Thursday, April 14, 2011

the curtain is closing.

so my last post was a month ago ... and i kind of knew this was going to happen. i have been crazy busy with every, every, everything in my life. student teaching is dwindling down. tomorrow is my last day as a full-time teacher, then...SPRING BREAK. full-time teaching was great. i can't sum it up at all on here, but if you really want to know about it, sit down with me for a few minutes and i can talk about a lot of it. (although it really is all starting to mix together.)
in other life - the teaching position at Naperville has had no change, as in no response. and as for now, i am pursuing nanny positions for the summer, and having a lot of interviews, but no luck so far. i can feel it though, i'm close to getting one. i had three interviews in the last 2 days, and i had good feedback from the families. once i graduate and get settled into the new normal of life (june-ish) i will start majorly applying for teaching jobs - my real life goal. speaking of normalcy:
shane and i signed an apartment a few weeks ago - it's adorable, affordable, and in lincoln square/bucktown - the cutest neighborhood. we get the keys on the 25th and i just can't stop visualizing all of it. i love it. i'm so happy to make it a home.
last weekend was pretty eventful - we had our first successful youth group friday night (as in kids actually came). we went to a cafe, sat, and talked and it was nice. they like us. so i think they will come back! =) tomorrow they are coming into downtown just to walk around and enjoy. i'm looking forward to it, hopefully someone will come.
saturday shane and i competed against my roommates and 600-ish teams in an amazing-race-type event. we started with 1 clue, solved it, got to the location and got a list of 6, then 6 more during the race. the goal was to solve 10 out of 12, running all around downtown chicago, taking pictures to document. it was really fun. shane and i didn't finish because we hit a roadblock (a real one, like as in we went in the wrong direction...) but successful day in all.
on sunday, shane's dad was able to get us tickets to the blackhawks v. redwings game. it was so fun. i had asked for tickets for my birthday (surprising, i know) and it was such a fun game. i went with the intention of switching my loyalties to chicago, but my instincts kicked in and i immediately was cheering for the wings. i wish i could tear off my hawks jersey and cheer loud and proud. i guess my new loyalty will only reign when the wings aren't playing. :)
tomorrow is my birthday. and the start of spring break. saturday morning i'm off to michigan bright & early in order to catch up with my mom & catch a flight to delaware to meet my neice & nephew. then the next weekend, i have a bridal shower & easter celebration with family. then back to chicago for 2 weeks of student teaching, my transition into the new apartment and nailing down a job (hopefully.)
that's the update. sorry it was short. sorry it was lame. give me a call & i'd love to tell you more.
50 days until the big day. :] the end of the semester is so sweet.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

if i could only remember...

i wish i could only remember what has happened since february 22nd. hmm... i'll have to pull the calendar out.
february 22nd: i had a half day of school because for my seminar class, we had an assignment to get to know the neighborhood we work in - for me, Pilsen, so i interviewed a few people in the neighborhood. i interviewed my pastor at the church we've been attending, Amistad and a lady who is the mother of one of my students and works in the adult resource center at Perez. the interviews went really well and i learned even more about the mexican culture's society and about how they function as they are immigrants here and all the resources and opportunities that Perez is offering to the community.
that night we had tickets to see les miserables on broadway. i was extremely tired (per usual) and had to leave at intermission, but it was really good all that i saw. shane and my roommates raved about it - huge fans. the rest of the week i spent lesson planning and maybe some movies (per usual for both of those as well.) i'm always extremely busy with lesson planning, and it seems to never end. monday and tuesday nights i try to get all my previews of the coming week done (a general overview about the lesson plans), wednesdays i spend with shane and my roommates, thursdays i get extremely busy and stressed with my lesson plans - getting all of them written in one night. fridays i turn them into my teacher and am so relieved and can't believe how good i feel each friday. :]
the following thursday (march 3rd) there was a social justice conference that many of the chicago semester staff and professors are deeply involved with. all the students needed to attend all day, and we student teachers were required to go to the night session. shane claiborne spoke at the night session and it was so good to hear him speak about grace and the love of God that we should be sharing with the city.
the next day (friday) i was off to battle creek to get home for a few hours. my mom picked me up from the train friday night. saturday i had my first dress fitting and we spent the entire weekend on "wedding things". sunday night i was able to go to spring arbor and spend some time with my roommates, which was much needed and so refreshing. monday i was back off to the city. that night my roommates, shane, and i went to portillo's for some chocolate cake shake. it was incredible. a ice cream shake that has an entire piece of chocolate cake in it. YUM.
tuesday, believe it or not, my niece and nephew were born in little ol' delaware! it was a good day and i was so happy to hear the news. (sorry - it's on my calendar...i needed to share it.) the rest of the week i was lesson planning and getting ready for next week's lessons.
yesterday shane and i went to the suburbs to visit with elizabeth, someone i grew up with at church, and her husband. we went out to lunch (at portillo's again) and drove around the suburbs. they took us to see the school in Naperville that i'm applying for a teaching position in the fall at. it was nice to see the suburb-life and what shane and i might be getting into.
today we went to church at Amistad and officially started our new "ministry" - we've been asked to be the youth leaders at the church. we aren't sure what it all entails, but we have a staff meeting tonight so hopefully we'll know a little more. pray for us as we start this new endeavor.
starting next monday my life turns 100% upside down as i start full-time teaching. that means this week lesson planning is going to be even crazier than normal. ugh. well, i know what's ahead of me and i know that in 6 weeks i will be practically done with student teaching, have spring break, get to meet my niece and nephew, and hopefully have a plan of action for a new apartment and maybe even a job (?).
it's a crazy, busy, beautiful life here in chicago. i'm constantly stressed out and tired, but ... (as far as i can think) i wouldn't change it for anything.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

taking advantage.

chicago semester doesn't really like that students live in the hostel because we are not experiencing a neighborhood feel of chicago. they also say that students who come for the spring semester often stay in their apartments and don't experience the city because it is too cold, and it stays cold until late april.

saying all this...they could be right. but in the case of my roommates and i, shane and i, and my own experience, we take advantage of being in chicago. complete advantage. this weekend i think proved it for me that i was doing a good job getting out and around, seeing what chicago has to offer and making myself a part of it.

friday after school, there was a class from spring arbor here to tour some different cultural neighborhoods for the weekend. one of the professors from the group had come to observe me teach, and afterward we grabbed a bite to eat at sabas vega, a mexican restaurant in pilsen that serves only carnitas. it was very delicious and so much food. he said that the students from the class would be headed to pilsen for the evening, so if i wanted, i could stay around to meet them for dinner and some art. they came down and we headed on a mural tour of pilsen, lead by a local artist. it was great to see more of the neighbor i teach in and how important the art they do is, as they preserve their culture's history through it. we toured around and even got to see the artist's studio, where he does linoleum paintings. he cuts the linoleum and carves it, then paints and stamps the paint onto a canvas. it was very intricate work and he kept saying "it's really not that hard. it's not big deal". after the tour we went to dinner at the same little spot shane and i had eaten the sunday before. i tried tongue and stomach tacos...and they were not bad at all. then we went back and explored the national museum of mexican art - it was probably the most interested i have ever been in an art museum because i know so much about their history and culture that it means something to me.

no one in the group of students really knew chicago, and they had the rest of the night free, so i volunteered to take them up to millennium park to see "the bean" and then up to ghirardelli chocolate to get free samples and drinks/ice cream. i got home late, hung out with the roommates, we ended up talking for hours, until 2:30...something i needed badly.

saturday i slept in (maybe the first real time i have slept in since i got here) and enjoyed my morning. my roommates had tickets to the chicago car show, so i stayed home, went for a run, did some grocery shopping, and a library stop. when they got back, kelly and i went out becuase i had found a bookstore called after words books that was having a charity sale. you could put as many books into a bag as you wanted for $5. we headed up to the store at a stop on the red line i hadn't really explored much, the grand stop, but the sale had ended by the time we got there. we still looked around a bit and then wandered over to starbucks to "pick up a drink". well, we sat and talked for an hour and some, it was good time spent with a great friend. then we did a little paroosing around the stores and headed home...later than expected. we picked up a movie on the way home to bring to jorie, who we had accidently left alone for too long. our movie-friend jeff came over and watched it with us. (he conveniently comes over when we watch a he knows we are about to start one, i have no idea.)

as for sunday afternoon, i had found a free cooking class at williams-sonoma, so i signed jorie, kelly and i up and we attended joyfully. it was about latin cooking and we learned about different techniques and spices/flavors. we also got to try the food and it was delicious. i went to meet shane afterward and he and i tried the bookstore again because the sale was back on. we still didn't find anything worth getting, but explored the rest of the store again, finding the used section this time. then we came down to my apartment for dinner at epic burger. it really is epic - the taste is delicious, but even better all their products are fresh, natural, and hand-picked. i was completely fine paying a little more for a burger that i know did not harm anyone or anything on its way to me. then we rented a movie and cuddled up, spending the first quality time we've had together in a long time. he left after a while and i joined the roommates for some tv and chatting.

i had yesterday off - so i was very happy to sleep in and take advantage of the day. kelly also had the day off, so we went to a pilates class at our workout place (which wasn't a workout yesterday, but today i'm feeling it.) then we came back and cooked a big good. we both had talked about how much we wanted to take advantage of our free monday - so i got in the shower and ready for the day, heading out the door at 2 to drop off some resumes in pursuit of a part-time job. i had seen an job posting for some akira stores (a local clothing store similar to forever 21) and so i was on top of it. i went to 2 right in the city (state street & magnificent mile) then i went up to lincoln park for another. at that one i got an interview! so pray for me as i go on thursday to see what they can offer me. then i was walking and exploring the neighborhood as i made my way back toward town and i stumbled upon another akira - so i left my resume there as well. 3 of the stores seemed interested to have me, so hopefully something turns out. i explored a little more and made it back toward town, which happened to be extremely close to shane's apartment. we had good timing: he got out of work early and i happen to be at his stop, so i visited for a few minutes. then headed home, and met kelly at starbucks to get some work done. spent the rest of the night on homework, grading papers (2 hours of grading will make me rethink how much paperwork i give to my students), and other little tasks.

it was a full weekend. and i didn't get as much sleep as i would have liked (although i slept in, i also stayed up way too late)...but this weekend i saw a lot of chicago in 3 days; new and exciting things about chicago that make me love it that much more.
come visit - i'll show you! :]

Thursday, February 17, 2011

feel the need. for an update.

so i'm lying in bed right now, ready to hit the hay, because it's finally going to be friday when i get up and i look forward to that feeling so much. unfortunately, i'm here, thinking and feeling guilty about the fact that i haven't updated you all about my crazy, busy, amazing, beautiful life here in chicago in almost 2 weeks. and for that, i am sorry. but really - i also haven't folded my laundry yet and it's been almost a week, so you're not the only things on the back burner in my life.
i'll try to back up all the way to that weekend...
so saturday, when danielle visited... kelly and i woke up and went to a so-hard workout class that was great. i had a complete field day getting to danielle to pick her up, but with amtrak's good reputation, it was late as always and i was grateful. we headed to breakfast at the bongo room and it was delicious as always (i had cinnamon apple and pear french toast.) then we came back and got ready for the day of tourism in chicago. we visited a cute little yarn shop: loopy yarns just because i had seen a picture in a magazine, then a book shop, then to millennium park to see the oh-so-famous "bean"...took some pictures, walked around, did a little shopping on state street. we came back to the apartment and i cooked some mexican for us all. we settled around the table and played some games and called it a chill night. sunday morning we were off to amistad cristiana and i still loved it. they translated again for us (because now there were 4 white people: shane, danielle, my roommate kelly, and i) and we chatted with them for a little while after. then we went to lunch at decolores (i had gotten a groupon for it) - it was a cute little mexican restaurant (a little more upscale) that displayed local artists' work on the walls. very cute. very good. we came back to the apartment, did some wedding planning stuff and just hung out. then danielle was off. (too soon.) i headed over to canterbury (where shane and other CS-ers live) for some superbowl food/action.
monday morning, i was tired, but ready for another week...except i found out first thing that i was starting with the bilingual classroom. so i was thrown in there (excited, but nervous) and the teacher, ms. huerta, really tested me, putting me with the lower-level students and it was... difficult. i couldn't understand their spanish because they were using words i didn't know, muttering, stumbling, not using full sentences, etc. and i was supposed to be dictating what they said. haha, right. it was quite the interesting morning, but i got through. i didn't have a "planning period" (i put it in quotes because it's about 20 minutes long) because we have meetings during it on mondays, so i came back to my "home class" in the afternoon, took a deep breathe and started teaching. what a day! on top of all this, i found out our professional development day (no students) for friday was now a normal day of school to make up for the snow days the week before, so i had more lesson plans to write for friday.
my tuesday went right along with that theme - overwhelming, too much, too soon, whoa whoa - can someone push the pause button. and on top of all that, i had night class. i was...dead.
fast forward a few days to thursday (because i don't remember anything about wednesday, and my nights were filled with lesson planning) ... i had a science lesson thursday afternoon, and i finally, get this, felt like a successful teacher. i taught on solids and liquids, brought in colored water and the kids were sold. their eyes were on me, they wanted more. classroom management wasn't even an issue, but this was authentic learning and they loved it. i ended the day, and the week, on such a high note. it felt great. my mornings with the bilingual class were so much better because i had figured out how to scaffold the students and prompt them, listen to them, and work in the small groups. i don't have a lot of responsibility in the mornings with them, so it's refreshing to spend my time with them and just learn about how the spanish classroom works, what kind of vocabulary they use, how she relates to them. it's great. that night shane and i were craving some chinese, so we looked up what was close to me and found one around the corner called fast foos - you know when it has a corny name it's going to be some good chinese. it was. and cheap. i'd recommend it for a fast, cheap, chinese. and i will be re-testing it out soon. ;]
friday night i went over to shane's for dinner. we decided that turkey sandwiches weren't really going to do it for us, so we went out to a place we had seen called homemade pizza co. it's a little shop that makes all natural pizza, to go - as in you take it home and bake it. it was so delicious! :] very good. and then... well let me stop and explain, there's a class here at CS for internship students called arts and the city - they go to art events (about once a week) and write reviews, discussing what is art, how is it portrayed, etc. i'm in the "events only" category, where as i paid for the tickets to the events, but i have no strings attached. i have tickets to everything they do, and i can pick and choose which i want to go to. so back to friday night...we went to a dance company's show at harris theatre in millennium park: river north dance company and it was really good. i went with 2 of my roommates: kelly and andrea (and the majority of CS-ers). each song was a different type of dance and a different type of performance. there were modern, ballet, avant-garde, and latino-styles with duets, solos, groups, etc. it was very interesting and very good. i'm so glad i went and enjoyed this - completely out of my norm, but so good.
saturday shane and i were going to look at an apartment, but that fell through...before that we had plans to spend the day in downer's grove (where shane will attend grad school in the fall), but that also was postponed. so shane came over in the morning and i cooked us some breakfast, we hung around the apartment, went to the library and did some grocery shopping for the roommates. that night was a progressive dinner for the CS-ers and our apartment had dessert. we had settled on making two types of cupcakes: double dark chocolate with chocolate frosting and red velvet with cream cheese frosting. they turned out amazingly and we topped them with heart shaped strawberries, playing up the valentine's theme. we were definitely one of the favored stops during the evening. we had spent all afternoon baking, then went out to the stops for appetizers, main course, then back to our building for desserts. it was a fun little night. we went out later with my roommates and some friends they had visiting for the weekend over by where shane lives.
sunday off to spanish church - can't get enough and they can't get enough of shane and i. i translated for shane during the service, which was my first time... and at one point i had completely zoned out of listening/translating and when i realized, shane was just staring at me. :] afterward we ate at (yet another) mexican restaurant in pilsen and headed back to the apartment. we were meeting my friend cara here to do some free cross-country skiing, but because the snow was melting, they weren't having skiing. so we introduced her to the lovely chicago public library (even though she's lived here for months) then came back and played some games/hung out. that night i did homework and relaxed.
monday, back to the old grind - except this week i started teaching for almost the whole afternoon. i added math to my already social studies/science and writing... meaning i teach from about 12:40-2:40... i know 2 hours doesn't seem like a lot, but it really is... to keep the kids attention, work transitions, keep management, etc. and monday was a real treat because not only was it our valentine's party, but my professor came to observe me in action on my first "long day" of teaching. it actually went really well and she gave me some great feedback, which put me in a good spot to start the week. i came home and started my valentine's dinner - i made a delicious turkey and spinach manicotti and we made home-made pretzels for dessert. (thank you mccallums for giving us that piece of beauty!) we spent the evening with my roommates, just passing time and watching inception.
tuesday was normal at school: my mornings with spanish class, afternoon teaching my "home class"... then after school i had night class, then back home and started my lesson planning for the week, to at least make a dent in it.
wednesday morning my roommates jorie, kelly, and i had a 6am run that seemed awful for the first 5 minutes (and as soon as we woke up) but actually started my day off great. wednesday after school i went to an open interview with greenpeace (a non-profit environmentalist group) but found out my availability wouldn't work for them. they are doing some amazingly cool stuff though - check them out! then i came home for dinner, made some white chili for my amazing fiance (and my roommates cleaned it up pretty well too) and then we went to a broadway show with the arts in the city called "working". it was definitely not the best broadway i've ever been to, but now thinking about it - not the worst either.
today was thursday, i'm glad to see it through. lesson plans got done about 8:30, and i feel like a new woman. it's just such a load off my shoulders when they are done. (last thursday i quit working on them at 12:30am...only to get up at 6:30 and work on them to get them finished here and there because they are due at the end of the school day.) tomorrow i think we'll be off on another early morning run, a full friday with a visit from an observer from spring arbor to my classroom to see my teach, and then... my friday night is open. shane is going home for the weekend, so i will be eager to be with someone, and two roommates are around. i'm looking forward to some rest and relaxation after these two crazy weeks.
that's all for now, hopefully it will be less than 2 weeks before the next time.

Friday, February 4, 2011

i have february fever.

i love this week. absolutely, without a doubt. love.

sunday: woke up early (again on a weekend...who am i becoming?) to get to church. shane and i went to church in pilsen (the neighborhood i work in) to amistad cristiana iglesia (christian friendship church). i absolutely loved it...preaching truth in spanish. (can it get any better?) there was a girl who felt the need to translate for two white people in the back (us) and she struggled desperately to do so for the entire sermon. it was great. afterward we met everyone (all 30ish people there) and had a little mexican pastry and talked with them. then we went to lunch at nuevo leon (a local restaurant that i went to back in the fall when all of the student teachers visited chicago). it was delish and we took our extras home for dinner. we came back and started some homework this week.
monday: school was good, i taught my first lesson about cardinal directions. we played a game where the students led a partner to a "destination" in the room (a piece of colored paper on the floor) using prompts like "take 2 steps north", etc. they had a lot of fun. and it was extreme craziness. after school shane and i went to the CS offices to complete an online portion of cpr/first aid training for a class wednesday night. then i came back to my apartment and spent time with the roommates.
tuesday: school again - i taught another lesson about the directions that again was craziness, but maybe a little better. after school, we had suspicions that we wouldn't have many students with the blizzard 2011 that was coming the next morning, so we packed up and sent home report cards a day early. the school quickly got rid of students and staff to "take cover". even though the internship students had wednesday classes cancelled, i still had student teaching seminar tuesday night. it went by fairly quickly. we watched a lecture video about love & logic and it was extremely challenging and good. next tuesday we are going to talk more about it & discuss how we can apply it in our classrooms this semester. during seminar i found out that for the first time in 12 years chicago public schools were closing wednesday for a snow day. afterward i headed home to be with my roommates and shane. we stayed up late knowing that we had no reason to wake up the next morning.
wednesday: we woke up late. ate some yummy breakfast because i had time to really make breakfast. my roommates and shane (practically a roommate here in 701) watched "despicable me". i felt like it was a saturday for sure, and almost felt like christmas with all the snow day fever and excitement. then we attempted a workout video (that i only did 20-30 mins of and made me more sore than my whole life - i am still definitely feeling it 2 days later). we did about an hour of workout stuff then all got cute for some pictures outside. the snow had stopped around noon, so we thought it save to venture out. it was the 4 of us, shane, and 2 guys from our floor - and the nice nature walk lasted about 20 seconds. i saw a bank of snow (where wasn't there a bank of snow?) and decided that andrea needed to be shoved in. it quickly turned into a real snow day - snowballs, pushing others in,...the works. i ended very cold and very wet, but had an amazing time out. we have some brilliant pictures to really prove our fun. after we got dry and warm, we played some bananza and bananagrams before dinner. the 7 of us headed out for dinner to gino's east and it was delicious and the perfect ending to the perfect snowday. around 9:30 i was feeling the need to get to bed, but decided to check on my school being closed thursday (even though i had no hope honestly) but two of my roommates had already been called off for the next day due to the snow dump. i found out that i, indeed, got a 2nd snow day. and i was so happy. so much celebration.
thursday: i woke up late again (after staying up too late talking with jorie) and did a quick morning workout. then i headed out to meet shane for lunch on his break from work. we went to the soupbox. (best soup i've ever had - Mom, on your visit, we're going there.) then i came back. andrea, jorie, (the two of my roommates that were lucky enough to have the day off as well) and i tried to go to the library to get some work done, but it was closed. we came back and got productive. i didn't get quite the amount of work done that i would have liked to, but never the less, i worked hard. shane and i had cpr/first aid class that had been cancelled the day before. (we also had quite the public transportation situation afterward - involving sprinting to chase after a bus that we didn't make and a train that we barely made.) came back, got a little more work done, and went to sleep.
today (friday): woke up for one day of school before 2 more days off. (let's just say it was pretty easy to get up with that in mind.) surprisingly we had a good number of students in class today. i taught a review lesson of this week's social studies that went much better and much less craziness. after school, i came home and went to the library with jorie without much success on checking anything out. i checked out a ticket for the museum of science and industry, so hopefully i'll be going this weekend or week for free! then i came home cooked some dinner for shaner & i and we chilled for a little while. we got a redbox (for free this time) - the town. it was really good. shane just left & now i'm watching my new boys: the blackhawks. :]
tomorrow my best friend, danielle, is coming to visit. and i just can't wait. kelly & i are off to an early morning class from our living social deal then to pick up danielle at the train station. we're going out for breakfast to the bongo room (again) and then a day of chicago-beauty-tour. not sure what we'll be up to...but a good time guaranteed. dinner here with shane & his roommate. then maybe a concert at night: the giving tree band. they are a local band that we discovered at a frontier ruckus concert (guaranteed to be good, right?) sunday back to spanish church, lunch out, and afternoon spent with my best friend. don't know what the superbowl plans are for sure, but i'll be watching it (somewhat) somewhere, maybe even the seat i'm in right now.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

week of changes. week of blessings.

it's 1am. and i can't think of a better time to update. i have been putting this off all week, and all of yesterday/today. and i have way too much to share.
so last you knew, i was getting ready to move into my apartment with new roommates i hardly knew. and it was just craziness. well here i am, just one week later (feels like a month... but in a really good way) and i am so happy and blessed.
last saturday: i moved into my new apartment, which again is amazingly huge and beautiful. i live with 3 girls from calvin: kelly, jorie, and andrea. i feel like i could not have possibly found better roommates. our personalities flow together perfectly. i feel like i have known them for years and truly it has only been less than 2 weeks. it is incredible.
my mom came up saturday and helped me move my stuff in. she quickly had to leave after some lunch at panera, which i wish we could have been together longer. it was a nice touch of home and a welcomed visit. (i miss you Mom) then i went up to shane's apartment to help him unpack. his parents were there to drop off and help him move in. we went to lunch at a cute mexican restaurant/bar and then grocery shopping. later that night my roommates and i had quite the adventure at target. it was a long trip, and the store was busy and empty of products; but it was a great bonding experience and start to the new semester.
sunday morning we went to church (the roommates & shane & i) at good news fellowship, which was a while away. we showed up a little late, but not too late. heard some music and the sermon. i won't be going back, because it was more of a life lesson than a sermon. but i guess it was like my version of core200's church visits, right? after church we found a dollar store to stop at to pick up a "few" more items for the apartment. then a quick stop at jewel-osco (the local grocery chain) and back the apartment. shane practically lives at my apartment, but it's okay because i'm pretty sure my roommates love him just as much as he loves them. i might as well not be here sometimes. :] we attempted to watch the bears game but realized that wasn't as easy as thought, so i'm not sure what we did to kill the evening.
monday was back at it with school. monday and tuesday's school days flew by. each morning, all of the sudden it was lunch time... which meant there was only a few more hours left. i couldn't believe how quickly the time passed and the days were over. tuesday afternoons i have my teaching seminar class at the chicago semester offices. i headed straight from school to the office and sat through 2 hours of syllabus/paperwork. it was...awful. i was exhausted and ready to be done for the day. my professor told me i looked awful (thank you?) and that i looked sick. it was then that i realized, i think i am sick. i went home afterward and realized that i was truly sick. i drank some hot tea and relaxed for the rest of the evening to get energy to finish the week.
wednesday and thursday weren't too eventful. wednesday night i went over to shane's house for dinner and some hang out. afterward i came back to my apartment and had movie night with the roommates. (we actually have movie night every night here in 701...we kind of like movies. and we're working our way through my huge collection.) i think we got ice cream...which was a great idea i had. :] kelly and i watched this week's gossip girl (or was that tuesday?). thursday night i had some major lesson plans to finish up. my lesson plans are due fridays to my teacher, so that she can preview them over the weekend and turn them in with her plans to the principal on mondays. this is a secret huge blessing for me. i hated the pressure thursday night to get them done, but then friday i realized that i meant the whole weekend was mine. thank you Jesus.
friday we had teacher in-service day and there were no kids. (thank you Jesus again? :]) i woke up with the cold that i had been fighting all week, and i was thankful to not have students on the day i wasn't feeling well. in the morning we had 2 hours of professional development about SBC (standard based change - it's like standard based curriculum, except the school gets to personally design the curriculum to their own benchmarks.) after the meeting, we had lunch and then my teacher, mrs. skokal, and i worked in the classroom. i sorted and cleaned, and whatever else she needed me to do. and i blew my nose...a lot. i came home and felt... awful, so i took a nap and then shane came over later. i felt better after a while, but decided not to go out like we had planned. shane, andrea, and i rented from redbox (a new addiction in 701, whoops) and enjoyed a quiet night home.
today, saturday, i felt so much better waking a new woman. kelly and i went for a morning run, got back, got ready. then we had a roommate breakfast date to the bongo room. it is incredible. shane, his dad kevin, and i had gone last spring when we visited grad schools and it was better than i had remembered. it is a must for all of my visitors. after that i went over to soldier field for this event called new schools expo. i had seen it advertised on the cta, and thought i would use it kind of as a job fair to see what schools are offering and where i would want to apply/work. it was pretty overwhelming with the amount of people in a small space (it was not on the field) and it was at least 90% charter schools, which i'm not completely interested in. so i gathered some information and then left. got back and went with jorie and shane to get our library cards and peeked around there for a while. we literally live next door to the main branch of the chicago public library (9 floors). there are tons of branches around the city, and we have access to them all. i'm excited to take advantage of this free resource. shane and i came back to the apartment for a little while, tried to find something to do tonight, but no luck. we headed down to chinatown for dinner (which was delicious, and shane said very authentic), then got another redbox movie and came back. we watched the movie and then we were invited to the north side of town to meet up with another student teacher and his fiance for a game night/double date. we had a really good time meeting her and hanging out with them, something we'll need to do again soon. then i came home, and i decided why not post now.
it's half an hour later, a long post...and i'm ready for bed. i hope this was a good update. i didn't talk that much about my classroom or teaching...that gives me a reason to update again soon. until then! :]

Friday, January 21, 2011


these last... 4 days have been a complete overload of information. shane and i arrived monday in chicago, staying at the hotel allegro which is beautiful. we started the afternoon with sessions about what chicago semester is all about. and the first complete overload of information tossed in our faces. i thought to myself 'it's got to be about wait, we haven't had dinner yet. crap, it's 5pm.' i was exhausted. (woke up too early, long train ride, lots of new new-ness.) we found out that we had until tuesday at 1pm to figure out who our roommates were going to be and where we wanted to live. it was overwhelming. i went to dinner and found out that everyone already had their roommates (people they already knew). i was blunt at dinner and asked "so, who's even looking for a roommate? because i am, and i have 12 hours to find one." then i was so overwhelmed from a lack of matching personalities. we had another session about safety in the city and then a girl from dinner asked me if i wanted to join her group of 3 friends for a 4-person/4-bedroom apartment. i was at no point of denying a roommate, so i agreed! none of them is a student-teacher (which i originally thought i wanted in roommates, but then realized if i live with student-teachers they would be the only people i know from the program since i would teach, then come home to teachers, and the go to class with teachers on tuesdays) so i'm excited to have stories to swap when we get home and get to know them better. their names are jorie, kelly, and andrea.
tuesday was a day of more sessions, lunch, and then the dreaded rooming situation draw. our group was lucky enough to get drawn for the apartment we wanted. it worked out perfectly. then tuesday afternoon we had our first student-teachers' meeting and i got extremely excited about thursday.
wednesday i didn't have much to do, so i got up and rode the route to my school to make sure thursday would run smoothly. my roommates and i checked out our apartment and signed our lease. it is HUGE for $550/month in chicago. i'm happy to be able to have my own room and plenty of space. my roommates are great. and i'm so anxious to move in tomorrow. we live in the international hostel downtown on a floor that was remodeled into private apartments. they are very dorm-like with the over-all appeal and furniture, but in a beautiful part of town. wednesday night we had chicago style pizza in the chicago semester offices and then shane and i went up to logan square to visit my friend from spring arbor, cara.
thursday (yesterday) was my first day in the classroom. it was perfect. i love my school, classroom, students. it's wonderful. i was able to get really involved with the students even yesterday on my first day. i followed the low readers around to their centers. i started to learn names. i facilitated a math center in the afternoon. it was a great first day. last night we had dinner uptown a little near shane's new apartment and then (for the 3rd day in a row) i went shopping down on state street. there are just TOO many clearance sales for me to say 'no'.
today was my second day at perez elementary. there are 23 students in my classroom. most of them are hispanic, one white, and two black. i love being minority. i love being in the middle of baby-mexico-neighborhood. :] we have a few none-readers in the class. one of the students is a kindergarten that spends almost all of his day in our classroom and he is one of the best readers. very interesting. today we had a new student come (that's the second new student this week.) he had a rough day, but i told him that we could be new together. and then i encouraged the student that was new on tuesday that he was no longer the "new kid" and now he had to help set an example. he was excited not to be "new" anymore. i left today knowing everyone's name, which was my goal. i'm already in love with a number of my students and i can't wait to get to know them better.
next week i'm going to spend some more time observing and getting to know the students. the week after (the first week in february) i will start planning and teaching the social studies and science classes. then slowly from there add a subject each week until i take full responsibility starting the last week in march.
i'm so happy/excited/pumped about this semester. i'm ready to move into the apartment tomorrow and feel settled. shane and i are going to try out a church uptown on sunday that is multi-cultural. i'm excited about that. let's face it, i'm excited about everything.
hope this wasn't too much for you, i also hope that it wasn't too little. i have had a great, hard week these past few days. let me know what else you'd like to know. thanks for reading!

ohhhh - my mailing address (PLEASE SEND ME MAIL!):
Alyssa Eubank
24 E Congress Parkway #701-D
Chicago, IL 60605-1226