Thursday, July 9, 2015

Last Post

Dear friends and supporters,

It’s hard to believe, but I have come to the end of my time in Germany. How do I describe and put a capstone on the end of three years of joy, new experiences, growth, change, hardship, pain, and beauty? I’m not sure. I’ve been a tangled mess of emotions and feelings the past few weeks. I’m excited to come back to the Bay Area, my home, and begin a new job, make new friends, re-kindle relationships with friends and family, and truly be able to spend time with my boyfriend Josh after ten long months apart. I’m nervous about all the new that comes with moving, and about jumping into a new job that will be quite different from the experience I’ve been gaining for the past three years in small town Germany. I’m feeling anguished about leaving the people I love in Germany, and about the fact that some of them I may never see again in this lifetime. I’m going to miss the place I’ve called home for three years, and the opportunity to see new places, experience new cultures, and learn more about God in the process. That’s the tip of the iceberg, honestly. But God is good. He has been good to me, and has shown me over and over again that He cares for me, and is with me always- that’s not going to change! I have held fast to the verse Jeremiah 33:3 these past three years, and God has kept His promise in that verse, and I know He will continue to do so. “Call to Me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”

Some Last Events:

Field Day
A fun and typical event for German schools is a sports day, in which the students compete in different events that they have been working on during their PE classes. We took the day off from classes two days before our last day of school, met at the sports field in Kandern, and had a great day with beautiful weather! There was sprinting, an 800 meter run, a long jump, and throwing. All our students had a marvelous time, and were given awards for participation in addition to any awards they won in the individual events.

Summer Fest
On June 19th we had our end of the year summer event. We held a graduation ceremony for my 4th graders, who will all be moving to a new campus next year. My German kids will go on to German secondary school, and my English kids will either move back to the states (2 of my kids) or they will attend Black Forest Academy’s middle school. We also presented for our Creative Arts classes. Our theme this time was “Journey Through Time” in which we explored the history and development of different topics. The dance group performed some ancient and modern cultural dances, the choir sang songs from different areas in Christian history, my group learned about different architectural styles through time, etc. We had a great time!

Saying Goodbye to My Kids

I’ve been with this class for two years now, and it was incredibly difficult to say goodbye to them. I know them better than any other kids I’ve had, and I know their families. I’ve invested in them, watched them grow, and now have to entrust that God will use my time with them to His glory.

Saying Goodbye to Hanna
I also said goodbye to my partner teacher and friend, Hanna. God blessed me when he brought the two of us together three years ago. He gave me a partner teacher, a close friend, a kindred spirit in a time when many things were new and had to be learned. She has been a joy to me, and I have learned so much about teaching, culture, and God from her.

Last Trip to the Alps
My friend Bernice said that we all have a place that is our “heart home”- Switzerland has become mine. The majestic beauty of the mountains, valleys, and nature speaks to my soul. I’ve met God there, seen the works of His hands, and shared beautiful experiences with loved ones there. I’m so thankful that I had one last opportunity to visit before I left Europe. My three dear friends and I went to a lake up in the mountains near Kandersteg, and then drove to Lauterbrunnen Valley to see the incredible waterfall there that falls off the cliff. Living just two and a half hours from this beauty for three years has been such a blessing to me, and I hope some day to be able to return.

Saying Goodbye to Friends/Family
It’s not a place that makes a home- it’s the people. God provided some beautiful friendships for me in Germany, and they have become my family. In some ways, due to our shared experience of living and teaching abroad, they know me better than anyone back home does. I’m going to miss them dearly, and while I am ending some long distance relationships by moving back home, I am creating new ones with these loved ones.

What's coming up next for me?
I’m officially back in the Bay Area (I arrived on July 2nd), and have about three weeks of “vacation” before I begin training for my new job on July 19th. I put vacation in quotes because during this time I will be recovering from jet lag (they say about a day for every hour in the time difference, which puts me at 9), sorting my things, looking for an apartment, catching up with friends and family, and finishing up some paperwork for my mission agency and job. I do hope to have a good amount of time left to relax and do some fun things. :)

I will be working at a charter school in Redwood City- a new startup campus for Rocketship Education. I’ll be teaching English-Language Arts to lower elementary aged children, and I’m very excited! It’s going to be quite an adjustment, and very different from what I’ve been doing for the past three years, but I like challenges, and plan on jumping right in.

Lastly, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for partnering with me on this incredible journey that God has taken me on. You have supported me, prayed for me, and encouraged me these three years, and I could not have done it without you. Your involvement has made a difference. I saw it firsthand, and feel wonderfully blessed to have been able to be a part of the work that God is doing in that part of the world. Germany will always hold a very special place in my heart.
All my love,

Contact Information:

Cell phone: 650-863-7540

Note: I have pictures from all of these things, and they went out in my e-mailed newsletter. If you would like to receive that, please contact me.