Friday, 27 December 2013

Saying Farewell........

Last day at Nisley

My last day at Nisley was the final day before winter break. The kids were hanging out for the break - but I am pleased to say (as horrible as that makes me) that they were not hanging out to say farewell. We had some nice moments in all my classes in the final week and I had to tell quite a few students that I was absolutely sure they would love Ms Drewer as much as they loved me! We also did a lot of "other" tasks involving Math this week - including this decoupage design using shapes.

The final day was filled with farewells, beginning with a staff breakfast. Here we celebrated the end of our Secret Santa week, revealing ourselves to our gifts recipient, and I was presented with a gorgeous painting the whole staff had contributed to. It was beautiful!

A staff member painted the tree and then each staff member put their own fingerprint on the tree as leaves. There are even bear prints leading up to the tree ( Nisley Grizzly!) and a C for Colorado on the trunk. Thank you to my wonderful colleagues for such a beautiful and thoughtful gift - I will always remember Nisley when I look at this in the years to come.

Saying farewell to the students was hard - it was a bit harder knowing I was not going to be seeing them again. Not quite like the end of the school year! However, what made my heart warm was the fifth graders who dropped by throughout the day to say goodbye. These were students I had January to May - and they liked me enough as a teacher to shed tears! My one moment of pure joy - when I turned around and three "tough boys" from last year were standing there, waiting patiently, to give me hugs  and say goodbye. That and seeing one of my fourth grade boys cry as he said goodbye made my heart melt - these kids at Nisley are special and I am proud to have been able to help them feel that here in any small way this year. Goodbye my Nisley Grizzleys - you are all superstars!

Some final pictures around the grounds of Nisley.........

View of drop-off/pick up lanes, cafeteria and Nisley sign from road

Staff car park :-)

Courtyard between the two buildings - always locked

Tetherball poles  and the play equipment (3-5 play area)

These Neos are Amazing!!!

Janel's house

That night a (fairly large) group of us went to Janel's house for another farewell get together for me. I was starting to think people were going to miss me! ;-)

It was an amazing night full of laughs, memories, stories and new discoveries. We were so busy talking that a lot of pictures I wanted I forgot to take, but below are some for you to see:

He is so happy to be having a picture with his former teacher! Not! :D

What really made me have a teary moment was the gift that a few of my friends had organized. They gave me a (working) compass with a map of GJ on the back so I can always find my way back whenever I wish. An extremely thoughtful memento......

Tearing up as I show Amber.....

All in all I was net off with a bang and am so very grateful I met these wonderful people this year. They are an amazing bunch and I am proud to call them my friends.

Dinner at Dos

The night after I was with my school friends at Janel's, I went for dinner to Dos Hombres with my "outside" school friends :-) It was a great couple of hours of talking about every topic under the sun. I love hanging with these guys  and can't wait to catch up with them when I come back to town!

Montrose and Shooting

The three days before Christmas I headed down to Montrose with Janel, Russ and their three boys to stay at Janel's dad's house. Their house is absolutely gorgeous and has an amazing view over the town of Montrose and the hills surrounding it. I was taken for a quick (and snowy) look at Black Canyon outside Montrose and we also went and spent the afternoon in Ouray at the hot springs - where I was dared and successfully met the dare of swimming laps in the cold water pool. I swam up and back and then quickly hopped out back into the warmth - but I did it! :-)

Janel's boys have been flabbergasted all year by the fact I have never shot a gun. As they have grown up hunting, they have found it a bit hard I think to comprehend how in Australia we don't all go around with gun licenses and own our own guns. So while in Montrose they decided it was time I learned to shoot - before I went home. I had a explanation of each of the three guns I shot - safety, targeting and reloading - from Russ, and then the boys became my reloaders and "mentors". I think I surprised them - with my second turn of the pistol I shot 5/6 targets! It was extremely weird handling the guns and there was nowhere near as much kickback as I expected from each one. However, by the time I shot the two guns a few times each and then tried the rifle (which was not very comfortable to set up with!) I had a slight tremor that I knew was a reaction to doing something that for me was competent foreign :-) Despite this, I felt very American and even looked kinda like I knew what I was doing.......

(Apologies if these pictures offend anyone..... Feel free to scroll down to the next section of the post)

Hit the left circle target 5/6 times on my second turn...... Beat the boys (but not sharpshooter Russ!)

I had to kneel on one knee and bend over the rifle to sight it - it was a tad uncomfortable.....


Christmas Eve I spent with Sara and her family. I completely enjoyed my afternoon/evening with her family. We all went sledding at the end of the street - even her 18 month old nephew - and had some great laughs as we went down the short hill. I will upload some pics as soon as my computer behaves :-)

Following sledding, we ate a cooked (hot) ham dinner with brown sugar and marshmallow sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and crescent rolls from a can. Completely American all the way! :-) We then watched Sara's nephew open presents for himself  and his little sister, in between stacking the boxes of course! They were much more interesting than what was inside Lol. The night wrapped up with a few games of 'Apples to Apples' and 'Heads Up' (the Ellyn game). Overall I had a wonderful night of laughs - thank you Sara and her family for welcoming me to your family celebration.

Christmas Day was spent enjoying a relaxing morning watching White Christmas, then heading out to the Longs for the rest of the day. I had a great time with the boys helping them set up iphones and laptops and showing them some tricks and tips. We chilled out in front of a movie for the late afternoon along with loads of laughs and chatter. Dinner was cooked ham again but more familiar sides - mash potato and green beans. I did however make the crescent rolls this time - very very strange! Thanks to Janel and her family for making me one of your family this year - and I'm glad you all liked your Xmas presents :-D

Last few days

My last two days in Colorado were spent packing, sorting and cleaning :-) I took a large bag of clothes to spread amongst friends and charity and the. Squeezed the rest of my belongings into two  and a half suitcases and a backpack. I did post another box home as it was a third the price of paying for a third checked suitcase...... Airlines really don't want you past two bags each!

My last night was to be spent having dinner with Sara - but it was actually a small surprise dinner with a few of my friends! I had no idea and was very touched by the gesture. I have always wanted a surprise party or dinner, so this was even more special :-) I had a great night chatting and laughing with my new friends from this year - and was very disappointed when dinner ended and it was time to say goodbye!

Farewell Colorado 

Here it is. After 12 months, countless adventures, many many laughs and amazing friendships, it is time to say farewell to GJ and Colorado. As I write this I am sitting in Denver airport waiting to fly to Vancouver for one last weekend stopover before heading home. I am so very very lucky I was able to work and live here this year. I am in awe of my colleagues here in GJ, seeing what and how they work - they make school count for their kids and that is amazing. I have made wonderful friends, both in and out of school, and I am certain these friendships will last for many many years to come. This has been by far one of the best years of my life. Thanks to social media and the internet, it is not goodbye in any sense - and as I was told by a work collegue, indeed it is never goodbye, only "until next time".

So until next time Colorado - thanks for the memories xxxx

Keep smiling,
Candice :-D

**Vancouver and Australia to come.....

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