Saturday, December 13, 2014

End of Semester Fun Times!

I am finally free from the confines of this semester so I can return to the slow-paced life that I love so much! So many wonderful things have happened since last time, so I can't wait to fill you in!!!

I'll begin with Thanksgiving! (Why yes, it has been that long. I know.) I was extremely excited to come home and escape the craziness of school! Just before Thanksgiving, I had a final in my Geometry class, and I spent inordinate amounts of time working on a final project for my Math Modeling class. It was great to take a breather :) I'm happy to report that I was able to finish typing up my report over that break, and it took me ONLY five hours to do so! It was a twenty-three page mathematical report with more difficult equations than I ever care to type out in one setting again. Also, formatting was a bear. If you ever wondered why math textbooks were so expensive, I can tell you why...typesetting is a nightmare! It is hard work!!! Nonetheless, I finished it!

Also, just before Thanksgiving, one of my good friends from church, Stefano, who was a Master's student from Italy, bid us farewell. He was such a kind, joyful soul, and we were sad to tell him goodbye. On the upside, we did have lots of great celebrations in his honor! His official farewell party entailed he and our other Italian, Andrea cooking pasta for us! (Authentic Italian cooking is so good...it's also much simpler than one might imagine!) Also, the next day, a bunch of us took Stefano to lunch at Eskimo Joe's so that he could eat his favorite American foods (hamburgers & french fries) for one last time! It was a great day, and he is missed!
L-R: William, Celeste, Stefano, Kevin, Rebecca, me, Andrea
At home, we had a couple of celebrations for Thanksgiving. On the day of, Mom, Dad, and I made a large pot of chicken noodle soup and brought Mimi over for a simple afternoon meal with her favorite chocolate pudding dessert! It brightened everyone's day greatly! Then, on the Saturday after, we had our feast with Gina & Emily's families, which was absolutely spectacular! Everyone fell into a food coma afterwards...minus me and Cody. Jakub was in rare form that night, as he ran around having a grand time running and climbing everywhere! What a kid! The next day, we had a small birthday celebration for Kyle, who is now eight. At his request, we had a breakfast party with breakfast burritos and a turtle cheesecake for his cake! Kyle was in heaven with his party!
Yes, Cody is almost as tall as me...I now feel old and short ;)
I'm pretty sure I have multiple pictures of Kyle & me like this...love this kid!
Little did I know that when I returned to school that so much would happen in a span of two weeks. Everything that happened in that time made everything else this semester worth it, if you can believe that! I'll begin with the obvious school portions. I was completely done with Geometry (hence the aforementioned final), and was basically done with Math Modeling and Wine Tasting. As it turned out, there was still one more part to my report that our professor never really mentioned until then, but I figured it out thanks to my ability to create Excel spreadsheets that do the hard math for me...and friends who helped me create said spreadsheets :) For Wine Tasting, my group was supposed to give a final presentation that we ended up not presenting thanks to our professor who wanted to leave early that night and emailed it to him instead! One less thing to worry about! I was a little bit overwhelmed by all that I had to do for Methods because I (and everyone else in our class for that matter) had royally procrastinated because of the volume of everything else we had to do in our other classes. Also, my lack of a computer for 2 weeks didn't help matters. I had a couple of late nights, but I finally finished everything this past Thursday...Hallelujah! There was a group presentation for my SPED class for which I was generally not as prepared, if only because I was putting out small fires everywhere else for other classes. Thanks to my group members for being champs and not holding that against me, because that class really wasn't one of my biggest priorities this semester. Which brings me to Number Theory. Ugh. We covered new material up until the last class before finals week started. We also had a homework assignment due that day, which left little to no time to work on studying anything. (I also struggled with time-management for a little bit.) Needless to say, I was slightly less than prepared for the final, which was at 10 AM this past Monday. (I'm still not sure how I felt about having a hard final right away.) Throughout the test, I calculated estimated grades on everything, and once I knew that I had accomplished enough to pass after wracking my brains trying to figure out everything else, I threw in the towel. (Yes, this is one of my favorite parts of being a math major...no shame.) At first, I thought I received a C for the class, which would have been my first, and at that point, I really didn't care because I was just happy to have survived that class. However, by some miracle, I received a B!!! I'm not even sure how or why, but I'm not questioning it! Someone along the way had a little bit of mercy on me and a few of my classmates, and we're glad they did!!!

Another great part of this two-week span was that I FINALLY received my student teaching placements! It wasn't where I assumed I would go, but I'm really happy that I'm there! (Yeah, I'm gonna have to be vague from here on out...sorry!) Upon first receiving news of it, I was told by multiple sources that I'd love my experience with my cooperating teacher. After finally chatting with her via email, I was convinced that I'd enjoy working with her! I observed in her classroom all day yesterday, and I think that I'm really going to enjoy my experience next semester. She's a great teacher who makes things look much easier than they are, but she also has great advice and insight into the profession of teaching. Her students are generally well-behaved and respectful, so we can only hope that that will carry over to my time teaching! :) I'm impressed with the school itself, as it is neat, tidy, and welcoming! I'm much less fearful about next semester!!!!!

Speaking of teaching, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the other math education people who have really become like another family to me...maybe slightly dysfunctional, but a family nonetheless :) We've walked together through all of our hard classes: Modern Algebra, Combinatorics, Number Theory, Math Modeling, and of course all of the Methods classes! We started off not knowing much about each other, but here we are about to start the same adventure of student teaching! We've laughed, cried, complained, and lived our lives together. Especially this semester, we've gotten to know each other on a personal level and have built a community. We've shared embarrassing stories from our youth, we've shared meals, we've shared our time in listening to each others' problems/life stories, we've done a lot together. We even have a couple in our midst...I love Janey and Andrew together!!! After our last final together on Monday, we went to Fuzzy's for snacks and margaritas (or pop for Janey, Andrew, and Viktoria) and to the finals week pancake party at the Union. We laughed harder than ever and had great times before going our separate ways! I never thought I'd find myself actually knowing and investing time in my classmates, but I'm so glad I did! Love these crazy folks!!!
The crazy math kids!
Front Row (L-R): Me, Amanda M., Josh
Back Row (L-R): Janey, Andrew, Maria, Viktoria, Jim
So, what else could have possibly happened during this two week span? I mean, I finished my classes, I got little sleep, I received placement for next semester, AND I had a blast with my math friends, what else could have possibly happened? Just wait, there's more!!!

Oh yeah, OSU won Bedlam in a miraculous victory that essentially redeemed our less-than-stellar season AND made us bowl-eligible! (Who cares if it's only the Cactus Bowl...at least it's a bowl game!) What a night!!!!!

Well, going back to that Sunday when I returned from break, something unexpected happened. I was asked on a date for Friday night by my good friend Thomas. Okay, in typing that, it doesn't seem that unexpected, BUT at that point, he was one of my good friends who I had never quite seen in that light, but thought was a wonderful person. On a whim, I said yes! I was terrified in doing so, because I wasn't quite sure what would happen, but something about it seemed right. Throughout the next day, I became increasingly excited! There was a long string of crazy events that happened between Monday and Thursday that I'd rather not delve into here and now, but I'll suffice to say that I have never been more ready for a Friday than I was last week!

We went out to eat and spent the remainder of our evening sitting and talking beneath the stars at Boomer Lake in town (the weather wasn't too bad that night), and we had an amazing time together. It was then and there that we decided to go for it and start dating each other!!!!! :) We have been dating for a week now, and I am continually in awe of how wonderful he is and how great of a fit we are for one another. I am humbled by God's faithfulness to both of us by bringing us together when both of us were very frustrated by love. Never in a million years would I have guessed that I could find such happiness with another person, let alone him, but sometimes, two people just click, and that has definitely been the case for Thomas and me!!! The timing of everything was more perfect than either of us could have imagined. So, for a few facts about him, he is a junior studying Agribusiness and is from a suburb of Dallas. Yes, I am dating a man who is both younger than me AND a Texan...I never thought that either of those things would happen! :) He is incredibly kind, respectful, funny, chivalrous, intelligent, Godly, and yes, handsome! We're both pretty bummed out that just after starting to date one another we have to spend a month apart, but honestly, it's just a month, which is not a lot of time in the grand scheme of things. Also, we're excited to build our communication skills and get to know each other even better on that level before we both return to Stilly. He is nothing like what I envisioned my next boyfriend would be, but at the same time, he is. He is the embodiment of all that I've wanted in a man, and I cannot wait to see where life will take us!
Yes, we did plan to wear tacky Christmas sweaters together...and it was Thomas's idea :)
This is a better picture of Thomas's smile :)
And yes, he is willing to take crazy, fake sorority girl pictures with me...I hit the jackpot!
So, there you have it, the full update on my life! Here's hoping you all are doing well!!! :)