Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I Hate Goodbyes.

Me and my host mom and
me and Sr. Marie Therese

I left St. Lucia a little under a week ago and am now back in Wisconsin and freezing my butt off.

I am so happy to be home and with my friends and family for the holidays but leaving the Caribbean was more difficult than I ever imagined. I am so grateful and blessed to have had the opportunity to experience St. Lucia and to learn about the island, the people, and myself during my time there.

I was planning on writing this post last week, but my internet went out. If I'm being honest I was avoiding thinking about how little time I had left on the island and with all of the lovely friends I had made.
Saying goodbye to the teachers.
I cried a lot that day.

Last Wednesday was the last day of term at Monchy and my last full day on the island. During assembly the principal called me up so that I could say thank you and goodbye to everyone. Unfortunately, as soon as I got through my initial sentence my emotions took over. I think I said something like "I just wanted to thank you all so much, I've felt so welcom-" and then my voice broke, the tears came, and I was speechless.

I truly felt so welcomed and at home in St. Lucia and at Monchy Primary especially. I made so many memories that I will cherish and continue to draw happiness from for my whole life.

I could probably type another couple paragraphs about how wonderful my time there was, but I'm going to trust that if you're reading this you've been keeping up with the rest of the blog, and I hope that everything else I've written will speak to how much I loved being in St. Lucia. I cannot wait to go back. Anyone wanna be my travel buddy?

Field Trip

My last Monday at Monchy my class went on a field trip to Soufriere which is farther south on the island and a big tourist destination. The city is known for it's beautiful scenery, sulfur springs, and the Piton Mountains.  This post is gonna be another one full of pictures because I really believe that sometimes pictures say more than words can.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Tidbit of a Story

This is not a hilarious anecdote, or heartwarming story, but it made me smile and I hope that it will do the same for you all. 

The other day I was walking to my first bus stop and I happened upon two neighborhood children, a young girl and her slightly older brother. For some reasons the pair seemed stuck and unable to move past the house on the corner. As I got closer the girl ran towards me. This took me for surprise because although people are friendly here, they are not friendly enough to run at a stranger the way this girl was. She stopped just short of me and began to trail behind me as I walked. I made some small talk with her until we caught up to her brother at the corner. 

When we finally got to the point that the siblings were hung up on I realized what was going on. As I've mentioned, I encounter several dogs on my daily route to and from school. The house on this particular corner is home to three very loud, and semi-aggressive dogs. The dogs are safe behind a fence and gate but the girl was absolutely terrified of them! She was attached to my hip as we walked and her eyes continually darted towards the fence and the three dogs. As soon as we were passed the house she gave me a quick wave and skipped off towards her school with her brother. 

I think that we can all remember one thing that we were irrationally afraid of as children (or even adults) and I was so happy that this girl let me help her conquer her fear. 

Also, I'll be back in the States in 9 days! I can't believe the time has flown this quickly!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dr. Dolittle?

A couple cows on the side of the road
I've started to make friends with the animals here... not in a weird or unstable way that suggests I have no one to talk to other than animals. I promise you do not need to be worried about my mental health or anything like that. There are so many animals around here though, and most of them aren't as afraid of people as they should be so it's easy to make friends with them.

The streets are lined with goats, sheep, cows, and even horses that farmers allowed to roam around town and graze all day. There is also an abundance of cats and dogs that roam the neighborhoods and streets. As I've fallen into a routine here I noticed that I see a lot of the same animals everyday and have started to keep tabs on them.

Aren't they cute!
The first of my animals friends are a couple of dogs that I pass on my way to and from the bus everyday. There is a mother dog and two puppies... well there used to be two puppies. A couple weeks ago I stopped seeing one of the puppies and am a little worried about my friend. The other puppy is super cute though and the mother is very protective.

There is also a family of cats that live in a shop near school. I've been meaning to get a picture of the kittens because they are absolutely adorable and I know my sister would love them to bits, but I haven't caught them in a kodak moment yet. There of course is a mom cat and about four kittens.

He almost looks like Scooter
Then there are two cats that like to hang out around my home. At first they were driving me crazy because they meowed so loudly! They remind me of my own two cats, Scooter and Whiskers... anyway they seem to spend a lot of time outside my window. I think that I startle them a lot, because whenever I look out the window they freeze and just stare at me. Imagine the face of a child getting caught with his or her hand in the cookie jar, now picture that face on a cat. That is how these two look at me.

Last but I'm sure not least are the birds at the cafe I go to. There are a number of birds that hang around the coffee shop hoping for scraps and leftovers to pick over. These birds are exceptionally brave. They sit on my table and gradually hop forward, testing how close they can get before I wave them away. I'm just as curious about how close the will get before getting scared and flying away of their own accord, so you can imagine they get pretty close. The other day one was almost in my coffee mug before I had Hitchcock flashbacks and shooed it away.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chants, Games, and Songs

I usually spend some time in the morning playing with the younger students and I have learned quite a few different hand games, chants, and songs.

First there is "My Mother/Your Mother". This is one of those clapping hand chants that we all remember from elementary school and goes like this:

My mother your mother live across the street
Eighteen nineteen blueberry street
If there was a fight, this is what they'd say
Boys are rotten made out of cotton
Girls are handy made out of candy
Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider
Girls go to college to get more knowledge
Boys drink rum to get more dumb
Girls drink Pepsi to get more sexy
Ipsy dipsy do, ipsy dipsy da
Ipsy dipsy do, say "I love YOU!"

Then there is "Mama Mama can't you see..."
another hand game:

Mama Mama can't you see
What the baby has done to me
She took away my MP3
Now I'm watching "Barney"
"Barney" is for babies
Tic tac toe three in a row
If you stop I'll give you a pluck 
(and then the clapping pattern continues until one person stops)

The two games we play the most are "Simon Says" and "There's a Brown Girl in the Ring". I hope that most people in the States can grasp the concept of "Simon Says"... if you should probably consult anyone else in the country to explain it to you. "

There's a Brown Girl in the Ring" is specific to St. Lucia as far as I know so I'll explain it. First, The students make a large circle in the courtyard of the school, one girl/boy is chosen to be in the middle. The student in the circle skips around ring as everyone sings:

There's a brown girl in the ring tra la la la la (x3)
'Cause she likes sugar and I like tea.
(During this verse a student skips around the ring)

Now show me a motion tra la la la la (x 3)
'Cause she likes sugar and I like tea.
(During this verse the student does a dance move and the other students around the ring imitate it.)

Now hop and pick a partner tra la la la la (x3)
'Cause she likes sugar and I like tea.
(During this verse the student hops around until he/she finds someone to replace them in the center.)

This game is particularly entertaining for me because the students love to pick me as their partner but whenever I am in the ring they stumble on what to sing because there is not a brown girl in the ring but a white girl... they are quick to correct themselves, but it is still funny, and the song sounds even sillier with the lyrics "There's a white woman in the ring" so I always get a little laugh.

All of the students love to sing! The Grade Six classroom is right next to the music room so we are blessed/cursed with being able to hear all the music classes throughout the week. The song we hear most frequently is "I Hope You Dance" but Lee Ann Womack. All of the students and teachers love this song, luckily so do I! They also sing a couple of my favorite songs from my Camp WOW days which always make me smile.

The last song I'm going to share is their birthday song. I love it so much! The lyrics are just better and more meaningful and the tune is way more interesting!

Happy Birthday to you                                           Happy Birthday to you
This is your day                                                      You are so young
Always there for you                                              Age is just a number
We're gonna love you in every way                        Don't you stop having fun
This is your day, your day                                      This is your day, your day
Happy birthday to you, to you.                               Happy birthday, happy birthday to you!

Greatest side note ever! In searching for the lyrics to the school's birthday song I've discovered that it was recorded by New Kids on the Block. I am so happy right now. I even found it on youtube for you all! Keep in mind that although the lyrics are the same the tune is slightly different here (more upbeat) and they only use the first two verses.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

So Thankful

Today is Thanksgiving. They don't celebrate Thanksgiving in St. Lucia but that isn't going to stop me from writing a super sappy post about how grateful and blessed I am.

I am thankful for so much. I have been blessed with an amazing opportunity to be here in St. Lucia experiencing new things and learning more about myself everyday. More than that I have parents and family that have been nothing but supportive and helpful. My sister is always kind of a pain in the neck but we've grown up and grown closer and I am blessed to have her in my life. And of course my wonderful friends, friends that have always been there for me. 

This week I got the chance to make a couple phone calls home. I was so happy to hear from the people I love but I also realized how much I missed people and home. I hope that you all have a wonderful holiday!

Lastly, I am so grateful that I have wireless at my home here! I have been able to keep in contact with everyone that I love and even snap a couple of screenshots... 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

So Many Pictures!!

My time in St. Lucia is about half over already! 

I remember reading friend blogs and just always wanting to see more of what they were experiencing. 

So here are a bunch of random pictures from the last month. There are a couple scenery pictures, some from Creole Day, and a lot of students (I've mentioned before how much they love having their pictures taken). 

If you haven't figured it out already the best way to view pictures on this blog is to click one, then you are able to view them larger and navigate through all of them with ease. 

Anyway... Enjoy!