Looking through the posts I have written over the last 18 months in Venezuela, I’ve realized that there isn’t much on “what the Burroughs do” during a typical day/week.
While there are things I cannot (and have not purposely) posted due to security reasons, there are still plenty of things during our days that make up the majority of our time/purpose here in Caracas.
So, for those who would like to know what our typical days/weeks look like (a little later than it probably should have been), this will definitely enlighten:
5:25 a.m. – The alarm goes off. I stumble blindly into the kitchen to the coffee maker to turn it on (I make sure to set it each night so that I do not have to think/measure first thing in the morning).
5:30-6:00 a.m. – Get ready for the day still halfway asleep and eyeing that coffee dripping down slowly. The hardest part about getting up is always the first 5 minutes… But, I always tell myself I’m fine after those 5 minutes. Oh, the mental games we play.
6:00 a.m.-6:15 a.m. – Head to the kitchen to make breakfast and prep my lunch for the day. By this time Brandon is going through his morning routine (it’s incredible how little time he needs to be perfectly ready for the day).
6:15-6:35 a.m. – Sit down with my cup (cups, let’s be honest) of coffee (finally) and do my devotions, some journaling and quiet time before leaving for work.
6:35 a.m. – Our driver/shuttle comes to pick our group of teachers up to go down to the school. We literally live on top of a mountain, and about a 15 minute walk downhill to school. It’s not because of the walk in itself that we take the shuttle, but, for overall safety reasons.
6:40-7:00 a.m. – Emailing, prepping all my classes’ materials for the day, running last minute errands and copies, etc.
7:00-7:20 a.m. – We begin each day with a faculty devotional, rotating between prayer, small groups, Bible Study and worship that Brandon and I get to lead about once a month.
7:30 – 2:35 p.m. – Teaching! Both Brandon and I teach a number of different content and grade levels, so the days for us hop from one subject to the next, whether it’s English Language Arts, or Business Math, it keeps us on our toes. You can see all of the other classes we have taught here and here.
During the lunch times, we either eat with our students (a.k.a. engaging in heated Star Wars discussions, playing games, or watching just how entertaining our students can be), attending Friday Secondary Chapel (where Brandon and I get to lead weekly worship), or I am sitting through the Student Leadership Team’s bi-weekly meetings as the advisor. Lunches are fun because although we still supervise, we can just be with our students in a non-teaching setting. For those of you teachers out there, you know what it’s like to be “on”. Yes, we are still “on,” however, we are able to spend time not teaching new topics and facilitating learning in the classroom, but, actually getting to know more about who our students are and who Rey’s father really is. This is a good time for both us and our students to build those relationships that have really marked and made all of the difference this past year and a half.
After the school bell rings at 2:35 p.m., it generally takes a bit of time to funnel students out of the class, to their lockers, and on their way home. Brandon and I have led a number of after-school clubs, currently being Soccer Club on Tuesdays! For one hour, we run around in the heat with some of our 6-12th Grade students, having fun, occasionally scoring, and laughing a lot.
On days that we do not have clubs after school, we have been running a lot more (4-5 times a week) as we are training for two upcoming Half Marathons later this Spring (April) in Caracas and Summer (July) in California. Yes, we’re crazy. At least we’re sane enough to not do another full marathon. Guys, if I ever say I want to do another full marathon, you can definitely shake me (gently) and tell me not to do it.
Weekly, we try to maintain a set schedule for “life things,” such as:
- Monday: Grocery Shopping (either at the supermarket or the local fruitería – a literal fruit/veggie shop) & Weekly Game & Tea Hour we host at our apartment for our teacher friends/neighbors (same thing)
- Tuesday: Date Night (always dinner and alternating between either seeing a movie, coffee shop + reading/talking, or cozying it up at home). It’s a big deal when we stay up past 9:30 p.m
- Thursday: Spanish Tutoring with a dear friend from church, Alba, for 45-minute lessons each
- Fridays: We try to do no any work on these nights, saving it to relax and spend time either together or with other people
- Saturday/Sunday: Long runs in the morning, lesson planning for the week, food prep for the week (cleaning, peeling, chopping, roasting, cooking, baking), laundry, church, grading, resting, spending time with people, talking with family (basically: our life & school “catch up” days)
I’ve always known that Brandon and I are “list” and routine people, but, we’ve seen both the productivity and the rest that comes from planning life, professionally, spiritually and even in the “fun” things. Yes, there are lots of things we plan that never actually happen (hello, living overseas & life in general), but, keeping in this routine has made us less frazzled and more effective individually, professionally and as a couple.
One thing we are wanting to add more of to our schedule in these upcoming months is outside of school time with our Secondary students. We had a group of them over not that long ago for a game night and had tons of fun. We have a very creative, goofy yet strategic group of students who make playing strategy games quite enjoyable and interesting. As there are not many things that are safe and fun for our students to do after school (with many of them going home and not going out again until the following morning), providing activities and hang out times in a safe environment is a very easy and meaningful way to show that we care outside of the classroom.
Life in Caracas has taken time to adjust to, as many people stay indoors once it begins to get dark (generally around 6:00 p.m.), including ourselves. But, we are learning what it looks like to maximize our hours (both daylight and dark) and still build in necessary rest time without going stir-crazy. We’ve found that you can create a warm, cozy atmosphere with what you have, but, more importantly in the manner you use your time. It’s easy to lounge the night away. We all are tired after working and can come up with a billion excuses to just sit and watch Netflix or scroll through hours of Instagram and Facebook. However, we have seen for us the life-giving and effective results of using our time in a more meaningful way. And, yes, we still definitely watch shows and relax but all in balance.
Yes, there are always many things that I could do to make even more use of my time in a way that glorifies the Lord and serve others, but isn’t that life? There is always more of what we should be doing? I think there needs to be a level of contentment that comes with 1) intentionally planning your time wisely and 2) not adding on more and more and more (even if they are good things) to that schedule. There is beauty and fullness in simplicity, service, flexibility, organization and a lack of busyness.
I know for me, I am craving that calm, peaceful and gentle spirit that begins intentionally and internally and then spills out into the days and weeks.