Thursday, May 24, 2007

In the Moscow Wilds...

That sounds a whole lot more exciting than it is. Well, actually things went a little crazy in town on Saturday night. There was actually a shootout downtown. Some crazy guy started shooting from a church steeple and killed a police officer and a couple of civillians. Not the normal for this sleepy little town. There was some 20 year old college student watching a Die Hard movie who heard the gun shots, strapped on his own pistol, and rode his bike down to go all vigilante and save the day. Remind anyone of somebody? If not, you've never met my nephew David. Consequently the kid was shot three times and is in critical condition. David, if you're reading this, let that be a lesson to you. The police officers said that he really just put himself in danger and made things harder for them as they had no way of knowing if he was involved or trying to help. Anyhow, it was a lot more excitement than what usually takes place here. It was actually the first officer ever killed in the line of duty in Moscow.
I really don't have a whole lot of time to write just now as I should be working on catching up in my journal, but I wanted to at least update a bit. My parents and I are driving back down to Blodgett tomorrow where I will take on the daunting task of going through all my stuff, as well as helping them begin the packing process.
A group of men from Blodgett came up the second half of last week and reroofed the house in 2 DAYS!!!! It was quite impressive. Since then we have also managed to do a lot of other projects around the place, including tearing up all the floor coverings in the basment, and removing a TON of mold! Even so, the house is likely to keep their retirement from being too boring! It is at least starting to look like it might work out as a nice house after all. I've even scoped out a potential grad school bedroom for myself. Hmm, 30 year old spinster living in her parents basement...that's bordering on the Emily Dickinson route. So be it.
Well, I'd really best get around to journaling, but at least I look more alive now :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Czech Update

Well, I finally know where I'll be going. It's not Prague, but it's not super far away. It's a town called Cheb which is just across the German border. I'll be with two other girls there. One is a veteran teacher (meaning she's been in the country at least one year) and the other is new like me. All the teachers in Prague are returning teachers, so there really wasn't a chance to get there. I don't have a lot more info at the moment, but it is exciting to see it all coming together.
In other news, I sold my car yesterday and I'm in the process of packing and shipping things off to myself. So crazy that my time here is over. No more subbing! Yeah! I'm going to miss the family though. It's been quite an adventure getting to know all of them as well.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

One week...

Well, only one more week left of the ye olde Alaskan Adventure. Hard to believe I've been here for 9 months. I can safely say I will not miss being a substitute teacher one little bit. Well, except for the pay checks. But other than that, I'm counting down the days...and there are only two of them! Woohoo!
The school year actually doesn't bet out until the 23rd, but I figure, I really don't want to sub the last week of school. Already the kids are pretty much bouncing off the wall. While most of us think it's because they can't wait for vacation, the truth is that is only the case about half the time. It's sad to realize how many kids are freaking out over being home all the time. Many of them have pretty pathetic places to go back to. I was talking to a teacher yesterday and she was pointing out how a lot of them act out because it is a lot easier to say goodbye to someone you're upset with than someone you love. I feel fortunate that I've never had that outlook on goodbyes. I dread them, but I want every moment to be perfect up to that moment of departure. At least when it comes to saying goodbye to my friends. At the same time, I can remember how I'd let things at Mother's Choice really drive me crazy in the days leading up to my leaving. If all I could think about was how frustrating it was that people couldn't seem to put up a new roll of toilet paper when they finished one it was a lot easier to move on. It only partly worked, however. Still when I think of HK it's pretty much the best place I've ever lived. If only it wasn't so far away from my family! Wow, I'm really rambling.
Mostly, I just felt like I've been neglecting my blogs lately and wanted to remedy that a bit. Currently my main stress is trying to sell my Pathfinder. I got a few calls last weekend, but no takers and now I'm down to very little time to make the deal. (sigh) Just have to keep reminding myself that God is in control. He knows all the little details, and he cares. That really is all that gets me through any day.
Well, my computer has been a dork lately and shutting down right in the middle of things, so I should close. Yesterday it quit in the middle of my workout! Not fun. I tried to keep up my heart rate while rebooting and fast forwarding to the correct point. Every time I got through about 5 minutes of the video it would skip back to the main menu. Eventually I just had to give up and do the stretching section without finishing the real work out.
Hmmm, rambling again. Guess I should mosey.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Fist Fight

It's amazing how fast a gym floor can become dirty. They seem to suck every scrap of dirt off the bodies of the sweaty kids that run about in them. Little particles of dust that clump together, random buttons, forbidden candy wrappers, bits of shoelaces, littered across the dingy gray surface. Gyms seem to be constructed to echo as loudly as possible, heightening the hysteria of kids who spend too much time cooped up in classrooms or in front of TV screens. The energy is more than palpable, it's just plain LOUD.
I knew what I was getting into when I accepted the PE sub job at Fairview. It wasn't the first time I'd found myself within these walls that seem to speak of poverty and oppression, no matter how shiny and new the building appears. There is something that hangs around that region of Anchorage that speaks of ghettos and poverty. But I came anyway. Not because I am so selfless or loving. It's because it is my job and I get paid. It's been a long time now since I wrote my glowing essays, now filed in my employee file, idealistically talking about my desire to see children feasting on the knowledge I hold out to them in my delicate fingers. There is little room for idealism at this point. The kids here are hard and broken. They raise themselves in bitter despair. While I see the need, I feel helpless to rescue them from the prison futures I see so clearly laid out before them. So I accept these jobs, and try to remind myself that they are just children after all. Sweet gifts from God, crafted in his image.
As I walked around the gym, dodging the balls the kids were throwing at each other, I found myself searching for some sense of innocence in them. But even in play, there was a hardness, a dark competition that seems so distant from my own youth. I feel so old as the words "kids these days" echo through my mind. The sad truth, however, is that the world really does seem to be spiraling into darker realities with each passing day.
The echoing noises of children, running and playing, pounded against my already brutally throbbing head. I have a cold, and having to shout to keep them in line wasn't helpful to my scratchy throat. I figured that as long as no one was getting injured and they seemed to be enjoying themselves that it didn't matter much if they were noisily out of control.
I looked down to the far end of the gym and realized in an instant that someone was getting injured. A boy pulled his shirt up over his head and hunkered down as another boy proceeded to pummel him.
I scarcely knew I was moving as I fumbled uselessly in my pocket for my Simpson College Women's safety whistle. Anything to make some noise and hopefully avoid having to add myself to the fist flying frenzy. I've been in some pretty dodgy schools around town, but the last time I had to break up a fist fight the combatants were 7. This time I was dealing with 6th grade boys who easily out weighed me.
My mind was reeling as I reached around the attacker. His fists beat up and down blindly, rage coursing through his muscled movements. My weak attempts to pull him off were easily buffeted by his fury. I appealed to the other students to go for help from the office as my hands sought to hold the boy back.
The fists continued to pound with a mind of their own. My efforts were not appreciated by the adrenaline that drove the boy to beat and beat and beat at his classmate. As his arm came up quickly I felt his fist connect with my right cheek bone, just below my eye. Fortunately my contacts didn't decide to freak out, and a moment later the janitor came in and was able to call the boy off. Even as he ushered them toward the Principal's office the boy seemed eager to begin the beating again.
There was a dull throbbing in my face, but I was able to ignore it for the most part. Of course once the boys were removed a group of girls had to get into it as they debated whether the attack, spurned by a spitting incident that took place three days before, was warranted or not. Ai ya! I tell you, kids these days...
Visibly I didn't even come out of it with a bruise,, but even today, four days later, there is a tender spot where the fist struck me. And that's about it for the story, but now my dad can feel satisfied that I managed to embellish it a bit more.