Highlights of my trip

Well, I finally got home about 3am today. Wow! What a wonderful 2 weeks I had.

First I was came down with a cold the day I left so I had a fever when I was on the plane. The next day in Washington DC, I was still quite sick so I checked into the hostel and slept. Then I did a little shopping and bought some meds.

The next day (Thursday), I spent walking around the US Capital area. I was wearing my pink cape dress and white prayer cap. It was very comfortable. I didn’t get as many stares as I was expecting, especially since I was alone.

I saw the Washington Memorial (but couldn’t go up because the elevator was broken), the Lincoln Monument, the WWII Monument, the Vietnam Memorial. I was going to go to the White House but was not feeling very well so I just took a picture from a few blocks away. The same with the US Capital building. Ford’s Theater (where president Lincoln was shot) and the American History Smithsonian museum were both closed until fall for renovations. I was rather disappointed about that.

Friday I took the train into Virginia. Frieda met me at the station. I didn’t have any set plans so I stayed the night at her house. On Saturday, we made me a new dress (button-front in green Tropical Breeze). We had to go to a country store to get buttons and thread. The store caters to local conservative Mennonites and Amish, including Old Order members who arrive in horse and buggy. While there, I also bought some gifts and sweaters for me and the kids.

I wore the dress to church on Sunday. There were 2 teenage girls with the same fabric. I was invited to lunch at a woman’s house. There were 16 at lunch that day. She surprised me on Thursday evening by bringing me a dress she had made for me!

The training didn’t start until Monday afternoon. I went to a museum with a wonderful light-up map and video of General Stonewall Jackson’s Civil War campaign in the Valley at the neighboring town of Dayton in the morning. I went to another museum and was amused to be asked if I was familiar with the Mennonites (I was wearing my cape dress and white cap). 😆

I had already done the workbook part of the teacher training before I arrived, which left my evenings free for visiting. I helped a family with cutting corn off the cob and shelling soy beans, neither of which I have ever done before. I also went to tent meetings.

The Mennonites in the Shenandoah Valley area have a revival every 2 years which they call tent meetings. That was going on during the week I was there so I went to that every night except Saturday. That was real interesting. Rather than simply trying to draw people to God, they were also seeking to keep those who were already believers on the narrow path. All the singing was done without instrumental accompaniment. On Sunday there were about 250 people at the tent and it felt like sitting in the middle of a choir.

The training itself was held at the main offices of Christian Light Education. There were 40 trainees which is the largest group they have ever had. They were giving certificates for teacher, first grade teacher, homeschool teacher, or administrator. You could get one or more certificate depending upon how many workbooks and lectures you did. I got a certificate for teacher, homeschool teacher, and first grade teacher.

Since I had already finished the workbooks, I spent my days when not in lecture reading some books the instructor lent me; The Master Teacher by Ruth Hobbs and the Handbook for Creative Teaching by David L. Martin. The second is a hardcover book over 900 pages relating to all aspects of teaching. I browsed about 600 pages and took many pages of notes before I saw they sold it at the bookstore so I bought it.
I met Ruth Hobbs. She signed my copy and explained the story behind why she wrote the book.

We also were given a tour of Christian Light’s facility. We saw the art, production, ordering, homeschool,
and shipping departments. We also saw the printing area. They were printing some Math 300 Lightunits and a Sunday school quarterly while we were there. They explained all the steps to get a new book or revision to market.

I was finished Thursday afternoon. However, some were still working on finishing their work and testing Friday. I went to some museums on Friday. I also made last minute purchases at the bookstore then mailed it all home. I drove out of town to the Luray Caverns. That was an interesting tour. I had some difficulty finding a hotel with a vacancy but finally found one.

Saturday I spent all day at Shenandoah National Park hiking parts of the Appalachian Trail and driving before returning to Harrisonburg in the evening. I went out to dinner with the woman I was staying with. The next day we went to church then returned my rental car and drove the back roads to the train station.

I spent the night at the hostel in Washington DC, then all day on Monday was traveling.


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