A Conglomeration of Topics

Back in January I posted my New Year’s Resolutions.  I thought you’d all enjoy a quick update on the things I’ve been doing since then.

1. I am studying Russian with a lady friend of mine once a week.  This is greatly improving my conversational and grammar and vocabulary skills.  I also get to drink чай (tea) with her, which is a fun way to learn new words and phrases.

2. I have added a new post once every 2 weeks pretty consistently–though I did miss a few weeks in February/March.

3. I journal (or write a friend) regularly now, which is nice.  I’m sure someday it will be nice to go back and read what I was thinking about at this time of my life.

4. I had forgotten this was on my list.  ooops!  I better get a start on those 2 new alphabets. :p  (probably Karen and Arabic)

5. Nope, haven’t done that yet either. (learning how to read the base clef)

6. I learned my first and middle name in Arabic, but I have not memorized Arabic numbers (1-10) yet.

7. Every day (usually once in the morning and once in the evening) I’ve been weight lifting.  It’s fun, mostly, and I am stronger.  At least, my arms are. 😀

8. Although I really like the idea of starting a Book Passing Club, I have not made it a reality yet.

9. I really enjoy reviewing submissions of English students on livemocha. 🙂

10. Every time I think I have read everything there is to read and know everything there is to know in the Bible I find so much more!  Verses that I have read over and over again suddenly have new meaning to me.  It’s been amazing!  I’ve especially grown in Romans, Colossians, Ecclesiastes, and Proverbs.

11. I can’t say I have a strong relationship with all of my siblings, but I have talked for hours with and become much closer to one of my sisters.

12. For my studies, I have read The Canon of Scripture by F.F. Bruce, several parts of books relating to Catholicism(one was: Roman Catholicism), some books about Islam (including: Secrets of the Koran by Don RichardsonUnveiling Islam by Ergun and Emir Caner,and Escape from Islam by Hass Strong), and some missionary stories that talk about suffering (If I Perish by Esther Ahn KimThey Would Not Be Silent by Harvey YoderGod’s Secret Agent by Sammy TippitThe Heavenly Man by Brother Yun, and Iran: Desperate for God).  I realize I did not have Catholicism on my list, but it’s become one of my newer study topics.

13. I’ve had the chance to read one (or two ?) friends’ partial books, but I have not finished reading them and they have not yet finished writing them.

14. I play piano almost every day, and sometimes more than once a day.  I have started to learn 2 new songs.  (1/3 of my 6 new song goal)

Now that you are caught up on my goals, I want to add a few more things that I hadn’t planned on at the beginning of the year.

First off, I’ve been sick (Sunday @ 6:40am – Monday @ ?) with the flu.  By God’s grace I was able to attend two (2) different baptism services (at two friends’ churches).  It was wonderful being able to sing, listen to a sermon, watch the baptisms, and talk with old friends who I hadn’t seen in years.  I came home, slept for three (3) hours, and then was sick four (4) more times before my stomach calmed down and allowed me to drink some energy stuff (around 22:30).  I rested all day and was able to listen to a lot of music, read e-mail, write this post, and go to my sisters violin concert (you did great, sis’!). 🙂  I had to miss Russian classes, but I practiced a bit of verb conjugation on my own.

Secondly, I now have a Russian teacher!!!!  I know I mentioned it above, but I am so thankful to have a real live, in person, teacher! 🙂  Thank you Lord!!  She’s an answer to prayer.

Thirdly, I got my restricted drivers license!  🙂  I am an official driver.  I cannot drive anyone outside of my family without a licensed driver, but I can drive my siblings and myself (of course) anywhere.

Fourthly, on Saturday I am taking the SAT.  My nerves are trying to get the best of me.  I am continuing to take practice tests until Friday.

Fifthly (and lastly), I’ve been blessed to be able to attend an afternoon church service that is in both English and Russian.  My favorite part of the service is singing the worship songs I know in English, in Russian.  It’s exciting to be learning songs in my new foreign language.

I’ll leave you all with that.  How have you been??  What’s new??  Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions?  How are they coming along?  🙂

The Deadly Dramatic Dress Rehearsal

Yes, I realize this is several week late…  I have some explanations for that (mostly including the topic of this post and the topic of the next post (TeenPact).  Also, the fact that I will be taking my driving test this upcoming week!!  This only makes me slightly nervous.

On top of that, I have been preparing for my SAT and ACT tests which I’ll take later in the spring.  I found a great resource for preparing in advance.  It’s called Hack the SAT: a private SAT tutor spills the secret strategies and sneaky shortcuts that can raise your score hundreds of points by Eliot Schrefer.  I can’t say my scores have been raised, since I have yet to take the test.  I’ve found his tips and tricks to be quite useful in my practice tests, however, so I assume that they will also help me on the real test. 😉

Onto drama. 🙂  Yesterday (March 24th), was our first drama dress-rehearsal at the building where we will be performing.  We still do not have our 2 foot tall (.6 meter) stage.  I hope we will have one by the next rehearsal (in 2 weeks).  Instead of a stage, we had blue tape marking the stairs, stage, curtain, and “ocean” (the part of the floor that will be between the two stages–if you fall off you get eaten by the blue paint-tape fish).

We spent the first 30 of our 360 minute rehearsal putting on our costumes and wigs.  Before I go through more of the play-by-play I’m going to explain a bit about the general overview of the play (from my character(s) perspective(s)).  There are 18 scenes in the play.  Most of them are in France.  The rest are in England.  I am in 1/2 of the scenes (yes, I’m making you do the math 😉 ).  For 2/3 of my scenes I am a peasant.  The other 1/3 of the scenes I am a French aristocrat.  In 1/9th of the scenes I am English.

Starting the rehearsal with the first and last scenes, we slowly got into character.  By the 2nd try of the first scene, I became a poor French peasant and was able to (mostly) portray that fact to the world (well… the parents of the students who had nothing better to do with their evening than watch us make silly mistakes).

My hardest scenes were the trial scenes.  In these 2 scenes (one in England and one in France) I am a part of the court crowd, and I have to respond (with shouts and yells) to the attorney, the accused, etc.  The man being accused (Charles Darnay) does such a convincing job portraying his innocence and helplessness that I have trouble yelling the things I’m supposed to yell (for example: “Kill him!  Down with Evremonde!  To the guillotine!” etc.).  In the other trial I get to be part of the jury on stage, which is a lot of fun. 🙂

Another challenging scene for me, is the 3rd from last scene…  In it, I am in prison awaiting my death the next day (in 14 hours).  I’m still working on that scene, because it is hard to look depressed, while still looking in character and not totally bored.

Right before this scene, my friend J. and my friend H. and I were singing songs from Phantom of the Opera to help warm up our voices.

Afterwords I stayed to help clean up.  We pulled up all the tape, though a friend tried to convince me that we couldn’t pull it up until we had painted something (since it was “paint” tape). 🙂  Putting out the 12 tables and the 100 chairs was fun.  I also helped fold up the costumes and pack them away for our next dress-rehearsal.  I can’t wait!!