New Year, New Blog

Okay, maybe not a new blog, but definitely a re-dedication of the blog. I enjoy writing, I think I have a bit of talent for writing, I just never know what to write about. Photo Friday will return, but I hope to keep everyone updated and exercise my writing muscles with more regular (text) posts. Here’s a brief rundown of things that are happening. More detailed post(s) to follow!

*I had my first official visitors! Mom, Catherine and Aunt Gail came down for Christmas and it was wonderful! We stayed in a lovely house in Discovery Bay and did a few tourist-y things, but mostly hung out on the beach and drank a good amount of Red Stripe. We enjoyed my favorite Jamaican food (breadfruit, bulla and pear, jerk chicken, curry goat, and all the rest) and they even brought a Kentucky Christmas dinner to me (biscuits, country ham, cheese grits and some blessed CHEESE!)! A volunteer based in DBay and our friend Inger celebrated Christmas with us. Inger is Danish and made a lovely mulled wine. Our annual family tradition of a highly competitive Phase 10 tournament took place. We fought hard, but Aunt Gail emerged the victor. Unfortunately, I do not come from a family of gracious losers (*cough* Catherine *cough*).

*School has started back up, which means I’m back in the classroom spreading the good news about the environment and why we should take care of it. Jamaican pickney (children) are really hard to manage, but I try my best. I’m mixing up lesson plans with picture books and music. As you might imagine, music is a HUGE part of Jamaican culture. I played this song the other day in a lesson about water and the kids nearly lost their minds. We basically had a dance party. I’m not sure how much they retained, but it was fun. I’ll definitely be using music in the future.

*I’m trying to start a recycling program at the primary school where I’m working. The local community college is nearby and I think they’re very interested in collaboration. Ideally, I’d love to do a town-wide community recycling program but that is an enormous undertaking. Hopefully some things pan out there and the community college students are willing to put some work in! The school garden at my school is taking shape and my compost pile looks healthy. 

*Things are ramping up for St. Ann 4-H. Our parish 4-H camp is in a few weeks. It will take place over a weekend and is an overnight camp. I know it will be vastly different from what I think of as 4-H camp, but I’m hoping to work in some “traditional” camp songs if I can. Our annual parish achievement day is a HUGE deal and is coming up at the end of February. Thanks to the wonderful donations of 4-H paraphernalia (stickers, pencils, pens, bags, fabric, bracelets, balloons, notepads, etc) from Mom and some 4-H friends back we will be able to give some great prizes this year. Get in touch with me or Mom if you want to send some more my way!

*Group 84’s (my training group) ranks have diminished by nearly a third since we arrived ‘pon di island, with a batch departing around the holidays. There are a lot of reasons people leave the Peace Corps, but it is sometimes hard on the people they leave behind. Our group morale can take a hit, so keep us in your thoughts and prayers. Just drop us a note telling us you’re thinking of us!

*I am signed up for the World Wise Schools Program but have woefully neglected my duties there. I promise I’ll be better this year, Mrs. Worsham!

*Doctor Who is the best show ever. 

*I was deeply gratefully to have missed the polar vortex, so I enjoyed seeing everyone’s pictures of their backyards and thermometers. I was wearing shorts and tank tops the whole time. Suckers.

*One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to write more snail-mail letters to people back home. If you want a hand-written letter from me, let me know!

*Group 85 is almost here! This is such a weird milestone for us, as it seems like we JUST got to staging and were awkwardly introducing ourselves. We’ll be the big kids on island, but that also means that our good friends in group 83 will be departing. A post chock full of advice and GIFs is coming for you guys. I’ve already got packing advice here.

So things are percolating right along down here in the tropics. Let me know what else you’d like to see on the blog! 

Walk good.

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About Elizabeth Riley

It's the wonders I'm after, even if I have to bleed for them.
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