At least, that's what I've been told. So as long as I'm living here, I can accumulate experience but not age. I think I'm okay having both. :)
So, on Wednesday morning, I went back to school for the second half of new staff orientation. What I was not expecting were the surprise brownies and cookies! Or--best of all--the milk, fresh and cold and not from a box. It's the first Spanish milk I've been able to drink in gulps, nearly as good as milk from home. (Thank you, Lisa, for that. Love truly is small things that become big things.)
That evening, several of us drove up to Aguas Vivas, a little retreat center settled in the mountains, and we finished the day with Dutch Blitz. Mountains, milk, real food cooked by someone other than me, pine trees, and great people. The only thing that could make a birthday better would be a surprise visit from Prince William.
Our staff retreat, which just wrapped up this afternoon, was so encouraging, and not even necessarily because of what we talked about. See, I arrived in this country at kind of a funny time: just a week before graduation. My first month was spent meeting people who were leaving (whether for the summer or forever). The American presence in Camarma cleared out, leaving a silent school behind.
Now, as everyone has returned, my anticipation has been growing. The school feels like a community, rustling with people at work. Rather than employing my Catherine Zeta Jones moves to get past the alarm, then sitting alone in a quiet workroom, I just walk in and am greeted by friendly office faces. My co-workers have already been crazy-affirming, and I can't believe that I get to work with these people for the next two years. They're just great. So, so great. Can I use that word that many times without having it lose its flavor? GREAT. Greatgreatgreat. I love these people. (Plus, how awesome is it to sit in a bilingual staff meeting?!)
Thanks, God, for a new year--new in so many good ways. Or should I say great ways?