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All About Matt Sun Feb 06, 2005 6:45 pm

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Joined: 22 Sep 2005
Posts: 102

PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2005 9:08 pm    Post subject: All About Matt Sun Feb 06, 2005 6:45 pm Reply with quote

Well, I think it's time for me to post once again. I've been neglecting my offline journal, so I figure I'll just count this as both a news entry and a journal entry! I'm lazy, even in my hobbies.

Well, I have had some people ask me why I'm in Jamaica, and what exactly I'm doing here. I figure this is a pretty good outlook to explain it, so here goes.

Last summer (summer of 2004) I was in a bit of a bind. I had planned on taking a year off and traveling with this youth ministry program in the U.S. I went to a weekend retreat with them, and just didn't feel like it was right for me. Looking back, I really wasn't (and I'm not sure I am now) spiritually mature enough to be involved in such an endeavor. Maybe it would've worked out fine, I'll never know, but I felt pulled in a different direction.

Well, I was leading/coaching a summer running program at the time, and I went to a running camp our school puts on every year with a few alumni and some high school students. My coach/second mother Mrs. Peggy Grille, the head coach for cross country, was leading the trip. While riding in her van to our destination, I began talking about my dilemna. She mentioned that her brother and sister-in-law, Jerry and Rene Winkler, were founders and leaders of a school in Jamaica, Montego Bay Christian Academy.

She inquired on my behalf, and less than a month later, on August 28th, I found myself on a plane to a country of which almost all my knowledge came from the movie Cool Runnings (by the way, a fellow teacher of mine had a small part in that movie.)

Anyways, they needed help in the high school, a job I readily accepted. The high school itself very small. MBCA is well known for it's preparatory school, but most kids transfer after grade 6. You see, in grade 6 the children of Jamaica take a test called a GSAT to see where they will go to high school. If they place well, they go to a good school. If not, they stay at MBCA or transfer to another school. This isn't always the case, as we do have some very bright children in 7-12, but it's the general result.

Anyways, I came down here with little knowledge, 0 teaching experience, no radio, no computer, no tv, no form of entertainment. This was a mixed blessing. I was extremely bored, but I also read more than I had in years, and filled up multiple notebooks with journal writing and the beginning 30-40 pages of a fantasy novel. I also ran quite a bit on a 1/10 mile stretch of road, the same stretch I'm using now to train for The Run.

So, my time came and went, I went home in December for three weeks, got a laptop and a fairly large collection of DVD's, and came back down. I got wireless DSL, and life is pretty good.

People ask me how I like it down here, what is it like, etcetera. First off, I'll be honest: I don't really enjoy it down here. It's not terrible, it can be fun, the people are generally nice, but I just don't really like it that much. So why did I come down here, and why did I choose to come back down here after December? Well, I honestly feel this is where God wants me right now. I feel this is an incredible growth experience for me, whether I like it or not. That being said, I am looking forward to going home. But in the mean time, I try my very best to do a good job, to be pleasant, to work hard, and to not complain. While I don't think I'm a very good teacher, I do try to do my very best and do have a positive attitude towards everything I do.

So, that's life at the moment. I'm a pretty busy guy for the next couple months - my duties have definitely expanded since last term! =) I don't mind though, as I really don't have anything else important to do! Oh yeah, I live in a 2 room studio apartment. It has large cockroaches, but no rats. I am proud to say that I believe that I've completely rat-proofed it, a skill I've gained since having to deal with a couple of those delightful critters in my previous room. They leave a lovely odor when they die in your broken air conditioner, where you can't get to them and can only wait until they decompose to the point where they no longer smell. =) Isn't that a lovely thought?

Well, this last week was fairly uneventful. My evening student was out of the country, which meant I had quite a bit more free time in the evenings, which is why this site was able to get "finished" so quickly. We had a staff baseball game on Friday. I was captain of my time, and I led us to victory with two towering home runs. Nevermind that 3/4 of the players were women who had never played baseball in their lives, I still rule. I also was able to try netball, which is basically basketball without any moving or fun.

One thing that I do absolutely love about Jamaica is the cooking. The games were followed by a feast of roast chicken and pork, with "rice and peas." Rice and peas is really brown rice with red kidney beans, it's a Jamaican dietary staple, and really good once you get used to it. I also had some bread pudding, an awesome Jamaican desert. They make great chicken, pork, rice, and pudding. The only thing I don't like is "stewed peas", which pretty much looks like white rice covered with throw-up and white worms. I have had it a couple times, but I really find the taste disgusting. I also eat some American food down here as well. I usually buy a box of cereal once a week to eat at breakfast occasionally. At school, we eat Pizza Hut every Monday and KFC every Tuesday. Pizza Hut tastes a bit crappy (plus it's lukewarm when we get it), but KFC is awesome. KFC is like McDonalds down here, they're everywhere and doing big business. Mainly because Jamaicans adore chicken. KFC is cheaper down here, and instead of extra crispy they have spicy, which is my personal favorite. The only thing I really don't like about the food down here is the lack of cow's milk. The prices for it are very high, and it's substitute, powdered milk, tastes terrible. And those that know me know that I have a love affair with cereal.

So, beyond that I really don't know what else to say about Jamaica. Next subject.

Well, I've been still thinking about starting a blog, still don't think I have enough time for it. Trying to think about what else to write about for this post. Like how on January 1st of this year I held a water drinking competition with some friends. I won, drinking 4.39 liters (1.16 gallons) of water in under a half hour. I think it would've been possible for me to drink quite a bit more, next time I plan on going for 1.5 gallons. However, at the time that was quite enough. While I did manage to keep it all down, it did strange and terrible things to my body, things that no man should ever have to face.

That's all for now folks. As my writing style (or lack thereof) may suggest, I am listening to comedy radio via iTunes and also preparing to sleep. Have to get up early for my morning run tomorrow! Until next time.
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