Friday, June 15, 2012

Recycling and Exercising... two of my favorite things!

June 1st- 16th: (The Beginning of the School Year and Much More!)

As I approach the one year mark of being here in the Philippines, I have been thinking about everything that my mind, body, and soul have been through this past year. I can hardly believe that this time last year I was dancing away at my Cousin Megan’s wedding and frantically trying to prepare myself for the adventure of a lifetime. I remember not being able to sleep at night because I was worrying about saying goodbye to the people that mean them most to me, and of course about whether or not I was packing the “right” things. Honestly, I don’t think I have the right words yet to explain all the changes that have happened to me. After jumping into the biggest cultural plunge of my life, I have experienced many things that I only hope more people would get the opportunity to experience. This life we live in is full of greatness, but sometimes learning about this greatness requires changes and challenges and those these are both scary. The greatest feelings I have right now are about how lucky I am to have a family, boyfriend, and friends who support and love me and that everything around me that used to appear odd, difficult to manage, out of the ordinary, and create challenges are the same things that I now love, appreciate, and embrace! There is beauty in everything.

My school year is off to an extraordinary start! Ah, I could literally jump for joy all around town! My new students already impress me on a daily basis and I am enjoying getting to know their different talents, hobbies, and more. One of my students is afraid of old doors. One of them asked Gemma (reminder- she is the one who I teach with) if I pee… yes, pee. One of them has a hidden talent in using recycled beads to make placemats. Gemma and I were also able to talk to the principal of our school and express our desire to have an English classroom. Last year, the teachers rotated. She really enjoyed listening to our ideas and thoughts about implementing the change. This year, the students are rotating every class period. We have been busy setting up the English Room! Pretty cool. I remember when my sisters and I would play school. Making worksheets was so much fun. I also would bet on it that somewhere in my notebooks in elementary school I wrote about how I dreamed of having my own classroom one day.

The SSG (Student Supreme Government) is really active at my school so I am working with them on two projects already this school year. The first one is Sports Club. We have our first get together tomorrow! We are going to meet every Saturday to play, learn about living a healthy lifestyle, and make new friends, jog, stretch, and wherever the wind blows us. We are going to focus on a different sport each quarter of the year- badminton, volleyball, basketball, and swimming! We are planning fundraising events like Senior vs. Junior basketball game, Race for Health 5K (Where the students would spread the word about healthy living) just to name a few. Our school has also become a recycling machine. We are cleaning and drying all plastic that is used to make bottle bricks. Bottle bricks are made by stuffing loads of non biodegradable waste into 1.5 liter soda bottles. We will use these bottles to make benches and tables around the school. We are also collecting used paper to sell.

I have always thrived when my life is busy. I am thriving now! Avocados must be in season too because I am seeing them all over the market. This makes me bloom even more.

To add about sports club- the first meeting this morning was just perfect! So many students showed up from all year levels, dressed comfortably with water bottle in hand! Indeed there were lots of laughs, sweating, and having a great time. It was so fantastic to see the smiles on their faces. I am certain that this club is going to evolve into something great. I even had a group of girls ask me today if they could start a walking/jogging girls club... of course I did not hesitate in answering... ABSOLUTELY! I am just bursting with excitement.

I had a day off from school the other day for Independence Day (June 12th). I went to the beach, obviously. This was the only cloud in the sky and it is in the shape of a heart. Pretty spectacular considering I am loving every second of my life these days!

Go Turtles! A little artistic addition to making working with elements of short stories fun. This is one story map taking from the module we developed. My counterpart uses the module almost everyday, it makes me so happy.

Step one of the bottle brick project. Washing and drying all of the plastic waste at our school. We have separate bins for collection and students are assigned to clean it two days a week. Good thing the sun is hot! Woo wOO.

The rocky campus actually helps too because we use them to hold down the plastic so it does not blow all over the place. Recycling is fun!

Day One of Sports Club! Hooray! The mixture of students, the excitement level, the laughs... everything was just perfect!

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