Aug 29, 2009

A New Chapter

Babs and I taking in an outdoor production of Kiss Me Kate by Playhouse South on Sunday evening, August 16, 2009.

So here we are, in America. Vacation is over. . .by this time in years previous we would have been back in Saipan settling into a new year. Instead we are settling into a new chapter in our lives: Here in America.

It's been challenging, but not as painful as I feared at least so far. The cramped quarters, the tight budget, the long commute, the undercurrent of longing for Saipan--it's all there, but more manageable than I expected it to be. I've made it a point to think positive and we've both made it a goal to find "the big life" right here in little Ohio.

A glimpse at the first pages of a new chapter:

Kiss Me Kate. It reminded me a lot of the Friends of the Arts productions in Saipan. The live orchestra (the Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra) was an especially nice touch. The play was held just a few miles from the Leen's home at the North Park Amphitheater--located in lovely little North Park, a place we didn't even know existed. The park appears to have some nice running trails--I actually so a couple of late evening joggers running past on the path behind the stage! I may try them out myself this Sunday.

The Greene.

The Greene is a sort of outdoor mall, of the type that's becoming popular throughout the U.S. This place has an outdoor fountain that kids can play in. Bab's new chapter means a lot of Elijah time. The stress of trying to hire staff and putting out administrative fires has been replaced by the stress of trying to get Elijah to take a nap and keeping him from eating everything he can put his hands on. She hasn't found a job yet, and in the meantime she's with our Fella pretty much all day long. She took these photos on one of their daily excursions while I was at work.

Elijah was too young for the fountain but he enjoyed watching the other kids and playing in his grassy spot in the sun.

Another shot of the Greene.

On Sunday, August 16, some of Barbara's family paid a visit. With the exception of her mom and dad, and Elijah of course, all the people pictured here are Barbara's cousins.

Right now we're living with Barbara's parents. It's a nice situation for now, though certainly a little crowded with six of us in the house. Barbara's parents have been great though and we really appreciate them letting us stay here while we get on our feet.

From a three bedroom duplex, to one little room! It's more crowded than usual here because Elijah's in the room with us this weekend because Barbara's sister Jenny and her husband Matt (and their two dogs) are here this weekend and they are staying in Elijah's room.

Though our living space has dramatically decreased, Elijah's has increased. He has his own room now! Here it is looking a little cleaner than usual--normally he's pulled all his toys and everything else and scattered them all over the floor. As you can see he's still using the play pen as his bed. One of our first big purchases will be proper crib for him. Having his own room means earlier bedtimes, usually between 7 and 7:30, and he sleeps longer because he isn't awakened by us. He's sleeping 10 to 11 hours a night now, sometimes 12.

For me, the new chapter means a new job at a new school, Columbus Adventist Academy. I just completed my first week of school, but I've been working for the past three weeks, getting ready. Here's some photos from those weeks leading up to the start of school:

Columbus Adventist Academy

What my classroom looked like when I reported for my first day of work.

Making a dent. . .

Progress. . .

Almost there. . .

. . .and done!

A similar series photos featuring my desk area starting with the first day or two on the job. . .

Ready to go!

My room has lots of space. It's nice having the sink, microwave and cupboard space.

I share a large coatroom/storage area with the 1st/2nd Grade classroom.

The commute isn't too bad actually. I don't mind the drive. It's helping my prayer life, as the first miles of my drive every day are devoted to prayer. After that, I flip on the radio and listen to NPR--my favorite radio station ever--and get updated on the news of the world. During the last 45 minutes or so of the drive, I'll switch over to my ipod and enjoy some music to get me fired up for the day. I think a lot on the drive too--I do a lot of mental planning for my classes. It's actually time well-used for the most part. What I hate about it, besides the time it takes me away from my family and from my work, is the expense ($25 to fill up the tank every other day) and the amount of miles I'm putting on the car. For these reasons, I'll be glad when Babs gets work and we can finally move into our own place in Columbus.

Believe it or not, though, there is great beauty to be found here in America, even from the interstate highways: the afternoon sun beaming through the clouds, great shafts of light bathing the endless cornfields dotted by the occasional farmhouse or barn. And then there are the sunrises, which have been pretty spectacular. If Saipan was about the glorious sunsets, here in America it's all about the magnificent sunrise:

On the road

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