(The picture to the right is my 2009 yearbook picture for the school that I teach at...I look like an 8th grader)
Where have I been? Wow, I haven't posted on my blog in ages. It's been a busy few months. I have returned to school and am working on a PhD in Education Policy with a secondary specialization in International Education. I decided to take 4 classes this semester, which is a full load for students who usually don't have a job, but I also work full-time job as an 8th grade Civics teacher. I also coach a middle school step team and dance with a Polynesian dance group, so with all of those things going on, blogging just fell to the wayside. One of my new year's resolutions is to blog a couple times a month. I still need to post the photo highlights of all my summer travels.
By far, one of my favorite parts of 2009 was my summer travels. I went to Myrtle Beach with some friends for a week and then trotted off to Europe for 3 weeks to tour some of the Mediterranean countries with one of my best friends. It was a blast, and I promise to post a photo journal of the places we visited. I also went on a humanitarian trip to Polochic, Guatemala. It was an incredible experience. Here is one of my favorite pictures from it:This picture encompasses how the trip was for me, utterly peaceful. My friend took this picture of me in the middle of our hike up the Pacaya Volcano (a very difficult hike for me) and I love it. This was taken a couple days before we actually went to the Polochic Valley, but it's a pretty cool picture. The trip overall was just what the doctor ordered. I was able to forget about all my worries I have here and just focus on serving the people of Guatemala. It was a delightful experience.
While in Polchic, there were 87 young single adults from my church who served in various capacities. We had a few building projects going on and we worked to lay foundations for a health clinic in one of the villages, a secondary school in another village, a water storage facility in another village and kitchen near the secondary school. The medical and dental volunteers had a traveling clinic and they went to 6 villages and took care of a lot of the needs of the people. We had a business development group that visited different villages and helped teach the villagers about budgeting and other strategies that could improve their lifestyle and economic status. Lastly, we also had a teacher development group that worked with the local school teachers. I helped in the clinic, with teacher development and on the secondary school project. Guatemala was an awesome experience and if all goes well, I'll be going to Bolivia this summer to do a similar expedition. Here is a picture of a local Guatemalan woman with her baby sack hooked to her head band...that's how they all carried their babies.
Here is a picture of the local kids...they were adorable :)
My summer travels were great. School has been challenging and time consuming, but I'm learning a lot. I'm so happy to be embarking on this long journey to get a PhD. I know I made the right decision to go back to school. I know it's going to get much harder, but I look forward to the road ahead. Work has been a challenge for me this year, but we are almost halfway there. I like teaching, but 8th grade is a hard age and I think I'm reaching a point where it's time to move to a different age. Who knows what lies in the future for me with teaching...
The title of this post is "goodbye 2009" and I am more than thrilled to see it end. It's been a long, hard year with many personal challenges and I look forward to this fresh start. Tonight is New Year's Eve and instead of going out, I've chosen to stay in and spend some quality time with me, myself and I. I know that might sound a little lame, but I feel like I need the time to myself to reflect and focus on how I can make 2010 a much better year than 2009 was. I will post some of my resolutions tomorrow, but I wish you all a happy and safe new year.