On September 11th 2001, I was riding the bus downtown to go to work. I was listening to the radio on my CD player/Radio. They announced planes had flown into the World Trade Center. I didn’t believe it until I walked into a coffee shop and saw it on TV.
The days that followed many wondered what the post 9/11 life would look like. Slowly things began to return to normal with changes to how airlines operated.
September 11th is a reminder of how this life is full of uncertainty. In this life we are guaranteed nothing. But there is one who has all power who will never leave us-JESUS.
On September 11th, the courage of the heroes who ran into the buildings to try to save people is what I will always remember. First responders put their lives on the line and continue to do so today.
My favorite college football team, Nebraska, was the first sports event on TV after 9-11. The team has a tradition of the tunnel walk. Players come out of the tunnel under the stadium to music playing and fans cheering. On September 20th, 2001, it was first responders who walked out of the tunnel to the cheering crowd.
This year on the 20th anniversary, the team released a video commemorating 9-11. It is a short video showing the special uniform they will wear today. The message is loud and clear to me. The real heroes are not athletes playing sports. The real heroes are first responders, military personnel, and recently doctors and nurses treating COVID patients.
Summer is over for me starting this week. Yes, it is still sizzling hot and could be for a few more weeks. But tomorrow I begin my week of being back at school every day preparing for another year of Family Literacy.
I am looking forward to the school year even though with the surge in COVID cases in my area, we will once again be wearing masks and following protocols.
Monday will be meetings all day. Tuesday will be meeting the new childcare para and starting to set up my room. Wednesday will be morning only because I have a follow up appointment with my Rheumatologist. Thursday and Friday will be finishing touches on getting ready.
Then on Tuesday September 7th, it will happen. The moms will enter my classroom. I will only have set up the table and chairs, gotten to materials ready, gotten familiar with the new computer programs, etc. But it will be the moms who will decorate the room. They will transform the barren classroom into one decorated by them. By doing so, they make it their classroom.
My summer slumber is over. It is back to 6:30 alarm clock, coffee-lots- in the morning, and sharing my jokes with the school staff.
Yesterday afternoon I went to my favorite coffee shop for a few hours. My nephew came for a quick visit from Wisconsin. Due to it being a HOT summer day, I had Moroccan Mint Iced Tea instead of coffee.
My nephew and I covered many topics. He teaches in Wisconsin so we compared notes on teaching during the COVID year. We also covered sports and international travel. He is the one family member who shares the travel bug with me. Once a person gets bit by the travel bug it never goes away.
There were also opportunities to bless the workers with my jokes. 🙂 Although my nephew expressed his condolences to them for enduring my jokes. lol
After my nephew left, a man from Iran who I chat with at the coffee shop stopped at my table. He asked about the classes I teach and then wanted to know how his accent is. When I told him most Americans would understand him, he smiled.
I have been teaching online the past few weeks, so it felt good to get out and about again. Stay tuned tomorrow for my news about the change that happened this July. 🙂
An experience I will never forget is being in Rio do Sul Brazil, visiting a friend’s acreage that had fruit trees, and picking an orange off the tree and eating it. It was so sweet and delicious. Nothing like fresh fruit as in freshly off the tree. 🙂
The one thing I like about summer where I live is the plethora of fresh fruit. I love fruit and actually can’t choose a favorite. I also love fresh veggies. Needing to eat gluten free doesn’t bother me so much because I can still eat fruit and veggies and of course meat. Sadly in the winter and spring we don’t have much variety, so I enjoy as much as I can while we have it. But I know they will be back the following summer.
It is the unknowns of chronic illness that are not so easy to handle. What will the lab results be? What will the doctor say this time? Will I have a flare up? Will I need to let go of things I love to do?
Part of living with chronic illness is wondering if things we enjoy will still be doable. One thing I love is international travel. COVID shutdowns took away plans for summer 2020. Spending money on doctors prevented travel plans for this summer.
I also wonder about 2022. If the treatment I am on works well, I hope to travel internationally. If the treatment does not work well enough, will it mean letting go of one of my favorite things to do. I love experiencing other cultures, drinking coffee in another country, eating the foods of the culture, and best of all interacting with and getting to know the people.
So I will be praying that traveling to other countries and sharing the love of Jesus is not one of the things I will have to let go of because of living with chronic illness.
It FINALLY happened. My city went down to green on the COVID risk dial. Our mandatory mask wearing is going away. It is time to celebrate. Life is getting back to normal but what the new normal will look like will be an adventure to explore.
When we went from red to orange, I bought oranges to share with the teachers at my school. When we went from orange to yellow, I bought bananas. I am not sure what to buy for going from yellow to green, but I will buy something. I will go to the school this morning to close out my room for the school year. Maybe I will just buy chocolate and candy.
Two weeks from today I will finally have my appointment with a specialist at the University Medical Center in a city one hour from my city. My hope is that there can be a definitive diagnosis now that there is proof I have psoriasis. I am not sure if I will start a treatment program that day but I sure hope so. I am tired of waking up at night with pain in my left hand.
Hopefully the city where my appointment will be will also do away with their mask mandate so I don’t have to wear one to the appointment. I am not opposed to wearing a mask it is just that it wrecks havoc with my asthma.
So we are in the green here-FINALLY and my appointment is only two weeks away. Such thoughts lift my spirits.
What a weekend!!! It is as if my life is starting again. Saturday morning my Saturday morning English conversation group started again after a 14 month break due to COVID. Four Hispanic friends came, two from Cuba and two from Mexico. We did an intercambio, exchange, mostly of me helping them with English, but they also helped me with Spanish.
Saturday afternoon I hosted a retirement party at my church for my colleague for my morning class. We managed to surprise her. We had students from my morning class, my colleague’s family, people who she worked with at other schools, and people from the school my morning meets. We had SO much good food and a lot of fun.
This morning the same four Hispanic friends came again for my Sunday morning group. We did an intercambio again and also listened to some worship songs in Spanish, It was also the first Sunday morning I enjoyed worship service in person.
This afternoon I will try to catch up on blogging. The past week was so busy with finishing up my morning class. But what a weekend it was.
It’s a wrap. This morning is the final class for the school year for my morning class. This crazy COVID year is coming to an end. This morning we will have a celebration with all of the students being in the classroom and there is so much to celebrate.
I am so proud of the moms in my class. They began the year feeling uncertain about many things but they stayed with it. They learned a lot of new tech programs such as using Zoom, Google Quizzes etc. There English levels improved noticeably. They helped each other and the sense of community actually got stronger among them.
My assistant was awesome. We had an adventure together and she handled all of the unexpected things well and even tolerated me. 🙂
This school year has been unlike anything I have experienced in my over 20 years of teaching. I am so proud of my students and my assistant for not only making the best of a difficult situation, but for excelling during it too.
I am so thankful for Jesus helping me through this year, for my morning times with him, for how he helped me through his people, and for everything.
It’s a wrap. Looking forward to a better 2021/2022 school year.
In my morning Family Literacy class, when one of the moms is expecting a baby, we have a baby shower for her. We have been doing so every year. This year one of the moms will have a baby in July and since tomorrow is the last day for our class, we had a baby shower for her yesterday.
The other moms brought gifts and one of the moms took them to the expectant mom. She opened the gifts while we watched via Zoom. She was about half way through the gifts when those of us in the classroom had a surprise. It was fire drill time. The fire alarms went off and we had to leave the room for about ten minutes.
I laughed inwardly thinking it was a fitting end to a crazy year. Having class during this past year of COVID has meant having many moments of needing to be flexible. No harm done. We came back after the fire drill and finished the baby shower.
Tomorrow we will have an ice cream celebration in class. All of the students will be in class. Hopefully no fire drill tomorrow. 🙂
Tuesday morning during my morning Family Literacy Class, we had someone from the National Council for Family Literacy observe our class via Zoom. This happens a few times a year. The NCFL opened an office in my state and my class is funded by them.
I believe in giving my assistants experiences they can draw from in the future, so when I set up the breakout rooms, I looked at my assistant and said, “Hannah I am going to place Jessica, the NCFL person, in your breakout room for 15 minutes.” I might have neglected to let her know ahead of time I had been planning to do that.
My assistant did great just as I knew she would. Now she has that experience to draw from in the future when she is a teacher. I believe in empowering my assistants and volunteers and letting them rise.
My assistant will move to Texas later in the summer. She is applying for teaching jobs there. We have had a great year together. I have been trying to convince her to stay, but it is difficult to compete with the fact that her boyfriend soon to be fiance lives there. 🙂
My morning class ends in a few weeks, It has been a year unlike any year in my twenty plus years of teaching. Jesus blessed me with the perfect assistant for a year like this.
In my English class, we have conversation time using questions I write that relate to every day life. One of the questions is-where do you like to go shopping? We take turns asking each other. The students always laugh when I say, “I don’t like to go shopping anywhere.”
So why am I writing about shopping? Certainly not to offer advice because I have none. My purpose is to share a conclusion and conviction I have reached.
During the pandemic, I have to admit to buying from a certain GIANT online company. It is so convenient with deliveries right to my door and cheaper too. However, several months ago I realized something. The same shampoo I bought from aforementioned GIANT online company only cost me $2 more at a locally owned natural food store.
So I purposed to pay more attention to shopping locally. Why? 2 excellent reasons in my mind.
1- By shopping locally I can interact with people who live in my city. If I interact with them, perhaps I can share the love of Jesus with them someday. I can certainly share a joke and at least brighten their day.
2- I would much rather help my local economy than some huge corporate giant. Buying locally means my money helps my community which means it helps local people keep jobs.
So my decision was to only buy from the GIANT online company items that I would perhaps only find at another huge company that builds super centers and squeezes out smaller stores.