Monday, February 17, 2014


A weekend at home meant...

          Birthday celebrations for Bug

          Lots of cuddles with Baby David

        A sisters and mommy (plus David) shopping adventure

        Seeing this little cutie (who sure has grown since this pic was taken!) at church on Sunday

        And generally just having fun and enjoying family time!

Weekends at home are the best!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Why I want to teach!

When you're a senior in college, lots of people are pretty interested in what you'll be doing with your life next year. I think just about everyone stopped expecting anything normal from me a long time ago, but I think my plans for next year still catch some of them by surprise.

"You want to be a teacher?" "Yes! 100%! It's absolutely what I love!"

Even then I'm pretty sure some of them still don't quite get it. No, I didn't major in education (and boy am I glad I didn't - no offense to any education majors out there, but I consider the experiences I had as a Russian and IS double major irreplaceable and infinitely important), but that certainly doesn't mean teaching gets a big black line through it on the list of career options.

So where exactly does this crazy idea to become a teacher come into play?

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have an extreme soft spot for all things cute, especially children (and kittens).  I can barely walk by a baby without an "awww" escaping my lips and have been known to buy my adorable nephew a chocolate bar and let him eat the entire thing on the car ride home.

And while there will inevitably be an adorable munchkin or two (or twelve) in my classroom, "loving kids" is not why I want to teach.

I want to teach children because my teachers were some of the most important and influential people in my life.  They taught me letters and numbers and grabbed my attention with the most fascinating novels and accounts of history...but more importantly, they taught me to love learning.  To crave more knowledge and new experiences each and every day.  They challenged me, not only with problem sets and final exams, but also with leadership roles among my peers and pushing me (sometimes a little and sometimes a lot) out of my comfort zone. They were some of my greatest role-models and I respected them so much!

I want to be that! Through the ups and the downs I want to give my pupils even half of the inspiration my teachers gave me and always strive to give more and more!

I want to challenge my students! I never have and never will accept mediocrity from them. Does every student have the same abilities? Of course not! But the best work of each pupil becomes clear to a teacher in a very short time and when I see that from my kiddos, whether they appreciate it or not, my teacher self is all aglow!

I mentioned before that I chose a variety of different experiences over a four-year education degree. What I learned, where I went, all of the amazing wonders of the world to which my eyes were opened - I want to share those with my students! I want the things I have seen, smelled, tasted, and touched as well as the people and conversations which have touched my life to speak to my students louder than the words of even the most brilliantly well-written and informative textbook.  If not, a robot might as well take my job!

I want to teach children because that is when I shine brightest.  I call it my "teacher high".  After a long day of teaching (or even just one of those particularly insane 45 minute lessons when it seems that the children have gone bonkers), I will admit that I am sometimes exhausted. But that exhaustion doesn't usually hit until sometime 30 minutes to a few hours later.  Until then I'm filled to the brim with positive energy and smiles.

I want to teach because I think it is one of the most important jobs in the world, never-mind what my paycheck might say.  I want to teach because it fills me to overflowing with happiness. I want to teach because I bring energy and excitement to the classroom.  I want to teach because I want to somehow, someway I will make it happen.  Because a spirit of determination, well, some very special teachers along the way taught me that too!

summer students, second session, 2013

Hatin' on Russia

A few days ago, Katherine at 8 Months in Ukraine shared this article ( about some of the FAKE bad press coming out of the Sochi Olympics.  What conditions are actually like, I can not say (because I'm not there), but all of this schadenfreude is getting under my skin.  So, in the spirit lightening the mood and recognizing that sometimes strange mishaps befall you no matter where you are in the world, here are a few stories of the oddities of life in the land that many of these complaining journalists themselves come from. (aka, my life haha)

On Thursday evening, I had to call maintenance because I was quite literally trapped inside of my bedroom.  When the first worker arrived, he seemed to have no idea that someone was actually stuck inside of the room even though my roomie told him that on the phone.  It's a good thing he didn't decide to push that maintenance request to the next morning, as our maintenance is known to do. Even better, he couldn't figure out how to remedy the situation and had to call in reinforcements (okay, so really only one other guy came who actually knew something about removing door knobs).  In the end we all had a good laugh and didn't make much of it, but heaven forbid there be a door mishap in Sochi and we'll hear ALLLLL about it.

Oh wait...we already did...

U.S. bobsledder Johnny Quinn trapped in bathroom, breaks door to escape

Sometimes the toilet in my bathroom just doesn't flush.  I open up the tank, mess with  something, and suddenly it works again...I bet most of the toilets in Sochi flush more consistently than mine!

Really? This is the thing that has surprised you the most in Sochi? Have you been living under a rock your whole life? This is so extremely common in so many parts of the world!!!

Anyhow, joking aside, I'm much happier to see reports of medal counts and Russia's very own stunning 15 year-old Yulia Lipnitskaia coming out of Sochi these days.  The Olympics should be about celebrating athleticism and great achievements, no matter which country happens to be playing host in any given year!

And I'll leave you with one more article to's a good one! 

"As faves and retweets on @SochiProblems explode, it's clear that the #SochiProblems meme is based on cultural misunderstandings borne out of sheltered ignorance. The posts reflect actual issues that directly impact the quality of life of Russia’s 143 million people."

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A January Recap

I looked at my planner this morning and WOAH! January has just come and gone! 2014 is 1/12 complete. Sooo, here's my little January wrap up.


There was a lot to celebrate this month. It began with one heck of a ring-in in Prague, followed shortly by my birthday.We celebrated the birth of our newest family member and my cutie little sister celebrated the start of braces.


Spring semester kicked off about halfway through January and I'm really loving it. I'm taking an all-time low of 12 credit hours, which gives me enough time to really give my 100% best effort in all of my work, commit to my extracurricular activities without feeling overwhelmed, and to have time still left over to enjoy my last semester with dear friends. Like tonight, for example, when I came home from a productive day on campus and the evening turned into brownies, ice cream, "Love Actually", and some always-valued girl-time.

I'm writing my senior capstone thesis, which means that my desk is piled high with books.

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In addition, I've got tap dance and guitar lessons twice a week with the coolest freshman year roommate ever.

Way way back when we were wee little freshmen!
I would say that I'm doing second semester senior year right!


About a week and a half go I booked flights to Munich for spring break. Yippee!

There's an even bigger trip to Munich planned for two months later, as I make the post-graduation move to Germany. And while many plans are still left to be solidified, it's all so incredibly exciting! I've already started to contemplate the logistics of moving my worldly possessions across the pond. What'll stay, what'll go, and how it will all get there. Hopefully my packing skills won't fail me!

My freshman-year roommate (my tap dancing and guitar sidekick) and awesome friend is applying for a summer program in Berlin, so we're already planning a meet-up in Germany!

I would be lying if I said that Mario and I aren't already planning our winter break travels for NEXT year...we've got a couple of hopeless cases of wanderlust!

January flew right by in bulky coats, warm hats, shivering at the bus stop, nights wrapped in blankies, and many a cup of hot tea.  My heart was happy in January and I am thankful for a month filled with so many blessings.

I hope that January treated you well and that even more joy awaits you in February!