The sun rose high above the trees, and the birds were singing over me. But beneath my feet, I felt the sting that was the earth remembering. Lay down, lay down your weapons boy. Right now, right now, you should’ve changed the world. Under it all, you’re not so tough. Everyone just wants to fall in love.

It’s been way too long since I wrote one of these. Maybe because after having the best four months of my life, everything else just seems so frivolous compared to it. But, after looking back on my first month of school, I’m really starting to realize the value in what has been happening.

I went back and reread the last post I wrote in here, it was when I had my interview! HA Little did I know I would get the job. I know I’m a lucky person, but I think blessed is a better word. I am incredibly blessed. I’ve had to work hard for things, but my hard work usually reeps benefits, which I know is more than many can say.

Teaching has been so wonderful. I have 19 kids, and they are all so great. I can really see God in each of them. Whether it’s when they’re hugging me, or yelling out compliments in class, or dancing with me, or telling me what they learned that day, I grow so much from being with them. There is a little boy in my class that loves me no matter what, and he lets me know that. If I’m teaching, and he is distracted, yelling out, talking to his friends, etc, I will call him out on it, and the other day when I said “SIT DOWN!” He just looked at me and smiled and said “Miss Doyle is AWESOME!” WHY is that his reaction to my scolding? I’ll never know.. but I do know that he keeps me grounded, and patient.

These kids make me WANT to put in the time to make their day fun, they make me want to be a better teacher everyday. I’m so lucky to have them.

In closing, I’ll give the top five moments of the year, so far. (I can’t give too many, I’d like to put them in a book someday.. haha)

1. One day a boy raised his hand and asked, “Miss Doyle, do you have a bank account?” When I replied, “Yes.” He said, “HEY! Where are you getting the money? Do you have a job?”

2. I asked the kids on a Friday, “Do you know what T.G.I.F. stands for?” One student raised his hand and said, “George Washington Saint Francis?” In that case.. I just starred and said.. “Does anyone else have a guess?” (I had to move on quickly before I burst into laughter.)

3. On the first day of school, I asked the students to share one thing about themselves. One student told me they had three brothers and one sister, another told me her favorite color was pink.. This particular student told me that “I have the blood of Germans and Italians.” WOW, REALLY?

4. During Spanish class, the Spanish teacher was trying to get the students to listen, so she asked everyone to “escuchen” and when she kept repeating it, a little girl was just banging herself into her desk. The Spanish teacher asked her to stop, and she said “But you told me to SCOOT IN.”

5. This last one isn’t really a story, I just thought it was funny. I asked the kids to draw their own “Eric Carle” version of a squirrel. This little boy turned his in with a name attached. “This is my squirrel, ‘Lil Wane’ “

Again, I have the best job in the world. :)

Song of the week. “You don’t know me” By Regina Spektor and Ben Folds

"The sun is still shining, even behind the clouds."

With graduation, moving back home, coming home from Europe, and job hunting going on, I feel like everything has been nonstop.

At the same time, it is definitely different not teaching everyday, and going to a different country every weekend. Being sad about everything being over is a good sign though.. it means that I had such a good time, and enjoyed myself so much that I’m sad to see it go. So, I’m appreciative that I enjoyed it so much.

I had my first interview this week, that was scary. But, the interviewer asked me a question that really had me thinking ever since then. She asked me, “How important is it that you are the best?” The whole time I am being interviewed, it’s hard for me to decide whether I’m giving the answer I think she wants to hear, or if I’m giving the answer I truly think. And, in this instance, I answered it honestly. I don’t care if I’m the best, as long as I feel like I’m doing my best. Do I always feel like I’m doing my best..? No. But I think if I’m constantly trying to do my best, that’s the… best (for lack of a better word) I can do.

Today I went to Roncalli’s Senior mass, and I was reminded why I loved high school so much. Our principal said that it is important to stop comparing ourselves to others, and even more important to simply compare ourselves to the best version of ourself. It made so much sense, like a light bulb going off. I am constantly looking around me to see who has a job already, who is off doing “better” things, who is prettier, who has more friends, but in reality, I should be looking at myself, deciding what I could be doing to be the best version of me.

So while I don’t have a job, that’s what I’ll be “working” on. :)

Song of the day? Good Arms vs. Bad Arms by Frightened Rabbit :)

"I never realized how much I like being home, until I’ve been somewhere really different for a while." -Juno

WELL. Last blog while studying abroad..

We went to London this weekend. We had it planned a while back, and did not put two and two together to realize it was the royal wedding weekend. I was a little worried it would be crowded, but we made it there during the evening of the wedding day, so it worked out just fine. The crowds had died down by then.

While I was there I realized that one pound is two dollars.. talk about a buzz kill. haha, but really..

On the first day, we walked to Buckingham Palace, St. Jame’s Palace, we saw the changing of the guards, and went out to the bars in a place called “Piccadilly Circus.” It’s basically the “town center.”

The next day, Kristen and Emma left, and Liz and I stayed in London one more day. I tried learning how to read a map, and succeeded later.. haha.. We went to the National Gallery which is a museum of paintings. It was really nice! After the National Gallery, we went to the London Eye, which was awesome. It wasn’t really like a ferris wheel because each section had about 20 people in it. But, the ride was 30 minutes and we got to see all of London from way up high. We saw Big Ben, Parliament, and I could see St. Paul’s Cathedral from up there as well. After the Eye, we went to Madame Tussaud’s wax museum.. REALLY COOL. It was worth the money, which was nice to find out. The wax statues were so real looking, I couldn’t believe it.

After that, we went to the Rainforest Cafe for dinner, and then to see STOMP at the theater. I liked it much more than I thought I would. I knew that it would be neat, but they involved the audience a lot, and even made it quite funny!

For the evening, Liz and I did not book a hostel because our flight left at 7 am and we would have to take a bus to get to the airport around 4 am. SO.. we hung out in a bar until 11 (when it closed because it was Sunday) After that.. we took a bus to the airport and slept on the floor there until about 5 am when they allowed us to check-in. :) It was an experience.. haha

In closing…

This is the best thing I have ever done for myself. I have always wanted to see the world. From studying abroad I learned so much about other people, cultures, and independence. I have grown up only knowing what it’s like to be considered Maggie’s sister, or other half. It’s been incredible learning how to live on my own, as well as realizing how much I need her in my life too. I have learned that I definitely want to come back. Right now, I’m not sure if I want to come teach over here, or if I want to stay in the U.S., but I do know that I want to come back to Europe. If anything, seeing part of the world has only made me want to see more of it. I love the differences in people, and how they live. I love the difference in architecture, and I love learning new things. :)

I have also learned how unbelievably lucky I am. I have parents who love me, friends that are always there for me.. the ones I’ve met here, and at home, and God who is always supporting me as well. With that much support, from all of the different people in my life, it’s hard not to feel like I can do anything I want. It might sound corny, but I’m really proud of myself for this experience, because I know it’s changed me. It’s made me better. I can honestly say I have never been this happy in my entire life. And, while I’m sad to leave, I know that I will have the courage to continue putting myself outside of my comfort zone- because it’s the only way I’m going to get anywhere, and make a difference.

In honor of the fact that I just found out they are coming to concert in August.. the song of the day is:

"For Annabelle" by Band of Horses

"Please tell me, what is there to complain about? When you’re happy like a fool, let it take you over. When everything is out, you have to take it in. Oh, this has got to be a good life, a good, good life."

I’ve been bad about updating lately. These past couple weeks have been super busy with our portfolios, spring break, etc.

Spring break was a blast. Michelle, Quintin, Liz, Kristi, and myself went on a Mediterranian cruise to Corfu, Greece, — Bari, Italy— and Dubrovnik, Croatia. We spent a couple days in Venice before leaving as well.

Venice was beautiful. We stayed in a nice hostel (finally, they do exist!) We went on a Gondola ride, walked around all day, drank wine in the park by the Grand Canal, and just relaxed. It was beautiful. I got to see St. Mark’s which was really nice. Europe continues to amaze me with the beautiful churches. I love lighting candles in the churches, it’s nice to know they’re still burning in different countries when I leave.

First, we went to Bari. It was a little disappointing, mostly because we were unaware of the dress code there. Wearing a red shirt, and white shorts— unacceptable. So we were there for an hour or two. We saw the fortress and the sea side, but we jumped back on the boat pretty quick after a few looks from the people that live there.

Next, was Corfu. Corfu was my favorite. If you’ve looked at any of my pictures that I posted, you’ll know it was beautiful. It really was unbelievable. The water was blue, the weather was perfect. I was in love. As a whole, Italy is my favorite country, but Corfu was my favorite scenic city for sure.

Dubrovnik was beautiful as well. It was 10 Euro to get in to walk around the walls that surround the whole city, but it was well worth it. The water was blue, again, and the buildings were beautiful. I love how Europe has cities with winding roads, and no real street signs. It’s nice to just get lost in the city. All of it makes getting lost in Indianapolis laughable.

The cruise as a whole was a blast. It was so nice to be relaxing on a boat while it brought us to different cities. So far, travel has been pretty rushed. There has been a lot of waiting in airports, a LOT of riding on buses, and lack of sleep. However, on the boat, we could relax while it brought us to other cities. The boat had shows that we attended, and we had a nice dinner every night with the same waiter, Abdul, LIKE PAULA. haha

I know this was a quick rundown of Spring break, there are many other stories, but that would just take way too long to type here. I’ll get around to that eventually, hopefully in person. :)

After spring break, we flew through the week, working on portfolios, and then we were off to Amsterdam this past weekend. My friend Bonny, a teacher at our school, took Liz and I with her husband there. We slept on their hotel room floor, and rode with them. It was awesome. I always imagined Amsterdam as a hippie/party city, which it is, but that’s not all. The city was quiet and beautiful. We saw the red light district, of course, and it was just like they say. DIRTAY. But.. the rest of the city was full of canals, and it was quiet, and just an absolutely beautiful day.

After Amsterdam, we drove to the Keukenhof Gardens, which are also in Holland. The tulips were unreal. It was Easter day so it was really crowded, but I couldn’t have asked for more beautiful weather. They had a Van Gogh replica made of just petals that was beautiful as well.

Well folks, that’s about as updated as I can get you on my lunch break at school. I doubt I’ll update again before I come home.

I come home one week from tomorrow, and I am going to miss these kids more than anything. I can honestly say this is the best decision I have ever made for myself. I am obsessed with Europe, and I will be back, as soon as I get a couple  hugs from my friends and family :)

Song of the day: Live to Tell the Tale- Passion Pit

The Roman Forum- it’s a little shakey, I was excited!

Hanging out in the park outside the Colloseum!

"All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff."

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but that’s all the time we had to visit there!

I have to preface this entire trip by saying— I don’t remember consciously deciding it’d be a good idea to go to Rome for 1 day. We flew out after school and arrived in Rome by 11 p.m. From there, we went to sleep, woke up at 6 a.m. and booked it around the city until late into the evening. The next day, we had to wake up by 5:30 to make it to the airport on time for our flight. When I booked it, I must have known we would only be there a day, I just do not remember thinking that was a grand idea. ANYWHO. It turned out being a fantastic idea because I had a wonderful time.

I’ve just decided- I do not have to pick a favorite trip, you can’t make me. Every trip is great, and every time I go somewhere I try to pick out which trips it’s better than.

All trips are liked equally. OKAY?

As I said, we went to Rome and when we got there, we were created beautifully by an Italian man hissing at us. If I could pick any type of gentleman greeting- it would certainly be the “hiss.” It’s wild, and animalistic, and…oh yeah- completely creepy.

After escaping the hissing man, Liz, Michelle, and I met up with Kristi and Quintin who had been in Rome since Wednesday. They were lucky to have been there for a few days, and we were lucky that Quintin had time to map out the entire city so that we could see it in one day. We checked into the hostel which was a little nasty, but hey, I’m alive, right? We woke up at 6 a.m. the next morning and went to the Vatican City Museum. The stations of the cross were set up along the street on the way there which was beautiful. We waited in line to get into the museum, and once we were in there, we got to see a lot. We saw lots of papal garments, Eucharist holders from Adoration, rings, paintings, woven blankets, so many things. It was amazing. When we left Vatican city, we went to St. Peter’s basilica. We did not have a chance to go inside, the line was absolutely crazy. The people standing in line probably had more than 24 hours to spend in Rome.

After that, we saw many other big landmarks in Rome- I’m not sure of the order, the day was really long. But, we ended up seeing the Colosseum, Spanish steps, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain (I did throw a coin in!) The Sistene Chapel, Capitol hill, the Pantheon, and many other places.

I’d have to say my favorite was the Colosseum. It was amazing how everything was set up. Quintin told us that the entire place used to be covered in marble. It was used for Gladiator fighting, exotic animal shows, executions, sailing (they filled the ground with water and had the boats float around, and so much more. It’s known for the brutal fighting and killing that went on there, but that is certainly not all it was used for. When you paid to get into the Colosseum, you also got into the Roman Forum where they had the Palatine Hill. This was just covered in trees, and had places where people used to live. From the hill you could see almost all of Rome, it was unreal.

The other amazing part of Rome was the churches. All of the churches had painted ceilings, beautiful statues, and they were huge! Seeing the churches, and things like the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel painted by Michaelangelo were breathtaking. It really made me appreciate my Catholic faith a lot more.

Today marks one month until I come home. I can’t believe it. I have mixed feelings, I really want to stay with these kids until the end of the year, but I am so ready to come home! I miss my car, I miss Ball State (I can’t believe it either), and most of all, I miss my fantastic people at home.

Song of the Day- “Ghost Town” by First Aid Kit

Quotes from my kiddos!

Kids say the darndest things, you’ve heard the saying.. I’ve heard the saying, and now, I’m living it. These kids really do say the funniest things, & when I remember to, I write them down. One of the subject in my 5 subject notebook is full of stories from them, and today, I decided to share a few. :)

All students will remain anonymous. :)

One of my students was counting how many girls and how many boys were in the room, and when he announced that there were 4 girls and 3 boys, I realized he wasn’t counting me. SOO.. I said, “Hey, I’m a girl too!” He replied, “Uh, no Miss Doyle.. you’re a lady.”

Once at circle time I had a student raise his hand to ask if it was okay that he laughs when someone else farts. (That in itself was worthy of note, to me)

The kids play “I spy” a lot. Once when I overheard 2 kids playing, one of the African American students said, “I spy something brown.” The other student replied.. “You?”—- I should also note that the other student simply replied, “Nope! Next guess?”

When one of the more “masculine” female teachers was walking down the hallway, one of our students asked, “excuse me, are you a boy or a girl?”

One day I asked one of our little boys if his dad was deployed yet. He replied, “no.” I thought that was weird because most of the parents were deployed already. I said, “Really? When is he leaving, do you know?” He replied, “He’s not leaving, he’s in my mom’s computer.”

During my unit, I was teaching the sense of “sight.” I was asking the students what certain colors made them think of. When I asked what red made them think of, one of the boys closed his eyes and raised his hand.. “Red makes me think of hugging a horse.”

And finally, my inspiration for today’s blog..

Girl: “Miss Doyle, what’s in your cup?”

Me: “Coffee.”

Girl: “Miss Doyle! You can’t drink coffee, you’re not married!” 

:) Song of the day: Young the Giant(The Jakes)- “Cough Syrup”

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting..Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing..And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)Kid, you’ll move mountains!

Today at recess (while most of you are still sleeping) haha I got to talk to a woman that will remain anonymous :) She was telling me about how much of an impact teachers can have. She has had students in school and she was telling me about how much a teacher can affect a child’s attitude about life, school, etc. She told me not to do Kindergarten unless I truly thought I could help a student grow to love school. She said her kids may not remember Kindergarten exactly, or every activity they did. But, they will remember if they liked it or not. It’s true. I don’t remember everything I did in Kindergarten, but I do remember that I loved it. Her child has significantly changed behavior being in a classroom where the teacher is constanly nagging the students— self-esteem has lowered, and desire to do well in school is rarely present. She also mentioned that she can see quite clearly when a teacher is no longer a teacher because they love it, but because they feel they are too old to change what they’re doing. I hope that when I’m older- if I’m done teaching, that I get out immediately. School is something that impacts people far too much to let teachers stay in when they are no longer motivated.

Imagine the best teacher you ever had. Now can you imagine having a teacher that was that good every year you were in school? Can you imagine how much different your life could be? To have a teacher every year telling you that you can do anything you want as long as you try? Telling you everyday that you are worthy of the best- no matter what?

There is a preschool teacher here at our school. She is probably in her 50’s or 60’s, but she still has much motivation as the youngest teacher at the school. She is always smiling, always doing her best, and I can see how much she loves her job. I hope I am lucky enough to still be in love with teaching when I’m that age.

I was reading an article about the happiest man in the America yesterday. It was based on physical activity, family life, job, etc. I think I could be the happiest girl in America if I stayed in a classroom like this for the rest of my life. These kids make me so happy- I just pray it’ll stay that way. I’ve heard from too many teachers that I’ll go in being motivated, but then real life hits. Maybe their definition of real life is different than mine, but my real life is great.

I’m substituting this week for my teacher while she is in the United States to visit her granddaughter - so it’s like I have my very own classroom & I love it.

We were supposed to go look at the clouds and talk about the different shapes they look like.. but there isn’t a cloud in the sky today.. what a beautiful problem to have. :-)

Song of the day: Clarity by John Mayer

"Dig the life, it’s fantastic." -Fantastic Mr. Fox

I haven’t said much on here in a while, probably because I haven’t been traveling! The past two weekends I have stayed in Baumholder, which can be compared to Muncie in a way with it’s “out-in-the-middle-of-nowhereness,” the people, the bars, and many other attributes.

Last weekend was my roomate’s (Liz) birthday, so we hung out with the 3rd grade teacher at my school, and went a couple places. She invited us to her neighbor’s St. Patrick’s Day party. We just hung out with families from around her neighborhood (which is about 70% American). There was a raffle where Bonny (our friend, the 3rd grade teacher) won a giant 6 foot tall leprechan. AFTER 3 people turned him down.


Me: I have no clue.

After the St. Patrick’s Day party, we taught Bonny what being “iced” is. (She didn’t do so well.) Then we went to an Irish pub called “The Red Lion.” There was a live band, and a lot of people there. But, later in the evening we decided we wanted to go dancing, and that bad Tom Petty covers weren’t going to cut it for our evening. So, we took a cab to the city of Kaiserslautern to a club called “Nacht Schict” which means Night Shift. It’s a 10 room bar above a train station. That was a lot of fun. We danced, and then we went home. Good times. :)

The past week I started my unit plan on the 5 senses. It’s going quite well. :) So far—last week, I covered the sense of seeing, and touching. On St. Patrick’s Day we had all “touch” centers that were colored green. We played with green oobleck, beans, feathers, fur, all sortsaaaa stuff. They really liked the centers. We also went on a “seeing” nature walk, and I’m teaching them a song about the 5 senses. (Fast forward to this week.. they have the song memorized :)  )

THIS weekend, we also stayed here, like I said before. This time we actually stayed in Baumholder allll weekend. On Friday, I went to dinner with my teacher, her husband, and a few other student teachers. She took me to her house after school, and as always, I was amazed by the German housing. It’s SO different.

FUN FACT: When you buy a German house the kitchen is not included. (I know mom, I couldn’t believe it either.)

You buy the house, and then they give you the option of buying a kitchen-set-ype furniture-thing to go inside.Also, they don’t have closets, so you to buy dressers, which have a different name, but it’s escaping me at the moment.

All of the houses are heated by fireplace, too. Pretty sweet, huh?

Anyway- school is going wonderfully as always. I get sick to my stomach when I think of the fact that I will leave here when the kids still have more than a month of school left. My last day is April 29th, and the kids are in school well into June.. I think it’s the 17th. That’s almost 2 months of the school year that I’ll miss out on. I come home 6 weeks from Wednesday, which is really weird. I’m ready to come home because I’m homesick, but I am certainly not done traveling.. guess that means I’ll have to find a way to make it over here when I start putting money in the bank.

I can’t remember.. is it movie stars or teachers that have a jank salary? I hope it’s movie stars,  but I can’t be sure. ;)

OH, that’s right, it’s teachers.. guess I’ll have to find a sugar daddy.

Song of the week: “Punching in a Dream” by The Naked and Famous