bookaddict88: (Default)
I survived my first year of teaching!!!

It's been a crazy and challenging year.  Frankly, I'm not a very good teacher yet, especially in the area of classroom management.  And that led to lots of stress, tears, exhaustion, and even burnout at times.  The year was not without its high points, of course.  Teaching can be fun, and rewarding...even if you're a first year teacher who feels like she has no clue what she's doing and not enough support.  I had a not insignificant number of those happy moments.  And I certainly loved each of my kids individually. 

But I'm incredibly glad it's summer.  This summer, even with my trip to China, will be the most relaxing one I've had in probably 10 years.  I'm looking forward to the chance to relax, rejuvenate, and ready myself for next year.  Because next year will be crazy again, especially since my school is moving buildings and adding a sixth grade.  But by August, I will be rested, and will hopefully have things planned and prepared so that next year goes much more smoothly than this year did.
bookaddict88: (Squee)
So, you know how I asked for travel ideas? Well, I posted something up on Facebook asking for travel buddies and ideas.  My mom saw it, and asked if I wanted to go to China with her.  As if she had to ask!  I've wanted to go to China forever (I've been to the airport in Hong Kong, and that's it), especially since my mom's side of the family is Chinese.  Anyway, it was really just an idea that we started looking into, and nothing definite, until we found really cheap plane tickets to Beijing.  And now, less than a week after we first started talking about it, my mom, my two sisters, and I are all set to spend three weeks in China!  I'm very excited, not only about my destination, but also about my travel companions.  I've traveled quite a bit, but the last time I went overseas with one sister was over ten years ago, and I've never been overseas with the other sister.  I'm sad my dad and brother can't go, but it will be a fun girls-only adventure! 

Anyone been to China before and have tips/advice/suggestions?  My mom and one of my sisters have been, but it was for a humanitarian trip, and they didn't do much sightseeing and had most of the trip planned for them. This trip is very open, except for the fact that we're flying in and out of Beijing.

Also, who has a Kindle or other e-reader? I used to be set against them, but the last two times I've spent a semester abroad, I saw how useful they could have been for travel.  Considering I like to travel quite a bit, I've been thinking of getting one, though I can also read e-books on my laptop, iPod Touch, and phone.  I put off buying it, because I wasn't sure when I was going to travel next, but now that I'm definitely spending three weeks in China, I'm thinking about making the investment.  So, thoughts about whether it's worth it, and which e-reader I should get?  I'm thinking about the Kindle, as it seems to be the best reader for the price, and I'm thinking e-ink is the best way to go.  But I'm up for any and all suggestions!

In less than exciting news, my Spring Break is almost over, and I've gotten nothing productive done school-wise.  We're starting new units in both math and reading Monday, and testing is coming up, so I've got a LOT to do. Oops.
bookaddict88: (Default)
It's Spring Break!  One of the nice things about teaching is that I still get these breaks. I found some cheap tickets home from Dallas, so I'll be driving about five hours down there tomorrow to visit a friend and then take a flight home the next day. It'll be a lot of traveling for just a few days home, but it'll be so worth it.

Speaking of breaks, I'm already thinking about what I can do this summer.  I miss traveling internationally already, and I'm not too picky about where I go. Basically, I'd just like to go somewhere I haven't been before (i.e. not North America, Western Europe, Australia/New Zealand, Thailand, Japan, Morocco, or Armenia), though I'd be willing to go back somewhere if I find a really good deal. I want to keep my budget to about $2000, but stay as long as I can somewhere within that budget.  And I may be traveling by myself unless I can find someone to travel with.  Other than that, though, everything is pretty open.  So I'm turning to all of you!  Where do you suggest I go?
bookaddict88: (Results Beyond Hope)
Time again for one of my round-ups! This is a pretty full one. I had more time to read last semester than I've had in a LONG time. And of course, I did lots of other cool things as well!

Books I've read:
  • The Rope Trick by Lloyd Alexander (reread)
  • Fire by Kristin Cashore
  • Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox
  • Young Miles by Lois McMaster Bujold (reread)
  • Dresden Files Books 1-12 by Jim Butcher
  • Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
  • Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The History of Rasselas by Samuel Johnson
  • Lady Susan by Jane Austen
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  • Queen of Attolia, King of Attolia, and Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner (re-read on the first two; also, got halfway through The Thief)
  • The Sally Lockhart Mysteries (Books 1-4) by Phillip Pullman

Places Visited:
  • Colorado, USA
  • Maastricht and Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • London, UK
  • Brussels, Brugge, and Ghent, Belgium
  • Monschau, Berlin, and Munich, Germany
  • Athens, Thessaloniki, and Poros, Greece
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Bern and Interlaken, Switzerland
  • Salzburg and Vienna, Austria
  • Venice, Milan, Siena, Lake Como, and Florence, Italy
  • Madrid and Sevilla, Spain
  • Paris and the Loire Valley (inc. Bloise and Tours), France
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Edinburgh, London, and Stratford-upon-Avon, U.K.

Productions Seen:
  • Les Miserables (two different productions, in London and Edinburgh)
  • Don Giovanni at the Estates Theatre in Prague
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream (the ballet) at the State Opera House in Vienna
  • Oliver! in London
  • Legally Blonde the Musical in London
  • Macbeth at the Globe in London
  • King Lear (Royal Shakespeare Company Public Understudy Performance) in Stratford-on-Avon

Other random things I've done:
  • Volunteered at Junior Winter Camp at Forest Home
  • Taken and passed the PRAXIS II
  • Got my B.A. from Baylor University!
It was quite a semester!
bookaddict88: (Default)
What follows is a "quick" recap of the lase few weeks of my study abroad trip. I wrote it Saturday, but as I've been pretty internet-less, I'm only getting to posting it now! Here it is:

Lots of text and pics under the cut... )
bookaddict88: (Default)
Here's the blog post I wrote on the train Wednesday afternoon (you'll have to wait until the next blog post to hear about today's adventures!):

I'm over halfway through my month of travel already! I can't believe how fast time is flying by. It's been pretty amazing traveling throughout Europe. Finals went well; nothing was too hard. The one setback was that I didn't finish my 12-page philosophy paper before I left. It wasn't due until two weeks after my last class, but I didn't want to have to do it while traveling, particularly since that meant I had to drag my laptop and books along. On the bright side, having my laptop has been kind of nice, and it's the reason I can write this blog post on my way to Tours, France!

A really long post with lots of pictures! )

I'm alive!

Mar. 21st, 2010 10:56 pm
bookaddict88: (Default)
I was nudged to update weeks ago, and as you can see, never got around to it.  These past two months have been such a whirlwind, I haven't even kept up with my LJ reading, which I usually do even when I don't post.  My weekends have been filled with traveling, while my weekdays have been filled with schoolwork.  I'm only taking four classes this semester (and unfortunately, unlike last semester, none are all that interesting to me), but since I don't have time to do schoolwork during most weekends, and each semester-long class is squeezed into seven weeks, they keep me on my toes!

Cut for pictures and a lengthy post... )
bookaddict88: (Default)
I'm in Europe! Maastricht, the Netherlands, to be exact, where I'll be studying for the next couple of months. I've also already spent a few days in England with my group. It's only been just over a week since I've arrived on this continent, and things have been a whirlwind so far! I'm loving it, though.

Cut for ramblings and a photo... )
 
bookaddict88: (Default)
I've been out of school for over a month now, and things have been going pretty well!  The first couple of weeks, I mostly lazed around, though I did work occasionally.  Then, starting in June, my summer began to pick up. The first few days of the month, I visited my grandma with my mom.  It was nice to be able to spend some quality time with her, which I don't always get to do when I see her with a bunch of other family members around. 

The day after I came back from that trip, I left for orientation at the summer camp I'll be working at.  We were kept REALLY busy, being trained in all we needed to know for the rest of the summer! But I still had a chance to start to really get to know the other staff members, both the ones I'll be working directly with, and those I won't be seeing so often. It was odd, though, because all of those staff members who would be working with children had camp names. So someone would introduce themselves to me as Michelle, and I'd have to introduce myself as Azalea (the camp name I ended up choosing, after my first two choices had been rejected because they'd been recently used).  It took some getting used to! Within my specific camp area, we had a rule going on that if you said someone's real name, you had to put a quarter in a jar (we'd use the money to go see a movie sometime during the summer).  I didn't have too much of a problem, because I had never met most of the staff members before, and while I knew their real names, I had never really called them by them.  The harder part was referring to myself by my camp name! At any rate, orientation was packed, but fun.  I still don't know everything I'm supposed to be doing, but I guess there are some things we just have to figure out as we go along.

I left orientation two days early, so that I could go to New York.  I spent an afternoon packing and spending time with my family and my best friend, then left the next morning for Colorado, where I visited with some family friends.  The morning after that, I flew on to New York! I've now been here for about five days, and am having a blast.  I'm here for a history program centered on Abraham Lincoln, so we've taken tours of the city, heard lectures from some prominent scholars, and are working on a mini project. On my free time, I've also walked around the city, visited the Met, seen a free violin concert, and seen the NYC Ballet perform A Midsummer Night's Dream. 

I especially loved the ballet. While I like dancing, and watching people dance, the only full length ballet I'd seen before was The Nutcracker (which I've seen more times than I can count).  So A Midsummer Night's Dream was awesome. Not only was the story fun and the dancing spectacular (or cute, in the case of the really young dancers), but I also loved the music and costumes.  Plus, I only paid $15 for my tickets, because I'm a student!

Another thing I've loved is visiting the Strand Bookstore. I'm staying at an NYU residence hall only a block and a half away from the bookstore, so I've gone to visit it three times. They have so many new and used books, and at such great prices! I've bought 5 books so far, but if I didn't limit myself, I would probably have bought 100.

Well, I have a discussion in about 5 minutes, so I better go now. Hope you are all having as great of a summer as I am!
bookaddict88: (Happily Ever After)
I'm a Gilder Lehrman History Scholars Finalist! Basically, what that means is that I get a week-long, all-expenses-paid trip to New York City in June, where I'll get to study about this year's theme (i.e. Abraham Lincoln) through lectures by eminent historians and visits to historical sites, museums, and archives. The actual Scholars (rather than the Finalists like me) get to go for five weeks during the summer, but I never even considered that I could be chosen for that.  I did, however, think that maybe, possibly, there was a chance I could be selected as a finalist, and I've been on pins and needles this last week waiting for the letter that would tell me the results.  I found out late this afternoon that I was chosen as a finalist, and I've been SOOO excited ever since! I mean, New York City is such an interesting place, and to get to spend a week there studying history?  Awesome!

Now, though, I need to figure out what I'm doing the rest of the summer...

bookaddict88: (Bad Day)
Ugh. I went home for the weekend, and enjoyed the fact that I got to see my family and my brother's soccer game and musical. Unfortunately, however, I ended up spending more time traveling than I spent at home. Friday was the first time I've ever had an airplane take off from one airport, and then land in that same airport. It was supposed to be a short flight into Dallas, but Dallas was experiencing really windy weather, and we'd have to circle for half an hour - which we didn't have enough fuel to do. With other delays and cancellations, my entire trip home took 12 hours instead of the expected 6. Thankfully, I didn't have to spend the night at the airport, because there are several airports in Southern California. I was able to catch a delayed flight to another airport near my house, where my poor dad picked me up from at 2am. We had to pick up my luggage the next day, though.

Then, on Sunday, my flight from DFW to the city where my school is located was canceled. Fortunately, this time the cancellation was due to mechanical reasons, and so they put me up in a hotel for the night. I finally got back in late this morning, having missed both of my classes for the day. I had an exam in one of those classes, too. But I'd e-mailed my professor, and now he's letting me take the test tomorrow.

So yeah, things could have been worse, but they were bad enough as it was!

On a different note, here's a meme from [livejournal.com profile] valkeakuulas: Comment to this post and I will give you 5 subjects/things I associate you with. Then post this in your LJ and elaborate on the subjects given.
My Five Things )

bookaddict88: (Default)
So, someone on a forum I'm a member of is doing a survey for a class. I found reading the responses pretty interesting, so I figured I'd post it here. (I'm planning on passing the results on; let me know if you mind.)

Survey
1. What country are you from?

2. Have you been to another country/countries?
Yes / No
If yes, please name the country/countries & when you visited: _______

3. Do you have a desire to visit another country?
Yes / No
If yes, please name the country/countries: _____

4. What would be the most likely purpose of your visit?
Work / Study / Vacation / Other
If other, please specify.

5. Have you been to a non-English speaking country? (if English isn't your first language, have you been to a country where your first language isn't spoken?)
Yes / No

The rest of the questions, and then my answers )
bookaddict88: (Default)

Books I've read for fun:

Persuasion by Jane Austen, Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer, Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, Wren to the Rescue by Sherwood Smith, Wren's Quest by Smith, Wren's War by Smith, Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold, and probably more I can't remember.

Places I've been in Spain:

Madrid, Cazorla, Toledo, Segovia (x2), Barcelona, Granada, Cordoba, El Escorial/The Valley of the Fallen

Other places I've been:

Dublin, Paris, Rome, Edinburgh, Lisbon

 

bookaddict88: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd] The mountains, most definitely. I mean, just look at these pictures from the trip to Scotland I took over Thanksgiving weekend:

Pretties! )

The ocean is pretty, and I wouldn't mind having an ocean near the mountains, but if I had to choose between the oceans and the mountains, the mountains definitely would win.  Then again, maybe I'm just slightly biased against the ocean because the sand and sea irritate my skin (though not as bad as they used to), and I'm allergic to sunscreen so I have to be careful not to get burned.  I do love the ocean at night, though...

bookaddict88: (Default)
Well, it’s been almost two months since my last real update. But then, I’ve never claimed to be good at updating on a regular basis. Busyness combined with laziness just get in the way. So, here’s the first part of a rather condensed version of what I’ve been doing lately. I actually typed it up before I went to Rome this past weekend (which was amazing!), but I didn’t have a chance to put it up. Hopefully, the next couple of parts of the update will go up within the next week or so!


Flowers I found in Barcelona

Cut for length and pictures... )
bookaddict88: (BYT Beauty and the Beast)

Well, it’s been two weeks since I last updated, and I don’t really have an excuse! Things were still crazy the first week of classes, but in the last week, things have finally begun to settle into a routine. It’s still a pretty crazy, fun-filled routine, but a routine all the same. 




The Roman Aqueduct in Segovia


 

I told you it was long... )

 

bookaddict88: (Impossible)
I'm having an absolutely AMAZING time in Spain! I've been here for less than a week, and I'm already bemoaning the fact that I can't stay longer than a semester. Of course, we'll see if that changes once classes start tomorrow.

Cut for detail and a few photos... )

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