Saturday, May 29, 2010

It's All Coming Together

Monday will start my last week of school. I'll blog about all of that later. What I really want to talk about is everything that's happening after school is out.

It's 11:30pm on Saturday night, I am leading worship tomorrow at fellowship, I have to get up early and yet, I can't fall asleep. I don't even feel tired. Why? Because I'm so excited about next weekend. What's next weekend?

I have good friends from America headed this way. My first and possibly only friends to make it to this side of the world and I'm going to see them. They will be in Taiwan doing some guest speaking for the something something of Taiwan's education something something. Very important stuff. I'm flying down to meet them for the weekendish. It's a quick trip really but totally worth it. I have no idea what we're going to do. I hope they're planning it because I don't even have a clue. I'm hoping that I can use some of my Mandarin there. The problem is, they use traditional characters and I'm not sure how that pans out in the spoken language. And I'm not sure about the accent. Qingdao has a very specific accent and pronunciation of words. When we went to western China they could barely understand us. I have no idea how that'll work in Taiwan. I'm going to assume though that there will be a lot more English speakers there. But who knows? I really have no idea what to expect.

THEN...when I get back from Taiwan, I leave the next day for Europe. I've been planning all day today. I've reserved 4 of my hostels and started to pin down what I want to do while I'm in each city. Here's what I have so far...

  • go to a palace or two
  • listen to something musical like an orchestra or symphony...something classical
  • have some coffee
  • visit a museum and see old paintings
  • shop
  • attend a church service
  • eat a sausage and/or weiner schnitzel


  • walk around or maybe take a segway (I seriously doubt I have the balance for it) around the city
  • sit in a cathedral
  • walk through a castle
  • see the town square
  • study communism
  • listen to an opera


  • walk around the Jewish district
  • make a trip out to Auschwitz
  • tour a basilica
  • visit Old Town


  • take a ride down the Danube River
  • study communism some more
  • go on a tour of the city

There will be a few things added I'm sure. I'm trying not to plan too much because one of the benefits of traveling in such small numbers is that I can change my plan any time I want to.

I'm excited to get away and be on my own. I can talk to people if I want to or I can go days without saying a word. I'll be living a phone free, laptop free life. I'll be staying in hostels with tons of other people just like me and have the opportunity to make a bunch of new friends. I get to see all the places I've taught about for years. Places that have hundreds of years of history. Places where really important things happened. Beautiful buildings, historical aritfacts, incredible stories. New experiences, new people, new places. Oh, the excitment.

And the cool thing is, it's really inexpensive. I'm staying in hostels and it's only going to cost me about $18 per night. And they're nice places. Sure, I'll be surrounded by strangers but that just adds to the adventure. I'm taking earplugs, my iPod and a padlock. Keeps out the noise at night, keeps out the noise during the day, and keeps my stuff safe.

I'll be traveling by train to all of these places. Another nice thing about Europe is that it only takes a couple of hours to get from one country to the next. I think the longest train ride is from Prague to Krakow and it's only 4 hours or so. Amazing. And I'm traveling by backpack so it'll be super easy to get around.

And while I'm gone on this hoped-to-be-fabulous-trip, I'll be moved into a new apartment. Yay. It's been found, it just has to be approved by the board. I haven't seen it yet but my friend on the housing board picked it out and I totally trust her. I'm so excited.

AND I know what I'm teaching next year. Finally. MUN and 9th grade World History. It basically covers the beginning of time to the 1500's. The idea of having an entire year to cover all of that makes me happy. It's a regular class so I won't have to lecture all year. I'll get to do fun stuff like group work and games and videos and projects. Can't wait!

See? It's all coming together.


Anonymous said...

It all sounds wonderfully exciting. Are you going to meet up with anyone on the European trip? If you think about it, you might take COPIES of the family pictures of the death camps to Auschwitz. I know a friend of my mom's took copies of them once on a visit to Israel, and the people there were very excited to see them.

I'm so glad you get to meet your friends in Taiwan. Hopefully they have plans. How many days will you be with them?

Dad, Aaron and I cleaned the carpets yesterday. In the evening we grilled brats and chicken for the Memorial Day holiday. Good food! Lots of veggies.

Aaron went back to work today. He's a good guy. He and his friend did fun things over their days off--Elitches, movie (Shrek IV), and some other things.

Dad and I DO NOT go back to work today. Yay!! We may go to a park and have a picnic and read.

I would like to talk to you this week. I will try to call tonight around 8:00 our time. And don't forget that you said you were going to call everyday while you are on your trip.

Love you, Mom

Nicole Ross said...

Hey! I'm coming to ALL FOUR of those European cities sometime between July 23-Aug 8. Is that when you'll be there??? Would love to see you!

Jen said...

Nicole, I cannot believe we are going to miss each other. That would've been amazing. I'm there from June 9-23.BUMMER! Where else are you going?

Mom, sounds like you had a wonderful day yesterday. Clean carpets...oh how I miss having carpet at home. And grilling...mmmmm. Okay, so I won't be able to call you while I'm gone but I will email you every day/night. I won't be taking my laptop with me and of course my cellphone won't work. Sorry. I don't know what I was thinking. I promise to check in with you every day.
I'd love to talk to you too. Try to call. This is such a crazy week with looking at apts, packing, picking paint colors, and regular end of the school year stuff. But I do want to talk to you.

Nicole said...

Well blast! You'll just have to impart all your wisdom about eastern europe before I go :) We're doing a 2-week tour of Hungary, Czech, Slovakia, Austria, and Poland. Can't wait!!!