- For my actual mailing address, please Facebook or email me and I will provide...
- All mail leaves school (the best place to mail things to me) in the morning and is delivered daily around 2:30
- All mail coming into Colombia should be clearly marked "Air Mail - Correo Aero" to assure the quickest service possible.
August 30, 2009
August 28, 2009
The last month has absolutely flown by. After arriving in Miami, and then Colombia two days later I have not stopped for very long to think about everything as it was happening. Now, here I am on August 28th and the final bell just rang to end the school day. I have an apartment here (with curtains!), a bank account, a cell phone, wonderful friends/colleagues, a local grocery store, and 101 lovely, somewhat crazy, hormonal 8th graders. Basically I have an entire life here; which is perfect, and this experience is turning into everything I wanted and there is so much more to come.
However, I wonder if I will ever get over that feeling of missing things. On a day to day basis, there isn't tons to miss back home. But the little things start to add up. And the big things are irreplaceable. Birthdays, Oktoberfest in La Crosse, North Shore trip with the family, MN State Fair, etc... I love love love love them all. A lot. :) I guess I will figure it out along the way, and new experiences here will become as good as the old.
Until then...will someone please do the following for me at the State Fair?
- Visit the Leinie Lodge. Have a Summer Shandy. Then have another for me.
- Obtain one plastic bucket of Sweet Martha's cookies. Eat at least 10 before you decide to start sharing.
- French Fries. Enough said.
- Ride down the Giant Slide. Hands in the air-no cheating!
- Visit the free education booths from the U of M, St. Thomas, etc. Get the free pencils and send them to Colombia because 8th graders never can find their pencils. Thanks! :)
August 26, 2009
p.s. Don't worry, Uncle Kevin, I know it's your birthday too ;) Have a wonderful day of birth as well!!!
August 24, 2009
Sunday's list of accomplishments begins with breakfast; a great place to start if you ask me. Maggie and I walked down the Paso Ancho, which is a main road near our neighborhood. In Spanish, Paso Ancho literally means wide pass or wide street. So we walk for about 10 minutes to Pasopan, a bakery/breadshop we spotted a few days ago. We proceeded to enjoy café espresso with milk, pastries and a vegetarian omlette for $8,000 pesos or about $4 US. LOVE it.
From there we proceeded to La Catorce to do our weekly grocery shopping and pick up some essentials. We found the bug spray and each bought two bottles because the bugs here in Colombia have waged war on our shins and they are definitely winning. We hope the purchase serve as a turning point. We also bought our weekly supply of granola and yogurt, which I have become completely addicted to after having it at the Radisson’s continental breakfast everyday during the first week, as well as arepas and cheese. Arepas are little corn/bread type tortilla things…sort of the size of a pancake. They are pretty bland by themselves but cooked lightly with melted cheese on top they are an amazing breakfast. Maggie & I have a serious arepa addiction. Upon leaving La Catorce we were able to pay with our Sedexo coupons (sort of like the Colombian version of food stamps…but for middle class people) and debit cards without issues! Hooray for not being poor Americans anymore!
After La Catorce we headed to the Club (see previous post) for yoga class. I felt a bit nervous because Maggie has only just begun to teach me some yoga things, but her and Catie assured me it was fine. Turns out it was more than fine because what we thought was a new class at 12 was actually the continuation/cool down of an 11:00 class. Therefore my first yoga experience was pretty simple. While not a complete let down, I think we were all hoping for a more complete experience. We will continue to seek it out in other locations!
Next we made our way to the artisan markets at Loma de la Cruz to pick up Maggie’s sandals. In the process I also found myself a new purse, which is just perfect! I love the colors and it is exactly what I have been looking for. Long enough to hang over my shoulder, but also with a zipper to protect my belongings. Hooray! I also purchased some shoes from the same lady who made Maggie's.
Upon leaving we decided to attempt to master El Mio, the Cali version of a Metro/public transit. The system is only 1-2 years old and is actually just a set of blue busses that run throughout the city. The main line runs down La Quinta (fifth) which is actually Calle (Street) 5, a major street from North to South Cali. We got Mio cards and hopped on the buss with costs $1,500 pesos ($0.75 US) to ride anywhere. After a somewhat detailed conversation with the woman at the ticket booth we found the right bus number and hopped on! Busses come about every 5 minutes, and while the busses still have to wait at all stoplights, they have their own lane so even on a non-express bus (express busses are only on weekdays) the ride was only 25 minutes long (takes about 15 minutes in a cab). We feel very excited to have discovered how easy the Mio is and we will probably be using it more frequently now. Taxis in Cali are very popular and pretty economical, but as with anything, public transit is of course cheaper. FUN FACT: There are more taxis in Cali than in New York City---ridiculous, huh??
The Mio lets us off at an outdoor mall by our house called Unicentro, about a ten minute walk. We stopped off at Juan Valdez Café, which is the best coffee shop in Cali, according to my students and others. Maggie and I both enjoyed iced mochas with vanilla. DELICIOUS! Iced coffee literally completes my life every time I have it…it’s just so good. So far the only thing Colombia seems to be lacking in is Chai tea, which I still have yet to find…(ILSE---I believe you will agree this is clearly stressful; please have a soy Chai for me soon!)
Last night we enjoyed some downtime, revealing in our productivity and looking ahead to the second week of school. This week we are discussing the Distributive Property, which is essential for so many things in Algebra, and I have a fun activity planned for it! Reference I am a math nerd…sorry!
Exciting events to look forward to this week:
- A trip to Zara (clothing store I became addicted to in Spain, which they also have here in Colombia)
- Beginning of regular ultimate frisbee games between teachers after school on Tuesdays
- Welcome back Happy Hour @ the director’s house on Friday afternoon
- Curtain installation!!
- Potential planning for upcoming trips around Colombia
August 22, 2009
August 18, 2009
Maggie and I started off the day by waking up on time (yay!), eating a delicious pastry we bought for breakfast (yay!), and making it to the bus on time (yay!). Note: Stay posted as we predict we will miss the bus no less than 3 times this year and I'm sure the stories those days will be eventful.
My school operates on a block schedule, which means there are five 70 minute periods each day, but then the schedule rotates. I do not see every class every day, but instead see each class 5 times in each 8 day cycle. (It's about as confusing as it sounds, but I think I'll get it someday...)
Here's what my school days will look like:
5:30/5:45 Wake up, realize it's dark outside...hit snooze at least once
6:20 Goal time to leave apartment
6:22-6:25 Actually leave apartment
6:28 Ride on bus with awkward arm rests that are not movable
6:50 Arrive in classroom
7:30-8:40 Period 1
8:45-9:55 Period 2
9:55-10:25 Break (Aka eat snacks and/or half my lunch because I'm starving)
10:25-11:35 Period 3
11:40-12:50 Period 4
12:50-1:30 Lunch (For a whole 40 minutes...which is pretty much un-heard of in the U.S.)
1:30-2:30 Period 5
2:30-3:20 Solid 50 minutes to finish things in the classroom before going home
3:30 Bus leaves school to go home!
Today I only had two classes, which was lovely, but also kind of a slow start to things. Tomorrow, as is typical after having a two period day, I will have a four period day. Thus far my students seem fun and excited to be in school, which is great.
Amusing note from today: During question and answer session where I let the kids ask questions to get to know me, one boy asked if I was pregnant. I responded with "Do I look pregnant??" His face got really red and all the others kids laughed. But I just explained that no, I will not be having a child anytime soon, thanks for asking. In his defense, lots of teachers at the school are having kids or just had a kid so I guess it's pretty typical. Also, he apoligized to me after class which was super cute. :)
In summary...guess I better hop on that yoga train and not eat very many pastries. More updates tomorrow!
August 17, 2009
- Passed doctor's appt & eye appt tests for school insurance, received Colombian cell phones at school
- Pizza & beer at our friends Angie and Caleb's apt...I love having friends who live across the street from us! Tried Pizza 1969 and it was pretty good.
- Lazy morning
- Artisan markets entitled La Loma de La Cruz (Hill of the cross) or something like that. We took a taxi up there with some fellow teachers, and met some of our friends who live in the neighborhood. The individual booths were filled with cool things-we almost bought a hammock but we still need to figure out if it will be feasible for our balcony. Maggie did get some sweet black sandals though; they are custom making them for her over-sized American foot and we're picking them up next Saturday.
- Walked around the neighborhood of San Antonio and enjoyed the culture! San Antonio is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Cali and truly is the cultural center of Cali.
- Had the best malteada moka (Mocha malt) of. my. life. at a small coffee shop down the street from our friends Aaron and Amanda's apartment. A delicious blend of coffee, milk, and chocolately goodness.
- Attended Festival Petronio Alvarez music from the Pacific coast festival. Didn't actually make it inside the Plaza del Toros due to number of people at the free show, but had a blast outside where they showed the inside show on a big screen.
- Enjoyed our first Salsa club experience at Tin Tin Deo. New life goal: improve dancing skills.
- LAZY. Did not leave the house until 4 pm. At which point we walked to the local bread shop and back. Productive, I know.
- Actually did write some lesson plans for Algebra.
- Maggie started to teach me yoga! Yay! She's a yoga genius and she was teaching in Colorado so she knows her stuff...and so I've enlisted her to teach me so I can go to yoga classes with her and know what's going on. Also, we both agreed my first time learning yoga should not be in a foreign language. :)
- Apartment invasion around 5pm courtesy of our lovely friends on their way home from working at school. We loved showing off our apartment & such! :)
- Final classroom preparations! I think I'm ready for tomorrow....
- Investigated Pomona, an upper end grocery store with a few import things...such as peanut butter! Did not have enough pesos to pay, nor a Visa card with matching id...so we were those people taking stuff out until we could pay in cash. :)
- NOW: @ home. Blogging with red Chilean wine and cooking up some veggies & beef for dinner soon. Most likely watching Sex & the City in 1 to 2 hours.