back in the saddle

Here it is: my first day of classes in over 13 years. As I sit here, about an hour before the start of my first class, it seems like old times. Students are everywhere, and there is a buzz in the air. I suppose it’s like riding a bicycle – you never forget, but last year when I got back on a bicycle after a lot of years, I was a trifle shaky. Since I start off with four classes back to back, I guess I’ll have to get over any butterflies pretty fast.

Last week, just as in the old days at Siena Heights, there were faculty meetings before the semester got launched. Unlike the Heights, these were mercifully brief. Being a new kid, as is Bonnie, we had to undergo lectures on Health and Safety. Then we had to sign journals assuring the various ministries here in Lithuania that we had been dutifully trained.(And sign a bunch of other papers as well.) I now know that I must keep my eyeballs at least 40 centimeters away from my screen on my computer, and I must not look at it for more than an hour straight. I shouldn’t talk for more than an hour straight either before resting my voice. How long I have to wait after the hour to look again or talk again wasn’t specified, or maybe I missed that part. Before long Bonnie and I will have to have a physical check up to make sure we’re healthy enough to work. So far I feel up to the task, but one never knows.

Many changes have taken place since that last first day in January of 1998. Technology, for instance. Back in the day, a blackboard and a piece of chalk wasn’t exactly state of the art (white boards and colored markers were more au courant), but those had the virtue of simplicity. Now it’s smart boards. I think it’s called a smart board because, by comparison, I feel essentially dumb. Anyway, after some help from student assistants, and much practice over the weekend, I’m now checked out enough to turn the thing on. From this point, it’s all uphill. I will admit the technology is mighty slick. It would be nice to have this back at the Redeemer in the Sunday School space.

John just popped his head in the door to see how his Old Man was feeling. Sleeping O.K.? Funny how the years alter relationships so radically. My mind returns to one rainy day in the mid eighties when I watched Matt and John get on the school bus in their bright yellow rain slickers. The image has remained indelibly impressed, for some reason. The years do roll.

It’s about time to saddle up for class. My syllabi are all done, and forwarded to the registrar in proper form. In Lithuania, I am informed that these are legal documents, so formats and outlines must be strictly followed. I’m not sure whether involving lawyers and doctors in the teaching process is a step forward or not. We’ll see.

Little things mean a lot. I had to make my own index cards – they do not exist in Lithuania. I forgot (really, I couldn’t have taken it anyway) my old Procter & Gamble briefcase, so now I’m reduced to shlepping stuff to class in an old canvas bag John gave me..

I’ll have a bit more to say after I’ve gotten a week under my belt. Until then, I covet your prayers. That’s one more thing very different from the past – here you are expected, gently, subtly, to witness to your faith. The Bible has a great deal to say about economics. It will be refreshing to be able to say so.

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4 thoughts on “back in the saddle

  1. Oh my, what a time you are having! There seem to be so many requirements / adjustments to this new place. I admire you and Bonnie taking on this new adventure and appreciate the notes telling us how it is for Americans in Lithuania. Thanks, also for the pictures. It is chilly, cloudy and raining here today, but unlike your present address, in a day or so it could be shirtsleeves weather, or at least possibly sweater weather. I’m glad you have family there to enjoy and help when questions arise.
    The LORD’s fullest blessings to you guys.
    Barbara

  2. Prayers for a smooth first day. May your students be ready learners and receptive to your lessons and God’s messages therein. All the best, Melissa

    • Thank you, Melissa. First day went well, but after five plus hours on my feet, and plenty of student chaos with drop/adds, I am TIRED. In addition, I had to run home at 4:30 (I started at 7:30), to switch to walking shoes to go to the store to get stuff for Bonnie to fix for supper. About a mile , maybe a little more, round trip, then shlepping the groceries back. I probably burned half the calories I subsequently ate. This is good!

  3. In my job I look at computer screens fo 12 hours straight (16 hours last night)! I mostly talk to nurses on the phone but it can be pretty much non-stop. I guess my job is done much differently in Lithuania. Have a great day.

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