Sunday, April 24, 2011

Day 59: Easter: a broom, some tinsel, and a Risen Savior!

This year, Easter was different. I was a few thousdnd miles away from home, we didn't go out to eat, and there was no cantata. Easter brought a different setting this year, and I happened to love it.

Saturday evening, I attended Easter play dress rehearsal. I am THE church pianist at “my” church here in Portugal, so I got to play for the Easter play. Krisanna and Erin sang two songs in Portuguese and I accompanied them. :) Anyway... rehearsal... For the past few weeks during rehearsals Jesus has carried a broom for a cross and worn gold tinsel as his crown of thorns. This week, they had cardboard crosses and a “wreath” as a crown, which disappointed Erin and I IMMENSELY! But we finally got over it. ;) Jesus also wore Timberland workboots with his robe. :) And doubting Thomas was wearing a gangster hat. SO, a little different than in the states.

This morning, we had a “cantata” of sorts in that we had a visiting choir at church from the states. It was fun to be able to fellowship just like I got to on a traveling music team for Faith, except I was the listener! It brought back some fond memories! This morning's Easter play went really well and Jesus went barefoot. :/ But the message was one that always rings true!

During the service, Erin and Krisanna were supposed to sing a song. So we jaunt up to the front. I start playing the intro softly as Erin taps me on the shoulder and says “Our music is gone!” I give her a blank stare, then assure her that they can have my “music” (which is no more than MOST OF the lyrics with some chords penciled in from listening to the song a few times). It made for a fun special. :)

After church, Krisanna and I went to Erin and Laura's (along with Laura's sis Katie) and had Easter dinner which consisted of meatballs, mashed potatoes, green beans, gravy, and rolls. My love for mashed potatoes and green beans was rekindled today when I found myself eating only those two parts of our meal... and continuing to eat those two things 15 minutes after everyone else had finished...

Moral of this Easter story??? It doesn't matter what continent you're on. It doesn't matter what your Easter meal is. It doesn't matter what your churrch service looks like. It doesn't matter what shoes your “Jesus” wears. It doesn't matter if you clear your plate. An awful lot doesn't really matter... BUT one thing that DOES matter, and will always be true..

Our Lord is RISEN.

Whether you have trusted Him to save you or not.

Whether you believe He exists or not.

Whether you ignore Easter or not.

No matter what... Christ is Alive. And He is MY Savior. I sure hope He's yours too... because He's living whether you'll admit it or not.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

Philippians 2:10-11

so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Friday, April 22, 2011

day 57: five...

five minutes to save a kitten (which is what I did this afternoon)

five minutes to cook a Portuguese pizza

five dollars to buy a double cheeseburger at burger king in Portugal

five fingers to hold a hand

five hours to watch the sound of music

five minutes (for me) to run about a half-mile

and... five days until I'm back in the states

Thursday, April 21, 2011

days 54-56: Spring Break in Spain

Over the last three days, I spring breaked/broke/enjoyed my time in Spain. :) while a recap of the trip will be one way of sharing my experiences, it only involves... sightseeing, more sightseeing, and a storm. My facebook album “Spring Break 2011: Madrid, Spain” recaps it well!

Here is my summary:

10 things I like about Spain:

  1. tortillas

  1. our taxi driver [who rescued us after the bus blitzed past us]

  2. Erin's language skills!

  3. Seeing a Jimmy Choo store!

  4. Finding starbucks at the perfect times

  5. backpacking :)

  6. seeing the sights with friends

  7. seeing all of Europe in one park! Parque Europa!

  8. being able to switch our flight, filling the last five seats on the plane!

  9. Coming home early. :)

10 things I DON'T like about Spain:

  1. walking [probably about 15 miles in three days, at LEAST]

  2. bus driver #261 [the one who drove right past the bus stop without stopping]

  1. bathrooms with no toilet paper [this is more so my friends who can't hold it...]

  1. cold showers [when the power goes out...]

  1. carrying tortillas [in our carry-ons that we stocked up on in Spain since they're really expensive in Portugal]

  1. having no pedometer :(

  1. waiting at Starbucks [when they mess up your order several times, and then forget about you]

  2. the “friends” we met at the airport

  3. the lady who lied to us on the bus about which stop we wanted... and consequently had to walk an extra mile...

  4. not knowing Spanish, and not being forgiven for the aforementioned tragedy.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

day 51: a banquet of beauties with no brotherhood. :)

Today was the day of the senior banquet for the high schoolers. Krisanna and I had the chance to help three of the high schoolers get ready all afternoon. :) It was just like dorm life all over again! We popped in a chick flick and ate chocolate as we got all dolled up! +

as far as the banquet is concerned? It was the best one i've ever been to... and i've seen my fair share of banquets over the years!!! it was at a caterer's house (who caters for NATO and is one of the top 50 chefs in the world), so the food was to DIE for! There were tables set up on the veranda covered in roses and handcrafted pewter plates and glasses graced with lemon wedges. The atmosphere was perfect and the weather was too. :) the family who owned the house let us pretty much have free reign. They told us that the bathrooms were upstairs, so as we headed up there, we were told by their son that each of the six bedrooms upstairs had a bathroom in it, so we wouldn't have to wait in any lines! The party-planning committee had done a great job. The teachers all picked a table on the end of the porch, and laughed the night away. I always thought that teachers at banquets just acted like they had fun to make the students feel awkward... but, no. we had more fun than the kids did, I think!!!!!

between the INCREDIBLE chocolate chocolate CHOCOLATE cake, the amazingly perfect strawberry punch, and the laughs of the teaching staff, tonight was the best banquet I had ever attended.

Maybe it just took a trip to Europe and having no date, but this is the best banquet yet. :) it was way fun to see all the highschoolers interact and be all funny. :) I almost miss those days... wait, just kidding! Great beginning for spring break!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

day 50: a book and a vacuum.

I felt like today's post needed to be in all caps, but i'll just settle for a fun other font. Today was my last day of teaching during my student teaching placements!!! I have one day of observation left after spring break, but that's all! :)

tonight has been a relaxing night of watching TV and chillin' out with my roommate. :) tomorrow brings the high school banquet that we're going to. Our afternoon will be dedicated to hanging out with some high school girls and helping them get ready. :) we're excited!

Now, off to clean the apt for our company tomorrow. :) And then, I get to go learn to enjoy reading... my roommate's making me... and i'm starting with Atonement Child by Francine Rivers. Any thoughts on books to try???

Thursday, April 14, 2011

day 49: thankful thursday. :)

i'm thankful for the chance to live in another country. It's stretched me in ways that I don't even know yet!

I'm thankful for time. As I was thinking this morning about the weather, I realized that even though I don't know how much something costs because I don't always know the exchange rate (or even do the math) or don't know how hot it really is because I can't read Celsius very well, I always know that time is the same. God knew when He created the world, that we would need to judge things by time. He is giving us that sense of order. He didn't just create things but He created the order behind things. That alone should leave us speechless!

i'm thankful for random notes/messages/texts from people. Seriously... even if they aren't the least bit “encouraging” in nature, maybe it's just a laugh when they're about to cry that they need. You NEVER know who needs a note. NEVER. I didn't know I needed one today til I got one.. and an unexpected one at that! Even if it's someone you don't normally hear from, just knowing that someone is thinking about you enough to let you know, or ask about velcro shoes... or talk about lasagna... or mention a nursing home... whatever it is, SOMEONE might just need a note from you today. So pause right now, write a note to someone you see or talk to often. Now, write one to someone you haven't talked to in a while... or even (heaven forbid) someone you left things off with on not-so-great terms. Pray for them, then let them know it! :)

i'm thankful for people who remember that i'm gone. It really does mean a lot that people are interested in what i'm doing. :) and may actually miss me too!

I'm thankful for my boyfriend. :) I vowed a LONG time ago that I wouldn't become one of those mushy “i put every emotion I have for someone ALL over the internet for other people to read while they vomit” people. This might be flirting with the line. {insert countdown here:: 29 days!!!} anyway... he is such an encourager. He puts up with me when things are less than stellar. He stays up at night to settle any issues we've had that day. He talks sense into me when I make none. He smiles politely when I feel like i'm trying to talk sense into him. He let's me be a burger and fries/steak and potatoes girl with rarely an occasional “you've had three burgers today...” comment. :) he helps me out with practical jokes. :) he lovingly points me to Scripture when i'm sinning. And he chose to love me. :) he helps me understand the love of my Savior in so many ways. :) and he is ok with never wearing a v-neck again. :)

also, today, I realized that my brain's neurons are getting farther apart or something...
  1. I compared a musician to water. Nothing special.
  2. I actually had the desire to exercise!
  3. I was explaining “moral” of a story... and the first thing that popped into my head was “bobby crossed the street to get a ball. He got hit by a bus. Moral of the story? Look both ways before you cross the street.”

and on that note, i'm thankful for the ability to fall asleep within a minute of my head hitting the pillow. :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

day 47: my greatest portuguese accomplishment yet...

today was another day of testing. :) you know you're teaching in another country when you get these questions during any given day of standardized testing:
      1. miss roberts, what is meaning of “foot” (referring to measurement)
      2. what is memorial day?
      3. They're not sure which is their first name and which is their last.
Those are a few things that keep me smiling and wondering how these kids survive these tests. But they make it, and several ask me if that's all they can do all day! Maybe they just hate my teaching... ;)

tonight, krisanna and I realized that we are really good at cooking in bulk. We made pasta dinner tonight with the intentions of saving some for lunch tomorrow. What we didn't anticipate was stuffing ourselves, then having leftovers enough for.... five or six lunches... for both of us... we have pasta coming out our ears! ;)

then, since this week is testing, we rewarded ourselves with a night on the town. We finished up our lesson plans and headed to the metro station and went to the mall. :) my FAVORITE form of exercise! SHOPPING! We've mastered the metro system, and charted out all the good malls along the way. We had a BLAST just being girls tonight, and just being americans. We can sit and giggle as much as we please... and no one can say a word (that we can understand anyway!) we've really enjoyed just spending time together. :) and making memories together. And learning about the culture together. :)

and lastly, today's INSANELY AWESOMELY FANTASTICALLY EXCITING accomplishment... my class was working on some hink pinks and the clue was “a light red beverage.” one girl asked what a beverage was... and since the answer was “pink drink” I didn't want to give it away... I thought for a second and then realized... hey! I know the word for beverage in portuguese! I trotted up to the board and wrote it down! She understood right away and I realized I had accomplished something small in her eyes, yet monumental in mine. I have learned to communicate BILINGUALLY!!! :) (somewhat...)

and that concludes a day in the life...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Day 46: two weeks and two days left...

Every morning, the sun rises. Every night it sets. Several of those in-between times seem to be fairly the same, and today was no exception. I was able to administer standardized tests for my third and fourth graders. I now know why the teachers always did the SAME thing every year. It's easier, and it's required.

The other morning, during church, as I tried to catch words here and there, but only managed to get “heart,” “little,” and... “mel gibson” I decided my time would be wisely spent reading through romans. I love that book. It's always an encouraging reminder that i am free. Nothing less than completely free. I got to thinking... believers are freed by the only One who can truly give freedom. It's like being in jail and having bond set so high that NO ONE you know can pay it. You're sitting there day after day, HATING jail. Then one day, bill gates (loosely compared...) comes in and pays my bond. I'm free. Nothing is keeping me in jail. NOTHING. But instead, I choose to stat there, hating it, but choosing to enjoy that rather than freedom. Do I tell the other inmates that he has offered to pay their price too? Do I leave and take my freedom and never share with those who are trapped? Or do I share the great freedom I have with them, but choose to live my life as a free person.

The One who had the capability to free me. Why? He loved me. He paid the price for me. And I have the chance daily to live life in Christ because I am free. Do I share that freedom with those who still need it? Do I live like i'm free? Or do I visit my jail cell and sit in bondage?

My Savior paid my price. Praise His name.
I'm giving my life to the only One who makes the moon reflect the sun. Every starry night, that was His design. I'm giving my life to the only Son, who was and is and yet to come. Let His praises ring, cause He is everything.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Day 46: ode to a roadtrip and my favorite things...

Checklist for a roadtrip:
  1. Brush for our hair after the wind... uhh... krisanna has one...
  2. Towel... check.
  3. Green peppers... check.
  4. camera... check.
  5. money for sweet souvenirs... check.
  6. sandwiches... FOUR!?! check.
  7. Hand-sanitizer... check.
  8. family size cooler... check
  9. full of food?? check.
  10. GPS... check.
  11. people back home worrying about us??? CHECK.
We started off our morning with a trip to a cafe and the grocery store. Each grocery store here is in a mall of some kind, so in the “mall” today, we saw three “Native Americans...” or so we thought... but they were in portugal... so what would that make them? Anyway, they were each wearing a headdress and dancing around playing a pan-flute. It sounded really neat, but honestly... ONLY IN PORTUGAL... at the... grocery store!?!?!

Then, krisanna and I took a roadtrip to Obidos, which is a walled city. We realized that even though we had no cord for her ipod and the radio stations are beyond pathetic (playing only opera, beach boys, michael jackson, blink 182, eminem, and polka), we had each other, and that was BEYOND enough... not to mention a backseat full of food! We embarked and laughed the whole way there about our experiences... those that no one else will have. And only we will remember. We really have had a great time! Once we got there, we ate a prelude to lunch (our first sandwich) and headed out around the town. One of the unique things at this tourist trap is that you can walk around the city wall. I'm a little nervous when it comes to heights, so I prayed most of the walk! Along our way I got to use some of my high school french! We came across a couple on the wall and we motioned that we would like them to take our picture then offered to take theirs (a regualr occurrence at all of the tourist traps). After a smiley encounter, they said “merci.” I gasped and exclalmed “pas de quoi!” they smiled, and repeated what I said. I was THRILLED to know the right thing to say in a language other than english... even if it was one phrase... in... french! But that was enough to keep me smiling for about a half-hour... as krisanna tried to sneak a picture of them! And as we were walking down farther, I heard several little girls hopping, giggling, and counting “un, deux, trois...” and I smiled once again. I understood a small part of someone else's world... their life... even if it was french.
After our excursion in Obidos, we headed back home to rest up for the next leg of our journey. We got to chatting about our time here and how it really has been incredible and we've gotten so used to just being around each other and making memories together. It's been such a blessing! And we wondered why people worry about us... but then we remember, we're two college-aged girls... in europe... by ourselvves... taking roadtrips on a whim... but to us, this is just life. :) and we like it this way.
This evening brought one more adventure. We headed to Belem (cute little waterfront town) for dinner with Cal and Joyce. We got frango (chicken) and hit the town (very gently...)! Anyone who has eaten meat with me knows that if it's prepared for me, that means it's also de-boned for me. Well tonight, it wasn't. [all of last summer, a teammate of mine had to cut my mean for me if there were bones still in it] I do well to get three bites out of a chicken leg... but tonight, I had half of a chicken to tackle on my own... and I;d like to think I did well. :)
I had very few requests when I came to Portugal of places to see. One was the Torre de Belem. And I decided I wanted to see things here at night. So, they catered to my desires, and let us come later in the day.
I realized again today several of my FAVORITE things...
1. palm trees (because they remind me of fireworks)
2.fireworks (because they remind me of palm trees) 
3. STL Cardinal baseball (because Pujols is the man and they shoot off fireworks for homeruns)
4. fountains.
5. nighttime. EVERYTHING looks better with city lights illuminating the backdrop.
7. making new friends.
8. Making memories with old friends.
 9. Portugal.
10. bagpipes
11. And... bedtime. :)
  1. thus concludes today's adventures... tune in next time... for...

Friday, April 08, 2011

Day 45: another day... another adventure...

today, Krisanna and I had the chance to head downtown for a relaxing evening on the town! Our day contained several “firsts” and exciting memories. Here are a few!
  1. we made it to the metro station and embarked on our first adventure on the metro by ourselves!
  2. When we got to the station, there was NO parking. We thought about parking on the edge, or curb like some of these people..

    but there were policia everywhere and they make us nervous, so we opted for praying that we found an obviously legal spot.
  3. After we drove all the way around the edge of the parking lot, we found one. :) amazing how God answers even the smallest of prayers!
  4. We took a trip on the metro and they weren't on strike (like they seem to be a lot)!
  5. We found some sweet deals downtown at the shops. :)
  6. we tried something new for dinner and got fresh-squeezed lemonade for 50 cents. :)
  7. we got free starbucks drinks (samples... not quite up to the regular free drink status)
  8. we got winked at my the metro driver. Haha good thing he has no access to the outside world!
  9. We saw a couple people throwing flaming batons downtown.
  10. We sat along the oceanfront and people watched... and fish watched... and eavesdropped... and sat at this gorgeous fountain...
  11. and I think that sums it up. Today was a good day. :) and tomorrow will be too.
Now, off to bed, to rid myself of a sunshine headache, but I won't complain... even though my head didn't like it, my skin did. :)

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Day 42: you know you're a student teacher when... (insight to my life)

You know you're a student teacher when...

you think in SWBAT's (student will be able to)...
you use lesson plans as an excuse for things you really, truly hate... and everything else as an excuse for lesson plans...
you miss hours of pointless reading...
you wish you were a freshman again...
you actually have a reason to countdown to graduation...
you actually miss being a "student"...
you pay thousands of dollars to a school you haven't seen in months...
you know what PRAXIS means...
your 7am classes were replaced with 7am teacher meetings...
you find yourself bribing children with extra recess...
you find yourself saying “miss roberts needs you to...” more often than anything else... other than maybe “did you read the directions???”
you laugh when everyone else is going thru orals... been there done that... SO last semester...
you've been tired of sandwiches since january...
you really, REALLY love coffee...
you're taking up an offering for a bathroom in each classroom...
you're researching bladder cancer from holding it too long...
you finally understand why the teacher was the “all-time-pitcher” in baseball...
you hate four-square...
you hate LOSING at four-square...
you're constantly counting children and praying that you haven't lost another one...
you don't know any freshman back at faith...
you laugh when people will be in ankeny and would like to interview you...
you try to convince your teacher that nap time is still a good idea in fourth grade...
your “social event calendar” is mainly... a friday night on facebook???
you laugh when the highschoolers tell you look 16... 
and the elementary kids say you look 32.

and... 10:00 is WAY past your bedtime...

Monday, April 04, 2011

Day 41: Always Enough. ALWAYS.

In a dry and weary land
Lord, You are the rain
In a sea of shattered ones
Your love comes rushing in

You hold the world within Your hands
And see each tear that falls
Through every fire and every storm
You're always enough, always enough

Your love is peace to the broken
Faith for the widow, hope for the orphan, strength for the weak
Your love is the anthem of nations, rings out through the ages
And You're always enough for me

You keep my heart in perfect peace
My life is in Your hands
When confusion hides my way
You're always enough, always enough

Your love is peace to the broken
Faith for the widow, hope for the orphan, strength for the weak
Your love is the anthem of nations, rings out through the ages
And You're always enough

I rejoice for my Savior reigns
I rejoice for He lives in me
God on high, He has set me free
And worthy is the Lord

I rejoice for my Savior reigns
I rejoice for He lives in me
God on high, He has set me free
And worthy is the Lord

Your love is peace to the broken
Faith for the widow, hope for the orphan, strength for the weak
Your love is the anthem of nations, rings out through the ages
And You're always enough for me

Your love is peace to the broken
Faith for the widow, hope for the orphan, strength for the weak
Your love is the anthem of nations, rings out through the ages
And You're always enough

I rejoice for my Savior reigns
I rejoice for He lives in me
God on high, He has set me free
And worthy is the Lord

In a dry and weary land
Lord, You are the rain

Sunday, April 03, 2011

day 35-40? survival guide to the grocery store.

Why, yes, it's been almost a week... what has happened in this past week? Teaching. Sun-burning. Studying. Lesson planning. Some sightseeing. Church.

Sunday brought some interesting things like:
  1. showing up at church and then realizing, we really have NO idea what time it starts.
  2. a Portuguese tradition of kissing cheeks when saying “Hola” leaves lipstick smudges on ones (my) cheek.
  3. We realized about halfway through sunday school that he was actually in 2 corinthians, not first. :)
  4. we got stopped along the road by a little old lady tapping on the car indicating we should roll down the windows... so she could tells us we were (something like) “nice young ladies...”
  5. and... a trip to the grocery store
    (insert segue music...)

How to... survive in a Portuguese grocery store!”

  1. MEAT: cheaper is not always better. The cheaper meat is probably the “unclean” meat. Just splurge for the better beef. :)
  2. YOGURT: just avoid the entire aisle altogether. There are way too many varieties. This will only overwhelm you.
  3. MILK: it won't taste like milk in the states, so give it up. BUT nesquik is available for your enjoyment. :)
  4. SEAFOOD: just steer clear... the fish stinks, and the shrimp will probably bite a hole in the bag (or stare a hole through the bag) before you get it home.
  5. ICE CREAM: again, cheaper isn't always better. The cheap stuff tastes like it has added fiber, and Haagen Daas??? well... it's about $8.00 for a pint... so i'll wait on good ice cream til I get back to the states... ben and jerry will wait for me.
  6. CEREAL: cookie crisp is just as good here. As for the others? I haven't tried any others. ;)
  7. SOUP: the packets are probably ox tail soup and the cans of campbell's are over 3 euros (4 dollars). Just ditch soup...
  8. BEAUTY PRODUCTS: well, today I saw a bottle of tresemme for over 10 euros (13 dollars?). Glad I brought big bottles!!!
  9. TORTILLAS: a package of six is over 3 euros... ditch those along with the soup...
  10. ANY MEAT: stick with what you know... don't go looking for new stuff.
  11. SPICES: they don't make burgers. So don't look for those spices. BUT chicken spices seem to work ok. Improvise. :)
  12. PASTA SAUCE: just do the tomato sauce version. Buying the ragu will cost you... a few limbs...
  13. TANG: a kick in a glass is still just as good. :)
  14. PRODUCE: cheaper than in the states. This is the healthiest i've eaten! Haha. We have bought... kiwis, strawberries, red peppers, green peppers, tomatoes, apples, bananas, mangoes, oranges, carrots, corn, broccoli, peas, potatoes, and lemons. Pathetic, I know.

There's probably more... but the morals of the story are...
  1. don't go on a sunday after church.
  2. Don't try to do the liters to gallons math.
  3. And DO NOT do the euros to dollar math.

therein lies my insight. :)

Jessica Campbell Roberts