Monday, November 24, 2008

Red Cup Day

It is a tradition... when Starbucks releases their red holiday cups, I celebrate. Nothing elaborate, just a count down and then a trip to enjoy a hot holiday-flavored beverage in a festive red cup of Christmas spirit. This year, Red Cup Day came a little late. Shocking as it may be, the huge town of 3000 people, Kandern, does not have a Starbucks. I was as surprised as you... So, I had to hear through the grapevine that the cups had been unveiled. Then, I had to find people to go with, because you simply cannot celebrate this occasion alone.

Finally, last night, we celebrated belated Red Cup Day. This was my first International Red Cup Day. And the snow just made it extra-special.

I was disappointed that there were no Eggnog Lattes, but the Dark Cherry Mocha was delicious.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I got my haircut by Oliver; he's German. I had practiced all my German phrases. Ich bin hier um meine Frisur. (I am here for my haircut). Mir gefällt die Frisur in dieses Bild. (I like the haircut in this picture) and the all-important. Sprechen Sie Englisch? (Do you speak English?) The "please, please, please" is implied in the desperation in my voice. You get the picture.

It turned out to be virtually painless as he spoke better English than most Americans I know. We talked about where in California he should take his wife, why I like the rain, and how there is nothing to do in Kandern after 8.

Adam thinks this is the best haircut I have even gotten. I love it. As I was looking at the pictures to post, I relaized that it won't look that different from the last time many of you saw me. You have not had the opportunity to watch it grow out unevenly and get stragglier and stragglier with each passing day. So, just imagine what your hair looks like right before you get it cut again. And that's about what it looked like.
So, finally, here are the pictures of the new 'do.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Reality Show or Classroom?

It's a good day here in Kitchen Stadium! Independent Living has officially started the much anticipated Cooking Unit. *wild applause* When I announced that we would be starting this unit, one of my students sat up in his chair, clasped his hands together and proclaimed, "Mrs. DeClercq, words cannot express how excited I am!" If that doesn't warm a teacher's heart, I don't know what would.

We have successfully made trail mix, baked granola, and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Everyday my students want to turn the lesson into a reality show- Next Top Chef, Iron Chef, Hell's Kitchen, Survivor, Weakest Link. You name it, they've mentioned it. They wanted to "vote people off the kitchen island".

Just to placate them, I always taste each team's food and proclaim a winner. They love it. I think they might be keeping score.

Pictured above are the plates of cookies we made today. Beautiful, huh? And although you can't try for yourself, they are DELICIOUS. Way to go Independent Living!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thanksgiving at Maugenhard

On Thursday night, Laura and I were invited to Maugenhard dorm for Thanksgiving dinner. This is the dorm that Laura serves in on Wednesday nights. Scattered throughout these photos are some of my students, a few of Laura's students, and one of my small group guys. This is a super cool place to be. All the boys here are neat young men and we were glad to be able to spend the evening hanging out with them. (Check out the picture with all the pies-Laura helped make most of them on Wednesday and all the boys helped to eat them all on Thursday.)

Adam read The Shack too

Adam here- I also just finished The Shack. You should read it. The trick is to not take a lot of the controversial parts as literal. It is meant as a metaphor, as an allegory. Anyone who can't pick up on that will miss out on the bigger picture of the book. It uses distinct imagery to show the reader what an intimate relationship with Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit might look like. The story itself is interesting and gripping. The spiritual commentary is thought-provoking. I thought it was a good read and I recommend it. When you do read it, let me know what you think.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Shack

I (Laura) just read this book...

Literally, I finished it a couple of hours ago. And for those of you doing the math, it is 3 AM here. I am wide awake and thought I would share my thoughts on the book.

I am not one who is easily swayed by public opinion. I read the DaVinci Code when the Christian community was afraid you would lose your salvation simply by beholding its front cover in line at Costco. And I was reluctant to read The Shack simply because everyone was talking about it.
But read it, I did. And in about 24 hours, too.

It was a great read. Very enjoyable. With tons of food for thought. I filled journal pages with quotes and hmm.... moments from my reading. If you are on the fence, I say read it. What have you got to lose? Except maybe a couple of preconceived ideas about God.

As with anything you read, especially a novel that deals with spiritual issues, there will be things that cause you to raise your eyebrows. If a book keeps you confortably where you are right now, what is the point? This book will not leave you comfortable. You will be uncomfortable; I think that is the point.

There were things I loved, things I vehemently disagreed with, and things that I'll have to chew on for awhile. But one of the quotes I scribbled into my journal is the following:

God on being God
"I'm not like you....
the problem is that many folks try to grasp some sense of who I
am by taking the best version of themselves, projecting that to the nth degree, factoring in all the goodness they can picture, which often isn't much, and then call that God."

I know that I am thankful God is so much more than merely the best human I can imagine. I have an active imagination, but it's not that good.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

BFA invades Herbstmesse

Thursday night, BFA students, staff, and parents packed 5 buses bound for Basel, Switzerland. 30 minutes later we were invading Herbstmesse. Herbst = Autumn. Messe= Fair. It was a Fall Festival. There were carnival rides and bratwurst stands on every corner.
We were all bundled up to the gills but ready for fun. This So Cal girl had tights on under her jeans, three layers and a coat with a scarf and gloves. And she did just fine. No complaining about the cold from me!

The highlight of the evening was the bumper cars. We practically bought out the ride for 2 hours. BFA pre-purchased 400 tokens and for 1 Swiss franc, or about 85 cents, you could have your turn on the bumper cars. Seeing as how most of the other rides were between 8-12 francs a piece, 1 franc for the bumper cars was a bargain!
Once you have your token in hand, you just wait for the previous round to end, then mad dash for a car. There is no line and no barrier. If you aren't lucky or aggressive enough to get a car, you wait til the next time. If you want to ride 10 times, just stay in your car.
Adam and I went 3 times. And everytime, our students were bound and determined to rattle our teeth loose. All in good fun, though. We were aiming for them with as much determination!