Saturday, May 31, 2008

So why was I up at 4:45 am?

Well... we got into Bejing around noon local time. Customs went ridiculously fast and we met with our tour guide in the lobby of the new Bejing Airport. It seems there were two other groups (in our same tour) who were supposed to be on our same flight from Bejing. They had not yet checked in with our guide. So... we waited.

Our guide doesn't like their new airport. It's big (and pretty). But I guess it's not really enjoyable for those who have to wait around for hours on end. The old airport had better seating, he explained. Here we are are just sort of standing around and waiting. Look at the really interesting.... big thing... to the right. Yeah... uh... big bowl surrounded by flowers was not impressive to our guide.

Looking closer, BTW, you can see Marissa is in between my mom and dad playing her DS. hee hee Marissa is addicted. I LOVE it. Kiana and Sabrina play too but for Marissa it's like every minute of downtime is DS time. I think it was a really good investment. My mom might grow to hate it. "Put down that DS! Look out the window!" But for now, the very long airplane rides were only really full of whiney complaints during take-off and landing (when the DS was stowed).

In general though, the kids were champs. I mean really, they're not kids anymore. Kiana is a Sophomore and Marissa is a Freshmen in HIGH SCHOOL for goodness sakes. And Sabrina... she's in Jr. High. So it's not like they are the babies on the plane. Having said that this is by far the longest trip they have been on. Their longest flight before this was from New Mexico to the East Coast about a year and a half ago.  On that trip they went to Canada for a couple of hours.  And last year they took a cruise to the  North part of  Mexico.  But this is there first time really OFF the continent.

By the way, I snapped this photo of a sign (shout out to Carey and her photos on signs) on the moving walkways. It reads, "Please look after oldster and child." Oldster... I like that. I gotta think that sign was for me, right? I am traveling with my Oldster parents and youngster children of my sister.

So there we sat on the floor of the airport waiting this time for strangers rather than for another plane.   Eventually, Marissa's DS battery went dead. She talked Kiana into letting her use hers to continue to play. As it turns out, Kiana's was almost out of power too. We went into that place there in that first photo called, "Le Cafe" to steal their power for Marissa and to pay for a coffee for me. I ordered an iced mocha thing and a ham croissant.  It was around $5... very reasonable I thought.  Before they brought over my coffee my mom came over and said that our tour guide (Henry) decided to stick around because another plane from Hong Kong to Bejing was delayed.   And just in case the other groups were on it, he'll wait for another three hours.

We, on the other hand, could go to the hotel and then have the rest of the day free. We were next committed to a 8:30am meeting in the lobby the next morning. Free time is an exception on these tours and we were all very grateful to be able to get to the hotel and get out of our traveling funkyness.

The six of us are staying in three hotel rooms. As you learned from my previous (Business) post I am staying in a room with Marissa. My daughta' from a different mutha' (and fatha'). Kiana is staying with my mom. And Sabrina is staying with my dad. We are all on different floors. Which is just strange.

We checked into the ammenities and found that they have a swimming pool and a gym. The girls and I decided we would like to take a swim. My mom previously had told them that they would NOT have free time in China and should NOT pack swimsuits. As it turns out I am the only one traveling with a suit. A swimsuit I picked up during my Seattle layover because I left mine in Oscarville. So... we decided to spend the rest of the day getting dinner (we had after all only had breakfast on the plane), buying swim suits, and then enjoying the pool.

(side bar Marissa just woke up and said sleepily, "ah-wah." She sat up. "Is it morning?" It is quite bright out. I said, "It's 6 am. You can sleep more." She thought for a moment mumbled something about not having ever put on her pajamas and then lied back down.)

We moved our stuff into our room and then brushed teeth and hair before heading out of the hotel. We had heard there was a department store about a block away so we just sort of walked around in a loop until we found a restaurant we thought looked pretty good.

So here is the first photo of the six of us. (By the way, you can click on any photo to make it bigger but I am only attaching small pics because trying to attach them any bigger times the server out.)

I promise in the future to take photos of the food and decor and such, but last night, my objective was just to use my timer to get us all together.

After the tasty meal we walked back to where we had spotted the department store. At this point my mom and dad were feeling sleepy and were pretty much not committing to watching the girls swim. With the mix of being unshowered and humid/smog in the environment I was starting to break out and feel just generally unclean. But, I was committed to enjoying this downtime. So we pressed forward on our swim suit search.

The department store had five floors and it took a while to find the suits. Once we did, we saw that they were all pretty small. Damn those Asian size-zero figures. My mom and dad found another shop close by. The name of the store translates to "Fat Lady". Charming, huh? Anyway... they were on the too big side for my nieces and they were also swimsuit-free.

So, reluctantly, we headed back to the hotel where the girls agreed to a little lay-down time in our separate rooms and then to meet up again later and to go to the gym. That was at about 6:00pm. I fell asleep to the clicking of Marissa's DS at about 7:15pm.

I never heard from any of the other rooms.

I woke at 4:45am and blogged for you all.

Now it's 6:20am and Marissa just finished up her shower. We are gong to meet for breakfast at 7:45am to start our day.


Okay... so this is weird.  I'm in Bejing now and I can create, edit, and publish posts but I can't view my own blog.  I also can't view anyone else's.  (so bummed Nicole!)  So I guess I am just going to hope things look formatted correctly, etc.  And... I guess I don't get to read Australia updates from Carey (and Maria) until I am back in the USA.  

Also, I can't view comments.  Luckily, I was able to change my preferences so your comments are emailed to me.  Any blogger loses all energy without feedback.  So while I can't post to your comments specifically, Dee, Nicole, and Carey thank you so much for reading and commenting!   Anyone else out there lurking, you can post a comment without registering and such.  You can stay "anonymous" and just sign your name.

Also, also... Richard, I emailed you again two days ago.  I asked how the interview with Dillingham went and also if I had left three small DS games there.  But... you haven't responded.  Which means you probably still aren't getting my emails.  Or you hate me.  What is up?!!

Also, also, also... Nicole, I heard we are, at the closest, 1,000 miles away from any earthquake ridden areas.  But really... I can't tell you where we're going.  I'm just along for the ride.  All I know at this point is that we are in Bejing.  

Did you know Bejing and Peeking (as in Peeking duck) are the same place?  They decided to switch from the Cantonese pronunciation of the word to the Mandrin pronunciation a few years back.  The airport code for Bejing is PEK.  Just like the airport code for Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) is SGN.  And Istanbul was once Constantinople and Old New York was once New Amsterdam.  And Myanmar will always be Burma to me.  

And just because it seems strange to have a post with no picture.  Here's a business-themed picture for you.  Yeah, that's me... as I type this.  In my nightgown... unshowered.  That's Marissa's sleeping leg back there (she even sleeps like me with one leg out of the covers!)  It is, after all, 5:00am Hong Kong time.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Three down, one to go.

So that was a long flight.

Even though we got in 30 minutes earlier than expected, 30 minutes isn't a whole lot when you're looking at a 13+ hour flight. It's Saturday morning here. Hong Kong time. It's Friday 4:00pm California time. I lost a day in my 40+ hours of REAL TIME traveling.

I did get some sleep though... finally. I'm feeling much less cranky. When I woke up, the attendants were passing out orange juice and water. In my sleepiness I sort of lilted to my right and saw an eight year old Indian kid, let's call him Saint Peter, sitting patiently in his seat while his three year old brother, let's call him the Devil, was trying to push him out of it. The boys' parents were sitting on the other side of the Devil and were softly offering, "have a seat" and "relax" to the monster. I felt Saint Peter's pain. After a couple of minutes of this the Devil kicked Saint Peter's tray and an entire cup of orange juice spilled over Saint Peter's seat. He jumped up and into the isle. Somehow he managed to avoid it on his clothing. The orange juice just pooled in the seat while everyone else just sat there not moving. Saint Peter stood waiting. I called for a flight attendant but none came. Poor Saint Peter. After about 1/2 of it had soaked into his seat his dad threw him a blanket and just told him to soak it up. He did so without complaint.

About this time my mom decided she had to go to the bathroom so I let her up and she stood in the isle while Saint Peter tried to dry his seat. Then the kid seated right in front of Saint Peter (another 8 year oldish Indian boy) woke up long enough to throw up. Twice. On the isle carpet. On my socks. And my mom's.

Again. No one did anything. My "call" to the flight attendant was still lit so there really wasn't much more to do. My mom went to the bathroom and changed her socks. Saint Peter went back to his seat by climbing on top of the blanket that separated him from the wet seat. The vomiter put his tray down and sort of held his head in his hands. Well one hand. The other hand had vomit all over it.

No one answered my "call" intentionally but a flight attendant did try to pass through the isle to deliver breakfast trays. When I pointed out the vomit he looked rather irritated.

He turned around and came back several minutes later with some news papers he threw down on the floor and some air freshener. He wiped the kids face with plastic gloves and a wetnap. The kid looked miserable. I asked if he was okay and offered to get him a bag or something but he said he would be alright.

A few minutes later his dad walked by. He pushed him up from the tray table he was laying on and said, "sit up straight! You'll get sore" and then he walked away. I stopped him. "Uh, sir... he just threw up." I pointed to the newspapers. "You might want to, you know, check in on him." You could see the dad was embarrassed. He came back and comforted his son a little wiping up his face again with a wetnap.

Poor kid.

I was proactive during landing.

You know those screaming babies that accompany every flight's landing? Well a few years ago there was a real wailer on a flight from Alaska. The mom was embarrassed. I was mostly sympathetic. Only slightly annoyed. The flight attendant came over with two drinking cups. She said, "look, I know is sounds strange but just trust me." She took a couple of napkins and wadded them up in each of the cups. Then she got them both slightly damp. She put the cups on either side of the baby's head (covering it's) ears. The baby stopped crying instantly. She mumbled something about air pressure but no one was really listening we were all so impressed with her voodoo power.

I made the magic cups before the landing in Hong Kong. It worked. I felt barely any pain at all. No tears. I looked like a goof. ... as you see. But it worked! I'll take looking dorky over the pain of what I imagine feels like child birthing through your forehead any day.

And one more thing... they are calling for pre-boarding on my final leg of travel right now. As much as I would hate to not be able to join the hoverers and all, I have one more thing.

Check this math--
My dad and I ordered a couple of things. The total came to $65. He paid with a ten-dollar bill. We got $11 back. Where does this happen you might wonder...

Hong Kong Airport's Starbucks!

65 Hong Kong dollars was about 9 US dollars.
The change was 1 US dollar which was 11 Hong Kong dollars.
Mind you I am just trusting that the barista was doing HIS math right. :)

Me cranky

I've been awake 40 hours.

I watched "Bucket List" and half of "Once" (again!) while on my longest flight (thus far) rather than sleep. That, I swear, was the only stay-awake that I made intentionally.

I hate airports.

And people with kids.

And air pressure.

I have a bit of a head cold. For those of you who haven't experienced "landing" with sinus pressure in your head, I can't possibly express to you the severity of the experience.





And I got to experience it TWICE so far. Firstly, I attempted to rip off my ears while landing in Seattle. And then secondly, after an 8 hour layover in Seattle and then a 90 minute plane ride, I punched myself rapidly in the eyeball in an attempt to become unconscious while landing in San Francisco.

I can't believe I am about to get on a third airplane. Only to land again. This time in Hong Kong. And hey, guess what I'll do once in Hong Kong? I'll have a LAYOVER AND THEN GET ON ANOTHER EFFING PLANE AND HAVE ANOTHER EFFING LANDING. I've been in San Francisco for 8 hours. Most of that time looked like this...

I bought my nieces all Nintendo DS(s) for the trip. I am the coolest Aunt ever. They are grateful. And quietly click click stroking away on those game systems.

I have only one more photo to share. And it's not a very clear one. But here's the thing... I don't get why people crowd the aisle when preboarding is announced. Someone? Anyone? Help. Why in the world would someone seated in row 7 stand up and block the walkway for EVERY OTHER passenger. Why not just sit for another 20 minutes and enjoy your freedom. I just don't get it.

In Seattle about 30 people did this. I snapped their photo. The gate is on the left. There are five people in "line." The rest? On the right there? That hoard of standers? Just waiting for their row to be called.

Bah! Traveling.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

En route to China via Anchorage…

Well… since I last posted the school year ended and I left Oscarville for the summer. The year ended well. It was joyous… but that is to be expected. It was a bit sorrowful… but that is to be expected. And mostly, it was busy… and that too is probably the most expected.

As I have experienced in all five years with LKSD we had a great end of the year picnic. Unlike most years it was sunny and bright and picture perfect weather. Before the “feast” part of the picnic we had about an hour of outdoor freetime. It was used mostly for “junkyard” and “Bat”.

“Junkyard” is a game played with any number of people and a basketball. I have seen it played countless times before but this was the first time it was both named and explained in words to me. “So… he shoots and if it hits the rim the one closest to it has to defend before he can make another shot. Otherwise you're out.” That’s it. That’s the game. I understood the last part all too well. I was first “out” the three rounds I played.

I left that game and joined the much larger crowd playing “Bat”. “Bat” is a great game. The rules are similar to baseball but really… not at all. There is a team at bat and another in the field. Once you hit you can choose to run or not run. You’re out if the ball is caught in a popfly. One out and you switch sides. So let’s say the first 5 people hit the ball and don’t run. Well now you have the sixth person up to bat and a possibility of six runners. Let’s say batter #6 hits it way off in what would be a “foul” in any other field but is actually considered a GREAT HIT is bat. As the fielders scramble to retrieve the ball all six people run to the other end of the field. Once the ball is back in field it is thrown at the runners. If the ball hits a runner any of the member of that team has the opportunity to throw the ball at any other member of the team. The game becomes a free for all as everyone scrambles to get the ball and “tag” the other team. Positions change back and forth a dozen times before eventually the ball is retrieved from base or all players are off the field. At that point the last team “tagged” is in the field. As you can imagine it’s utter chaos but rarely is there a fight. You just start again hitting or fielding the ball while waiting for that perfect hit that’ll have a whole mess of batters running at once. Score is never kept and no one ever wins or loses. It’s over when people stop playing or in this case, time is called to eat.

The play deck was stocked with burgers, hotdogs, chips, Capri sun, corn cobettes, and assorted condiments. The students, staff, and community were all invited.

There was quite a crowd. One of my favorite elders in the community, Andrew Larson, came to the feast and I was able to snap these photos.

After a couple of clean up activities the school year closed and I said a “pleasure mixed with pain” goodbye to Qugcuun Memorial School year 2007-08.

In the couple of days that followed I watched Erin be a champ and clean the house and pack like it was her favorite pastime. I, rather, took part in my favorite pastime and bitched about not wanting to clean and pack. Once I got over my own sloth-like behaviors I helped out where I could but really Erin was near done with our house. I guess in Oscarville they cut power to the teacher’s housing unit in the summer. Every year, in every village, they threaten this but it never happens. I guess in Oscarville they really do it. So out refrigerator and freezer are empty and salad dressings and butter needs to be purchased at the start of the school year along with all of the other frozen vegetables and meats I end up pick up before that first trip out.

Then on Saturday I hitched a boat ride from Chris, my Site Administrator, a car ride from Faith, my Site Administrator’s daughter, and a plane ride from ERA Aviation to land here at Richard’s place in Anchorage. Richard moved from LKSD last October accepting a computer tech position in the Anchorage School District.

When his six months of probation was about to end he was called into his boss’s office and told he wasn’t really picking up stuff quick enough and that he should start looking for employment elsewhere. That was about two month ago and he’s looking a lot. His furniture-free apartment is one big ole job search. He’s submitted several applications all over the state and had several phone and face-to-face interviews but so far his search had been fruitless.

While I have been in Anchorage I have been reading next year’s Battle of the Books books. There are 12 this year. I have read two so far. “The Graduation of Jake Moon” is the shortest of all of the books, and as such, the first one I chose to read. The second book, “Touching Spirit Bear” I read yesterday. I had heard so many good things about that book. My Aunt read it with my cousin’s son about 8 years ago. Since then it has been brought up in all conversations about good Young Adult Literature. In fact, last year, I recommended it to a collogue of mine. All the while, I myself, hadn’t read it. Well I am proud to say, yesterday, I finally read “Touching Spirit Bear.” And I totally meant all of those things I have said about it in the past. It really is a good book. Chalk full of blood and anger and self worth and everything else one would want a jr. high boy to read. Next year, I have five boys (and two girls) all lined up for a read of it. 
So yeah... when I am not looking like this…

I have seen the new Indiana Jones, been out to dinner at the Outback with Dirk and Erin, and taken walks with Richard.

I leave on Thursday morning for China. There will be a several hour layover in San Francisco before I actually am on a plane to China… but essentially… it’s Thursday morning.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

And then the following Friday...

Wow am I on a blog kick or what? I can't possibly keep this up for long, I mean come on, four posts in a week? Don't I have like a job, 'en stuff? But, here we go again. Yesterday, Friday May 16, 2008, Qugcuun Memorial School hosted it's 25th annual commencement. In addition to being in charge of creating the program I also gave a couple of speeches.

The ceremony had one high school graduate and two eighth graders who walked in "promotion" to High School. As the eighth grader teacher I delivered the eighth grade promotion speech. The following is a transcript of my speech as well as a few shots taken from the performance.

Good morning Site Administrator Chris, faculty and staff, honored guests, and of course you students. I'm here to recognize and congratulate Chinace and Nicole and their advancement from the eighth grade. [directed to them] You both should be very proud. You made it! At this point, you should take a moment to think back on what you've done in these last near decade worth of schooling. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed it. You haven’t gone through this alone so you should also find the time to appreciate the support of your parents and other family members who helped you to get here.

Eighth grade. You've finished "middle" school. You’re no longer stuck in the “middle.” This ceremony means that you've gone past the middle, and you're only four years, fingers crossed, from being where Grace is today...a high school graduate. [quick aside to graduate] Congratulations, Bunna. You now have written proof in the school records that, unlike many adults on TV, you really are smarter than a fifth grader.

This is a time for celebration, and also a time to ask, what happens now? Many, many years ago (before most of you students were born) I, too, graduated from the eighth grade. Looking back, I realize now, there was something I really didn't know at the time. You. At this stage… have all the power to shape your life. You need to recognize that you OWN your future, and it's up to you to make it a good one.

I didn’t take this time you have here… and really grab a hold of that power. I graduated from middle school and then high school and then entered college at UAF following the course laid out for me by the people around me. I didn’t think about it. I never questioned where I was going. It was expected. And after three years of that, I took a break.

I moved to San Diego and worked in an ice cream shop. I used the following five years to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life. It turns out, what I wanted to do, was be here… with you all… today.

Do you know where you want to be five years from now? Do you know what career you want to pursue? Probably not...hardly anyone has that figured out by the time they start high school. It's time, however, to realize the possibilities before you and to ask yourself some important questions.

No, I don't mean questions of national importance, like who should win the presidential election or more important still who should win American Idol… but I mean personal questions about what your interests are. What YOU would like to do?

If you plan a career, what might it be? I still remember when I was ten years old my Aunt gave me a book to read. It is called One Child, and it is written by Torey Hayden. It’s about a teacher, and how she helped a child overcome learning disabilities. I didn't jump right up and know I would be a teacher, but I knew that the story interested me and that I admired the teacher for what she did to help that student.

That five years I took after I left UAF… and after I served all that ice cream… I reread that book I had received back when I was just a kid, younger than you are now, and it got me started on what turned out to be my career.

The same thing could happen to you. You might get a camera for a present, and decide that you want to learn more about photography. You might visit someone in the hospital and decide that you want to learn more about careers in health care. You might take an airplane trip and decide that an airline company might be a good employer. You might read a book about a boy wizard and decide that you want to become the best Quiddich player at Hogwarts. Well, maybe that last one is a bad example.

Chinace and Nicole, I know that you both are already well on the way to thinking about all this. Nicole, you want to build on your mechanical interest and aptitude. Chinace, you know that you want to explore your options at UAF (with Jackie) [smile at Jackie] and to choose a career that will be fulfilling and stimulating for you.

This here, right now, is your time to open you eyes to the things around you. The world is giving you hints all the time about who you are going to be.

There are careers in engineering, health care, education (be me! be me!), banking and finance, construction, service industries, science, military, computers, police work, retail sales, fishing, farming, entertainment, and on and on. There's plenty of opportunity to decide what you really want to do and to prepare for it.

You don't need to lock yourselves in yet. Take time to appreciate the fact that you've already accomplished so much. Then, decide just how you're going to enjoy the summer. If you have a chance, visit a college campus this Summer and see how it looks.

Oh wait… you are spending the summer with me, aren’t you? Well let’s be sure to pencil that in.

Then, continue your good work into high school. I never taught high school. So last night I went home and looked through my entire movie collection so I could figure out what you high school experience might be. I even found a movie with HIGH SCHOOL in the title. So now I know what happens there. It looks like most of your high school time will be spent dribbling basketballs in the halls while singing and dancing! SWEET! Have fun with that.

But, also, keep an eye on your future.

Watch your older friends and family and follow their lead. At the same time, you can serve as role models for those students coming along behind you. You have a strong community here in Oscarville, and you should use it to help you.
Remember, life is an adventure. In closing I want to congratulate the two of you and your families once again and to wish you both a bright future. Since I'm half Chinese, I'll put it this way, "Chen tu woo lan" With apologies, that's "Chiu-nuk-garrr-Bu-DiKKKK-nee chut Umm(theth) doot" in Yu'pik.

Thank you.

The eighth graders then accepted their certificates of promotion.

After that, the "real" graduation began. Each staff member was asked by our one graduate, Grace "Bunna" Joekay, to share a memory we have of her during her schooling.

The first to speak was Olga "Aanan" Mesak. Olga is the Primary/Yupik teacher here. She shared a story about Bunna's first day of school. The speech was in Yup'ik so I can't so much explain what the memory was... but the audience laughed warmly. Bunna look gleefully embarrassed so I bet it was a good one.

And then I stepped up again to deliver my second speech. This one was far shorter. AND it had visual aides.

 Although I have only been here a year, I have had the unique opportunity to get to spend about 170 hours one-on-one with Bunna in this last year. Every morning at (AROUND) 8:45 we would squeeze ourselves into the library and watched a Video Tele-Conference for Applied Math.

One of our math labs involved creating a home plan to scale. I’ve blown it up for you here to see.

*have 8th grade promoters hold up the two pages of the map*

Interestingly, in addition to the staircase she constructed, the balcony on the top floor, and the artic entryway with TWO freezers… it seems she spent the most amount of time “tricking out” or decorating her kitchen and two bathrooms.

*reflectively look at the drawing*

At 8:45 am is she both hungry and needing a trip to the potty?

Don’t worry too much about her spending all of her time in the kitchen though. It seems she forgot to put in a door to get in there.

During parent-teacher conferences her mom, Eliza, once told me that as a kid she drew her future. Her home with her boats and her snow machines and other vehicles. And now… all these years later she has achieved all of those dreams.

I thought it would be a good idea to show you all this now. Because, it seems, like her mom, Bunna is a master at getting her dreams to come true. And Alex (dad)… you better start getting money and supplies together soon because she also calculated that this dream home of hers is going to cost about 1.35 million dollars to build.

(hand home to Bunna) I hope this one comes true for you too.
Congratulations Bunna.

Thank you.

After I spoke, Erin Kavanaugh, the high school teacher stood to deliver her speech. Erin is a rockstar of a teacher and a pretty kickass roommate to boot. Bunna is the first student she has carried all the way through High School to graduation. I tend to think this ceremony meant as much to her as it did to Bunna. Maybe more. Erin understandably got a little choked up at the start of her speech. The stress of all the hours getting the writing course work completed... the sleepless nights... the struggles of work undone... the triumphs of work completed. It all culminated in this bitter sweet, proud, moment of goodbye.

After Erin's speech, Bunna's mom, Eliza spoke. Eliza helps out with our pull out programs for Special Ed. She also runs an after school program. Eliza and her husband Alex (who is also employed by the school) have six kids. The eldest is Bunna. As you can imagine, they were very proud of their eldest daughter making it through to graduation. I heard that Bunna's graduation is the 4th in over a decade. With a school as small as ours, I am sorry to report, it is quite a triumph (and not necessarily the norm) that a student meet all the requirements of graduation. 
Like Erin, Eliza's speech started out with quite a few tears. Tears from the speaker, the graduate, and over half of the adult audience in attendance.

After Eliza's heartfelt speech Chris introduced our guest speaker, and the only remaining member of our teaching staff, Barbara Ulroan.  Barbara was a graduate of Qugcuun Memorial having graduating in Oscarville in 1996 before attending UAF mostly through audio conference in Bethel, AK. By the time she finished getting her teaching credential she also was married and had two kids. She moved to the village of Atmautluk before moving back to Oscarville to teach in 2005. She teaches the Elementary School here.

Since her move to Oscarville she has had her third child. An energetic, strong willed, girl named AnnaLayne. Can you spot her in this picture on the left taken in the middle of Barbara's speech?


Oh, and just because we're on the subject... here's another picture I snapped of AnnaLayne and Erin after the graduation ceremony was over.

After Barbara spoke, our valedictorian of the senior class spoke.   Bunna's speech spoke briefly on her struggles in school and then highlighted some of the reading she has enjoyed and some of her favorite papers she has written.  She offered to the younger students her opinion as to the importance of sticking it out in school and making your dreams come true.  For someone who has never seen a peer graduate, never had to really write anything like this, it was a pretty good speech. I am ridiculously pleased in our graduate.
After Bunna's speech, Chris, our Site Administrator, gave the short but important Principal's  Address. Effectively wrapping up the ceremony. Nothing left after that but the traditional stuff that concludes all graduations.

And just in case you haven't had enough yet... here are some other random pictures taken from the day's festivities.

And for our final two pictures... 
here we have the entire Oscarville Staff along side the honorees. 

the crew I gush about far too often... 
the entire Oscarville Jr. High... 

P.S. One member of our household was noticeably unhappy with all of this time we have been spending away from home.

P.P.S. Before you feel too sorry for her, Macy was able to come to the slumber party that took place the following evening. Does this really look like a dog deprived of attention?