Wednesday, February 10, 2010

So, here we are in February, hoping it was march or april. It sort of feels like I'm waiting for something. Maybe it's the group of visitors we have coming in March (Anjuli, my sister, and friends Justin and Hannah) or maybe it's that the unit hasn't taken any trips in awhile, or maybe it's the job I began so days are more similar than the were while I was subbing. It also could be that I had been looking forward to going back to Goshen so much, and now that we're back, there's not that to look forward to. It was great to be home for a while, but went way too fast.
I got the job about a week after we got back from Christmas in Goshen. I was subbing in a school I had never been at before and they actually didn't need me (someone accidently asked for a sub) but they decided to keep me as an aid for the day. As I was talking to the teacher I was working with, she told me that a part time special ed. math teacher had retired before break, so I talked to the principal and had an interview that day and was hired two days later. They actually wanted a full time teacher, but were willing to give it to me for 3/4 time so I could be there. It's really wonderful to have a consistent school to go to and to build relationships with students, although it has been hard gaining respect from some of the 5th graders I work with.

As for the unit, things are feeling kind of blah and I think that what February does to people. We continue to learn more about each other and how to support each other and maybe how not to piss each other off (although sometimes those things aren't avoided as much as they could be). People are who they are. We did have an interesting learning component in January where we discussed the eneogram which brought some clarity in why each of us act the way that we do. Another exciting new thing has been our chickens who have started laying 4-5 eggs a day!

We now have almost enough to get us through the week with out buying any. We probably will need to buy a dozen, since the guys each eat about 4 a day. It's been new to me living with two teenage boys who need more calories than I've ever seen anyone eat before.

Gabe and I were gone quite a bit in January. We spent a weekend with a group of people in a cabin in colorado where we hiked 5 miles to get there. Snowshoeing, melting snow for water, and having to carry our food for the weekend were new experiences for us. We also spent a weekend in San Antonio for a retreat for service adventure leaders. It was good to share stories and suggestions with others who were experiencing some of the same things we are.

This weekend the unit is heading up to a cabin owned by friends outside of Santa Fe. Even though we're just hiking a mile in, this will be a new experience for Mary. The last weekend of Feb. we are heading to young adult snow camp at Rocky Mountain Menn. Camp.

We ask for continued thoughts and prayer for understanding of each other in the unit and for financial security as we look towards the summer without stipends to pull us through.

love to all, Bethany

Friday, November 20, 2009

The days, weeks, months go by...

And now it's already almost Dec., which is crazy. But I'm so happy that we get to travel back to Goshen over Christmas (by train). We are definitely feeling settled here in Albuquerque, with somewhat routine jobs and a community that we are feeling more and more comfortable being a part of all the time, and friends that we can spend time with. We continue to get to know the unit better, but also people our age around the area.
October began with a visit from Susan Nisly from MMN and a couple visits to the Balloon Fiesta. Later in the month, we celebrated Gabe's birthday (as well as Joe's) by hosting a Mario themed party, where we played lots of Mario Cart and attempted to make turtle shell cakes. We also traveled to the Rocky Mountain Mennonite Relief Sale in Colorado, which after being a part of the relief sale at the Elkhart County Fair Grounds, was drastically smaller, but fun to be a part of nonetheless. On our way back to ABQ, we were able to stop in Taos and do an amazing hike up to Williams Lake, where we even hiked in some snow. I am constantly amazed as we travel to different places in New Mexico of the different terrain that the state has. Gabe and I also were able to take a weekend away to Santa Fe, where we stayed with a couple who is associated with AMC. They own a cabin east of Santa Fe where we spent part of the weekend, keeping warm with three different wood stoves, one of which was a cooking stove. Its adventures like these, where we see woods, that make us really appreciate being in a state that
is so empty of people, but full of interesting landscapes.

In November, we began the month witnessing the Dia de los Muertos parade. Events like this remind us of the Mexican population that we are close to and live with. I have experienced this especially through substitute teaching where about half of the schools I have taught at are bilingual and have many hispanic teachers and students (the majority really). Oh, how I wish I knew Spanish better. I'm beginning to think that that needs to be a goal while I am here, maybe by taking a class through a university here. We also traveled to White Sands and camped right beside a mountain at Oliver Lee Memorial State Park. At night, the sky was the most clear I believe I have ever seen in my life. We could see so many many stars! And the guys in our group were able to sleep outside because it still wasn't cold enough that that wasn't impossible. We sure aren't in Indiana! This weekend we will be traveling to the Festival of the Cranes in Socorro, NM where we will witness thousands of cranes arriving and departing as they travel south.

Gabe and I look forward to our trip to Phoenix to visit family there for Thanksgiving and the break that awaits us at the end of December, but are fully enjoying being here and embracing being in a new part of the US.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Again it has been about a month since the last post, but maybe this time I will send out an email giving people the site. Then it would be nice to know if people are actually enjoying reading these or if it's worth it.

Anyway, it's been a low key month. We did have our first visitor, Gabe's mom Cindy, but we'd love to have more...:) Come visit us. Albuquerque is an awesome city and New Mexico is an awesome state, especially if you're from the mid west. Weather has gotten a bit cooler, but we've still got the sun and the mountains.

Our unit continues to learn to communicate better and get to know how to relate to each other. Learning components this month have been the high ropes course at our church retreat, a chile roasting party (which meant that we peal, seed, and bag them to be frozen so we have them all year round) where I learned that my hands are very sensitive to the chile and next time I must wear gloves, and visiting Tent Rocks which meant some good hiking, sweet views, and rocks that look like tents.

Gabe and I got our first weekend away, which we are given once a month. We spent it at our host family's house south of the city where they have an upstairs apartment. During the weekend we got to spend some time with the young adults from the church at a local brewery's Septemberfest and realized how much we will need that weekend away each month. We have also joined a dinner club group with the young adults and will have a meal with a group of 6 people once a week. How wonderful it is to be with people more our age.

I am still looking for a job, but finally had my subbing orientation and will hopefully be in the system in the next two weeks and Gabe's job continues to go well. Who knew he would find himself enjoying a job in a school setting?!

We would love to hear from you all and hear that you're thinking about coming for a visit!


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Participants, pears, and chicks!

So, I guess we haven't done the best job of keeping our blog up to date, since it's now almost a month since we've written anything. Our participants arrived three and a half weeks ago. Mary is from Oklahoma and working at the daycare at the church. Sam is from Goshen and working at Habitat for Humanity. Joe is from VA and working at Habitat as well. We started with a week of orientation, planned by us. That week we were very grateful that different people from the church provided supper for us every night. The participants have been working for two and a half weeks and we've had that long to get a routine of cooking and weekly learning components and worship nights. Our learning components have so far been the annual Santa Fe Indian's Market, watching the movie The Milagro Bean Field War (which takes place in Albuquerque and relates to water rights), making cookies and meeting the neighbors, an Isotopes baseball game, and canning the pears that are from a tree in our yard. Our worship night for the first while here are sharing our spiritual life journeys. This group is fun in that everyone loves to play games and we never know what Sam will do next (jump on the roof, do pull-ups on our doorway, or leave the stove on high while talking on the phone outside).

Gabe has found a job!!! He started Monday and is full time (but only working Mon-Thurs) at a private alternative school for students with special needs who haven't been able to fit in the public school system. There are 24 students, ranging from 1st to 12th grade, but mostly middle school age. I have still not found a job, but filling in as an administrator at the daycare at the church until something else comes up or the director finds a replacement for that position. I've been having a really hard time getting into the public school's subbing program since it's so big. I've also applied for a few part time special ed. positions, but schools are really looking for people who are bilingual (oh, how I wish I would have expanded my spanish since SST).

Our resent excitement has been the four chicks we got about a week ago. They were about a week old at the time and are so cute! Gabe spent most of last week building a coop for them.

Hopefully the next post won't be so long in between. We miss and love you all!


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hello everyone,

Only two days until our participants arrive. We are excited to have them here and to get to know them. We are also excited because their arrival will add some structure and tasks to our days, as this week we have at times struggled with knowing how best to spend our time. Not anymore, soon we will likely have more things then we can get done each day. I continue in my quest to add to our small but growing garden. We have several tomatoes and one of those hanging growing things with a bunch of peppers. Our plants though are way behind schedule so it is hard to know what we will get out of them.
Bethany and I have spent the week planning our orientation for next week with the participants. Fortunately this week has been largely crisis free. :)
Last weekend Bethany and I went with Marc Schlabach and Daniel Mast on a trip down to Carlsbad caverns. It was a lot of driving but well worth the trip, on the way to Carlsbad we stopped in Roswell and paid a visit to the International UFO museum and Research Institute. A very big name for a pretty small museum. It was interesting, but it failed to convince me of the existence of extraterrestrial UFO's. After Roswell we got down to Carlsbad in time to watch the bats fly out of the cave, it was awesome to see that many bats at one time.
Saturday we spent the morning in the cavern, and it is HUGE, not like any cave I had seen before, the rooms were enormous and went on for miles and miles. Saturday evening we went on to White Sands, which is just what it sounds like, a place with a bunch of white sand. All in all it was a good weekend trip and one I am sure we will be making again with our unit. It was a great chance to see a lot of the state, on the way back we basically followed the Rio Grande and got to see all the agriculture in that area.
Well I am tired of typing and am running out of things to say. We would appreciate any prayers and we head into the next week and do orientation with our unit.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Our first post

Hello Everyone. Sorry to everyone who has been waiting to hear from us and see some pictures of our new place here. There has been a lot to do and see here already in the last week. This post is really only meant to get the blog started. Much more details and photos will follow soon. Thank you to everyone who has been thinking about us since we left Goshen.

Gabe and Bethany