Friday, November 7, 2008

She's really not a baby anymore!

Amira was begging to go swimming.... so we did our best. The bathtub is almost like a swimming pool, right?

No, this was not posed. She really did this all by herself. My little bookworm.

Some news from Tangier

We have been having crazy amounts of rain lately. We even got out of school early one day. Luckily the school is on high ground so it doesn't affect us too much, but much of Tangier was flooded for weeks. It makes it hard to get out and about.

Things here are good. I'm really enjoying my job. The kids are great and they enjoy learning which is a new experience for me. I have 23 kids in my class and they are all genuinely nice kids, a few clowns but no problems.

Last week Amira started attending the K1 class, which is for 3 year olds. She goes for about a half an hour a day, during their playtime. I'm so glad that I was able to arrange that. She has so much fun. Even though she is a year younger than the others it doesn't seem to be a problem. The teacher said if she continues to do well she'll invite her for art time too. Yay!

We're moving to a new apartment soon. Although I like living on campus I'm ready to go. I really need to have more separation from work. Our new apartment is really really nice. We're just waiting for our furniture to arrive so we can move in. Hopefully it will happen this week. I'll take pics once we get there.

Why I've been MIA

Not to make any excuses.... but my 2 classes this semester (online through FSU) are kicking my A%#. I'm really in over my head with class, work, and a family.
Here is a website I'm in the midst of designing along with 3 classmates for "Design and production of network multimedia"

Here and here are a cheesy but not so easy page I've been working on.

All this web stuff is coded by hand using Xhtml and CSS. No templates allowed!

Here is a digital story I made called The Truth About the Dragon.
Here is another one called Peace by 2025.

Monday, September 29, 2008

26th of Ramadan

On the 26th of Ramadan (Ramadan the name of the month) all of the children get dressed up. The streets fill up in the evening with families out shopping and buying things for their kids. Little girls dress up like princesses and little boys like princes. Its really cute. We paid 10 cents to put Amira in these thrones and take pictures of her. Unfortunately she wasn't as cooperative as I'd have liked, but it was still fun!
On Wednesday we're going to Aziz's sister's house in the other town. I don't have to work because its Eid so we'll be there for about 5 days. I'm so excited to spend a holiday with his family!

I miss you all :)

Just wanted to give a shout out to my friends and family :) I really miss everyone a lot. Its hard not having a cell phone that i can just randomly call my friends on. Its really a hassle using the Magic Jack phone (although it is really great because its cheap). Its just that I have to plan out each call and well... you all know I'm a terrible planner!

This is Iman and Amira (Iman is Aziz's neice). Amira really loves her!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Phone Number

I just wanted to add that we have a US phone number if you would like to call. We bought this thing called a magic jack. It was $20 to buy it and $20 A YEAR to get a phone number and service for it. We chose to get a Long Island area code so grand ma can call us for free. Using this magic jack we can get phone calls from anyone. We can call anywhere in the US or Canada (from anywhere in the world) for FREE. All we do is put it into a USB port in the computer, connect a regular land phone to the jack and whala. Sorry if this sounds like an infomercial but it is great. If you call and we dont have the phone connected to the computer it will just send you to our voicemail and you can leave us a message.

Here is the number if you want to call: 631-739-8197

Lots of firsts

This week was the week for firsts.
I had my first day of school. My first meeting with the parents. My first chance to learn HTML, XHTML and other web programming stuff. My first time meeting Aziz's niece. OH... and so much more. Its really been a whirlwind of activities.

School started on Thursday. The students are very sweet. I have 23 students. More boys that girls. The girls are very good. The boys are good, but talkative. Its so different teaching Moroccan children. One, they ask each other for help before they ask the teacher. This is good in the sense that they are interacting appropriately and practicing their English, but bad because they often give each other incorrect answers (not on purpose). The one thing that stood out the most for me was that not one person tattled on another person. NOT ONE! My fourth graders in FL loved to tattle. My students here do the opposite, they cover for each other. I'd take that anyday over a bunch of tattlers. My students here, for the most part have been in class together since the age of 2 1/2. The school starts from preschool and goes up to grade 12. There is only one class per grade level (they do change classes in HS though).
The level of education at this level wasn't what I expected. I have to remind myself that for most of the students English is their second language. So their comprehension, writing, and vocabulary are not exceptional. I gave them the end of the FLorida FCAT for math from the end of 3rd grade, and they didn't do all that well. I definitely have my work cut out for me. But, I think it'll be fine, they are so well behaved that teaching them should be easy. Plus, they do 2 hours of HW every night. Yup... 2 hours, in 4th grade.

Friday night was our open house for the parents. It was from 10PM to 12PM. It had to be so late because of Ramadan. Many of the parents are fasting so we had to give them a chance to eat dinner, go to prayer, go home, get dressed and drive to the school. It was a new experience for me to meet so many eager parents. What I've been told is that I have some parent who are working their tails off to pay the high tuition. They are the really supportive parents who want more for their kids. Then I have the filthy rich parents. Some of them care... some of them don't. Some of my students are being raised by a driver and maid. That is a world that I know nothing about. Then.. I have the kids who come from dirty money. Apparently Tangier is full of drug runners and many of their children go to school at my school. Interesting isn't it.

Last night Aziz's niece arrived. Thank god we both can speak broken Spanish. It gives us a way to communicate. We won't be having any deep philosophical discussions in Spanish, but at least we can talk about the necessary stuff. She (like most Moroccans) took English, Spanish, French, and Arabic in school. Unfortunately her English is really bad, but she will probably pick it up quickly with her French and spanish to help her through. I'd also like to speak moroccan, so we'll teach each other.
We spent most of the day today hanging out. She seems very nice. She is young (early 20's), pretty, upbeat, and funny. Amira fell in love with her instantly. Actually the reason I have time to get on the internet is because they are playing right now.

As most of you know I decided to take to classes this semester for my masters. Somehow I chose the 2 hardest classes, both are in web design. In one of the classes I was assigned (along with my 3 groupmates) a website to redesign. We actually have a real client. We have to code the whole website using XHTML and CSS. I'm freaking out already!

Over all things here are good. The people at my school are very nice. I've already made a few friends. Living on campus has proved to be nice, although we are moving off sometime in the next few months. Its very quiet here (much unlike the rest of Tangier) and its great having the playground and pool so close. Also I can sneak home during lunch or prep time to see Amira.

Amira seems very happy here. There are constantly people around to entertain her. When she is bored she goes next door to our neighbors apartment and knocks on their door to "say hi". Seriously, she bangs on their door while yelling "say hi, say hi". Its really cute. Her newest phrase is Oh my goodness, but it comes out more like Oh My Goose ness. She says it all the time. Its really funny.

Alrighty... if you made it this far thanks for reading. I'll post again soon. Love you all :)