I turned 23 at the end of March and had quite a day celebrating! I had never experienced a birthday quite like it, perhaps because I'd never spent a birthday with 28 tiny human beings who celebrate other with more excitement and vigor than they celebrate themselves. The entire school sang to me during morning assembly (three verses - happy birthday, how old are you now, and may the good Lord bless you), one of my students took me to the hotel/restaurant his family owns for a free lunch, I got a few little gifts and countless 'happy birthdays' from students and staff. My second years got me a beautiful embroidered local skirt and I had a few packages from home to open.
|Meredith made me a 'Happy Birthday Photo Sign' to document the day|
I had this crazy smile on my face for about 20 minutes while watching a video compilation my friend Myvy made for me. She reached out to friends and family, who all recorded birthday messages she put together for me. It truly was the best birthday present!! That, and the karat banana creme pie Meredith made for dessert!
I have been on island for over 9 months now! The months are flying by and spring break was a blessed relief. We enjoyed a week of sleeping, reading, and adventuring around the island with Kristin's friend, Ian, a JET volunteer (teaching English in Japan) who visited for the week. Activities included visiting old petroglyphs, ruins/jungle rubble from a Japanese-era sugar cane factory, Nan Madol, a hike up Sokehs Ridge, and creating our own slip-n-slide on the grass of the school grounds. We also discovered a new shave ice stand...which the JVs might singlehandedly been keeping in business. It's the best relief during a hot, humid day!
|Me, Kristin, Meredith, and Ian. Our 'on Wednesdays we wear pink' photo|
My three second years all have less than 2 months left on island. It's the beginning of the end. School wrapping up means graduations, graduations mean summer, summer means Mer/Britt/Kristin leave, summer also (for me) means summer school, visitors, and Annie (a JV in Chuuk) coming to Pohnpei. Trying to stay present and grateful for each moment is a challenge, especially when both students and teachers are ready for a break. But, in all this Meredith and I were able to have a really good moment together with all of our students. I brought my 1st graders up to Mer's 8th grade classroom on Friday for some buddy/tutor time. My students were so excited to hang out with the 8th graders (in typical Pohnpei fashion about half of my class is related in some way to half of Mer's class) and her students were great teachers and role models. The pairs did a page of two-digit subtraction together before the 1st graders read a book to their 8th grade buddy. These pictures melted my heart!
|Brothers working together|
Here's to more island adventures these next few months with my second years, summer visitors, and new community mates come July!
|Out to dinner during retreat|
|Making cookies at the Jesuit Residence|