Friday, February 27, 2009

30 Years - by, Christopher

When I arrived to school Wednesday morning, there was a group of my fellow teachers waiting to sing me happy birthday. It really looks like I need to pull my jeans up in this picture.

This is my homemade pie in all its huge glory. It's the biggest pie I've ever seen. I still have most of it left over.

Here's another shot of the flaky goodness. She really knocked it out of the park with this one.

Sarah decorated our place with balloons and birthday glitter. While I relaxed she got dinner ready.

Then she served up chicken fajitas with chips and salsa. I'm a simple man with simple needs, folks. Duck L'Orange not required.

My parents sent me a huge care package with great food and this robotic arm! I can't wait to assemble it and put it through its paces. My students are going to love it too.

There are almost no English greeting cards in Turkey, so Sarah improvised for my birthday just like I did for her. She managed to turn this thank you card into a hilarious bday greeting.

I will definitely never forget my 30th birthday for as long as I live!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

He Did It!

The man turned 30 with grace and apple pie.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road - by Christopher

I just took these pictures of my out-of-control hair. Every time I get a haircut in Turkey I regret it. Sarah keeps nagging me to get it cut, but I don't think I'm going to do that.

As you can see from this shot, we are well on our way to the curly white-man-afro stage. If I just sit back and wait, I'll be sporting a glorious ball of roughage in no time.

From this shot I think you can get an idea of just how my hair starts to curl up in the back when it gets long. And my ears are steadily losing ground to the approaching tidal wave of follicles.

Sarah says it's because I'm turning thirty tomorrow that I won't get my hair cut. The truth is, I really just want to see how big the bramble will grow.

Or maybe it's that I only have about twelve more hours of my twenties left, maybe she's right.

Here's a quick recap of the last decade for those who might have missed stuff:

1. I remember taking a shot on my 21st birthday called a leatherneck with tabasco sauce in it. Then I locked myself in Caleb's bathroom and slept on his toilet.

2. I played so many video games that, for a short time, my world became a video game.

3. I would estimate that in my 23rd year alone, I ate enough salsa to capsize a kayak.

4. I delivered pizza for four years. It was the greatest job in the world at the time for lots of reasons including the hours, the friends I worked with and the fun, but at the end of the day it was really just one thing that kept me coming back: free pizza.

5. I had two surgeries. One was elective eyeball lasering and the other was as a result of the most physical pain a man can experience in his lifetime.

6. I got married. Most of you were there for that one.

7. I recorded about 100 songs, maybe a dozen of which don't cause my face to turn red upon review. And I assembled a drum kit, hit said drum kit with sticks, and took said drum kit apart dozens of times in front of hundreds of drunk people who mostly ignored me.

8. I spurred a horse to a full gallop and charged through a sun dappled clearing in a tropical jungle.

9. I said "dude" 24,301 times, "pretty sure" 63,993 times and asked "why" 224, 758 times. I said "radtastic" 50 times, described someone as a "knob" only 12 times and asked "how could the size of my hand related to my face have anything to do with cancer" only once when I was 22.

10. At 25 I predicted that LOST would boil down to being a show about time-traveling aliens and we're not quite there yet, but we're getting closer.

11. I jumped out of an airplane in flight, I wrote for a newspaper, a firecracker went off in my hand, I saw Radiohead live in concert three times, I was the Chik-Fil-A 100th customer of the day and got free food, I met an old wildcatter whose real name is "Tuffy," I replaced four flat tires (one in the rain), I fell into a swimming pool while trying to catch a football, I flew first class, I slept for 24 consecutive hours, I rode a mechanical bull, I got interrogated and wrongfuly fired for stealing $10,000 and re-hired two weeks later in the same job only to quit three weeks after that, I kissed a woman on the lips every new year's eve at midnight, I created a fictional doctor's office, I gave a girlfriend a pinecone for Christmas, I ran over a raccoon at 1 in the morning, I saved a rat from drowning in a swimming pool, I electrocuted, poisoned or squashed thousands of mild-mannered, law-abiding insects of every type and performed at least one full gainer off of a diving board every summer for ten years in a row.

I think I'm going to miss my twenties, but I'm looking forward to my thirties more than I'm worried about missing my twenties, you know? That's a good feeling. When I went from my teens to my twenties, I wrote pages and pages of drivel about the tragic loss of my youth and the inevitable spectre of death. This transition to a new decade feels refreshingly different, more hopeful, more grounded. It almost feels like a clean slate.

But I'm nostalgiac by nature, and maybe there is a part of me that wants to keep my twenties-era hair on my head for as long as I can since I'll never grow the hair of a young man in his twenties again. It's strange, but that could be a little bit true.

But what's also true is that my wife is baking me an apple pie and cooking me chicken fajitas tomorrow, and the whole gang is coming over to our place for a big chili dinner party on Friday night. Which both sound like great ways to begin the next decade and the first days of the rest of my life.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Calling the Phone Company

This post has been a long time coming.

Way back in August when Chris and I were trying to close down our lives in Texas, we had to make umpteen phone calls to cancel internets, phones, electricities, car insurance, and so on and so forth.

If it wasn't for Chris's quick wit and contagious sense of humor, I'm not sure I would have made it through.

Here's excerpts from his phone call to the phone company. It's about 8 minutes long so get cozy. Stay with it till the end, it's sure to make you smile.

Click to watch "Chris calls the phone company."

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Funnies

(Thanks so much Grandma Miller for sending this all the way from Kansas to Turkey for us and others to enjoy!)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Another Snow Day

So, snowed again. All night Thursday night and into the morning Friday the snow just poured from the sky.

Chris and I were convinced that the Ministry would call a snow day, but in their infinite wisdom they decided there wasn't quite enough snow to warrant closing school.

We grumbled our way to the shower, got dressed and made our way out into the deepest snow I personally have ever been in without the specific purpose of snow skiing.

The walk to school was filled with our colleagues and their cameras. I'm kind of glad to know we're not the only ones completely in awe of this snow.

No one was spared from the snow. Not even precious Ataturk himself.

The kids of course, were again thrilled with the snow.

The videos can be viewed in their regular spot. I think there's five in total.

Two more snow days and then I'll stop posting about the snow.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Integrated Arts Performance

Thursday the 1st and 2nd grades came together to perform a joint integrated arts performance (drama, music and art).

Mr. Chris took care of all the light, sound and media. He did a fantastic job.

We rehearsed all week long and performed Thursday night to a full house. The kids did great.

(I'm currently having movie-making problems so in the interest of time I'm just going to upload the raw videos and pictures)


My class and I (they painted the jungle scene in the background)

Stage hams

Light and Sound Director

It's kind of hard to tell in this picture, but my kids are a tsunami and they are killing the 1st graders who are flowers.


* Second grade playing pots and pans "Stomp" style.

* First grade and second grade singing the finale.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Vienna - by, Christopher

Well this has been a long time coming! This week I have spent every day in the auditorium working as technical director for the grade 1 and 2 integrated arts performance. The curtain goes up tonight in front of a full house of parents, so wish us luck. On to Vienna:

Welcome to the beautiful Hotel Hillinger. We really don't want more than one person going upstairs, so please enjoy this microscopic elevator.

We hope you'll find your crowded, smelly room to be uncomfortable in every way.

We've jammed your lumpy beds into corners and festooned the walls above them with random devices to create the feeling of sleeping on a carpenter's workbench.

What's that thing you ask? Oh, it's a First Class brand hair drying station, circa 1982. And it even works! Well, it doesn't work. But it does look First Class!

The other bed is just across the tiny walking space. You two guys might as well be sleeping together! At Hotel Hillinger your co-worker will smell every fart and hear each fit of snoring. Sharing is important!

Gaze out at a beautiful Viennese parking lot between sturdy denim curtains. Work confidently at the spray-painted plywood desk. While away the hours squinting at your tv. Or, just spend your time with us counting attractive exposed wires.

Sorry, the bathrom isn't big enough to get a picture of the whole thing. The best we can offer is a shot of this luxurious block of wood holding up your toilet. At The Hotel Hillinger, you won't have to worry that the toilet will fall to the floor in the middle of your business. Because that happened to the last guy, and now you've got the luxurious block of wood.

Okay, I'm done selling you on how great the hotel was. The conference room was actually pretty comfortable, which was nice since spent the majority of our time there.

At the end of the first night a group of us went out to the Leopold Museum and the Museum of Modern Art. Then we ended up at some little Italian restaurant where I had one of the best calzones I've ever had.

We spent a large part of the next day in the Vienna International School library. The library was impressive and full to the doors with resources.

My teaching assistant Serdar working on one of the computers in the school mac lab.

Here we are sitting down for a mini workshop on critical literacy in one of the school's conference rooms.

This pic is sideways and I forgot to rotate it. It's a shot of the Mexican restaurant we found in a mall. Salud indeed!

Oh, what a sight for sore eyes. I ordered the tacos con pollo.

Praise and hallelujah, it's Mexican food!

Here's a shot of our group enjoying our Mexican food. I don't kow if you can see, but the empty spot in the front was my seat, and right in front is a Corona.

I'll post more pics when I get the stuff Serdar shot. Suffice to say, Vienna was a wonderful experience (apart from the accomodations). I can't wait to get back there and experience more of the city, preferably in the Spring or Summer next time.