Won't you join me for some tea time this Tuesday!? Go fill up your favorite mug with some chai (tea in Swahili) or coffee, if you'd rather, and join me while I share some thoughts, stories, or things I would tell you if we were having tea together today. Maybe one day we will?! I sure do hope so!!
1. I will be home in seven weeks.
How did this even happen? It seems like just yesterday I was heading off on this incredible adventure to Tanzania. Now, in 31 days, my first year as a teacher, my first school year in Tanzania, and my first year teaching first grade will be over! I'm having very mixed emotions right now, as you might expect. I'm very excited to be going back to America for two months this summer on "furlough" to spend time with family and friends, fundraise, and get ready for the next school year. (Did I mention I'm coming back for year two of teaching in Tanzania?! SO happy about that!!) But, I'm also realizing how much I'm going to miss this place, my "kids" (students), and friends who have become family. I'm tearing up right now just thinking about it!
2. I'm becoming Tanzanian.
Yesterday afternoon I was teaching my ESL class. One of the boys in the class had finished working, and we could hear the older kids playing a game in P.E. outside of the classroom. He asked if he could look through the window to see what was happening. I said, "Yes. You can look that." NO LIE. Now, to you, that might just look like poor grammar. But, here in Tanzania, there are countless times a day when I hear someone speaking something similar. They like to take the prepositions out of the sentences when they speak English. Another example is, "Are you joking me?" Meaning: Are you picking at me? So, when those words came out of MY mouth, I had a giggle session in my head. No one else caught it, but I found it HILARIOUS, because my roommates and I are always talking about it. So, yes, I am becoming Tanzanian. :)
3. My goal for the last few weeks.
When I had the epiphany of only having a few short weeks left of the school year, my first thoughts were, "OH MY GOSH. HOW AM I GOING TO GET MY FIRST GRADERS READY FOR SECOND GRADE?!?!?!??" I was kind of in freakout mode. I knew what all needed to be taught by the end of the year, and I wasn't even close. Though I still have those thoughts in my head (what teacher doesn't?), I've made a choice. My choice is to work with my students as much as I can, but not overwhelm them and myself by trying to get through everything. Yesterday morning, we had a FANTASTIC read-aloud time with lots of discussion using phrases like..."I wonder..." and "My prediction is...", etc. God has really shown me how much they have grown in the last nine months. And I've decided that though my students may not master all of the first grade standards, and that I may not get through all of my curriculum, we will keep learning. We will have fun learning. We will make the most of our final 31 days in the classroom together. My goal is to soak up these times with my students, and to focus on them. To all of my fellow teachers out there, we can do this!!
4. Creating Something Beautiful.
While in a lunch meeting with all the teachers today, a friend who was leading the meeting asked a question as a little opener, that basically asked this, "What do you do when you are feeling dry and need refreshment from God?" The first thing I thought of was nature. It might be a glance at Mount Kilimanjaro, which takes my breath away just thinking about how majestic God is. Or it may be walking to school, spending that time enjoying the beauty of creation around me (including the people!) and praying. Sometimes it's getting away for an afternoon by myself, working on things in a beautiful outdoor restaurant and spending time journaling.
But, something I thought of tonight is that I also find refreshment and rejuvenation from creating something. I especially love doing any sort of craft or decorating my space to make it feel prettier and more homey. I hadn't had the chance to do that in awhile, since teaching first grade usually takes all my time creating things for my students and classroom. But the first Friday night of spring break, I was able to do so! I set out to make a whimsical Easter garland to hang up in our living room, since Easter was two days away. I spent a few hours tracing, cutting, glueing, and creating to make something beautiful. It makes me feel accomplished, and I can spend that time listening to worship music in God's presence. Here's the final product!
5. Setting Boundaries and Sticking to Them
Spring break (two weeks ago) was GREAT! I was able to have time to breathe, organize myself, and rest. I also started working out a bit to strengthen my body and lose weight. I was on a ROLL for five days- and then school started again. Meh. And...I got tired...I was going to bed too late, which meant getting up late...the working out stopped...and I didn't feel good about any of this. I was thinking about this last night as I was staying up way too late. I've decided to call it quits at 10 p.m. every school night. Turn off the laptop, get all my work done before then, and try to be in bed by 10:30. As a "night owl", it's not going to be easy. But I know how rewarding it will be! I will be happy to wake up earlier, get a workout in, spend some QT with the Lord, etc. I'll let you know how it goes!!
If we were sitting down for some chai, what would you tell me?! I hope you all have a great week! I'll be back on Friday to share what "A Day in the Life" looks like to me.
Much Love, Allie