May 26, 2012

A Friendly Despedida in Bogota

With just four weeks left until I am northbound to Minnesota, things are wrapping up very quickly here in Colombia. Final exams are just around the corner and I have an apartment full of things to give away or pack, so I feel like I will be on that American Airlines flight before I know it.

Based on the past two years on experience, Kelsi and I knew things at the end of the year would get crazy so we decided to plan a weekend getaway with some of our closest friends here before the insanity hit. The weekend following our celebration of Teacher's Day at school, we treated ourselves to a little weekend fun in the capital of Bogota. While I have been to Bogota a few times before, this was my first trip there in over a year and I remembered all the reasons I fell in love with the city the first time!

Sitting much higher in the mountains, Bogota has a colder climate than Cali, so the trip warranted both jeans and sweatshirts AKA my favorite things to wear. We basically just spent the weekend hanging out, going back to some of our favorite places and enjoying time with friends. The whole weekend was a great break before the end-of-the-year stuff and reminded me just how much I will miss seeing Kelsi, Stetson, Sam, Mandi and Rob on a daily basis next year. They have been wonderful, amazing friends and I am so grateful for the time I spent with them here in Colombia.

First stop - a brewery tour at Bogota Beer Company. Good beer in Colombia is practically non-existent as most people just embrace the idea of cheap, light beer that tastes like unfiltered water... so when I saw the link for a tour on the BBC website I knew we had to do it! For $60,000 COP (about $30 USD) each it is an awesome deal because they take you to the brewery, where you drink for free, then 3 BBC locations of your choice in Bogota with VIP service & 1 one free drink at each one, a t-shirt, souvenir glass, official certificate of participation and a tour guide/DD for the night.

Award winning beer - yes, it's that good. 

 Bogotá Beer Company - "The biggest small brewery in Bogota"

 Me, Stetson, Sam, Mandi, Rob and Kelsi at the first BBC location of the night in Usaquen. 

Smizing aka smiling with my eyes with my favorite four Gossip Girls at BBC #2 in Parque 93.   

 In the BBC tour van with my ROOMIES. (Did I mention that Stetson's lease ended in May and he is now our third roomie? Oh yeah, that happened.)

The next day we got a lazy start, enjoyed some Juan Valdez in the Zona Rosa neighborhood of Bogota and then made our way to the suburb town of Zipaquira to see the Salt Cathedral. Located about an hour from Bogota, only Stetson had been here before, but we had all heard enough to want to check it out. Basically it is a cathedral built in an old salt mine about 180 feet underground and then lit up with LED lights. Pretty cool to see and worth the trip from Bogota!

 A little blurry, but the group inside the Salt Cathedral.

Overlooking the main nave of the cathedral.

Lit up Nativity.

Later that night we made it one of Bogota's most famous restaurants - Andres Carne del Res. We went to the original location in Chia, which was enormous. Making our way from the bar where we waited before getting a table literally took us on a winding 5 minute walk through the restaurant and I still never saw the end of it! The food was amazing and the decor is kitschy and full of crazy things. After dinner there is a dance floor that gets pretty crowded. 

With Stetson and Sam at Andres Carne del Res.

Our last day we found ourselves at Crepes & Waffles for brunch, because we are just that obsessed with their brunch menu :) From there we walked around a bit, saw the market in Usaquen and made our way back to the airport. Happy, well-fed, and content with an awesome weekend! 

Good morning to you Crepes y Waffles.

Brunch buddies!

...we watch a lot of Gossip Girl together, so this was our version of a photo on the steps on the MET....or a random bank building in Bogota.

May 24, 2012

Job Offer Accepted!

After a long job search that basically involved me typing all the same information that is in my resume, references, letter of recommendation, transcript, and license into many, many electronic databases I have a plan for next year!!! Hooray!

One of the most frustrating parts of the job search was just never hearing back from people about what was going on. Most districts and principals never responded to say they received my application and they would be reviewing them in a certain amount of time. In fact, I think there are still schools out there who haven't even started their interview process yet.

Anyway, after two interviews and two job offers, I decided to accept the one closer to home. After all, if I am leaving a job that I like right now for the main reason of being closer to home, then I should actually BE closer to home. Starting in the fall I will be working at a private, international school located in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. The school is international because only about 20% of the students come from Minnesota while the other 80% are exchange students who come to study abroad for 1-2 years.

I am thrilled about the international aspect of the job, since that is something I have really appreciated about teaching in Colombia. I do think the smaller school (only about 200 students total in grades 9-12 versus about 1,300 in my current K-12 school) will take a bit of getting used to, but I am excited about the chance to know other teachers and students well. I will most likely be teaching AP Statistics, Geometry and Algebra I, which is a big change from just teaching five sections of Algebra I for the past three years. I think I am ready for the challenge professionally, and my school is already investing in some professional development to help me out by sending me to a one week summer course on teaching AP Statistics.

Teaching in downtown St. Paul, being closer to friends and family, and still getting to work with students from all over the world is pretty much my dream I cannot wait to see how it all works out in the fall!

Now...who has a good game plan for me not to spend all my money at the many downtown locations of both Caribou and Starbucks???

May 6, 2012

What I've Been Up To Lately

After a wonderful week of no school, no students and no planning during Semana Santa, reality sunk in pretty hard immediately thereafter. And by reality, I mean the notion of there are only two months left until I leave I should probably figure out "what comes next" pretty darn quick.

Ideally I would like to be teaching middle or high school math somewhere in the Twin Cities with coworkers I enjoy, some ability to use my Spanish and a commute that doesn't make me curse snow/MN drivers/MNDOT on a daily basis. In an effort to obtain this I have been applying to jobs non-stop since Spring Break. Applying to teaching jobs basically means entering all the EXACT SAME information that is already in my resume/cover letter/letters of recommendation/transcripts/teaching license into whatever database the school has chosen to use. Luckily, many public schools in Minnesota use the same database, which has been extremely helpful...and made me start cursing the ones who don't. I have had one interview so far, which resulted in a job offer almost immediately following...but I turned it down in favor of (hopefully) finding something closer to the Twin Cities. Fingers crossed!!!

Besides spending countless hours of prep time/weeknights/Fridays at the kitchen table applying for jobs, I have been trying to make the most of my last weeks in Colombia! This place has been my home for three years now and I definitely want to really appreciate all the wonderful things about this place and the people here before I leave it. Here's what I have been up to:
  • Our water company (EmCali) appears to have gotten in together in regards to our water situation AKA it stopped being turned off at random, inconvenient times and (knock on wood) I haven't had to take a shower with a bucket in weeks. Hooray! One particular intense storm on a Wednesday night did however knock out all of our power. We spent the night reading by headlamp, eating a candlelit dinner, and watching TV on our computers until the batteries died. I wouldn't say I would like it to happen again soon, but it was kind of nice for one night...
  • The spring musical at school featured some very talented students and teachers, included one of my 8th graders who absolutely rocked the role of Cha Cha. We went to see the play with some friends one Saturday night and I remembered how cool it is to see my students succeeding at things they love outside the classroom.
  • We went to the Delirio salsa show with some coworkers. I had been once before, but wanted to see it again. Salsa is such an integral part of Colombian culture and the constant infusion of salsa music and dancing into EVERYTHING is definitely a trademark of this country.

  • Math Olympics 2012! A joint middle and high school event, this contest has 8th & 9th graders paired together in teams of four working on problems in a variety of Jeopardy-style categories to earn points. The winning team earns bragging rights (math nerds for the win!) and t-shirts designed by yours truly which say "Mathlete CB 2012" on the front and simply, "show your work" on the back. And they are purple, of course. Teams from 6th & 7th grade also compete as well as 10th/11th/12th grade teams together. 

  • Kelsi and some other coworkers ran in La Carrera de La Mujer, a women-only 8K run here in Cali. Stetson and I went to cheer her on and take lots of pictures along the way. The day was sunny, albeit a little hot for running and I remembered once again that even though I'm not a runner myself, there is something so energizing about cheering on others while they run!

Go Kelsi!!! 

Obvio I'm #1 in her fan club. that's the update from Colombia. Now to focus on planning the rest of the school year, applying to more jobs, and moving my life and all the things it contains back to Minnesota. Yikes.
Related Posts with Thumbnails