Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What's New? and other random thoughts

This blog post is probably going to turn out to just be random thoughts going through my head.  I couldn't really settle on one theme....

It's that time in the school year where everyone is feeling just a bit more tired-- students and teachers alike.  Thankfully, our school here operates on a 4 term school year with breaks in between each school term.  In just a few more days we'll be enjoying a couple weeks of school break.  This break is a short one (2 weeks long), but it's a break nonetheless.  The kids and I are looking forward to some down time.  Unfortunately, Dad doesn't get the break we get. 

We are, however, hoping to get away for a few days during the break.  We're hoping to get away for a short holiday and shopping trip to the town of Lae.  Lae is about a two hour drive by road.  It's one of the places we can actually get to by road in this country and is also a major shipping port in PNG. It's a coastal town (obviously) which in the Pacific means hot and humid. Our organization has a guest house there where we can stay.  The great things about the guest house are 1) some of the rooms have air conditioning.  2) There is a swimming pool at the guest house.  It's a simple oval shaped above ground pool, but the kids love it and it's a nice break from the heat. 

Aside from the guest house, the only real reason to go to Lae is for shopping.  We've been really looking for ways to cut our costs lately.  We've become half vegetarians--half because we eat meat about every other day now.  I've bee challenged in my cooking to find meatless recipes that my family will eat.  It's a challenge when half the family don't really like beans.  Anyhow,  we had some really successful meatless meals and some not so successful ones.  Another cost cutting method some families here use is bulk buying.  I'm told you can save a lot of money by regular bulk buying trips to Lae.  We're going to give it a try and see if it works for us.  I've been doing a lot of research and talking to people who do this.  Honestly, it's a bit mind boggling.  you have to know what stores to go to for which items, which items are worth buying in bulk and which aren't, and then you have to figure out where to store all of these bulk items.  Also, sometimes it's not so much about saving money, but about availability.   For example, our store (yes, there is only one) went for about 4 months with out popcorn.  Chad was able to find some on a trip to Lae which meant we were set.  As I ponder the logistics of buying in bulk, I keep thinking about US history and remembering the settlers who traveled west, lived in the middle of nowhere, and occasionally traveled to town for supplies.  Sometimes I feel a little like that.   I wonder--- how did they know how much sugar they would need before they made it to town again?

The other big thing that's been on my mind lately is my teaching job.  I've been teaching preschool now for about 4 years and really enjoying it.  I teach just 3 mornings a week and that fits nicely with my family's needs.  However, preschool is not what I've been trained to teach.  As we look toward the next school year (which begins in July), there are a LOT of needs in our school.  Also, we've got a couple of people in the pipeline who have experience  and/or training in teaching preschool.  I, however, am trained for teaching K-6.  So, after much prayer, talking with administration, more prayer, more talking; I've agreed along with my current co-teacher to move up to kindergarten next year.  The great things about this arrangement are...
1) I get to keep the same group of kids I've had since last July (they keep me on my toes, but I love 'em)
2) I'll continue to work with my co-teacher and friend.
3) I'll still only teach 3 mornings a week since I'm team teaching
4) I'll still only teach mornings since kinder is half day

But there are challenges:
1) I'll need to learn a whole new curriculum
2) Because our school is accredited K- grade 12 (but not for preschool) there will be new responsibilities related to that.
3) The kinder assignment is only for half the year (the usual Kinder teacher is taking a 6 month home assignment), so I have no clue what I'll be doing come Jan 2013.  It's a good thing God does!
4) It's a new classroom filled with another teacher's stuff.  I'll have to learn my way around.
5) I'm feeling pressure to finish the organizing/de-cluttering I've begun in preschool in preparation for a new teacher.... It's a lot of extra work.

Anyhow, I'm excited and nervous at the same time about the upcoming  changes.  I was feeling pretty comfy in my little preschool classroom.  God is moving me out of my comfort zone and stretching me once again!