Friday, April 22, 2011

Zip-lining at Forest Adventure Park

We really wanted to try zip lining before Turf had to leave and before it got dreadfully hot out. We decided last weekend was the perfect weekend! Jess and Evan had been before, and the boys have had to zip line for the military (which Turf said makes zip lining NOT cool), but Kendall and I have never been.

 There was a whole cool course of different zip lines. The boys got real crazy and started doing some upside down tricks. No, thank you! Anyway, its quite the work out because you have to climb up and down the ladders and nets, hike up and down hills between courses, and the crash landings don't feel too good either.  There was some beautiful jungle scenery throughout the whole course, and it felt amazing to be swinging around through a bunch of trees :)
 The whole thing took us about 2 hours to go through and the very last course is kind of obstacle-like. It starts with a Tarzan jump (exactly as it sounds. You climb up to the top of this big platform and jump off of it and swing into a net on the other side). You then have to climb that net to reach another platform, cross over some wobbly planks, go through a swinging rings course, and finally make it to your final zip line.
It was definitely a ton of fun and something that we will do again, probably not frequently but once a year would be fun! We left tired, sweaty, and dirty.

Also, I got a job. No, not the Ed Tech position that I was originally hired for. And no, not the Assistant Manager position that I was also hired for. Right before human resources called me back about the assistant management position, I got an email from the principal at one of the elementary schools on base. I had submitted my teaching application but honestly didn't think I'd be hired. He said one of his 1st grade teachers was moving off the island and he needed a replacement for the rest of the year and ideally, next year. Any hiring that DOD does after January is only good through the end of the school year, but if I am already in the position I should be able to keep it, unless there is a crisis and there are tons of displaced permanent DOD employees. Anyway, I interviewed and was given the position on the same day.
This week was my first week of school. After the bad experiences that I had subbing in the Escambia district schools, I didn't want to get my hopes up about being great at the job. I was amazingly surprised. My class is small and SO well behaved. They are so sweet and all are adorable. There are some very supportive parents, the school is very well organized, and I was given two awesome mentor teachers who are helping me out so incredibly much. I have actually been able to leave work by 4:30 every day and not work crazy hours at home.
Granted, I am sticking pretty strictly to the curriculum since that's what the other teachers are doing. Since I'm still new, I don't want to go too crazy with planning my own things, and the kiddos are also pretty used to the old schedule and their old teacher's way of doing things (I have to add, she was amazing as well. Left me a week of lesson plans with all of the materials, met with me beforehand to explain things, etc. ). Of course, since all teachers do things differently, there are some things I will change next year, but for now I'm kind of just following along with the set up that I have been given.
I do have some pretty good ideas for next year already though, and am hoping I get the chance to become a permanent employee!
Pictures of some projects and the classroom are soon to come. I was very surprised that ALL the kids in my class celebrate Easter. No kidding, they all were talking about how excited they were for Easter. I know I'm supposed to teach diverse perspectives and all, but I couldn't help but send home a bunny project for the kids to do over the weekend. They are supposed to decorate a blank bunny template using only materials they find outside or around the house (no pens, crayons, markers, colored pencils, or pencils). Should be interesting to see what they come up with :)

Bunco Madness!

So traditionally, you play bunco with 12 girls. In Okinawa, we are obviously not traditional, and we had trouble finding 12 girls to play (we were 4 short since several ladies couldn't make it!), so we played with 8. Y' was still a blast! There was yelling, scrambling for dice, prizes, and pink decorations. We all decided we'd make it a monthly thing and start our own bunco group and now...snaps for us...we have a full 12 ladies to play! Let me take a minute to introduce you to some of the friends I've made!

You all know Kendall, Amber, and Jess. Kendall is on the far left and is the sweetest mean girl you'll ever meet. Seriously. If someone is driving too fast she'll say "maybe after this corner we'll slow down..." or "I feel like maybe we could slow down". She's also super fiesty if angered and very competitive in couples charades- don't mess with this Aggie!
Amber is the second from the left and my sweet little Oklahoma girl. She loooooves her cats and was the first one in our little group to start working. She looks and sings like Avril Lavigne and I forsee some very good karaoke nights with her.
And Jess is standing next to me. My little New Yawrker. She has an accent that we all love and is the 21 year old baby of the group. She also lives on Kinser a few towers away from Turf and I. Jess knows the most Japanese out of all of us since she's taking classes, so we are constantly relying on her when we go out in town.
I love these girls!
The other girls in the picture are Lindsey (she and her husband also have some crazy karaoke skills), Christina (who is a crafty-homemaking goddess), Megan (also a sweet little Texan girl), Diana (very nice and did a great job teaching Boomer tricks!), and Kara (who is also studying to be a teacher!). Such a fun group of ladies and I look forward to our next girl's night!