Tuesday, January 29, 2008

fun with the bathroom sink

The previous sink problem was a constantly leaking faucet that didn't get fixed for five days. We used the bucket to catch the water, so it wouldn't all be wasted. Now we're going on a week of having leaky pipes under the sink and the sink listing from the wall which is why the sink is propped up with the shelves. Now the water isn't being wasted, because it's only leaking from what we've already used. What a useful bucket we own! If it wasn't here we'd have a vast puddle on our bathroom floor all the time.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Dutch Blitz

The first week of second semester went almost without hitch. My two new girls arrived with an army of cousins who are scattered throughout the grades. Getting the new two acquainted with classroom procedures kept me busier than usual, as did explaining the math vocabulary that Saxon Math uses. However, they'll soon know the routines, so that won't be an issue for long.

On Friday I passed a peaceful evening cooking the main dish that will last me for the next few weeks (in fact I'll probably freeze some - there's an enormous quantity) and reading. I probably should have cleaned the fish tank in the classroom. Someone's been feeding the fish after school, and the tank is filthy after only a week. However, since I didn't clean it Friday, I'll have to do that today, along with lesson planning.

Yesterday was a beautiful warm day, so while the laundry was running, I stayed up on the roof just enjoying warmth and sunlight. Lately the days have been marvelously warm, although our apartment and my classroom are still morgue-like. I don't think they'll ever catch on to the weather change, especially since it's still quite cold at night.

I took care of some house cleaning, and then met Bethany at the gordita stand that's next door to PCS. I kept commenting to Bethany that I still hadn't eaten at the popular stand, and she finally said, "Well the question is, are you going to?" With that, we made plans to do Saturday lunch.

Once we'd eaten, Janelle and I walked downtown. She needed Oansa (awana) prizes for the boys, and I wanted to pick up a talavera item that I'd ordered in December. The poor shop owner was terribly embarrassed when I asked for my order. "Oh no! I forgot!" I assured him it didn't matter, since there was no hurry, but he gave Janelle and I free dessert plates anyway.

In the evening, Bethany and I went along with a young lady who is visiting her family for awhile to the home of PCS's new teacher. We played Dutch Blitz for a few hours and laughed a great deal. I need to polish up my Dutch Blitz skills; my score was 3rd of 4!

Janelle's computer is used for the church's power point, so we always go a little bit early. We also usually stay late as well and get home around 2:45. That's one of the reasons I try to have lesson planning done before Sunday, but oh well, it didn't happen this week.

The church sanctuary and its basketball court.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


I should be at school lesson planning. I really should. But I'm not. I've done just about everything that I need to do this weekend except lesson plan, and now I'm inventing things that I might just possibly have needed to do, but not really. I enjoy teaching a whole lot, but the planning, well, not so much.

This past week was busy. School went as usual, except that I also had to do report cards since the semester ended Friday. This was the last week for one of my students, since her dad's business is moving the family. I will however be getting two new girls Monday. They are both second graders. It's kind of too bad that they're girls because now I'll have seven girls, and the two boys will remain the only ones. At least the two of them get along well.

Monday I had my Spanish lesson as usual after school and staff meeting. When the lesson ended, we went out behind the house to play basketball with the young boy who lives at the house where I have my lessons.

On Tuesday the PCS staff went out to eat for Jenna's birthday and to welcome a new teacher who flew in that day. We had fabulous Italian food.

As usual Wednesday I took the bus to Dios es Amor for Oansa (Awana) and youth group afterwards. When youth group ended, we played some basketball. I have a decorative bruise on one knee from tripping over someone's foot. Elegant.

Last night I returned to Dios es Amor for Bible study. We played a bit of basketball before the study started, and I managed to stay on my feet that time. I hope one of these days we'll play more soccer. I haven't played soccer in a really long time.

At the apartment we've had water issues. A plumber came Wednesday to repair a few minor problems, and just after he left, our bathroom sink began dripping. The PCS secretary called him back to ask for sink repairs, and he returned Thursday morning. - but he only looked at the kitchen sink and cleaned some more gunk from that faucet. When the secretary tried to call him Friday, he wasn't answering the phone, and now I'm waiting at the apartment (although I could be at the school too) to see if she can get ahold of him today. In the mean time, we have a bucket wedged in the sink, and we've been using the water to wash our hands, flush the toilet, and water the houseplants. Even so, a lot is being wasted.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

folk dance

School week one of 2008 went by without mishap. Some of my non-school activities haven't started yet, so it was a relatively quiet week with several evenings home.

In school I showed the kids how to make borax snowflakes, and the results were excellent. All of the students ended up with sparkling crystal snowflakes when the project was over.

We also researched emperor penguins. When I asked the kids if they thought polar bears ate penguins, all but one said yes. The one who went against the crowd was right - penguins live in the Antarctic and polar bears live in the Arctic.

On Thursday, my longest day with the kids, I was reading a 'Ranger Rick' article aloud near the end of the day. My youngest student raised his hand, "Miss Greenlee," he said plaintively, "Can you stop reading that? It's too long!" I guess I never have to wonder what he's thinking.

Three PCS seniors are going to Prague with honors choir in 1 1/2 weeks. Saturday evening there was a fund raiser for them. A folk dance instructor had arranged for his students to perform, and all the money from the tickets would be for the PCS seniors. The performance was incredible. The dancers performed with energy, skill, and enthusiasm. It made me wish I knew how to dance like that.

Today at church most of the PCS staff came to Dios es Amor for the farewell service for the Musgraves. Mr. Musgrave was the director of PCS for many years, but now the family is going to Queretero. The service was shorter than usual, but then we had a grand lunch. The youth group, of which I am part because I'm not married, helped serve food, and then once everyone had their food, we began to clean up. I was helping with dishes, and every time we reached the end of one mound of dishes, someone would bring "just one more" thing to wash. By 4:30 the mound was finally all washed, dried, and put away.

Although I had thought this would be an empty and restful weekend, with errands, dance performances, and farewells at church, I didn't get to lesson plans until 5:00 pm today. Hey, at least they're done before Monday!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

dazed and woozy

This picture is for you Rachael. My Starbucks from Puebla.

Oh the joys of international travel! But before I complain, I should start out by saying I am safely returned to Puebla and all unpacked. Earlier I also finished prep for school's resuming on Monday - so basically everything's fine. It's just hard to see it that way when I'm loopy and blue from almost no sleep last night. I'll be so glad for this day to end so that I can go to bed at the earliest hour possible and sleep this off.

It's a given that any international trip must come with minor adventures. This LAX to Mexico City was no exception. My dad dropped me off at the terminal for Alaska Air at about 10:45pm, and I trundled my trolley-full of luggage to the only line I could see. It had to have been the slowest moving line in the history of LAX, but after about 45 minutes, I finally arrived near the front and saw the line was marked "Persons Needing Assistance." I didn't need help, and I also finally saw the self-check-in computers (marked step #1), so I bailed from what was left of the line and checked in.

Step #2 was clearly marked above the luggage counter, so I approached the woman there to check in my baggage. "Did you come from the line?" she asked, "These people are ahead of you." Which people? Oh, the ones in the long mislabeled line I'd already waited in for 45 minutes. The lady at the counter wasn't interested in my protests, so I entered the line again - at the end. By that time I already knew my flight was delayed, so there wasn't reason to fret. It was just annoying.

Finally just before 2am the last of the passengers were boarding the plane. As I peered out the window, I noticed two airport employees busily unloading luggage from the baggage compartment of our plane, and oh look! there went one of my suitcases. Just as the two men finished unloading a car-ful of luggage, the captain came over the speakers instructing the flight crew to prepare for take-off. What about our bags? Well, after the crew made their usual safety announcements, we - waited, presumably while the luggage was returned to some other part of the plane.

At 2:30am, you'd think the crew would be interested in letting passengers sleep, but no. Just after take-off, the lights were switched back on, and we were given customs forms to fill out. After that, the cabin lights were turned off, but the crew cheerfully came down the aisles to pass out snacks and drinks. Once that activity ended, I did catch some catnaps.

In Mexico City I needed a trolley because I had a trunk, a large cardboard box, a suitcase, and a computer bag to manage. The trolleys had a large sheet of glass directly over them, and just as I approached, someone tugged a trolley too hard, breaking the glass. The trolleys were now impossible to pull out. I asked the airport employee who had reported the broken glass where else I could get a trolley and he said hopelessly, "There is no other place." Fortunately he was mistaken, and another employee directed me to other trolleys.

The only other travel snafu for me was at the bus station in Puebla. I had asked to be picked up from the station, but no one came. Fortunately, taxis from 4 Poniente to our apartment are cheap, so that's how I got home.

Only about 5 more hours to stay awake...

PS. A few hours later... Closer yet to bed!
However, I couldn't resist adding some pictures. Tomorrow is the Day of the Kings, and today on every street corner people are selling helium balloons. The children who get the balloons make a wish for what gifts they want to find in their shoes tomorrow and then release the balloon. What a cheerful sight these balloon bunches are.