I'm going to Cherepovets, Russia this summer to teach English with TeachOverseas.org! Join me in mission with prayer and support!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

What NOT to do Overseas!

Hi Friends,
So, this post is titled "What NOT to do Overseas" because I definitely wish that I could change the fact that my poor little ankle is sprained due to my desires to climb trees that are too high for me to step up into. Ooops.....
What have I learned since then?
1. Be very careful when the nearest hospital is 2 hours away.
2. Trees may appear higher than they seem.
3. Russian hospitals may or may not be handicap accessible (mine wasn't and it was kind of funny to be in a wheel chair and then have to get out at a certain point and walk with friends supporting me.)
4. You really have to look in Russia to find crutches.
5. Needing help can be a very humbling experience. The camp is also not handicap accessible and I have been carried up the stairs by boys to the last 2 meals. Being carried by people is one of my HUGEST pet-peaves so I've had to force myself to let it go and just recieve help.
6. Being the 'slow one' will require lots of patience for me. I am a fast walker and when we go to St. Petersburg, it may be a tough day for me. I just want to have fun and I want my team to have fun. I may have to say 'no' to things and I will have to be okay with that. I was already struggling with patience yesterday, but I got some sleep last night and feel a lot better now.
7. You never know what's going to happen, I only have a few days left here, and I need to live it up as best as I can in spite of my circumstances. It can still be the 'best' it can be even if it's different than what I pictured the 'best' being.

This adventure continues to be unpredictable, but it is the BEST. The next time I update I will be back in AMERICA!!! Now it's on to one more day here at camp, a day on the road, another day in St. Petersburg and a day of flying home. Please pray for my ankle and pray for safety as we begin the journey back.
In Joy- yes JOY.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Final Few Days

Hi Friends,
Oh, this week has gone by WAY too quickly. I feel like a blinked and Friday came! Today is our final day of teaching here in Russia and then on Monday we leave for St. Petersburg to see the city before our flight back to America.
This week, I co-taught a class each day with another team member and than had another class on my own each day. Our class attendance this week has been poor because many of our students are at 'Modna', the island camp that we went to for the day a few weeks ago. Our co-taught class was a group of beginners and my 'alone' class are high-intermediate English speakers. I have only taught beginners the whole time I've been here, so it has been kind of a fun, special treat to see what it's like to teach a different skill-level and plan different kinds of activities for them. My intermediate class is also all girls, so that has been fun too. They are all middle-school aged and very sweet and enthusiastic. Today as our final day of class we are going to do a photo scavenger hunt around camp so that should be a lot of fun!
Some highlights of this week have been:
1. WINNING ( I don't know how we did it- but we did!) the group dance contest. We danced with two of the athletic trainers and one of our interpreters and it was actually really fun. We made up a dance and then were surprised by what our music was going to be when we got there. Luckily our second song (that I had do to a solo to...yeah one person had to do a solo.) was "Cotton-Eyed Joe" so I knew how to dance to that one! I pulled a little boy from the crowd who I knew was a good dancer and we both clicked our heels in unison to the music for a bit. It was hilarious! Now we have to compete tonight for the second round. We are all dressing as different animals and doing a funny dance. I will be the grasshopper.
2. Paddle Boats. Two of our helpers took us paddle boating a few days in a row and it was so much fun. We went out to the middle of the Mologa River (Don't worry it's not the Mississippi or anything) and jumped off the boats and went swimming.
3. Teaching some of our helpers American card games. They LOVE "Phase 10" and one of the girls on my team even gave her deck away to one of the boys. We have played "Phase 10" quite a bit and I've also played "Spades" and "Nerts" with my team mates.
4. Watching "Tangled" with Natasha. One of our helpers had a movie night with us the other night and it was so fun. We put the English subtitles on for her and had some candy and relaxed.
5. Listening to two sermons from Havest Vineyard in Ames. I was really missing my church family this week and so it was wonderful to be able to just click on a link online and listen to Josh and Cory preach!
6. Going to a 5-year-old's Birthday Party! One of the little girls whose parents work here had a Birthday this week and our helper Genya, even though he is a teenage guy, dressed up as a "Karlsson" (It's a Swedish character by the same author as Pippi) and went to the party to give the girl her birthday cake. We went with him and got to have some watermelon and sing "Happy Birthday" in English with the kids. She had her party at a picnic table under a tent and everything was so bright and decorated with streamers and balloons. It was just like an American birthday party in so many ways.
As I get ready to pack up and leave here in a few days, I realize that I will miss my time here so much. It has been a once-in-a-lifetime blessing and I have learned so much about myself, people, and the world. I am excited to extend hospitality in new ways when I get home and see how I can apply the things I have learned here to my life in Ames, Iowa. It has been such a blessing to be loved, served, and cared for here in ways that I could never have provided for myself. God has sent his angels with us and has given us people to bless our lives that we will never forget.
Blessings and Joy,