I had no idea that it's been so long since I've blogged! I apologize profusely!
Well, apparently I have a lot to catch you up on, so let's see what I can do. :o)
~The school year started off really well. We had a retreat at school the first weekend for the students, and it was a great time of bonding, learning, and playing. I was staying in one of the apartments with the high school girls, and the other teacher was in another apartment with the junior high girls. I was really hoping that this would be a good time for me to connect with some of the girls, especially those who have had attitude problems in the past, knowing that overnighters tend to involve "girl talk." :o) Well, it worked to some extent. I tried not to push myself into the conversation, but the girls willingly involved me, to the point of suggesting I bring my bed into the room too so I could relax as we talked. At one point, the girl that I've mentioned before who had a spiritual revival at camp, apologized to me for something that had happened last semester. She said she understood now why I felt and acted the way I did. The next day, the retreat leader had all the kids say what they appreciated or learned during the retreat, and this girl mentioned it was nice to get to know people better, like me for example. She said she now understands why I do what I do, because if she were a teacher she'd probably act the same way. And one of the other students told me that girl said, "You know what I realized? Miss Kelly's actually kinda cool." Progress! It's still been a bit of a struggle in class since then, because although she has had an attitude adjustment, she still has some teenage things to grow out of. She has very strong opinions about everything and isn't afraid to voice them, and this often is done through complaining. She still talks almost nonstop during class, and that's a constant source of frustration for me. We're working on it though.
~The teaching staff is quite bare-bones this semester, so we're all really busy. It's been going really well though, and we all get along quite nicely. I'm kind of the veteran teacher in the high school now. There is one other teacher who has been here longer, but he only comes in 2 1/2 days a week. So, since I'm ALWAYS there, I'm kind of the pointman of the high school. For the most part I like this role, but it did frustrate me after being gone for a week and a half, coming back and being asked questions or being expected to do things I had no idea about because I wasn't here!
~That brings me to my next point. For those of you who don't know, I had an unexpected and very brief visit to the States last week. My uncle passed away very suddenly, and I felt that it was very necessary to go to be with my family. I was very close to him, and it's still difficult for me to think about him being gone, to realize that he won't be at family get-togethers anymore. I almost can't believe it. But going up for the funeral helped, and it was so nice to be with my family and reminisce about my uncle. I think we spent more time laughing at my uncle's antics and odd quirks than crying for our loss. We definitely did cry, and we all felt his departure keenly, but he was such a fun-loving jokster that it was hard not to have plenty of things to laugh about too. I will miss him so much, and I look forward to the day I will join him in praising our Lord in heaven!
~As I was on the plane on the way back to Chile, I got very sick. It started with a bad headache and nausea and then moved into light-headedness and general weakness. This is NOT something fun to deal with while traveling. Needless to say, it was the worst traveling experience of my life. And I was all alone. Luckily I had 3 seats on the plane and could lay down. I didn't eat anything and could only keep down tea or ginger ale. When we landed in Chile, I knew there was no way I'd be able to walk and wait in all the lines at customs, so I requested a wheelchair. I felt like SUCH an idiot being rolled around the airport, but at least I didn't have to wait in any lines! :o) I got home, literally collapsed into bed, and slept for another 6 hours. Needless to say, I was NOT going into work the next day. So I tried to send instructions for a substitute, and spent all day Tuesday in bed as well. By then I was able to keep down some bread and chicken soup, and of course, the ever-present hot tea. Wednesday I got up to get ready for work, and I was feeling WORSE than the day before. It took me a little while to realize what had happened, but I had caught a cold on top of the stomach bug. So even though I was no longer nauseous, when you haven't eaten in 3 days, a cold wipes you out pretty well! So I went back to bed, very frustrated that I STILL wasn't getting back to work. I knew things would be more difficult the longer I was gone--both for my sub and for me when I got back! So Thursday I dragged myself to school (in a taxi since there was NO way I could survive public transportation) and taught my classes sitting down with a mug of tea in my hands. When I got back to school I was inundated with hugs and comments about how skinny I looked. I explained to them that that's what happens when you don't eat for 4 days. As it is, my stomach is settled, but very small, so I can't eat very much without feeling full or even sick if I push it too much. So I'm still not eating very much, but at least I'm eating. I'm still a little low on the energy level and get tired easily, and I have a pesky cough that won't go away. Other than that, I'm fit as a fiddle. :o) However, I do have PILES of work on my desk. I have a friend helping me, but she can only do so much. So I'm just going to plug away at it and not be stressed. But I still have all of the regular work to do too, so I'm going to be very busy for awhile!
~Ok, I think that about brings us up to speed. I have some exciting things coming up in school, in travel plans, in my social calendar. And Easter is coming up, as you know, and so I'm hoping to be able to invite a new friend to church. Pray for me that I'll be able to find an opportunity to invite him and that he'll be open to coming. I'm making more and more friends here, some American and some Chilean, and I feel that I'm getting more and more ingrained in life here in Chile....which is not going to be helpful when it comes time to leave in September! I have so many people who want me to stay here, for various reasons, both social and work related. It's very difficult, and at times I'm very confused as to what God has for me. So there's another prayer request...Wisdom! Guidance! Clarity on His direction! And peace and strength to follow through. Whichever way I choose, I'll be leaving someone and something behind. I have two lives (Santiago and NJ), and I can't live both, but I don't want to give either of them up!!
Well, it's been a long post. I tried to give you the highlights. I will try to not neglect you all for so long in the future! Thanks for reading!