Tag Archives: Central Methodist University

Bergen, Norway

Bergen is located on the western coast of Norway at 60º 23′ N – the same as the Shetland Islands north of Scotland.  The city is centered on the mainland seaside surrounded by mountains, but includes several islands as well.  Established before 1070 and was the capital of Norway from the early 1300s, but given over to Oslo a century later.  However, it remained the most populated city until the 1830s, when Oslo surpassed.  Current population is 278, 121.

Bergen has an oceanic climate with winter temps at 40 (high) and 32 (low) and summer temps 69 (high) and 56 (low).  Definitely rainy, averaging 202 days of rain with annual accumulation of 89 inches.  Compare annual sunshine hours of Kansas City of 2810 to Bergen’s 1187.

Our first tour was decidedly the highlight.  As per our custom, we try to stop in at the info center first where we found out that in a few hours an English speaking tour was to begin at the Info center from where we boarded a motorcoach and traveled to the Edvard Grieg residence and museum.  Jessica knew of Edvard Grieg, because one of his pieces (Solveig’s Song) was her recital selection to earn a vocal scholarship to Central Methodist University, but neither of us knew that he was from Bergen or that he and his wife spent the last 22 years of their lives here.  Included in the ticket was a 30 minute piano recital – Wow!

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Jessica standing beside a life size statue of Edvard – he was very small guy.  The recital hall.  Edvard and Nina Grieg, an accomplished vocalist (lyric soprano) in her own right and also born in Bergen.
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Jessica at the top of Mount Floyen

 

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Hiking Mount Floyen

 

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View from Hiking in Mount Floyen
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Bryggen – Bergen – UNESCO site – lovely place to shop for uniquely Norwegian and handmade keepsakes as well as souvenir shoppes.  

She’s Off! Again

These past two months have been such a blessing with our whole family together at home.  Daughter Jessica, returned in June from her two years in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, having taught kindergarten at The American School.  She made so many friends, both at the school and the US Embassy.  She had purchased a car and explored the countryside as much as possible on long weekends.  On longer breaks, she took in Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Ecuador.  She was able to come home for visits occasionally.  She will miss her classroom assistant, Ms Cuty, very much – she just loved that wonderful lady.  As she gave me a hug (the boys and i visited Thanksgiving 2013), she says to me, ‘in the classroom, Miss Jessica is my boss, outside, she is my daughter.’  I will never be able to adequately thank this wonderful lady!.

Read about her experiences in her blog at The Honduras Experience.

Now, she has just landed in Dubai, UAE via Delta Airlines for her next two year stint at teaching.  This time, she will be teaching kindergarten at Dubai American Academy, a world class private school.

Taking her to Kansas City International Airport yesterday was a difficult task for me.  Emotionally, i’m just a basket case.  Of course, i’m thrilled she has the courage, tenacity, and hard work ethic to graduate number one in her Central Methodist University class of 2013 with honors at age 21, then to apply for and obtain a foreign teaching job, then do it again, travel all over while she’s in those areas, but at the same time, I want her safe at home.  But she’s probably not in any more in danger on her travels than she is on our north Missouri farm.

Successful college career. Number one in her class, with honors and a 4.0 GPA Summa Cum Laude
Successful college career. Number one in her class, with honors and a 4.0 GPA Summa Cum Laude

It was certainly nice not to have to leave home at 2am to make the flight like it was for Tegucigalpa!  But it is now 23 hours from our house to her apartment in Dubai.

So, maybe i burst into tears occasionally because of the change?  my children are grown and leaving (left) the nest?  making lives of their own?  Geesh, those should make me happy!  What’s wrong here?  I am happy – just not ready.

Since it is Friday, we probably won’t hear from here until Sunday or Monday, when she is settled into her apartment and utilities are turned on.  What a difference in weather and culture!   It’s currently 93 feels like 107F in Dubai – not bad, we’ve been having that in  north Missouri, EXCEPT, it’s 1 am in Dubai.

Shabbat Shalom!

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Music is More than Fun!

Not surprisingly, music has shown itself to be helpful in learning once again.    In fact, of my three children, Dallas, who has just turned 21 and was diagnosed with Aspergers just last year, but started vocal and piano lessons at 14, showed the most marked improvement, not only in vocal skills, but in problem solving, speech enunciation, concentration, focus, and memory enhancement. (an upgraded WordPress would allow some pretty cool home music performances on here!)  I regret not having started them all on piano and vocal lessons much earlier in life, but no use wallowing in guilt about something that cannot be changed.  However, if our experience will encourage anyone to consider such lessons for their children, starting as soon as possible, that’d be keen.  Formal lessons to start wouldn’t be necessary.  Just sing, clap, tap your toes with your children – you’ll have loads of fun, too!  As they progress, introduce more complicated rhythms and/or a foreign language fun song as well.  Those brain synapses will be stretching and growing all over!  Whether you are a home, government, or private educator – put some music in those young lives!  It’ll last a lifetime!

Nathan (in Yellow coat) as a student in Les Miserable performance by Carousel Productions, Macon, MO in March 2014.  Photo by Kelly Lewis Photography
Nathan (in Yellow coat) as a student in Les Miserable performance by Carousel Productions, Macon, MO in March 2014. Photo by Kelly Lewis Photography

Speech therapy?!   Try SING therapy!

A Musical Fix for U.S. Schools – an essay by Ms Joanne Lipman for the Wall Street Journal  This essay, once again, explains the importance of music in our lives. Sadly, government and some private schools put this on the chopping block far too often.

Jessica performing at the piano at Central Methodist University her freshman year - 2010 - SAI music fraternity annual recital in Linn Memorial United Methodist Church.
Jessica performing at the piano at Central Methodist University her sophomore year – 2010 – SAI music fraternity annual recital in Linn Memorial United Methodist Church.

Jessica was very active in the music department through college, having received a vocal scholarship and was involved with the Chorale group and Conservatory Singers choir.  Now graduated, spring of 2013, she teaches Kindergarten at The American School in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where she also volunteers to direct the high school honor choir.  She continues to practice piano when she has time.  Dallas hasn’t put his musical skills to work yet, except to enjoy singing and making a joyful noise unto Yahweh!   His voice is well-suited for baritone parts.  He started out not even being able to hear a note on the piano and matching the pitch!  Nathan continues vocal lessons locally and last winter was involved with Carousel Productions in Macon, Missouri.  The six performances were sold out!  Though he had initially been rejected at his audition for singing parts, he showed up and did so much better during practices, that he eventually landed FOUR small parts in the productions.  Les Misérables has always been one of our favourite shows, so it was especially sweet that he was able to participate.

Shabbat Shalom!