Thursday, August 4, 2011


Hey Everyone,

So sorry to keep creating new blogs every few posts... I started thinking about switching to wordpress a few weeks ago at the tech conference I attended in Memphis but didn't want to deal with the hassle of alerting everyone and resupplying post information. However tonight when I looked at wordpress a little closer I found the import function so all of my former posts (even from Cairo and Chile!) were imported to my new blog... follow then link then follow or email subscribe to keep getting updates. Sorry for the extra steps but this will make it muuuch easier to format and insert photos, videos and a ton of other things I don't even know about yet....

Enter to Learn and to Serve

Today we had our first full faculty meeting at ASB. There was a lovely Indian style welcome ceremony for the new teachers (30% of ASBs faculty are new this year!) followed by intentional time together across all divisions building community and talking about our goals for the coming year. Finally got into my classroom afterwards too-note photo below, i'll be sure to post an after pic once the dust settles-... Due to my fractured radius I'm not allowed to lift much (some of you-especially my principal Joe-are teasing me about wearing a sling to avoid work but actually it's really frustrating to not be able to fully unload and investigate all of the items in the art room myself). My schedule is daunting... and the space issue is much more a problem than I realized... but hey... in one week we'll have kids filling our spaces to the brim.. and that's when th
e magic happens.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Panic vs Arrogance

Today was the last day of new faculty training at ASB. Craig finished our training with an activity set up in a format to many I've done before in team building, RA settings, even teaching...but with a twisted new content completely applicable to my life here and now in the present.

The activity where everyone starts in one single file line, situations are read and you chose to move right or left based on your experiences or beliefs. Our particular spectrum ranged from to the wall Panic, with extreme confidence perhaps confused by arrogance at the other end of the room.

The scenarios related to us as new members of the ASB faculty and gauged our feelings toward our new job, the school, the transition we are currently experiencing, and ASBs role in assisting us thus far.

At one point, he asked us to consider the following and move accordingly: Knowing that school starts in just 5 school days, and what you have done in your rooms thus far (nothing but snoop in boxes for myself) and what you have yet to do, how do you feel thinking about this reality? (Reminder, to the left is extreme arrogance and comfort, to the right is to the wall panic.)

Knowing this is my FIRST year teaching... my FIRST FIRST day of school one week away. My FIRST set of students entirely to myself, my FIRST classroom to set up (though sharing it will be a blessing with assistance in arranging etc)..... If I were anywhere but ASB, I am confident I
would have been to the wall panic. Just weeks ago I was there simply imagining this overwhelming looming responsibility and task ahead of me. ASB is an intimidating school. It's filled with the best and the brightest- students AND teachers (AND support staff I have quickly learned).

If I were anywhere else right now. I would be to the wall panic. But I have been reminded countless times that I am here for a very specific reason, that I fit here, and that I am fully capable of the job in front of me-and capable of carrying it out with optimism and fun.

If I were anywhere else I'd be panicking, but al humdilellah, I'm at ASB... and I took several large steps to the left. to comfort. certainly not enough confidence to be mistaken as arrogance. but a big shift to the left nonetheless.

Next Blog: More Pictures, Less Text, Promise.. I'm taking Copernicus out with me tomorrow.

Blessed Beyond Belief,

ps... Today is (will be in Iowa) my brother's 21st Birthday... And as per tradition started last year, I must announce this via blog post since I always go and run away from the country right before I'm able to celebrate. The family is going to the Hessenhaus tonight in DSM (I think)... Wishing him all the best... Cheers Tom, love and hugs from India!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I love the listening to the rain...

especially at night. I tried to take a picture to give you an idea of how much and how hard it rains here in monsoon season... it resulted in this blurry photo below due to unadjusted camera settings but I actually think it's quite the accurate representation of my experience in India thus far... one big blur.

So many sights, sounds, and people to meet, observe, and interact with every moment of every day.

I'm pretty sure India is on our side and wishing us good luck, and rightfully so. I absolutely love it.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Incredible India

I have finally arrived in Mumbai, India... There are so many thoughts in my head right now that I could never possibly maintain your attention for the amy-ramble of a post I have going in my mind at the moment so I'm going to summarize a few highlights...

*Transit: On a plane for over 20 total hours, from DSM to Newark, Brussels and finally Mumbai... there were delays but I was still surprised at how "quickly" we seemed to arrive in India! (ps traveling with a sling is the way to go; discounts on excess baggage, porters helping me around, great new ASB friends watching my back...)

*India: Rain, tuk tuks, honking, umbrellas, COLOR, Poli Market, slippery stone everywhere, movement, saris, accents... (hoping to get out and explore Bandra on foot this weekend with Copernicus, photos to come!!)

*ASB: outlier in education, the right fit, community, inspiring coworkers, helpful staff, accommodating, great welcoming reminder of why we are here and why ASB is the amazing school it is, helped make the transition smooth with set up phones, internet service, stocked fridge, furnished apartment, awesome HP tablets, and drivers picking us up and dropping us off for each part of our orientation...

It still hasn't fully hit me... and I'm still grinning from ear to exhausted ear. Jet lag has hit me though, so I'm going to take a sleeping pill, and head to bed for tomorrows trip to the foreign registry office. Follow this link to watch a YouTube Joe shared with us today that I have watched several times in my anticipation of moving to Incredible India.

Really, truly.. Blessed Beyond Belief.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Someone in India read my blog yesterday!

And that makes me happy. I'm not even there yet... Thank you, whoever you were.

I am not completely satisfied with my ability to blog via my Ipad... but I am praying blogger will get its act together soon and figure out an Ipad friendly app if they know whats good for them.

However. I did notice last night (but haven't played around with yet) the option to add pages. I don't know how long this has been available, but it is a goal of mine to add some of those and spruce this blog up even further.

In the near future. when I have free time. amidst moving to a new country, setting up a new life, and getting ready for my first year of teaching... in the near future :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Testing my iPad blogging skills

My lack of blog posts in the past two weeks is certainly not for lack of updates in my life...but in attempt to be succinct...

Laptop institute.Memphis TN.awesome colleagues and graceland.bought an ipad2. cedar falls send off.sushi with kait.karaoke with family at the hydrant.St. johns prayer support.visits from over 70 good friends.Carlos on Megan's birthday.Christoph arriving from Germany.Harry potter 7.1. Final stages of physical/dentist/arm check up. 2 hour life chat with Niff. Winterset pool. Great night at home with family....

When so much is happening as is currently the case in my life; constantly visiting family, friends, goodbyes, long tea time,
enjoying each of "my last"... I should really have more frequent, short posts but in the whirlwind of everything else in life my blog has gone by the wayside. (especially since I haven't been able to take pics with copernicus the last two weeks)

I am a much better blogger, I swear. I'll focus back in and make the next entry better, promise.

4 days.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Never have I ever...

I have never in my life broken a bone before... before last nights bike ride to yoga that is.

I've had a great couple of weeks visiting family; seeing my grandparents in Arkansas and Oklahoma, 80-35 music festival in Des Moines with MegKamm, Silo demolition at the Andersens....

I was home in Winterset again for a few days and Kayla had told me about a yoga studio in town so I decided to buy a mini pass to hit up as many classes as possible before I fly out the 26th. As I was biking to the evening yin yoga class last night my gears made a funny noise as I switched down and I quickly looked down to my right to see the chain off track. Unfortunately... turning my gaze also meant cranking the handle bars... on Christoph's old bike with a very high seat.. my bike ran straight into the curb. and I flew off. onto the cement.

I stubbornly refused to go to the ER last night... claiming it was just a bad sprain that would feel better in the morning...I was supposed to have a physical anyway so if it still hurt I'd have the doc look at it. Well it still hurt. and an hour, 6 x-rays, and a sling later, I walked out of the clinic with a fractured radius wrapped up. The good news is that my first ever bone break is a "good one"... it's not displaced, so I don't need a cast (don't need to figure out where to get a cast cut off when I arrive in Mumbai) but the bad news is that I can't do any lifting.. and currently writing/typing/driving are somewhat challenging.Should make the early morning flight to TN and the following 5 days in Memphis at the technology conference ..interesting to say the least. But not nearly as interesting as packing my four suitcases-not to mention figuring out a carry on option- and actually moving myself to Mumbai.

All I can do is laugh. What a silly silly.. annoyingly dumb.. incident... less than 3 weeks from my flight to India...

Oh. and I missed my dentist appointment as a result of this morning's fun.

Blasted broken bone....

Friday, July 1, 2011

Live a Life Inspired

Less than 4 weeks til my move. I now have my Indian visa and the only thing besides time between myself and that plane July 26 are goodbyes and packing. With all of the traveling and not-working that I've been filling my time with, I've had more than ample opportunity to be inspired... Here are some glimpses of the latest from my studio...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

California Dreaming

So my stay in San Diego has been fantastic thus far... Spending time with my cousins = priceless and so enjoyable but I've also had the bonus of getting plenty of time to explore, relax, and see the sights. I've strolled through Balboa Park, eaten at the "infamous" In and Out Burger joint, soaked up tooons of art both in and out of museum settings, walked the pristine beaches of Coronado and even had a fun day of shopping.
However... Today was the cherry on top so far... Started with a *free* early morning yoga class with Katie in La Jolla, followed by a delicious upstairs patio breakfast *complete with mimosas overlooking the ocean, Contemporary Art museum, *beautiful beach time* at La Jolla with Justin and Noah (brandon and nate surfed, katie and I read and got our tan on), and ended with a night in eating delicious grilled food and watching extreme couponing (that show is incredible!).

I must say I'm completely content and tickled to my toes with my time here. Tomorrow I'll get to worship at Justin's church, and Monday I'm off to Santa Barbara to visit Ryan and Alissa! Life doesn't get much better than this my friends...

Hugs from SoCal,

Monday, June 13, 2011

DSM-EWR Departs from Des Moines July 26th at 6am

Alright everyone. My flights are booked, my visa is being processed, and the sorting/cleaning/packing is in full gear. Six weeks from tomorrow... I'm off on a new adventure to India.

But why wait six weeks? In just under an hour I'm off to the airport to visit my cousins and friends in Southern California for a long week :) (Can anybody say craziest 6 months in airports ever?)

Blessed Beyond Belief: Home from Cairo, Off to India

My art is up at Cup of Joe coffee shop on Main Street in Cedar Falls, Iowa!

I have a collection of photographs and mixed media pieces I've grouped and named my Blessed Beyond Belief: Home from Cairo, Off to India series. The pieces will be on display through July 16 (when I come snag the ones that haven't sold and try to sell them at my farewell party the 17th) for $50 each. I also have oversized postcards and small mixed media prints (Be Glad for Life) available for $3 and $12 each (a convenient $15 for both!).

The pieces reflect some of my more recent mantras in life (Live gracefully, Grow Intentionally, Love Courageously, Navigate Fearlessly, Wander Knowingly, Explore Wholeheartedly, Flourish Daily and Thrive Creatively).... While I don't always notice how cultures I encounter affect me, many of my friends have commented that they see Egypt in them- which I do not deny, as everywhere I have traveled has become an engrained part of who I am. Each piece was created on top of a recycled screen printing screen from the workshops I taught in Chile in 2009 (artists are pack rats and keep eeeeeverything). Included in the pieces as well are colors, fabrics, fragments of maps and old church photographs, designs and text that reflect my personality and the transition I have gone through in the past 6 months of graduating from UNI, substitute teaching in Cedar Falls living the life of a recent grad, traveling around the US and the world, and now getting ready for the biggest transition yet: moving to India and teaching in my own classroom for the first time.

Time and time again, as I reflect on the journey I've made the past 5 years (physically and emotionally) I am struck by this grateful realization that I am blessed beyond belief. I hope that through looking at glimpses of these pieces and reflecting on your own life, you will come to the very same realization.

Hugs from Iowa,

Monday, April 18, 2011

PS. Where in the world am I going you might ask?

I'll be teaching grades 3-5 (possibly 2-5) art at the American School of Bombay in Mumbai, India....

Check it out!

Beloved Wikipedia's Scoop on Mumbai

City Information: Plenty of Links

World Travel: Incredible India -video

Visit India tourism commercial


99 days. Gulp.

It's real folks, my time in Iowa is counting down quickly, just as my excitement for this move to India grows each day. I'm currently feeling overwhelmed knowing that in the next 4 weeks before I leave for Europe I need to: apply for my Indian visa (which I'm still waiting for in the mail?), select a moving company to ship my belongings, pack said belongings, prepare my prints to go on display in Cedar Falls the day I get back from Europe, pack and move back to my parents' home in Winterset, figure out vaccinations, and attempt to prepare myself in curriculum planning for the next year, among a million other things...... I'll keep you updated as needed...

But. First things first. It's been nearly 4 months since I returned from Egypt, just over 3 months until I leave for India... and it's been quite the 7 month layover: giving guest lectures at UNI, substitute teaching all over Cedar Falls and Waterloo, visiting my siblings, traveling to Seattle for "spring break"... looking forward to Italy, Germany, San Diego, Wisconsin, Memphis and Mumbai in the next 14ish weeks...I've been soaking up great books: Shantaram, Sister of my Soul, Persepolis, God of Small Things... and spending time with amazing friends and family.

Needless to say, I'm feeling Blessed Beyond Belief.