Valentine’s day

So, what is life like in Ethiopia for Mr. Galen? Well, it’s challenging, and rewarding. The last week has been a bit of a blur, moving from one thing to the next. Homesick? Always.

I renewed my gym membership for one month, and have been using the steam room relatively regularly, since it seems like it takes me a full week between workouts to recover. I’m sure that as well as being out of shape that it also has to do with living in a oxygen deprived environment. I feel a bit like Kevin Costner felt like in Waterworld when he set foot on ‘dry land’. My gills are gasping for moisture in the air. The steam room is great because of the moisture, and it’s supposed to have all kinds of health benefits. The 3 – 4 showers that accompany it are as close to the water as I can get.

I’ve started doing plays with both grade four and grade two. The grade four play is based on one of the Norse Myths about Sif’s hair. It is very well written and a lot of fun, there are plenty of humorous parts to keep it lively. The grade fours absolutely love it. I haven’t assigned parts yet, and I can’t go minutes without one of them asking to be this part or that. I think it is an excellent way for them to practice their reading skills and also improve their comprehension among other things. The grade twos are a little more difficult, well actually a lot more difficult. Every child at that age seems to have ADHD and can’t stay still; it is really quite aggravating. There have a been a few instances where I have just stared an exceptionally obnoxious child in the eyes and said very sternly “get out of my class” and to the extraordinarily disturbing ones just “get out”. I am having a lot of fun with the plays though and it is nice to be doing something different.

I just finished another newsletter, and have lots and lots of work to do on the yearbook. With one quarter left until I’m on a plane home, I have less than two months to have the yearbook finished.

I regularly wish that I had more teacher training than coaching theory. It’s really not all that relevant. I cannot wait to get back to work at the yacht club, I really love my job there because I am a professional and good at what I do. Kyle and I were talking about the challenges of being teachers the other day, and the difference to our regular jobs. It is entirely different doing something that you are not necessarily good at, or particularly enjoy. I am a high school graduate working as a primary teacher; Kyle is an engineer teaching primary English. Though, I do enjoy a large portion of it, I wish I was a professional with more knowledge and experience to guide me. The part that makes it really challenging is that I feel like being a volunteer I have to uphold higher standards. Not only being a volunteer, but being a Baha’i much more is expected of me. That is why we have to wear business wear to school everyday while most of the other teachers wear jeans.

Don’t get me wrong; I am in no way complaining. There are lots of challenges, but I am not at all regretful of them. A year of service is not meant to be easy. I am growing and learning from every challenge. It takes strength to confront the challenges, and gain more strength and endurance by tackling them.

We had parent teacher interviews on Friday. Luckily communicating with parents is something that I do have experience with from running the sailing school. There were a few parents that had issues, mostly minor, but generally they were very happy. The ones that didn’t speak any English were great as I didn’t have to say much.

I often need to unwind after a long day of school. That can involve any number of things from closing my door and curtains and filling the room with music and completely losing myself in it dancing around like a maniac. Thank God for privacy. Singing along to Santana and Dave Mathews in a really high-pitched voice is very effective stress relief! Haha, you have to try it before you can judge me.

Jasmin brought season 5 of Lost back for Gail, so we had a lost marathon last night. (Yes I’ve watched all of the first 4 seasons! Scary!) We started around 9 pm and watched continuously till 2:30 am, 7 episodes. It is such an incredibly complicated and intricately interconnected show with infinite twists that make it absolutely fascinating.

Oh yeah we had a storm a few days ago, I can’t remember which day now. It kept me up for a good portion of the night with continuously rumbling and roaring thunder while my window was lit up about every thirty seconds by a flash of lightning. It lasted for hours without any change of intensity, and the next day it was a mudslide to work. I left my mec trail running shoes on a taxi last week, so I’m down to a pair of puma’s I try not to wear too much because I know they will fall apart and my dress shoes. My dress shoes are now doubling as gumboots. It is very satisfying to get them cleaned and shined after having them plastered in mud. It’s going to be nice not having to iron a shirt and pants for work everyday, I can’t wait to put my PFD on again and open up the throttle.

Not a day goes by that I do not think about coming home. But, I am also becoming very attached to the children especially here, and also the people. It will not be all that easy to leave.

I aqcuired Gail’s pictures from the Carnvial for the yearbook, so here are a few. There are some other random pictures in there too and some of Kyle’s. You’ll see pictures of my potato sack race. When the teachers watched all the pictures last week everyone just had to burst into fits of laughter when those pictures came on.

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