Thursday, August 23, 2007


Because I'm graduated and work four days a week now, my school asked me if I wanted to become a mentor. Dutch people know what this is, but for Americans it's something mid-way between a home-room teacher, a guidance counselor and an elementary teacher. Every class of 20-30 kids (I only have 18) has their own mentor. The mentor is the person who monitors their grades and who they can talk to if something is wrong, or if they just need some attention. The mentor is also the person the parents contact when they want to contact school for questions or remarks.I teach my class music, Dutch and study skills, so I see them 9 times a week.The school year is only three days old but already being a mentor gives a whole new dimension to my teacherhood. (Is that a word? It is now.)

My mentor group is a class of first year students (7th graders, for the Americans). Everything is new to them in our school, and most of them don't know any other kids in their class yet. So it's up to me to make them comfortable with each other. I'm really going to try and make them bond, because I want the atmosphere in the class to be as positive as possible, so that when they're settled in and the hormones start acting up there's already a good relationship between the kids.

Yesterday I taught "my" kids 7th period, which was their last period of their very first day of high school. They were so enthusiastic! They told me about how they walked to the gym and it started to rain, how the math teacher's glasses were crooked and how their German teacher told them they would start working when the class didn't have any more questions for him, so they chatted with him all 50 minutes.I think they're cute. And they're my kids!

I sincerely hope they stay this upbeat and happy...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mobile Home

Last night I bought a mobile home. Or should I say "manufactured home"? In Holland we call it a caravan. Whatever the name, it's going to be our temporary housing while we remodel our house. We need somewhere away from all the dust and dirt, that is water tight and will keep our feet warm. But it also needs to be put in our back yard because we can't (and don't want to) afford to rent a second house while we remodel this house.

I was having coffee with my mom in law when my dad in law walked in. I was telling the story how I had ridden my bike to some local camp sites to hang up ads asking for a mobile home. Dad in law said he knew someone in town who had one for sale. He called the guy and the two of us went over there (M was at the fire station). He showed us the trailer. It was everything we wanted! It has two bedroom (so we can make one into a closet), seperate shower and toilet areas, a kitchenette (with gas stove and lots of cupboard space), a dining corner and a big couch, and gas heating. It looks old but neat and well taken care of. Unlike so many trailers for sale this one doesn't smell like cigarette smoke and there was no visible fungus. And the best part of it was the price. We were willing to pay no more than €1000, but the guy asked for only 250! And an apple pie, but that was because he said the price was low and so I said ok, I'll bake you an apple pie and we'll seal the deal. So after sealing the deal at 250 I guess the apple pie was part of the deal.

Hurrah! We're going to live in a trailer! (People that know me well know that I am not a big fan of camping. But trailers are ok).

The trailer in the picture looks just like the one I bought. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of it, but I'll post one later.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Blessed and lucky

Blessed and lucky, that's what I am. I come from what we in Holland call "a warm nest". We have a great relationship with my parents and my brother and his girl friend. We don't fight, we just get along and respect and help each other. My brother and I have had every opportunity to study and broaden our horizons.
I have a great husband and within a month I received my college diploma, my wedding ring and the offical ownership certificate of our house.

The past few days I've seen that I shouldn't take all this for granted. Blessed and lucky. And grateful. That's what I am.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


We're really sad. One of my dad's brothers, who had been an alcoholic for a while, decided on Tuesday that it had been enough. He left a note saying he no longer wanted to bother everyone, and he didn't know what else to do. He was sorry and he loved us. Then he commited suicide. It's horrible. The viewing is tomorrow, he'll be cremated on Monday.