Saturday, September 17, 2016

Schooled!: Things of Note

Just giving you a peek of what life has been like at work:

Right before classes started, the teachers had a nice little art workshop together. I took home a few cards from a watercolor exercise and used it to cover my work notebook, where I jot down random things. The school hosts many talks, workshops, even yoga classes, mostly for free. This is something very striking that I found about my new place of work. It's a school that values the personal development (and well-being) of the teachers just as much as it does for the students, and that's saying a lot, because I find that it cares much, much more about the kids than most schools I've come across in my life.

Birthdays are a big thing in Kindergarten. Here is the very first birthday wreath I've ever made, for a four-year-old. I try to pattern them according to the celebrant's age.

Hi Mom (one hand set-up ftw \m/ i'm holding the ball in my elbow-pit)
Aside from ~homemakin~, Kindergarten in my school requires a lottt of crafting! 
*palpability of excitement is OVER 9000*
We make toys for open-ended play, decorative crafts, puppets and props for story time, etc! I'm learning the very basics of crochet and knitting for now, but one night I was feeling ambitious and took on a SNOWFLAKE!

wet + stretch technique for taut and alive isnofleks

It was a success, but of course I don't remember how to do it anymore. I can only do it while watching the video. huahuahua. (Which I wanna do soon because CHRISTMAS!)

I also made a very simple (and admittedly very cartoony) but cute monkey for a puppet show we had recently and that was super rewarding:

Ooh-ooh, cuute!
I may have always thought of myself as someone who was crafty and creative or whatever, but it's dawned on me often that although I have many creative ideas, I rarely am able to finish actual work, and this job really allows me to practice more, because somehow, being tasked to finish work, or to create output puts less pressure on making the work perfect, because it's less ~personal~, and it just needs to fit certain requirements that are specified. And in turn, being used to making more work also makes even the more personal work easier, because I'm already in the practice of Doing rather than Overthinking. It's really nice.

But aside from finish-able projects, there is also plenty of room for free playing, and not just for the kids! I also find myself playing around a lot more, and getting back in touch with what doing things for fun is like. Often in my adult life, I've found myself stuck in having to make everything I create mean something, or serve a purpose. There wasn't much free energy flowing outward from me, and I feel like it coagulated somehow and corked my energy in, even when I actually needed it. But my job somehow unstuck me from that somewhat! It put the focus out of my head and into my hands. It strengthens what I believe they refer to as my "Will".

None Some of Your Beeswax
Some of free-playing can be very soothing. There's an activity that our main teacher uses to calm the kids down if we have time before Story Time - everyone gets a ball of beeswax and just molds it into whatever. Beeswax, if you don't already know, isn't exactly as soft as play-dough. You have to be both slower and but more deliberate with it. It's done to make the kid's fingers stronger and to sort of herd their energies inwards rather than outwards. It helps them sit down and focus.

ma lidol ocdapus
The toys in the classroom are mostly wood, rope, cloth, and metal. Raaaaaaaaaarely plastic, and little paint. It makes the children's play-world less bright and deafening. The textures are tame and more like nature. And dolls are used to encourage empathy and gentleness.

The kids love tying things together with rope, building structures like houses, shops, and cars. Big ones, with chairs and some wooden skeletal components, often using colorful cloth for walls and roofs (more like pretty canopies). One time we even found them with an island kitchen layout, while one of the girls recreated my story table of The Three Little Pigs, and performed it super well, too! We thought it was reminiscent of our school café!

Early in the mornings, they only play with the "small toys" and during that time, they learn how to share, to borrow, to negotiate with train cars, train tracks, blocks, et cetera (with varying results). I think social manners are so important to establish early on for balanced and confident people (being someone who was super awkward and shy for most of my life), and it's really nice that the school puts that forward. Here is a "car parking building" the kids made next to a train track:

I'm really happy to find myself in a job where I really feel like I'm helping people. And on a more selfish level, a job where I'm not encouraged to put the job before my sanity or health, and where in fact I am encouraged to take care of those things. I remember being told during my interview that I "need to sleep enough for this job"... I came from a call center, so hearing that was as touching as it was confusing for me. They actually care about you (?!!?!?), not just what you can do for them.

I'm putting this picture of our daily fruit box because it's cute. And because I love that they encourage children to love fruit.

The school really feels like a community to me, and I didn't expect it to come to us this way, but that's exactly what Beardy and I wanted to have just a year ago, aside from a place of our own. We wanted to find our own community, with people who were a little more like us. 

This picture is special to me, I made vegan patties, lemonade, and a vegetarian potato salad for a birthday I co-prepped with my co-assistant teacher!! ♥

I'm glad that it's happening to a certain extent, and I just hope it gets even better from here. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Life Update: Teacher Sophie?!


I can't believe a full five months have passed since I was last here! What happened?! *shock emoji*

Well, a couple of things:

  • Beardy and I moved out of my family home and into a nice little studio apartment nearby (so I get to go home a lot to see Sansa! haha) and we're loving it here.
  • He and I got a job in an awesome school in the area (such a relief not having to commute to Manila for work!) And he still has his position from last year, so he currently teaches in two schools on alternate week days, while I have a full time job as a PRESCHOOL TEACHER!!!

I finally get to check that one off of my list of "dream jobs" :) The kids call me Teacher Sofie (Sofia is one of my birth names, while the nickname I've gone by since I was a baby actually isn't? Just a name my mom really liked), and often it's spelled with a "ph" by my colleagues, which I oddly prefer now. The kids can't really tell because they aren't at the age yet where they're taught to spell. Because it's a progressive school! A wonderful progressive school that prioritises the wellbeing and freedom of the younglings over ticking off checklists and getting ahead in terms of academics. Which sounded great to me.. and it is!!!

Anyway, I have a lot of good things to say about the school and I will in a seperate post, probably. For now, I just want to do a little update about things that happened in the past months while I've been gone:

We settled in! Moved our stuff in, bought a pan and a pot, color coordinated a lot (mostly green and blue for everything with minimal additions of red/purple!) and arranged stuff the best way we can in our tiny home. I love calling it tiny home, especially cos I recently started watching a lot of minimalism/minimal living type of videos around the time we moved. We aren't exactly living in a trailer in a forest with minimal electricity; in fact I think we're living quite comfily since we have a common pool outside and we use a/c, but it helped me a lot in acquiring less stuff, owning more mindfully, and detaching from my possessions.

This isn't our house, just the view out our window. It's a tiny room but with a BIG VIEW and that's a nice metaphor about our life right now I guess haha.

But that doesn't mean though that I live in a space that's dull! I still like creating small spaces of interest in the room. But the things I use are usually cheap, recycled, and/or multipurpose. This noteboard on the fridge came from the bottom of a cake box. Can you see the faces Beardy drew on the dino magnets? Hehehehe

Beardy's 26th Birthday!! We had a simple yet special one since it's our first on our own. Just a nice home-cooked meal (greek chicken and veg, tzatziki, tapenade, pan fried pita bread -all from scratch!-, and fresh Moroccan mint tea!) and his favorite Purple Oven brownies :)

Paradores Del Castillo in Taal has such an adorable turquoise/aqua motif!!!
Ihaw Boodle meal at Don Juan Boodle House
Last month, Beardy's family visited us again!!! But this time, it was for two whole weeks!!! It was super nice, even though Beardy and I still had to go to work. We did get to go away for a whole weekend together, it was to Taal and Anilao, Batangas. The weather did not let up, but neither did our spirits! We made up for the bad weather and power outages with boardgames and whatnot. It was such a nice thing to be with them so often, and they were so game for everything! We often would squish ourselves inside a single tricycle to go out for dinner haha. I miss them already.

Eagle Point. We didn't get to swim in the ocean though, just the pool. But we stared at it a lot. The waves were crazy but beautiful haha.
 We also had a nice lunch at Angelfields with my family one day and that was also nice because we were all complete and it's such a beautiful place!

I sadly only managed to take a picture of the tarragon tea. haha! But isn't it pretty? I had soup and a sandwich.
Edit: I forgot to add three events!!!:

1. Beardy and I also had our 70th monthsary! Isn't it crazy how fast time flies? We had dinner at Ziggurat. Cos it's our fave, and it's just downstairs.

(Fun fact: Ziggurat follows us around. When we stayed in makati for 10 days, we were looking for a good restaurant nearby and found out that the #1 Tripadvisor restaurant was just a short walk away from the AirBnb we booked. Then when we moved in this apartment, we noticed there was one downstairs! Whuuut. Too lucky.)

2. My aunt had her 60th bday this month! And our family had a bowling tournament. It was really fun, we don't usually actually do things for parties other than eat, drink and sit around so that was a really nice change. Hope we do more fun stuff from now on! ♥

Some pics from my tita Del's FB:

3. Also, our old neighbors/childhood friends from Alabang came by our house!! It's been YEARS since we were last together! The kuyas of the group live in Vegas now and they visited because their grandma (who we all call Nanay) passed away.

This was us in 1992:

And 24 whole years later!!!!:

Lastly, but very important!!!! Carmen and Aizel FIIIINALLY got to see our new place! Pia still hasn't due to BPO scheduling (huhu) but it was so cool to have them over. We had rumcokes and chats up on the roof while families flew kites, enjoyed the view, and I cooked them dinner! We had a bit of a giggle about how adult it seemed to host a dinner for your friends at your own place. It felt really cool but also made us feel really old haha! We all have new jobs right now and it just felt like a nice stopover before starting a looong road trip in our lives. They're both in Makati but I really hope we get to do it again really soon. With Pia.

So that's more or less my life right now. Just trying to make it work. The first few months have been very draining energy-wise and thus I didn't get to keep up with Youtube and this blog, but as I get more of a hang of my new job I imagine to be able to juggle it with my other interests on the side! Soon I'll be practicing guitar again, I'll certainly be on here more, and who knows, maybe I'll get to upload videos on Youtube again. I DON'T KNOW!! Isn't that great!! The world is so big and full of possibilities.