School In The Clouds

Today the dorm is quiet, the sun is shining, and my lounge is in a state of disarray that, for once, is of my own making. It’s midterm, and so the mess is not napkins and empty cups and random socks left behind by children, but it’s more along the lines of multiple seasons of about five different tv shows spread out so that I can see the insides of all the boxes, and non-perishable groceries that I have yet to put in the laundry room. I try to keep my own apartment clean in an attempt to encourage the girls to keep their own rooms clean…but as they’re not here, I can be a bit lazy about the room for another 24 hours. (Also, the tv shows all go back onto a very high shelf that I can’t actually reach…short girl problems.)

It’s kind of hard to believe we’ve hit midterm already. It’s been a busy term, but it still has been a good one so far. We’ve had some oddly sunny weather this past week—normally, this time of year is rainy and cold and foggy. RVA is often called the School in the Clouds—when the fog rolls in, it’s thick and grey, and you can’t see the valley below or the mountain above, like we’re just floating along up in the sky. Most of the term has fit into that pattern, but for the past five days or so, we’ve seen the sun. We actually could have done with the sun last week, when the solar panels’ electric backups died out for the entire dorm, and so we all had cold water. But we found a hero in a champion from Maintenance who got our hot water back.

The bottom picture is the view on a clear day...there's a reason they call us the school in the clouds.

The bottom picture is the view on a clear day…there’s a reason they call us the school in the clouds.

foggy day 1foggy day 2

The sun was very nice this weekend for all the midterm travel. All the roads were dry and clear, which made getting up the hill so much easier. It worked out much better for Midterm than it did for Band Tour a couple weeks ago. They got stuck in the mud multiple times going up the hill, and that trip that should have taken about half an hour took seven. The kids had good spirits about it, though. (Several of them were worried they’d get behind in their homework being gone all weekend, so an odd sort of opportunity presented itself when they were stuck.)

Band Tour 1

Not much else to do when the bus is stuck–may as well take the opportunity for selfies.

Band Tour 2

That’s not going anywhere for a while.

A couple of highlights from the past few foggy, chilly weeks: Several weeks back, one of our dorm devotions veered off topic into the subject of transgenderism and the uproar the whole thing is creating in other parts of the world. Since that hadn’t been where I was intending the devotional to go, I wasn’t prepared to tackle the question, but the girls were very interested in discussing it and learning more and trying to figure out how they, as Christians, should react. We were able to get one of the school counselors to come a few weeks later to talk it over, and the girls were really interested and engaged. I was very proud of them throughout the discussion, because they asked good questions and really listened to the answers, and any arguments they made were for the sake of trying to understand, not trying to prove themselves right. (Which tends not to be the case when this group argues about something.) Obviously, the eighteen of us weren’t going to solve any global social issues in my living room, but I’m hopeful that everyone came away with a better understanding of a tricky issue, and a good foundation of how to react to it.

Another highlight (for me at least) was Family Night. This is an evening where the girls are just in the dorm with nothing planned. We usually have a couple of movie options and a snack, some people play games and some people go to bed. Well, the week previously, one of my girls had been trying to figure out how to play one of my more complicated games, and when she found out later that it’s one I play a lot with some other staff members, she asked if we could all get together and play it. (This was kind of a milestone, just her asking that—she tends to fight against the rules and all the people who make and enforce them, which includes me. So, I was quite surprised and pleased that she actually wanted to do something with me.) So, while the movie was playing in the living room, we got together and were joined by a couple of other girls and played a game. Everyone quite enjoyed it, and when it was over, she suggested we try a different one. She enjoyed that one too, and so suggested another. It was so nice to be able to hang out with her and actually be having fun—though she did declare everyone playing the games nerds for enjoying it so much. Of course, I enjoyed getting to spend time with all of them, but it was a blessing with this girl in particular, because I’ve been trying all year to show her that I’m not actually out to get her. Progress! It was awesome.

Some smaller highlights have been cookie and Kool-Aid Mondays that we’ve started—after school, I put out some snacks, and get to chat a little with the girls as they come in and out. (Though Ella insists that we should call them biscuits instead of cookies, as they’re from the store and not homemade.) We also had a nice Caring Community last time, playing Imaginiff with our 7th graders. Most memorable quote of the evening? “Imagine if Boaz were a boat—what kind would he be?” “He’d be a canoe! Because he’s long, skinny and unstable.”

Can you guess which one is "Canoe Boy"?

Can you guess which one is “Canoe Boy”?

Thanks for your prayers and encouragement. Please pray that everyone comes back well rested from Midterm, and that we all keep getting along and staying healthy.

Here are a few fun pictures from Crazy Hair Day earlier this term.20160525_21092320160526_091814 7th grade hair 2   Lauren and Lynnsi crazy hair



Also, this wonderful passive-aggressive note left on our whiteboard by one of the girls who was tired of everyone else’s mess in the kitchen. It says “PS, we also need responsible people to use the kitchen, not random barbarians who weren’t educated in Home Ec. or by their mothers…no offence.”