As I said in my previous post, I’ve spent more time receiving and responding to e-mails in the past three weeks than I have in quite some time. Some nights, I can’t sleep because I’m anxiously awaiting a response to an e-mail I sent the night before. If I do fall asleep, I dream about receiving an e-mail and wake up unsure if the response I remember is reality or something from Dreamland. Everyone I have talked to over the past few weeks has been so very helpful. Some have gone above and beyond answering my simple questions and added their own personal advice into these helpful e-mails. I even have several pictures and descriptions of some of my students, as well as my classroom. In the past week or so, those e-mails have slowed down. The excitement has worn off and the stress of everything to get done has taken over.
I do however, still have a long list of questions yet to be answered or clarified. I know I have 24 days [ONLY TWENTY-FOUR DAYS] until I leave, but there is so much that has to happen between now and then. I am afraid I am missing something BIG as far as preparations go. I’m not a list-maker. Michael Kelley recently gave a sermon at church and mentioned his lists. I’m lucky if I can refrain from losing any lists I make, let alone refer to and complete them! [Note: This wasn’t the point of the sermon, but that was just after I accepted the position, which made me think how much easier I’d make things for myself if I just started lists to help me figure out what all I need to do before I leave. Then I quickly remembered how terrible I am with lists and shoved that thought out of my head.] I’ve always just had this knack at remembering everything. Unfortunately, I seem to have no clue what I need to be remembering or thinking about during my preparation time. I’ve accomplished some tasks here and there that are pretty obvious items to be dealt with before I leave, but I am sure there are things I just don’t know about or haven’t thought about, yet. I’m praying God will continue to shed light on those tasks, as well as provide guidance from those I will be working with in Baku.
While communication has slowed down greatly in the past week, I did receive some news today. Does anyone remember the opening scene of Molly Shannon’s “Superstar” movie? She and the boy with the birthmark are at a community pool, and the voice-over monologue is explaining the different ways people enter a pool. She says something along the lines of slowly easing your way in or jumping in without hesitation. In some circumstances, we would much rather ease ourselves into a new situation with someone holding our hand, one step at a time. This makes the transition less abrupt. Other times, we are ready to jump in and get thing going quickly. It’s like ripping off a bandage. Then, there are times when you have no choice in the matter. Jumping in or ripping the bandage off, is your one and only option. Ready or not, here we go!
Up until today, the plan was for me to arrive in Baku on Nov 1st, have the weekend to adjust and rest, then transition into the classroom with the interim teacher present starting Nov 4th. Okay, that sounds totally do-able. Easy peasy. Have some downtime over the weekend, then let the kids get to know me as their current teacher transitions out. This makes sense. Well, if I’ve learned anything through my time overseas, it’s the importance of flexibility. Turns out, the interim teacher (who has been incredibly helpful and encouraging through all of this) will be traveling when I arrive in Azerbaijan. Have you figured out what that means, yet? Yepp, Day One (Nov 4th) will be all me. I’ll have my para-professionals in the room, but I’ll be the ring leader. While I won’t be left to fend for myself completely, this will certainly not be the easy transition I was expecting. It was definitely a shock to hear this news, but as I reflect on my time as a student teacher, I remember how greatly I valued the time when I was in control of the classroom. No one was holding my hand and the students knew I was their one and only teacher. As surprising as this was, I am looking forward to the challenge. I know that with the support of my Assistants, as well as encouragement from God, it will be okay.
Right now, I’m trying hard to live in the present. My time in Nashville is quickly coming to a close, so I’m filling my schedule up with an abundance of quality time with my friends and sweet families who have welcomed me into their hearts over the past few years. I am so encouraged and uplifted by everyone’s support and prayers. Thank you all!
Blessings to you friends,
Things to pray for:
+My visa–It doesn’t look like there will be an issue related to the Gov’t shutdown, but pray that continues to hold true. I should receive news in the next few days regarding the next step in the process.
+Stress with packing–I’m still not sure what I should be bringing with me for 9+ months in Azerbaijan, but hopefully I will receive more info on that soon.
+Parents moving to Florida–In all of this, my family is in the process of moving to Florida, as my dad has accepted a pastoral position at a church. They’re moving on Oct 26th, so pray for their preparations and safety. I will be making that move with them on the 26th, so I’ll say bid my farewells to Nashville on the 25th.
+My students and their families–Please pray for these sweet kiddos in this transition. They’re in week 7 of school right now, so they are pretty set in their routines and daily life at school. I know they’re excited about a new teacher, but I just pray the transition is easy on them.