Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Two More Things

1. I forgot to mention I finished the first season of Lost! Now I want to see the second season, but I don't want to start in the middle! I almost watched it this past Wednesday, but my dad made me watch the movie "Witness" instead (the movie with Harrison Ford and the Amish..I had never seen it)

2. I arrived back in Louisville Sunday night to be greeted by this e-mail:


Welcome Back!! The Geo will be out of commission for a few days as it was broken into last night. Please let me know if one of you left something in the car that might have been stolen.


That's right, someone smashed the windows of our lovely little Geo Metro. And as far as we know, there was nothing in it to be stolen. What is the world coming too?? Who in their right mind would break into the Geo??? Please pray for the safety of my car, because nothing has happened to it yet (knock on wood) Unless you count it being a little scratched from a random shopping cart that was jammed between it and another car.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well I had a nice Thanks-giving and I hope everyone else did too! I went home on Wednesday and came back last night. I had company on the way home, my housemates Emily and Keith rode with me to Columbus before going our separate ways. I definitely ate a lot this past weekend and did a whole lot of nothing and it was wonderful! I had Thanksgiving dinner with my parents, sister, and three remaining grandparents. It was nice to be at home and with my family. I also got to see my friends, including Vicki and Jennilee who I hadn't seen since August. And I saw Becky with a diamond ring on her finger. Another friend engaged. (Bluffton people might remember my friends Becky and Tom, good friends of Matt and Celeste, who set them up. And now they are engaged) On Saturday night Kim, Jenni, and I were planning on seeing the movie "Rent", but right before we left Jenni got a call from a friend to let her know it was the night of her high school reunion (she forgot). So instead we ended up attending the Hilliard Davidson High School Class of 2000 reunion at the wonderful establishment "Luckys" (a bar in Hilliard). It happens to be the same bar Kim, Jenni, and I attended with a bunch of Westland High School teachers on another random night over the summer. Anyways, as always, it was odd to see so many high school people, especially since I was at their reunion and I didn't graduate with them. :) Several people approached Kim and I, and there was always that delayed "Hey..didn't you graduate the year after us?" Although not everyone realized this. We had a lot of random conversations and it ended up being a fun night. I still want to see the movie "Rent" though.

I listened to Christmas music the entire drive home last night, this morning at work, and I am currently listening to it as well. I am definitely in the Christmas spirit!! Although I do enjoy Christmas shopping, I realized this weekend how much I hate malls (this coming from a girl who used to love the mall). Going along with Abby Mo's money rant, seeing the crowded mall Saturday just reminded me of how greedy and consumer driven American culture is and I really don't like it. Malls are mostly filled with junk that no one needs!! The mall did not put me in the Christmas spirit, but church on Sunday did, and that is how it should be.

I included a picture of Denise and I because I think it is cute...notice how she is almost as tall as me now! My little sister is growing up so fast :( I wish she would go back to being little and innocent.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Wanna See Me Tap Dance??

Ok, so for some reason my housemates (Emily in particular) always want to see me tap dance. I randomly put on my tap shoes and mess around. Today they decided to have me tap dance before they started watching "Anne of Green Gables" (which I did not partake in, I was doing the dishes instead). And Andrea took a video of it. So if you click on the link to her Xanga and look at the post from today, you can see the video clip. I wish I could take lessons again somewhere so I could actually do a routine opposed to just pulling out some random steps I have in my mind from my tap dancing days (which now have been years ago!!)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

LUC Thanksgiving Dinner

Since we are all leaving Louisville for the holiday this week, we decided to have a Thanksgiving dinner tonight at the house. We had a few guests, including Emily B. who was in the program last year, our director Susan and her husband Dan, and Steven, a grad student that I work with. He is going to Kent School for social work, the program I am considering, and his placement is at Americana. He works with the after-school program a few days a week. My housemate Keith was unable to make it to our dinner because he is still in Alabama visiting friends, so we stuffed one of his shirts and gave him a soccer ball for a head. I also taped a picture of him to the soccer ball. You can see "Keith" in the background on the left. Anyways, it was a fabulous dinner! We proved that we are domestic goddesses (yes we did all the cooking ourselves, but I admit I did not help much). We had ham baked in cider, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, green bean casserole, stuffing, deviled eggs, homeade bread, and mulled apple cider, among other things. For dessert..apple pie and blueberry junk (which was my one contribution, my mom makes it every year for Thanksgiving). I also set the table! In addition to the guests I previously mentioned, we also had a photographer there. One of the local papers is writing an article about our program. He was a cool guy, and he ended up eating with us as well. He's coming to photograph me at work tomorrow too. After a wonderful dinner, we played a rowdy game of Dutch Blitz. We were on teams, and Steven and I won!

Speaking of the article that is being written about us, the reporter doing the story is an intern at the paper and our age. She has my exact same birthday. She has hung out with us a few times in order to get her story, along with coming with me to work. She's a cool girl and I think we made a new friend out of it. She could not come to our dinner because she was working at her other job (which happens to be the bar we have been going to on Wed. nights) So those of you in new cities wondering how to make new friends - just have someone write a story about you!

Last night there was a benefit concert for Americana Community Center at the Kentucky Theatre. The tickets were $12 a piece and all the proceeds went to the center. There were a lot of people there, so I think we will receive a decent amount of money. Emily went with me to the concert. There were five bands playing, but we only stayed for the first two. They were awesome though. The first one was two cellos, a violin, and a viola. But they did not play classical music, it was really unique. Then the headliner was a band called Rachel's, which consisted of a viola, cello, drums, piano, keyboard, and guitar. (no vocals for either of these bands) They were amazing..it is different than anything I have ever heard, and they had pictures playing on a screen that went along with the music. It was very artistic. So obviously I enjoyed the concert. It was a good time.

We were planning on going to the SOA protest in Georgia this weekend, but decided against it, mainly due to our lack of money for gas. I really hope to go sometime in the future though. But we had a good weekend here and I would have missed out on some things if we had been in Georgia (including sleep and a great Thanksgiving meal).

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Fun with Paint

This morning my housemates and I (minus Keith who is in 'Bama) painted five picnic tables outside the community center as a "service project" for Americana. They were all covered with graffiti. As the facility manager, I have heard numerous times that this is something that needed to be done, so I recruited my roommates to help me. I realized I had never painted anything before (except like in art class). So that was fun. Not sure how I managed to escape painting anything for 22 years. Anyways, the tables look so much better and I hope they stay graffiti free for a little while...

Something to Blog About!

Well I guess enough stuff has happened since my last post to justify a blog. I'll fill you all in on my exciting week:

*Tuesday - TORNADO!! Actually, the whole city practically shut down and every TV station (well the ones we get anyways) were talking about this impending tornado and the bad storms we were to expect, but then nothing happened! It was very anticlimatic and rather disappointing (not that I wanted a tornado, but at least a cool storm or something). We just got some rain. We cancelled the after-school program so I got off work early a couple hours early. My job was to tell kids to go home, which was fun. :)

*Wednesday - After work, we all headed to the Bluegrass Brewing Company for another fun night of banjos and beer.

*Thursday - I had my first breakdown at work. I was up in the computer lab, which is usually pretty calm. We have eight computers, and kids can use them for a half an hour at a time. For some reason, more kids than usual kept showing up and at one point there were around 30 kids in there wanting a computer. I lost complete control of the situation and was literally screaming as loud as I could over the noise to tell them all to leave if they were not on a computer. But this did not work. During this time, three different G.E.D. teachers who were trying to have class on that floor came and told me that the noise was disrupting their class. No one was listening to me, and I was having particular trouble with some of the teenage boys who constantly hit on me. So I was screaming at the top of my lungs and fighting back tears. That was definitely the first time I have cried at work. Luckily I was able to call for backup on my nifty walkie talkie. What's ironic is earlier that day at our staff meeting we were discussing how peaceful the after-school program has been lately and how we have better control of the kids so things aren't quite as stressful. Oh, and before the chaos, Salim asked me to read a poem he had written and posted on his website. It was actually a well-written poem, but very depressing about how he cries himself to sleep every night and feels all alone, and he tried to act like it was because of me! Muya Muya also came back that day and told me it was only for me, and that he is not supposed to tell me, but Salim is in love with me. And Raymond (16 year old) asked me to be his fiance. AAAAHHH!! I am really having trouble with these things. I need to figure out how to react to them, because what I am doing does not seem to be working!

And what else happened on Thursday? Oh yeah...HARRY POTTER!!! Keith, Katie, and I went to the midnight showing. Keith dressed up as Harry Potter, and was interviewed by a news station at the theatre, but I don't know if it made it to the news. I was kind of disappointed with the atmosphere at the theatre though. When I have gone to midnight showings in the past (at the Lennox in Columbus) there are so many people there and you have to wait in all these lines and numberous people are dressed up and everyone is so pumped (I know I am dork). But it was pretty much another night at the movies here. Only three of the theatres showed the movie, opposed to 24 at the Lennox, and we didn't even have to wait in any lines! But the movie was excellent! I think it is the best movie so far, of course it is also my favorite book. They left so much stuff out, which they had to, but it was well done. I'm curious to hear what people who have not read the book think of the movie. Anyways, it was worth only getting four hours of sleep that night!

*Friday - We had another neighborhood visit with the one and only Dave Brown-Kinloch (interesting guy). He gave us a tour of his neighborhood, Phoenix Hill, which is the poorest neighborhood in Louisville. He knew a lot and it was the most interesting neighborhood visit we have had so far. It was sooo cold though! Then we had lunch at a working class gas station/diner. It was really good. Oh, Blufftonites will appreciate this...Dave lives in a house that was built over a hundred years ago, and he remodeled it so it uses solar energy! It's pretty cool, and they have a community garden outside their house. It is definitely a "green" home.

Friday night I went out with a few of my co-workers to Fourth Street Live. We went to this fancy club called the Red Cheetah. After I got a couple drinks in me, we had lots of fun dancing. And the most random thing...so I get a phone call and go to the back hallway by the restrooms so I can hear, and this guy standing next to me looks real familiar, and then I realize it is M.J. from last season of the Real World (which I watched a couple episodes of mabye, I really can't stand that show anymore, not sure why I ever watched it). Yeah, so he was at the club that night. The D.J. introduced him a few minutes later. We got our picture taken with him. Not that he is anything special, except for he was stupid enough to be on reality t.v. I didn't have my camera with me, but one of my friends did, so hopefully I will get a copy from her and then I can post the picture.

Does this look familiar?

To those I saw the movie "Elizabethtown" with, this is the gas station they used in the movie. Dave pointed it out during our neighborhood visit. I immediately recognized it. I wish I would have been in Louisville when they were filming the movie!

I also thought you might enjoy a picture of Keith as Harry Potter. Notice the lightning bolt scar on his forehead!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Nothing to Blog About!!

Well for the first time since I have been here I had absolutely nothing planned for this past weekend, so it was very relaxing. I enjoyed it. Once and awhile, it is nice to have nothing to do. My most exciting plans were Friday night. After mopping up a bunch (and I mean A LOT) of toilet water because some punk kids flooded the toilet somehow, serveral of my coworkers and I stayed after work to play some volleyball in the gym. This is the second week in a row we have done this and it is a lot of fun, mostly because none of us are really good so we just have fun with it and goof around. I think it will turn into a weekly thing. Then most of us went out to eat at the Santa Fe Grill. Yummy. My only outings on Saturday were a walk to the library and a trip to Hobby Lobby. And Sunday I only ventured out of my "flat" for church. What a lazy weekend. I watched a lot of "Lost" and finished one book and started on another one. I am now reading Thomas Merton's "Seven Storey Mountain." I remember Perry raving about it, so I thought I would give it a try. I like it so far. I recently found out there is a Thomas Merton center somewhere nearby since he lived in a monestary in Kentucky. Maybe I should check it out sometime. After work today I was taught the game Dutch Blitz by my two Mennonite housemates. I was told that I can officially call myself a Mennonite now that I know how to play this game. I thought it was fun, especially after Emily stopped playing (she's a pro and kept beating us all). After that excitment I did dishes for almost two hours and now my back hurts. What an exciting life I lead!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Who is this strange man??

On the bottom is my housemate Keith on Sunday. On the top is my housemate Keith on Monday. He warned us that he randomly decides to shave his beard and I was shocked at how different he looks. I would have been more shocked if Andrea hadn't ruined the surprise for me :) If he had cut his hair too I would really have thought there was some strange man in my house. But apperantly he made a deal with a professor in college that neither of them will cut their hair until Bush is out of office. So I guess he has to wait awhile.

This is definitely a skimmer!

I am extremely tired today for some reason. Since I don't feel up to doing much this evening, why not blog? I have a lot of random thoughts going through my head right now. So here is some stuff I have been up to lately....

1. Last week all my housemates and I went to a lecture at a local university. Yes, we attended a lecture by choice and not because we had to! It was equivalent to a forum at Bluffton and brought me back to my college days (because they were so long ago...) Anyways it was really interesting. The speaker was Salman Rushdie, a well known author, although I had not heard of him before this night. One of his fiction novels "The Satanic Verses" was deemed sacrilegious by many, and a fatwa was issued against him, which is basically a death sentence. The Muslim world made a movie about him in which he was killed by God at the end (which this guy has seen and made fun of) He was a great speaker and brought up interesting points about free speech and the power of story telling.

2. I saw the play "The Crucible" last night (for free of course). It was good, but not my favorite that I have seen here. The play was very familiar to me, although I don't think I ever read it. However it had some of the same characters that I used in a video I made back in the day for high school about the Salem Witch Trials (like Tituba, Sarah Good, etc.) Vicki..did we read this play?? It reminded me a lot of the stupid video we made in my basement. Obviously this version of the play was very serious, but it kept my attention since I have always been fascinated by that period of history.

3. Last year in October I attended an MCC conference in NYC that dealt with issues in Sub-Saharan Africa. I learned so much those few days, and had no idea then that in less than a year I would be working and interacting with people who came from those countries. For example, my co-worker Louise is a Rwandan refugee. We watched a documentary about the conflict in Rwanda at the conference. And now I know someone who had to live through it. We had a staff enrichment day on Tuesday since the kids had no school, and Louise shared her personal story with us. She was in Rwanda at the height of the conflict in 1994 and had to flee with her husband and children since they were in fear of being killed. They made it across the border to Congo, and not safe there either, traveled all the way across Africa to Senegal. After a couple years there, they were able to make it to the United States. She had a college education in Africa, but when she moved here she had to start out cleaning houses since it meant nothing in the U.S. She discussed how difficult it was for her family for the first couple of years here. They even considered going back to Africa. But instead they moved to Louisville. They have been in the U.S. seven years now. Louise is in her last year of college to get a degree in social work, and she plans to attend graduate school next year. What an amazing woman. I have so much respect for her. Although I am still in the U.S., I am learning so much about other cultures and I love it. Most of the kids I am mentoring in the after-school program are refugees, coming from Sudan, Somalia, Liberia, and Bosnia. I have also learned the difference between ethnic Somalis and Somali Bantus. We have a large number of both groups here, which at times causes conflict.

4. I found out this week that Muya Muya moved!! Although he had some behavior issues, he was one of my favorite kids and I had no warning that Friday was the last time I was going to see him. He is still in Louisville, but not near the community center anymore. But on the bright side of things, I have one less teenage boy in love with me now.

5. We just got walkie talkies today at work and I had so much fun with them! We decided they would be helpful for a few of the staff to have them every day since we are spread out over the building during the after-school program. They are fancy looking ones. I got to have one today since I was up in the computer lab and I had fun saying things like "This is 4 calling 3, we have a situation in the computer lab, can you send back up." We used the numbers on the walkie talkies today, but I think we can get more creative and come up with code names for ourselves. We were being incredibly immature by the end of work. I don't think we were setting a good example for the kids. :)

6. I am discovering how nice it is to have free time to read books for pleasure! I took a walk to the library the other night and checked out several books that I have always wanted to read. I feel that I have en endless list in my head of books that at some point somone told me I need to read. But if anyone has any suggestions, let me know! I am currently on "Cry the Beloved Country" which is excellent so far.

7. I have started watching Lost!! After hearing several people going on about how wonderful the show is, I was feeling left out. Luckily my housemate Ben now owns a burnt set of Season One. I just finished the fourth disc tonight, so I am well over halfway through the season and I am hooked! Unfortunately, I can't watch the season that is currently on because I know I would be "lost" (he he) and I don't want to ruin season one by knowing things I shouldn't. So no one tell me who died last night!

8. Finally, I have started considering what I am going to do after my year of service is up. Although I still have NINE months left, I find the question of what I am going to do next often asked. I have always thought I want to go to grad school, but I wasn't sure for what. I am now thinking I want to get a masters in social work. I think it fits me, and there is a lot you can do with it. Several people I have met from the non-profit world here in Louisville have graduate degrees in social work (Edgardo included). And I have heard good things about the social work school here at U of L. It is a two year program, they accept people from various undergrad degrees, and you don't have to take the GRE! (while this is a good thing, it also seems kind of shady to me, but I have been reassured that it is a quality program. I have met many graduates and work with two interns that are in the program now). And Edgardo is a part-time professor! So..it looks like I could be in Kentucky for another two years, but this is definitely not set in stone. But I am considering this option and already began filling out an on-line application. Some of my housemates and I have already discussed sticking around after this year is over and moving into a house together. But we'll see what the future holds...

Wow this is a long entry! Congratulations if you skimmed down this far! I hope that this post entertained someone, somewhere while bored at work ;)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Another Retreat

Instead of having seminar this past Friday morning, we went on a retreat this weekend. We left late Saturday morning and got back late this afternoon. It was a good weekend and so nice to get away for a little bit. I decided it is extra nice for me to get away from our "apartment" since it is also where I work. Even on the weekends when I am not working, I still feel responsible for stuff when I look out the window and see lots of trash everywhere or tons of people in the parking lot (African kids, Bosnians, whoever..) So this weekend was a nice escape. Anyways, our retreat was in Paoli, Indiana, a small rural town. It is about an hour drive from here. It is where the closest Mennonite church is and several members of this church are on the board for our program and are always interested in how we are doing. We stayed at a nice cabin in the woods owned by members of the church. We had some organized group stuff with our director Susan, but also a lot of free time. We explored the woods and ate lots of good food. Susan and I had a really interesting conversation about African culture for over an hour. She knows a lot and it is helpful for me to understand where the kids I work with are coming from. Especially since I am supposed to start home visits this week!

This morning we went to church and they had a hot dog roast after worship in our honor. I love how welcoming this church is. They have a high ropes course on their property and they opened it up for us. It was so much fun! In the pictures you can see me climbing up a rope ladder (which was actually quite a work out!) That was the hardest part. Once I got up there, I got to slide down on the zipline which was so much fun. If you look at the picture of the trees, you can see a very little me sliding through them. The zipline was the most fun, but they had some other stuff too. We were out there for a couple of hours. Then an older couple from the church invited us over to their house. And they had a piano!! This time I had music with me. I also got to play at the church some when they were getting lunch ready. It was so great to play and several people that heard me asked if I have access to a piano here in Louisville. I told them no, and a couple people said they will work on getting us a piano! I really hope it happens because I would love it. A few of my housemates play too. So if we get one I have a feeling it will be put to good use. The hardest part will be getting it up the stairs.

Oh yeah, I have to tell a story explaining the picture of Emily climbing through the screen. Soon after our arrival at the cabin, we all went out to the screened in back porch for our first group session. We decided to close the door to the inside of the house to not let any bugs from the porch in. Somehow we got locked out. We did not have a key and there were no windows. So our only solution was to rip the screen and have Emily climb out and then enter through the front of the cabin to open the door for us. It was amusing, but we felt bad about ripping their screen! They didn't seem to mind when Susan told them this morning and I think they already had someone fix it. In sum..it was a great weekend and so nice to spend time with all my housemates, Mennonites, and nature. Ok, time for Desperate Housewives!

Thursday, November 03, 2005


To the left is Salim. Today he asked me to marry him. To the right is Muya Muya. Today, he asked me if he could kiss me goodbye. I turned them both down. I guess I am supposed to have a talk with them about how this behavior is inappropriate. Salim also calls me his "favorite woman in the world." They both give me a hug every day and I am beginning to think I should stop this behavior. So you teachers out there, what is the policy about hugging kids? Here the rules are that we never initiate it and we are the first to let go. Should I refuse boys that have crushes on me hugs? I'm not quite sure what I think about this matter. I don't mind giving them hugs, especially since I know Muya's dad is dying, so he obviously is going through a tough time. But they take it too far sometimes. Oh yeah, they are both 14 in case anyone is wondering. So far the only people hitting on me here in Louisville are much younger or much older than me.