, which I usually wash with a few of my light colored tank tops as well. The colors never bleed together before so without a thought I threw them into the washer. Two hours later when I opened the washer (yes, a cycle is 2 hours long), I was surprised to see that my nice new white shirt was now a light blue color. Now my wardrobe has a little more blue in it.

2. I like to cook. And sometimes bake. Well, we were out of bread so I thought I would try to make some. I don't really know why I even try anymore because I have never been successful unless it is banana bread or friendship bread. But I am talking bread for a sandwich or toast. Well, I tried. I let the bread rise and then I baked. It all looked well until I cut in and it was still gooey. I put it back into the oven, but 15 minutes later it was still just as gooey. I then walked to the store to buy some bread. (Pat Brown must teach me her ways)

3. I got lost. To most this is not a surprise. I have no internal compass. To my defense I did know how to get back home at all times. I just didn't know how to get to where I needed to be. But I think I spent a good 2 hours trying to make it to the meeting and finally decided the meeting would be over by the time I got there so I gave up. But I was able to see some more of the city and I now know how to get to the zoo. Thankfully the sun was shinning and the weather was nice.

4. Last week one of my classes was very......talkative. They did not want to listen to me one bit and thought it would be fun to throw little clay balls at each other. I picked up all the clay, moved kids around, and still chatter. It was a very difficult lesson for me. I told a women at the school and the classes teacher was also notified. Well, she had a nice talk with the kids because when they walked into class this week they all said hello to me. And whenever someone was talking out of turn the others were quick to 'shhh' them. I am not sure what the teacher said, but it worked, and the difference made me chuckle. The power of speaking the same language.

So, cheers to life and it's many challenges and adventures. May we always find a light in our challenges and see how God is working through them.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

tid bits.

I have almost been here 3 week, 2 weeks of teaching under my belt. And my life is beginning to get busier, which I enjoy. Many people have asked me what I am actually doing through out my week so I thought I would share: Tuesdays and thursdays I teach at arka schools, thursdays I also have YFC meeting and bible study, I will have 2 private english lessons a week, and one lesson where we swap english and polish. And through out the week I do projects or tasks for CEP, like updating websites and such. I'm continuing to fill up my schedule.

I have successfully taken the bus to the center and back, and to Arka schools and back. I am learning the bus stops and routes. Once I conquer that I will move onto the tram system.

The second week of school was a little bit harder then the first. The kids were over the new and exciting stage and realized that I will actual make them work and speak english. I'm trying to learn each classes language ability and plan lessons accordingly. It's a process, for sure. The skill of teaching does not come naturally, especially to kids who do not speak much english. But I do enjoy getting to know the kids. One day before classes last week, a women in the office was teaching me simple polish phrases like, 'I don't speak polish', 'I am from..', and 'My name is...' I decided to practice my new vocab, so my first class (which are 8/9 year olds) I proudly share with them my new sentences. They had no idea what I was saying. I tried again. They shook their heads no. That was the last time I tried my polish in the classroom that day. I will try again another day. :)

Ilona, is a girl my age who is also living in the house as I am and the other day she decided we should have a spelling contest. Well, for those of you who know me well enough know that spelling is not a strength of mine. But I agreed to the game. Ilona is from Ukraine and speaks 5 languages, she is studying english in college. She schooled me at my native language. We laughed. So, now I am learning Polish and more about the english language. Haha.

I have been able to enjoy the park near the house. Sometimes I run, others I walk. Both do me good. It is a good chance to reflect on life here and spend some time talking to God. And lately I have been praying that God will show me why in the world I am here and what he is going to do with me here. Through my daily tasks and beyond that.

Looking forward to another week and all the adventures it brings.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

first day of school.

Well, I did it. I completed my first, I would say successful, day of teaching kids english. Today I had 4 classes of english conversation with grades 3-6. To clarify: I am not teaching the kids english grammer, more so getting them to speak english and learn vocabulary. I planned my lesson, naming it: get to know you. Basically I told the kids about myself, showing them pictures of me, family, friends, and hobbies. They seemed to really enjoy that. I then asked if they had any questions for me. They always said no, until I pulled out a handful of candy and explained that for every question they asked they would receive a piece of candy. Hands flew into the air. I came prepared.

I must say I was a little nervous for the lessons. I have a little experience teaching but not much and not with a language barrier. So I prepared my lesson to the best of my ability and prayed that everything would go smoothly. I was not the only one in the classroom who was anxious about the lesson. When the kids were told that I was their conversation teacher and I only spoke English, their eyes widened, mouths dropped, and what I took as 'oh my's' echoed the room. They showed what I was feeling inside. This also was a bit of a relief and made me laugh (on the inside). Thankful each class had at least one student who could translate for students and was a great help. After four lessons of 45 min teach I was exhausted. So, props to you teachers! On thursday I have three more lessons with middle school aged kids.

Thank you for all your prayers and support! I feel it. God is teaching me a lot. He has given my courage to walk into those classrooms and act like I know what I am doing. :)

Front of the School

Play area in the back of the school