Monday, June 17, 2013

Saturday and Sunday

The Sad Day
On Saturday, we had our Staff Barbeque. This is a chance for us to say our goodbyes to the staff who are leaving and not returning next year. To say that it was sad is an understatement. Afterwards, I went out with a few friends to say my goodbyes to Anna, Tommy, & Jon. We laughed a lot and we laughed hard. It was great, but I knew the inevitable would come at the end of the night. As Tommy and Jon like to say, "See you later"....well, I guess so, boys...

Jon, Anna, me, & Tommy
"See you later"

 The Happy Day

Sunday turned out to be beautiful all around. It began with services at ACB, followed by a church-wide picnic in Schutzenmatt Park, one of my favorite parks in Basel. Justina, Amy, & I brought a typical picnic lunch of bread, salami, cheese, fruit, & veggies. The weather was gorgeous and it was nice to talk to some of our church family and say goodbye (me) for a few weeks.  On Sunday evening, Amy & I met up for dinner at Lorenzo's in Kandern. It was an equally gorgeous evening and a great way to end a very emotional weekend. Feeling grateful.
ACB picnicking!
Tram lines running next to the park and through the grass
Sipping on cappuccino on a beautiful summer evening

Friday, June 14, 2013

To Sum Up a School Year...

I don't know how to sum up this year. Lots of transition. Lots of emotional roller coasters. Lots of laughs. Lots of tears. Lots of singing. Lots of talks. Lots of coffee. Lots of bonding.

And today it ended.

Today was graduation at BFA, or as it's known around here "Grad." It was a day I'd heard about all year. I think the best words to describe it would be joyfully sad. I'm thrilled that these students made it to the end, but for the ones that I grew close with, the ones who I formed bonds with, it was quite sad. The High School Choir sang Seize the Day again and as soon as the opening notes of the song were played, the tears started and didn't stop for most of the ceremony afterwards. BFA does grad right. Each student, when called, is given a small tribute written by staff and friends. The dorms and home students have their own little "sign" they give one another (for instance, Storch yelled out "Opa!") when one of their own was presented.

After the ceremony, underclassmen say their goodbyes to the seniors and then seniors join the faculty and family upstairs for a reception in their honor. It's definitely a full, but good day and a great way for them to say goodbye and have some sense of closure.

I'm dreading next year. I'm dreading it more because the students who are now Seniors also hold a special place in my heart. I don't want to know what it will be like to walk the halls and not have them here. But, as Justina reminded me, I have a whole year before that even begins.

The Class of 2013

HS Choir singing Seize the Day

Ben and me. Love this kid!

I had the privilege of teaching Jacob both semesters of Choir!

I'm glad I have one year left with Joey!

The goodbyes between underclassmen and Seniors

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Emotion. Which one?

This week has brought on a ton of emotions. Excitement for the end of the school year. Anticipation for the summer. Sadness for those students who are not coming back next year or graduating. More sadness for friends who are not coming back. Then there's the stress of trying to get everything finished and turned in and cleaned before leaving to go Stateside on Tuesday (I actually leave Monday afternoon for Frankfurt).  I want to feel one emotion, but they all have a tendency to come at once and I'm either smiling or crying or running around in a panic. I haven't slept very well this week because my brain won't shut off. Last night we had a going away party for one of our small group girls and one of the students who is a Junior this year came up to me and said, "Miss Stroud! I'm a senior now!" which made me realize each year here around this time is only going to be harder the closer I get to these students.

I can't wait to share with some of you face to face just how much this first year at BFA has meant to me. I hope by then, I can define the emotion I'm feeling because right now, it's undefined as to what I want to feel the most.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Middle School Awards Night

One of the many wonderful things about working at BFA is that I get to participate in festivities at the High School and the Middle School. Last night, the Middle Schoolers were honored with end of the year awards. Beforehand, the 8th grade class had a banquet in their honor at a delicious restaurant in a neighboring village. The guys looked quite spiffy in their dress shirts and ties (some with bow ties!) and the girls looked equally as beautiful in their dresses (some I even wanted to borrow!). At the Awards Ceremony, each 8th grader is given a tribute by a specific teacher. I was honored to give a tribute speech to David, the lead in the Middle School Play that I directed this year. Overall, it was a lovely evening. I'm looking forward to having these new freshmen at the high school next year!

8th Graders getting their poses on for their Banquet

MS Staff!

Reading David his tribute
The best part of my job!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The New Normal

One week left until school is out for summer. One week left of seeing these seniors roam the halls. One week left of seeing my dear friends who will not be here next year. It's rather surreal. I still can't believe it's been a full school year at BFA. With the ups and the downs of transition throughout the year, I can still look back and say that I have loved this year so much. And what a year! So many events, so many fun weekends with friends, so many laughable moments with my choir & play kiddos. They say that every year at BFA is a "new normal." So while I won't have some of my sweet seniors back next year or some of my friends on Tuesday nights (our weekly get together with friends to watch American TV), I'm looking forward to a new normal of life at BFA.

I love where I work!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

My Kiddos: They Are Amazing.

I don't even know where to begin. I was blown away. BLOWN away by my kiddos. I knew in rehearsals that they were amazing, but to hear them tonight on the stage, singing with such pride, gave me chills. As I listened to the rest of the talent (orchestras, bands, etc), I began to think about this time last year and how still being at BFA was something of a dream. I hadn't raised all of my support, I didn't know when I'd be leaving, but I did know that I'd be teaching at least High School choir if nothing else. What this year gave to me was beyond amazing. I fell in love with teaching again. No, I fell in love with teaching my passion. And next year, I get to do it all over again plus teach two semesters of acting and direct both the high school and middle school play. Sometimes I can't believe it. I say all the time that I'm doing what I love and it's so true. This is such a gift I've been given and I'm grateful to my Father who opened this door for me because I cannot imagine doing or being anything or anywhere else.