Danny is back in town!

Danny is back in Provo! To be honest, it's completely strange that he's here. Provo is not a place where I'm used to seeing him. He got all checked in to Liberty Square. It's going to be a good semester, I think.

Everything has to do with timing.


Capitol House

Liel and I live in Apartment 311. It overlooks two very awesome houses on 8th North. They are the Hollywood House, and the Capitol House.

My brother used to live in the Capitol House. We were trying to figure out why everybody who lives there is so cool, when Chris came up with, "Well, a tiny bit must have rubbed off on us, because we're pretty cool." Or something like that.

Every night when Liel and I come up from the garage underneath the apartments, we walk up a stairway that is open and looks across into their parking lot and house. Every single time we pass, the door is open. Usually one of us will yell, "STEEEEEEEVE!!!" and either Josh, Steve, Chris, or Mike will come out and hang out with us for a while.

This is fun.


Liel and I moved into the Avenues, 311!!!!!!!!

I dunno. I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing that I have a zillion "best friends". Like, if I have a friend that I like a lot, for a while I will use the title "best friend" with them. And they don't ever really lose that title, even though freaks will tell you, "No, you can only have ONE best friend! That's the definition of BEST. Better than ALL the rest!" Ffffff.

Liel is one of my best friends in the whole world. She's probably my favorite girl to hang out with. It's fun to do just about anything with Liel, including nothing. Actually, that's probably the most fun. Tonight we watched pieces of 'Showgirls' on TV. I'm not sure how I feel about that movie. I think that mostly it qualifies as doing nothing.


Real Life

I took my car to get fixed today, but it turned out all the mechanic did was top off my power steering fluid because that's all that was wrong.

So then, as I drove up I-15 to Renaissance Academy, the school where I will be teaching Arabic this year, I had several very good phone conversations. "So you're starting to enter real life."

Yeah. Real life! Wow!

Seriously, wow.

I stayed at my school until 11 p.m. making copies and writing stuff like my philosophy statement, and Performance/Knowledge goals for the first two weeks, and the first English Writing Assignment. On the way home, I called my friend Trevor, but of course it was around 2 a.m. his time. He talked to me for about a minute, "Hey, you woke me up. It's like 2 a.m. here."

Trevor lives in real life.

Danny is with his family on vacation. Sometimes, we'll be talking on the phone, and he'll have to go because he has to eat dinner with his family, or they'll want to play a game (ex: wii tennis!) together.

Danny lives in real life.

I've been doing some massive amounts of self-introspection and thinking recently. I want to live in real life. I want to stop pretending like I'm a little girl when I am actually an adult. This job is not scary because I can do it. I am an adult woman, and I can teach middle school. I know Arabic. I know how to teach. I can hear my mom singing to Julie Andrew's tune of, "I have confidence in sunshine..." Real life is not about a movie where things just magically somehow get better. Real life is about making choices, even if they aren't fun. It's time to stop living my life for "fun" and live it for real.

I live in real life.


New Teacher

Today was my first day of work at Renaissance Academy, a charter school in Lehi, UT. We watched a movie about Anne Sullivan that made all of us choke up. Teaching is a noble profession.

I am sharing my room with one of the 6th grade math teachers - back to school night is this Friday - I need to correct the midterm test with Jameela the day after tomorrow - tomorrow I am teaching EA-10 - I need to make lesson plans and make copies and get them bound - I need to coordinate with the parent aide and the language classroom aide - I need to get my computer moved from the classroom down the hall into the prep room - I need to decorate my classroom - I need to read about 1,000 pages of stuff - I need to download RenWeb and figure out how I will be grading the students - I need to write a syllabus and a letter home to the parents - I need to make a class materials list - I need to clean my room - I need to sleep.

These are things on my mind.

"You'll love your new Arabic teacher. She's young and cute," I heard one of the front desk ladies say to a student today as he got his schedule. I kind of ran out of the building so that I wouldn't have to say hi - it was a bit unnerving. The kid was very, very, very short.



Here I am, at the Challis' computer, writing a post on my blog. It's been a great day. Sometimes I wonder a little bit about who I am and why I had the chance to have such a fantastic boyfriend as Danny. He really is the best boyfriend in the world, and I love him more than I can describe. He's my favorite person to be with, and I feel more real when I'm with him than with any other person. It will be interesting when he comes to meet my family in a few weeks. Sees my context.


Startalk - Arabic

I am working as an "apprentice teacher" for a program called Startalk. Kind of nifty little catch-name; Start Talking Arabic. Startalk Arabic. Yeah.

The federal government has a ton of money set aside for this specific project. Individual schools, like BYU, and Boston University, and the University of Chicago, come up with a proposal for a program, and then get the funding from the federal government to run it. There are over a dozen Chinese and Arabic Startalk programs running around the country.

This year, 2007, is the first year of Startalk.

People are here from Washington D.C., sitting in on our classes, and interviewing various people (including myself for an hour yesterday) in pre-program-evaluation-writing efforts. These people will write reccomendations for next year, and evaluate the program overall. It's exciting. I would work for Startalk next year.

There are many pros and cons to this job, but overall it has been invaluable to me as a future Middle School Arabic teacher.


So Tiiiiiired

Last night, I went to Liel's house for crepes. She didn't have any milk, so she used soymilk instead. They tasted great. Especially with strawberry icecream for the main topping.

It was probably one of the greatest feelings ever. Tons of people came. My friends. I have really missed these people. Cindy, Chris, Alexandra, Liel, Liel's roommates, Falah, two boys from Liel's ward...just tons of people laughing, talking, singing, dancing, eating crepes.

Later that night, after much talk and a mighty full stomach, my friend Matt called. Liel and I put him on speaker phone. I think I must have passed out while talking to him, because I don't remember hanging up the phone. In fact, the next definite memory that I have is of my turning off my phone alarm the next morning. But I was in pajamas, so I must have changed somewhere between there. Hmm.

Liel is such an awesome friend to me. I'm excited for us to be roommates.


Shadow Reading

I am currently working at an intensive Arabic camp at BYU called Startalk. It's for High School students. One of my coworkers works in the ELC (English Language Center) on campus at BYU. He teaches students how to read.

Yesterday, he taught me how to read.

One technique that he uses to teach non-native English speakers how to read is called "Shadow Reading". Basically, this is how it goes:

You read the passage to yourself.
He (the native speaker) reads the passage out loud.
You read the passage out loud.
You read it out loud again.
You read it out loud again.
Then, you both read the passage together.
You read it together again.

We sat there reading about the bridge in Mississippi that collapsed. Al Jazeera is great. Over and over and over and over. "Officials in Washington say it was not a terrorist activity."

This method is useful for grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and reading fluency. More about it later.