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No More Mary Poppins…

So, I’m not going to be a nanny much longer.  It was a hard decision, but even though I love these kids, I have been struggling to manage working full-time and being a full-time grad student too.  Ultimately, needing more time to focus on school won out; it’s frustrating to move 3,200 miles for grad school only to find you don’t have room in your schedule for it!

I’m going to keep working until the family finds a new nanny; until then I’ll be busy looking for a new job and a new place to live.  The apartments I’ve visited so far have been definite “NOs!” (If you ever visited my little room at the house on Harden street, imagine a room half that size and twice the price)!  I’ve got three more apartments lined up to visit this week though, wish me luck!

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Tully’s, etc.

I don’t know why anyone living in Seattle would go to Starbuck’s when they could go to Tully’s for their chain-coffee fix. Not only does Tully’s have free wireless (Starbuck’s does not), they also give you unlimited free refills on drip coffee. (I don’t know of any other coffeehouse anywhere that does that. You can imagine the look of shock on my face when I asked to go ahead and pay for a refill when I paid for my first cup with a card and the barista responded that I could drink as many cups of coffee as I wanted for the price of one. Amazing).

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Okay, that’s my pro-Tully’s pitch, I’m obviously sitting in one right now for the first time. That being said, however, Michelle and Chasity flew up from South Carolina last weekend, and we visited the original Starbuck’s in Pike Place Market while they were here:

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It was great to have the girls in town for a few days. We went to the Market and were invited to go back behind the counter with the guys who throw fish to have our picture taken with them, we went to the top of the Space Needle, rode the Monorail, watched the Gamecocks beat Chapel Hill (woohoo!) at a sport’s bar downtown, took a cheesy (but fun) land/water Duck tour, went to a great Italian restaurant that reminded us all of traveling together in Italy (and, according to Andrea, is one of the best Italian restaurants in Seattle), went out for Eritrean food one night, and, of course, drank a lot of coffee.

Chas and Michelle left Seattle late Saturday night. Since then I’ve been busy nannying and catching up on schoolwork. Last night I went to one of the Blue Sky small groups. Turns out that this particular group just became an all-guys group instead of co-ed like the others, and I was the only girl. Haha, whooops! (The guy leading the group had totally forgotten to tell me about the switch since I hadn’t actually come before). Anyway, the guys were super nice and recommended another group that meets at the same time that I’m planning on checking out next week, so all’s well that ends well.

Now, it’s time for a free refill of coffee and to get to work on my Arabic homework- writing backwards in another alphabet takes a lot of concentration!

PS- Pictures from Chas & Michelle’s trip are from Michelle!

Only in Seattle…

Only in Seattle would you see a middle-aged lady walking down the street with a jack russell terrier dressed in a bright yellow raincoat, complete with rain hat.  No, it wasn’t the lady wearing the raincoat and hat, it was the dog.

Too bad I didn’t have my camera with me, you can imagine that he looked something like this:

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Church.

Visiting new churches by yourself is not a lot of fun.  People are always really nice, but, in my experience, after the standard “Hi, how are you?” the conversations often end, leaving you to sit by just another stranger.  (A nice stranger, but still a stranger).  I’m sure Jesus didn’t intend for this to be the experience that first-time visitors to a church have, but, I’ll just chalk this one up to human nature.

That being said, I visited my fourth church in Seattle this morning, and had a totally different experience.  (Thank God, literally).  I visited a church in NE Bellevue called Blue Sky Church.  I had found the church on the Internet over the summer like several of the other churches I visited, but got tired of visiting a new church each week before I had a chance to try this one.  (I visited several churches quickly when I first got here, sometimes going to more than one service a day so I could visit more).  Anyway, last night I decided I didn’t want to go to church today at the one I had been going to, so I decided to visit Blue Sky after all.

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I walked into the church lobby and immediately a lady walked up to me and introduced herself.  (She wasn’t even an official greeter).  She asked me if it was my first time here, and when I said yes, she offered to introduce me to some people and show me around.  She showed me where I could get coffee and a croissant, introduced me to several of her friends and the pastor’s wife, and invited me to sit with her during the service.  She showed me where the information for weekly Bible studies were and even tried to find a couple of the leaders who had studies during times I could attend.  After the service she invited me to stay for the church’s 3rd Anniversary party.

The worship and the sermon at this church were both good; the worship and sermons at other churches I’ve visited, however, have also been good.  I’m pretty sure that next week though, I’ll be going back to Blue Sky.  It seems like a long time since I’ve been new at a church (freshman year of college); now that I know what it’s like to visit churches alone, you can believe that once I’m settled in here, I’ll always be on the lookout for new visitors who have shown up alone!

Learning Arabic.

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I was supposed to be learning Russian this semester, but when the class didn’t have enough people register, I switched into Arabic instead. Classes began last week, and learning Arabic is, without a doubt, the hardest language I’ve ever tried to learn.

At least, it is right now.

The first two classes were spent learning the alphabet and a few phrases (such as “thank you,” “you’re welcome,” “where are you from,” “Are you a student?” etc). My pronunciation is terrible! Our teacher is a native speaker of Arabic. He taught us the sounds each character makes by writing the letters on a white board. At the end of the second night he pulled out some flashcards to quiz us. I thought I was doing okay with learning the sounds, until he started using the flashcards- instead of having the handwritten form of the characters, the flashcards had the calligraphic form instead, and it completely through me off!

Luckily, I didn’t have a chance to be quizzed, so I have a little time to review before Tuesday!

Once I’ve mastered the alphabet, I think learning Arabic might not be too much more difficult than learning another language- we’ll see.

I’m taking the course at Seattle Language Academy, a language school in Fremont. This is the kind of place I might like to teach one day. The first floor of the building is a cafe, Café Babel. Many of the people who work there are English students who came from various countries to learn English here. The second two floors of the building have all of the classrooms. The average class size seems to be about ten students.

My Arabic class has an interesting mix of students. We range in age from a high school senior all the way to people in there 40’s and 50’s. Everyone is friendly, and the atmosphere is very relaxed. (I think this comes from our continuous laughter at how ridiculous we sound trying to pronounce some of the characters)!

The purpose of taking Arabic is to complete the Language Learning Practicum requirement for my degree. By studying an unfamiliar language, we are supposed to “take notes” on what was easy or hard for us as students, and what our teacher did that made learning harder or easier. I think I will definitely get a good perspective on these things through this Arabic course!