Summertime

“You are so lucky to be a teacher, you get the summer off!”

Rolls eyes at the ignorance of the statement above. Then proceeds to enlighen the uneducated…As a teacher, lunches are barely 30 minutes and hope that an emergency doesn’t arise during that time because then it turns to 10 minutes (people often wonder why I eat so fast). Also, it is hard to take off during the school year or even leave a little early one day to go to an appointment. Most jobs, you can finish the work when you return or depend on a partner to finish the project, or even the option of working from home! As a teacher we have to find a sub to cover our class, create the lessons that need to be taught, and not take off too many days because that will cut into the paycheck.

Teachers also deal with the mass public. From students, parents, other staff, and community members, we are in constant communication with all people of all backgrounds at all times. It can be very chaotic with dealing with so many people who demand a lot of your time.

This is not a complaint. It is a blessing to be entrusted and regarded in a high manner. For others to trust you with their child, education & tax dollars. To encourage you when you have burn-out moments, and to be a representative and pillar of the community.

Being a teacher means, being a well-rounded individual.

3 C’s on Positives to being a Teacher

  1. Code-switching; persuading your audience in the most effective way to get your point across. It can be very difficult to get people to see your way of thinking, as a teacher we differentiate depending on the needs of the child  to reach their level of understanding. Depending on my audience, I decide how they can relate and receive my message. I don’t speak to my class in the same manner I speak to a group of parents, or staff members, or my grandmother.
  2. Compassion is something gained through experience. Sometimes our social circles only consist of limited backgrounds. When you are a teacher, especially a public school teacher, you encounter people from all socioeconomic backgrounds, cultures, religions, beliefs, and practices. Some of the greatest people I have met or able to learn something from were people not in my immediate circle, but some only introduced because of my association with the school. By serving them and listening to their needs, we are molded into more compassionate individuals.
  3. Creativity! Able to create authentic learning experiences for each interaction with each individual. Like I mentioned before, it is important to differentiate in the classroom for the different learning styles of your class. Each person is different and the more we can connect and treat people the way they want to be treated the better we can come to understanding a lot of concepts or at least, accept people where they are and have fun.

All this is good, but also can be exhausting. Which is why the summer is my recovery and recharging time. I can stay in the bed later, have more think time, collaborate with other colleagues, make appointments, and RELAX. Vacation, pool, beach, reading tons of books, getting crazy nails, attending concerts, alone time, daytime naps, having an HOUR LUNCH break, quality time with friends and family I may not be able to spend that much time with in the school year. These things and more make a great summer, and for me, this teacher had a great one. Thank God for this summer and blessings on the new school year. To all the educators out there, remember to take breaks when needed and do ‘ya thang at your school. To all the non-educators, thank a teacher. Without them, you wouldn’t have a job/career. Let that sink in…

Teachers need their summer. Judgement free. Okay?!😜

Peace & Blessings,

10th year Teacher

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End of School year Blues

Ramadan has ended and the world around me can now go back to it’s regular scheduled programs. No more wondering how long do people fast?

 Or when is Iftar or Sohoor? What time does the bank close? When will my order be delivered from Chili’s? Though the schedule changes were a change of pace, I will say I have enjoyed the festivities that have taken place during the month of Ramadan. Some work friends and I enjoyed a nice meal on the Nile and took part in some dancing to traditional songs. Our work schedule also changed to an hour shorter each day.

Now that Ramadan has ended that also means just a few days of school left. And you can feel the excitement of summer around the school. The kids are ready to be “free” as they say and the teachers are ready for recovery of the hustle and bustle that the school year brings.  Most international teachers will be traveling back to their home country, some are moving to the next teaching job, and some are just travelling around until the next school year.

Packing up the classroom, turning in technology devices, completing forms, & preparing send-off gifts for students can take it’s toll. BUT that’s what the end-of-school is all about! What keeps me motivated are the visions of home. I am looking forward to catching up with friends back home, spending time with my family, playing with my dog and eating crab legs, tacos and my mom’s okra dish straight from my dad’s garden! I will miss the comradery of being in the expat world and the lifestyle that comes with it. It’s like going to college again, but not as dumb & not as poor. 😂

Each person I’ve had the opportunity to connect & the experiences made has blessed me. They say change of place, change of pace, change of perspective. I couldn’t agree more! My experiences here have challenged me to really look into myself, get out my comfort zone, and trust complete strangers that became like family. Some of those friends are staying for the next school year and some are moving on to other places. I am thankful for our friendship especially the support during my first year international and only hoping them the best on their next journey!

But before we depart our separate ways, there have been a number of pool parties and other gatherings. There were lots of celebrations.

 

It’s been a beautiful journey thus far, and I thank God for his provision along the way. I am grateful and looking forward to greater.

 

 

Ramadan Kareem!

The whole month of May, Muslims around the world celebrate Ramadan. The beginning of each new month in Islam is marked by the observance of a new moon. This is a time when fasting takes place from dawn-dusk, intense praying, and big feasts when breaking the fast.

The fast is intended to bring the faithful closer to God and to remind them of the suffering of those less fortunate. Muslims often donate to charities during the month and feed the hungry. Fasting is an exercise in self-restraint. It’s seen as a way to physically and spiritually detoxify by kicking impulses like morning coffee, smoking and midday snacking.

I just love the energy that is in the air at this time. People are more generous, compassionate, and mindful/quieter. During my ride downtown this weekend, to have dinner with a friend was an experience. As soon as the sun went down, people were at just about each corner giving away dates, juices, and water to people driving by to feed them as they broke the fast. The juice was so good!

In high school in America, I had a friend who was Muslim and participated in Ramadan. I recall being invited to eating the meal after sunset, “iftar”. We prayed and ate a large meal. The lamb rolls were so good, her mom even sent my friend with some to school the next day for my lunch!

Egypt is a wonderful place to experience Ramadan. Yes, quite a few restaurants, some stores, and services close early. But there are so many other benefits during this time and celebrations going around which makes it a good time for all such as:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Get out of work an hour early
  2. Parties
  3. Lots of good food
  4. Positive Vibes
  5. Fun outfits (Galebeya)
  6.  Focus on prayer, as a follower of God, I believe meditating and praying are the most important keys to life.

We are now in the 2nd week and I plan to venture out and see more during this time. It’s also almost 100 degrees F so I will keep my venturing out to a minimum. 😂

Spring Break 2: South Africa

Like most African countries, South Africa is filled with deep history, good food, beautiful vegetation & exotic animals. I was surprised to see the various forms of cultures & languages; Zulu, Afrikaan, Dutch, Indian, French, Xhosa, and many more! Walking in the land that Nelson Mandela, and other brave & intelligent freedom fighters that were able to strategize and execute a plan to end apartheid was humbling.

The fact that I was able to visit 25 years after the first post-apartheid elections, Freedom Day, made an impact I will never forget.

South Africa is a lot like the US, underlying racism or microaggressions and filled with many cultures and languages. I could feel the energy around me and the people of of this area. I could feel the struggle, I saw the housing zones, ownership of businesses, and took notice of the people interacted with one another. I remember shopping around and finding these really beautiful African prints and designs at a local shop. I asked one of the workers if she owned the place, she laughed and said she just worked there as she pointed to a white person motioning who owned the store.

Bo Kaap, is an area with brightly colored homes to show the re-ownership of the land that was taken from them. This neighborhood represents various cultures and have deep respect for the area that the worked so hard to reclaim and make their own unique space. I also met some friendly South Africans who are proud, welcoming, and will tell the beggars that come around to stop harassing tourist.

Some really nice sites to see when visiting Cape Town:

Cape of Good Hope– Take a day trip down to the tip of the continent, wherethe Atlantic & Indian Ocean meet! It was so windy yet so neat to see the lighthouse that separates the oceans. You see the two flow together connecting to Africa.

 

Boulder’s Beach– PENGUINS. Who knew Africa had penguins?!

I thought they only lived on ice. The African penguins are found on this beach. You will find them walking around, nesting in the sand and swimming in the water. It was amazing, one walked up to me while I was doing yoga and it made my day!

 

Wine Tour– South Africa gets a lot of money from wine tours. There are many vineyards to visit and can also see zebras, wildebeest, and other exotic animals roaming around while you sip wine.

Table Mountain– If you are the athletic type, scenic route type, or like long walks in nature, you’ll love climbing this mountain. There are many routes to go on depending on your level or you can take a cable car up/down for a small fee. It took almost 3 hours to climb up, but it was totally worth it to see the view of the whole town and then eat tacos after. 

Needless to say, I enjoyed my time in this beautiful country and grateful to see another country in Africa. Now, I must prepare to get back to work as the holiday break is now coming to an end.

Every teacher needs two Spring Breaks!🙌

Easter in Egypt

Most people think Egypt is only a Muslim country, though it is mostly Muslim, they do have a rich history in Christianity. There is a community of believers called Coptic Christians. Coptic Christians celebrate Easter April 28th, while Westerners celebrate on April 21st. Since we had an extra day off this weekend from work, I decided to do some exploring in Cairo.

 

First stop was to Islamic Cairo, we visited the Citadel which was used as a fortress during the times of war. Inside are beautiful mosques and museums.

There are many areas for tourist to take pictures and go inside the mosques as well as admire the architecture from hundreds of years back.

On Good Friday, we went to an area of Cairo called Garbage City. Doesn’t it sound appealing? It is actually a world-renowned place due to it’s resourcefulness. The people that live in that area take all the recycled materials and create most of their living items out of recycled material. Once you get past the smell, you can really take in the creativity and thoughtfulness of what they are doing for this planet. 

There are millions of people that live in Cairo, which equals a lot of waste. The fact that they live and use most of the material again is amazing and can be used as an example across the world.

Once you keep traveling through Garbage City, you will discover a Christian community including these really cool churches inside of caves! It is a wide range of mountains and in between people built fortress of worship not too far from the Citadel.

Christian symbols everywhere in this area.

I ended the weekend with brunch at a near by restaurant for an Easter meal. Even though I wasn’t with my family once again on a different holiday, it was nice to be in the company of good people and good laughs with perfect weather! I will miss the breeze when summer gets here.

 

Spring Break: Kenya

February, the shortest month of the year flew by and before you know it March creeps up like weed in the concrete. So I’ve skipped a few weeks in between preparing for Spring Break (Part 1), enjoying spring break, and recovering from the break. It has been a fast-paced few weeks with uneventful moments and some memorable moments and now my question is where did March go?!

It has been an enjoyable few weeks to say the least. Before the break, I had to prepare for the trip: yellow fever shots, shopping for outfits, and booking tours around Kenya.

During the week of Spring Break, a group of friends and I went to Nairobi and stayed at this beautiful bed and breakfast. We shared it “college dorm” style. 2 two a room and 2 sharing a bathroom. It was four of us in a quaint apartment, our rooms were across from each other and we had a maid that would cook breakfast and clean when we left, her apartment was the unit next to us. The apartment was so convenient and great location to everything I wanted to see and get Uber to pick us up easily.  The only inconvenience was having to get her to open and lock the door when we were leaving out or entering back into the apartment.

In Nairobi, we went to the burger spot, local mall, and then out to the Kiza lounge. The nightlife was just like the states: drinks, food, good music, but not a lot of dancing, mostly socializing and enjoying the atmosphere. Met some pretty cool locals too!

The next day we went to the big market to do some shopping. As soon as the locals saw us they quickly bombarded us with their goods. Luckily, we were coming from Egypt and learned quickly how to haggle with people for a good price and keep walking when someone is trying to get over on you. After we headed to my favorite, the giraffe center!

It brought so much joy to feed these creatures out the palm of my hand. We then went on a safari and saw all types of animals in their natural habitat: lions, zebras, antelope, warthogs, etc.  The stuff you only see on National Geographic! Interacting with the animals in sharing their space was an amazing moment.

Later, went hiking/biking around Hell’s Gate. It was so peaceful being one with nature. literally inches away from zebras as we went biked the trail. The waterfall was beautiful (and hot), the slopes were steep, and the views were phenomenal. The best part was interacting with the Masai tribe, one of the strongest tribes of Kenya, years ago many of the warriors of the tribe wanted to stay and protect their village from the volcano, many died in the low valley area after the eruption which is why the area is called, Hell’s Gate.

The living villagers still carry on traditions and had beautiful jewelry and warm hearts. I loved every moment except the part when the guide was like, you all ready for the hike back? And we collectively agreed on paying a driver to take us back to our meet point. 😏

After a great time in the country’s capital, the next stop was Mombasa. It is a beautiful and quite beach area. Full of resorts, small shops, and local restaurants. It was nice being a beach bum and taking the last few days of the break resting by the beach, scenic yoga sessions, walking in the Indian Ocean (high tide), kicking back by the pool, and eating fresh seafood.

On the way back to Cairo from Kenya, we flew on 3 planes from Mombasa to Nairobi, Nairobi to Saudi, then Saudi to Cairo all in one day! 😜

Thank God we didn’t experience any complications just tired bodies anxious to get into our own beds at 4am. And guess who decided to go out that night? Bad idea. I started to nod off in the chair I was in as if I was a college sophomore in a boring lecture class. Needless to say, the rest of the weekend I rested up to prepare for my week back at work.

The students were excited to share their experiences as was I, and I made it through the week, with many naps taken after-school.

Week 32 March 17th

 

Yoga is a Lifestyle

This week, I realized that I taught yoga/meditation 2x to children and 3x’s to adults. I absolutely love teaching, ever since I was younger I had a knack for explaining, motivating and even persuading, which is what teachers have to do!  To teach something that relaxes me and others brings me joy.

I started out this yoga journey when I first joined a gym nearly 7 years ago. I was out  of college and knew I needed to maintain (and start) a healthy life style. Going to the classes along with Zumba, cycling and countless other classes with friends were fun. But, yoga spoke to me. It was something I felt comfortable enough doing on my own and my body felt better as well. I had an instructor and time that was perfect with my personality and schedule for some years, then they left! 😥 It is hard finding a new teacher & time that suits you after having one that worked out great. It is kind of like your hairstylist that knows your likes and dislikes and how to really style your hair, then BOOM- leaves.

I dipped away from yoga as I became consumed, and a lot of times overwhelmed by work/personal deadlines, societal influences, and just plain complacency. I went through a lot during 2016 & 2017, and my body was aching from depression, stress, and in-activeness. I decided to pick up my mat again, but instead of going to a gym, I tried it at home first. I stumbled across many videos…some throwback Missy Elliot videos later, I found yoga w/Adrienne and she was “Workin’ it” (missy joke). She was fun, knowledgeable, and I was in my pjs in the comfort of my home.

Over time, my body became more flexible and with prayer, I was able to become more flexible, patient, and confident on and off the mat. I was starting to awaken, shaking off depression, and all the other chaos in my life. Fast forward to 2018, I had an old college friend visit and after I told her I would be moving to Egypt, she introduced me to Kemetic Yoga. I practiced from what I knew online and became more interested in this ancient practice. I starting reading and to my advantage, there was a training for Kemetic Yoga Teachers in Egypt by Yiser Ra Hotep during the times I would be there. So without hesitation, I signed up for it.

During the training which you can read more about in my blog, Kemet, I learned the art of Kemetic yoga, the importance of meditation, and the principles of Ma’at. This training was life changing and came at the perfect time. Yoga has been around, but once you find a type that is good for your physical body and spiritual body, it becomes a lifestyle.

This week was the first time I taught it 5 times during a week and add that to all day parent conferences= TIRED! Hearing feedback from adult clients and seeing improvements with student behavior in class, and what parents have shared that they are applying in their own home keeps me wanting to improve my skill and keep learning. With yoga, you optimize your practice and develop yourself to BIGGER and BETTER  (Texas motto) on all levels of your life.

Week 28 Feb 17th