Monday, December 9, 2013

Cherished Weekend with Charity

Our baby Charity, who has been living in the bay are for the past 3 1/2 years and is the #1 fan of the sumptuous city of San Francisco has now landed in Palo Alto.  Last year she worked at the Clayton Christensen Institute which broadened her horizons and gave her a rich background in blended learning and stellar people.

But she decided that she’s not cut out for research (even though she is really good at it) and sitting at a computer for many hours a day. She definitely needed something more people oriented and “hands on”!  So this year she is working at a charter school for inner-city kids in San Jose and she loves it…most days. She is their all-around handy-woman right now with an emphasis in blended learning and among many other things is in charge of tracking the blended learning progress of 400 students.

This is her cute cubicle:

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I was lucky enough to visit her this weekend and got there from the airport just in time to meet some of the kids who were still there on a Friday afternoon for after school activities. Every adult I met in the administration seemed to have good souls and were dedicated to helping the kids succeed. And every kid I met loved “Ms Eyre”!

One of Charity’s many responsibilities was setting up a library for the school (formally an elementary school) and labeling books according to age appropriateness. Most of the 6-7-8th grade kids read on about a 4th grade level. Below is her little library which accommodates 400 kids!. Note the empty shelves ready for more donated books.

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Here are the school’s core values which includes a really fun incentive program for the kids.

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Every child we passed had a cheery, “Hi Ms. Eyre” for her and several mentioned that she is their favorite teacher. She substitutes often for teachers with emergencies and that is no piece of cake! Most days it’s about as bad as you can imagine! 

Here are the kids lining up at the cafeteria for a snack and ready to watch a movie for a Christmas treat. After school programs are so essential for kids whose parents aren’t home! School uniforms are essential because of gang issues.Their hair is also uniform….not a blonde head in the bunch. They go wild over Charity’s blue eyes! 

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From the school, we went on to our new favorite little village…CARMEL! 

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What a fun place! After a nice dinner we explored the Christmas-soaked town and loved looking in the shops. The candy shop and bakeries were to die for. Charity loved the Jelly Babies and I went for the dark chocolate!

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It was a cold night and the fire in our little room was a perfect accompaniment for a walk through memory lane as Charity recorded some of my memories from childhood in a cute little book that she gave me for Christmas last year.

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The next morning, we had a fabulous walk along the white sand beach and the ever-changing ocean while also enjoying some incredible beach homes on the path.

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According to the weather, it was supposed to rain all day, but we got just enough rain on our walk to create a beautiful rainbow!

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Then it was back to a walk through the village with the charming paths and exquisite shops!

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The art galleries were truly amazing. The pieces below are called Autumnscape and Seascape. They are made with dyed and then rolled pieces of canvas. You have to see it to appreciate it!

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There is just never a dull moment when you’re with Charity!  On the way home from Carmel, we stopped to cut down a Christmas tree, an annual tradition for her. We were sure that we found the very best tree on the hill of thousands where they just gave you a saw, the parameters of paying for the trees and off we went!

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I have to say that she was pretty excited about this…in fact, dripping with passion!

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I helped out a little too!

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Saturday night we went to her Ward Christmas Party. I got to say good-to her former bishop and family who are moving to Utah and Charity got to say goodbye to a lot of friends in the ward, since they have just demoted her to a younger ward (as of two weeks ago).

On Sunday morning we attended meetings in her old ward because we were headed for the city later in the afternoon when the new ward was meeting. It was fascinating to see the amazing, talented, beautiful souls in her congregation. I loved meeting many and finding old friends there including one of our dear friends Randall Mackey and two of his daughters and a son-in-law as well as Amberly Daines, a treasured friend of our family from ages ago who just moved into the ward.

After a quick lunch at the apartment, we went to one of the most extraordinary things I have ever seen. A 26-year tradition in the bay area is the display of crèches from all over the world. at one of the local LDS churches in the area. This year there were over 300 crèches from more than 50 countries that were simply unbelievable! Some gifted artists are responsible for transforming an ordinary church into a fine arts museum with gorgeous backdrops for each area of exhibits. There were crèches of every imaginable medium, from clay to porcelain, to Stubin glass, to corn husks to driftwood and the Savior’s birth was depicted in every possible way from photography to oil paintings. Room after room was filled with crèche after crèche that testified of the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ. It was quite unbelievable. Beautiful music from live artists play softly in the background.. For five days once a year, thousands of people from all over the Bay area come to experience this real-meaning-of-Christmas with pure delight. Because we weren’t allowed to take pictures, I forgot to add this spectacular part of our journey as mentioned in Charity’s comment below. (Thanks for the reminder Charity.)

Next we got in our little rental car and headed for Charity’s glorious city…San Francisco. What a delight it was to see the Christmas festivities going on downtown, even in the deep freeze that has gripped the whole country, even the West coast!

We hit Treasure Island just at sunset:

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And Union Square just as the Christmas gala was in full swing:

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The gynormous three-story Christmas Tree in Neiman Marcus was just incredible!

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And the Gingerbread House in a nearby hotel was just amazing!

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After driving back home, we decorated the Christmas tree and retired to Charity’s room where Charity froze all night on her new air mattress while I was cozy on her bed with her big comforter. This morning, the alarm went off at 6 a.m. so that she could get to school to work out having to be two places at the same time and I headed for the airport, praying for good traffic in my little rental car.

It was back to the real world when they cancelled my cheap flight on Allegiant because the runway was too icy to land (it was 5 degrees there). I HAD to get home so I ran over to the Southwest terminal and got a flight back to Salt Lake…for a price! Now we have to figure out how to get our car that is parked at the terminal in Provo, back home.

And Charity has a performance tonight as the flute soloist with a bell choir with which she has never practiced. Stress! She’s is going to be great! In fact, she is great! She has forged her own way and created a pretty amazing life for herself. We are so proud of this wonderful baby girl as she is indefatigably accomplishing things that are truly important.

As her Dad would say, “What a gal!” 

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1 comment:

charity said...

it was such a fun weekend! thank you for everything! you forgot to mention the creche exhibit! and how amazingly tasty that jeweled rice was...
love you!!!!