Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mini Musings

We all have sweet picture books that carry us back to the innocent days of early reading and childhood. Mine are: 


My parents instilled a love for reading from an early age, settling all doubt in our minds by setting the example themselves. Merely seeing these books casts visions in my memory of freshly bathed little girls clad in footsie pajamas scrambling to be the first in mama's lap for bedtime stories. The books themselves had a place of influence in our young, impressionable minds.

Mama was determined that Ernie Gets Lost would keep us from ever leaving her sight in the vast abyss of department stores. As the competitive, sly middle child that I am, I remember relating to the egocentric behaviors of the rotten red cat, Ralph. Our own mother's favorite children's picture story is Are You My Mother?. To this day, I fight back tears as I rejoice with the little bird when he finds his true mother at the end of the story. Just as the little bird discovered: no other animal, machinery, or thing can ever replace my mother. Lastly, the beautiful illustrations and sense of warmth that comes with reading Miss Rumphius brought my eager child's mind back to it time and time again. (It's also a longer story, so reading it meant prolonging lights-out time. Deceptive middle child...told'ya.)

 So what's with the trip down memory lane?
You can imagine my sense of nostalgia when I recently came across a copy of Miss Rumphius in a reader I have for teaching. If you have never read the story, it's about a young girl, Alice Rumphius. She has two dreams for her life:
1. to travel to faraway places and
2. to live by the sea.

Her wise, old grandfather tells her that those things are good and nice, but she must do one more thing:
3. make the world more beautiful.

Miss Rumphius moves away to live by the sea, working at a library. Working at the library reminds her of her dream to travel to faraway places. She lives on a tropical isle and sees the vast mountains and deserts of the world. Illness forces her to settle back by the sea. In her misery she remembers that she still has to fulfill her dream of making the world more beautiful. Through chance and happenstance, she remembers her love for lupines and decides that the best way to make the world more beautiful is to spread lupine seeds throughout her little corner.

As I read and reread this beautiful story of adventure and kindness to my students, I couldn't help but think about the relation in my own life. I have traveled to faraway places, and I live by the sea. As for making the world a more beautiful place...more on that later.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


This week's challenge was: bold colors.
If I had to choose one adjective to describe Jamaican culture, I would choose bold.
The people are bold. The flavors are bold. The clothing is bold.
Finding bold things to take pictures of wasn't very challenging.
However, pulling my camera out to take pictures sure was.
Ergo, I have only 4 pictures for this week's challenge.
Enjoy just the same!
The basic (pre) school in the community.

One of the sweet students trying to be all tough.
His visor is in honor of field day. 

I caught this amazing sunset on my evening jog.
Too bad for the power line going through it. 

I was trying to catch the bold color of the flower petals, but I caught the leaves in focus instead.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Challenge Week 2

This week's theme is: things that make you smile.

Initially, I started this challenge as a means to portray my PC Jamaica life in a creative way. Now that I've been at it for a couple of weeks, I'm learning things about myself in the process. Like that things that make me smile are typically things that remind me of people I love.

Bethany Dillon wrote the lyrics, "I uprooted, and miles behind me are the faces of the ones I love." Each time this phrase wafts its way out of my laptop speakers, my heart just melts. A few of the following pictures are only evidence of this very reality.

There's really 3 things in this picture that make me smile:
1. Menchie's Fro Yo spoon that Tamsen mailed me for my birthday.
2. Zoloft (rx for anxiety) mug that I theived from the PCJ office.
3. Starbuck's Pumpkin Spice instant latte my mom mailed me.

This was my first real week of working with my selected students.
A 4th grade boy pulled this rock out of his pocket and told me he carried it from his yard for me. Sweet. 

This mini-fridge sits in our staff room at school.
That is an REI "Cycle" sticker on it. Of all the possible stickers.

Another rock that sits on the windowsill above my bed.
Tamsen drew the face on it and mailed it from Puget Sound, Washington to Jamaica, West Indies.

The army men my mom sent me in my last Easter package.
Maybe she intended them to be prizes for my students.
Maybe she sent them because she sends weird stuff.
Either way, they make me smile. 

I spent Thursday, Friday, & Saturday with lovely friends at a lovely place learning about an incredible ministry here in Jamaica. They put us up at their hotel and this is how they fold the towels. Original, no? 

This picture isn't from Saturday, but it's one of boys at school.
They're throwing each other to the ground and wrestling.
'Tis completely illegal at school is America. And 2 years ago, it would have upset me. But this time I smiled, because I now realize that it's their way of bonding, and I especially appreciate that the teachers don't get worked up over a little roughhousing here.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

We're all stories in the end.

This 20-week photography challenge is meant for InstaGram users. 
But I'm adopting the weekly themes to life in PC Jamaica. 
So every week, for 20 weeks, I'll be revealing to you themed photographs of my service! 

This week's theme is Self Portrait

My goal is to take a picture a day, and it's called a challenge for a reason. I didn't rise to the pic-a-day goal this week, but there's still 19 more weeks to make up for it.

Post-run, one of my stabilizers. I'm thankful to have moved to the hills where
the weather is cooler, thus making jogging more of a reality.

I spend a lot of time studying my US map, and it comes in real handy when other PCVs visit.
Free maps from AAA make great PC decor. 

Found out that the best time of day to run is about an hour after school lets out.
These 5 boys, ages 8-11, jogged about a mile with me. It was a blast!
Each step with them was a reminder of why I'm here.


Volunteering at Oracabessa Foundation's Fast Pickni (child) track day.
The KFC visor made a comeback after OF's last event.

Cleaning day!