Hey there friends. I started this mission this morning complete with taking pictures and writing down times and activities... then somewhere around 10:30 I lost track of the details :) But, here is what my day looked like today.
6:05- Wake up, but press snooze
6:25- Finally get out of bed and get ready for school
6:50- Get picked up for school by Auntie Jenny who works in the office. I used to walk to school until about November, then rainy season started and Auntie Jenny offered to pick me up since I am on her route to school. Rainy season is LONG over, but she has been so kind to keep picking me up every morning.
7:00- Arrive to school.
7:10- Eat breakfast with Teacher Ginny and Teacher Leong. They are so sweet to alway feed me!
7:15- Children start to arrive, walking in and greeting every teacher in the classroom. So this morning, "Good morning Teacher Ginny, good morning Teacher Leong, good morning Teacher Sarah." Children are dropped off and come straight to the classroom, so they play with toys until the day starts.
7:45- The bell rings, children still gathering.
8:00- Tidy up the toys and take a water break. It is so important to keep kids hydrated here, I mean, it is somewhere around 8789 degrees. All the kids come to school with a water bottle and we take breaks throughout the day to make sure they stay hydrated and healthy!
8:10- Go to the toilet and line up for singing time
8:15- Singing time. Recently, we have been practicing for the upcoming Praise Songs competition. Each class has a song they are learning and will have a school-wide competition in a few weeks. Teacher Ginny's class is singing "The B-I-B-L-E"!
9:00- Today we had a birthday! The family of the birthday girl, Chloe came to school with a cake and treat bags for the children, so we sang "happy birthday", ate cake, and took pictures!
9:45- A nurse came to fetch the children of Love 1 to get their teeth checked. I'll explain, because this is not an ordinary kindergarten activity :) The local hospital provides free teeth checks, cleanings, and I think fillings once a year. So today, I accompanied 7 of our kids to get their teeth checked out. They were so good! Hopefully they couldn't sense my fear of the dentist... I tried to keep it positive. The hospital came and converted our "TV Time" room into a small clinic and had chairs set up to see the children. Once we were finished, we thanked our new friends for cleaning our teeth and headed back to the classroom.
10:50- Caught the 7 kids up on the work they missed while they were being brave tooth warriors... this included coloring and pre-writing activities.
11:10- Took some pictures for mother's day and practiced our mother's day song! (Apparently mother's day is international... or at least observed in Malaysia)
11:35- Packed up, final toilet break, and sang the "goodbye song".
11:45- Bell rings, and parents pick up their children.
12:30- Arrive at Cheshire Home and eat lunch.
1:00- Malay and English class. The group I have been teaching is a part of Cheshire Home's economic empowerment program. We are partnered with Asian Tourism International College to offer a pastry skills certification course to adults with disabilities and single mothers, giving them a skill so that they can be employed in society. It is a really fantastic program. This batch all has hearing disabilities, so they have been wonderful enough to teach me some sign language and all around come up with fun ways to communicate. Today, we had our final assessment since I am leaving. From what I saw on the English papers, they did great! After they all finished, we took a final group photo :(
2:00- Kunie, the most wonderful driver at Cheshire Home was kind enough to take me to run a few errands. I needed to get pictures printed for my children at school and for the bakery students I've been working with, so we drove all around Damai and found a photo printing place (that is located inside a garden shop... no wonder it was hard to find). I then picked up some milk and butter to make cookies with Mrs. Soong's granddaughters tonight.
3:00- Returned to Cheshire, cleaned out my drawers at work, helped draft and edit a letter and presentation.
4:00- Go out into the main living space of Cheshire to help with the patchwork. The staff has an ongoing project of a patchwork quilt. I have gotten to help with it some this year, and it is always a really good time to bond with the staff and residents who are around.
4:45- Go home. Kunie, the wonderful driver of Cheshire Home, drives me home each afternoon.
5:00- Walk down to the shops from my house to see if they have envelopes at the store that sells stationary. Unfortunately, it was closed. However, the trip wasn't a total loss. I stopped at the produce shop that is owned by the mother of one of our day care residents at Cheshire to see if they had any papaya slices, but they didn't. However, I got some watermelon, and she didn't make me pay. So sweet! So I walked home snacking on my free watermelon, and listening to the sounds of pianos and violins practicing from house to house. As I walked up to my house, I heard "Hey Teacher Sarah!!" from Jason who lives across the street. Jason was my student last year.
The rest of the day, I will make cookies with Mrs. Soong's granddaughters, eat porridge that Mrs. Soong made for dinner, and spend time with this wonderful family. Then, I'll probably be up late working on notes, packing and checking other last minute things off my list. This place is so wonderful. I can't believe I'm leaving so soon and leaving this place that feels so normal now, so much like home.
This daily life has taught me a lot, challenged me more than I expected, and made me so thankful for the people and places God has lead me to. Prayers for closing goodbyes and celebrations in the next few days. Lots and lots of love from Malaysia.