The first social of the year was last Friday night and boy was it busy! The students only danced about 30% of the time, but it still seemed like they were having a good time. There were boys there from VG’s brother school, Graham College ( still a high school, but all boys). We had to make an emergency trip to the grocery store halfway through the social to get more soda pop. Overall, it was successful both as a fundraiser, and the girls had a good time.
Saturday we slept in for the first time and it was magical. We were both exhausted and it felt really good to not have anything to do. So Saturday and Sunday were pretty much just that. Doing nothing, taking naps (yes, plural), reading, and a little homework.
Once classes started on Monday though, things were full throttle again. All of our co-curriculars started this week and we figured that we’ll be at school until 4:30 Monday through Thursday because of both of our combined schedules. It’s okay because it keeps us busy and gives us stuff to do in the afternoons. Our COST liaison (also my cooperating teacher) came back from adoption leave on Monday, so we finally got things settled. She sat down with me and created a schedule. It is really nice to finally have everything written down and settled. Every once in awhile I’ll get asked to do something that isn’t in my schedule, but for the most part everything is settled.
I will be teaching the grade 9 theory class by myself and I will be helping with some grade 10 and grade 11 classes, co-teaching with either Jillian or Bo (my cooperating teacher). Because there aren’t ensembles during the day, and the only ensembles after school are marimba, choir, and a mixed orchestra, all the music classes are theory, history, or aural training. Definitely different than at home where the experience of being involved in music is based on ensembles only. I am teaching some private flute lessons, a clarinet lesson, and a marimba lesson, so those are all new for me too! Bo mentioned getting me a bassoon from Rhodes University here in Grahamstown and playing with the co-curricular orchestra at VG and maybe even in the Rhodes orchestra! I miss playing so much! I have been practicing piano some, but I am definitely not as successful at piano as I am at bassoon, so it’s a little frustrating sometimes. I’ve been practicing my good ‘ol scales ;)
All of the girls are split up into one of four houses (yes, just like Harry Potter): Dorset, Graeme, Ruthville, and Thursford. They compete with each other in sports, on games day, and in singing competitions. Their sports are categorized by age group, not junior varsity or varsity. They have under 15, under 17, and under 19. I can see the pros and cons of each system, even though I’m not really a sports kind of person :)
Friday night was the first house function of the year and Graeme house did “So You Think You Can Dance?” Four groups of girls choreographed and competed with each other. The first round was their choreographed piece, the next round was an improv dance between the two remaining groups, and the final round was a face-off between two girls from one group and another group of two. There is a video below of a dance some of you might find familiar :)
Saturday was by far the most fun of the trip so far. Dr. Baxen took us on an outing down to Port Alfred where there are nice beaches on the INDIAN OCEAN! We are both the first people in our family to step foot into the Indian Ocean. We spent about two hours on the beach before heading to lunch and to visit a few shops. After only those two hours, I am fried! I didn’t think I’d need sunscreen because we were only there for a short time, but boy was I wrong! I look like a ripe tomato and can barely move! I’ll post some pictures below of the ocean :) I almost forgot to say the most exciting part of the trip to Port Alfred! WE SAW ZEBRAS!!! There were a few game reserves along the drive and there happened to be a herd of zebras near the road and we saw them! It was also our first time seeing zebras :)
One of the stops we made on our way back from Port Alfred was at a giant pineapple! Someone literally built a giant pineapple amongst pineapple fields as a tourist attraction and to bring attention to the pineapple industry. It worked! We went in and took the spiral staircase up to the top and looked out at the view (which was massive and beautiful). I will post a picture of that too :)
Today we went to a church service that is held in the auditorium of VG. It was a really contemporary church and a little to much so for Wellyna and I. We are going to look for a different church next week. After church we stopped at the grocery store and then made our way home just in time before it started raining. It has been raining ever since (about 4 hours)! Now we are both preparing for classes this week and getting everything in order before the week starts.
I got my first letter this week from Aunt Gretchen (thank you!), but I will be happy to get more letters! I changed the address to the school because mail is safer there than here at the house, just so you all know.
I tried posting this on Sunday evening and it didn’t work very well, so I’m trying again now. Yesterday was very nice because I sat down with Bo and we planned almost 3 weeks in advance for classes. I then created a list of worksheets that needed to get created for those lessons and then got started. It is early Tuesday morning now and I have only crossed two things off, but hopefully some go a little bit quicker because one of the finished ones was a test for the grade 9 girls.