I had another good day at school today. I feel like I’m really getting to know the classes and kids better. Each class has a slightly different learning style and pace. I’m more in sync with the flow of the classes, which makes class much more enjoyable for the kids and me. I know now which classes are harder to teach than others. My wildest class is one of my 6th grade classes. None of the kids are bad; it’s just harder for me to keep their attention. This class will keep me on my toes and challenge me to develop more creative teaching methods. But all in all I love working with the kids.
I brought my camera to school today to get some pictures of the kids in between classes. I wanted to get a few shots of them having fun and goofing off between classes. I got some great pictures of them hanging from the ceiling, roughhousing, laying on the ground, etc. Shortly after I began taking pictures they starting posing for pictures, which was pretty hilarious. When it was time for one of my classes to start a few of them jumped up on the desks to pose. But they all settled down and listened well during class. Then out of nowhere one of the kids disappeared and reappeared with a video camera. I don’t know if he was tape recording me or just taking pictures with it. I may never know. After that class the teacher wanted them all to pose for a group picture. It turned out rather well.
I had an interesting conversation with one of the teachers today about pronunciation. We were working on numbers today and the correct pronunciation since it’s something the kids need a lot of practice with. One sound that’s particularly hard for them to make is “th”. That sound does not exist in the Spanish language and the kids have a hard time using “th” in words. After my seventh grade class was over the teacher told me she was confused by the way the number thirty was pronounced. She said she took some English classes and had one teacher tell her to pronounce it one way and another teacher told her to pronounce it another way. Basically, one way was pronounced correctly “thir-ty” and the other way was sloppy pronunciation “thir-dy”. I told her that was pretty common and that I often did not enunciate the letters in the word. When I’m teaching, I work hard to pronounce words correctly, but I’ve noticed that I occasionally pronounce the same word differently. I always thought my pronunciation was fairly good because of how I was always taught to enunciate in choir. It’s been a good learning experience for me. And now a tongue twister: articulartory agility is a desirable ability for manipulating with dexterity the tongue, the palate, the lips (I used to sing that when I was warming up in choir).
When I walked to my third grade class this morning the door was shut and the teacher wasn’t around. I asked some of the kids if they knew where she was. Apparently she wasn’t there today. Since I wasn’t for sure what to do I went to my next class and asked if I could teach earlier. It worked out for her and I just went with the flow.
After one of my classes the teacher told me there wouldn’t be class tomorrow because some meeting was being held. I doubled checked with the next teacher I went to and she said the same thing. When I went back to school after lunch I asked the seventh grade teacher if there was class tomorrow. She told me that first through sixth grade did not have class tomorrow. Later at the house I told Kathy and Cecelia about it. Cecelia said she thought they were having classes tomorrow because her son, Marvin, is in third grade and was going to school tomorrow. So I really have no idea. I’m just going to go to the school and ask someone in charge. We will see what happens.
Playing fútbol in between classes
The older kids in the class waiting for the next class to start
Hanging from the ceiling
Two of my students
The middle "atrium" area of the school
One kid has the other one down on the floor
Down for the count
Being held in front of the camera by one of his friends
The first posed picture
Running to join in the fun
Laughing at having their pictures taken
Another posed shot
Definitely not camera shy
Right before class started
Standing on the desk
Watching all the other kids
The kid with the video camera
Taking pictures of each other
One of my sixth grade classes
With my sixth grade class
Climbing up the water tower at school
At the very right one kid has another in a headlock
The younger kids want to pose too
After class I went to the market to look at a few things: guava, a special kind of candy, and green salsa. I found the guava and few pieces of candy, but didn’t have any luck with the salsa. The guava has a fresh, delicious smell and I’m excited to eat it. Since I was passing by the Neveria on my way home I decided I may as well go in for a small scoop of ice cream. I’m just trying to do my part to support the economy. Yeah, that sounds good. I’ve had a steady increase in appetite since I arrived here. I’m not sure if I am burning food faster or what. I never ate meals like this at home in Iowa. Sometimes I wasn’t even hungry when I got up in the morning. But I wake up here and can’t wait to eat. Thankfully there’s usually something around the house that has nutritional value. I also have a banana stashed at home that one of the teachers gave me.
Don't you wish you had multicolored swans on your house?
I consider myself a pretty healthy eater, but I’ve been eating even more fresh and non-processed foods since I’ve been here. My body is very happy. My one weakness in the food department is my lust for sugar. I absolutely love sugary foods, and with the exception of the ice cream there’s not a whole lot here with sugar in it. Even the pan dulce (sweet bread) isn’t the very sweet. A lot of people put sugar in their coffee, but I don’t drink coffee. Although there is natural sugar in fruit I only have fruit about every other day and that is usually plantains. Most of my diet is vegetables, corn tortillas, beans, and a little meat. I’ve actually been keeping a food journal (weird, I know) of every meal I’ve had since I’ve been here. I can post it on my blog when the end of my trip draws near, but it’s all in Spanish.
Around 4pm we went to pick up Balmore from the town of Lolotique, which is about 40 minutes east of Berlín in the department of San Miguel. It was a nice ride there and I got to ride in the front seat which was exciting for me. The ride was relaxing and I eventually drifted off to sleep in the nice warm truck. Then I was rudely awakened by some guys honking/yelling/making kissing noises at us. Nice. So glad to be the gringa in the truck.
In what appeared to be the center of town was a beautiful park. We walked by it and saw a magnificent red and white church. We went inside to look around. The inside was just as lovely as the outside. There were two confessionals, many statues, paintings, and Jesus was even there in a casket. After looking around we went back to the truck to find Balmore waiting for us. Cecelia, Otilia, and I hoped in the back while Kathy and Balmore rode in the cab. We were going pretty fast on the way home which was a lot of fun for me. Riding in the back of the truck is my favorite way to travel. It never gets old. We also got a lot more kissy noises on the way home, which Cecelia and Otilia made sure to point out to me. I even heard one little girl say “gringa!” to her friends. Yes indeed, I am a very exciting attraction in these parts. Maybe I should start charging a viewing fee.
Dinner tonight was pupusas which were fantastic as usual. I wolfed down three with ease. I wanted something sugary but alas there was no sugar to found in the house. I deliberately try to avoid buying sugary food because if I do it will likely be consumed in one night. Kathy and I chatted at the table for awhile. After dinner we saw a little colony of tiny ants going from the floor to the ceiling. Not sure what they were doing but I’m certain they had a purpose. We put some salsa on the wall to see if they’d eat it (we’re like small children sometimes; como niñas). They didn’t seem too interested at first but eventually congregated around it. It’s the little things like this that keep life interesting.
"Why do they treat us like children? they said & I said why do you treat them like adults? & their eyes opened wide & they began to laugh & talk all at once & suddenly everything looked possible again" Equal Treatment (Brian Andreas)
Church in Lolotique
Inside the church
Front of the church
Statues in the church
A painting near the front of the church