Wednesday, November 2, 2016

I Thought I Was Going to Be a Teacher

I am a few months into my second year of teaching second grade. Including student teaching, I have taught well over fifty kids, so while I am still considered a new teacher, I have hundreds of stories to tell.

There are some thing that my undergraduate classes didn't cover, that nothing prepared me for. Because it's easy to be a teacher - come up with fun games to teach math concepts or help the students to write daily in a journal. The hard part is all the other jobs that comes with teaching.

I am not just a teacher.

I am a hair stylist, washing candy that got stuck in a little girl's hair ten minutes before the class picture was taken.

I am a nurse, applying ice and bandages, inspecting bug bites and scratches.

I am a musician, singing silly songs over and over to help the class memorize grammar rules.

I am a police officer, blowing my whistle to stop kids who are trying to jump over the fence and leave school property.

I am an artist, drawing pictures of flowers, seahorses, hearts, and wild things.

I am a referee, listening to angry friends each tell their side of the story.

I am a judge, enforcing consequences and requiring apologies.

I am a fitness coach, teaching students how to do burpees.

I am a Oscar winning actress, pretending to be surprised at things I've known all along, or holding in laughter when a child is being unknowingly hilarious.

I am a speech therapist, making sure the students are saying "erosion" and not "erection".

I am a scientist, giving kids a chance to suggest theories and test them out.

I am a cleaner, scrubbing paint off of desks and glitter out of rugs.

I am a mother, cleaning the wrinkled shirt that is worn to school every day, sneaking them an extra snack, comforting them after a hard night.

I am a doctor, making sure the little boy with asthma has his inhaler, and knowing the details of a seven year old's antidepressant medication.

I am a reporter, taking notes, sending information home, asking questions, finding the truth.

I am a grief counselor, when a family member dies and the child feels lost.

I am a constant, always smiling even when I feel sick or distracted.

I am an improv actor, finding words to say to "Do storks really bring people babies?" and "Is the tooth fairy real?"

I am supernatural, somehow going the whole day barely eating and never going to the bathroom.

I am a friend, holding hands, swinging next to them, giving hugs.

And I thought I just signed up to be a teacher.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Three Weeks Adventuring through Paris - All the Spots You Have to Go to!

I have not blogged in months and months and months, but I decided that for my own memory's sake, I should do a re-cap of my three weeks in Paris. Instead of stories, this is a list of all our favorite spots, with links so that you can learn more about them (and someday go to them!) So if you're interested in Paris or are planning a trip there, definitely read on! There are several hidden gems!

First of all, Natalie and I stayed in Montmartre, which I personally think is the best place to stay. You really get to live like a local. Everything is SO close together that it's easy to walk to, and there are many metros in the neighborhood that will easily get you to the other side of Paris. We lived right by the Sacré-Coeur, which was beautiful, especially if you climb up it (only six euros!) Any day that we were bored, we would wander up to the Sacré-Coeur, at the summit of Butte Montmartre, and walk around the block to Place du Tertre, also known as the Artist's Square, for live music and the best cafes! We were there probably a dozen times.

Although we took some special trips to restaurants that were recommended to us, we ate mostly in Montmartre. Just picture it - bakeries on every corner, ice cream, éclairs, macarons, nutella everything, crêpes. We both gained like five pounds. (It was worth it!)

Because we were there for three weeks, we were able to go to almost everything on our wish list. Museums, gardens, cafes, famous streets. Now that I'm back, places will pop up on Pinterest and I'll think, "What! Why didn't we go there?" I guess it just gives us a reason to go back.

As much as I loved scheduling to see museums or taking a day trip, I really liked our lazy days, when we would just wake up and wander around Paris. We discovered so many cool streets, beautiful houses, and cute cafes. 

We went to the Notre Dame Cathedral for mass on our first Sunday. It was absolutely beautiful! Neither of us are Catholic, so we went to experience a whole other culture - different religion, different language, different customs. It was so overwhelming and definitely one of the highlights of our whole trip! I learned so much from just those few hours. And then we went home and watched The Hunchback of Notre Dame and ooed and awed over how realistic the drawings were! 

We took a day trip to the Palace of Versailles on the hottest day of our entire trip. We walked over 10 miles non-stop, but it was definitely worth it! The gardens were beautiful, and we even got to tour Marie Antoinette's cottages. We took a wrong turn (read: we got absolutely lost) and ended up on this beautiful path. I don't even know how to describe it. There were trees and fields with people biking and picnicking. Natalie sketched the scene while I read out loud, taking several breaks to coo over little toddlers walking by us (French kids are definitely cuter than American kids, no offense.) 

For the 4th of July, we took another day trip to Deauville/Trouville. There's a video at the bottom of this post so you can experience more of this beach town. Rumor has it, this is where all the Parisians go on holiday. It is actually North of Paris, while most popular French beaches, such as Nice or Marseille, are on the Southern coast. I thought it was so interesting to see Parisians on vacation. They were touristy and laid back and relaxing - kind of just like us! Fun fact - Coco Chanel opened her first store in Deauville. 

Natalie's husband surprised us and gave us tickets to Disneyland Paris. I never in a million years would have thought I'd be going there. It was SO fun. It was nice to just get out of the city and all that was familiar to us. Because the EuroCup was going on, they knew that a lot of people would be there instead of Disneyland so they decided that this would be a great time to close down all the popular rides to do construction. We were super bummed because three of the coolest rides were closed, but we were able to go on almost every other ride! Our favorite by far was the Ratatouille ride - if I could have, I would have spent the whole time there. The It's a Small World ride was AMAZING. I almost cried - I love seeing the world come together and appreciate all cultures and all walks of life. Also, we got to meet a Mary Poppins who didn't speak English and a super friendly (let's be real - flirty) Bert. 

One of my favorite things about Paris was that there were gardens and parks EVERYWHERE. And there would always be couples wandering through, holding hands and kissing, or families picnicking, or groups of kids skateboarding and biking. The top picture is of Tuileries Garden and the bottom is right by Le Palais Royal. I recommend always bringing a book or a sketchpad with you because I guarantee you will often stumble upon beautiful gardens that will make you want to stop and enjoy the day.

My FAVORITE place of all - Musée Picasso. It is free the first Sunday of the month, and was filled with so much many of Picasso's works and the best gift shop. It inspired me so much, and if I could recommend anything, this would be the place. 

We also visited the Louvre, Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triumph, Eiffel Tower, Hillsong Paris, the Seine, the Panthéon, Galeries Lafayette (free view of Paris from the rooftop), and more! I am so blessed to have been able to enjoy THREE WEEKS in Paris, and I can't wait to go back! 

Check out the video Natalie made of our day in Deauville -