Embracing the “downshift”

We are approaching our 1 month mark of living here and we’ve had many experiences that will embody what our life will look like here.  I’ve also learned that it sometimes takes time to embrace the “downshift”.  After our week of English camp was over and we had pretty much settled in at our home, I was at a loss as to how to handle the slower pace.  I’ve been in high gear for over a year and then all of a sudden it was “downshift” time and although I completely- 100%- needed it, I didn’t know how to function in that mode!  It took a few days for me to embrace it and then relish in it.  Now… I am refreshed and thoroughly enjoying our life here in Poland!  I have even started going to Zumba with a friend.  In fact, the girls joined us one evening and they had a blast!  I just feel joyful and so ready to allow my body to become healthier.  I find myself praying for those in our class; wondering if they are ones whose lives I will get to enter into.

Outside of having friends over for coffee and treats or for a meal, we are practicing Polish and praying for the “who” we’ll have to teach/tutor us more formally.  We are also focusing our energies at the school in getting it ready for September 1: the first day of school.

However, the end of this week is a big week, too.  A construction project of this magnitude could not happen without financial backing and sponsorship.  There are churches back in the States who have been a part of this ministry since it’s inception and have developed such a fantastic partnership with PROeM.  So at the end of the week, a few will be flying in and get to see the school that they have helped build.  The cool thing for me is I have a connection to one of these churches as it’s where I had the fortunate opportunity to do my college internship.  They think creatively and outside the box and took on two additional missions interns to fit our particular needs for our college requirements.  It was through this church that I came to Poland.  Eighteen (yes 18!)  years later, they are still as vested with this ministry and here I am once again…this time with my family committing to serve long term.  This is a huge milestone for this ministry and as much as we are dedicated to providing quality education, it’s all about the people and seeing lives change.  I love seeing God’s tapestry like this.  People and experiences from so many years ago can still be woven into something so beautiful in our lives.

Speaking of “beautiful”… this picture below is of fruit and vegetables given to us by our landlord’s uncle.  The flowers came from around where we live.

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This picture below captures the joy of learning how to make pirogues.  Our dear friend, Alicja, is an AMAZING cook and hostess.  She is also co-director of the school and handles more of the curriculum and instruction aspects.  She has great patience in teaching us and we just have such a great time hanging out.  She is teaching me Polish and I get to help her learn English. Three years ago communicating was much harder, but she’s come so far since then!  Now I either correct her (she tells me to!!) or get to teach her some new words or phrases.  I’ve learned how to say where I live and what I do in Polish because of her!

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I wanted to add this picture below because I am a big proponent for using and teaching Informational Text (such as posters).  When you move to another country, your senses go into overload.  We are overstimulated by all the text our eyes takes in, yet can’t process.  Imagine driving in town or along roads and trying to understand all the billboards and signs for stores.  The other day I took a grocery flyer because I wanted to “study” it at home.  These are contexts that are relevant and easy areas to help process new information! They are also perfect because there’s built in visual connections and helps build vocabulary.  Our bodies are tired, but our brains are more so!

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Finally, today is a holiday here in Poland.  Thankfully we saw a small store open so Josh could stop by on his way back into town (he dropped the girls and I off out here at camp for the day) and pick up some much needed food!  We LOVE that there are small little stores everywhere. In fact, just down the road from our home there are a couple, so the girls make daily trips there (ice-cream).  Out of milk?!  NO problem… just walk down to the store!  Out of eggs?  NO problem!  Craving a sweet pastry?  NO problem…. yeah, they have those fresh there, too!

Yes, I’m starting to embrace this new life!

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