End of CIT.

Wow. Tomorrow is our last day at CIT. Time has flown by! We are deeply saddened to be leaving; it’s hard to express it, actually. We have really bonded with people here and it’s been so refreshing to be with people who are going through the same things we are…at the same time. We feel accepted and normal and that’s just been really unusual for probably over a year now. We’re going back home, but it doesn’t feel like home (sorry), and really, this will be the beginning of the end for us. From here on out, we’ll be getting ready to officially leave the States! Scary. But, we’re really ready. We feel prepared as well! We’re looking forward to putting this information to use. I’ve said that before…basically because I really mean it!

This week has been very good. A lot of it was review (things like stress and grieving), but a lot of it was brand new. Lots of really good strategies on how to curb gossip, manage conflict, confront people, and help people grieve well. We covered four different topics a day (most days), so that gives you an idea of how busy it’s been. Tomorrow, we’re finishing at 11:45…and that’s it!

However, we have decided not to leave here until Sunday morning. A friend of ours has hooked us up with a couple in Williamsburg, Virginia, who are willing to let us spend the night with them Sunday and Monday. We were hoping for a little bit of vacation time and since I love history and Brian loves wars…this seemed appropriate. And free housing is always a plus! 🙂 We are spending Saturday with two of our close friends here, hanging out in Charlotte, NC, and then we’ll pull out Sunday morning. After we leave Williamsburg, we are planning on driving on to our headquarters in Lancaster County, PA, and visiting with people there. They are in the middle of candidate orientation and we have been asked to come hang out for a day, meet everybody, and talk about our experience at CIT. We have a few other meetings as well while we’re there, and then we’ll head home to Scranton. And GUNTHER! We’ve missed our dog! It’ll be so nice to see him. Oh, and my parents. 🙂

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support during these past nine weeks. We are so grateful for all of you who dropped us little notes of encouragement. Brian has half his rough draft written for the blog…he will get it done before tomorrow is out – I promise! 🙂 Once we’re home, I do plan on keeping this updated so you all can keep up with our journey to Peru. It might only be four more months before we can start posting some really exciting pictures and information – from down South!

Listening?

Today officially began our last module here at CIT. Hard to believe these nine weeks are coming to a close!! I can’t even think about leaving or I get all teary. These classes have been phenomenal and the friendships alone were well worth the time spent down here. It’s hard to imagine going back to PA and “reality” and all that entails. So, for now, I’ll just focus on the present!

Our TESL class this weekend was informative, but to be honest, we probably could have covered the same amount of material in a 2-hour evening session. It was definitely more beneficial for me than for Brian and I am glad for the new resources. But, our weekend was much busier than we had planned on and we were both exhausted by yesterday evening.

Yesterday morning, we decided to go to church and then head out to a place called Chimney Rock, about 45 miles from here. It’s a beautiful overlook that somebody gave us the money to go see. It’s a park and it’s quite pricey to get into, but we thought since it was a beautiful day, it would be worth the day trip together. The view WAS beautiful…but it was a long afternoon. No one told us that North Carolina’s idea of “hiking” is just “let’s put 5 million stairs into the side of the mountain and watch people hyperventilate as they climb up them in the higher elevation than they’re used to.” On the plus side, we saw the waterfall that is used during the filming of the last scene in the movie “The Last of the Mohicans.” If you’ve seen that movie (which I highly recommend), you’ll remember the absolutely gorgeous scenery at the end. That’s all filmed right there and it really is that breathtaking in person. I have posted those pictures so you can see what I mean.

When we got back last night, we had to dive right into our first session of SYIS, though, so we were pretty exhausted by the time we hit the sack…early! We feel much better today and Brian even had the energy to go hang out with some guys, so I’m home alone…which is probably why I’m writing so much! 🙂

Our class this week has a totally new format and there are many more people than the last modules. Since it’s all “interpersonal skills”, we are doing mostly interacting and very little lecture. We get to “role play” (although so far, all our scenarios have been real life) the different skills we’re learning about, which helps solidify how they work in our minds and what we need to work on. Today, we touched on listening skills (silence, questions, drawing people out, helping them solve their own problems). I’m really not sure what we’re doing tomorrow. I do know we are going to cover this week more conflict resolution tactics, receiving confrontation, and dealing with stress (to name just a few; we basically cover four different topics a day, to give you an idea of how much we’re working through this week). We are both loving this course (even though we’re not allowed to sit together 😦 ) and again, are anxious to put these skills into practice!

Here’s the link to the new photos! Oh, and I’m still trying to get Brian to sit down long enough to type something into this blog…before we leave here! 🙂

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=36456&l=880d4&id=513368337