Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Brief Synopsis of Pohnpei Beginnings

I apologize that I am starting this so late! but here it is:

The Flight:
     There was a whirlwind of questions, experiences, and confirmed e-mails in the two weeks before I sat on that plane.  One being the purchase of my ticket 10 days before. As I sat in my seat I kept thinking, "I can't be going to a foreign place for a year- I only checked one bag..." I smile at that now, but man, it was not a very comforting thought. It seemed like I had packed the same amount for the 2 month architecture class I was just on this summer. I flew from LAX to Honolulu and then to Guam where I was given a place to spend the night and then I flew to a small island called Chuuk and on to Pohnpei!  I left on wednesday morning and arrived here on Friday (skipping ahead one day because of the time difference).  I was greeted by my cousin Laura who is also an SM here and was driven to the school. I don't remember a whole lot from that first drive, except for smiling at a store called "Wall Mart" :-] I met most of the SMs on a snorkeling trip we took that day. It seemed like everyone was from Walla Walla University haha (and most are).

My First Week Here:
     My first week here was crazy! I came about two weeks late so I missed the 10 day training in Honolulu and the prep period at the school when everyone arrived which meant I had to figure out my lesson plans for that week on that first Sunday. Man was that weird, but it got done! Everyone was very helpful when I asked them questions. I had no clue what I was doing that monday morning. I thought I was going to keel over from the humidity! Not to mention looking 16 kids in the face and saying, "Good morning class! My name is Mr. Beddoe and I will be your teacher!" I'm smiling now as I write this, picturing myself at that chalkboard. There I was, teaching 1st grade after spending the last 3 1/2 years in the Andrews University School of ARCHITECTURE. The first day did not go well (to say the least), but God knows how to help a person out you know? Spending time in the early morning with the ultimate Teacher has been comforting.

This Place:
     Pohnpei, Micronesia is a tropical island and is said to be one of the wettest places on earth because of its daily rainfall (good thing I like rain). It is one of four states in the Federated States of Micronesia and is the largest and most populated. It is beautiful! But oddly enough, it has no beaches on the main island. You have to go out to some of the smaller islands nearby for some beach time.  The SMs are in groups that share apartments located on the campus. I have one roommate, Karsten Cook, which has been great. We just got pots and pans!!!! so we can cook meals!!! We've been excited about this. Another thing is the shower - it looks like it will be cold water for 10 months- It was shocking at first, but I am getting more used to it now. Hopefully my body doesn't decide to play games this next week because I said that.... .

The 1st Grade Class and Classroom:
     1st grade (like almost all the elementary grades) is split up into 2 classes - one of now 20 students taught by myself and the other of 19 students taught by a guy named Robert Hogan.  I have 13 girls and 7 boys. I'm lucky to have the classroom I have because it is the only room with trees and grass painted on the walls to make it more fun and I have more shade than most. When it is not raining it gets very hot! Very few rooms on campus have glazing (glass) for windows. Most (including SM apartments) have what I describe as chicken wire/fencing over them to keep things out.


  1. Studying architecture didn't prepare you to be a first grade teacher in Micronesia? That seems strange.

    I just had to take (yet again) the 16PF personality test and it kept asking me questions about if I wanted to be an architect. For instance, would I rather work

    a) In the front office greeting and helping people
    b) ?
    c) as an architect in a quiet room

    It was a hard decision. Finally I chose "A" because I'm not sure that Nathan Beddoe being part of the "C" scenario was necessarily included and, although I think quiet is okay and architecture is cool, it wouldn't be worth it if you weren't there, too.

  2. Wow again. This blog sure was revealing. You know, shortly after I got to England (before I'd been there for a month; just barely after the jet lag was over), Dejan asked me if I'd do the devotional for YU - the teens' Friday night vespers. I took it very seriously. TOO seriously. I didn't mean to but you can guess what happened - I talked too long and began learning the lesson that night that (no offense to teens and to my chagrin) teens' attention span isn't like Mosaic at AU when I did The Conversation with Joel. Luckily some teens told me they really liked what I did or I would have reeeally crumbled. I thought learning how to relate to my peers was a crash course when I first started college, but relating to teens with iPhones (my English phone is prehistoric, hehe) who are younger than me and who remind me of what I just wanted to survive in highschool... Not the challenge I expected. But now I love them - they're "my teens!" :D

    Funny how Walmart is everywhere! Here in Watford, we have ASDA which is owned by Walmart and still has the Walmart logo on the building, just in smaller letters.

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