Year in Numbers and Pictures by Krista Boivie

It has been a year since I started this blog and it has been a busy and momentous year. I like to be able to see the results of my labor so I thought I would show you the year in numbers and pictures.

I wrote over 50,000 words in 150 blog posts. Most short novels are 50,000 words and I am surprised that I actually had this much to say.

Here is a look at the number of visitors.

I had visitors from the following 50 countries.

And finally, a look at the what I was talking about using some more clever word art. This is a rough outline of my face which I think makes for an interesting piece of art.

I used Tagxedo.com to create this piece.

In addition to what I built, I learned a handful of new skills, visited two amazing countries and learned more about myself.  I would say that was a successful start to this blog.

Looking Ahead for 2013 by Krista Boivie

I have been looking back at my posts for the last year and it has been interesting to see the evolution of my blog.  I had forgotten that one of my earliest posts I dedicated 2012 as the year of simplicity—something that I have not accomplished.  When I started this blog I wasn’t entirely sure of the direction I wanted to take it and so I spent most of the year trying a myriad of activities and ideas—the very opposite of simplicity.

As I approach 2013 I have decided to focus on three areas: organization, health and fitness, and having more adventures. I will also be reducing the frequency of my posts.  I found it very difficult to write three times a week. I will have a minimum of one post per week and focus on improving the quality of each of those posts.

I love the beginning of a new year because it always means a new beginning and change.  I have no idea what 2013 will bring and how my life will change, but I am excited for the prospect of something different.

The Reality of Fear by Krista Boivie

All year the students have been pestering me about the Mayan calendar and the end of the world. I have been amused by most of their questions, but since the shooting last Friday the students have become more fearful and sure that something terrible was going to happen today. 

Due to rumors of violence on campuses around Las Vegas, many of my students did not show up to school today. The students were so paranoid the first few periods of the day so we went through all the emergency instructions. This was not an easy conversation to have—how do you properly ease their fears and concerns? As the conversation progressed one of the students admitted that he had prepped his backpack as a shield. This picture does not do the bag justice—it must have weighed at least 30 pounds.  He had three large textbooks, sandbags, an old laptop and a myriad of other tools. I was stunned that he had been so concerned. 

Fortunately, today was like any other day at school except for missing half of my students, there was nothing to worry about. As much as my teenagers like to think that they are grownup, today reminded me again that they are still just children.

A Little 'Peace' by Krista Boivie

This past week we had our annual door-decorating contest at school. Each year I have to plead, cajole and try to inspire my homeroom students to help me put together the door. There is a competition for the most creative, most spirited, etc. If there is a competition tied to an activity I will try my best to win.

As luck would have it, after last year’s “Winter Solstice” themed door was finished I was inspired for the design of this year’s door. The theme was the same as last year “Winter Holidays.” I thought my idea was simple, modern and inclusive. So I was massively bummed when it got no recognition.

As much as I like to sometimes pretend, I am not a non-conformist.  Yet the door-decorating contest for the past four years has inspired me to be a non-conformist.  I doggedly refuse to cater to the easy Christmas themed doors and create something non-religious or inclusive of all religions/cultures.  I am a proud Christian and I love the clever Christmas door ideas that are put up around school, but I feel that because I teach a class about world culture that I must be sensitive to all cultures. 

I was joking with one of my friends after the winner’s were announced that the few times I decide to try to be a non-conformist I get frustrated by the lack of people recognizing my non-conformity.  We both laughed at the irony of the statement.

Although I know my readership is smart and educated, some of my students have been confused by what the door is supposed to represent.  They assumed it says “Merry Christmas” in multiple languages. It says “Peace” in as many languages as we could fit on the door.

In light of the recent tragedy in Connecticut, I am glad that I decided to go with my theme this year.  We could all use a little more Peace.

Peru Photography by Krista Boivie

Finally the rest of my best photos from Peru.

I had expected Cusco to look more like Lima, but both Jen and I were surprised at how poor the area looked.  We did come to discover that the facade of the buildings were deceiving, because as we wandered around town we often got to peer inside of open doors to find that the inside of the homes and businesses were much nicer than what we saw from the street.

The guidebooks and our friends who had traveled to Peru all warned us about the altitude sickness we would feel in Cusco.  They weren't kidding.  I started to feel the difference in air quality as soon as we stepped out of the plane.  We did take it easy our first day in Cusco and the next pictures are from our casual strolling around the Plaza de Armas that first day.

The following day we toured the Sacred Valley and I was blown away at the gorgeous scenery.

SacredValley03sm.jpg

The people who live in the Sacred Valley live a far more traditional Andean lifestyle.

The highlight of the trip was Machu Picchu.  My pictures do not do it justice at all. It was breathtaking place to visit.

Even with speaking almost no Spanish, I found Peru to be a delightful and relatively easy place to visit. The only surprising part of the trip was the amount of stares I received.  I have been to many countries, but never have I felt like such a foreigner.  These weren't friendly stares--even when I would catch their eye and smiled at them, I never got a return smile.  I think my height must have freaked them out a bit.