Tomorrow begins the third week of school and things are starting to settle into a pattern once again here in Cali, Colombia. While there are still a few "beginning of the year" things left to happen, like Open House for parents this Tuesday, for the most part the teachers and students are settling into a routine.
At school, I am getting to know my students by name instead of "hey, you in the blue shirt". They are starting to get to know me, my classroom and my expectations (don't be mean, love Joe Mauer, use pencil, etc.). I am starting to get the hang of the teaching three different class levels with one support class, one advanced class and three middle-of-the-road classes of Algebra I. Our 8th grade teaching team is coming together and I am starting to see who I can rely on to help me out as the team leader in different places. I find it comforting to be able to settle into this school year a bit. Really get down to business professionally.
On the personal side of things here in Cali, I already feel like I have been back for months...or maybe that I never left. With the exception of the newly revamped stadium and the fact that you can now exit the MIO (public transportation system) from both sides of the station as originally intended, not much has changed here in Cali. We went out to our same favorite bar last night. Saw our same favorite band. Went to our same favorite restaurant beforehand. Had the same pitcher (and an extra media jarra!) of sangria that we always get. I ate the same green curry dish that I am in love with. Today we went on our typical Sunday movie date with various friends at the same theater we like going to due to proximity to our apartment and the Juan Valdez inside. the. movie. theater. On Saturday morning we went to the same 9 AM spin class we go to every Saturday morning.
Is this sounding boring?
I don't mean it to, really. My point is just this: while living abroad is exciting and new and challenging and awesomely fun, it isn't always new, crazy things every minute of every day. Much of the time it's just like living in the US, only with a different culture and different people. But no matter where you are in the world, it's nice to have a routine, to have a purpose to each day, and to live happily knowing that you are probably exactly where you need to be right now at this moment.
I am comforted in remembering this because next weekend I am headed back to the United States for another wedding. When I leave Minnesota at 6 AM on Labor Day it will be the last time I plan to be there until June 2012. To say I haven't really "detached" myself from Minnesota and my summer there is an understatement. I knew I was going home last weekend for Maria's wedding and this upcoming weekend for Alex's wedding...so I haven't really said goodbye yet. Now I have to, like it or not. Thankfully, it will be comforting to know that I can come back to Cali to find a routine that I know and love with friends who are more than just co-workers now.