Friday, May 31, 2013

Dia de Corpus Christi

Yesterday was Day of the Body of Christ.  We didn't have school, which was kind of weird for a Thursday when today on a Friday I am back.
Because we did not have school yesterday the local Young Life community took advantage of the day to remember Megan Garven who was on teacher staff in Santiago and just a couple weeks ago passed away in a car accident.  We all went up to Pico Escondido and collectively remembered Megan and planted a Manzana de Agua tree (a bright tree with lots of fruit that reflects on who Megan was).  It was a good time and a good reminder that we do not mourn for people that pass away, but we mourn for the fact that we do not get to live life with them anymore.
Because Pico Escondido is so close to the trail head of Mogote (my favorite mountain here) I decided to spend a few hours running (hurting) all over it.  I am hoping to do a 50k in KC this summer so climbing mountains over an over should make that easier I hope.

One of my friends like to take funny pics of people and then make collages like the one below.  She then send them to everyone you collectively know.  I thought it was funny, so here you go.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Keeping Focus

We have less than 10 whole days of school left and it is reaching that time of year when it becomes hard to focus on the present.  Constantly I find myself counting the number of actual plans I have to write until the summer.  The hard thing now is staying focused on the present and maintaining quality from myself and the students.  Even though it is getting harder to focus on the present we have been allowed the chance to celebrate the amount of the year we have successfully made it through so far.  The 11th grade class all got their SAT results back today and most of them were very excited about how they did.  The 12th grade class is celebrating their last few weeks of school today by "skipping", but is it really skipping if you ask the principal first?

Personally I have been spending a lot of time running up and down big hills and mountains.  My legs have felt strong as I run through the beauty of tropical mountains and I am enjoying every minute of it until I return to the states and begin adventures there.  A few days in Colorado and an adventure in Alaska are definitely things I am looking forward to.

The last few weeks here should be good and I hope to keep my focus on the present until the present is enjoying times with friends and family in the states.

We were lucky enough to have some connections to Rancho Aurora where we spent our staff retreat and student retreat.

Our end of the year Young Life party was here at Pinar Dorrado, and despite some gentle rain we all had a blast.

Both pictures came from Google Images, because I have been slacking on taking my camera anywhere.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Pico Duarte and the HS Retreat

It has been a really fun last couple weeks.  This past Saturday myself and a friend had the opportunity to climb the tallest mountain in the country as fast as possible, the next day we had our last YL leader meeting for the year, and today we had our HS retreat.  Of everything I would definitely have to say that today was the most fun of all.
Shortly after school on Friday myself and my friend Daniel left school and headed for La Cienaga, base camp for Pico Duarte.  That night we ate at our local guides house and went to bed as early as possible.  The next morning at 4:30 am we woke up, packed up, and headed up the mountain.  Round trip the mountain is roughly 28 miles and 10,000 vertical feet, so needless to say we planned on taking a good chunk of time.  Daniel didn't feel the greatest that day and let me take off on my own after 6 or so miles.  I managed to make it up to the top of the mountain in right around 4 hours and 10 minutes, which was a bit faster than I expected.  Overall the trip took me 7 hours and 36 minutes, which as far as we know is the fastest anyone has ever done it.  It was a good day, and I barely made it past 8 pm that night before I passed out in my bed.
Today we had our end of the year HS retreat, and it was a blast.  We went to local resort that was a little ways out of town, we worshiped, ate, and played the day away with the students.  The highlight for myself and quite a few of the others was a game of wrestle the football away from whoever has it.  This just happened spontaneously when the football ended up in the pool somehow and we started wrestling over it.  Somehow this ended up turning into upwards of 15 people at a time fighting for a solitary football.  I got pretty good at acquiring the football, but maintaining it was almost impossible.  Sometime the best times are the least planned ones.  Today was a wonderful chance to spend time with our students, just letting everything go and enjoying each others company.

All retreat pics are courtesy of our PE teacher Heather Hamby

Hanging out at the retreat.
 When the boss lady has the ball, everyone listens, except the ornery student with the broken wrist that stole the ball seconds later. 
 Minutes before I was ruthlessly thrown in, luckily I had changed into shorts, but I still had the polo on.
 Battle royale.
 Early in the morning on Pico Duarte
 Sunrises here are kind of awesome.
 2 hours in, still doing good.
 3 hours in and you can see the mountain haloed by a cloud in the distance.
 Ta da!
 What it looks like on top of the Caribbean when you are inside of a cloud.
 Sign at the beginning of the journey.