Welcome Friends! I hope you enjoy tasting these teaching and travel tidbits.
Come along with me as I attempt to navigate my way through a new country, school system, and life for a year!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Holden Village

I probably should be preparing to move to the UK, but instead I am throughly enjoying my summer job at one of my very favorite places on earth, Holden Village.  (If you want to know more about Holden Village, click here)  Holden is a remote Christian retreat center in the Cascade Mountains.  The only way to get here is to take a 2 hour boat ride on the "Lady of the Lake" from Chelan, Washington, traveling 43 miles up beautiful 55-mile-long Lake Chelan.  You disembark at Lucerne,  a small dock in the middle of nowhere, and hop on an old school bus for the 45 minute adventure up treacherous switchbacks with incredible views of the lake and the mountains. 
 Once here, the Villagers give you a warm welcome and you settle into Village life.  My job is in the "Craft Cave".   I get to teach weaving most of the day, but also do special classes, such as felting, tie dye, batik, candle-making, and bookbinding.  In addition to my regular work day, I can take advantage of the many different opportunities offered each day at Holden.
 You never know what might be available!  Perhaps it will be  "Woody Ball"  (a combination of bowling, freeze tag, "Capture the Flag" and dress-up), or maybe a poetry reading, or a live version of the game of Clue (involving running around the Village in search of Miss Scarlet or Professor Plum and performing a task so they will reveal a new clue)  or a maybe a game of pool in the Pool Hall.  I've done some pottery,  hiking, yoga, walked the labyrinth, and participated in many workshops with topics as varied  as "Christology" and "The Early Days of the Holden Copper Mine".   Last night I was invited to a small gathering with some of the long-time staff members and enjoyed meaningful conversation with fascinating people while sipping some nice wine.  We begin every day with Matins and end each day with the entire community gathered for Vespers.  It really is a lovely rhythm of life and the people who make the trek here are all so interesting.  Almost everyone I work with in the Craft Cave is going off to teach abroad this coming year;  one to Germany, one to Columbia, one to South Africa, and me to the UK.  The only one not traveling to a new country is traveling to a new part of our country to do her pastoral internship.  Everyone has a story and there is so much to learn if you take the opportunity to listen. I feel so blessed  to be a part of the Holden Community!
The top room on the left, by the blue flag, is mine.
As you can see, it has awesome views!

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Fulbright Process so Far

Getting a Fulbright exchange is a tricky business!  I have 2 friends, Kim and Donna,  who have done it before and have been a great help to me, but still, it's complicated.  I began with an exhaustive computer search of schools in the UK that looked like they'd be good places to teach in areas that I would like to live in for a year.  Fulbright places high school teachers in lots of different countries, but elementary teachers are only placed in the UK so I looked into schools in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.  After many emails and checking out several teachers on their Facebook pages (warning--if you ever want to be chosen for a teaching exchange, watch what you post on Facebook!) I found a wonderful exchange partner, Emma Davies, from Stocks Green Primary School.  We applied for a closed circuit exchange, and luckily, were both selected by Fulbright.  We've both been to trainings in our respective countries. (Mine was in Washington DC accompanied by my friend, Laurie.  Don't get me started on how we missed our connecting flight because we were so engrossed in conversation that we didn't notice our plane had left without us!)  Applying for a work visa has been a monumental effort.  I finally got my 30 pages of forms, good conduct letters from the local sheriff, certified copies of my marriage certificate, sponsorship letter from the British  Council, originals and copies of all the expired passports I could locate along with the current one, mug shots, and my biometric information (google it) off to the UK Border Agency last Friday.  Wish me luck getting my visa before I leave California on Sunday to head to my summer job in the Cascade Mountains!

It just hit me....

It's been a crazy ride since finding out that I've been selected for a Fulbright Teacher Exchange in Tonbridge, England for the 2012-2013 school year! I've been so busy with all the preparations, that it really didn't hit me until my husband, Carl, and I left for church yesterday that it will be 14 months until we are at our home in Auburn together again. (Carl left from church on a trip to 3 of his favorite places, Zion National Park, a game convention, and Disneyland.) We had a great time seeing "The Tempest" at the lovely California Shakespeare Theater in the forest near Orinda on Saturday as our last "hot date" until we meet up for a few days in Washington DC in August. After that, we most likely won't see one another until he comes to visit me next spring. I feel so fortunate to have a husband who supports me when I feel called to ventures that take us in different directions.