Friday, March 29, 2013

1 Month In and Had an Interview

Well it's been about over 30 days here in my new American life. I have to say as nervous as I am start school I am feeling good. The sun has been shining more often these days and Tom seems to enjoy his new life here. I've come to know more about Seattle's neighborhoods and also discover fun places to go.

Even though I don't exactly know what my studying schedule will be like I already applied to a part-time substitue position at an ESL institute. They recently pulled me in for an interview and it was definitely a bit rigorous. Mostly felt a bit nervous after entering the place and seeing adult students mingling around, instead of young-ins running around everywhere. I do want to start teaching adults but at the same time anxious.

The interview started out with questions about my teaching past and I tried to answer as positively as possible. However, I tend to be too honest and answered some questions in ways I would have not preferred. For example, when asked what are not my areas of strength I answered, "I need to improve on my grammer." I backed it up by saying I'm really good at execution and interactivity in the classroom, but know I need to get stronger with my grammar knowledge. She did ask how I plan to do that and I outlined that I will self-study and keep up with it.

Overall, I think the interview went well and it's for a substitute position anyways. We get put on a list for whenever a teacher calls in sick or needs time off. So it could be random placement or planned ahead of time. The school looked small but with many students coming and going.

Well I start classes next week and who knows could be a "full time" student working "part-time".

Just got hired!!!!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Westport: Maritime Museum and Lighthouse

First let's stop at the Maritime Museum, which was a fun place to visit. It was built in 1939 and was originally meant to house the Coast Guard. The key attractions are the whale bones housed adjacent to the museum and is home to the Destruction Island Lens. But I enjoyed the maritime trinkets found in the museum and the throwback feel throughout it's halls.

The first room featured "beach treasures" such as glass globe floaters, trash from around the world and toys that washed up after a shipwreck.

Look! An old Jeju juice bottle on display!

Some washed up items are actual relics from Asia, and you would think someone would take the time to identify this urn as Korean or Japanese. My hypothesis is that it is Japanese.

The Maritime Museum is set up by different rooms you walk through with differing themes. One such room was meant for "local history" and featured local yearbooks.

Classic ship in a bottle... 

I liked these binoculars resting on the window in the children's educational room...

Turns out parts of Washington's west coast is famous for cranberry bogs. In fact just a bit south of Westport is a cranberry bog, but now is not the season to visit. So the museum had some cranberry artifacts.

Found a rotary phone...

Whale meat, anyone?

I would say that the best part of the museum visit was seeing the lens, which lit up the room in spectacular arrays of light.

The image you want in your mind is that this thing doesn't just stand still but is rotating, so the light is flowing around the room. I did capture video of this and hope to put it up soon. But a combination of ethereal light and the soft shifting sound of the machine's rotation made for a very pleasant atmosphere. 

Also those prisms of glass were forged long ago in Paris making this a really luxurious and lovely machine to admire. 

Let's move on to the Gray's Harbor Lighthouse, known for being the tallest in Washington State.

The lighthouse offers fun history and also a good 135 steps to the top. When looking at the lighthouse you might wonder why it's not situated near the water. This is because long ago it use be near the water but after people built the jetty's the sand built up and before long the lighthouse ended up 3,000 feet away from the shore.

Visiting the lighthouse is pretty basic, where you mostly enjoy chatting with the volunteer attendant at the bottom, then climb up and greet another volunteer who tells you more about it's history. Climbing up to the top is not so bad as there are straightaways to walk on as you go.

At the top you are presented with a lovely view of Westport and surrounding areas. Although not operational, the lighthouse has a beacon attached to it so boaters can still use it. The original lens is still inside to look at and admire.

It seemed after visiting the Museum and the lighthouse that there wasn't much left to do in Westport, but I would definitely recommend visiting as I had a thoroughly lovely time.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Westport: Good Grub

This last weekend I had the pleasure of taking a getaway trip to Westport, WA. My goal was to see the Pacific Ocean and enjoy a little time away before heading into my program.

So we headed Southwest down the I-5 passing through several key cities, such as Olympia (the State's capitol). As we got further out towns became smaller and trees more dominant. At one point we even passed an area with Nuclear Power Plant stacks in the distance. We also enjoyed a stop in Aberdeen at this local Starbucks (the town where Kurt Cobain was born).

We checked in at the Chateau Westport, where we found ourselves looking out over the top floor of an ocean view. This was a lovely hotel to stay at, which included a hot tub and heated pool.

Why Westport, you might be asking? As I mentioned I wanted to see the Pacific but also enjoy some local history. Westport has only a population af about 2,100 people, which meant I could really get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Also it is known for the largest Lighthouse in the state and some good seafood. So when we arrived into Westport we were hungry for lunch and headed to the port area.

Our lunch of fish and chips at Bennet's Fish Shack was incredibly delicious. Crisp and warm on the inside, I think I've never had such great fish and chips. The french fries, "chips" were all right and probably not close to the real thing. But they had ample amount of tartar sauce to dip your bites in.

The area nearby the restaurant was near the docks, where you could charter a boat to take you whale watching. We didn't do that on this trip, as it wasn't really guaranteed. But we enjoyed the local nostalgic atmosphere in the architecture.

Most of the shops were ice-cream, candy and souvenir places. It was still too cool for ice-cream, but we got some chocolates instead. Overall it was fun and enjoyable to walk along this street and then by the docks where the boats were.

In my next post, from this trip, I'll take you guys to the beach and perhaps the lighthouse. Hope this gets you excited!