Crescent Island

Crescent Island

Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Trial Run in Parenthood

Three days into vacation, and I am lazy. I have not run at all. I have not cleaned my house. I have not not taken a nap each day (double negative for the win). When I talk to people back home, they are all amazed and surprised that we get a whole month off in between terms. But when you are going non-stop, full time-plus working schedule, a month off is critical to the well-being of the staff and students.

This term was especially crazy, as I have already mentioned, because of choir tour and because of Interim. Interim is a week-long trip required for all juniors and seniors as a part of their social studies grade which are led by staff members. They go on different trips around the continent of Africa exploring different cultures. This year there were Interims to Egypt, Northern Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, the Kenyan Coast, Zanzibar, and many others. So while the Juniors and Seniors and part of the school Staff are on these trips, the rest of the staff cover classes, and jobs, other duties for the week. Interim happened the last week before vacation, and I helped out covering a few different things for other staff members. I took care of Monte, the great dane puppy, for my dear friend Cassandra while she went to the coast. While Steve, the band director, was leading the Tanzania interim, I was in charge of the music department, helping direct a brass quintet for offering during Sunday church. And I took care of three adorable kids for my friends, Amy and Kevin, while they led a trip to Ethiopia. What an adventure that was.

I was a little overwhelmed the first few days as what I had committed to with a large dog and three small children, plus my normal full schedule, plus a little extra. But I settled into a rhythm and relied on at least three cups of coffee a day to keep my energy up. It was a busy, but very good week, and I was so happy to help out my friends while they were on their trips.

The three kids, two girls and a boy - kindergarten, first grade and third grade - were bundles of energy who were so excited to help out with Monte. And throughout the week, I kept up a list of the hilarious things that they said to me. So I present to you Missionary Kids Say the Darndest Things Part III:

1. "I love to pick up Monte's poop" - said by the oldest, and she meant it. Seriously. Every day she would ask me if we could "pick up the poop now?"

2. "Miss Stephanie, you look so beautiful with glasses" - said by the youngest. "I think you look beautiful with or without glasses" - said by the oldest. "Mrs. Wiley, I think you would look beautiful even if you didn't have any skin" - said by the middle child. #makingmeblush

3. [The youngest patting my stomach] "When are going to have a baby?" "Well I'm not married yet, so I can't have a baby yet." "When are you going to get married?" "I have to get a boyfriend before I can get married." "OH! My daddy can be your boyfriend!" "Oh no honey, he's already married to your mommy." - After this conversation, I was almost on the floor laughing. The logic of kids.

It was an overwhelming but good week because the kids are fantastic and so fun. I did learn that I hope (God willing) that I will never be a single parent, because it is super hard and exhausting. Now it is vacation, and I have a month before my last term here at RVA. Time is flying by and I want to savor what's left of my year here. I want to spend time with the wonderful people that I have met and become friends with, and have a few more adventures to fill up my memory of this fantastic country.

I would love prayers for:

  • Good rest and relaxation this vacation. It was a crazy term, and I want to be fully rejuvenated for third term. 
  • Safe travels. I am going to the coast for a week at the end of the vac with two friends, and would love prayers that all our travel and time on the coast is safe and fun. 
  • Preparations for coming home in July. Heading into my last term, I have started planning ahead for my transition back to the States. It is a lot to plan, and prepare for mentally, and I want it to go smoothly.  

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Choir Tour

Hello All! I'm so sorry I've been so terrible at blogging throughout Term 2. Not to make excuses, but this term has been absolute bananas for me. Term 2 has been busier, with much more on my plate, and I've had very little energy at the end of the day to do anything but eat, sleep and zone out.

One of the reasons that this term was so busy for me, was Choir Tour. That's right, this term I planned a two-night, three day choir tour in Nairobi for 36 students and 4 adults (including myself - though I still have a hard time thinking of myself as an adult).

From the start of the term, I was on the phone and emailing with schools almost every day, to get concert into place. I was also teaching my choir a program of 10 songs to be performed on tour, along with scripture readings and testimonies. This was quite the challenge. There were moments I didn't think that I could get it done, and I was learning about the culture of Kenya at the same time.

While the process of planning was overwhelming and frustrating at times, the outcome was completely worth it all. We performed six concerts, at four schools and one church, and had such incredible experiences at each place.

Throughout the weekend, there were fantastic learning moments for me, as well as for the students. The weight of being in charge of the weekend really drained me of energy, but I took time to be alone and to pray and spend some quiet time with God. If I hadn't already gotten into the habit of having daily quiet time, I'm sure I would have gone completely crazy that weekend.

Looking back on my time in choir, in both high school and college, the tours we went on were the most meaningful times I had. This tour will also be an incredibly memorable time with this choir this year. I am immensely proud of the choir, and so thankful for the weekend that we had.