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