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Winding down….another transition approaches

In just a week and a half, the school year here will come to an end.  June 3 is our last day of class, June 4 is a holiday, and June 5 we have our end-of-the-year awards.  Five days later, we fly back to the States.  Many of those who are reading this already know, but for anyone who does not know, we are moving back to the US in less than three weeks!  When we came here, we did not know if it would be for the one school year that I had committed to, or longer, or forever.  Several factors have played into the decision to leave this summer, and it has not been an easy decision.  We love it here, we are happy to have had this experience, and we are fortunate to have supporters who have helped make this possible.  We’ve made some new friends here who we will miss a lot, and I really am going to miss my 12 students who I’ve had the pleasure of teaching this year.  But….it’s time for another transition!

So, what’s next for these three Meyricks?  What a great question!  A month or so ago I was feeling very panicked at the idea of moving back to the States with no leads on jobs, a possible housing option but not certain, and all the stress that comes along with that.  Right now, I’m not feeling panicked at all.  Maybe I’m crazy?  It’s not for lack of effort that nothing is in place.  I’ve applied to at least 50 jobs online.  I’ve had a couple phone/Skype interviews and have one more scheduled for the day after we get back.  I’ve put the word out to friends and family to keep an ear open for possible places hiring.  I’ve received some rejection notices, some places needed to fill positions sooner that I would return, and some others I’ve still not heard from.  I am not going to stop looking at jobs, but I’m believing that the right opportunity for us will come about.  If those who are reading this could keep all of this in mind and send me a message if you hear of something that I may be interested in or qualified for.  (my degree is in Human Services)

So as we finish out these last couple weeks I have lots to do in addition to trying to enjoy the end of our time here.  Any teacher can probably agree that the end of the school year is a very hectic time and student behavior tends to get a little more difficult as the kids are also getting restless and feeling anxious for summer vacation.  I want to finish strong with this group of kiddos and have them excited and prepared to enter second grade in the fall.  I’m so excited to see all of the progress we have made this year.  They’re such a smart group and have been a lot of fun to teach!  They’ve taught me plenty along the way, too.

We have accumulated plenty of “stuff” here that I am sorting through to donate, sell, and pack.   If anyone wants to fly down empty-handed to take back a couple suitcases for us that would be great!! 😉  Since February (Felicia’s birthday) Jamarius has been “planning” his birthday.  We kept saying that we didn’t know for sure where we would be so we couldn’t plan much – he is very excited to know that we will be back in the States for his birthday.  Lots of other things that we are all looking forward to, and plenty of things we are going to miss about being here.  Anyway, that’s the short and sweet version of the update.  Thank you for reading, thank you for your support, and I may or may not update again before heading back to the good ol’ U S of A.

Blessings to all,

Megan, Jamarius and Felicia

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Happy Easter!

OOOPS!  Has it really been almost three months since I’ve written?  The length of this one will make up for lost time 🙂

Much has happened since I last wrote in January.

February is a busy month here as Carnival is celebrated every weekend during the month, leading up to the Dominican Independence Day on February 27th.  Carnival celebrations include parades with interesting costumes and characters – and if you aren’t careful they whack you on the butt with small punching-bag-like paddles they carry.  The Indepence Day performance at school featured both first grade classes doing a traditional dance, and Jamarius’ class recited a poem about the founding fathers of the DR.  We spent the last weekend of the month of February in the capital city of Santo Domingo.

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We celebrated Felicia’s 7th birthday here – complete with a Frozen themed birthday party at school.  She had been begging to go to the salon for a few months to get her hair straightened.  I decided to let her do it for her birthday, and after many tears and regrets she said she doesn’t want to go back to the salon anymore.  With the humidity here, her straight hair lasted almost an hour!

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School has been marching right along this semester.  I upped the spelling lists to 10 words per week (it was only five per week first semester).  The kids have risen to the occasion and many even master the #11 bonus word each week, which is always much more difficult than their regular spelling words.  Some of the bonus words we’ve had: baseball, silence, Easter, and beautiful.  Yes, five kiddos spelled “beautiful” right on their test – pretty impressive, right?  We’ve also started memorizing more difficult memory verses from the Bible.  They love reading Bible stories from an illustrated children’s Bible that I have, and each of them takes a turn being the “Bible Helper” each week and looking up our verse in the bilingual Bible that I have so we can read it in Spanish and English straight out of the Bible.

Their English has come so far since the beginning of the year.  One of their favorite activities now is to create their own books – they are the author and illustrator.  When they finish, if they choose, they get to read their book to the class during circle time.  We’ve had some awesome books, such as Pajama Party by Yosephine, which included the names of many of her friends and also included the bonus word “beautiful” several times throughout – there were beautiful pajamas, beautiful hair, and a beautiful room.  We also had My Dinosaur by Ivan Yoel, and the whole class agreed that their favorite part was the page that says, “My dinosaur goes to the bathroom.”  Everyone got a big laugh when my studious, very serious kiddo Angel read his book Mario to the class and sounding just like the video game, he exclaimed “Mama mia!”  Ahhh, the fun times in first grade!

We took our second field trip of the year.  This time we went to the capital and visited a children’s museum called Descubria.  This place is designed like a small child-sized town.  When the kids enter they first go to the bank, where they are issued a “debit card” complete with their photo and signature.  This card is used at the various stations throughout the museum.  They loved the firefighter exhibit where they all wore firefighter coats and hats, climbed upstairs and slid down a pole, rode in a firetruck and even put out a (pretend) fire!  In the pizzeria they were all able to make personal pizzas, and at the driver’s school they received a license and were able to drive little go-karts around the track.  The kids had tons of fun and it was great watching them.  We finished our time with a pizza lunch at the mall – they were all so amazed with the sights of the mall that it was like herding wild geese to get upstairs to the pizza place!  To see pictures of this and other exciting news about what’s happening with my class, please join our Facebook page “Jarabacoa Christian School First Grade 2014-2015.”

The first week of March brought an incredible blessing to the kids and me.  A missionary couple who works at JCS with me blessed us with our very own motor scooter, or pasola as they’re called here.

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After seven months of walking everywhere with a few motoconcho and taxi rides when necessary, we were so excited to have these new wheels.  They took us to a flat-ish area for me to learn to drive, first alone, then with one kid, and finally with both.  It was misting and sprinkling rain, and did pour down rain on me at one point, but I got the hang of it (after falling one time – just a little road rash – ouch!)  Our 8-10 minute walk to and from school now takes 2-3 minutes.  We can cruise into town to get a few groceries and beat the rain.  Since I was 16 I’ve always had a vehicle so the 7 months of not having one really made me appreciate the convenience and independence that comes with having your own transportation.  We really had to plan and make the most of our trips into town before – to coordinate groceries getting home without spoiling and any other errands along the way.  Now it’s so easy to just jump on the pasola and go grab something that we need – and the kids LOVE to ride it as often as possible!  I am more comfortable driving than I was at first, but it is still a bit nerve-wracking because of the way people drive here.  We all wear our helmets and for the most part I hang over on the far right side of the road letting everyone cruise past us.  Felicia is still waiting for the day we go up to 100 km/hour – she will be waiting on that forever!!

The kids are playing soccer and have joined TaeKwonDo, which are both offered at school this semester.  They’ve had one soccer game, which was very fun to watch (even though they lost by a couple goals).  TaeKwonDo is interesting, they have never done any martial arts before so this is a brand new experience.

TaeKwonDo classes outside

   TaeKwonDo classes outside

Both soccer teams after their game

Both soccer teams after their game

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My mom was able to come visit us this past week, which was so great.  This was her first time seeing our house and even though school was out for Semana Santa (Holy Week/Easter Break) we took her there to see our classrooms and the school.  While she was here we visited Santo Domingo for a couple days and also went to the north coast to the beach for one day.  Unfortunately our beach day was COLD (like maybe 70 degrees max), overcast, and rainy.  Grandma got in the ocean with Jamarius and Felicia, which was fortunate for them because I was huddled in a towel under the umbrella, which was blocking the rain rather than the sun!  It’ll be a memory we won’t soon forget!

It was cold and cloudy, but it didn't stop these brave (AKA crazy) gringos from enjoying the beach!

It was cold and cloudy, but it didn’t stop these brave (AKA crazy) gringos from enjoying the beach!

Grandma got a motoconcho ride - wearing a skirt and all!

Grandma got a motoconcho ride – wearing a skirt and all!

That brings us up to the present, Easter weekend.  The kids and I colored eggs this afternoon and decorated our driveway with sidewalk chalk.  We are going up in the mountains to an English-speaking church service tomorrow morning for Easter Sunday.

When we return to school next week, we will have nine weeks left of school.  This year has literally flown by!  So, what’s next for us, you ask?  Good question!  After much time spent praying, considering, emailing, and weighing options, it is looking like we will be headed back to the States this summer when school ends.  This may be surprising for many of you, as it is for me actually.  I kind of thought in the back of my head that when we moved here it may be the last time we’d live in the States, at least for a long time.  There have been MANY factors to consider.  I love working at JCS and I love my class.  I’ve had at least two families request in the office that I be a second grade teacher next year so that their child will be with me again.  This is very flattering, and I am so happy to have made these relationships with my students and their families this year.  However, this is just not where I am supposed to stay.  The experience has been incredible, both for me and for Jamarius and Felicia.  The Spanish immersion has been great – Felicia has picked up so quickly on the language and she pronounces the words that she knows perfectly – I only wish I had the opportunity to come when they were even younger.  Despite learning difficulties, Jamarius has grown by leaps and bounds – he is adding two-digit numbers and is reading more words, and even reading many Spanish words now.  They both sing the Dominican National Anthem, and know it better than the American one (it’s sung with pride at the start of every school day).

Being close to family and friends is something that we’ve definitely missed this year.  FaceTime with my baby niece is great – but I miss being able to go spend a long weekend with them whenever we can.  She’s grown so much this year and she won’t be little forever!

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So, there are lots more factors that I’ve considered but I’m not going to make this any longer!  I’m so thankful and appreciative of those of you who have prayed for us, helped us in any way, and financially supported our time here.  As always, I would love to hear from you!  And, we still have at least two months down here so you’re welcome to come pay us a visit!

I have started looking at job and housing options for when we return.  I’ve applied to a couple places, although it’s still a bit too early to apply for most things (since many jobs that post an opening aren’t looking to wait 2-3 months to fill that opening).  If you would keep me in mind as you hear about jobs, and shoot me a message, I would appreciate it.  My degree is in Human Services, so anything that I would be qualified to do I would consider.  Please continue to keep our family in your prayers as we finish this school year and make another transition.  There is nothing set in stone yet, and if God would choose to open up other doors for us – our plans could always change!  Blessings to you all and Happy Easter!

Megan, Jamarius, and Felicia

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General Update

Back to reality….

So I realize it’s been over a month since I’ve written here – oops! I never promised to be a very consistent blogger, and now you see why. December was a month of field trips, holiday celebrations, a Christmas program, puppies, Angel Tree, travel, and finished by visiting family and friends. December was our first field trip for my class. We toured a brick-making factory where different types of cleaners are also made and sold. This was very interesting actually – watching the process of the clay being transformed into bricks by some skilled workers. The kids were very attentive and DIDN’T STEP ON THE TEMPTING WET CLAY BRICKS on either side of the narrow path we walked!! You know all the guard rails and safety warning signs (and other coddling done to prevent lawsuits) in the States? Yea, we don’t have that here. So our first graders were up close and personal with the fiery furnace where the bricks are baked.

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2015/01/img_6095.jpg Next stop: firehouse. A fireman gave us a tour and answered questions. At one point we went upstairs and as we rounded a corner we quickly realized we were in a tiny room with a huge HOLE and the fire pole – what could possibly go wrong with about forty children in a closet-sized room all anxious to get close and look down? Thankfully, nothing went wrong. They loved it, and many wanted a turn sliding down after watching our guide.

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2015/01/img_5843-0.jpg Next we visited the equivalent of a Town Hall, where they intended to take us through every little office and cubicle to explain every separate person’s job. After a gentle reminder that we had a bunch of 6 year olds, we made our way to a conference room where the children got a quick overview of the services they provided, and a surprise visit from the “mayor” which was exciting. After seeing her, Felicia called out, “That lady is on the garbage truck!” Haha, her picture is on lots of signs and billboards, and Felicia is certain it’s even on a garbage truck! No field trip is complete without pizza for lunch – yum!!

2015/01/img_6092.jpg Our kids had fun practicing our song for the annual Christmas program. We were candle-wielding stable animals singing “O Little Town Of Bethlehem” and our first-graders did great!! The program was fun and well-attended by families. Jamarius’ class dressed as sheep and sang “Away in a Manger.” Cute!

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2015/01/img_5909.jpg As if Christmas program day wasn’t fun and exciting enough, on that very same day some friends of ours’ dog gave birth to NINE tiny puppies! We went to see them when they were just a couple days old, and so very cute!!

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2015/01/img_5954.jpg Ok, remember the crazy Angel Tree project idea?? Well, it was a success!! We had 99 “angels” on the tree. Of those, over 60 were turned in. A last-minute Facebook plea for help to supply gifts for the last 35 children resulted in a FAST, GENEROUS response. Lots of cool things about this project: 1 – Many little children and families were blessed to receive these gifts and be reminded of the TRUE meaning of Christmas. 2 – Organizations and individuals came together to pull this off – many were able to be a blessing and many were able to be blessed – without credit going to any one person or place. Wish we saw more of this! 3 – With the generous financial gifts of a couple friends in the States I was able to go the next day to buy the gifts that we still needed. Going during lunchtime presented a challenge as many shops are closed from 12-2 PM here. Thanks to our administrative assistant who took me to shop, we found a tiny off-the-beaten-path shop that was open and had many toys available. Well, until we were done! We almost cleaned the place out!! I’m pretty sure he had more business that one hour than he usually has in a month! He even gave us a couple discounts since he knew what the project was for. Sorry I don’t have pictures to include yet…they’re coming and I will post when I have them. Wrapping all that up, it was time for our much-anticipated trip to the States for Christmas break! In a moment of pure psychosis, I thought it would be a great idea to book a 3 AM flight. So, after a day of packing, cleaning, and closing up the house on Friday before Christmas, we left for the airport about 8 PM. Yes, that’s 7 hours before the flight. Yes, the airport is less than an hour away. But….traveling after 9-10 PM through the mountains is not encouraged. So we slept at the airport for a couple hours. Outside (it’s hot here, don’t worry!) About midnight we checked in and went inside and to our gate. I tried to have the kids sleep on those super-comfy airport chairs, but that didn’t work. We flew to Florida, then to Dallas. My phone had died so I didn’t get the message that my sister and brother-in-law and niece had broken down on the way to get us…what’s a couple more hours in an airport anyway?? Luckily they were up and running in a short time and we headed out into the COLD – I swear it was snowing but they said it was just rain. A Thai lunch and bounce houses were in order for the weary travelers. Okay…maybe I was the only one who was weary!

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2015/01/img_5973.jpg Our time in the States was nice. We saw lots of family and friends. We ate lots of good food. We had some down time and plenty of busy time. Doctors and dentists (still no cavities!) were squeezed in there too! A couple pictures:

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2015/01/img_6002.jpg One thing we did miss was snow. The kids had one assignment over break…to bring back pictures of snowmen and snow angels. Major fail! I’m NOT a fan of snow of course, but one day for sledding and snow angels would’ve been nice! Sorry to those living in the frigid tundra now – it’s a chilly 70 degrees here as I type! Our trip back was eventful as usual. The flight out of Chicago was late, causing us to miss our connection in Miami. We stayed a night in Miami and made it safely, with all of our luggage, the next day. Whew! Then work was calling – the kids started back to school last Thursday and we are back in our routine. I intended to get this done right after work today but we didn’t get power until about 7 PM. Our lanterns are fun for making shadow puppets!

2015/01/img_6087.jpg One last story I’ll leave you with…confirmation on being vegetarian, I suppose. I was in line at the colmado yesterday (open-air convenience stores on almost every corner). There was a mama hen and many baby chicks pecking around. All of a sudden a squishy THUD sound – a hunk of meat (beef?) had fallen from its hook on the ceiling to the dirty concrete floor, sending chicks scattering. One of the customers told the guy working what happened, so he quickly came out “before the dogs came running,” picked the meat up, looked it over, and hung it right back on its hook. I don’t suppose the ground makes it any worse than the warm, fly-swarmed meat that it already is, but yuck! Beef….it’s what’s for dinner! So if I haven’t bored you to sleep yet, I’m almost there myself. Thanks for reading, thanks for supporting, and I’ll try to post again before March – no promises! Thanks to those who pray for us, support financially, and give ideas, advice, and encouragement. We appreciate you all! Love, Megan, Jamarius & Felicia (motoconcho selfie)

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Thanksgiving

Laying by the pool while my kids splash and play in the water, temperature is mid-80’s, the day after Thanksgiving, it seems easy to think of reasons to be thankful.
First and foremost, I’m thankful for family. Thankful for my own two children, my mom and sister, and extended families. Thankful for their support always, even when thousands of miles divide us.
I’m thankful for this opportunity to live and serve in the Dominican Republic this year. Being immersed in the culture here while learning, loving, and serving is not something we take for granted. Our supporters and friends help make it possible, and for that I am thankful.
I’m thankful for our JCS family at the school where I teach and my kids study. Thanksgiving is obviously not a national holiday in the DR, yet our school observes it by not only taking the days off, but by throwing a big Dominican-American Thanksgiving feast at the home of a board member for all of the JCS staff and families. Then, the American staff got together on Thanksgiving evening to celebrate again, since we are all so far from our families in the States. Good food, friends, and spending time together – another reason to be thankful! (And my broccoli cheese rice casserole turned out just as tasty as it does back home – yea!!)
I’m also thankful for small things, that really aren’t so small. I’m thankful for electricity because when it’s on, it sure is nice to have! One of those things so easy to take for granted at home. I’m thankful for water – especially hot water and drinking water. It’s not all the same thing, that’s for sure! I’m thankful for technology that allows me to keep in touch with family and friends around the globe – especially FaceTime to hear and see my baby niece learn to walk and say “Hi” and “uh-oh.” Priceless! I’m thankful for being able to keep in touch with friends all around the world (USA included) who are serving in all kinds of ways. The mission field is all around us, folks!
I’m thankful for health for myself and my children. I’m thankful that in three short weeks we get to go back to the States for a two week visit.
The list goes on, really. I’ll leave you with a couple pictures. Be blessed, everyone!

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How cool are they? Two of my students in their shades last week.

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Shopping trip to Santiago = Wendy’s for dinner. Yum….Frosty!

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My students working on Christmas decorations to brighten up our door.

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A group of cows blocking traffic along the Avenida yesterday.

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Isn’t this how everyone spends the day after Thanksgiving?

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My kids heading home last night – who doesn’t love a good walking stick?

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General Update

100 Days and Counting…

Hola to all who are reading this blog post!

I have an app on my phone that is counting down the days until we go visit the USA for Christmas vacation.  First, I was using it to count down the days until we moved here.  I didn’t realize until recently (when I accidentally swiped the screen) that it counts up once an activity has happened – and today marks 100 days since we have moved here to DR!  What better time than now for a blog update??

I’ll refrain from bragging about our wonderful weather – it is still in the upper 80s or lower 90s every day, but we are getting much more rain now.  It has rained every afternoon for at least the past week.  The cooler weather is supposedly coming, too.  Even now, when it rains, most people put on their full winter gear – puffy winter coats, scarves, stocking caps, boots, and gloves.  One little boy in my class came to school Friday with three layers of clothing on because it was “cool” that morning – like 68 degrees!

photo 1 (1) On the walk to school, Felicia was tugging her jacket sleeves down to cover her hands and demanded to know why I didn’t pack their hats and gloves when we moved here!

School keeps us all very busy every week.  Between lesson planning, paper grading, and homework (with my own kids), we’re usually exhausted by the end of the day!  Weekends consist of baseball practice at the big field on Saturday mornings, grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, house cleaning, and church.  Unfortunately today we missed church – it started raining about an hour before church starts and I was hoping it would clear up but it didn’t.  We were going to visit a church that isn’t far from the school, after being invited by another teacher at school.  Hopefully we will make it next Sunday!

photo 1 (3) photo 3 (3) photo 2 (3) “Reading Buddies” – 6th graders come down on Fridays to read to our first graders – fun!

photo 2 (1) photo 5 (1)Birthday celebrations are a BIG DEAL – the first one pictured is for a set of twins and their family really went all out, as you can see.

photo 1 (2) photo 2 (4) Classroom pictures

photo 2 (2) photo 3 (2) “Kindness” winners – each month one child from each room is recognized in front of the whole school for demonstrating the virtue of that month.  For October, those students who demonstrated KINDNESS were recognized.  Yerian was the winner from my classroom – sweetest little boy with his sweet little smile.  Jamarius won for his room, and he was very proud.  He was also excited that his teacher, Mr. Reyes, was also recognized at the same time so they both earned awards that morning!

I mentioned in my last blog that there was an upcoming Dia de la Raza celebration at school (in place of Columbus Day).  Here are some photos from that big event:

photo 3 (1)Felicia dressed as a Taino Indian for her classroom presentation

photo 4 (1)Dance performed by 1ro A

photo 5My class (1ro B) performing their song about celebrating and respecting ALL people, regardless of who they are or where they’re from.

Also, Felicia did decide to go ahead and play baseball since there weren’t enough kids interested in basketball to make a team.  She and Jamarius are loving the practices – they practice twice a week at school and then on Saturdays they all go to one of the big ball diamonds in town and have practice games there.  I guess there isn’t a baseball “season” here – it’s all year long.

photo 4 (3) photo 5 (2)Baseball!

Two weekends ago we were invited to Manabao, which is a beautiful drive up the mountains and has a National Park where hikers set out to climb Pico Duarte, which I think is the tallest mountain in all of the Caribbean.  We hiked, the kids played in the river, and we got attacked by darn noseeums which left us itching like crazy!

photo 1 (5) photo 2 (5) COLD water!photo 3 (4) photo 4 (4)We decided against that bridge…through the water we went!

Back home during this time I would normally be doing all of the preparations for Thanksgiving Baskets and Angel Tree gifts for Kids Church and Baby TALK EHS families.  I’m excited to have found a way to bring the Angel Tree project idea here to Jarabacoa.  Our school, where I’m teaching and the kids are attending, has quite a mix of students.  There are wealthy families who send their children, there are working class families who sacrifice to send their children, and their are some poor families who pay very little and are covered by scholarships/sponsors.  We are going to host an Angel Tree project at our school.  Children who will be placed on the tree will be those who are sponsored at our own school along with about 75 other children who live in a local orphanage or who are living with their families but are in very low-income households.  These children attend a program similar to Kids Church.  I hope that our school and community jumps in and supports this project, and that we are able to bless many young children this Christmas season.  More pictures and details on this project will be forthcoming.

Anyone who has been to a developing or third-world country can attest to the fact that there is no way to fully describe the experience – the sights, the sounds, the SMELLS.  Sometimes I just wish I had my camera out and ready at all times…but even pictures can’t capture it all!  Yesterday we walked to town to buy some Christmas lights to decorate the kids’ rooms.  Along the way we saw a guy on the back of a motorcycle dragging behind him about a dozen pieces of rebar and another guy who was nearly buried on his motorcycle as he attempted to haul a huge bail of straw through town.  Two different days this week, this was the sight in front of school:

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So I’ll bring this to a close because the power will surely be going out soon.  We don’t adjust for daylight savings time so we are currently two hours ahead of those in Illinois.  I hope all who read this are doing well.  I would love to hear from you!  Please keep us in prayer as always.  I would ask specifically that you pray for guidance regarding our “next steps.”  I know we are where we are now for a reason, and that we’ve only been here for 100 days, but after Christmas it will be time to consider whether we will spend another year here, move back to the USA, or possibly move and serve somewhere else in some other capacity (after finishing out this school year).  We are open to any of these three options, of course.  Be blessed!

–Megan, Jamarius, and Felicia

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October already?

Time is really flying here!  I can’t believe we have started October already.  Maybe because it doesn’t “feel” like fall here – it’s still in the 90s, sunny, and the middle of the day is very hot.  No leaves changing colors, no apple orchard/pumpkin patch field trips, no bonfires and hayrides.  I’m not complaining (although I really wish there was a practical way to ship a Del’s caramel apple down here!) – it’s no secret that I love the warm weather and although I don’t mind fall at home, it’s a little too close to winter for my liking!

The biggest thing that’s happened since my last update was a visit from my family – my sister, her husband, and my baby niece Gracie Lou came and spent a week with us at the end of September.  It was SO NICE having them here.  Gracie is a year old now and she is trying to walk and learning so many new things every day.  We already miss them and they haven’t even been gone a week.  While they were here we ventured out of Jarabacoa for the first time since coming down August 1st.  We spent the weekend up at the beach on the northern coast of the island and it was wonderful.  We had fun in the ocean, ate some very good food, and just enjoyed being together outside of the regular routine.

IMG_5541[1] Felicia playing her “violin” on the beach!

IMG_5547[1] Baby Grace enjoying the pool

IMG_5558[1] Kids with “Mango” the parrot

IMG_5533[1]Jamarius enjoying his juice

Jamarius started baseball this past week.  He is the tiniest little player on the team, and the coach was shocked when it was his turn to hit and he whacked it good!  Pitch after pitch, he hit them all except maybe two.  After practice the coach told me he really wasn’t expecting him to be as good as he was, and that it really surprised him when he hit that ball with no problem.  Jamarius is so excited to be playing…I’ll get some pictures of him and post them eventually!

Felicia’s my little Spanglish-speakin’-mama.  She doesn’t let anyone pass us as we walk without saying “Hola” to them.  If she sees a baby or some cute little animal she’s always saying “Ay que lindo” (oh, how pretty).  She picks up on words and phrases and tries them out all the time!  She signed up for the basketball team at school but unfortunately there wasn’t enough interest so they aren’t having a team.  She’s deciding now if she wants to join baseball with her brother or just wait to see if another extracurricular comes along that interests her.

My classroom is trucking along.  Here, there are 8 grading periods.  We have finished the first of those and will be doing report cards this week to send home to families.  I’m amazed every day at how quickly the kids are picking up on English.  One little guy who is very intelligent but came knowing zero English is even now helping “translate” for some of his classmates – little words and phrases that he is now able to understand without help.  The favorite parts of the day for my class are getting to be the “weather person” who goes outside and comes back to report the day’s weather – which 98% of the time is sunny and hot, of course.  They also love chapel and computers, which both happen once a week.  Every Thursday, we play “Spelling Baseball” which has become quite popular – and they ask every single day if we can play.  We divide the classroom into two teams and they go to the board one at a time to write a spelling word.  If they spell it correct, they go to first base.  If it’s incorrect, it counts as one out.  It started as a last-minute game to play one day when my other spelling activity wasn’t going to work, but they love it so much we play it every week now.  In their Spanish class, they are busily preparing for Dia de la Raza which will be celebrated next Friday at school.  This is like a celebration of cultures (for Columbus Day) and each class/grade level brings in different foods and does different performances to celebrate various cultures.  The kids are looking forward to performing and having their families come and watch.

I hope all of my readers are doing well.  I would love to hear from you!  Email me at megyn80@hotmail.com.  We can also get packages in the mail at the following address:

Megan Meyrick JC-72205

1733 NW 79th Ave

Doral, FL 33126-1101

Thanks to some care packages we’ve received and a suitcase full of treasures from my sister, my needs list has pretty much been met for now.  I would still like to have a backpack and protective cover for my laptop to make it more comfortable to transport it on our walk to and from school every day.  I also want to put this out there and see if anyone may be interested in taking this on:  There is a little guy in my classroom who is struggling a lot and is very far behind.  My assistant is able to spend some time one-on-one with him during the school day but he would benefit a lot from tutoring outside of school.  I have talked to his parents and they are interested but they can not afford to send him to tutoring – they say it’s a huge sacrifice for their family already to send him to school (school here is not free).  If any individual or small group may be interested in paying for tutoring for this little guy, it would cost about US$28 per month for him to get tutored three afternoons per week.  As always, donations for this or anything else can be sent through Hands of Jesus at 244 W Leafland Decatur, IL 62522 with Meyrick on the memo line.  Be blessed, everyone!

–Megan, Jamarius, and Felicia

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Getting into a routine

You know you’re settling in when you’re teaching a lesson and right in the middle of writing a word on the board, the power goes out, and you continue the word and finish the lesson as if nothing happened. Crank the windows open all the way to let more light in and carry on…

What all to write in an update…that is the question! First, we are living in a different place as of this weekend. Friday after a looong day at work we were blessed in so many ways! First, the ominous-looking sky didn’t open up and pour down rain as it looked like it was about to. Second, three kind and generous coworkers and the spouse of one helped load and unload all of our belongings from the apartment and move them across town into a house. This included our beds, dressers, fridge, stove, washer, and all clothes, kitchen items, etc. Last but certainly not least, we rested in this peaceful little house and got a great night’s sleep! Our new place is about a 7 minute walk to school, much more convenient than the 30-40 minute walk to the other place. It’s also on a very quiet dead-end residential street, much calmer than the hustle-bustle apartment along a very busy street with several businesses surrounding it. We are also within one block of three different coworkers of mine, one of whom has a daughter in Jamarius’ class. We are thankful for the apartment we called home for the first six weeks here…it was clean and safe…but this is more comfortable and convenient and we believe it will work out great! And, we have another beautiful view of the mountains.

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We are within walking distance of a swimming pool, which we enjoyed visiting already today.

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There’s a small yard here with a parking area (AKA soccer field), some palm trees, an aloe plant, and some kind of citrus fruit tree – maybe oranges?

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School is going great. We have a routine in place and I feel like the kids are learning. I’m surely learning a lot! There are days without power, most days there is no printer or copier, internet doesn’t always work…but learning and fun take place regardless! Plans may or may not work out as I hoped, but we “wing it” when needed. My kids love singing, and it’s proven to be a great tool during transitions and to encourage them to practice their English. I have a CD of fun VBS songs, many of which I know the motions to, and they’ve pretty much mastered two of the songs already. I’d love to get my hands on some of the VBS DVD’s that have the kids singing with the motions and have the words on the screen. If anyone has some they could send please let me know! These little faces would enjoy it for sure…

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Our Social Studies book talks about community helpers, and after learning about police officers and firefighters, we were able to get some local community helpers to come talk/demonstrate for the children. They really enjoyed this! And unfortunately I missed it because we don’t have a television and I didn’t realize it would be aired – but we were on the news that evening! A man with a cell phone who I thought was taking pictures was actually recording for the local news evidently.

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Last little picture I’ll share for now is the kids at Salto Baiguate last weekend. We had a fun time doing the short trip to the waterfall and wading in the water below. Blessings to all and keep in touch – I would love to hear from you!

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Well I was writing and hoped to post this last night (Sunday) but the power went out so I couldn’t. Early morning now on Monday, getting ready for school and our first time walking from the new house. I hope everyone has a good Monday and a productive week!
Love, Megan, Jamarius & Felicia

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