September 30, 2009

Six Word Memoirs-Tell Your Story!

Just read this on my friend Nicole's blog, and I had to share! Nicole and I have been friends since high school and she is currently spending a year abroad in Australia. I probably wouldn't even have a blog if not for her inspiration...or I would have a much less interesting blog at the very least.

Anyway, today she posted about a project called the Six-Word Memoir. Supposedly inspired by Hemingway when he was challenged to write a story in only six words. He responded with: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." Interesting concept, huh?

I thought so! There is an entire website devoted to the idea where people go to share their own six-word memoirs, and it is actually really interesting to read. Some are serious, some funny, and others really make you think! So check it out if you have a spare moment in between other life events....(for me that means during my prep hour!)

Here are some I thought of that apply to me:
1. "Refusing to settle for anything less."
2. "Molding mathematical minds day by day."
3. "Dreamer. But not the only one." (John Lennon's "Imagine" came on my ipod just as I was typing this...weird!)
4. "Struggling to live in the moment."
5. "Terribly sarcastic. Almost to a fault."

Here are some of my favorites from the website:
1. Lucky in everything else but love.
2. I promise never to grow up.
3. Followed rules. I bend them now.
4. Tea. Serenity in dried leaf form. :)
5. Fate worse than hell; working retail.
6. Life is not fair. Get acclimated. (I'm considering this as my new catch phrase with my 8th graders...)

Enjoy and happy Wednesday...only two more days until Semana Receso = no class for a week!

September 29, 2009

This Time Tomorrow...

I will be watching the Minnesota Twins rock the Detriot Tigers to hopefully stay in the race to win the AL Central Division!!! My fellow Minnesotan in Colombia just called to say it will be on ESPN here tomorrow night! Can't wait to see my Twins live for the first time in two months!!

I am absolutely praying that this season doesn't end up tied with the Twins playing the Tigers in a one game play off. Last season's 0-1 loss to finish the season versus the White Sox was way too much to handle. In a season that lasts 8 months from Spring Training until the World Series and includes 182 games, how is it that everything comes down to the last week of baseball??

Can't wait for tomorrow! :) There will probably be photos to share...and they better win because Friday is Sports Day aka wear your MN Twins pride Day @ school!

September 27, 2009

Weekend Recap: Delirio Salsa Show & Lago Calima

Another amazing weekend here in Colombia! I will limit my weekend update to these two main events. :) Friday night I attended the Delirio Salsa Show here in Cali with Maggie, Mark, Catie, and Scott. Basically we paid $70,000 pesos for tickets to watch some of the most amazing dancers I have ever seen in my life. People from Latin America understand how to dance, and how to move their hips to make dancing look easy and natural Speaking from the perspective of someone who doesn't really know how to dance well, I found this fascinating! Both the men and the women have this amazing talent to look phenomenal on stage. We enjoyed some fried plantains and empanadas while we watched, and the whole night was a blast! Check out the video and some photos from the event...

Saturday morning I woke up early to head out to Lago Calima, a man made lake in the Andes Mountains about 2.5 hours away. I headed up to the bus station with Catie, Scott, Kelsey and Hana around 10:00 and we bought tickets for $11,000 pesos ($5.50) and we were on our way! The ride there was absolutely gorgeous, filled with rolling hills and amazing landscapes of the Andes. About an hour into the drive the air got a lot cooler and just felt cleaner and fresher than the city---I loved it! We arrived in Darien, the main city next to Lago Calima, and had lunch to come up with a game plan. We didn't go with a specific place to stay so we sort of needed to figure that out ASAP. We tried calling to this Comfandi place, an all inclusive next to the Lake, but they were booked. So we did the next best thing in a town without taxis....paid some guy and his son to drive us around in the back of their jeep to find a place to stay for the night. The first place we saw was advertised as a six person cabana.... There was one double bed and a set of bunk beds...the bunk beds were made up with two pillows each aka two people were supposed to sleep there. We quickly said no thank you and after a bit more searched we settled on Hotel Brisas del Calima, a nice, simple hotel located right in the town of Darien, about ten minutes from the lake. From there we went on a walk to explore the town and the lake a bit, then headed back to the hotel. We had a lovely dinner with chicken, and salad (they were out of pasta!! I almost cried...) then played a card game Catie & Scott taught us. Basically it was really similar to Phase 10...and I won, no big deal :) We spent a lovely evening in our room for 5, all sleeping about 2 inches from each other and I felt like I was right back at a middle school girls sleepover. Overall, I loved our hotel though, especially when we woke up and discovered breakfast was included. Rule for life: breakfast should always be included, everywhere, it just makes people happy :) Before leaving the hotel this morning we enjoyed some time in the hammocks reading and in the pool, very relaxing!

This afternoon we took the bus back to Cali, and today I have been pretty lazy...whoops. I need to stop watching re-runs of How I Met Your Mother online and start figuring out a lesson plan on fractions because my students are struggling with them! :)

This week is the last week of school before three curriculum (in-service) days and then our vacation in Bogota/Villa de Leyva. This week is also Spirit Week and I will be kicking off tomorrow at 6:30 am with.....Pajama Day. La Crosse sweatpants here I come :) Pictures to follow....

Happy Sunday friends & thanks to all of you who have been commenting lately, I love reading your thoughts!!

September 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Anna!!

"Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates, and guys are just people to have fun with." [Sex & the City]

Soulmates are a funny concept. Is there really someone out there so perfect for you that you were "meant to be together"? And do you just have one? Or are there several you will find throughout the course of your life?

All questions aside, I do think there are people out there who sometimes know us and understand us better than we know ourselves. Since I met Anna, and our mutual friend Maria, in 8th grade, the three of us have felt intrinsically connected to the others. We share so many things, from the way we grew up as kids to our values and beliefs as adults. I never went to school with Anna until we both attended University of Wisconsin - La Crosse together for 4 years. Looking back on those years, I cannot imagine not going to school with her. She literally was there for everything that happened, and all the ways I changed during college she was right there to watch me and help me along. Whether it was at 10:30 on a school night or 2:30 am on the bus ride home from Third Street :) she remained the best listener I could ask for. Today she is celebrating her 23rd birthday in La Crosse without me :(, and this weekend she will celebrate Octoberfest in La Crosse with some of the most wonderful women I know. I can't help but feel a little bit jealous!

Anna Mawie (intential typo...) have a wonderful birthday, thank you for bringing out the best parts of me and always giving me the best parts of you.
My graduation day!

Anna & I the night she came back from studying abroad in Spain...which up until now was the longest I have ever gone without seeing her!

At the end of the day...

"Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy"

[Guilaume Apollinaire]

Moving to entirely different city, country, & continent is hard. There are stressful moments, and inevitably you will miss what you left behind in some way or another.

Two months into this experience I have only begun to scratch the surface of what is to come, but last night I really came to the realization that I am truly happy here. I could not be more at peace with my decision to move abroad to teach. At the end of every day, I love being a teacher. I am thrilled to help students learn math, and I love building relationships with them along the way. Sure, they sometimes talk more than I would like, but they are wonderful, fun-loving, and nice kids, and they challenge me in new ways everyday. Nothing gives me more hope in our collected future than to see the wonderful people growing up in the world today. As cliche as it sounds, kids (and their education!) really do have a defining impact on our futures.

Apart from my classroom, I love the environment of living in a big city like Cali. I love that there are always people around, enjoying life in some form or another, whether it is the groups who sit outside our little tienda at night, families walking together in the park, or friends out together in Cali. I love that I feel comfortable here; comfortable enough to do things on my own if I need to, like go to the grocery store, run errands, go for a run, etc. I love the people I work with at my school. Education is a wonderful profession, but it is an easy profession to get burnt out on if you're not careful. The majority of people I work with also really love students and learning, which makes all the difference in the world. They are honest, intelligent, and real people and I have so much to learn from them.

Furthermore, I love the friends I am starting to establish here. Nothing makes me feel more at home that having a support system I can turn to on days when I don't love everything. The people I left behind in the States have been more supportive than I ever could have imagined, and that was a hard thing to leave. Now that I am here in Colombia, I am so glad Maggie and I are roommates. She also challenges me in wonderful ways, and we balance each other so well. I love knowing that I can go home and flop on her bed to de-brief the day. I love that during break and lunch I usually end up seeing her even though we live together; we just genuinely appreciate each other's company. I love the other friends I have built here as well, and the bonds that are starting to grow between everyone. Finally, we are not just all colleagues, but rather friends who can discuss real things outside of the realm of our 7-3:30 workdays. :) before I get too into the mushiness (is that a word?) of this post, I will cut myself off. :) You're welcome. Have a splendid Thursday!!!

p.s. To all of you Grey's Anatomy watchers: ENJOY! I wish I could be watching with you tonight.... :)

September 22, 2009

It's Christmas in Colombia!!

Hooray!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is officially Christmas here in Colombia because today after 4th hour I received not ONE, but TWO PACKAGES from the States! This is exciting on so many levels. :) First, it made my day absolutely amazing! Secondly, this means my package directions worked & I can receive things in Colombia so long as they are sent via US Mail! Hooray!!

Package One: Lindsey & Alex
  • Card
  • Pictures from Phil Vassar concert Lindsey and I went to last Fall!
  • Book of quotes (see below for some of my favorites so far)

Package Two: Grandpa Mike & Paula
  • Celtic cross necklace
  • Samoas Girl Scout Cookies (LOVE THEM..considering freezing them to save one for every month I am here...not sure I have the will power)
  • REAL licorice
  • White lace skirt from Ann Taylor Loft
  • White peasant top---adorable!!

Thank you!!

p.s. Off to the movie store with Catie, here's hoping the cats keep it under wraps! :)

The World Really is Getting Smaller...

I talked to my parents for awhile last night, and amongst all other details from home (mostly related to my freshman brother being part of his high school homecoming court), she shared with me this article from the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Time for Dinner: Corn-stuffed cornmeal arepas wholely satisfying -

When I arrived in Colombia I had never even heard of arepas and now they are a staple in my apartment! Maggie & I buy them pre-made from La Catorce...but after reading this recipe I am considering making them. Do you think I can handle it?? Not sure...

However, how ironic that I move to Colombia and all of the sudden the newspaper in St. Paul, Minnesota is covering local South American food. Love it. :)

September 20, 2009

Weekend Recap

I'm finding that my weekend recap posts are quickly becoming the most interesting things I have to offer. Probably because the weekday life for a teacher isn't very exciting!

  • I stayed after school to play softball with some other teachers & the PE staff. I had a lot of fun and it was nice to run around on Friday afternoon after the teacher's in-service day.
  • Took a 2 hour power nap in preparation to go out later than evening for my friend Hana's birthday. I felt like I was back in college again coming home after student teaching, then leaving the house at 9 pm to go out. A group of us headed to the northern part of Cali, called Menga, where there are a number of bars and clubs. These particular establishments are located just outside the city border so they are not subject to the" Ley Zanahoria" (Carrot Law). Affectionally named "Carrot Law", this is the law that says all bars must close at 2 am. According to Calenos (people from Cali), you would have to be boring as a carrot to go home by 2 am.
  • Danced & enjoyed fabulous company at LuLu Latina until way too late...
  • Had lunch with Anita at her friend Gloria's house. Gloria lives about ten minutes from me and prepared an amazing lunch that more than satisfied any Chipotle cravings I might have been having. We ate burritos on pan Arabe (Arabic bread, which is basically a really big but thin tortilla) with beans, chicken, avocados, tomatoes, lettuce, and more! Delicious! I was so full we had to skip dessert... I also enjoyed talking with Gloria because she is a fellow teacher (in speech pathology...that's for you Allison!).
  • Calle del Arte!! Huge street art fair where they block off several blocks in San Antonio for vendors to sell everything from empanadas to purses to art in the streets. There were so many people there, but I still really enjoyed it! Everyone was so happy and smiling and just loving being out in Cali. Live bands adorned all the intersections and people were literally dancing in the streets as it got later in the night---LOVED IT!
  • Bought a new purse & matching wallet at the art fair! Anita bargained with the lady to get the price down...I watched in awe. :)

  • Headed over to Aaron & Amanda's house for a little get together because they live right on the street of Calle del Arte. They have a gorgeous apartment studio with an amazing view of downtown Cali, and the whole night was perfect. They were amazing hosts providing popcorn, homemade guacamole, fresh fruit, and more.
  • LOVED their new hammock chairs...we seriously need a pair of these for our apartment asap!
Conversating & enjoying the hammock chairs...
Me, Catie, and Shannon
  • The party really got going around 10 pm when a live band showed up (I think they were friends of the neighbors...???) and played a set on the rooftop! Everyone proceeded to dance and Aaron even had a small stint with the accordian (see video).

Aaron rocking the accordian.
Rooftop dancing.
Hana & Amanda loving it. :)
  • Side note on the party: I love how friendly Colombians are episode 321. So around 8 pm I have 3 missed calls, 2 from Maggie and 1 from Daniel, the guy in charge of transportation at the school (he sets up all the bus routes for teachers and students and then makes sure everything runs smoothly). Turns out he called Maggie because we wanted to meet up at the art fair but she had him call me since she is in Cartagena. I call him back and sure enough he shows up at Amanda and Aaron's 20 minutes later. In the US, I couldn't have even told you the name of the person in charge of bus in Colombia he shows up at parties with us. :)
  • Made breakfast with Catie & Scott...I could not love breakfast more. Literally it is the best meal ever created. We had some delicious pancakes, eggs with potatoes & onions, and potatoes. Mmmmmmm....
  • Done grading all the exponents tests from my students - hooray!
  • Started the day with Jack Johnson "Banana Pancakes", "Flake" and more...rolled right into Jason Mraz Live CD, followed by ESPN Baseball Today podcast from Friday and have now moved to Green River Ordinance. :) Did I mention I love Sundays...
  • Trying to get motivated to figure out some lesson plans for teaching about solving linear equations...has not happened I am blogging. Good for all of you, bad for me. :/
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