Friday, April 20, 2007

Farewell dinner

Last night was our “going away” dinner. It was held at Lichtenberg Castle in a little village near ours. They have a beautiful room for banquets. There was pork, chicken, salmon, and these cauliflower pancake things. The food was okay, not really worth the price we were told the dinner was. I got to sit by two of my three teachers. It was really nice because everyone was complimentary of Ball State and all the student teachers. They said we had really reestablished a good rapport with the school and community. (The last few groups really weren’t up to par, or so we’ve heard.) My teachers were very complimentary of me, really, it made me feel great. Everyone got to say a few words about their teachers. When it was my turn I introduced my teachers and the subjects that I had taught with them. I had gotten them all little gifts. Carol, gum, Carter, Diet Vanilla Pepsi, Joy, Club Crackers (because I always eat/drink those things. It is the food/drink that they keep in their classroom, kind of like my dad and his tootsie rolls. They all laughed at the little things. I couldn’t get them anything they “needed” and I probably could not afford something they wanted, so I took the “cute” and “joke” road. I always got them Ball State t-shirts and said “I know this is always something you’ve wanted, you just never knew.” I tried not to get too sentimental because I would cry.

Joy got up later and told everyone how well I had done at MUN and how well I adapted to teaching psychology. Carter said that because of how awesome I was he would take any student Ball State offered. (That was a really big compliment.) Steven’s teacher got up, he’s a big talker, but I like him very much. We had dinner at their house early in the semester. He said the funniest, yet very nice thing about me. He said I was like a RAM. Because I was a go in, take charge kind of a person. I didn’t let things slide if I knew they weren’t right and I wasn’t one on to let people walk over me. He was very excited when he was saying all of this, but it was really cute and I was a little embarrassed, I know that I stick up for myself, it was just funny how accurate he was. He said that Steven and Liz were very professional and Jeff “just came over for dinner,” which was really funny.

I bought Pat flowers (red and white, Ball State colors, but her favorite color is red, so that was perfect!) She really liked them. She had painted little pictures of the castle, one for every guest. We also were allowed to take home a raku vase that she made. I appreciated everything.

My mom will be here next Tuesday! It’s going to be fabulous. We’re going to Amsterdam, Giverny, Paris, Strasbourg, Milan, and Venice!!!! WOO HOO!!! Then HOME!!!!!!

And I miss Katie very much and I can't wait to see her on the 8th!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Over looking a little German village
This is really what it looks like here. The little steeple sticking up from the middle of cozy little homes, there is always atleast one bakery and one deli in every town. Today I went in a meat shop (I thought they might have cheese, but NO all meat) I wish my dad and grandpa were there, they would have loved it. I bet it was all delicious.
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More pictures from my walk

I know we have trees in America, but look at the sun hit. It was really a beautiful evening.
Just a big German house.
The Jewish plaque I had mentioned..
Up close
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Picture from my walk

This picture is from one of my walks. It is actually in front of a cemetery and marks all of the German soldiers lost in WWI and WWII. It's very sad. On the right there is also a plaque commemorating the Jewish people lost during the Second World War.
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Thesis update

Well, I have about four pages...of 25. But that's better than when I started. I feel like I have a lot of ideas, but no one thesis statement. That could be a problem. I'm just writing, I suppose I'll organize my thoughts later.

I've been taking little walks to clear my mind, and it's a good thing too. My newest theory is that thesis writing = consuming a lot of chocolate.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Just two more pictures from Liz's camera.

I'm really thinking...
"Hello Mom! Wish you could be here with me!"

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Last day of teaching!

Seder table!

The week before the end of the quarter is crazy! There is so much going on and so little time to do anything. I may feel like I do not have so much time because I started going to softball practice with the high school girls. I love being with them. They’re hardly a team and it’s very different from sports in the US. Dodds’ schools would probably be around a 2A school. For their game yesterday, I got them all bouncy balls and wrote “Bounce over Bitburg.” Except there was no bouncing and they lost horribly. I think the final score was 12-4, but the other team scored eight runs in just the first inning. They’ll improve. Whether they’re great or not, it’s nice to get outside and play around with the girls and not stuck in school until six o’clock.

Also, I got to do a Seder for my two honors classes. We sent home permission slips and only the students who got it signed and signed it themselves got to come. Mrs. Rudd made the choroset and boiled eggs. Mrs. Kretz brought in candlesticks and holders. I bought parsley, root, horseradish, and matzah! We had a blast. We all sang Dayeinu and I sang the Four Questions. I was nervous about the Hebrew, since I had never led a Seder before, but I did great. Haha. Not that they would have known when I missed up though. They learned so much about Jewish tradition and I felt proud of my heritage. A girl let the holiday candles and I said the prayer. They loved searching for the afikoman. They were going everywhere to look for it and of course I pulled our old family trick of hiding it under the tablecloth. It was nice to be able to share something about my family with all the students, especially since I couldn’t be with my family.

The students filled out mini evaluations for me. If there were “bad” things, they were mostly things about not liking quizzes because they had to read or that I wasn’t mean enough. A couple people wrote that I have to outline my notes/lecture better, which is great feedback from students. Also, that I didn’t go in depth enough. I think this is interesting because there is so much to cover in such little time. A lot of the students have trouble with the little amount of material we do study. Some were very sad. I’ve helped a lot of kids and believed in a lot of kids who have never had someone in their corner. Those few students really poured their hearts out on that half sheet of paper. There were thanks for patience, blessings, and poems. It was very touching and I will sincerely miss those students. I will miss them all, but I will especially miss them. I have a special place in my heart for the kids who everyone else sees as “bad.” In my class, they always prove everyone else wrong. They are respectful, sincere, honest, helpful, and outgoing. I think the “trouble makers” just need a little extra love and support.

I was AMAZED and very proud of myself because every student turned in their poster for this unit and took the test. It was unbelievable. I did not have any Fs and only a few Ds. The students were really working hard. The students that I was worried about really came through strong and took care of things. I believe that when the teacher cares, the students care. I reminded them and helped, I went to tutoring to make sure those kids really knew what was expected.

My teacher gave me a great compliment today and asked me for the email list to the parents. He said, “Hey, that’s really working,” about the hundreds of emails I send to the parents about their projects and test dates. It felt good to have a teacher want to do what I had been doing. It was a great way to phase out of my teaching.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

MONET weekend pictures!

Liz and I giving Monet kisses!! We love him!!
French crepes!! This was good, but Nelly's are better!! I REALLY miss her!

The sign for our chateau!!

For Katie =)

We're adorable. (Notice the long hair, Katie??)
Versailles' gardens!
In the gardens.
Monet's home!

Pictures from Poland!

Isn't this little guy cute?
Auschwitz 1.
The square at night.
Dwarfs carved in the salt mine!

In the river!!!!!!!!!

Lil update about Monet.

Journal 26 – April 2, 2007

Today is Passover and it makes me very homesick to think about the holiday and celebrations when I cannot be there with my family. It is exciting to do a Seder for my classes though. We sent home permission slips and passed it through the administration so tomorrow should be exciting.

We had a Monet weekend and I loved every second of it. We squeezed in the Eiffel Tower and Versailles, but the rest of our weekend was packed. We went to the Louvre and saw the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, and Venus De Milo. It is quite breathtaking, even the second time. We went to D’Orsay and I was surprised by the magnificent use of the building. The use of the space in the museum is very nice. It feels very open and airy. There were lions (statues) there and it reminded me of the Art Institute in Chicago. There were many Monet’s, Renoir’s, Van Gogh’s, and the list continues. We also went to Musée de l’Orangerie where Monet’s famous water lilies are displayed. They built two oval shaped rooms with benches in the middle. The size of the paintings are overwhelming when entering the room. It’s enough to just sit in the middle and imagine being at the ponds watching the sunset or observing the willow branches gently sway back and forth in the light summer’s breeze. But honestly, they’re gorgeous.

The Eiffel Tower was still there; I think I liked it more when I went with my daddy. We drove to a little town by Giverny and stayed in a château on the Marne River that was made by Leopold II. In the morning we were on our way to MONET’S GARDEN!! I am almost positive visiting his home was the most exciting part of my entire trip. Yes, his house is large, but there is nothing extravagant about it. There are paintings everywhere and it reminds me of my home and my mothers “decorating” skills of putting up works of art all over our house. The bedrooms are charming and quite livable. The dining room, my favorite room, is YELLOW with light blue trim. My two favorite colors! It was a lovely feeling just being in the dining room, and the dishes matched! The entire kitchen was blue, which was also nice and the tiles had a cute little design. There are Japanese prints and raku pottery all over the house as well.

The gardens were a whole other entity. They are huge (for a backyard.) Then you walk under a crosswalk and come out in Japan, or so it seems. There are European flowers, but the style is set up in an Asian way. The bridges also give it a feeling of Japan. Plants are purposely spaced out, and planted in places so there will always be something in bloom.

I desperately missed Katie at the gardens. We would always read Linnea in Monet’s Garden when we were little and Katie had the doll. (I had Madeline.) There were postcards, dolls, and the book for sale in the gift shop and I wish she could have been there with me. I know my time is almost over here and I will miss it very much, but I really miss my family and their love and support. It’ll be so nice to receive big hugs when I get home.

My dad said my mom made it home safely from Israel, so that makes me feel good too.