Tuesday, November 11, 2008


So, Matt is India right now, New Dehli to be exact. He left this past Sunday night, and he'll get back early in the morning next Sunday. He went over there for an international debate competition with another student from John Marshall, but they will also have time for some sightseeing too. Anyway, he sent me a message, and I thought everyone might like to see what he has to say about his trip so far. Enjoy!

"India is unbelievable and not always for the good. The poverty and living conditions of the majority of the Indians is astounding. The air is so dirty with smog that looks like you are a near a fire constantly. I took 20 or so pictures today and tomorrow will be even more because we go to the Taj Mahal...I saw a lot of chipmunks but no monkeys so far. I took some pictures of the 'sacred' cows laying in the roads and we went to the India Gate (Memorial for the Freedom Fighters)...the gate was very impressive. The opening ceremony dinner tonight was very nice and really made you realize the two distinct classes of people in India. The haves and the have nots are not even close in this country. There is no middle class from what I can tell. The food was nice but very spicy...they encouraged everyone to dance but my roommate from Austalia and I were successful in avoiding it. The entire ceremony, dinner, party was outside in a very nice courtyard. I made friends today with a guy and girl from Vienna, my roommate from Australia, a couple fellas from Dubai, Singapore, Sweden, London, South Africa, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Ireland, Canada, and Hong Kong. I was told there would be other American schools here and there is a team from DC but one member is Canadian and the other British...so I am the lone American in the group thus far. There are many more people to meet and mingle with tomorrow I believe. For lunch today we found a pizza place that was actually very good...Lenka and I split a pizza and got two cokes for $5. We are going to a very good market place during our Delhi tour on the 13th so I will try to buy most things then. One thing everyone seems to be struggling with is the lack of toilet paper in the hotel...they have a bidet. Everyone has complained and they should have toilet paper for us all tomorrow. Perhaps in the morning I will try to post some of the photos thus far but right now I am so exhausted that I must get some sleep. I should also mention that the Indian people are some of the nicest most hospitable people I have ever met. We walked nearly 3 miles today to a marketplace and to exchange money and we got lost twice. When we asked for directions, instead of explaining where we should go (maybe because there are not street signs) the person would walk us a good bit of the way and talk to us about where we were from. Some vendors are out to get money from you for doing this but we would usually ask a woman walking by herself and they would help and actually refused any offer of a tip. Hopefully the debate will go well tomorrow, the trip to the Taj Mahal is going to be a long one we have heard but should be an amazing experience. So apparently traffic lanes are only suggestions, as is which side of the road to drive on...we have seen multiple people driving the wrong way and buses with 15 seats loaded with 50 people. It is crazy. The streets are so dusty that you don't even recognize your shoes when you get in from walking around. I got a 2 liter bottle of water today for 40 cents...so I can brush my teeth and stay safe..."

I'm sure he'll post a long blog when he gets back, but internet for his laptop is $5/hr, so he's trying to use it sparingly. I'll try to update on his trip as I hear from him.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Bar...

Well, it's official!! Matt just found out that he PASSED THE BAR EXAM!!!! The results weren't supposed to be posted until Friday, but he checked during class tonight and they were already posted. Yes, ladies and gentleman, he is OFFICIAL!! I am so very proud of him, and I am sure I will write more later. For now, I'm trying to tone down my excitement so I can go to sleep! I am a little disappointed though, that he's all the way in Chicago and I can't celebrate with him. Congratulations, Matty!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Absence makes the heart...

They say "absence makes the heart grow fonder." But is it really true? Does the simple absence of someone really have the power to make your heart grow fonder of them? I've thought about this question many times this semester, and I've decided that someone's absence doesn't change your heart. Rather, I think it simply has the power to remind you of your heart's feelings. Let me explain...This semester while Matt and I have been living apart, there have been many times when I start to miss him. A lot. But I don't think missing him means that I'm growing fonder of him. I think absence just reminds me of the things I already love about him, but may have taken for granted before he moved to another state. Or maybe not even taken for granted, but the little things you forget to notice because they're always there. The things that I didn't realize I would miss until I started to miss them. For example, sometimes I just want a hug from him, sometimes I want to talk to him about what happened that day and have him tell me it will be OK. Other times, I would like nothing more to just sit next to him, in that comfortable silence that is only possible with your best friend. With Matt away, I have realized how very much I appreciate the little things he does. Cooking dinner for me, helping me clean (even when I have to explain exactly what to do), encouraging me to actually buy something when I go shopping (for those of you who know me, I never spend money!), leaving me sweet notes, surprising me with trips and special dates, and so many other things. (If my mom is reading this, she's probably thinking that I'm terribly depressed, but please be assured that I'm NOT. Yes, I miss Matt. But at the same time, the semester is almost over, and I know that I can handle a few more weeks). I say all this to say that this semester, I have realized that I need to take the time to truly appreciate the wonderful husband that God has blessed me with. So, after 15 weeks of "absence," I think I would change the quote to say "absence helps the heart remember."

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Social Hour...

The 5th graders have "social hour" on Friday afternoons. This is really just a glorified name for recess. I guess it makes them feel more mature to call it social hour. Anyway, it is also part of the discipline plan, and the teachers can take away the privilege of social hour for various infractions in the classroom, including misbehavior and failure to complete homework. Since I have started teaching, I now have the ability to take away social hour privileges if I deem it necessary. Today, one of my students felt she needed to clarify just exactly why I took away her social hour. This was her question: "Mrs. Bell, do I have to sit out at social hour because I was cheating, or because I was talking during class?" Really? Did she really need to ask me that? Shouldn't she know that BOTH cheating AND talking during class are not allowed?!?! She definitely should have known after I had to give her conduct checks EVERY DAY THIS WEEK for laughing, talking, talking back, and one day for cheating!!!! Oh, but it wasn't her fault that she was cheating (that's what she told me today anyway). I still haven't figured out how you can accidentally cheat. Any ideas on that one? Oh, and another boy got in trouble for sleeping during class. Apparently that wasn't his fault either. 5th graders come up with some great stories and excuses for why they're misbehaving. They generally don't deny the fact that they were doing something wrong, but boy can they spin a tale as to why they were doing it!! They're very creative...it's pretty impressive really.

I start my 2 weeks of teaching on Monday. This means that I'm in charge of all of the classes, by myself for 2 straight weeks. It should be interesting, but I think it will be fun. Definitely a good learning experience. I have a lot of fun activities planned, so hopefully the kids will cooperate and we'll get to do them!! Well, it's late and I'm sleepy. I hope you all had a happy and safe Halloween!