All I know about dating, I learned from Christmas movies…

I have been watching a lot of cheesy made for TV Christmas movies lately.  I love them.

And I’ve been learning a lot from them.

I thought I’d take a moment to pass along some of the relationship tips that I’ve picked up in the past few weeks.

Number 1:  Christmas might be just a few days away, but it is NOT too late to find love in time for the holidays.

Sure, your love might start out as contrived, fake, or unwanted.  But soon (very soon)  it will blossom into a true Christmas miracle.

Number 2: Deceit is a great beginning to finding love.

You usually are trying to deceive your mother.  But really who can blame you – she is putting all sorts of pressure on you to be married.  This pressure really only bothers you at Christmas.

Your mother will forgive you once she realizes your fake boyfriend is a great addition to the fam.

Number 3: If your actual boyfriend (or fiance) dumps you right before Christmas, really the only option is to put an ad in the local paper, online, or by hanging an ad in your store front.

This is actually pretty amazing to know, because in 100% of people (movies) polled, the guy who answers your ad will be your one true love.  #greatnews

Number 4: Realizing that this stranger-man is actually the love of your life requires your mother to have you both stay together in your childhood bedroom.  This is awkward at first, but he will offer to sleep on the floor.  Then neither of you will be able to sleep.  So you will stay up talking.  And fall in love.  But neither of you will admit as much to the other person.

Number 5: Your feelings will be solidified when you are forced to kiss in front of friends and families to prove your love.

Number 6: If you don’t put out an ad to find love, coerce someone to be your fake boyfriend, or pay them to pretend to like you, someone else will put you in an equally awkward position.  It might be your son entering you in a contest to find a husband by Christmas, or a well-meaning family member setting you up on a blind date for Christmas Eve.  You will be unhappy about it at first, but in 90 minutes or less, (give or take a few commercial breaks) you will be wondering why you didn’t see what a brilliant idea this was right off the bat.

Number 7: Wedding are super fast to plan.  And after your family has a couple minutes to get over the fact that you initially lied to them and faked your relationship, they’ll be so happy that you ended up falling in love with this amazing imposter who has no family of their own to celebrate with so they were willing/forced to pretend to be with you but is actually a super quality guy, better than anyone you’ve ever brought home before, that everyone will join the planning-fun and you will be married by New Years (or sooner).

You are welcome.  And congratulations on your newly-found happiness and joy.

I am off to a Christmas Eve Eve Eve party, but am already looking forward to getting home again and either (a) cleaning up the Christmas cookie mess I left in the kitchen, or (b) checking out my Netflix line-up.  I still have a lot more Christmas/love stories to watch.

And then there are all the Christmas/puppy movies.  I’ve always wanted a pet!  Maybe me and my fake boyfriend will bring home a dozen of adorable Golden Retrievers for Christmas.

Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Savings Time stresses me out.

My roommate thinks I am ridiculous for this.

But I have a distinct inability to trust technology with this issue.

Did you really turn back time while I was sleeping?  My alarm clock, my computer, and my cell phone all agree that it is 7:30 am.  But is it really 7:30 am?  Or is it 8:30 or is it 6:30 or what is happening?  There is no way to know.  I might just be late or early forevermore. 

I rely on the analog clock in our bathroom to confirm that time has indeed changed.

My technology has never let me down when it comes to DST, but I still panic every fall and spring…

T. Swift + Pepperoni

Tonight I went over to my brother’s to help hand out candy, since we don’t get a lot of trick-or-treaters at my house.  This was the right choice for a couple of reasons.

1)  We don’t really get a lot of trick-or-treaters in my neighborhood.

2) A former student just came to the door.  Win!

3) I am getting quite the workout – whenever the doorbell rings, I have to get up, run around the couch, obstacle course my way past two dogs, run up the stairs, turn the corner, hurdle over the tiny piece of cardboard that mysteriously keeps the dogs away from the door, and greet the young children with a smile and a piece of candy.

Anyways, pack to the point: we decided to order pizza for dinner.  So the question was: what sort of pizza should we get?  I went to a couple of a different websites to see if there are any good deals for David’s neighborhood.

The best deal I found?  Ordering a Taylor Swift CD with your dinner.

Excuse me, WHAT?!?  

Yep,  you heard me right.

What I’m wondering is if anyone has ordered a little T. Swift without the side of pizza…

“Quick!  I need some Tay-Tay in my life STAT, and I can’t be bothered to run to the store.  Amazon will take at least one whole day to ship it. I almost feel really sad, but then I remember that I can just call my helpful pizza delivery guy.  Another crisis averted by my local pizza heros.”

Pizza Hut, if that is what your competitors are offering, we are never ever ever getting back together.

That was a lie.  Your competitors don’t even deliver to my house.  We are friends forever by default.

Schoolhouse Rock vol. 42

Yesterday was Community Helper Day at kindergarten.  We’ve been doing this for a long time, and we’ve had some really great people come in over the years – but I think we all agreed that this year’s presenters were collectively the best we’ve ever had.  Everyone did such a great job of talking to the kids and they all had really cool things to say about their jobs.

The kindergartners also had some HILARIOUS things to say to them.  I don’t think I’ve laughed (silently in the back) this hard in a really long time.

Here are some snapshots of the epic-ness of our morning:

While visiting the firefighter:

“I wanna be a fire drill!!”

“My mom won’t buy me [a fire evacuation plan]!”

While visiting the financial planner:

Q: What if you can’t afford a new bike?

A: “Go to the Dollar Tree!”

While visiting the Chef:

Q: “If I need to cook for more people, what do I need?”

A: “More Moms!”

Actual Answer: A bigger pot.

While visiting the musician:

Pretty much anytime he touched his guitar, the kids exclaimed in awe, “DANG!”

After visiting the window washer:

Me: Boys and girls, did you know that he is my cousin??

Student 1: He is your brother!?

Student 2: He is your dad?!

While visiting the medical clinic worker

Presenter: I went to Haiti, a country near Florida.

Student 1 leans over to Student 2: She went to Katie!?!?!

While visiting the architect (who did building projects in Uganda):

Presenter: Does anyone know what an orphan is?

Student 1: A house!

Student 2: (with great confidence) I know!  An orphan is an animal that can swim in the water.

Actual Answer: An orphan is a child that might not have a mom and dad to take care of them.

Student 3: My mom told me I am going to Africa tomorrow.

Presenter: Ok, well have fun.  Tell my friends I say hi.

And perhaps the most important thing we learned today is from the city worker: snow plows can kill.  So let’s stay safe this winter, kids.

Playdoh Olympians

Today I am at the Olympics!  Or rather last night I was at the Olympics?  Or maybe I am right now?  I don’t know.  Timezones are confusing.

Anyways, since we knew that we’d be in London on a layover in the middle of the the Olympics, we decided to do some training in case we were asked to participate in any of the games.  We haven’t had a ton of news access, but we guessed there would be some new sporting events this year.  After some brainstorming, the most likely event we could think of was Playdoh Scramble.

The rules are fairly simple.  First, pile lots of people into a van.  Preferrably more people than there are seats.

Next, put an African drum and a bucket of playdoh containers in the boot of the van.  Make sure that your door does not work properly.

Set out on the road.  Act natural, as if you suspect nothing.

Suddenly, you will hit a pothole (this is not unexpected.  you are in Africa)

After a moment you will realize that the noise you heard was the boot opening and all of your playdoh and you drum falling out into the street.

At this point, you will jump out of the van, and to the perfect accompaniment of fast African music from a shop’s radio, your team will compete to see how fast you can run around the dirt road, looking like crazy mzungus, picking up the play-doh containers.  Obstacles include small children that have come out to see the mzungus, and boda bodas that you will need to avoid getting hit by.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

Funny Boda Rides with Allie

cattle traffic jam!

I don’t know why, but Allie and I have the funniest experiences on boda bodas.

Or maybe they aren’t actually funny, but we just laugh a lot.  There is no way to know.

The first time we rode a boda boda together, we were heading for a day of ministry at Kireka School for Children with Special Needs.

On our first ride together we loved that we got caught in a traffic jam of longhorn cattle.  On our second ride we almost got attacked by a flying banana.  Thankfully it hit the ground just short of our driver.  Our driver had to weave his way through the cows.  Our boda driver went way slow at first.  Saidel’s boda was long gone.  We would occasionally catch glimpses of his  turquoise shirt in the distance as we turned corners.  I don’t even know what else happened.  But it was so great that on the way home we kept our cameras out so we could capture the magic.  The ride home was like a celebrity tour.  All the kids were waving and shouting “mzungu” and Saidel had his camera out to try and take pictures of us while we were riding home.  Our driver saw what we were doing, and we kept passing Saidel’s boda and his driver kept passing us so that we could take pictures of one another.   And of course it ended going up a hill near our house that we weren’t sure the boda was going to make it to the top.  “Come on little boda boda, you can do it!”

I feel like this post will only be enjoyed by me and Allie.  Because I’m sleepy and I can’t remember actual events to share with you.  But I’m okay with that.

On the road with Matumba. We joked about this pose while leaving. And laughed really hard when we saw the picture.


Ice Cream in Africa

We were feeling sad that the Go Now team was leaving so soon.  And as everyone knows: when one is feeling sad, one should eat ice cream!  We decided that it would be fun to walk down to the little restaurant next to our favorite walking destination: Quality Supermarket.  Yes mom, I went out after dark.  As we like to say in Uganda: SORRY!  (I really wish this was an audio recording.  The inflection used is funny and sounds so insincere, even when it is very sincere).

I think it might have been called Marie’s Cafe?  Or I could be totally making that up.  There is no way to know.  Unless I walk down there in the next two days, in which case I will check.  If I remember.

They graciously welcomed us to their restaurant and pushed together tables for our large group.  90% of the group had decided on the brownie sundae, so we were quite sad to learn that they were out of brownies.  After much deliberation and asking questions such as, “So how big are your scoops of ice cream?” We all made our selections and placed our orders.

As we sat chatting, suddenly someone noticed a restaurant employee walking through the building foyer with a grocery bag from Quality Supermarket.  Yep.  Full of ice cream.

So basically we could have had ice cream from the carton at home for pretty cheap.

Instead we paid the restaurant to go next door and do our grocery shopping for us and put our ice cream in fancy dishes.


I love Africa.

worth it? yes.

Schoolhouse Rock vol. 33

And so it ends.  As quickly as the school year begins, it is over.

Although if you’d said this in October, January, March, or April I would have strongly disagreed.

I would like to end the year with some Thank Yous.

Thank you kindergartners for making some brilliant observations this week to show me you are ready for first grade:

  • “Miss K, do you know what is inside of an apple?  APPLE JUICE!”
  • “Miss K, you have hair on your arms!” “Yep, you do too…”
  • “Guys, guess what my book has in it!  LETTERS!”

Thank you mom who brought in cupcakes for us on the last day. image

Thank you class for eating the aforementioned cupcakes outside so I didn’t have to deal with a mess in here.

A huge Thank You to Kari and Jessica, who amazingly volunteered their time to pack up my classroom.  You are amazing, and because of you I am not a ball of stress right now.  You have NO idea how amazing it was to have your help.  Everyone is super jealous.

Thank You internet for bringing Koo Koo Kanga Roo into our lives.  We sent out kindergarten with a little Awesome Rainbows

Thanks to my EA and my student teacher.  This year was survived (and the kids actually learned a lot!) because of you and your help and friendship.

Thanks to my kindergarten team for being awesome to work with.  You guys are ridiculous and hard working and dedicated.  I appreciate that.  I’m excited for next year 🙂

Thank you little boy for taking my comment completely out of context and proclaiming loudly for all to hear: “I’m helping them to copy me.  They want to be just like me.  They want to live my life!!”

Thank you teacher at my mom’s school for the brilliant idea of playing Minute To Win It games in our classroom on the last day.  Was a great way to end the year.  And watching kids pick up cotton balls on their vaselined noses was the best.

Thank you angry little girl for have really poor aim so that you never hit anyone when you threw chairs this year.

Thank you little boy at lunch for asking me ridiculous math questions “to see if Miss K really knows everything.” And thank you for believing my answers when I got tired of thinking and just made stuff up.

Thank you friends for praying me through another school year.  I couldn’t do what I do without it.

Thank you former student’s parent, who is from Kenya, for telling me to have fun in Uganda, but not to leave Kampala so that I stay safe.

Thank you little boy for yelling, “No!” every time I mentioned you guys moving on to first grade.

Thank you sixth graders for graduating from elementary school.  Even though you are the first group of kids I ever taught, I must not have done too horribly that first year – you now know enough to attend junior high.

Thank you little girl for giving me a hug at the end of today and saying, “I think I’m crying.” even though your face is completely dry.  My heart was sad too.

Thank you bus drivers for honking your horns so the kids on the bus would go crazy as you pulled out of the bus loop and we waved to everyone as a final goodbye for the summer.

Thank you kids for your dedication to saying ridiculous, awesome, funny, sincere, cute, and hilarious things each and every day so that I can share the joy you bring me with the world.

Schoolhouse Rock resumes the day after Labor Day.  See you then!

(But don’t panic.  I’ll be blogging all summer.  Uganda-style).

Africa Preparations Part 2

Another important element of preparing for Africa is figuring out what clothes to pack.

When packing for two months, you need to factor in several things:

  1. The weather.  Word on the street is it is about 85 F each day in Uganda.
  2. The culture.  I need to dress modestly (which isn’t a huge issue for me) but I need to make sure that I don’t wear shorts (capris are okay), keep my shoulders mostly covered, and have at least one dress for church.
  3. The day to day.  I don’t want to wear anything that I will be afraid to get dirty.  I need to like it enough to wear it for two months, but not so much that if it gets ruined I will bat an eyelash.
  4. The safari.  I potentially need different clothes for the safari portion of my trip than for the orphanage part of my trip.  I need clothes that will protect me from nature, but blend in with nature enough to not scare away the animals, and be comfortable for traveling.  This has probably been the trickiest part of my packing.  Until this frock was suggested:

This is an adult tiger costume pajama.  And here is the product description on Amazon: Easy Snap Up Front, Pocket for Valuables, Warm and Snuggly Costume Doubles as PJ’s For Use Inside and Out.

We can thank Jill for filling me in on this well kept secret of the internet.  We decided there were a lot of pros to this ensemble.

I mean, it would be comfortable, keep the Mosquitos off me, AND I would totally blend in with the animals.  I could probably get really close to nature.

Then there is the valuables pocket.  Jill suggested that, to be safe, the pocket should hold raw meat. That way, if the animals decide to eat me, I can throw it to them and run away really fast or climb a tall tree like Katniss (we do try to bring all things back to Hunger Games whenever possible).

And BONUS!  There is a variety of animal designs available, so I can change clothes depending on what animal we are trying to get the closest to that particular day:

Lions, giraffes, even dinosaurs!

Yes, I think I am prepared for all of my African adventures.

Now the only question that remains is A) what necklace would go best with the dinosaur costume, and B) which one should I wear for the plane ride over?  I’m thinking giraffe – I don’t want anyone to think I am a real wild animal and be scared to sit by me on the plane ride.  Or maybe I do want that… more room to stretch out and lay down for the long flights… hmm….

And just in case you think I’m kidding, (ok, I am totally kidding) this has worked in real life!  Check it out!  

(here is a link to the panda photos with more pics and a slight explanation)

Africa Preparations: Part 1

Welcome to a new mini-series on my blog.  Time will tell how mini it truly is.  I’m envisioning a minimum of 2 posts, with a maximum of 22.  These may be serious, these may be ridiculous.  I will let you be the judge of that.

Today I want to talk about training for safari-ing.

I am not known for my ability to spot things.  I’m assuming that at times, on our game drives, the animals won’t be right next to me, easy to spot.  Sometimes my eyes may have to try a little.

So to prepare my eyes for spotting animals in the distance, animals that appear small because they are so far away, I have a series of eye-challenges that I complete weekly.

One such game I like to play is called, “spot the elephant”. 

In “spot the elephant” I hid my elephant necklace in amongst the wilds of nature.  Then I close my eyes for 10 seconds and spin around one time to forget where it is.  Then I open my eyes and see how fast I can spot it.  

My times have been steadily improving, and I have every confidence that I will be ready for Africa in no time.