December 23, 2012

taking a pit stop in pittsburgh.

     On our road trip to Michigan, Jason and I stopped in Pittsburgh. It's always fun traveling on the road, especially this trip as we've been cooped up in New York with Jason finishing his Finals and me finishing my student teaching. Jason did so good in his first semester at NYU— receiving mostly A's!  
Going up the funicular
    After 6 hours on the road, we arrived in Pittsburgh. We took a funicular up the Duquesne Lift to see the city from Mount Washington. Just a little bit of history— Mount Washington was named after George Washington who was sent by the British in the French and Indian War to survey the land at this specific viewpoint. Washington determined that the land, which would later become Pittsburgh, was valuable and would become the centerpiece of the French and Indian War. 
Mount Washington viewpoint
     Pittsburgh is also known as the city of bridges as its 446 bridges beat out Venice for the city with the most bridges in the world. The weather had been fairly rainy and overcast, but the skyline gradually lit up and became a gorgeous view. It was nice to stretch our legs after our long road trip. We walked along Grandview Avenue where there were fancy restaurants and houses overlooking the city below. It was fun walking along the streets decorated with Christmas lights and Steelers flags.
Point of View
     After one last look of the amazing view, we headed down the funicular and eventually found our hotel on Neville Island. Pittsburgh was definitely a fun stop and in less than 5 hours of driving later, we finally arrived at my home in White Lake, Michigan.
A gorgeous view of Pittsburgh
     My house was made up in Christmas decorations with 3 Christmas trees including a special one in our room. Mom decorated our tree with ornaments from mine and Jason’s childhoods. You could tell she put a lot of time into our visit home. We are so excited to spend the holidays with our family!
Our personal Christmas tree

December 20, 2012

22 hugs goodbye.

Bronxville Elementary
     December 13th was my very last day of student teaching and what a bittersweet day it was with having to say goodbye. Of course, I’m excited to be officially done with school, but I will miss those kids tremendously.
I'm going to miss my kids
     As the day began, some of my students handed me gift bags and flowers. I received hug after hug, group squeeze after group squeeze. At one point in the day, the students all gathered around me while they said their goodbyes with gifts and their sweet words. They started out by saying “We’ll miss you” and “Don’t go!” and then trickled into things such as, “You make the world a brighter place.” This is when I started to get teary-eyed.
Friendship Bracelets
     I received cute homemade gifts from some of my girls, along with Starbucks cards, lotion, and flowers. I also received a fabulous gift from Ms. Williams, my cooperating teacher, she gave me a bag with my name embroidered on it, filled with a few picture books, teaching strategies books, and pens. I about died. For my final gift, my kids put together a scrapbook of letters they each wrote me— I saved these for reading when I got home so I wouldn’t bust out crying.
My big yellow bag
     We then had a nice goodbye Breakfast with muffins and juice. All of my girls wanted me to sit by them. We played the game of Guess Who, where someone covers your eyes and you have to guess who it is. I loved this simple game because after a while, the majority of the students were joining in and covering my eyes.
     When school was over, I was bombarded with another round of hugs. I had never felt so loved in my entire life. I now understand, more than ever, why teaching is the most rewarding job. I love each of those kids and I will never forget a single one of them. I will cherish my book of letters forever and read them over and over again, no matter how much it makes me cry. I plan on visiting the kids at school when I can; I simply cannot stay away from them for too long.
All my gifts
     The next day, Jason and I decided to celebrate by going into the city to see the Rockefeller Christmas tree and see all the Christmas windows by the department stores. It was a busy day of walking and lots of people, but we had a lot of fun.
     We started at Macy’s, which is apparently the world’s largest department store and managed to make our way up the 10 floors. Jason loved riding on the wooden escalators and we both had fun writing letters to Santa.
Legos and American Girls
     We continued to the Rockefeller Plaza and had fun watching people skate. Jason went into the Lego store and revisited his childhood. His favorite toys as a kid were Legos and for one Christmas his Dad even made him a Lego table. They had a mini Lego replica of the Rockefeller Center that was pretty impresive. I also had a chance to relieve my childhood going to an American Girls Store.
Rockefeller Plaza
     It was fun walking on 5th Ave and getting in the Christmas spirit with all the beautiful window displays from the department store's. Below are some of our favorite window displays from Bergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdale's and Jason and I are very excited to leave for Michigan this weekend to spend Christmas with my parents!
Jason's favorite display from Bergdorf Goodman
My favorite display: another Bergdorf Goodman
Cirque du Soleil window from Bloomingdale's