Saturday, October 4, 2008

My classroom is brand new. It's in the addition that the school just put on. The walls were fresh, carpet new, smarboard new, desk new, cabinets new....and I inherited materials from last year's teacher. We didn't have a carpet for the longest time and then...they delivered this. Could it fit me any better?

"Ok, so... How am I gonna set this up?"

Here is my classroom...

I should mention that I have a cooperating teacher. Her responsibilities are to help with grading, lunch count, neatness of room, working with groups, and basically anything I need--super blessed, right?

At AIS (Almaty International School), we have a mastery learning system--meaning, every child MUST master each learning goal. This makes a cooperating teacher handy, because differentiated instruction is a must as some students "Get it" and some students don't. Another pair of hands and eyes makes it more likely to have each student "master content" and succeed.

Anyways, I have a vision for the classroom--how it should function and what it should look like, and basically, she makes it happen.

International Brunch

Today at school was the international brunch/open house. Everyone at the school, including factulty, were to bring a dish to share. What's more American than good ol' pb&j?! This idea was recommended by a colleague. I was almost going to make eggplant parm...

Family should know that as I spread the jelly, i remembered when Ashley abruptly argued that my pb&j's aren't as good as "grandma's"... So I hoped and prayed my pb&j's would be like my Mom's...

The Crib

Pictured here is my very Russian-looking living room. Isn't it nice? Green is the color of choice. I was so blessed. When I arrived, there was everything I needed except internet and a dvd player. There is a vacuum, hair dryer, dishes, linens, utensils...It's very nice and I love it!

Kazakh Concert

Two Friday evenings ago, I went to a traditional Kazakh concert. The music was beautiful! Very dainty, and many songs celebrated the end of winter (ha ha). Ironically, I am listening to this music right now as I post this...I guess there's a concert somewhere close or my neighbor has it on cd!

Hilarious- one of the traditional instruments makes this "boooeeinngg" sound. For some reason, it's kinda comical, and one of my colleagues and I almost burst out the third the middle of the concert. but we didn't :)

How sweet is this pic?

This photo was taken at the top lookout at Medeo in the Tianshan Mountains. The ice skating rink seen in the above post is behind and below the photographer.

When we got to the top, this man charged 300 tenge to hold his eagle pet. I was freaked, but knew I couldn't pass up this opportunity! I did not look the eagle in the eye. ;)


One Sunday in early September, we took a school trip into the Tianshan Mountains. This spot is called Medeo. We walked up 800 some steep steps (they reminded me of the Great Wall) to a lookout. Here, we ate our packed lunch, I snapped this photo, and we walked back down. The view is breathtaking. The white thing you see in this photo is the famous Medeo ice rink. This is where Kazakhstan's Olympic athletes train. It is being remodeled, so it is temporarly a roller-blading rink. I roller bladed here.

First Day of School

I'm actually a teacher. After moving here, we were thrown into teacher induction, then staff development, and suddenly, teaching. I have students... and a classroom. It was all so fast, I actually don't even remember the first day of school right now as I write this. Here I am the morning of my very first day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Safe and Sound

Hi! So, soon as I figured out the "log in" button, I could get into my blog. This was difficult b/c everything at the top of the menu bar was in Russian--yea. Thankfully a nice Kazakh guy helped me out...
So i'm sitting in Gloria Jean's Coffees. Cushy, right? Yes, well, there is a very western mall just 3 mins. by trolley from my apartment, but before I get to all that I wanna* fill you in on the journey.
So, I left last Wednesday and traveled 7 1/2 hours to London. British Air. For those of you who knew about the excess baggage drama, God is good. We got to the airport and my luggage and all came to exactly $600. This is the allowance QSI (Quality Schools International, my company) will pay for. I had a glorious flight on the aisle seat in the middle row of the plane. There was no one between me and the lady on the other side, so the extra seat provided space to stash my pillow and book, etc when not in use. I watched a movie, and basically rested my eyes. I don't usually sleep on planes. Also, the food was delicious.
I arrived in London exhausted so actually slept on some benches in the terminal off an on for, like, 4 hours. I woke up and read on the departure screen "flight [B whatever] to Almaty: GO TO GATE" and pretty much booked it. There I met up with three other QSI teachers.

That flight was okay--7 1/2 hours, but hilariously I watched my luggage load onto the plane and had peace of mind that all went well with that. I sat next to a "Christian Doctor." She's american, but works in Bishkek, Kyrgestan, and already invited me for Thanksgiving!!
I actually slept---that kind of sleep where you wake up and THINK you might've slept---but at least I got rest.

When I got to Almaty, all was fine. Amanda (a QSI teacher on my flight) and I got our bags and stuff. The other two teachers we had met continued to Bishkek, but we also met a girl who teaches at another international school in Almaty. I got all my bags--a total answer to prayer. :) we arrived at 2am, but had to wait at the airport for, like, 2 hours for another van. Oddly enough, they didn't have enough space for my and amanda's stuff in the ONE van---can you imagine? ;)

So, we got to my apartment at 6 am. I ooooed and ahhhed b/c it's WAY nicer than I expected--beautiful ,actually (more on that later). then, the electric was off, but the dudes turned it on (yay!). then the water was off, but they turned it on (yay!). then, vlodia (russian maintenance man for QSI and driver) showed me how the shower (Fondly referred to as the spaceship...more on that later...) worked. Then, the pipe burst (crap!) and we figured out why the water was off. so, i stayed in amanda's TWO bedroom mansion for a day or so.

we slept from 8am that morning till 2pm, then explored a little. i stayed with her that night, and the next day we went shopping with a bunch of other new teachers and then my water was fixed!

The jet lag was NOT bad. after the mid-day nap our first day, i forced myself to stay up late, like till 12 and then i slept until 6 or so. Basically, i continued that pattern and feel pretty much adjusted. :)

*Note: attn. students: these entries have not been edited for proper grammatic usage. please do not follow this example. note to educators: i really do have great grammatical usage.

I have SO MUCH to say, but gotta go. a video and pics to come. internet NOT in my apartment right now. maybe never. must work that out.....eek.

<3 for now, i use internet at cafe's and schools. this was my first chance to get on.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Hey guys. So, i leave in, like, 8 days. it's kinda crazy. i'm pretty excited, but also kinda nervous. i know things will be great, and i'm so grateful for many of your prayers. please continue! :) just so you're updated, i'm still waiting for my visa, met with the bank this morning to go over accounts. i'm hanging out tomorrow and will actually start packing new boxes on thursday---repacking, kinda. the weekend is dedicate to "last" things before the move.

xo hit me back