Monday, February 28, 2011

Photo #14

Photo #14 - Lemon Square - An impulse lemon buy led to this  late-night
creation! By far, the best lemon squares I have ever had. Recipe coming
soon in the new cookbook. 

English Party! Photos #11, #12, and #13

We had a party on the last day of my English class at the Youth Center in my town. After I taught my students how to use an iPod, we had people DJ'ing hits, like Justin Bieber's "Baby."

Photo #11 - Cheese! Last Day Party - These are half of my students
from the class I taught at the Youth Center.

Photo #12 - Pot Luck in Georgia - Each student brought something
for the party! Everything was so delicious.

Photo #13 - English Forever - One of the kids' moms made this cake. :) 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Boom Like I Do

DJ hit the music!

Ok peoples. I'm gonna talk about my clothes and how they are failing me in Georgia.

Currently wearing: ripped-knee jeans, underwear separating from the elastic, and an undershirt that has a hole in the collar

I probably wasn't going to take most of my clothes back with me to America, but I had hoped they would have lasted me until the end of the road... So far, I've mostly just thrown away socks with holes in them. Hand-washing your clothes takes its toll. The dilemma is: should I sew them back together again or no? In the mean time, they'll sit in the corner of my room.

Where did the last month go?
1.       Angry birds
2.       Anime
I’m pretty sure that’s what happened. I had an awesome Banjo player staying at my apartment for a couple weeks, which was fun. He opened my eyes to angry birds, and I’m basically like a pro now. For those who haven’t played it, get into it. I can now put “Angry Birds” physicist on my resume, because things that happen in that game are not explainable in real life.

Speaking of real life, I refuse to admit that my day-to-day is real life. I am essentially living in a game of angry birds. I throw birds at pigs who don’t want to learn before they can sabotage the spoils of my labour. That’s right. I’m spelling words with extra “u”’s now. I actually typed favourite and colour the other day by complete accident. I’m composing this in MS Word right now, and I love that it recognizes those words as spelling mistakes.

So where does the boom come from? Well, friends, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride through the beginning of April, and I’ll tell you why. I finished my minority/community integration project at the youth center teaching English to about 20 kids for three months this past week. I was contacted by FLEX/ACIE to help with a FLEX alumni training in late March. I agreed and have been learning about what exactly I’ll be doing. I will be working with 2 other PCVs from Azerbaijan and Armenia teaching project design principles and each of us will work closely with 15 alumni for 13.2 hours over 4 days of instruction. The goal is for the alumni to develop and implement a project after the training. So I have to submit a request for materials and adapted lesson plans in the next 2 weeks, do some more research, practice my stuff, make flip charts and power points.

Then, I’m helping with the Peace Corps Close of Service Conference. This seems at this point to be a smaller commitment, but still exciting! 5 months or so more to go! I’ll try not to be too obnoxious about how happy I’ll be. I just see myself feeling accomplished at having made it through 2 years of ups and downs in this program.

I am also continuing my conversation group/book club at the Fair Elections center in my town. It started off with 3 people and has ballooned (and capped by me) at 12. We are reading Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and I really enjoy discussing it with the group! It meets at 6 in the evening, and we have Azeris, Georgians, Russians, and Abkhazians in our group. They each have their own spark, and I always leave feeling refreshed.

I am also still making progress in gathering the Peace Corps cookbook. It’s gonna be good ya’ll! I’m sorry to those waiting that it’s taking so long. Hopefully I can get it out before March’s craziness hits and April’s new volunteers come.

I am helping with site selection for minority schools in Kvemo Kartli for future volunteers. I am going out to some villages next Tuesday to check out prospects for the G11s. I also am kicking off a new project next Wednesday where I’ll be teaching IT and resume writing skills to 2008 IDPs (Internally Displaced Person/People) in a village on the border to Armenia. I had the meeting there today, and I have hopes. They say there are 60 people from 10-25 years old who are interested. I’ll hopefully take 20-30 of those on over a couple hours twice a week. Ready for the kicker? I’m gonna teach these kiddos in Georgian. It’ll be the real test at how well I’ve learned the language. Here’s to hoping for some good English speakers in my classes to help. ;)

What else? I am organizing the Baghdati Language competition. I need to get that ball rolling soon, so those helping in that boat reading this, I’ll be sending an email out soon. The Baghdati/Kutaisi/Imereti kids are so amazing. I love working with them. According to the resource center director in my town, there is no such thing as a bad student/child, only bad teachers. Food for thought. I do agree that teachers are pivotal in motivation/success in school, but parents, administration, and institutions also are critical. Cheesily enough for non-atheists, we are all children of some god(s), so that statement argues that no one is bad. The blame has to go on someone. I love working with motivated students.

I have another English language group (more grammar and test-taking focused) in the mix, and while they are motivated, I’m trying not to encourage them too much until I knock out some of these other events. It’s looking like my PC experience is going to go out with a bang! Loves it.