Hello family and friends!! This is my blog while I am in Europe. I hope to blog every day or every other day so, if you really want to, you can keep up with how and what I am doing in Baumholder, Germany (and various other European locations)! Thanks for reading!
I think I am finally adjusted to being in a room of 3 and 4 years olds instead of a room of 10 and 11 year olds. My only issue is that my 3 and 4 year olds are all ridiculously cute and I have to remember that I have to teach them. :)
Today was an art day, for the most part. We got to create Easter bunnies using the kiddos’ feet as the ears. They also made these pretty sweet tie-dye Easter eggs. All of this is going on the bulletin board, which looks really cute (Awesome job, Katie!). Corralling 3-year-olds and painting their feet was definitely interesting this morning. I already love these kiddos though!
Yesterday, I got the chance to attend my first ever IEP meeting. It was interesting to go through everything with the parents as an active participant and I feel much better about the whole meeting concept now.
I found out today that I will for sure have a group of 6 second-graders that I get to work with in the afternoons. Within this group of six, there are two sets of twins so that means I get to work with at least 3 sets of twins each day! Whew! I am excited to get started with these guys because they are really funny and will be a nice addition to my day.
I have been jogging/walking each day (except for Tuesdays and Thursdays because we go to Zumba) and it is definitely getting easier. Sarah and I found a 3.38 mile loop that we consistently take. Currently, I am only running downhill but I am able to go for longer, compared to last week. Today makes 6 days in a row that I have exercised for at least an hour on each day! Hey, it’s only 6 days but that’s WAY more than usual. My jog today was much easier than it has been, I was a little slower (I think because I hadn’t eaten since 11am and it was 4:30) but nothing hurts today so that was a definite bonus! Hopefully, I can keep it up even when I get back!
Julie and I are off to Rome on Friday morning to meet up with her family! I can’t wait for the history and excitement that is Rome!! WWOOHHHHHOOOO ITALY!
So, I have recently been reminded (Thanks, Dr. Yssel!) that I haven’t updated my blog in quite a while. I feel like I barely have time to eat and sleep so I am sorry that I have let the days slip away from me.
Two weekends ago, Sarah and I took a trip to Trier, Germany as well as Luxembourg, Luxembourg. Both were pretty awesome places. I’m glad that my family is connected to both places because there is amazing history in both places! I LOVED the Roman ruins in Trier. AMAZING!
Here are the pictures from Trier: http://photobucket.com/LeanderInTrier
Here are the pictures from Luxembourg: http://photobucket.com/LeanderInLuxembourg
My last day with my 5th graders was on Friday. I made each student a friendship bracelet, a bookmark and each student got a personal card. It was a very emotional day for me but I managed not to cry in front of my kiddos. I am going to miss them BIG TIME!
I really will try harder to keep everyone updated over the next six weeks. I can’t believe that I graduate in less than 50 days! Eeeek!
Julie and I are heading to Rome this weekend so I am sure that I will have a lot to share come Sunday!
This past weekend, we went to Prague, Czech Republic. The first trip that all 4 of us have take together since Rothenburg. It was a wonderful weekend, albeit short but we did cover a significant portion of Prague in the short time that we were there.
We left Baumholder at 4am to get to the airport by 6. Our flight left at 7ish and we flew straight into the sunrise. It was an awesome flight. Only 45 minutes, I had a whole row to myself (I didn’t have to fight for the window seat) and we got a cookie! :) The landing was also very smooth which always puts me in good spirits (I LOVE flying, I hate landing). Needless to say, I could barely contain my energy when we finally landed in Prague.
We hopped on a bus and headed to the center of the city. We hit Old Town Square a little after 8am and it was completely empty. So we wandered the town a little and got ourselves familiar with the area. Once the city had begun to wake up a bit we decided to actually go see things. The first day we did A LOT of walking and saw a significant portion of the city.
The hostel that we stayed in was awesome! Every room was a different theme. We were in “Brandon” (the room name), and it was all bamboo. This room had a loft! It was really nice. We even had our own bathroom!
After sightseeing all day, Tatina and I went on a “ghost tour” of Old Town Prague. It was less of a ghost tour and more of a see-the-sights-in-the-dark-and-learn-some-history sort of deal but it was still a lot of fun! I had my first beer ever at a Czech bar in a monastery! The monastery is active and the monks brew this beer using the same recipe that they have since 1128. I was quite proud of myself. The tour was led by a Canadian so his English was great and we all had a good time. After that tour, we went back to the hostel and crashed.
Sunday was more of a do-everything-we-wanted-to-do-yesterday-but-didn’t kind of day. We started as a group of 4 and went to the Jewish Quarter and visited the Old Jewish Cemetery. It is the oldest Jewish Cemetery in all of Europe. Apparently, when Hitler was killing Jews by the thousands, he also ordered all Jewish cemeteries in Europe to be destroyed as well. However, Hitler decided that he was going to allow the ‘unique’ Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague to be spared so that he could use it as a museum once the Jewish Race had been eliminated. It was an incredibly powerful location. Yes, I cried. I admit it. Fortunately, it was also raining so I blamed it on the rain. :-j
After the Jewish Quarter, we split off in pairs and went to do whatever it was we wanted to do. Tatina and I did a little shopping, went and saw the TV tower with babies crawling on it and then rode the trams up to the Prague Castle Complex. When back in Old Town Square, we decided to get a little food. There are booths that sell “Old Prague Ham,” roasted on spits over an open fire with fresh cut wood. I decided I was going to try it even though they sliced it off with machetes and plunked it on a plate with their leather gloves on. IT WAS THE BEST HAM I’VE EVER EATEN!!! I cannot express to you in words how delicious that ham was. I am still reeling. After that, we took a coffee and cake cruise on the Vltava River! Great sight seeing and good food.
As a whole, Prague is an amazing city! The architecture is unique and gorgeous. The days themselves were beautiful despite the rain we had on Sunday morning. It was a marvelous trip and I am very glad that we got to go!!
To see all 743 photos from my Prague trip please use the following link: http://photobucket.com/LeanderInPrague
Needless to say, I am spending the weekend at home this week!
Love to all!
Apparently, I forgot to actually publish my post from Stockholm. It’s up now… incomplete but it’s the best I can do right now. Sorry friends!
This past weekend, Sarah, Julie and I took a trip to Stockholm. It was a three day weekend so we decided that we were going to go a little farther than we usually do… a little farther north. Interesting choice in the middle of winter. Fortunately, it wasn’t too cold. :)
Friday, February 17
We flew in (with a rough landing) on Friday night, late. We flew out of Germany at 8:30pm and landed in Skavsta Airport at 10:30 and then rode a bus for 80 minutes from Skavsta to Stockholm city. We made it to our hostel a little after midnight and pretty much crashed. We did meet a new friend, Stan. Of all the roommates we could have possibly had, we ended up with a good one. He was from Slovakia (I think) but was living in Germany and working in Luxembourg. He spoke great english and was able to tell us what to do and see for the few days that we were there. I feel bad that he got stuck in the room with us girls!
Saturday, February 18
Here was our plan for Stockholm: Walk around and find cool stuff. So that is what we did. Stan had mentioned that we should to to Gamla Stan, the old city, which is an island. So we headed that direction (eventually). We wandered through the city, found the city hall and did some shopping.
Don’t hate. I know I haven’t posted in FOREVER, but school has consumed much more of my time than I had imagined. I just had to share my experiences of the past 3 hours.
I attended my first homecoming ceremony (and my last for a while) tonight. 324ish soldiers came home today after being gone for a year and a half. I got to witness 4 of my students get their dads back as well as watching bunches of other reunions in the gymnasium. I worked very hard not to sob like a baby (because I was happy, SARAH, not because I was sad). I can’t even put into words how in awe and speechless I am right now.
One of my students saw his dad walk in, jumped up and down and started crying. He is the “class clown” and doesn’t like to show weakness in the classroom. Watching him break down like that was heartwarming and beautiful. And after first giving him a big hug, I never saw my student let go of some part of his dad, whether that be holding his hand or the back of his shirt. It is a memory that I will NEVER forget.
Watching dads hug their kids and wives, put their kids on their shoulders, take pictures… it is all forever cemented in my memory. Even listening to the National Anthem with 400+ soldiers in one room was very moving. I was an amazing thing to witness and I can so very proudly say that I am incredibly thankful for and proud of the men and women who serve our country.
Congratulations, Baumholder! All of your soldiers are home!
First, I would like to introduce you all to my bulletin board!! It is on the landing of the stairs that the classes have to climb to get to 4 of the classrooms so bunches of people get to see it every day! The kids wrote examples of each of the comprehension strategies as they read the poem “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. They all did a really good job and I am excited that they were all willing to participate.
In other news, well, there really isn’t any other news. School went well this week. We only had 3 full days. Thursday was a half day (the student day ended at 11:01 and we had meetings all afternoon) and Friday, today, was a teacher work day. It was nice to be able to just sit and get things done!
I have nothing really big planned for this weekend. I am going to High Tea at a castle in Frankfurt with the teacher that I will be with for the last 6 weeks of student teaching. It’ll definitely be interesting because I have never been to a tea of any sort before. Gotta try new things, I guess!
I have also decided that I am in love with living in Germany! AND I LOVE LIVING IN THE MOUNTAINS!! Everything is so beautiful and the towns are cute and there is so much history and I JUST LOVE IT! (Whew! Can you tell it was sunny today? That always puts me in a better mood.) I really do enjoy the fact that I get to live here for 16 weeks and I cherish every moment.
That’s about it for now. I will tell you all about tea later this weekend!
Love to all!
So, I often realize that I should post more. These realizations often come right before I go to sleep at night, therefore, no posts ever get written. But, after a lovely pizza night Tuesday at the Berghof, I remember that I should post!
I understand that I am in Germany and I understand that that is pretty dang awesome but, this fact aside, life is pretty average.
I am absolutely loving my class! My 5th grade kiddos are fantastic and I love my cooperating teacher. The first subject that I got to jump in on… Social Studies! My favorite! Aaannnnndddd… It’s 5th grade so we are working on the American Revolution! What could be better. Today I taught my third Social Studies lesson and they all have been really good. I feel that all of my students are engaged in the lesson and everyone seems to be learning. These lessons are high-energy lessons though and they WEAR ME OUT!
I got to talk to Katrena, Marissa and Brandi on Skype Sunday!! That was super exciting. I miss their faces. I also got to Facebook chat with Austin (Farmer) this morning which made my day better. It is strange to think that I was talking to him at 6am in the morning right after I had woken up and he was getting ready to go to bed. This time difference thing is weird. I have had some weird homesick moments this past weekend. I’m not sure if it is because we didn’t go do anything or what. I do know that I miss my friends and I miss my family. We are only at the 3 week mark, which is about the longest I have ever been at school, and I am still trying to process through the fact that I won’t be going home for random weekends or seeing Corinne’s show choir or getting to spend Selma’s birthday with her. I think it is all going to get harder before it gets easier but I’ll make it through somehow.
One of the reasons that I know I’ll make it through is that we have some AWESOME teachers in the Baumholder school community. Three days in and I already felt like family. Everyone is so kind and considerate and completely understand the fact that we can’t get anywhere without rides. Teachers are constantly offering rides or their washing machines or homes for dinners or sleepovers. I absolutely ADORE this little community that I have somehow had the privilege of being a part of. It is such a cool experience and I am truly and wholly glad that I took the risk and made a leap of faith in coming here.
Well, this “short, little post” has become a lot longer than expected. I will try to post more often from now on (especially about school, considering that is the reason that I am here). I will also try to get a few pictures of things around the school [like my bulletin board and my desk] so that ya’ll can start to get a feel for where I am and what I am doing.
Love and hugs to all!
Week 2, done! This past week, I had the opportunity to teach Social Studies (American Revolution, YAY!) and Math (Fractions, ick). I am settling into my classroom quite nicely and absolutely LOVE my kiddos! They are great and the classroom dynamic is awesome! There are 24 students in my classroom and, while challenging at times, they are excited about the material and willing to learn.
IT IS SNOWING IN BAUMHOLDER!! I am sooooooo excited! It has been rainy and in the low 40s high 30s basically since we arrived. I think I have seen the sun three times in the past 2.5 weeks. However, I am VERY glad that it is snowing. One of the reasons that I wanted to come to Germany this semester is because I knew that it would be winter. Apparently, I picked the mildest winter in years. I am just very glad that it is snowing!!
Here is the “life update” part of this life update… This is what happens when I attempt to cook soup on an unfamiliar stove:
Yeah, it was EVERYWHERE! Under the microwave, on the floor… My bad. Next time I will babysit it for the whole 20 minutes that it is supposed to “simmer.” Dumb stove.
Here is my next life update. Today, we got Wetzel Wear!! I am sooo happy!! I love school spirit stuff!
Can’t beat those Wetzel Wizards!!
Well, that is about all I have for you today. It has been a pretty average 4-day week. I will blog again before the weekend is over. We chose not to do anything (except laundry) this weekend. We need a refresher weekend!
Hey! Did I mention it’s snowing!!! :)
So… WE WENT TO MADRID!! Just for the weekend. We were only there for approximately 40 hours but it was totally worth it!
Madrid, Day 1 (Saturday)
Our plane flew out of Frankfurt at 6:30ish on Saturday. We had to ride the train for almost 2 hours to even get to the train station. It was an interesting journey but Sarah and I were able to get seats right next to each other on the plane. The plane landed in Madrid at about 10pm and then it took us a little time to get though border control. After that, we hopped on the metro and it took us an HOUR to get to the apartment. Fortunately, the apartment was centrally located, we just didn’t know it at that time. Pretty average traveling day. We got to the apartment, were welcomed warmly by Sarah’s teacher, Tammy, and her friends and then crashed. End of day 1.
Madrid, Day 2 (Sunday)
We were up fairly early so that we were out the door at about 9am to go to El Rastro (a giant flea market that is on the streets in the center of town). We wandered through that an bought some stuff before getting coffee at a little cafe and then headed back to the apartment to drop things off. After dropping things off, the three of us (Sarah, Julie and I) split off from the rest of the group and headed back to El Rastro so that I could buy a bag (which I did and I LOVE IT!). After that we headed to a bakery to buy some sort of delicious treat for lunch. I had a baguetini, which was delicious and cheap so it worked well for me. Then we did a little more shopping on the way to Plaza Mayor.
Plaza Mayor is huge and gorgeous! Every Sunday they have a postage stamp and coin market and so Sarah and I went and looked at all of that and bought a few things! It was pretty awesome. Then we decided to head toward the Palacio Real (Royal Palace). We didn’t know exactly where it was but we headed in what we thought was the right direction. It wasn’t and we had to backtrack but we found some awesome buildings along the way. Eventually, we found the Palace and decided that we were going to pay the 5€ to go through. It was absolutely beautiful and I’ve decided I’m going to move in! :) Unfortunately, no cameras are allowed inside so I don’t have any pictures but if you really want to see the inside, just google it (or go to Madrid).
After the palace we sorta just wandered the city. We found an Egyptian temple that was 2000 years old. Don’t exactly know the history there but that is what the sign said. We found some other cool buildings along the way while headed toward the Prado Museum to meet up with the others. The museum has free admission starting at 5pm so we went in. I still don’t understand the point of art museums. I wasn’t so very impressed… Meh. I can say I’ve been there.
After the museum we found a place to eat (it wasn’t very good). I tried a local dish called paella, which was very seafood-y and I didn’t like it. Oh well, another thing that I can say I did. After dinner, Tammy decided she wanted to chocolate churros. So we found them. It was a 20-odd minute walk to get these chocolate churros, but they were DELICIOUS!! I am very glad that Tammy decided that she wanted it. After that, we went home and crashed.
Madrid, Day 3 (Monday)
Another 9am morning. We decided to go to the Parque de Retiro (aka. Retiro Park). It was very grand. There were lots of fountains and monuments and big long paths. This park also had 2 palaces in it, Valesquez and Cristal. Both were large and ornate. We spent most of the morning in the park. We also visited a church right outside of the park as well as this large gateway, arch thing (I’m sure it has a name, I just don’t know what it is). Both were beautiful!
After the park, we rode the metro back toward the apartment and did a little shopping. We didn’t find anything and were on a schedule so we went back to the apartment, got our stuff and headed back to the metro station to go to the airport.
Our flight left Madrid at 3:15 and landed at 6pm. I sat next to an old man who spoke no english who was coughing and his nose dripped into his lap. To top that off, my headphones and remote for the tv on the back of the seat in front of me didn’t work so I had to just sit there for 3 hours. It was not my favorite flight. But we landed… and that’s when the adventure began.
We literally ran through the airport and through border control to get to the train station. When got there just as our train was pulling up and thought we were in the clear but we didn’t have tickets. Normally you can buy tickets on the train but this train was clearly labelled (in German, thank you Sarah) “Don’t get on without a valid ticket” or something like that. It was a 40€ fine if you didn’t have a ticket. So we had to let our train leave the station without us.
We found a place to buy tickets and a train that came a half hour later. We attempted multiple times to call Kaye, the lady who was supposed to pick us up in Neubrucke, to no avail. So we got on the train, knowing that we were going to get to the home station an hour late. Riding the train, we tried to call Kaye multiple times but never got through. Finally we got to the Neubrucke station and… no Kaye. I mean, she would have had to wait for an hour but she wasn’t there. We didn’t hear from her until an hour later (when Tammy’s friend was there to pick us up). We waited at that train station for an hour… It was an interesting trip.
Well, that is about it for Madrid. Sorry for the long, yet rather undetailed post. My pictures will be better labelled. You can find them here: http://photobucket.com/LeanderGoesToMadrid
I had a BLAST but am still recovering! I need sleep!! Hugs!