Last post before backpacking…

I think this will be my final blog post before I leave on Saturday to go backpacking.  🙂

Update on teaching, though–I was exhausted after a full week of doing everything last week and then on Monday, my class began this new Literacy Lift-off program so it was mass chaos. It’s basically rotating stations with the children in groups based on abilities (we tested them before), and we bring all the resource teachers in for the half hour. Each teacher focuses on something different (phonics, composing, writing, new book, familiar book) and then after 6 minutes of intense work, they rotate to a new group. Besides it being the first day of implementation with several wrinkles, it seems like it will be quite successful because so much is concentrated in a short time and it helps the students with tiny attention spans stay focused.

I cannot believe I’m almost finished at this school though…even the teachers told me it feels like I’m just part of the staff now. I’ll be sad to leave. 😦 As a small gift to all the teachers, I’m making homemade chocolate chip cookies to leave in the staff room…show them the American way of making soft, gooey cookies. haha

I began packing today and it is clear that I will be bringing two bags home with me (thanks for that extra duffel, Dad…instead of rolling it up and putting it in my suitcase, I’m actually having to use pretty much the entire thing). It’s depressing to start putting everything back into my bags! And it’s also quite difficult right now to figure out what I want for backpacking. I’ve never been good at packing light because I always think “what if” or “just in case”. However, my backpack must fit weight and size regulations for carry-on baggage, so I MUST do a good job. And I’ll be carrying everything on my back. Ugh. We’ll see how that goes. haah. Just kidding…I”m actually really excited!

So for my trip…here’s the general itinerary. Flight from Cork–Heathrow this coming Saturday afternoon. Have less than 2 hours to collect my checked luggage (both bags, woops), drop it off in left luggage until I come back in June, check-in for my next flight, and get through security again. Then I’ll fly from Heathrow–Munich, Germany and arrive that night, where I’ll meet up with Stephanie Nowell and her friend, Kristen. A few days in Munich. Then I’ll hit a few places in Italy, traveling everywhere by train (Venice, Milan, Naples–plan to go to Pompeii, and Rome). At that point, it’ll be the start of June and I’ll split off from Stephanie/Kristen to take an overnight train by myself (a little nervous) from Rome–Budapest. I have to transfer twice though…once in Florence and then again in Vienna. I sincerely hope I actually make it to Budapest alive, with all my stuff, and sane.

In Budapest, I’ll be on my own for half of the first day while I wait to meet up with Katelyn, Caitlin, and another Stefanie. (Funny thing about the Katelyn’s too…there’s Laszlo, Van Kooten, and then myself, because my middle name is Caitlyn. haha).  Hang out in Hungary a few days, travel to Zagreb, Croatia and then on to Dubrovnik, Croatia. Flight back across Europe to Barcelona, Spain. I’ll be there a couple days and then have to split off again. This is where my traveling gets a bit insane because I was trying to save as much money as possible. Basically, I’ll be catching either a train or bus to Girona, which is like 1.5 hours away from Barcelona. Flying RyanAir to Stansted-London…bus in the middle of the night to Heathrow instead…pick up my left luggage and check in for my flight to come home via Continental+8 hour layover. Then 8 hour flight to Newark, 3 hour layover, 2 hour flight to Indy. Let’s hope to God my luggage makes it back with me. Needless to say, over 24 hours of straight traveling and time zone changes will be quite exhausting. I can’t complain though because I am SO excited for all of this! It’s quite unlike me though–I’ve hardly done any research, planning, or making sure everything is going to be okay. I’m truly just going to go with the flow and hope for the best! (and hope I don’t run out of money when I’m in the middle of Croatia haah)

Life is good. The only thing I am dreading is saying goodbye to Regina, my students, the friends I’ve made here, and all the teachers at school. OH, and the fact that I still need a job for the summer. If anyone has any connections or ideas for me, PLEASE let me know. 🙂  Thanks! haha

I’ll probably try to check my email and facebook whenever we’re at a hostel that I can pay to use a computer, so keep me updated on your lives, too! xoxo

4 thoughts on “Last post before backpacking…

  1. Shirley Fleming says:

    Greetings from Mrs. Fleming’s Fourth Graders! We are so happy that you are having a great time, and we miss you BUNCHES!! We received your post card-it was fun to read. We have been so busy getting through the last of ISTEP. We have a picture of our “Star” party for you, as soon as Mrs. Fleming figures out how to post it…maybe through your Facebook. The class wants to know what your favorite food over there is so far. Haley says her dad is over there right now for business. Alli is back and doing well! 🙂 Gage wants to know if the kids play video games over there…lol…Harper wants to know what they like to do at recess, and Mackenzie I. wonders how they liked their video you made. We’ll post more to you later, but have to get back to our hard work!…ha, ha! (it’s time to go home today) Enjoy your last days of teaching…we are in school until June 3rd. Hope to hear from you soon! ~Mrs. Fleming’s Fourth Grade

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    • Hello!!! Yes, please send and/or post the Star party picture; I’d love to see it. I finished my last day at the school here and it was really sad…reminded me of my last day with all of you when you tried to trick me, but I thought you were messing around and causing trouble. 🙂 So glad to hear everyone is doing well (especially you, Alli!). Let’s see, my favorite food…that’s quite hard because everything I eat is wonderful here! And I drink lots and lots of tea, probably because it’s often quite chilly, even in May. But I eat plenty of potatoes for sure, in every form. You might think it’s silly, too, but they call french fries “chips” and potato chips “crisps”. It became confusing several times when I ordered the wrong thing! Gage, by the way, they do play video games, but not as much as back in the states. However, on Fridays in the Senior Infants class, they have “Toy Time” and a few boys bring in their DS’s. They really like to play soccer at recess (which they call yard), but many of the boys are also into these game cards and little toys that are in a ball and come apart to make a little creature ( you might know what they’re called). I hope you all have a good rest of the school year! Maybe I’ll see some of you around this summer. 🙂 I leave Ireland tomorrow to travel a little bit and won’t have my computer anymore! Miss you lots and lots!!! — Miss Woodward

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  2. Betsy says:

    YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE A BLAST! I can’t wait to see all of the pictures and hear the amazing stories of your travels.

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