Friday, April 25
Have I mentioned that I'm coaching softball? I am, the boys high school team. In three weeks we're traveling to Istanbul for our one tournament and chance to play against other schools. Anyway, it was so nice to watch the guys playing while standing in the sun. It's still pretty chilly, but today we're supposed to have a high of 57! That's not too bad at all.
Monday, April 21
I use Engrade, an online gradebook, to keep all my grades. It's free, web based and super user friendly. They've just added functionality that I can post lessons or assignments without students having to log in (somehow they can remember their Facebook, etc, passwords, but not mine) - click here to see the general page of assignment calendars. And to some of these assignments, I can set it so that students can respond.
Like my Log Bonus post. Go click on it. Please! Look at the stuff my students are doing! I'm so proud. And this is from my "weakest" grade 10 class.
Resuming normal bitter self now.
Sunday, April 20
Well, I didn't end up with that many pictures of myself, though I know the yearbook teacher got a few of me. It was really nice, except that there wasn't any dancing. Many of my students were there, a surprising number of sophomores.
It was at the US Ambassador's house, which is beautiful. It was a casino night theme and they brought in blackjack tables and dealers from a local casino and had poker chips made.
Here's my favorite dress, the girl designed it herself and had it made.
And one of my students won prom queen. It was quite surprising actually as she's not the most popular. She was thrilled though and I had fun photographing her along with two of her friends, also my students.
Saturday, April 19
The trees that are further along have produced buds that have fallen to the ground. To us it looked like a migration of caterpillars.
It was a great way to spend the day. Of course three days later it was snowing. However, the snow didn't stick and blue skies are forcing there way back in. I just went to the market and bought strawberries! Yay, with winter ending I'm finally beginning to enjoy Moscow again!
Last night I had dinner with friends two metro stops away from home. It was such a lovely night I decided to walk back. I haven't done the walk over the bridge at night before so I'd never noticed this huge Gazprom sign before. I don't know how much you hear about them in the States, but they're the largest company in Russia, third largest in the world and do lots and lots of natural gas refining.
Oh, and tonight is prom which means an exciting picture of the day.
Thursday, April 17
Anway, on our 5th day there, we took a day trip to La Gomera, the second smallest Canary Island, and is a quick 32 km away from Tenerife. Even on a bus tour, it was stunning. I especially loved the laurel forest we got to spend an hour (not nearly enough time) in.
I wish we'd have spent our entire trip on La Gomera which is far more tropical and humid than the desert like Tenerife. It's far less touristy with only a few hotels and lots and lots of hiking.
Note El Teide (the highest point in Spain, the old volcano on Tenerife) rising through the clouds in the background.
Monday, April 14
However, our drive there was lovely as was the return. The boys headed to the beach to create sand sculptures. Here they are with their volcano (it's not a pyramid!!)
Sarita and I headed off to an "aqua spa." There were 10 different stations:
1. Massage bath - a huge warm pool, chest high water with many different jets and water falls.
2. Cold Plunge - love them!
3. Hot tub - not so hot, unfortunately
4. Roman bath (wet sauna)
5. Scottish Shower, cold shower with jets all around and a Bucket Shower
6. Flotarium - super salinated water where you have to try to push your limbs under water - my favorite experience. My muscles have never felt so relaxed!
7. Turkish bath - dry sauna
8. "Relaxing" Foot and Leg Massage - walk in a half circle on small pebbles while water is sprayed onto your ankles.
9. Mineral springs mist - another half circle walk
10. Mineral oil shower - we never actually found this.
It was great! A good, laughable bonding experience for my sister and I. And really, after 1.5 hours in water, you skin is so smooth!
We returned to meet up with the boys and their mom and headed off for a great local dinner. On the walk home, I went ahead with the boys and as we were walking along the balcony towards our room, on the count of three we ducked down and hid. It was great fun. We ended the night with a game of Blokus.
I was thinking about this while waiting for my sister and the kids to finish feeding the monkeys the dried bread, cat food and sunflower seeds (all the things they get in nature right?!). I was standing near the crocodile pit thinking twirling the car key when "oops" there goes the key into the croc pit. Yep, the animal keeper had to be radioed to come jump the fence and retrieve our rental car key. Yep, that's me, Grace
Two days later I was up at 7. I walked along the ocean, so at peace with its sound and smell... from the safety of land, I'm in love.
Saturday, April 12
In further reading he's also staring in a film adaptation of "Youth in Revolt". I read this book when I was in high school and laughed my way through the misadventures of Nick Twisp. I wonder if I'd still like it. Hrm, maybe my library has it...
Friday, April 4
Originally uploaded by Traveling Em
Here's day 2: me trying to match the smile of my favorite birthday card. When you open it, the cats teeth are actually created with the block letters for "Happy Birthday" but in Russian. Anyhoo, I waited until I looked less hung over to take the picture, but in the spirit of true photodocumentation maybe I should have taken a photo this morning. I think this exercise will be a great reminder to always carry my camera.
I'll continue the photo a day but I won't be able to put any up for the next week because in 5 hours (at 4 a.m.) I'm being picked up and taken to the airport. Yep, I was just in Thailand, but that was work people! Seriously, even though I was in Thailand it was 24/7 with the kids. But this, this is April break. I'm flying to Tenerife, which is one of the Canary Islands where I'll be meeting my sister and one of her friends. I hope to hike, read books and play lots of Blokus. I'll catch you up in a week.
Thursday, April 3
Thus far, I've been given 3 plants (yay!), homemade tiramisu even made with marscapone which I didn't even know you could find in Moscow (double yay!) and a box of Ladoo - Indian Sweets (huge YAY!). After school a crowd is heading to my favorite brewery restaurant.
Update: Add to the list 7 long stem white roses from one of my Russian students. This one means a lot because he's one of those kids that was a big trouble maker last year and I've got him in math and advisory and he's doing really well.
A few photos:
Me and the tiramisu maker: