Van ReminiscingForgot to mention a few things about the church van from the weekend, so here goes. When I first crawled into the church van Sunday morning, I was a tad surprised to see that there was something missing. The front passenger side seat was not in its place. Instead, there were two boys sitting on the floor. They told me something was being fixed on it. Alright then... Funny. Nothing should surprise me anymore. Second, it can get sooooo loud in there some times. Music or talking on the radio, playing games in the back, and many different conversations. A few of the younger girls sitting next to me were asking me all sorts of questions on the ride home Sunday night and one of the boys sitting on the floor in front of me was asking all sorts of things, too. 1) I felt like my head was at a ping-pong match bouncing back and forth between the two conversations I was a part of, some falling on top of one another. 2) I had to ask them to keep repeating as I couldn't hear what they were saying half of the time. haha Curious kids, and I it was fun chatting. I will miss riding in the Vai O Le Ola church van, except that part where sometimes it can seem like forever before I make it home although I don't live horribly far away.
Academic Awards and a SmileThey do hand out some academic awards here at the end of the school year at an awards night probably similar to the one I attended in high school and college. Found out last week that each science teacher needed to assess and send up their top 2-3 students from each subject they teach to take a test to see who would receive the science awards. Additionally, I was asked to write some questions for said tests - 15 for the Earth Science test (as there are two of us who teach that course) and 10 for the Marine Science test (as there are three of us who teach that course).
I determined my top students and told them about going up to take the test Monday. I went up after my lunch to help grade the tests. I didn't really think my students would do to well, as I had no idea what sort of questions the other teachers would submit. For some reason I figured the marine science ones would be especially hard. I don't know a whole lot about the subject, have been learning right along with my students, and have been trying to cover more basics.
As we were grading and calculating the top students in each subject area, a smile began to come across my face as I noticed that the two students I sent to take the test had tied with the top score along with one other student. What? Granted their overall scores were not too high. Guess I may have been right thinking they weren't going to do too well on the questions the other teachers wrote, but it doesn't seem like any other Marine students did either. Or maybe I have been teaching some real marine science and haven't been giving myself any credit. Not gloating that they did well, just excited for them. They are two bright students that have been really using their brains all year. I've mentioned one before in my posts and how I love that he actually uses his brain, questions things, and puts things into perspective. Good job, you guys.
Exercise and Sweets
So I do enjoy a few sweets from time to time. I've been a pretty good girl this year not overdoing it. Keeping them in check. Just treats every now and then. A few cookies every now and then, part of a piece of pie when we are out for dinner, and my favorite - ice cream. You've heard me say before how ice cream is a not so unhealthy option, especially when I eat it plain old straight up vanilla. Mmm. Well, I finished off the last of my most recent tub of ice cream (2 Liter container) the other day, and I don't intend on buying anymore. May have ice cream a few more times on island out and about as I meet up with some people, but other than that. No more purchasing it for in the home here.
Completed my first morning workout in a couple weeks. Woke up to that 5:15am alarm, and it felt great to get back my core and abs workout before heading off to school. As we completed early on Monday (administering senior finals, so we are under a finals schedule for the next couple of days), I had intentions of doing my laundry first thing and completing a second workout. Decided to personalize my own compilation of a few different Insanity workouts. I went through the warm-up twice, which intensifies and really gets me sweating, worked through the cardio abs, and finished with the last 10 minutes of the Core workout.
After I had finished stretching, I grabbed bottle of cool water and went to sit and cool down. I basically wait for the sweat to stop dripping before I head up to shower. Don't like crawling out of the shower still sweating. Anyways, with the door open I could hear my roommate open up the freezer, pop open a 2 Liter container of ice cream, scoop it into her bowl, reach into the fridge for her bottle of chocolate syrup (sure okay, but you know I love my straight up vanilla - I cringed at this point hahaha), and hear her spoon clinking in the bowl as she slowly enjoyed her bowl. Oh boy.... haha Didn't make me want ice cream that badly, though. My first day with a double workout in a while was my treat for the day :-) Then, I came up to shower, and remembered I wanted to do a little of my kick-butt workout before showering up - some squats, burpees, and a wall sit. Yep, back on track I am.
A Little Secret I've Been Keeping
Yep, I've been keeping a secret. This secret I originally planned on keeping until the day I stepped foot in Nebraska, but as you read this little story about my secret you will see why I decided to share it now.
I've been working on a little island thing. One day several months ago I decided it would be fun to try to learn to play the ukulele. So many of my students know how to play it, and they all learn by simply watching one another play songs. I asked one of my students, Fa'ai'u, that I knew played really well where I could pick up a decent ukulele at a reasonable price. I went to the store one day after school and purchased myself a cute little ukulele. Surprise! I had seen my friend Richard play at church, and I asked him to help me tune it.
I had this idea that I might be able to learn a few songs, not telling anyone back home that I was practicing, and then surprise them when I came off the plane with an ukulele in my hand. A little picturesque silly thing where I almost could have strummed as I walked out of the terminal, but that was probably thinking too much. I was leaning toward simply having it in my backpack, someone asking what was up, and then I would show them what I could do when we made it back to my Omaha family house.
The first couple months I had the ukulele I was pretty diligent about practicing a little bit every day after school. It was part of my routine. I would bring it to school some days, and various students would help me a little during lunch. Fa'ai'u was a great help. I also took it with me to church many times, where Richard showed me a few things and helped me out.
Then, as I became more active with my exercise, I found I wasn't practicing as much. Picked it up from time to time, and it was like riding a bicycle. Richard had even said taking some time off might be good for my skills. Well about a month ago, I started working on it a decent amount again. I know a handful of little songs. The chords are easy for me to pick up on, and then with the ukulele it's pretty repetitive playing. Since I had played guitar a bit in music class back in 8th grade, the basic understanding of chords was there. The strumming style is different, so that took me a while.
I'm definitely still no pro, but I was feeling good about the little pieces I planned on sharing. The more I thought about it, though, I had a feeling when I came back stateside I probably wouldn't be playing my ukulele super frequently. Definitely been a fun island thing, and it would be cool to bring it back with me... but, I decided about a week ago that I want to gift this ukulele to my student Fa'ai'u. He doesn't have one of his own. Has been playing for 12 years by playing on the ukes of various friends whenever they are around. I do love giving, and I figured if I decide I want to get one when I'm back it will be easy to find. Fa'ai'u deserves this ukulele. It will live a full and happy life with him :-) I plan on giving it to him this week.
Well, I can't let all my practice go to waste. I decided to film myself playing the various little songs I know and have posted a few here for your viewing pleasure. Yes, that's really me with a flower in my hair, ukulele in hand, strumming along (decently), and singing. Cool thing about my playing with the ukulele is that I just gave all the songs my own little pace and twist to them. They won't sound like official hit numbers. They have Jessica's ukulele flavor. Hope you all enjoy :-)
First I have for you a little number from an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants titled "The Fun Song".
Second, I have for you a number I am singing all in Samoan. The only one I have learned that I can sing the chorus in Samoan. I can actually sing it in 3 languages - English, Samoan, and Spanish. I only posted the Samoan version here. "E lele le Atua" = "God is So Good" I learned this one from my church friends, as you can tell.
Finally, I had been playing around with "Sweet Home Alabama". I decided to make my own little "Sweet Home Nebraska". Shout out to all my friends and family in Nebraska or wherever you are.
I wonder if this will surprise some of you that I did this. I'm not usually one for keeping big secrets or one with much of a musical inclination. I love music, but playing it has never really been a big deal for me. Now I can say I know how to play a little ukulele, was keeping it a secret from friends and family back home, and ended up giving my "Samoan" (actually made in China haha) ukulele to one of my students here. Surprise!