7. Puerrrto Ricooo, You Lovely Island - Our second year of marriage, Ben was asked/volunteered to take a group of SAU students on a Spring Break missions trip to Puerto Rico. Being the kind man that he is, he asked me to go with him. We worked at a Christian campground run by a family straight from the golden streets of heaven (shout out to the Marshalls!). Ben ended up taking three trips, and I was able to go with him the first two years (the third year, I was doing my student teaching).
(I did end up going a third time with just Ben. We went down for a week during the summer for our own vacation and stayed with the aforementioned saints, the Marshalls.)
Oh.em.gee. Do not listen to Rita Moreno in West Side Story. Puerto Rico should not sink back into the ocean. First, the people we took on our trips are incredible people. There are people from those trips that I hope I will have forever friendships with. Our first trip included 12 women (including myself) and...Ben. It was estrogen overload (you know, in a good way). Honestly, these women had the brute strength of...of...I don't know...a group of manly men, but they smelled like a spring meadow (each one). They worked tirelessly in the Puerto Rican heat using sledgehammers, mixing cement, painting buildings, warding off cockroaches, working with area youth, and just being all-around awesome.
Our second group was equally awesome. This will forever be known at the poo trip, as our group worked on installing a new sewage line while trying to by-pass the old one (which we were not successful at doing...river of poo).
Along with working with incredibly motivated and awesome college students, I feel like this trip helped me and Ben learn how to work together. Obviously we are married and work at our marriage. But these trips allowed us to actually work on a project outside of our marriage together. And, folks, it wasn't easy at times. But, we learned from it. I learned a lot from Ben's leadership style; he is someone who easily garners the respect of others. He is able to lead with a level-head and perspective. I got to see him in a whole new light. I don't know what, if anything, he learned from me. I hope he was able to see how dedicated I was to our teams and how much I loved every person on each trip.
Finally, the people of Puerto Rico are some of the most genuine, giving people I have ever met (also, the male inhabitants were very enthusiastic about the females...just sayin'). I fell in love with the Hispanic culture on this trip. Life goes at a slower pace, which is refreshing.
Our first PR group (minus Ben who was taking the pic)
6. Saying Good-bye. Somber moment ahead, friends.
I wanted this to be a list of memorable moments from my twenties. I feel like the word memorable has a positive connotation. We think of fun and good times. I think, however, I would be remiss if I left out a particularly sad memory from my twenties -- an event that impacted me greatly.
Around Christmas time two years ago, when I was eight months large with Eli, I received a phone call from my parents telling me that my grandma had been in a serious accident. My heart dropped. My parents were unsure if she was going to survive. Two hours later, one of the most influential women in my life left this world for her heavenly home. And I was heartbroken. My grandmother meant so much to me. This woman taught me to swim, let me play dress up with all her fabulous jewelry, taught me the meaning of style. I spent summer vacations with her, cooked with her, laughed with her. She shared in my joys and heartaches. I will never forget the last vacation we spent together and the tears of joy in her eyes when I told her I was pregnant. And she never got to meet one of the most precious people in my life. She was taken too soon. And I was angry...for a long time. I didn't (and still don't) understand. She was so important to me, and she was gone too soon.
I know, though, that she is with her heavenly king, which is far better than anything on this planet. It is a comfort to know that someone I loved and cherished so much is in a place of pure joy. And I can't wait to see her again.
Alright...that was rough.
5. You Can Call Me Mrs. Parker - My decision to go back to school to get my teaching certificate was an easy one. I knew I loved my subject matter, and I loved to
All my worries and fears were eradicated, though, when I met my cooperating teacher. Kim Shore should be nominated for a teacher of the forever award. Her creativity puts Martha Stewart to shame, she understands teens like no one's business, she knows her subject matter, she is level-headed, she has a wicked-rad sense of humor, she is organized. I mean every teenager should have her as a teacher. And she was MY cooperating teacher. Student teaching jackpot, my friends.
Then, there were my students. A.W.E.S.O.M.E. Awesome! There were challenging days, but I could not have asked for a better group of students. Each class I taught made my day.
My student teaching experience will always be remembered as highlight of my life.
The fabulous Mrs. Shore and me
Now, I realize that my math skills are not the best, and I'll actually have to include four events for tomorrow's post. Until then...I bid you adieu.