Friday 15 February 2019

Here We Go, 2019!

January and February are always transition months-- into the new year as well as a new semester, schedule, and group of students. Lots of both personal and professional updates all mixed together. Here we go!

This spring semester I have 74 students between four classes. I am teaching two sections of College Writing I. One section meets twice a week, and the other meets just on Monday nights. I like the diversity between the courses, and both sets of students are attentive and strong. I am also teaching Business Communication and Technical Writing, which I taught in the fall as well. I really enjoy that class. There is a lot of hands on work time, group work, and live audiences responding to the student's work. I think especially for professional writing classes that last element is really important. I am also teaching Writing Fiction and Poetry for the first time. With a class of six students I am working towards a discussion based class where students can share, work, ideas, and misgivings. We've had a strange start to the semester with snow, ice, and wind days, but as we wrap up the fifth week of the semester I feel like we are going to move into the latter two thirds strong.

We had an eventful end to last year, including winning the baking contest I mentioned in my December post. Out of a friendly, intense competition of four, we came out on top. And our bake was gluten free! Got to spend good time with cousins and friends, though my lovely 88 year old Nana ended up in the hospital after all the Christmas excitement. Glad to report that she is finally back home and starting to heal.

The beginning of the year was also one for the record books! I helped host a women's event to celebrate the new year with our Ridgeway Bloom Women's Group. We had a great turn out, delicious breakfast food, and really fun activities. A week or so later Wade told me he was taking me out for dinner one night to celebrate my birthday, but it turns out he had a whole surprise party planned! It was a wonderful night of feeling so celebrated by my friends, eating lovely snacks my sister put out, and playing games together. It was a "Black and White" theme, and I loved it. 

I started the semester here at Olivet in mid-January. I taught my first week of classes, packed up and boarded a plane headed to Bangkok, Thailand! My husband and I spent ten days in Thailand to start out 2019. We spent about three days in Bangkok total, exploring the markets, getting foot massages, and looking over the river. The majority of the trip we spent in Sukhothai, Thailand at Boon Lott's Elephant Sanctuary. Hung out with the two employees, six kiddos, one volunteer, other three guests, 12 elephants, at least six dogs, multiple mahouts, and a host of other rescued animals including a horse named Teddy. We spent our days walking with the elephants, helping take care of dogs, eating delicious Thai food, cutting down corn or banana trees, and watching the sun set over a bonfire or water reservoir. I celebrated my 30th birthday there, and I fell in love with sweet old elephant Pang Fai. It was truly a magical, once in a lifetime experience. 

This semester a few exciting things are coming up. One is the 2019 Conference on College Composition and Communication. It is being hosted in Pittsburgh this year, and I am excited to host help host a workshop and present on a panel. I also received news of an article publication acceptance, and I submitted a proposal for a food symposium this summer and for a panel proposal for Fem/Rhet 2019 with my writing group for the fall. I enjoy these professional development opportunities and chances to connect with people.

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