Overseas thoughts

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I am an educator. And as an educator, and also as a lifelong learner, I have been having some interesting thoughts that are probably only interesting to you if you are also an educator. But maybe I can make this interesting for someone who isn’t.

While I was in college, I had one professor in particular who really stood out to me. She was heavily involved in the International offices, and one day, she explained that she donated blood to one of her students who needed blood. On another occasion, she let me schedule an appointment with her where we talked for 2 hours about life, and about my career goals.

I view this professor as a role model, a great teacher, and someone who I greatly aspire to be one day.
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On the FLIP side, I am now an international student. Today, I had an issue with the university, and my professor said, “nobody else in here has that problem, so I don’t know what to tell you.” (read: I don’t care.)
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Awhile ago, I met someone who had not studied education, and tried to have an intelligent conversation with her. When I explained how excited I am to teach abroad, she said: “Germans have more highly trained teachers than America and they won’t see your education as the same standards as theirs.”

I would like to return the offensive remark and say, first of all, that I would never, as an American teacher, be expected to teach a subject which I am not certified in (it happens all the time in Germany). I would NEVER teach a language by using textbook grammar drills (it happens in Germany too often). I would N.E.V.E.R. yell at a group of middle schoolers and call them “verdammte Hacke” to get them to settle down (I saw it with my own eyes).

Germans may have a different way of doing things, and I really respect a lot of teachers and programs here. But I have to give myself credit as an American trained teacher. The work I have done caring for children’s needs is so important, and without this aspect of teaching, you are missing out on getting to know your students — empathizing with them, supporting them, and encouraging their journey as a lifelong learner.

** On a more positive note, I am truly truly in love with my experience so far and I love that nobody can take that away from me. I’m taking my TERRIBLE American self into the classroom and everywhere else I go, too!IMG_0052

 

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The Palace of Gold, New Vrindaban – WV

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Map of WV.pngOn our way down to Pittsburgh, we stopped by a place that had been on my bucket list for a long time. I actually heard about this place from my instagram. You know the blond haired, alcohol loving girls who are also sporty and got free rides to college? No? How about the girls who request to follow you then unfollow you so they have 1,000,000 followers and only follow 6 people? (Just me still?? Next post: why those people are lame). Anyway, selfie loving girl posted a picture of herself at The Palace of Gold, and despite me rolling my eyes at her post, I realized that it actually looked really beautiful.

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The Temple of Gold is located in New Vrindaban, West Virginia and just as the website explains, you should not follow your GPS directions because it will take you through the hills of West Virginia and your car will not be happy about it. Instead, use these directions:

From North, South, East and West:

  • 1) Enter the following destination into your GPS: “Bethlehem, WV, United States”

  • 2) Take West Virginia Exit 2 on I-470 (“Bethlehem”)

  • 3) Drive 13 miles south on Route 88 and Route 250 till you reach Limestone, here take a left for McCrearys Ridge Road

  • 4) Drive 4 miles to arrive at the Palace of Gold

  • 5) Take a slight left after passing the Palace and drive another 1/4 mile for the Krishna Temple

    IMG_9780Upon arrival, you are greeted by a landing that overlooks the rolling Appalachian hills of West Virginia (see above) and the view from the opposite side is just as stunning. You might find yourself wondering, “Why is this in West Virginia??”

IMG_9829The details of the building were so beautiful, and I loved the animal influence. As we walked around the temple, we first stumbled upon a pond in the distance covered in lily pads. There were just a few lilies in bloom during the time that I went.

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Beyond the lily pond was a farm for cows.

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Lexington, Kentucky

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Another weekend, another road trip! And Lexington, Kentucky was the perfect distance.

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We started in Columbus, Ohio and drove south on I-71 South for exactly 3 hours. Our airbnb wouldn’t let us check in until 5pm, so we drove directly to the city, parked on Jefferson Avenue and started walking across town.

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Coming from Columbus, Ohio (population 860,090), Lexington definitely felt small (population 318,449). It was a nice size for a downtown area, and we walked from one side of the downtown district to the other in about 15 minutes.

While walking down the main street (actually, I believe it was called Main Street), we stumbled upon a hotel with an art exhibit inside. I didn’t take any pictures, but I left with an ache in my heart feeling very aware of social issues facing other around the world (ahh….art….) One that struck me the most was a digital media piece of a young soldier from Columbia who had lost both of his arms.

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One of my favorite parts about taking weekend trips is the lack of planning. We enjoyed looking at the cute houses, buildings, visiting the coffee shops, restaurants, and taking in the art work.

Our first stop was: Corta y Lima (101 W. Short Street, Lexington KY)

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ADORABLE decor, love the interior

 

I heard that downtown Lexington has a reputation for being “not that cool.” Personally, I loved the charm of the town. The town was rich in history (lots of historical  markers everywhere) and beautiful artwork. It had a nice variety of restaurants (albeit lots of chains).

So far, I have been pleasantly pleased with Kentucky, and it’s not too far away from Ohio (making for great weekend getaways). During my weekend, I also stopped by Midway, Kentucky and Frankfort, Kentucky. More on that soon !

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Louisville, Kentucky y’all!

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I used to tell myself that I had no business in the South. That is, until I realized I live in Ohio and well, it’s slim pickings! Now, I’ve realized how wrong my perception of the South was. I imagined all of the most terrible stereotypes: hillbillies, racist people, small towns. But the more I travel, the wider my perception of that area of America gets.

This past weekend we drove for about 3 hours from Columbus, Ohio to Louisville, Kentucky.

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During my weekend trip, I’ve decided that Louisville is a.l.l.t.h.a.t. The only downside was that we didn’t have more time to explore!

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Our first stop after dropping our bags off at our Airbnb was Blue Dog Cafe on Frankfort Avenue. All I remember about the name of this dessert was it did not sound the way it spelled (French, probably). It was basically a sweet crescent muffin with sugar glaze in the inside (spoken by a true foodie). I also got a Raspberry tea (not pictured). The cashier gave us some advice on where to go next (keep reading!)

After enjoying our pastries, we walked up Frankfort Avenue and checked out some of the cute shops. Some of them were so picturesque —

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Look closely, it’s not a ghost, it is I

I’m a sucker for DIY looking stores with home decor. I am not a country girl, but I do love the “rusic chic” theme for houses.

As I mentioned above, the cashier told us we HAD to check out two places, which we did. The first one was Cherokee Park, and the second was the Walking Bridge.

Thoughts on Cherokee Park: meh

Thoughts on the Walking Bridge: 1000% recommend to anyone going to Louisville! We got there at about 8:55 pm. The best and sweetest part about this evening was making our way up the bridge, and seeing a group full of people standing in red shirts that read: WILL YOU MARRY ME? (Have you ever seen a proposal IRL? I was about to start crying and I don’t even know these people. Life if precious!) I didn’t get that great of a shot of the proposal, but there they are with their sparklers!

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The bridge and the view was so, so beautiful at night. I still can’t get over how nice that night was.

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This may have been one of the more successful night shots I’ve had (night photography is not my strong suit).

The next morning, we got coffee at Please & Thank You. And seriously, how cute is this place?

We shopped some more. There is nothing really interesting to say about that except for a realization I had. For the past few months I have been living downtown. I have loved every single second of it, although living next to a lot of homeless people has not been the best thing for me. As someone who studied social work and poverty, I take a particular interest in those people. And, well, let’s just say I need to stop running my mouth because they so clearly don’t want to hear advice from a random girl carrying 8 bags. I’ve just heard the same rehearsed story several times now, and I know it’s not true and I want them to get the help they need. Calling their bluff to recommend places to go for help has not been super helpful, but rather, offensive (I have learned my lesson, and will just give them the dollar next time). While shopping, a man approached us and said “Hey, I’m just getting off work. Do you have a dollar to spare?” I gave my last dollar to a man who yelled at me for not believing his story, so I did not, but my travel partner did. He was so thankful, and I was also impressed by his honesty.

Before heading home, we checked out Big Rock Park. This park was SO much cooler than Cherokee Park and I wish we skipped Cherokee Park for this one instead.

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This is the big rock!

From a distance we saw a waterfall, and got to see it up close:

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I’m also a sucker for water. Any kind. Beach, waterfall, clean showers without giant spiders….

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I still have some catching up to do with travels, but here ya go ❤

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