Wednesday, May 27

Pain in the Neck

What I don't love is my neck. It's really been bothering me the past few weeks. So I went to see an American chiropractor living here. He interviewed me, felt my neck said "Ooh, I bet it hurts here" up near my C1-C2 vertebrae, my constant nemisis. Then he said, "I'd really like you to go get some x-rays." And then he asks for 2,000 rubles, roughly $60. I was with him ~maybe~ 5 minutes and that's being generous. Yep, I felt just like I was back in the states. Except that here my insurance will cover it!

So he then tells me where to go while drawing on a google map. You go to building 14 by Krasne Varota (Red Gate) metro. Easy enough. Then you walk through the building out the back door to the building sort of behind it. Um, not so easy. I have to ask two people. The second one being a "nurse" - she's wearing a hair covering and shoe coverings and a white coat, smoking a cigarette outside. She motions for me to follow her. Turns out she's the radiologist. I get 4 x-rays of my neck and mid-back, the mid-back one requiring me to learn the Russian for "does your bra have an underwire? Take it off." That cost another 1,600 rubles. The cool thing was that it lasted about 10 minutes and I walked out with my x-rays! Super fast.

One Cool Thing After Another

Well, sadly I didn't win the boat. I was a bit relieved, it would have been a pain to try and store. But after I saw it in the water I was totally bummed! I think I would have loved having that boat!

Tonight I stayed late at school for the AAS Oscar ceremony. Guests were invited to vote on their favorite performers over the school year. The students were decked out - I can't believe I missed the opportunity to dress up, but all the dresses I wanted to wear, I'll be wearing this weekend for grad ceremony and the actually graduation. It was awesome. There were 3 really great speeches that mocked Oscar speeches.

I'll just say it once more, I love my job!

Sunday, May 24

Boat Building

There was a really cool project started at our school this year. A boat building club where the students built the boat pictured. I've got myself a raffle ticket and the launch is this afternoon, hopefully not in the rain.

Saturday, May 16

No, I didn't bribe her

The thoughtfulness of students at my school never fails to astound me. I'm away in Warsaw (check another city/country off the map) with the girl's softball team and just got this email message from a student:

hello mrs s~
thanks for adding points to our quiz:) and i just wanted to say thank you for trying so hard to teach us! everyday you grow white hair because of our little side comments and our spontaneous outbursts but we can really see how hard you try to enlighten us with the "beauty" of math.haha
we definitely havent been able to thank teachers enough for their hard work and instead complained, and complained.. and complained, and once again,complained of OUR hardships without even considering your hardships as well. Although we are a looooongg way from being responsible and sensible, i hope by the end of IB, we will be able to make all teachers/parents/ students/etc. proud><
thank you~ have a nice weekend.

Isn't that great?!

Our girls played really hard and lost 3 really close games to come in 4th place. We also won 2 games handily. And the team spirit and comrade between all but 1 of them is awesome to see. Awesome enough that I'd like to coach them next year - this year I'm here as a chaperon, but didn't work with them during the season. I was a bit horrified to hear myself yelling them at times they way my dad used to yell at me. "What are you doing?! Throw the ball to second! Get it in already!!!" The other coach was so calm and supportive the whole time. I need to work towards that.

Oh and Warsaw is pretty great. Nice clean air, smaller city with a bizarre mix of Soviet and modern architecture. Pretty good food so far. And their movie theaters show movies in English with Polish subtitles! So tonight, I think I may go see a movie, the first I'll have seen in over a year! I can't even remember the last one I saw. That will be after the girls get sent home to their host families. I love the host family program, no duty at night and we're staying at the fancy pants Hyatt which is cushy.

Alright, enough avoiding my homework assignment.

Saturday, May 9

Day in the Park

Day in the Park
Originally uploaded by Traveling Em

I had an incredible day with my visitors Eva and Che. I finally went to the Armory museum in the Kremlin. We were lucky to even get there as most of the entrances to the Kremlin were closed due to Victory Day preparations. Luckily we had an awesome local guide who got us in. We had the place almost completely to ourselves. On the way out, we wandered through the park towards Red Square. While Eva was taking photos Che and I sat on a bench and behind us were these two priests. I really like this photo!

Saga Conclusion

Remember almost 2 months ago when I ran into Za German again and there was talk of me heading to Germany. Well, I headed. I'm back. And I can safely say, for real this time, that I don't think we'll be talking anymore or seeing each other again.

Not that it went badly. It didn't. It was incredibly easy, but "it" just wasn't there; the world did not disappear. We sat around making breakfast, making dinner, watching a lot of tv and movies and there was a decided lack of anything of substance. On the car ride to the airport for my return I even asked, "So are we going to talk anymore?" You know me, always blunt and to the point. He, not so much. "Of course we are!" "So should I think about coming back in June?" "Oh, we'll talk about that later." Um, not so much; I think if I even have to ask the first question I know what the answer should be. I just wanted him to admit it too. While I want to be settled in a good relationship, I'm certainly not going to force it.

Back to the drawing board.


Me and Nat
Originally uploaded by Traveling Em

My friend Erin, shown in the gala picture below, threw me a surprise birthday party. A month to the day after my birthday. I was flabbergasted. I didn't see it coming at all.

I went out with another teacher immediately after school for a walk through the park and at her suggestion we returned to my place to go to the Georgian restaurant near by. We stop in at the apartment complex first and I call Erin to see if she wants to join us. Note, Erin lives in the apartment directly below me, so as I'm unlocking the door, I hear her phone ringing. And ringing. I open the door wondering why hasn't she answered yet and notice the streamers hanging in my kitchen doorway. Now I'm still thinking, "why hasn't she answered yet" in addition to, "why did the green guys come and hang streamers??" After a pregnant pause I walk into the living room and am shocked to find it FULL of people!

We all headed down to Erin's where she had prepared loads of food with the help of many others including Carol, who made the cake pictured. It was a great evening!

Gala 2009

Gala 2009
Originally uploaded by Traveling Em

You know I love getting all dressed up and I got to for the PTO gala. I mingled, had a lovely dinner and left at 10:30. The perfect evening!

Sunday, May 3

Where oh where?

Oh, horribly delinquent blogger, where have you been? Has your life been so exciting that you don't have time to post here?

Well, I have been off to Italy for a week.

We're here


Then I had a friend come in for a few days. Also, I've started an online masters through Oregon State. I have two assignments due per week, so the time I could be here with you, I'm reading articles on technology and education.

Or so mundane and repetitive that your inspiration has been stripped?

Quite honestly, the snow and cold was getting me down. We had our last snow on April 22nd.

Well, I have been into work to help my seniors continue to prepare for their IB exams which are this week. Aforementioned masters program has also had me very keen to immediately begin to incorporate more technology into my lessons, as such, I've been spending time designing web projects and math lessons around Autograph and Excel and I didn't really think people would want to read about that sort of stuff.