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.

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