A look inside my brain recently: Coffee. It's early Sunday morning and I'm sitting with a full cup of coffee in front of the computer screen. This java is the good stuff - Caribou coffee sent by one of my best friends from the States. It's raining outside and the sun isn't quite up yet. It's 7:17am. I guess that's what happens when it's winter in the Southern Hemisphere. I love my coffee. The single greatest thing I brought with me to Tonga was my metal french press. Metal is important because there is just no way a glass one would survive here. It wouldn't. But then again I'm not sure why my metal one is surviving so well... it's the only piece of metal that hasn't rusted in my shack. Shack is a funny word. Teaching. Term 3 (of four) has started which means we are just weeks away from the Class 6 test. The pressure put on children in standardized tests is unhealthy (in my book) and sometimes it's just as bad for teachers. Maybe this hatred of standardized tests comes from the fact that I was never good at taking them and I consider myself to be a pretty intelligent girl. I just think they only measure one type of intelligence. By the way, I'm not asking for a pity party here. I feel the same amount of unease (maybe more) as I did in the States. What if these kids don't pass? What does that mean for their futures? How can I create lessons that don't bore them to death while I teach to the test? Why do I have to teach to the test? Also, the stress? It looks so much different here than it does in the States. I don't know if Americans are just more open with it, but the way that it manifests itself here is in the long (after school) hours that are spent preparing, the weekend classes, the "summer school" during any break we have. But I'm not sure how else it would go if you knew that one test would determine what track you were placed on the next 7 years. Last year 61% of the students in my school passed the test... I have only 9 kids in my Class 6 so that means that 5 of them need to pass in order to beat last year's number. Inward Journey. Peace Corps is a big adventure... both inside and out. And I believe that while it's important to work on my primary and secondary projects in Peace Corps (that's why I'm here), taking care of myself is vital in order for the former to happen. So after being around yoga for 29+ years, I've finally embraced my inner Buddha and have started a pretty awesome home practice. I even meditate. It's good stuff. Makes me feel more focused, I get more done and I'm not worrying about what will happen later, tomorrow, next month... Family. I have always loved my family, but I don't think I truly realized how lucky I am until my recent trip back to the States. Despite the miles we are still close and will always be. Speaking of families, have you seen this? So cool! People tell me that I look more like my dad than my mom. What about you?
That's all I got this morning.
Also, a picture. This little one is a new addition to my host family. I could only hold her for .2 seconds before she started crying... I think she was afraid of the white girl... or my oversized old man glasses. Or maybe both.