Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A wand no longer needed for the Knight bus.

I am absolutely convinced, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that J.K. Rowling took a trip on one of the busses going from Estril to Sintra Portugal before writing about the Knight bus in her Harry Potter series. These busses careen around narrow corners, hurtle through tiny streets lined with parked cars, and somehow manage to miss just about everything on the road. It's really miraculous, or magical if you want to take Rowling's side.

Other than that realization which occured yesterday things are going well. I'm pretty happy with the way my classroom looks now. I've got plenty of things up on the walls to show parents who come tomorrow yet there is lots of space for student work. I've been meeting a lot of the new teachers and they all seem wonderfully helpful, which is really nice.

Saturday we're having people over to my apartment for food, drinks, and hanging out. It should be fun. I want lots of people to come but don't know how many my place can hold so it could be an interesting social experiment. If it isn't too windy (which I'm not betting on at all) then we could take the chairs and tables up to the rooftop terrace where there is plenty of room. However if things continue as they are if we tried such a manuever everything would blow off the top including the people, so we'll see.

I'm feeling much more prepared than normal at the beginning of the year. I think that I've spent a lot of time reflecting on past years and trying to figure out what worked and what didn't. It could just be blissfull ignorance and next week is going to hit me like a ton of bricks. Or I could be realizing that stressing out and running around doesn't really help matters, that ten minute breaks to update a blog actually helps to refocus the mind, and that things can only be so ready for Monday morning. After that it's all about flexibility and rolling with the punches. So we will see.

Random thoughts...
(There is no space in my mind right now for random thoughts, I'm pretty focussed on school right now...)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Toto, I don't think we're in Freetown anymore.

What's different? Everything.

Like the fact that the @, ?, and ' are all in the wrong spot on this keyboard so if you don't understand what I'm typing I apologize in advance.

I arrived in Portugal three days ago. It's been pretty crazy. Getting here was nuts to start with. It seems I was supposed to fly out last Thursday NOT last Friday when I showed up at the airport. Oops. I don't think this one was my fault though, everything I'd received told me that the 15th was my departure day. Anyway, I was able to spend some extra time with friends in Atlanta (Thanks Faye and Jeff) and made it onto the Saturday flight.

I made it to the airport in Lisbon with little complication. That was nice. Then my school director picked me up, showed me to the hotel, and informed me that even though I'd been up for the past umpteen hours and had flown over a giant body of water I ought to go apartment hunting that afternoon. So after a quick shower I was off.

It was actually a lot of fun looking at apartments. It is absolutely beautiful here. In a different way than Freetown though. I commented on how brown everything here is and was told some other teachers who have just taught in Kuwait for the past several years were marveling at how green everything is. Perspectives. Anyway, I found a place relatively quickly. It was packed with old grandma knick-knacks, which I was able to look beyond and see a great three bedroom (lots of room for visitors... hint hint) place with an exceptional view of the ocean. I spent a lot of yesterday throwing... I mean placing carefully, old grandma stuff in closets. I need to get some sticky stuff for the walls so I can redecorate a bit, but it's starting to feel a lot more like home already. (Home being a very non-concrete concept for me)

I've spent a lot of time walking up and down the boardwalk, which is actually made of tiles. I've resumed my morning Bible reading and working out schedule, which is nice. I hear there are places to take yoga here so I may start that up again depending on how things go once school starts. I've already started talking to a few people about getting a bike to ride to school and have had a few places recommended. Yesterday I bought a phone that was too expensive for me but is really nice, taking pictures, which is good since I don't have a camera, and playing music, which is nice cause I don't have an i-pod.

Other than that things are kind of just moving along. I met my co-teacher today. He is new to the school also and comes from the British system so I think there will be a bit of a blind leading the blind mentality for the first little while. It does give us the, "We didn't know that's how it was supposed to work", excuse for a while. I think our director is pretty cool though and will be very supportive.

So that's the news from here. I'll throw some pictures up here once I figure out how to get them off my phone.

Random thoughts: Dogs on cups with cups in their mouths begging for change make good companions to accordian players lying in the street, Portuguese women really are as beautiful as people keep saying they are, there is a castle five minutes from my house and people talk about it like it's no big deal, roundabouts shouldn't have stoplights.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The wrong place to look for a date

Tonight was AWESOME!  I went to the Christian Singles dance this evening in Augusta.  The website advertised that individuals from 18 and up attended, that the typical dances included swing, ballroom, and line dancing, which all sounded good to me.  So last minute I threw on some clothes, made sure I was looking hot and my breath was minty fresh and took off.

So, I show up at the dance and see pretty quickly that this is going to be an interesting evening. Out of the hundred people that were at the dance there might have been four that were about my age.  The rest... closer to 60.  At least.  Maybe one or two in there 40's, several in their 50's, a lot above social security age.  I took a few minutes to decide what to do.  Then I spent the next three hours dancing with people older than my parents.  It was HILARIOUS.  I had such a good time.  Maybe didn't help out my singleness very much, but I did get to dance and had a good time doing it.  There were times when I would look around and just laugh because I tried to picture what I looked like surrounded by blue hair and dentures.  Most of the time though I forgot where I was because I was having such a good time.  

Random thoughts:  "I kissed a girl and I liked it..." gets stuck in your head and never leaves, I had too much junk in my house before moving to Sierra Leone, I leave for Portugal on Friday and finally feel like I'm ready to go, Strawberry-Banana yogurt is my favorite.