Saturday, March 20, 2010

The perfect dream job..........

So I've been asked a lot, "STEVE, how can you stay longer than 3 years, what about home and family and friends?!?!" Which got me thinking, why have I absolutely fell in love with Woodstock and Mussoorie, and India!?!??! And tonight, for the first time since I've been here, I have called Woodstock my TRUE home!! Everyone knows the phrase "home is where you make it," well Woodstock is my home now!! I went on the 5/6th grade retreat this weekend as some of you already know, and THIS weekend is what made me feel right at home!! I'm a big sucker for hugs.....those of you who really know me know this!!!:) And this weekend made me feel like I was back in Shako, teaching little hitters tennis all over again!!! Here's why!! Those who aren't teachers may know this, but if not I'll fill you in on a little secret: students between grades K-6 love to give hugs, especially the girls!! HOWEVER, they don't just give hugs to anyone, they give them to people they feel comfortable with/someone they trust!! You can say that for adults too, however, we are a little more hesitant (I don't know why) because our bubble is extra tough to break (wish it wasn't!!)!! Back to the 5/6th grade retreat last night and today!! I felt like I was back in Shako teaching tennis because I was bonding with the student's, JUST like I did with my Shako tennis crew!! We played goofy games, HAD RELAY RACES (WACKY ONES), and most importantly there were lots of hugs given at the beginning and at the end of the weekend!! Now beginning of the year, no hugs what-so-ever!! They started to come a little at the end of the semester, mostly at the goodbye banquet!! HOWEVER, for some reason the hug bug caught up to all of them over break, because it's been at least 4-5 hugs a day, 5-10 hugs a day at this past retreat!! And like I said before, for the FIRST time this weekend I felt like this was home!! I could feel the bond between the student's and myself, and a comfort level only a retreat like this could bring out!!:) You sadly don't find that back in the states, because once you are done teaching during the day you go home, have a weekend without students and return that Monday to teach again!! Here, its students almost 16 hours a day 6 days a week!! We do get a break on Sunday!!;) And sometimes on Saturday!! I think it's a real advantage for teachers here to see their students that much!! THOSE WHO ACTUALLY STAY LONGER THAN 1-2 YEARS!!!:) No offense to those who have no choice but to leave!! Not cool!! Anyways, what we talked about this past weekend were things I would not have imagined talking with my 5/6th grade students if I was back in the states!! I mean, teach PE, go home, come back the next day and teach it all over again!! At Woodstock, we REALLLLLLLLLLY get to bond with the students!! And that level of trust is built up SO strong, well those that stay!! Which is so hard because teachers leave so often for them!!! Now back to the purpose of this entire blog why Woodstock is finally feeling like home for me, and why it is the perfect dream job!!!:) First reason is the most obvious!! I can count on ONE hand the number of really bad days here!! And even then I struggle to come up with them, unless I reallllly reallllly think hard!! Now bad days mean bad days, not just really really tired and have no energy days, because those I have more of even though on the inside still loving the day although I may not be as enthusiastic on the outside!!!!;) Second reason is the opportunity to bond with the students, as mentioned above!! You canNOT be a great teacher unless you really get to know your students!! You just can't!! Asking them how are you everyday just doesn't cut it!! Because #1 response as you may know is: "good." Wow that gets pretty deep right there!!!:) You need to get personal and caring with your students!! Here we get that opportunity not only during the day, but sometimes on the weekends and for an entire week during activity week!!! You get to see how they live their life at home/dorms!!! Sometimes in the town having a bite to eat at Clock Tower!! Wherever it may be, we get to see our students for who they are outside the formal school setting, and that's just down right awesome!! Now yes, sometimes you just want to get away from them and not see ONE student, but for the most part it's very fun to see them and if they are the older ones get into some really good conversations!! Which is why I'm so excited for my 3rd and hopefully plus years here, because that is when my 7th/8th graders will start to mature into a mini-adult version of themselves before they go off to college!! CAN'T WAIT FOR THAT!!!:) Third reason is I GET TO TEACH PE EVERYDAY TO STUDENTS IN THE HIMALAYAN FOOTHILLS!!! I mean can it get any cooler than that?!?!?! I don't think so!!!! Our practices for cross country have the views of the actual Himalayan Mountains, can't say that too often/NEVER while running a practice back in the states!!!! Granted you have mountain ranges and cities that are high up, but the diversity you have here at Woodstock is amazing!! Student's from all over the world, for the most part, telling stories of back home!! Also, trying to figure out what they're saying half the time in their native tongue is fun too!!! I mean it can't get more fun then to blurt out something you thought they said and be COMPLETELY wrong!!! Or too try and learn their language and they have to repeat the sentence like 5 times cause you're totally massacring it!!:) And finally having an amazing teaching staff and dorm staff to work with makes life SO much easier and fun!!!! Even if HALF OF THEM ARE LEAVING AFTER THIS YEAR!!! Still not cool guys!!!:) But the relationships and bonding we do, even if it gets busy sometimes, cannot be beat by anything!!! Being a Christian school and all of us having that religious passion or backbone in ourselves gives us all this unspoken/thought of connection to each other even before we meet!!! That's just special right there!!! I can't remember the last time I've had so many consecutive amazing days in a row at work before!!!! Now summer tennis is a given you guys back in Shako, I'm no way saying you will ever be compared too!! Always #1 in my heart!! For almost a decade you were my backbone, heart, and passion in the summertime!! And that's only coaching!! 17 years you were my life/love in the summer!!!!:) But Woodstock as a career will definitely be up there in the long run and for now be #1 in careers!! And yes that may be an OBVIOUS statement seeing it's my first career job EVER, but cut me some slack I'm still a newbie at this career thing!!!:) I can't help it if I hit jackpot on the first try, so sue me!!! And sucks to be you, cause if you actually do you'll find working at Woodstock is definitely not about the money and you will get very little in that suing!!!:) For all of those who have read all of this, sorry it got so long, but for all of those who are thinking WOW this guy is such a phony and I'm full of donkey poop, well I just don't care!!!:) There are 2 people out there that will ever know if I'm being phony!! First is God, second is myself!! And I'm being true to myself, God knows this, and frankly maybe you're just a little upset that you don't have the passion for your job as I do for mine!! Maybe you should find a different career then!! I was very lucky to be born into a family that absolutely loves their jobs and frankly it makes them the best parents ever!!! Cause not only are they amazing at what they do, but they can bring that positive energy home and share it with everyone else!!! Making yourself complete and happy first is the ONLY way you can be the best you can be at everything else you do in life!! Yeah that sounds self-centered, but it's true!! How are you good to anyone around you if you mope and hate what you do day after day!!! Yeah you may be able to "shrug" it off every once in a while after work, but why put yourself through that!! WHEN, you can go home from a job you LOVE and LIVE FOR without complaints and take that positive energy into family, friendships and LIFE!!!!! I know my love for Woodstock has put a HUGE smile on my face day in and day out!!!:) I couldn't think of a better place to be at this point in time!! And THAT is why I would love to be here for the next 5-6 years (maybe even more)!!!!!!:) HAPPY SMILING AND HAPPY LIVING!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


SO!!! We have 4 flags now!! Used to be 2: Finland/Sweden!! HOWEVER, talking to Kundy this past week via skype and talking about his summer plans there's been some POTENTIAL additions with my plans for summer and where I'll be!!!!:) More to come after my run!!!!! HAPPY SUNDAY EVERYONE!!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Difference between long runs in Minnesota to Mussoorie!!:)

Where do I even begin explaining the OBVIOUS differences between a Mussoorie long run and a Minnesota long run!! FIRST, I thought there were killer hills in Duluth, MN......theeeeeen I came to Mussoorie, where those hills back in Duluth would be considered speed bumps, not even joking!!! SECOND, I thought running from the beaches of Lake Superior to my house, a whole whopping 200ft. rise in elevation was "high altitude training!!"........ theeeeeeeen I came to Mussoorie, where a 200ft. rise is basically my walk home from school everyday!! I'm going on runs where it's nearly a 500-600ft. rise and we're already 6500ft. + in altitude!!! THIRD, I thought it was tough running 2+ hours without a water bottle and needing to stop at a gas station to get a free cup of water or drink from a drinking fountain, OR yes even running off the road to a ditch and putting my head in the side of the roads water!!!...... theeeeeeeen I came to Mussoorie, where today I ran for 2hrs. 46 minutes with NO water at all!! Cause you can't just pull over to a gas station and drink their "fountain" water without pooping for the next 24 hours straight!! And in NO WAY would I ever stick my head in the side of the roads drainage system here, unless I want to die!!!:) So those 3 main differences between a long run in Minnesota (primarily Duluth, where I trained for most of my marathons) and in Mussoorie have been really fun to think about!!! And I'm sure runners in Kenya think the same thing if they were to run here (Mussoorie), and how easy it is compared to back at home!!! NOW the mental differences between Duluth and Mussoorie!! I know, borrrrrrrrrring, but hey quit reading at anytime!!:) There aren't as many and I'm not going to go into listing order, but more describe what I feel during long runs here!! I guess the biggest mental road block I have while running my long runs here is if it's long enough!! Back in Duluth I could easily get 18-20 miles in within a 3 hour limit!! Here though, today I ran from Mt. Hermon to Everest House and back in about 2:46:38 (okay not about that was my actual time) and it was only 12-14 miles!!! Granted, as stated before, there was a 500-600ft. rise in altitude both up AND down during the run which may have a small part to play!!! But mentally I keep thinking, man is this enough!??! I know the hills play a huge factor, but on paper only being able to write down 12-14 miles for a long run, which I know for some of you that would seem extremely long, but for a marathon runner that's like a medium size run, and counting that as my "long run" is really scary, since I still have 12.6 more to go for a full marathon!!! HOWEVER, the GREATEST training motivation is fear while training!! Cause on my 4th and 5th marathon, I knew I could do one so that fear wasn't there, also a little burnout was there too, and I slacked off a little during the training!! But now that fear is back, it's keeping me on my toes, well for most of the runs;), and keeping that eye of the tiger inside running strong and determined!! Like most of you know Rocky 1-6, YES ALL 6, are my favorite movies of all time!! And in Rocky 6, Rocky says to Mason, who said he wasn't scared for the fight, "but fear is good, everyone gets scared, it's if you let fear take over that will cripple you." So right now still keeping the fear as a motivational tool and not as a crippling weapon!!:) In my heart I know, right now, I'm doing everything I can do get ready for the Paavo Nurmi marathon, and my heart has never lead me wrong yet, so why would it start now, even on the other half of the world, in a country where my heart can't understand half the conversations going on!!!:) And some of those are even in English too, stupid high school teachers and their big educated words!!;) So those are my thoughts, and as for the run today it went REALLY REALLY well!!! Everest House can now be crossed off of my list: Major Hills to Run to During Training!!! Now all that's left is Benog Tibba, Nag Tibba, Top Tibba, and Pepper Pot!! Pepper Pot is coming up next weekend, with Nag Tibba (the hardest one by far) will be in about 6-8 weeks!!!! BUT come time to run it BRING IT ON!!! Going for a Woodstock record!! Under 11 1/2 hours baby!!!! Kleiner, you got nothing!!!! HAVE A FREAKIN FANTASTIC WEEK EVERYONE AND HAPPY SMILING!!!:)


Backside of my left forearm!! Underneath were definite scratches!!:)

Obviously my backside, which again underneath the shirt were scratches all up and down my right side!!:)

My Right leg, which you can only see that scratch, BUT it was completely covered in dirt!!:)

Unfortunately the scratches on the body are way to X-rated for this blogging site!!!:) Okay just kidding but seriously I have one on my right butt cheek, pretty sure no one wants to see that!!;) EVER!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

And I'm falllllllllllllllllling, down a hill, don't know when I'll get up again!!!:)

So not to freak anyone out with this post, but as you can see I am clearly alive!! Okay now with that being said it's time to recap the GREATEST RUN I'VE EVER HAD!!!!:) Sunday morning, 10am, beautiful sunny but a little chilly Sunday morning!! I have a lunch date with the Mark's and Farley's over at the Mark's at 12:30, so I wanted to get my long run and get back in time to shower!!!! Now before I went for a run I had this thought wouldn't it be ironic if I went for this run and didn't make it back in time for lunch!! I mean it's only my H.O.D. and Head of Middle/Elementary School, and friends lunch plans!! Well I leave my house at 10, thinking I'll be out for an hour and a half, come back, shower up, then head out to the Farley's to pick them up and all walk to the Mark's!! Simple enough right?!?! Obviously if this made the blog, not simple enough!!:) Today's run involved heading East on Tehri Rd. (Mussoorie's main road) and going as far as the Himalayan Weavers shop!! Which is about 3.5 miles away with a vertical climb of 500ft or so!! Not a piece of cake by any means!! And since it's Sunday and my longest run of the week I wanted to make half of it through the hills and trails to keep it easy on the joints, since most of the time they are either walking up or down hill!!!:) Well I head out East Tehri Rd. and get as far as the sharp turn with the beautiful overlook, which is about .25 miles away from the 5k Tea Shop!! At this sharp turn there is a path that leads up to the ridges overlooking Tehri Rd. and Southeast Mussoorie!! Been on this path at least 5-6 times, so it's not like I'm running in new territory!! However, to this point I still haven't found the one path that leads me up to the top of the ridges easily!! It's always been goat path after goat path!! I start my climb up the mini hill and get to level ground before it makes the first climb to the first part of the ridge!! Well this is where it got a little fun!!!:) So I'm running and I come to this very narrow goat path that is about a shoe's width and nothing more!! Now this is nothing new, deal with these small paths all the time!! I see some rocks on the path that look solid and can easily be stepped on and then move on to the next part!! Easier than it turns out!! The first rock I step on BAM!!! Down that rock goes, down goes my right leg, and down goes my right side of my body!! Now without hesitation I try and grab for a branch or something to bring me back on to the path and balanced!! Of course there's nothing around and here I go!!! DOWN....DOWN....DOWN!! My right foot goes first, followed by my left foot and now I'm full out falling down the hill!! In the first 5 feet I begin to start falling head over heel, however right before I begin that fall I look up and right as I look up I see this freakin huge branch, at least 3ft. in circumference, coming right at me!! Well sure enough I was on the war path and KABAM!!! Hit the branch with my chest (a couple more inches up and it would have hit my chin and probably knocked me out) and KERPLAMMY get flung straight back against the ground landing on my back!! I was very lucky to still be conscious at this point, so my first reaction was to STOP FALLING!! I dig my feet into the ground, grab anything I can with my hands and start to slow down a little!! And of course if nothing worse could happen now I see this tree coming right at the "groin" area!! I'm like oh for the love of all that is cheesey I need to stop RIGHT NOW!! I dig into the ground even harder now, and sure enough I come to a stop a couple feet before this tree made my voice a falsetto!!! I'm about 15 feet from where I was running on the path at this point!! I look up and just ask out loud "what the HECK was THAT all about?!?!" Any of you know "Black Sheep" you know that EXACT scene!!:) I gather my thoughts again and do the standard body analysis!! Wiggle my toes and fingers, bend the elbows and knees, and check for any major cuts!! Only a few scratches on the legs, a freakin thorn bush dug into my right shin (thanks for the added bonus right there landing!!), my back is all covered in dirt, and my backside of my left forearm is all dirty!! But other than those scratches and dirty spots I was good!! At this point now I have two possible extreme emotions to be feeling: crying or laughing!! Sure enough I just BURST out laughing for the next 2 minutes!! Couldn't believe what had just happened!! Well while I was laughing I got up and thought, okay I can either turn around and run on the road OR keep going to the top of the ridge and do my ridges run!! Just like any dedicated runner would do who didn't injure themselves after a fall, stuck with the original plan!!! I basically went STRAIGHT up the hillside and reached the first ridge in about 3 minutes!!:) After reaching the top, the "main" path was not far ahead and sure enough I was back on the right track and running at about 7,500ft. with a view that could see for miles!!! I run all the way to Himalayan Weavers via the trails, and then get back on the road again to finish the loop on some more solid and cement type ground!! I get home around 11:30 (still finished the run around 1hr. 30 minutes) and head straight to the Weibe's and tell them my story!! For the first time I roll up my left arm sleeve and of course my complete forearm was scratched up and red from the ground burn!!:) Cookie was all nervous when she heard my story, but of course Dave was all for it and loved it!! Any time I can impress him makes my day!!:) After my visit to the Weibe's I now do a body overview underneath the clothes and yeah, a LOT more scratches then meets the eye!! My back right of my back is completely scratched up, I feel some scratches on my right butt cheek, and of course my chest which probably got the worst of the blows was SCRATCHLESS!! NOTHING!! A couple pieces of dirt and that was it!! Couldn't believe it!! After burning in the shower for a painful 10 minutes, I got out and started replaying the fall in my head and came to this conclusion!! If not for the branch that I hit chest on, there was nothing else that would have stopped me from falling head over heels another 50ft. down the hill and onto the lovely cement!! I mean it was a straight shot down with only some minor small trees to grab!! So I figured that branch pretty much saved me from any major damage that could have occurred, AND I thank my push-ups and chest exercises!! Cause if it wasn't for the muscle there I could have easily bruised some ribs or even worse, the heart!! THANK YOU EXERCISE!!!! Can't wait for this Sunday's trail run and see what fall I can survive this time!!;) HAPPY SMILING AND HAPPY RUNNING EVERYONE!! Don't let obstacles run your life!! RUN THROUGH THEM!! Or SLIP down them!!!!!;)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Monday....5:45pm.....the next years are now changed forever....

So it was a normal Monday at the school of Woodstock, nothing exciting happening at all.....NOT!!!! It was only the BIGGEST DAY IN THE HISTORY OF DAYS AT WOODSTOCK!!!! Well for 2 of my very close friends that is!!! They shall remain nameless for the duration of this post!!! Anyways it's Monday morning and at the breakfast table Nicole (oooops that one slipped, okay from now on it's annonymous!!) reminded me that TODAY was the day they were going to find out if they were staying for the next 2 years or leaving Woodstock after this year!!! Needless to say I had the balloons ready and streamers (toilet paper) ready to be flying when they met with our principal!!! Cause from the way they were talking over the weekend and last week it was looking up!! WELL lunch time comes and the energy is still there, wondering....waiting.....asking WELL WELL WELL anything yet?!?! Apparently they haven't talked to him yet, sooooo back to the waiting game!! 5th and 6th period go by and again NOTHING!!! No word from them!! No Nicole or Chris running up to the gym to tell me they are staying like I asked them too when they found out!! NOW getting a little confused and worried!! What the heck is going on!?!? I had to ref basketball that night from 4-6 and it was during that time I was on the court a very important e-mail was sent to me at 5:45pm!!! I get done reffing at 6 and get ready for staff night!! STILL no word from Nicole or Chris via person to person contact!! I sit down at my desk, open up my e-mail and there it is......."the message." I WAS sitting up in my chair, and in a matter of seconds I drooped down back into it and just sat there for a couple of minutes, staring at my computer and that e-mail.  "Meeting didn't go as planned....very shocked....not returning." Couldn't believe my eyes.  I thought this was a horrible dream and going through the stages of "people not returning to Woodstock" first one was denial!! I knew I have played my fair share of pranks and lies on Nicole over the days so I was thinking, hey what's a perfect way to get someone back, fake they're leaving!! So I respond thinking this is one SERIOUSLY EVIL joke!! Well staff night continues, I check my e-mail periodically throughout the night and no word from Nicole!! Now it's beginning to set in. This is no joke anymore, this is the real deal. I close the gym for the night, say my goodbye's to Balbil (our helper) and walk home. This was the LONGEST walk home ever. Of course I planned to stop by the Farley's to see what was up, but I knocked on their door several times and nothing. I figured they were probably skyping family in their bedroom or over at Megan/Jennie's!! I had my I-pod playing when I left their place and sure enough the song that came on at that EXACT moment as I was leaving was: "Silent Night" by Bon Jovi!! GREAT SONG......HORRIBLE TIMING!! These are some of the words sung by the Bon man: "...when the sun appears. And there's nothing left but goodbye's, we'll just turn and walk away. How could we let it end like this. Just turn and walk away." I was like seriously!! I hate you random shuffle on I-pod!! So that cheered me up BIG time!! I get home, sit on my couch, and stare at the wall with no emotion, blank stare, and just don't know what to think! The first feelings I felt was there goes family!! Second thought was holy crap how must Nicole and Chris be feeling right now! No good! Then won't lie started to hold back the tears a little. Finally I forced myself to pee so I couldn't produce any tears, which p.s. doesn't work at all!! I guess you need to not drink water for a day straight to not cry, cause that didn't work one bit! Stupid urine not being related to tears!! Plus side, I didn't have to pee the rest of the night!! But seriously Nicole and Chris wherever you are (okay I just had to say that cause don't you usually say that about someone you're going to miss, even though I know exactly where you are which is at home probably sleeping!!) you two are the best!! Laundry night next year won't be the same at all, probably non-existent, and everyone else I truly apologize for the horrid smell produced!! Blame Nicole and Chris!!;) And the 5th grade musical will completely be lame and way off key next year!! Might just have to turn it into a silent action musical!! With the star named (of course) BROCK HARDABS!!! That's right!! You see what you're missing!!:) Well that is enough Debby Downer, I promised you guys nothing BUT happy smiles until the very last day of school, then let the depression begin!! Until then this is going to be an AWESOME AMAZING 3 MONTHS!!!! Oh and for the record Grizzly Adams did have a beard!!!! GOOOOODNIGHT AND GOODLUCK!!!!:)