Sunday, October 7, 2012

Whoaaa I'm Half-Way There.....

Can you believe it? I've been in Moshi for  8 weeks now! Seems like just  yesterday I was boarding the plane, all teary-eyed and scared, to get here. Time sure is flying by!

I have officially ended my time in the P3/P4 class and I miss the class already. Each student came with their own unique challenge but they were all eager to learn and it made my job more fun. As part of the final assessment we created a video. I will be putting it on YouTube as soon as I figure out the copyright issues... so who knows when that will be. But just so you know- they video is absolutely adorable!

Since I am done with the little P3/P4 it's time for me to move up to the big kids in P5/P6! I've already been in the class for a week and I think everything will go wonderful. They are just starting a unit on the solar system and, being the science nerd that I am, I am very excited! I need to do refresh my memory on the solar system a little bit because the students are already asking questions that I don't know! What a bunch of inquirers I have! ;)

Last weekend I got to spend the weekend away in Arusha. I went along with 4 other people from the school and we had quite the adventure! Arusha is a big city that is about two hours away from Moshi (a city that pretty much grew overnight!). We were able to hop on the school's bus that went down on Friday afternoon and they dropped us off at this wonderful, wonderful, wonderful restaurant. We were able to sit outside on couches that were more comfortable than my bed and the food was just great. Did I mention that the restaurant had wi-fi? I was able to use my iPhone to send some iMessages and to post on facebook! I haven't been able to that since coming here, it was pretty nice. Then Simone, my roommate, and I decided to go to our hotel. Oh. My. Goodness. We were in heaven! We were able to stand in our mosquito nets, we had comfortable beds, a lovely shower with actual water pressure, and more wi-fi! We were spoiled for the night and it was great! Almost felt like home ;). A friend of mine told me about a band playing a local bad so we decided to check it out and I think it was the best night I've had here. The band played a nice variety of songs and one of our friends actually got to play the bass in the band for a little bit! There was a lot of dancing done that night- we all let go and had a great time!
At the lovely restaurant! 

Standing in the mosquito net!

The first hotel!  

Saturday- Simone and I had to leave our great hotel and we stayed at a backpackers hotel. Not nearly as nice but it a rooftop bar that had a lovely view of the city and Mt. Meru. We got to meet a couple of people who were doing some travelling. It was so great! On Sunday we decided to wander around Arusha. I was able to get some souvenirs bought and we went to the Masaai market, which, I will definitely have to go when I have some more money and time! There were soooo many cool things and it will be a great place to perfect my bargaining skills!
My view from the second hotel!

chilling the roof!

I'm just ending a nice, relaxing weekend. I went into town yesterday and today to buy some more souvenirs. I had to buy sooooo much now because my mom and dad will be here on FRIDAY! Yup, less than 5 days! I can hardly believe it. We will be going on a safari starting Sunday so expect a lot of pictures when I get back.

I can't believe that in 8 short weeks I will be home! I can hardly wait to tell everyone my stories in person.

Miss you all,

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I'm an awful blogger...

Sorry, everyone! I really need to get better at writing in this!!

The last time I've posted I mentioned going on a hiking trip with the students and it was just lovely! The kids were great and we had some good talks on our 2 and 3 hour hikes. The hike itself was good, even though it was a bit steep! The waterfall was so, so, so beautiful! If it had been a bit warmer I would have dived on in but I'm a wimp.

A couple of weekends ago, I got a chance to go on a staff camping trip! It was so great to have a relaxing weekend with everyone away from school. The Arusha campus also joined us so I got to meet and get to know even more people. It had a great view of a beautiful crater lake and I got to see some wild ELEPHANTS!! I could have watched them for hours because were just so magnificent. 
Lake Chala! 

Some kids site seeing on the way! 

A chameleon :) there were all over the place!


With some teachers :) 

This weekend was sports day at the school. The entire school is split up into three different houses: Kibo, Meru, and Mawenzi (my house!). This way the students are supporting every grade and they are all working together to get the trophy! They did races, relays, high jump, long jump, disc throwing, and javelin. The little kiddies did their own races, too, and it was adorable!!  My house didn't win (we came in last actually) but my kids looked the best in their green shirts ;) 

Sil jumping over! He got all the way up to 1 meter before he made a mistake!

Me with a couple of best friends!

Mawenzi girls!
4 Mawenzis and 1 Kibo!

There is A LOT happening in the classroom. I officially took over the class last week and overall things are going well. I am doing all of the planning and prep work for the students, so it is a lot of work! The unit "Wonderful Me" is still trucking along.. it is a difficult one but we are doing the best we can! I only have a couple more weeks in my P3/P4 class then I have to move up to the big kids in P5/P6. I am going to miss the little ones soooo much but I know some of the older ones too and they are just as sweet (most of them). 
All of the kids painted a picture of their home country and then we typed up a description as to why  it is important to them! 

The kids are painting a description of themselves! 

I am planning on getting some fun shopping done this weekend! I haven't had a chance to buy any "African" memorabilia yet so I am excited to get that started. I already have some stuff in mind that I want to buy :) 


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hapana Sama Hani!

Well, I have survived my first week in the class and two weekends here in Moshi!

The class I have is....wonderful. I can't even begin to explain how well-behaved and adorable they all are. I have students from: Tanzania, India, USA, Holland, UK, and France. There is quite a range in academic level (even a bigger one than I had expected being with two grade levels). I am a little nervous about that because that requires a lot of extra planning but I am up to the challenge and am extra glad that I will have help from an experienced teacher. Speaking of my cooperating teacher, she is...GREAT! Not only in the classroom but out, she is making me feel so welcome. Her and her husband have helped me in so many ways so far and I don't know how I would have lived these past couple weeks without them. 
I will be teaching the "Wonderful Me" unit. The unit will have the students reflect on why they are the way they are and how they got to be that way. It's a way to get the students to start thinking in a deeper way. I already have some small plans but I still need to sort through them all. That's the tough part ;) I know at the end I want to create a video of all the students with their reflections... I'll post it when it's finished. Hopefully, it all works out as planned! 
This weekend I will be going on a hiking trip with the middle school students. Should be a great experience. I looked at the pictures from last year's trip and the sites are just beautiful. I will be sure to post picture of that online here for those of you who don't have me on Facebook. There is also a staff camping trip coming up at Lake Chala. It, too, looks beautiful. I feel very lucky already and I've only been here two weeks. With my class and outside activities, I couldn't ask for a better experience! Except, I am struggling with the time difference when it comes to talking to people at home. Well, the time difference and the lack of reliable phones and terrible internet. It's just something that I have to get used to, though! Miss you all! 


P.S. I am still not used to being a "blogger" yet so just deal with me! 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hello Moshi!


Well, I have been at ISM for about three days now and I am still suffering from jet lag! It's all good though.. I'm managing. It was really rough the first day, though, because I got in town late the night before and got up and met everyone and had my tours. Needless to say, Tuesday was kind of a blur. Yesterday and today were great, though. I attended some meetings here on our Moshi campus and got to know the staff a little better. All of them have such great stories and I can tell that they are all great teachers. I just know that I am going to learn so many new things!
Today, we drove to the other ISM campus in a town called Arusha. It was about a 2 hour bus ride... along the way I saw so many different things. There is a large amount of poverty around here so I had a chance to witness that today. While we were in Arusha, we had some people come up to our bus and try to sell us things through the open windows, we ended up closing them. I also got the chance to see just how beautiful Tanzania is. There are so many different kinds of trees and other plants that it's so colorful! I also got to see the mountains. I was most excited about finally getting to see the peak of Mt. Kilamanjaro! I've been told that it's a hit or miss trying to see it because of the cloud coverage up top but since I can see if from my campus I will have plenty of chances! Some of the teachers at the school have been here for years so we got a little background of some of the sites we were seeing. It was like our own personal tour guide.
I was able to sit down with my cooperating teacher today about the first unit we will be doing. That means that things are just about to get real! The students start to arrive this weekend and school starts on Monday. I am excited to get to know all about the different students. They are coming from all around the world and they all have very different experiences. I have a feeling it will be a challenge incorporating all of these differences in the lessons I'll plan but I am ready for that challenge! After a few days of freaking out, I am welcoming this new experience. It's a hard adjustment from home (to put it lightly) but I can handle it. The only big thing that is getting to me is the lack of internet and cell phone. I miss talking to everyone.. easily. However, it will give me some time to reflect and plan super, wonderful lessons, right? 

Well, I should be off. I should try and do something productive while I can!

Ash :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Leaving On A Jet Plane

Hi all! So, it's been awhile since I've posted and I apologize for that. I am about to start my Tanzanian adventure on Sunday, yes, SUNDAY! These last few months have flown by and there has been many big changes that happened during that time.

I walked across the stage as a "graduate" (I won't fully graduate until after student teaching) back in May. I walked with many close friends and I am so proud of us all. It was a pretty emotional day but also a day full of pride. I will miss UNI and Cedar Falls so much. The people I met and the experiences I had made me who I am today and I am very thankful for it all.

This summer also brought many changes for some of my closest friends. I had two move up to Minnesota. Beth is working at Mayo and Eric is working at Wells Fargo in Minneapolis. Then my partner in crime all throughout school, Trinity, moved all the way to Colorado. With my friends still around the QC and Cedar Falls, Jane in Atlanta, and Michelle in Chicago, I guess it's safe to say that I have plenty of destinations to visit when I get back. I am so proud of them all and it is definitely weird to think how we're the grown ups now.

My flight leaves from O'hare at 4pm on Sunday (8/5) and then it's off to Amsterdam for a few hours and then I arrive at Tanzania! I am so excited for my adventure to start and I plan on keeping everyone updated through this blog. I will post pictures and stories, hopefully, once a week. I now have a twitter (@smashash89) and will probably update that a lot, too. Wish me luck with the rest of my packing!

Til next time,

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Official, Official, Official!

These past couple weeks have been... amazing!
To start things off- next week I will be going to Chicago to do my level 3 field experience. This is where I am put in a classroom all day for an entire week. I will be working with students in 4,6,7, and 8th grades in the subject areas of science and social studies. I am excited for many, many reasons. First, I get to use my science minor in different age levels! I've been in an 8th grade science classroom but it will be interesting to see the other grade levels! Second, I've never taught a real social studies lesson so that experience will be very helpful (I am very nervous about it, though). And third, I LOVE CHICAGO! I am soooo excited to be a "Chicagoan" for a week. I will be staying with a teacher from the school and she lives right by Lake Michigan. Hopefully, the windy city provides me with nice weather so I can take advantage of that. A very good friend of mine also lives in the city so I'm excited for a chance to see her.

The next exciting thing in my life- I have official word that I'm going to Tanzania!

I arrive there August 2nd and my orientation starts August 4th. I am very thankful that I get a chance to go to the orientation so I have some time to learn the new culture and have time to get settled in my new future home. I will be living in a house on campus with the other student teacher that's going from UNI (SO thankful I'm not heading over alone!). For my first 8weeks I will be in a 4/5th grade classroom then I get a 2 week break (hopefully to do some awesome travelling with Papa D) and then my next 8 weeks will be spent in a 2/3rd grade classroom.

The school's website is-

Off to organize my life,

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Waiting Game

For starters- I officially decided on Tanzania. The next step is waiting to hear back from them.. and hopefully it happens soooooon! This whole waiting thing is pretty tough. I just want to know now so I can start officially planning but I'll be patient.. for now at least ;)

Next- I've changed my hair. It's a little less blonde than before. My hair stylist advised me to get back to the my natural hair color because I probably won't be able to keep up with it in Africa. Makes total sense. However, I had a complete mental break down over it (which is so silly). I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it was probably because this was my first big "change" for Africa. Which, again, sounds silly but except for telling everyone and putting some change in a piggy bank I haven't really made any changes in my day to day life so this was the first step! (Not to worry though- it grew on me and now I'm rockin' it!)

Well, I guess that's all for today. I will probably be posting again pretty soon to give my opinions on the Price Lab School situation that's happening at UNI. I guess this is my own kind of cliff hanger ;)

Have a wonderful day,