29 September 2010

I smell fall!

Yes, I do indeed smell fall! Cooler weather has finally blessed south Georgia and I could not be happier! To celebrate I've thrown all the windows open (those that will actually open...some are painted shut...), gone running at 1:30 PM and didn't die of heat exhaustion, and spend my evening hours outside! It's been a glorious week, even though Brian's in the field! This week he's gone all week-left Monday morning and back late Friday night. They have to clean weapons and turn them in before they're released...once they did this and didn't get home until 10:30 on a Friday night--hoping this time it'll be a little earlier.

So. I feel like I have a lot to recap, and I can't quite remember where I left off...Well most recently, we ventured back to Starkville this past weekend to see our Bulldogs BEAT Georgia! We really enjoyed the game, especially because our dear friend Paul let us sit with him in seats that have chairbacks, which really making sitting on bleachers waaay more comfortable. We spent the weekend hanging out with our brothers and friends and tailgating, which was a lot of fun! We stayed with the Coopers from FPC, and had so much fun--I love staying with them! Their house is on a pond and we spent a good bit of Saturday morning eating breakfast outside and enjoying the cool and peaceful morning! We headed back Sunday and it was raining-FINALLY! We were so thankful for it; I don't think it's rained here since August! Which, I love sunshine but things were starting to get pretty dry...which leads to fires. Brian and his company have started many fires while they're out in the field...some from hot weapons or ammo, sometimes flares...basically, they've put out a lot of fires recently!

Also recently I've begun teaching my own ESL class. Our beginner class got to be too big (16 people!) so we split them up. I started teaching on my own on Monday and I'm really enjoying it. In my class I have about 6 Hispanic women, a lady from the Congo (Africa!), and a sweet boy who's Clay's age from China. All in all we have a really good time! They are such an easy bunch to teach; I have to think through how to present things to them, but they are so motivated and stay on task-a teacher's dream! I think they think I'm a little crazy, but that's expected...I mean, aren't all foreign language teachers just a little crazy?...Reflect on your high school foreign language teacher and get back to me. Because I remember at least one crazy one...but it was fun!

I also got some good news last week: I have officially (after 6-7 weeks of waiting...) been offered a job as...a substitute teacher on post! Haha I know-super exciting, but hey, at least it generates some mula! Although, I would've never thought becoming a substitute teacher would be such a long process...the application was ridiculous (resume, references, transcript, among other forms...) but now I have, literally, about 50 pages of federal/state forms to fill out. Oh the joys of being employed by the government! I hooked up the laserjet printer because I realized how much ink this was going to expend! I'm about to fill out a "Questionnaire for Public Trust Positions" packet. Yes packet--it's about 12 pages long. Crazy! After I finish all the paperwork I have to have a background check done and then I should be good to go-whew! Good news is: once I'm in the system, I'm in...so I won't have to do this all again when we move! Otherwise I'd be making copies...

Other than that, class has been going really well as well as life in general. I've been hanging out with the girls quite a bit; last night we went downtown for dinner and trivia, and we won! I wasn't much help, but I'm going to blame that on the fact that the topic areas weren't my forte: alcohol was one of the themes and apparently every week there is a token Star Wars question. I knew I should've watched those when I was younger...too bad I can't phone a friend! Dad, Allen: I'd be calling you! Thankfully some of the other girls know their Star Wars trivia and we got that question correct :)

Brian is almost done with IBOLC, which I cannot believe! 3 more weeks and we're done! Also heading to Baltimore in 16 days according to the official email from the race officials for the half-marathon and to see Katie, Sarah, and Lydia...totally not ready for the half, but hey, we're just running for fun, right?

Oh my goodness I almost forgot something! Last week the other IBOLC wives and I hosted a coffee, which is like a small social. Our theme was "tailgate", so we all wore our team colors! Except I was the referee :) I was the designated "speaker" for our group, so I thanked the hostess (a general's wife--she let us use her house since it's so much bigger (and nicer) than any of ours!) and the other wives, so I thought I'd be "non-partisan" in my attire...haha! But my cowbells were decorations, so the MSU presence was known. Some of the senior officer wives thought they were hilarious and kept ringing them throughout the night-it was funny! We got to socialize with the senior wives and we got a lot of advice from them. We were supposed to be done around 8....well, all of the senior wives left except the general's wife (whose house we were in) and the two wives of our battalion and company....we ended up staying over there until 10 PM! The general even came in and let us rack his brain with questions about how to deal with our soldier-husbands concerning deployments, change, and other Army-related issues. They were so incredible and such an amazing couple-a wonderful role model for all of us! I could not believe they let us stay so late! They gave us a lot of great ideas about how be a supportive spouse as well as a list of books that they've found helpful over the years--I could've stayed for another 2 hours! We finally decided it was time for us to leave, and as we were cleaning up, their daughter and I went to dump out a bucketful of ice and their dog got out! Annnd it did not come back before we left...we even shook the treat box! Their daughter assured me that the dog did this all the time, but I hope he finally made it back...Way to go Rebecca--lose the general's dog...I've been keeping my eye out for him, just in case...

Well I think that's all for now! Hope everyone is doing great!

16 September 2010

Habla ingles?

Hello bloggity blog world! Hope life is finding everyone well this beautiful Thursday! It's amazing to me how much my mood can change when I walk outside...it is just gorgeous here today! We've had some really refreshing mornings recently (which has been great running-wise), but the afternoons keep reaching sweltering temperatures. But today...ooooh today is glorious! So, needless to say, I'm a pretty happy camper. Plus I've been in the presence of some really awesome people who uplift me and that has helped my mood greatly! These "people" include my friend Hannah and all of our ESL students! We started teaching this week; Hannah's with the intermediate class, and I'm with the beginners. We each have a co-leader, but mine is not teaching on Thursdays so I get the class to myself, which I really enjoyed! It lets me be creative with my lessons and my students, which I love! The women in my class are all incredibly sweet; I was a little intimidated to be teaching adults, but I actually really like it! They're easy to get on task and I don't have to discipline-ha! They're also eager to learn because they have a lot of life situations where they need to be able to speak English, and I love, love, love, LOVE helping them to learn more English so that they can be successful in these situations! I tell you, this is a rewarding job, and I've only been there twice! The other week I had to help a woman translate a field trip permission slip-she knew what it was, but she couldn't figure out how to fill it out. I love giving them helpful tools and vocabulary to aid them in learning not only the English language but also our culture. For example, today we tried to explain tailgating...yeah, that didn't go over so well! As well as explain that there was really no equivalent to "Viva Mexico/Espana/whatever country!". "Go America!" just sounds cheesy. haha!

So I'm currently on a high after this morning. There are some challenges but having Hannah there really helps--we can talk it through on our drive to and from class, so that is wonderful for both of us! The director and some of the teachers teach with some old-fashioned methods, and Hannah and I are itching to be able to use some of our new-fangled ones that we think are a bit more effective. So, we would love some prayer for patience, respect, and insight, as well as humility...these women have taught ESL on and off for quite a few years, so I'm sure we can learn something from them while still infusing our own "flavor".

This week Brian is in the field again. This whole field-business is starting to get a little old. I got pretty lonely (and a little self-pitious...) the other night, but we're doing better now. The Lord is reminding me that He is my all--my support, my encouragement, my best friend, my Provider-everything. I've really been missing home, friends, and family this week, so I'm anxious for Brian to get back so I can have a little bit of normal in my life! All of these new things are so exciting and I've been able to make some great friends, but we're still in the learning process about each other, which is great! But sometimes I dearly miss the familiarity of people who will sit on the couch with me, eat ice cream out of the carton, watch cheesy chick-flicks, and pass the whole night talking! All that said, I am so thankful for my friends here-the Lord has been so good to both me and Brian in the "friend department" and I am so grateful for all of them and how quickly we've gotten to be close. Just part of the growing up process, I guess...it's a little painful, but I'm sure there's a purpose! And there's always reunions, such as the upcoming one in Baltimore! I'm behind on my half-marathon mileage, but that's ok...it's for fun, right?...

Other news...well, college football Saturday started off with a bang at the Page household. I watched our game last week (ahhh it was so antagonizing!) and then Brian celebrated being out of the field with a full day of football! I went to a concert with Dana, Stuart (her husband), and Dana's mom, who's in town. It was an outdoor concert (my favorite kind!) and it was a perfect night. We had a lot of fun watching the privates hoot and holler over Laura Bell Bundy; she was crazy! But she was a really good/funny performer, and she knew how to work the crowd. Needless to say, we laughed a lot! Her album is called "Achin' and Shakin'", so half her songs were more melancholy while the other half were...shakin'! And she danced the whole night away...once she even tap danced while she sang! After I got back, Brian had called a few guys and had them come over; I had made a big pot of chili for them as well as the Wardens' favorite rice crispie treat...peanut butter rice crispies with melted chocolate chips on top...yum. Gran used to make it for us all the time-we love it! Some of the guys felt like they needed to bring something over since they were going to be "guests" in our house. What did they bring? Beer (of course), as well as coffee and Dunkin' Donuts. Ha! Well, everything got eaten, so I guess they thought it was a great combo!

Brian and I are headed to Fort Rucker this weekend to see Allen and Lindsay as well as Matt and Leigh-we're really excited about it! We're going to watch the MSU v. LSU game and just hang out--should be lots of fun! Friday night Brian and I are going to meet Emily and her friends in Opelika for dinner; they're coming down for the Auburn v. Clemson game which is in Auburn this year. I can't wait to see her! And meet all of her crazy friends...they have some pretty epic times up at Clemson!

As far as news concerning Brian, well, he's in the field. And his PT clothes still stink. haha! They go directly from PT to the washer; I usually wash them immediately! If I don't, the whole house smells...I don't know what they're doing in the field this week; probably more live fires and playing Army, if I had to guess! We're getting close to Brian being done with this training, which I CANNOT BELIEVE! I feel like yesterday we were in week 3, and the end felt so far away. Now, we're about 5 weeks out! Crazy how time flies! And it's only going to go faster; almost every weekend this month and in October has something that we're doing or somewhere that we're going! We're trying to take advantage of the fact that we still live close to friends/family, since El Paso is going to be...really. far. away. When we went to Starkville, I used the atlas to measure distances from El Paso to places that we'd want to go...let's just say it was depressing, and you should just come to us...Hey, it's a new terrain! Skiing! Grand Canyon! Could be awesome! :)

Well think that's about it for now...Hope everyone is doing great! Love and miss you all!

09 September 2010

A Day in the Life of a Dawg

Whew! It's been a long time since an update...very sorry! Life has been sort of crazy these past few weeks. Let's see...started my class at Auburn (it's going well), Brian was in garrison for 2 weeks (hooray!), my "job" started, we went to a Braves game again and to Starkville, among various other outings! So yes, life's been pretty good here at Benning! To begin...Brian was in garrison the past two weeks, which means he went to class for the day, and then came home every night! Super exciting. They got off pretty early some of the days too so Brian and I took advantage of having more time together. We mostly lazed around, but at least he was home! But this week we're back to normal...after our lovely holiday weekend, Brian went to PT Tuesday morning, which went late, rushed home, showered, changed clothes, and was out the door and won't see him again til Friday night. This week their learning about Urban Ops, setting up a patrol base at night, and doing a live fire. Urban Ops: Not totally sure, but pretty confident it has to do with urban warfare. Patrol base: Brian explained this one to me. It's a base you set up when you're out on patrol and cannot make it back to the FOB (forward operating base). It's got a pretty rigid schedule of what has to be done, and someone has to be up at all times pulling security...AKA, making sure the bad guys don't find them/overrun their camp for the night. It's a lot of rotations through weapons cleaning/maitenance, eating, "hygiene" (which equals changing your socks and "taking a shower" with a baby wipe or two...), and sleeping--well, in 1 hour increments. No thanks. So I'm betting on him being pretty tired when he gets home tomorrow!

Brian and I trekked to Atlanta two weeks ago to go to another Braves game, but this time with his parents and grandparents! Sorry, I managed to not take any pictures somehow...but we had fun! Brian and I were a little more saavy this time and packed a cooler with our own food. And of course, the Braves won!

Next on the list was another Ranger graduation, except this time I took pictures! If you ever come on a day when they're having one of these, we'll go--they're fun, and educational too!

To begin, you get a little background on the Rangers, where they were formed, and some of the major battles they've led (Normandy, for example). Then we go onto a rappeling demonstration. Brian will learn a lot of these tactics when he's in Ranger School!

This guy is hauling himself up the wall...wanted you to see how tall it was!

Next, we get a demo of C-4, which is an explosive! They blow up a building back here.

This is some type of rigging system that's used to haul things up a wall/rockface. They pulled some people up while we were there. (Soldiers, no civilians...ha!)

Ok, this is called an Australian, or Aussie, rappel, and it is TERRIFYING! I should've taken a video of it, but this man comes flying, face forward, off the top of the platform and starts to fly/run down the wall. It is so scary! Then he "shoots" at us with a gun. You know, gotta make it realistic...

Up you go!

So this is pretty awesome. They demonstrate how they can drop in/pick up soldiers into a combat zone. So first, the soldiers rappel out of this Blackhawk (thank you, Allen :) helicopter.

Next, they are picked up by a helicopter and they attach themselves to a rope. Then, the helicopter flies away, carrying their bodies hanging from a rope outside of the 'bird! It's insane! I have a picture but it won't cooperate, so I'll upload it later!

Next Demo: Squad Tactics
This is what a squad looks like; when Brian takes command over a platoon (~30-40 people) at Fort Bliss, it'll be comprised of two squads-A and B.

Next, a Ranger climbs up to this platform, which is about 1 ft. wide. He must run/walk over it, jump over that yellow Ranger block in the middle, then jump onto a rope, shimmy across, touch a Ranger tab, and then ask for permission to drop into the water. This is something Brian will have to do one of the first days he's in Ranger school!
So here's this boy running. Yep, he almost fell after he tried to be macho and jump over the yellow blocks. I think I would have great success with this...hurdle form :)

Shimmying across the rope...Once they touch the Ranger tab, they have to drop their legs and hang, and say "Permission to drop sir!"

Once permission has been granted (and they usually let him hang for a few seconds, for our enjoyment...), he drops into the water!

While dropping, he screams "Rangers lead the way!"

We had a few other demos, such as combatives and various weapons. This one is a wire that is made for decapitating someone, such as this lovely watermelon.

Whoops forgot the combatives pictures. Well, they weren't too interesting-just guys beating up on each other. Usually the loser (pictured below), gets dumped into the water. May I remind you that they do these demonstrations year-round....can you imagine being dropped into that water in January?!

Well that's all for Ranger Graduation...onto Starkville! One thing I love about the Army...on national holidays, we get not only the holiday off, but we also get a "training holiday", so we get a 4 day weekend! I'd say it's usually well deserved! So we headed to Starkville Thursday afternoon and we stayed with AC in her adorable new house! Brian wore his uniform so AC was trying parts of it on...ha!

Second Lieutenant English:
Ok, so my weekend was full of 'dawgs and real DOGS! AC and Jesse got a yellow lab...meet Maggie! She's so fun!

Friday Brian and I spent the day visiting friends and eating our favorite Starkville cuisine (Mexican food...delicious). I had breakfast with Erin at City Bagel, of course, and then AC and I went over to the Sherrards for some good quality playtime with the boys! Thankfully, Joseph still remembers who I am and we had a blast playing sports, trains, and reading--I miss them so much! And baby James is growing so much! Joseph had lots of play-plans for us, so I didn't get to see baby James too much...was too busy chasing a 2 year old around! I don't know how they do it full-time!
Friday night we went to dinner at Old Waverly (a fancy golf course in West Point) with Lindsay, Clay, and Lindsay's family. We had such a wonderful meal and it was great to catch up with her family!

Here we are again at City Bagel Saturday morning! Ha I love this place!

The girls at Anna CLEMMER'S tailgate! Yes, I know I'm not wearing white, and it was a white-out game. Here's why: A) I thought a white-out was stupid for the first game. I wanted to wear school colors! B) I really wanted a new MSU t-shirt (haven't bought one since freshman year!), and I wanted it to be charcoal gray. So yes, I rebelled. But so did Brian. He wore maroon...


Showing off their sweet tats...

Me and Linds!...and John :)

We found Stacey!

Ok, so the white out did look pretty cool. Whoops. We had tickets for the upper deck on the west side (where this picture is taken from), but some of Stacey's family friends had 50 yd. line tickets that they didn't need, and gave them to us! How awesome is that?! We sat about 30 rows up from the field-amazing! Erin sat with me and Brian and we even had chairbacks so we were super comfortable...thank you to the Brown family!
All the white you see to the left side of the stadium is the student section...AKA, the last part of the stadium to get any shade!

I've been trying to get a good picture of this for years...guess it takes sitting on the opposite side!
Ah how cute is this?! Leigh's sister got a baby bulldog! Her name is Izzy and she's 8 weeks old. Isn't she precious?!

Proof: Brian can hold a "baby".

Out on the town!

Friends! Leigh don't hate me...it's your husband's fault!

Sunday, Jon (our first college minister) got ordained at First Pres! It was a crazy fun weekend in Starkville! I was so glad we were able to be there for it! This is some of the old FPC crew!

They had a lunch honoring Jon and Bib after church--it was so fun to see all these people I've been missing!

Whew! All in all a wonderful weekend, although I now have a cold due to staying up waaay too late with friends and getting no sleep while going 90 miles an hour all weekend! It was pretty sad leaving Starkville; I think Brian and I have been in denial about our new life...ha! We both keep thinking we're going back to State for classes "in the fall" (I know, classes have already started...), but this weekend was a sore reminder that A) we aren't students there any more, and B) that we don't even LIVE there any more. So yes, I cried. Of course. But it was a very happy reunion of friends and I can't wait to do it again in a few weeks for the Georgia game.
Hannah and I started our "job" as ESL teachers today! We gave the diagnostic test of several of our Hispanic friends/students, and we start teaching on Monday-we're excited! I've also been going to a Bible study with them on Wednesdays which has been a lot of fun...lots of talking and fellowship plus Spanish practice!
Well that's all for now...thanks for sticking through this epically long post! Just for you Em :)