Sunday, August 17, 2008

we're not in Kansas anymore...

I doubt anyone is still reading this blog (if you are, comment so I have some kind of idea...) but I felt the need to update for a few reasons. Reason #1: I wanted to say a little something about the present status of my life. Reason #2: I'm bored.
So, here we go with reason #1.. which, actually, is a direct link (cause?) to reason #2...
I moved over to Gainesville last Monday (August11). For those who don't know, Gainesville is considered northern central Florida, which means it is stuck right in the middle of the state. I don't technically need to be here until the 22nd of August, but I figured that I should give myself some time to acclimate to my new surroundings and get some important things done like, oh, registering for classes. So far I've been here for about 1 week, and that leads me into the aformentioned reason #2-I'm bored. Why did I give myself 2 weeks to acclimate? Well, I suppose my A-type personality didn't fare well with sitting around in Edgewater, unable to figure out the University of Florida's online methods of signing up for everything. But it turned out that coming here really didn't help much b/c the people I needed to talk to were on vacation this week. So, it looks like this upcoming week will be my time to resolve all of my issues. I just hope that process will take up a few more of my daylight hours than my pitiful daily activities did last week.

In other news, I'm missing Mexico like the glaciers miss the O-zone layer... my friends are starting a new year of school tomorrow, and I keep picturing everyone happy and together and preparing for a bright, shiny, fresh new year. I also can't help but picture my former students in the hands of inexperienced teachers, and wishing I could just fly over there right now.

But I really should stop this whole dwelling thing. I doubt that it's good for me.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

July 1--Home Sweet Home

I have only about a week left here in Mexico, and while I'm excited that teaching will be over, I think I may go into depression upon returning Stateside and leaving wonderful people and an incredible life here. And even though the last few weeks of school are pure craziness and disaster, I want to cry at the thought of not hanging out with such sweet, precious kids everyday in my upcoming year.
God has blessed me SO much with school this year. I have the greatest job ever. I'm pretty sure I laughed every day.. I received countless little gifts and smiles and notes. I was brought sushi, yogurt, and mangoes-on-a-stick for lunch. It has been unforgettable.

Here are some pictures of yesterday--it was Ice Cream Day and also Hi Seok and Michelle's last day with us (lucky early leavers!)

Hi Seok, sadly, is moving back to Korea on Monday. I'm so proud of that kid. He came here to Lincoln this year for his first year in Mexico. When he started he spoke and understood a fraction of the English he now knows. He has also managed to become a best friend to most of the boys and girls in my class.

He also called me yesterday, which he does every so often to ask about homework. This time, however, it went something like this:
Me: Hello?
Hi Seok: Hi. I am Hi Seok.
Me: Hi, Hi Seok. How are you?
Hi Seok: Fine. Do you see the white things???

(It was raining and hailing at the time. I was at my window watching the hail when he called)

Me: Yes, I do! Hi Seok... did you call me to tell me about the hail?
Hi Seok: Yes.

Our conversation continued... and included his asking me, "but, I don't understand. How does it happen?".
How cute is he? I couldn't love him any more.

I'm looking forward to seeing some of you very soon! Enjoy the end of June.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Matthew 6

It is very clear in the Bible that God will take care of our every need. In fact, I think this is a central theme in Jesus' life and ministry. Take, for example, these words that Jesus spoke in his Sermon on the Mount:

25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

And if this doesn't catch our attention, the Gospel is FULL of examples of why and when we shouldn't worry.
Hungry multitudes after a long sermon? Just make 5 fish and 2 loaves feel tens of thousands of people!
Need some money to pay your taxes? Just tell one of your buddies to open up a fish's mouth and there it will be!
Going on a long journey? Don't take food, money, or extra clothes! God will provide what you need along the way!

I kind of feel this way here in Mexico. I have never wanted for anything... in fact, I have more than I need! I make a fraction of what I would be making in the states, and yet it is so much more than what so many Mexicans earn.
And, something particularly wonderful about living in this community, when I don't have anything to eat for dinner, I can round up my wonderful friends and create a feast! I just love it when 6 or 7 hungry girls can pitch in things like cheese, tomatoes, flour, yeast, and vegetables and create wonderful, made-from-scratch pizzas!
The night we made pizza I was really reminded of God's promise to provide for our every need.

I am a worrier... Although not always on display, my fears and worries are always there. I hope I can always be able to step back and see God's hand... see the 20/20 hindsight that I so often forget about... and be thankful!

Check out some of the pictures of our recent events, including a few of the pizza-making fun, spirit week, and Charla's wonderful homemade pesto and pasta. (This year could certainly be called the Year of Food for our house!!)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mallory Came to Visit!

I was so fortunate to have my best friend and sister come hang out with me for a week! She just finished her spring semester at UF and came down for a break. We started out fast, leaving early the morning after her arrival for San Miguel de Allende... a huge ex-pat colonial city. It was beautiful and artsy, but I was a little turned-off by the number of foreigners.
We spent about a day in all (we left early, not staying the second night as we had planned). We explored a local art university, drank coffee overlooking the plaza, and spent a morning at the hot springs.
While in Guadalajara, I tried to show Mallory the sights--some of them Mexican, others not (like the Indian restaurant).
We were invited to dinner at the house of the Cardenas family, the family of my student, Zuriel (the one responsible for the Pandas Praying Club). She made delicious Pozole (a soup with hominy) and taquitos. After discovering that Mallory's name in high school Spanish class was Chela they whipped out, and gave her, a mug engraved with that name (who knows why they had it..?).

The Cardenas Family!! I love them so much.

Mallory shopping in the Artisan Market.

The cathedral in San Miguel. It's pink color is the natural color of the sandstone in the area.

Cross-cultured bus ride. :)

Sunday, April 20, 2008


I'm sorry about the time between posts. Here are some things that I've done lately.

Well, at the beginning of my spring break I traveled a few hours outside of the city to a place they call the balnearios. Which is this natural spring-fed pool you can pay to enter. It was really cool because we drove through endless dry, baren desert... finally we pulled through this cute little pueblo (the kind with little old men sitting outside doing nothing buy watching the cars go by). Emerging on the other side, we were at the balnearios. We climbed down a few stairs and were immediately in the middle of this gorgeous ravine cut out of the rocks by this water! Totally unexpected based on what you have just driven through.

My Best Friend's Wedding

I went home for most of my spring break because Mackenzie got married!!! I can't stop telling people how wonderful the whole process was! The preparations, the rehearsal, the wedding, the reception-everything-was perfect!!
After having been away for so much of the pre-wedding process, I didn't really feel like I deserved my Maid of Honor title.
But, I'm just so glad I got to be a part of it. I doubt if I'll ever again see anything like the Booth wedding.

Felicidades Mackenzie and Martin!!!!


So, since returning to Mexico, I've jumped right back into the swing of things.
School has been a little crazy, with the Mexican school board telling us that we would be administering their big standardized test two days last week, but they ended up never showing up. Those tests are tentatively scheduled for next week, but who knows. Can you imagine the school board just NOT bringing the tests on the week (or the days) they told the school the children would be taking these important exams. Wow. I'm not in Kansas anymore...

I went to the Zoo yesterday! It was my first time and, aside from normal things about zoos that have never really please me, and aside from the rude people who threw sticks, chicken, Cheeto's, and other miscellaneous items into animal pens with no staff anywhere near... aside from all of that, it was a lovely zoo and a really great day! The highlight was having a giraffe eat from our hands on the safari!
Next up: Mallory is coming to visit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Semana Santa y Semana Pascua.

I have been a bad blogger this year. I haven't updated very much, and for that I am sorry. School has been forging ahead steadily. We had a fun ecology week, in which we took a field trip to the Bosque de los Niños, a place we went last year also. It really is a perfect field trip for these city kids who never get muddy and get the chance to really be among trees. We finished up ecology week with a brave endeavor. Four of us teachers brought our classes out and we set up six centers where the kids could do things like make recycled paper, create "creatures" out of garbage, make signs petitioning the school to stop using paper towels and paper cones (for drinking), and sort trash in a relay. The kids did very well amidst our craziness and I've got more than one of them boycotting styrofoam plates from the school store and one mom told me that her son now writes on the backs of old napkins at home because "Miss Peterson would like it".

This week we had mini olympics, another great chance for the city kids to roll in the grass and run around freely. After the two longest school days of all time, I am now enjoying the first day of my glorious two-week spring break! In Mexico, they always get the two weeks surrounding easter off for spring break, the first week is semana santa (holy week) and the second week is semana pascua (Easter week). For those who don't know, I will be coming back to Florida on Tuesday the 18th for the wedding of my best friend... which seems so surreal after living in my Mexican bubble for a year and a half...

In other news, I thought I should post something about what has occupied a lot of my time over the past few months. I found a master's program at the University of Florida that pretty much encompasses all of my favorite things about teaching. It is a specialization in Language Arts and Children's Literature, and it focuses a lot on writing, and language acquisition, and multicultural children's literature. I spent about one solid month studying for the GRE, preparing application essays, requesting letters of recommendation and transcripts, and marveling at how easy it was to do it all from another country. I sent the application at the end of February and am still waiting to hear.

Lately, though, I've been wondering about my decision to move back to the states and pursue this degree. Although at first I felt a definite peace about the decision, I've been thinking a lot about the Kingdom of God here on earth and what that means for me. I have been wondering if I should use my gift of singleness and freedom from debt (so far...) to continue working for God abroad, while I can do it easily. If I get my masters now it will mean doing it entirely on loans, something I haven't had to resort to yet, and something that would require a "normal job" to pay them off.
So, I would appreciate prayer for this situation. I just want to know where God would want to use me. Where ever that is, I'll go!

Friday, February 15, 2008

"I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues"

I feel very fortunate to have what has affectionately been named The Whimsical Tree residing directly outside my bedroom window. This amazing tree is like no other tree I have ever seen. The most spectacular thing about it is that, although now it is full of pink sprouts of what resemble something close to fiber-optic wires, come May or June the flowers will fall off and be replaced with these insane, white cotton-balls that like to shed all over the place. (I will be sure to post a picture of the cotton balls whenever they arrive this year...)

View of the Whimsical Tree from my room

If you have ever paid particular attention to Dr. Seuss' illustrations, and seen the crazy trees I have seen since moving here, you might come to the same conclusion as I have--that Dr. Seuss must have visited Mexico!
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." Dr. Seuss The Lorax

Monday, February 11, 2008

New Address--Take Two.

Ok. Really. I'm usually patient with all these unorganized things that seem to happen all the time here. However, I am just a little bit over this.

It turns out that the second mailing address I received was, in fact, also wrong. Just by a little bit.

Check out the sidebar again for the <> real address.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

New Address.

Please make note of the new Texas address on the sidebar. If I already informed you of the new address, you will notice that this one is a little different. That's how things roll here... they give you a new address and then later, after you tell everyone and change your magazines, etc, they let you know that the first was wrong.
Viva Mexico.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


They're so crazy.
I would just like to note that today I received the "my dog ate my homework" excuse for probably the third time since I began teaching here in Mexico.
And they are completely serious.
Here it must not be the most ridiculous and clichéd explanation of all time.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Operation Christmas Child

If you belong to a church, or maybe even if you don't, you may have participated in a Christmastime charity through the company "Samaritan's Purse". It involves filling a shoebox with toys and necessary items for children from different age brackets.
My family and I have done this for years and, although we were told that these boxes would go to needy children all over the world, I admit that I didn't really think about them once the box left my hands.
That is forever changed now after I was able to participate in an event that distributed these very boxes to street children and orphans of Guadalajara!
I didn't know it when I agreed to come help. All I knew is that I was going to wake up at 7:00 to take a long bus ride to a park to help (on my last Saturday before returning back to work after Christmas, mind you...). Charla and I got to the park very quickly, which meant that we were there at 8:15--the time we were told the helpers should arrive. Now, some of you may know that, in Mexico, when you are told to arrive at 8:15, that means nothing will start until 9:00, if you're lucky, and that you would have been better off coming late. Well, we still can seem to shake our American punctuality, and we got there super early.
I'm not complaining, though, because it was a great surprise to see huge trucks pull up and unload the Samaritan's Purse boxes. It was fun to help set up the carnival games, and to say hello to most of the Christian community we've met since moving to Guadalajara.

Charla and I were posted at the "Pulseras" (bracelets) booth with some Lincoln School staff members, Ruben and Sylvia. We helped teach kids a bible verse "El Señor te guardará de todo mal. El guardará mi alma." Psalm 121. And they made the bracelets with the different colored beads that represent different steps in the story of salvation.

I will admit that I felt some pangs of guilt, telling these children that God will protect them from all bad things. The truth is that, as a Christian, God doesn't promise to take all the bad away. But he does promise that he's always with us through it... we just have to know where to look. I hope these kids can come to learn that, as their lives are surely full of more struggles ahead.

Above: Sylvia telling the children the meaning of the beads.

Left: The speaker giving a message to the children.