Sand Through My Toes

My big adventure in the sand

Archive for the month “October, 2012”

Three Month Anniversary

Nine fun months left in the sand — but if I count my R&R, a little over eight months to go!  Although I left Germany on June 14th to arrive in Indianapolis and spent over a month and a half “training”, I have been boots on the ground for three months!  So far it has been an incredible journey that began with lugging duffel bags and excess gear that I am still not sure that I need, to building new classrooms, and meeting so many interesting people!  Teaching is great, my students continue to be eager to learn and have me learn about their culture and dreams for the future!

From a bus ride, to a plane ride, to an MRAP ride, to a Black Hawk ride, and then finally on to my final destination, it has been a hoot with friends I have met along the way!  Three months has gone by rather quickly with the help of new friends, family, old friends (not in age), funny emails, Skype, Face Time, and of course, receiving packages! Please continue to do what you are doing to make the next nine months bearable!

Here I am in the blue bus that transported us to all the different venues on base to prepare us for our departure, and  here is Jessica and I on the bus bound for Indianapolis Int’l Airport, and finally, sitting down in our seats getting ready for the long flight to our final destination – Francine, Jessica, and I!


Being Successful is a Wonderful Feeling

Once a month, students are given an English language proficiency test to determine growth from the previous month.  In order to move forward and transition from the classroom to Pilot Training, a score of 80 is needed on the test!  Students are not given an oral language proficiency but are assessed in listening comprehension, reading, and grammar skills.  There are 39 students in the program and 19 are moving forward.  Yes, 19 students with a possibility of another 4 or 5 passing in November!  Not only have the 5 English language instructors made an impact, but all the time students spend speaking English, studying English and watching American movies (that we tend to discuss a bit too much in class 🙂  ),  along with the fact that part of the success is due to using the Ticonderoga in which they used to bubble in their answers.  Oh yeah, they love their pencils too!

Graduation for these students will take place in early December, so there is still English language acquisition happening 6 hours a day, 5 1/2 days a week,  until then!  Francine and I had the opportunity to join four of the August graduates out on flight line.  They were extremely excited to have their pictures taken next to their fixed wing plane in their new pilot uniform!  Needless to say, we also had the chance to hop in an MI-17 for a photo-op! NO, I didn’t fly the ‘copter but I was the pretend pilot (see below).  Hopefully soon Cmdr Jeff will be emailing for our fun ride in what I like to refer to as the “remote control” looking helicopter.  Will keep you posted!!




Christmas in October!

Although I had to work on Memorial Day, those that man the “mail pick-up” trailer were off!  The great thing about not being able to pick up packages on Monday, means that on Tuesday there is a boat load for me, yes Kelly Anne had tons of mail!  I received the notification in my “official” sandbox email that stated, “Hello Sandbox Patron, You are requested to pick up your parcel (notice singular) between our  open hours of 15:00 and 16:00 blah blah blah”.  Well, I was already dressed for the gym so Francine was more than willing to go pick up my parcel b/c she too had mail.  Low and behold, the day I choose not to ride over to the “mail” side it’s Christmas time with the boxes!  Yes, 7 boxes and another today!!

An assortment of goodies found their way to me — socks, tons of different types of socks, a new Florida Gator t-shirt (my 2nd one so far), face wash, a fabulous fleece blanket that I washed as soon as it came out of the box and put it on my bed, new sleeping socks, cleaning latex gloves (you all know how much I love germs), snacks and more snacks, the NEW Dave Matthews CD, 70 individually wrapped Halloween candy bags (keeps out the grubby paws, and germs :-), football plates/napkins with a great window sticker (now in my classroom window), a winter coat and pants requested from my home, Oktoberfest goodies (to be used shortly – I am going to follow Sue and Pat’s advice :-), along with some festive fall decor!

I can’t thank you enough for thinking about me and taking the time to send care packages to me that contain items I would thoroughly enjoy, and need,  if I were still in Germany!  Look forward to thanking you all next year with a nice cold Andechs, or two!

Please see the pics below — yes, I love candy corn at Halloween time and at this time, I have bought stock in Brachs.  Please, if you have a bag that you are considering sending to me, the pictures below say a thousand words!

PS:  Those of you that know my boss at Hainerberg –classic move that an assortment of socks from knee-high, to mid calf, to running (the best), to boot length, etc. made it my way  in a SHOE BOX — who would have thought??  But shit, NO new pair of shoes!!!



Sniff, Sniff…. Missed Oktoberfest

Living overseas for 15 years now, with 10 (9) years of it in Germany, yesterday was a difficult day in the sand!  Either going on a 16 hour bus tour to Munich (I don’t recommend) or making reservations at a great hotel three blocks from the fest (yes!!), I would highly suggest that everyone should at least make it to one Oktoberfest in their lifetime!  Thanks to John Hedges, who retired quite a few years back, I was given the responsibility of carrying on the tradition for DoDEA teachers and being the go to girl for reservations at the Hippodrome!  Well, I have to say that year after year, I fulfill my duties as the official Oktoberfest party planner! Yesterday was the day that 22 folks gathered in Munich to enjoy the last weekend of Oktoberfest — and I have already received some pics of the fun and frolicking! Don’t fret, promise not to post the incriminating pictures. 🙂  Last year, I had the pleasure of having my brother and his wife come and enjoy the mas beers in the tent — and yes, Julie was able to party on a bit longer than Sean! :-O

I sure do miss being there with all of you but am glad to hear that although it was wet throughout the day, it didn’t dampen the fun on the train, at the hotel, outside the tent, and of course, inside the tent, too!

Next year, I look forward to heading to my 10th Oktoberfest and hopefully those that partied on this year will have one more in them to celebrate with me!  Andy (and Olivier, newbies to the group — have learned about pacing and have standing reservations with the group), thanks for sharing the pics and for those that weren’t there last year….here I am with Andy inside the tent (Sept. ’10) , along with this years reservation for DoDEA teachers under my name!

“I’m a Safety Girl”

There comes a time when everyone needs to follow the rules and expectations of being a safety girl!   My time has arrived here, although I must say that I usually do my best to be a safety girl at all times 🙂  We had the opportunity to travel from one location to another and see part of the city en route to our destination.  In order to travel, we all needed to wear our helmets, flak vests, and of course, my side safety, “Fifty”, on my hip. I climbed into the back of my transport with all the gear on ready for whatever came my way.  Well, what came my way was a non-working air conditioner, with four others jammed packed around me and perspiration in places I didn’t think I could perspire :-(.  Thank goodness the transport was only 45 minutes and we did arrive safely!  Here I am in the back of the MRAP donning my safety gear along with sweat beads on my face!  I must say, afterwards I had one of the coolest showers since being here!

PS:  Can you name the movie that contains the title?   My best friend Rhonda and I love watching it…..

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