Friday, September 28, 2007

Big fat bummer

It's a big fat bummer if you get a €69 ($97) bill from customs. Especially if this concerns "import taxes" over a $100 wedding gift. And it's even more frustrating when you find out that appeal is not possible. Grrr.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The joys of home ownership

"Good morning ma'am"
"Good morning."
"Well, that's obvious, isn't it? It's broken."
"That might explain the cold in here."
"How much longer did you say you'd live here?"
"Probably not more than three months."
"It's not worth fixing ma'am."
"It's not?" (thinking: but I'm cold already and it's only september!)
"I'll call the office and ask them how much the part costs."
"Yup, that's what I thought. Not worth fixing ma'am."
"Well, how much would the part cost?" (thinking: can I please make my own decisions?)
"At least €200, and that's without taxes and installation costs. Would you like my advice?"
"Put an electric heater in your living room and put an extra blanket on the bed"
"OK, thanks."
"Can you please sign here? Because of the road block down the road I had to charge an extra 15 minutes for the detour I had to make. My office will send you the bill later this week."
"Sigh. OK, thanks again."
"Have a good day ma'am."
"You too."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


We're going to sing this in our choir soon. Isn't it beautiful?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Night air

Do you remember reading that Little House on the Prairie story where they ate watermelons that had grown in the night air and they got sick? I don't remember in what exact book it was, but I had to think of it as I was taking a walk tonight.

It's so cool to have the time to take walks after dinner, without constantly thinking either "I have to do this and that assignment, why am I walking instead of working" or "I'm really too tired to walk but it's good for me and will help me get better soon". Tonight, all I had to think about was how beautiful the scenery around our town is, and how lovely the fresh air felt. I could feel that fall is not far away. It gets dark sooner and because it's been rainy, lots of leaves have fallen. But you know what? That's ok.

Soon we'll be closing the curtains before dinner. It'll be apple pie and tea time. I love the coziness of fall. And when we live in the trailer it's bound to be cozy anyway so I might as well enjoy it!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Getting to know each other

First year camps are always exhausting. The point of the camps is to get to know the kids, and have them get to know each other. We definitely achieved those goals.
Not alone did I catch a total of only eight hours of sleep in two nights, I also had to be on the alert all the time. Because with a camp house full of twelve year olds, lots of things happen.

Usually, these things are limited to "Mrs. S, Andy stole my shoe and now he won't give it back", "Mrs. S, I can't find my shoe and I promise I looked everywhere!" or "Mrs. S, I need a band-aid because I fell". This time around however, I received some very different complaints: "Mrs. S, George went up the attic (not allowed) and found pancake mix which he dumped all over our sleeping bags". "Mrs S, George is smoking in the orchard" (Of course smoking was not allowed, and the orchard was off-limits to the kids.) Two minutes later: "Mrs. S, George says he wants to sleep with me" (he said what??? he's twelve!), as well as (different girl) "Mrs. S, George tried to choke me but he says he was only kidding".

Needless to say I went and found George, and the other three teachers and I had some serious talks with him. At first he didn't confess anything! But, after only two hours (!) of interrogation he finally fessed up to smoking, and "some other things that you probably don't allow". He had lied and did so many things against the rules that I took him home on Thursday morning.

After that, things quieted down in the camp house. Of course there was some (ok, a lot) of talk about George, but at least everyone agreed that what he did was not ok. And for some reason, the all seemed to want to be good examples after seeing this bad example. The kids were nice and polite, and some even voluntarily took their dirty dishes to the kitchen. There were no kids complaining about boring games (whiny tone: "I don't want to do that, that's stu-pid), and when we had to clean the camp house on Friday morning everyone pitched in. Boy, did we get to know each other!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Camp II

It's time for the annual first year camp. I'll be back on Friday, probably very tired (because I don't expect to sleep much in a camp house with 32 12 year olds). I'm sure I'll have lots to talk about!

Saturday, September 01, 2007


When I see a spider, I usually grab a cat, put it near the spider and then it eats it. This is one of the reasons I am happy to have cats. Unfortunately even the cat didn't like this one: it ran away from it!
Thank goodness my mother-in-law was close and was able to kill this horrible creature. Brrrrr!