Thursday, July 22, 2010

Training Begins

by Karissa

I taught last night... and the night before. First night was an adult beginner class and last night was a kiddie class. The kiddie class was more like babysitting. The beginner class went really well and I enjoyed it, too. We find out each day at 3:45pm if we'll be teaching that night. Supper is at 5:30 and we leave for practicum at 6:15pm. Tonight we're not teaching and we could make a run to Rite-Aid for an ant trap, looseleaf paper and a binder. We're that busy that if we're teaching we don't have time to run to a store. It's good though. Definitely putting pressure on my introvertedness (I'm an outgoing introvert for those who are wondering.)

Training started on Saturday and we lived off-campus for the first three nights until our married housing on campus was available. We now have the internet in our room. Training is really busy with TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) classes in the morning and culture/adaptation classes in the beginning of the afternoon and then if we're teaching that night, lesson planning. If we're not teaching, we still go along to the practicum sights and observe our fellow teachers.

Eric and I are our own team, which you may already know. There is one other team in the same city. One of the girls is new and one is coming back for her second year. We've met and talked a lot with the first, Jenni. Every morning after breakfast we have Discovery Groups where we go through questions on different topics (conflict resolution, personality, expectations, spiritual growth, etc). We do this with our teams. Jenni's teammate isn't here yet since alums don't have to go to all of training. Jenni is great--she's really fun, laid back, loves to laugh. I like those qualities in a person. :)

The first few days here it was really hot--circa 100 degrees. It has cooled down 80s or so, which is nice since there is no central air in any of the places we spend time on campus.

We're drinking lots of water to stay hydrated and are enjoying the fresh pineapple served at pretty much every meal.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday

by Eric

Last week we said goodbye to our lives in Northwest Iowa. It was a CRAZY week, full of tasks and to-do lists and also full of emotion. The tasks and to-dos kept me from getting a good night sleep. I wasn't worried about getting stuff done. Rather, Karissa and I would be up late packing, going through stuff, etc. and we'd go to bed well after midnight. At some point between 5 and 6:30, I'd wake up. Normally when this happens, I roll over and go back to sleep. But when you're moving out within a few days, various things from your to-do list start to pop into mind. 'Don't forget to call this place and change your address'...'Call the health insurance guy back'...'You need to get more boxes'... There's no end. And a new one pops into your mind every few seconds. Of course because you've got sleepy logic, each question comes with a half second of panic. "Did I forget that?" "Is it too late to ___?"
After a few minutes of that, sleepy logic goes away and actual logic lets you know that there's no possible way you're falling back to sleep. Time to get up and start another day of packing!

I'm happy to say that we got everything packed and it all fit into the spaces we had to store things in (our storage space and my childhood room out at my parents' place). Big props to the Sjaardas, the Kocks, and the Heathers for all their help packing and moving!

The big emotional moments of the week came with saying goodbye to my family. I didn't know exactly what to expect. I'd said goodbye before heading overseas several years ago. But at that time I was living in Texas and I only saw my family a few times a year. Also, back then I only had one niece who was a year and a half old. But for the last five years I've lived really close to my immediate and extended family. I lived in my grandparents' basement for my first few years back and I got to see them nearly every day. And now there are three nieces and a nephew, all with amazing, fun, distinct personalities I've been able to get to know. Saying goodbye to each of them was really tough. Lots of tears were shed.

When one chapter of life comes to an end and a new chapter begins, there's a wide range of feelings about each one. You're excited, eager, and maybe a little scared about the possibilities that lay in front of you. However, at the same time, you have mixed feelings about the chapter that is closing. You're ready to move on from some things. But there are other things from the closing chapter that you're going to miss. And as you move forward, you really have to mourn the loss of these things.

All that said, He's given me a good amount of peace about the whole situation. I fully believe that He has led us to Vietnam for the next year. And I know that the best place for us to be is in the center of His will. That doesn't make everything about the transition easy. But having that as a cornerstone makes it a whole lot easier to weather the changes.

The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Today we leave Sioux Center. We're driving to Denver to spend the weekend with Marilyda, Steve and Ryker. Mostly I feel tired. We had a pretty late night last night packing up the rest of our stuff into boxes and packing stuff into suitcases. Fortunately, neither weight nor space seems to be at a premium in our suitcases.

We've had so much help with this move as it came to packing, getting paper work in order, support raising, etc. We are so thankful to be part of this (Sioux Center) community and all of our past communities. We are blessed.

I need to run and get ready for our trip today. We're excited to start this new phase of life!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Getting Real

by Eric

A few weeks ago I was wondering when the reality of our upcoming Vietnam adventure would set in. Now I know!

A few weeks ago the switch flipped. We’re leaving for training on July 9. Once the countdown clock went under one month, something shifted. I think it’s because we’re now hitting A LOT more ‘last times’. They would occur every so often in the last few months. But now there seems to be a ‘last time’ happening every other day! Last YATEC, last book club meeting, last time to play at Harp & Bowl, last time seeing some friends, last time hanging out with all my siblings, etc.

As you can imagine, stronger emotions bubble up as some of these ‘last times’ occur. I’ve shed a few tears as various things from this chapter of life have come to a close. Memories come rushing to mind. There are a few regrets, but mainly it’s a highlight reel of the last five years. Lots of good times with good people!

Our schedules have been crazy busy, so there hasn’t been a lot of time for introspection. I’m looking forward to the travel time between Sioux Center and California to have some time to reflect, ponder, and look forward. That's one of the many good things about major life changes. It's an ideal time for a little self reflection and goal setting.

More on this in a future post. Maybe. It'll depend on what my brain comes up with as the miles roll by!