Monday, August 11, 2008

Back to School

Kids came back to school today. I don't really have enough energy to write a full reflection after a very full day (Mondays I have no preps this year!). But I have a couple initial thoughts:
*I love that I already know the curriculums that I am teaching this year. It makes transition and planning MUCH easier and makes for a more relaxed start.
*I LOVE the people I teach with. I missed them this summer!
*I still miss my kids from last year. Many have been stopping by and they are so great! I know that this year will also lead to good relationships, but I missed having my kids from last year sitting in my room :)
*I am going to have some challenging classes this year filled with big personalities and lots of kids needing extra support. Pray for patience. I know I'll love them, but this is going to be a really different year with regards to dynamics.
*I love Tuesdays (I have 3 preps in a row!)

That's it for now. More to come when I have energy.

Japan Recap

I did not have time to post while I was in a Japan, but wanted to share a few of the highlights. I spent most of my first two days walking the city and seeing gardens, museums, temples, shrines, etc. I woke up at 4 am one morning and wandered the fish market and had a fantastic sushi breakfast with a guy from Taiwan. I guess one of the most interesting experiences my first few days was that I slept in a capsule 2 nights. A capsule is basically a human sized hole in the wall that is your space for the evening… there were probably about 2 dozen of them on the floor that I was on. Check mine out:

Just as I was starting to adjust to the time zone I completely threw myself off again and accomplished what I thought was quite a feat: I climbed Mt. Fuji (approx 12,000 ft summit)! I started hiking with a Japanese saleswomen, a Japanese guy who has been riding his bike around the country for the last 150 days and sleeping in parks, and a Korean businessman from Pusan at about 8 pm. We hiked up all through the night and made it to the summit (that still had patches of snow on the ground) just after sunrise about 5 am. Then after breakfast on the summit, we got to hike back down slopes of thick volcanic ash. The hike was one of the most difficult physical tasks I have ever done. There is a saying in Japanese that says that everyone should climb Fuji once, but you’re a fool to do it twice, I’ve done it my one time. If I never do it again, I’ll be happy. But the views around sunrise were amazing! I really felt like I was on the top of the world!

Near the end of the trip I was able to meet up with people I knew/knew of. I met up with a Swedish friend I met traveling in Thailand, Martin, and my Korean coworker Emily’s friend, Davia. It was nice to have familiar contacts. I went to Kamakura with Davia and saw a massive Buddha. Martin showed me around the Shinjuku area. I appreciated their hospitality.

Overall, it was a good trip. A nice intro to Tokyo area.

More pics on my facebook album: