Saturday, October 27, 2012


"Schnee" is German for "snow" and today we had it from about 8am and it's still going. I find it somewhat humorous that normally snow this early would bug me. But for some reason, I'm loving it! I went to play practice earlier today and then came home and listened to Christmas music while cleaning house. In a matter of about two hours, my front yard went from looking like this:

To looking like this:

It's still going, so I'm interested to see what it will look like tomorrow morning! Tonight is also Daylight Savings Time over here, so I'm grateful for that extra hour I get to sleep in tomorrow.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012


It was another one of those days. It's the end of the quarter. Grades are due. Kids are getting restless. Teachers are getting restless.

So by the end of the day, I wanted to crawl into bed and go to sleep. Then, I went to play practice (I'm the assistant director) and as soon as I walked into the auditorium, felt energized. Even as soon as I sat down, one of the kids came up to me and said, "Miss Stroud, can I go get you a coffee at Hieber's?" Like he needed to ask (ok he actually did have to ask, since he's one of the main players). Needless to say, coffee + doing what I love doing was enough to wake me up from the 2pm slump fest I'd been having.

At small group tonight, we joined forces with another guy's small group and did pumpkin carving at the Stemple's house. It was awesome. The kids carved pumpkins and we munched on homemade chocolate chip cookies and hot chai tea and listened to music (these kids love "Party Rock" and "Gangnam Style"... it's played at every BFA event/get together!). It was so much fun getting to be with all of our girls and the guys who joined us!

After small groups are over, we meet back at the school. I was able to chat with a few of my drama and choir kids and felt a little honored to be asked my opinion of how one should ask his girlfriend to the Christmas Banquet :)

So yes, it was one of those days. In fact, it took a lot of energy out of me. But it's when I'm with these kids that my energy is revived and I get this peaceful, content feeling just knowing this is exactly where I'm supposed to be.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Feeling Like Dad

My dad has been a church worship pastor/choir director for over 40 years. Yesterday, my high school choir had the privilege of singing at Black Forest Community Fellowship and they did wonderfully! I was so proud of them and it was a bittersweet moment wishing that my dad could be over here to see them perform.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fall Party

Last night was BFA's annual Fall Party. It was a blast and a half! I don't think I stopped smiling the whole night. Just watching the kids have fun and getting to have fun right along with them was fantastic. The theme for the night was "My Favorite Things" and so we all dressed up as something we really liked. I couldn't choose one thing, so I just picked Pinterest and pinned a whole bunch of pictures of things I like on me from my Pinterest boards! I was also a judge for the Costume Fashion Show which was hilarious watching all the kids (and some RAs!) parade around in their costumes.

The Fall Party is just one of the many great events I love about BFA. I can honestly say without a doubt that I am having the time of my life doing everything I love doing!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Do You Need Some Chocolate?

It's the middle of the semester and we can all feel it. I know many of my friends/colleagues are a bit more sluggish (I'm including myself in that mix for sure) and the kids for sure are dragging a little more. The newness of everything has worn off and life has begun in full swing. There are multiple activities after school: High School play, volleyball, tennis, club meetings, etc. And of course on top of it they've got normal amounts of high school homework.

So today as I was in my planning period, it was no surprise that one of the students who stopped by our faculty room kind of dragged himself in looking for one of his teachers. He looked tired and as if he wanted to go to sleep. I couldn't blame him because today I've felt tired a lot myself. I keep a stash of dark chocolate in my desk for those days when I need a pick me up and since this poor kid was looking as though he was wishing for a nap, I said, "Do you need some chocolate?"

His eyes got big and he immediately answered me with an emphatic, "YES!"

Sometimes, all it takes is a little chocolate ;)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Birthday Love

I had one of the best birthdays ever this past weekend. Lots of love from my students & co-workers, a 90s themed party, a day trip to Titisee/Freiburg, and dinner w/my Basel besties...

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Tomorrow is my birthday. I love my birthday. I think everyone should be just as ecstatic about their very own day as I am. But that's just my opinion.

I'm going to be quite vulnerable and honest here. There are a lot of things I thought I'd have by the time I was 34. One of them was a husband. The other was a few kids. Now, please don't go and get all "delight yourself in the Lord" or "don't worry, the Lord has one right around the corner." And please, please don't say, "Paul was single, too!" This isn't a post about that. In fact, it's just the opposite.

A few years ago, I probably would have cried if you had told me that when I was 34 I would still be single. But I probably wouldn't have had a clue what I was going to experience, either. I am living in one of the most beautiful places on earth, near some of my favorite people, I'm going back to the church that has always held a solid place in my heart, and above and beyond that, I get to teach something that has always been my dream to teach. I get 26 of the most amazing high schoolers everyday and have the best time with them. Sometimes, I still can't believe I'm living out my dream.

I still have the desire to be married and to have children. But I'm OK. I can honestly say that right now, I'm OK.

...oh and also, we're not 100% sure that Paul was single or not...he could've very well have been a widower...thank you Dr. McDonough for sharing that last year.

Here's to 34 years of a wonderful, blessed life. Thank you, Jesus.

Monday, October 8, 2012

All We Like Sheep

These are the sheep who graze literally right in my backyard. I've named them. From left to right - Mumford, Adele, Eponine, Liesl and Gretl. I can tell them apart because Liesl and Gretl are always together, Eponine is always on her own (haha hence the name) and Mumford and Adele usually stick close together. I was curious about these sheep. They are white with black faces. They're always out in the morning and more recently the afternoon.  When I pass by them, they will stop chewing their cud and watch me walk past them. I kind of feel like we're friends.

So I googled "facts about sheep" today and found out some sad news:  they are Suffolk sheep. And Suffolk sheep are used for meat. Which means, in a few weeks my sweet little sheep probably won't be out there anymore.

I continued reading more about sheep. We all know they are not the smartest animal in the world. Did you know they will not graze without another sheep present? If they can't see another sheep, they will start bleating until they find them. This happened this morning as I was getting ready. I looked outside and either Gretl or Liesl was bleating every other second. I saw her by herself, bleating at the fence. If she'd only turned around, she would have seen the other one right behind her. Again...not the smartest animal in the bunch.

Another sheep fact is that when one sheep starts walking to another part of the pasture, inevitably, the others will follow. Apparently back in 2006, this was the cause of death for an entire herd when one sheep led the flock off the side of a cliff and into a ravine. This is why sheep need a sheep dog or shepherd because without them they'd be lost.

Sound familiar?

Ever since I was a child, I'd heard the analogy of how people are just like sheep. After reading both of these examples, I can see why now we do need that gentle shepherd to lead us and guide us so that we don't fall into a ravine.

I'm still trying to concoct a way for my sheep not to be led to the slaughter. I'm taking it it's not a good sign that Mumford now has a yellow tag on his ear....

Friday, October 5, 2012

My First BFA Field Trip

Since I'm one of the Freshmen class sponsors, I went on the field trip with them yesterday to the WW1 trenches in France, just an hour from Kandern. After loading the bus with 31 eager freshmen, telling them to keep it down (the bus driver's over here DO NOT like noise and we had already gotten yelled at in German once), we started off towards France. After the bus made it to the top of a (very) windy, hilly road, we got out and walked through the French cemetery. The view from the top of the cemetery was gorgeous!

We walked up through the forest and my legs got a GREAT workout going up and up and up! Once we were at the top, there was a large white cross we met under. The cross was on the plot of land right near No Man's Land, between the German and French trenches. The kids were broken up in 3 groups and heard two different accounts of life in the trenches, an excerpt from All Quiet On the Western Front, and actually walked through a very large German trench. As someone who is just still getting used to outdoorsy things, I wasn't so thrilled about the last part. I got stung by stinging nettles and tripped more times than I would like to count! I also kept thinking to myself, "This is definitely NOT a field trip they'd do in America!" 1) because we were letting these kids go through a LOT of rough spots and patches and 2) because after lunch we basically said, "Go have fun and explore! Don't fall into the barbed wire!"

I went off with some of the other chaperones to explore more of the trenches and the German side. We found tunnels and secret passageways and even a spot that was used for Polish P.O.W's in WW2! My camera died right at the beginning and I was super bummed because I missed a lot of great photo ops!!!

At the end of the day, we headed back to the bus and I could already feel the soreness creeping in. I realized I'd done a lot of climbing, ducking, falling, and walking since about 10am that morning! It was a great experience and I hope these kids will one day recognize just how cool their field trip was and the things that they actually got to see were something that not many people will ever experience in a lifetime.

French cemetery

The white cross that marks where the trenches were

French trenches

Some of our fantastic freshmen!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fall in Basel...aka I LOVE IT HERE

Yesterday, I went into Basel to meet up with the Coen family, a family I met while teaching at RIA six years ago. I took the bus into Basel and immediately saw the "Heisse Maroni" (hot chestnuts) sign across from Starbucks. That's always my indication that fall has arrived over here. The gelato stands disappear and heisse maroni appears. I ordered a small bag of them, then went to Starbucks to get a coffee before I had to go and meet the Coen's. I had heard a rumor that Starbucks here was finally selling Pumpkin Spice Lattes. It's never been sold here before, at least at Starbucks, and so I ordered one right away! I got upstairs to get online with my latte and heisse maroni, only to find out the internet didn't work (this is a long, detailed story but the Reader's Digest version is that I had to search an hour all over Basel for internet to get the Coen's address and the tram number I was to take and eventually had to pay for internet service!).

I drank my latte in peace and enjoyed my maroni's before starting out for the Coen's. When I got off the tram in their neighborhood, I could see the leaves already starting to turn and the weather was definitely crisp and colder. I had a great visit with the Coen's and it is yet another reminder of being back in a place that is truly my home :)

I had decided earlier in the week to go to the evening service at ACB yesterday. It's a higher Anglican service and held in the cloisters of the Munster. The walk there takes you through little alleyways and cobblestone streets and everything one might imagine in a European town. I probably had a huge smile on my face by the time I arrived at church.

Fall here is my favorite.