End of the year – Thankfulness

So, it has been a while since I last posted, and so much has happened since then! Teaching, exam invigilation, sorting paperwork, report writing, wedding preparation, and then flying back to NZ. I made it through, praise God, and now am able to relax and write to you all!

This end of the year has felt a little more relaxed than other years. It’s probably because I know what I am doing, I set up projects for my middle school classes, and going from a heavy teaching load to a much lighter one. (I actually had a revelation one day that the classes I was teaching at the end of term 4 was what I started with – my full load! – when I arrived in 2013!!).

So, lots of things to be thankful for at the end of this school year.

  • All of our students were able to graduate
  • I feel prepared to start the new school year (when the time comes)
  • My students made some good progress this year
  • There were no issues for any students or staff despite the troublesome situation earlier in the school year
  • All the Middle school/High school students still got to do Activities Week (just later in the year)
  • We lost our old Director, but then gained a new one to arrive in January 2018
  • We have filled most of our teaching positions for the new school year 2017-18

God has been so good to us – it is great to reflect on what He has done, and what He is able to do.

I’m looking forward to see what He does in this new school year!

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Accidentally Awesome!

Sometimes I am just wanting to take pictures of the countryside out of the window of a car, but then I manage to get people in the pictures and it gives a bit of an insight into life in Tigray, Ethiopia.

Enjoy the pictures!

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Just casually walking along the road (and probably trying to get a taxi!)

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Making his way down the road (and probably trying to get a taxi!)

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Just a couple of men having a conversation on the side of the road

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Sunset and people

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Language Learning

Language learning is hard at the best of times, but it sure can have its moments!

Amharic is one of the widest spoken languages in Ethiopia, and the language spoken by my fiancee, and so it has been the language that I have been learning since I moved here almost 4 years ago.

To begin with I was keen and motivated, yet initially frustrated that I couldn’t write properly. Amharic uses fidel to write – it is one of the oldest written alphabets in Africa. It looks like this: አምሐረኛ (Amharenga).

Once I learned to write, I was a happy learner – but it was still difficult to hear the differences between the short and long vowel sounds used in the language.

Another problem is that I do not commonly sit with people who only speak Amharic (I teach in English at a school where 90% of the people who are in the compound speak English), so forcing myself to use it is difficult.

And then my time goes away. They say that you can make time for anything if it is important enough, and I guess there could be time, but it just hasn’t been found regularly enough for it to become a habit to practice and to learn.

Can I just say that we need a Duolingo Amharic course?? I would totally do that and learn lots too!!

Anyway, what initially drove this post was, once again, the lovely, Itchy Feet.

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Of course, my understand is more like 3 pieces of puzzle for each paragraph of language…

BUT, if you want to help me on my language journey, I would really like to stay over the June-July break in 2018 to go to language school. However, I can only do that if my funding is at 100% for my new budget. If you want to help, check out this page here.

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So I was scrolling through my Facebook feed the other day and I came across this.

http://www.alifeoverseas.com/in-defense-of-second-class-missionaries/

This is Amy Medina’s blog. She blogs about being a missionary, and a mum, and etc. I am a blogger too. But she is better.

And she has put this blog together and it makes. So. Much. Sense.

Truly, as a “second-class missionary”, working at a school for mission kids, I agree, it is so hard to raise support for what I do here. And now that my budget is changing and becoming more, I need that support so much more to remain here in Ethiopia.

I really do need your help, and if this article makes you think more about giving to missionaries like me, then great. And if it makes you want to actually give to ME, then click over to this page, and read how to do it. It is really easy!

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End of Term 3

And what an amazing term it has been! So much going on with the students! Here is a run down of the highlights:

  1. Field/Athletics Day(s)
    This was in January, and is generally a highlight of the year. Fun, sport, and medals, with a house competition that is tightly fought across the two days.
    This year, Taylor took away the top prize, with my house, Carey, coming a close second.
  2. Mock Exams
    Students took their mock exams in February, which are super important for many reasons. Firstly, it makes up 20% of their final grade, so very important for our US-bound students, and secondly, if students are ill or for any reason can’t take the final exams, these act as a sort of backup for them. All of my students performed well according to their ability, and it really gave some solid feedback to students on what they will need to improve on for their final exams.
  3. Banquet
    Banquet (think “Ball” or “Prom”) is an annual party put on for the high school students. Each year there is a theme, with great food, great music and lots of fun. This year the theme was a 1950s diner, complete with rock n roll dancing (that I have been teaching the students along with a fellow teacher), diner-type food, and a live band! It was a great privilege to be a part of the live band, singing such classics as Lollipop, Mr Postman, and Jailhouse Rock! Too much fun!!
  4. Activities Week
    Lastly, Activities Week finally came around. It was postponed last October due to some problems around the country, but we were finally able to do it this term. I was leading the Grade 8 group up to Mekele, Axum, and Lalibela. Even though, there were some issues, overall the trip was great! I might update you all in further detail later about this trip.

And now, praise God, it is break. 11 weeks is a long time without a big holiday to break it up. I will be glad to catch up on life, work, and rest before heading into yet another long term. I’m praying the next one will be ask successful as this one!

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Wedding Planning from afar

Hello all,

It has been an exciting nearly 4 months since Medan and I got engaged: showing the ring to people, getting many congratulations, pre-marital counselling, and of course setting a date for the wedding!

Not long after the engagement, we decided to get married in my home-city in New Zealand. Granted, this does make things a little bit difficult, but let me walk you through how we have gotten things planned so far.

How to: Organise a Wedding When You Don’t Live in the Place You Are Getting Married

  1. Have Awesome Parents
    These are your go-to people to Get Things Done. They know the area, can look at venues, sort out down-payments, and want the best for you. These are Essential!
  2. The Internet is your Friend
    Many wedding related things can be sorted online – especially wedding photographers, and potentially florists. Do some research, look through many pictures and websites and you can come up with the options you love the best. Email them many questions – generally they are happy to reply back quickly. If they don’t reply back, then refer to 1 (they can call!).
  3. Facebook!
    A friend of mine added me to a NZ weddings Facebook page. Even if you don’t buy anything from anyone on the page, it will give you ideas of how you want your wedding day to look.
  4. Delegate
    This wedding planning business really is a real job that people do, so don’t take it all upon yourself to get it all done (especially if you are working while planning!). Delegate. Find awesome friends who know the area and understand your style.
  5. Print Online
    This is one of the best ways to get the invites the way you like them, while also getting them posted to someone else (see 4 and 1) who can get them posted to the right people. I also have really enjoyed the designing process of Save the Dates, Engagement Party invites, and the actual Wedding invites.

So that is all I have for now. Perhaps I will have more gems next time!

Oh, and don’t forget to check out our wedding website here.

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A Very Exciting Thing Part II

Hello all!

I am pleased to have my lovely fiancee to do the first guest post on my blog! This is his side of the story of our relationship. Enjoy!

Our story begins when a friend introduced us on a Sunday afternoon after church. It was just in front of the main entrance – I can say that Jo didn’t see me as much as I saw her that day, but I still remember that something was going on inside of me. I didn’t really know what it was, but there was something – something different than those other days I used to see her while she was leading worship or being on stage with the worship team.

A few weeks later I got a phone call from our friend Ife from church on a Sunday. After we greeted one another she started asking me about where I am in regard to my dating life. This was not the first time she had asked me about my dating life, so I didn’t see it as anything unusual. So then she told me the reason she called was for me to meet up with her and other friends from church. The plan was to meet on a Tuesday evening for pizza. I immediately agreed to the idea because I was always thinking that my work-life balance was not very good. I had no idea what this friend of mine was really trying to do!

So on the Tuesday I arrived 5 minutes earlier than the time thinking I would be the first one there. But no, Jo was there first – my now fiancé. I thought she was waiting for some other person but I didn’t say hi because she might not remember me, and it could be awkward. So without saying anything I sat on the next table to her. After a while another friend of ours came. This was Tsega, who had also introduced us the first time at church. So we all greeted each other and I got to shake hands again with Jo. On this day we are also joined by another friend of ours, Temesgen. Later Ife also came and we started talking and enjoying the nice pizza with tea. We all had a good time and swapped numbers and planned to meet another day.

A week later we met again with the group and we also had a chance to talk one-on-one as Tsega who was meant to join us was late that day.20161105_135152

After this we became friends on Facebook and we started to chat while Jo was in Doha for a Christmas break. Through this we got to know each other better. After she got back from Doha she had to go to Sodere for SIM spiritual life conference. So we continued to text each other but we didn’t get to meet. Afterwards I asked her out on January 2, 2016, and we started dating. We had many adventures on those dates as we experienced and celebrated our cultural differences, while enjoying this time. We dated for more than ten months and we enjoyed those moments and really felt that God was always guiding us and helping us to become closer to one another. So on October 7, 2016, I proposed and she said yes!!!

We had a great time through all this and more than anything God has been teaching us both. He has guided us in our personal lives, and in our relationship together, but always towards Him.

If you want to see what I wrote a few months ago, check this link here.

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