Monday, February 25, 2013


Kurt and I have been visiting our Karen family about twice a week to practice English and stuff. Today I went and worked with the 2 women of the family, one a mom the other a young woman. I had SUCH a lovely time with them. First, I put up labels on various household items, like stove, phone, sink, freezer, mirror, toilet, sofa, chair, TV, and others. Then I took out the Bananagram game that I have begun to use for alphabet practice with the mom, and we spelled the words together. I spent some time with them practicing the letters "F" vs. "V" and "S" vs "Z" (vocalized and non-vocalized letters). Mom really caught on to the word "freezer" and said it several times as I was leaving. I think it may one of the first English words to really stick in her mind.

I am enjoying helping this refugee family quite a lot! I also have volunteered twice with VITA, the tax preparation program that helps people who make 57,000 or less per year. It's strange, but my meager understanding of taxes and how the tax system works is more than a lot of people understand. I typically think of myself as terrible at math, but most of the VITA volunteering is just knowing what tax form to enter into what part of the tax software, and the computer does the rest.

Friday I went to a class at my gym called "N-10sive F-I-R-E". The class names there are hilariously silly (as I may have mentioned before), but they are excellent classes. This class supposedly sets your muscles on fire, and it certainly did that for me. I couldn't do much with my limbs Friday night, felt sore on Saturday, then on Sunday when I was feeling a little better, I thought I could handle a yoga class at night. That was a mistake, because I was still weak and sore from Friday. Today my arms are almost worse than they were on Friday. I took ibuprofen this morning. Crazy as it sounds, I might go back to this terrible class, because it appears to be a very effective way to tone and gain strength.

I recently finished reading A Storm of Swords, the 3rd book in the Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones series. I started reading A Passage to India a few days ago, a book I had bought at a retired teacher's book sale at the mall one random weekend. Kurt isn't watching TV for Lent, so we are both getting a lot of reading in these days, which I really enjoy.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

looking forward to volunteering

My thing lately has been to try to get into the volunteering circuit. I miss being out in the community, and there are so many nights I have nothing to do. I'm currently cleared to be a mentor for a Karen family that arrived on Thursday. I am so incredibly excited to meet them. It has been a long time since I was able to forge a relationship with a refugee family that I could keep around for a long time. While working in resettlement, I had to move on every 3 months and never got a chance to be close to a refugee family like I wanted. I already have tons of ideas of what I want to do with them to help them learn English and feel comfortable in their surroundings. My biggest thing now is that I want to find a way to record vocabulary, so they can listen to correct pronunciation on their own time. I hope to meet them this week sometime.

I'm also training to be a VITA volunteer (helping people complete their taxes). I had to do a lot of studying and take an online exam. It took me quite some time to finish the exam, but when I was finished, I only got 66%, and I needed 80% to pass. I had one more chance to take the exam, so I spent some more time studying, and passed the second try with 90%. That made me really happy. For some reason I enjoyed studying about taxes. I think it mostly has to do with the fact that I enjoyed learning something new. I think I will be volunteering Sundays to help with taxes. I think it will be an interesting experience.

So...I am off onto some new volunteering adventures. I am excited.

Me and Kurt didn't do a whole lot on Saturday. Yesterday I ran 4.25 miles, did some lifting, we bought some stuff for Kurt at Scheel's for his marathon training, stopped in to look at some stuff at Hobbytown, Kurt made Paneer and some other Indian food for dinner (which was delicious), and we watched 3 episodes of West Wing. Friday night we celebrated with our friend Tyne because she got a job! We had Lazzari's pizza (downtown Lincoln), where the guy who took our order was a total snot to me and Kurt. Then we went to Yogurtini. I had Thin Mint yogurt, which was AMAZING. Kurt ran 10 miles today for his marathon training.

Today is the Superbowl. It's such a bizarre type of "holiday". We're going to a friend's house. Tomorrow, back to the grind.