Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Beach day

It has been a long day. A good day but a long day. I woke up this morning with three new mosquito bites on my leg. Yeah sure, the fumigation works real well. Apparently nothing kills these suckers. So I ate breakfast and went to school. Then the inevitable finally happened: I forgot my notes for class. I look through my bag and realized they were missing. So I told the teacher I’d run home and get them. I went down the giant hill to the house. When I got there I looked all over the place but couldn’t find my notes. Great. They were in my bag the whole time and I didn’t look hard enough. So I ran back up the giant hill to my classroom. I looked in my bag again but they weren’t there. It was then I realized that I’d probably left them in my seventh grade class yesterday. I went to the classroom and the teacher handed me my notes. Whew. Thank goodness.

I’ve noticed a few more interesting things about the kids at school that I wanted to write about. Several of the boys wear a black glove on one hand at school. Not sure why they do that or if it’s supposed to mean something. I just found it interesting. I’ve also seen many boys wearing rings on their fingers. I guess that’s just not something I see much on kids that age in the US. Several of the boys also use the purses/bags made here to carry their books. I think they look quite snazzy. Also, I’ve seen several kids changing their shirts or pants between classes in the classroom. Don’t know why they’re doing that in the classroom instead of the bathroom but the teachers don’t seem to mind.

Today in my third grade class the kids got their daily snack and drink. One of my third graders brought back some juice for me. I asked the teacher if it was made with pure water. She said it wasn’t so I couldn’t drink it. I felt so awful. I really want to try the juice because it looks so good and it was so sweet of him to bring me some. The teacher took it from me and gave it to one of the kids. When I went back into the classroom the boy asked me if I didn’t like the juice. I tried to explain to him that I couldn’t drink the juice because it wasn’t made from pure or filtered water. I told him that gringos from the US couldn’t drink the water here because they would get sick. I said I wanted to try the juice but that it would make me sick. He seemed to understand.

When the other boys came over to see why I didn’t drink the juice he explained to them that gringos couldn’t drink the juice here. This brought about a ton of questions about the US from him and other boys. Do they have juice in the US? Are there churros? Do they have tacos? How much does a plane ticket to the US cost? I did my best to answer all their questions. I actually had a lot of fun talking to them about non-school related stuff. Unfortunately the bell rang soon after I started teaching that class (don’t ask, nothing is ever on time) so I went to my fourth grade class.

I wish I’d stayed in the three grade classroom because the fourth graders weren’t exactly productive today. The class started a little late and the teacher came in late as well. Then a ton of new workbooks for the kids were delivered and it was pretty much downhill from there. The teacher and five other students opened all eight of the boxes during class and proceeded to hand them out to everyone. Half the class was watching the kids pass out the workbooks and half was paying attention to me. I tried to get them to work on the lesson with me but to no avail. Around 11:50 I gave up. That’s usually when they (the teacher and students) leave, even though class doesn’t technically end until 12:00.

Two of my classrooms

Down on the ground

He almost lost his shoe

Stack the books higher

Strike a pose

With one of my third graders

Mural at the school

Dengue sign

Very nice

We all ate lunch back at the Casa, packed up some things, and headed off to the beach. It was about an hour and forty five minutes to drive to Playa El Espino. The beach is in Usulután, which is in the same department of Berlín. It was my first time to the beach here so I was pretty excited. The ride there was great. Jason, Kimberly, and I rode in the back while Kathy, Lourdes, and Anavela rode in the cab. I love riding in the back. On the way there were went through the city of Usulután which I had never been to before. It’s a pretty typical bigger city. We didn’t see anything special but it was exciting just the same. We made a quick stop at the market so Anavela could buy a shirt and then we were off again. At one point along the way we were stopped by police because Kathy was speeding. Okay, that’s a lie. The police here randomly pull people over to check licenses, etc. It’s pretty routine. It my first time being pulled over so of course I was excited.

Soon we arrived at the beach. Yay!! It was beautiful! I jumped out of the truck immediately and went to go check everything out. This beach isn’t a tourist destination so there really wasn’t anyone around. Just us, the ocean, and lots of shells. I started collecting shells right away and putting them in a bag I had brought. I waded in the ocean and took a few pictures. I love being at the ocean. I loved it even more since there were few people around. After a while I took my camera back to the truck so I could swim. The water was warm and the sun was bright. What a wonderful day.

I remembered being a little girl and swimming with my dad, stepmom, and half sister at the beaches in Florida. I always loved collecting shells and playing near the water. I didn’t really swim because I was afraid of the things that lurked beneath the waves. That fear was most likely a product of watching “Jaws” too many times as a child. I didn’t mind pools because I could see the bottom and anything that might be down there waiting to grab me. But I eventually came to love the ocean. I thought, “If only my dad could see me now.” I think he was watching me and he is proud that I conquered my fear of the ocean. I thought the same thing when Matt and I were scuba diving in Puerto Rico. There is no way he would have ever believed that I’d go scuba diving and love it. It was good to be at the beach here. I felt close to my dad.

After a while it was time to leave. We weren’t able to stay a really long time but I was glad we got to go at all. I didn’t think it’d work out to go to the beach this trip. So THANK YOU KATHY!! She put in almost 4 hours of driving so we could enjoy a few hours at the beach. We are very lucky. Also, I forgot to mention that people don’t really wear swimsuits to the beach here. They usually wear clothes. I wore some yoga pants and a tank top. I was going to bring my French bikini but Kathy said no (again, not actually serious).

We took a group shot before we left and then we were on our way. The ride back started out well. Then I got bit by some kind of weird bug. Not sure if it was a bee or wasp but it hurt like the dickens!! It felt different than other stings I’ve got before. Thankfully, Kimberly had some Tylenol that helped with the pain. As we headed back home the cool air felt nice at first. But as we continued to Berlín the three of us in the back got a little cooler. We got goosebumps and Kimberly said my lips were starting to turn a little blue. We eventually wrapped towels around ourselves to stay warm. Somehow Jason fell asleep in the bed of the pickup. Not sure how he managed that. Naturally, I took a few photos to document the moment.

The area where I was bit/stung still hurt quite a bit when we got back. It was more in my muscles than on my skin which was different for me. I had Kathy, Cecilia, and Otilia look at it. They said it was probably a sting of some kind. Cecilia suggested it was a fantasma (ghost). I said no, it was Cipitio, who is a mythical person here. They rebutted that it was, in fact, the mom of Sepetio. After all was said and done I put some cortisone cream on it and they told me to let them know if it got any worse. I took some Benadryl to help take the sting away. It seemed to be working but I’m also extremely tired. Long day and I only got 5 hours of sleep last night.

After dinner Kimberly and Bob ran across to the street so he could get jam and she could get some orange Fanta so we could make Creamsicles again!! Yum! They were as good as I remember. I looked through some photos, we all chatted, and Alejandro let me burn three of his CDs on my computer. Good times. Good friends. Good day.

Going to Playa El Espino

The city of Usulután

Fresh fruit

That doesn't look too safe

We got stopped by the police

I'll need to see some kind of identification. Are you carrying any weapons?

There it is!!



Looking up the beach

I made it!


I saw a fish "this" big

Me and Mama K

Searching for shells

Heading toward the ocean

The ocean with mountains in the distance

Kathy on the beach

I love the beach!

Can't tell if she's yawning or screaming

Group shot

Goodbye ocean!

En route to Berlín

Napping in the truck

Lots of fun!

It's cold back here!!

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "I made a difference to that one!"

-Loren Eiseley 1907-1977


Matt said...

The beach looks beautiful, I'm so excited that you got to go. I think it is wonderful that being at the beach made you think of your dad. I'm sure he is watching over you and is very proud. I wish I could be at the beach right now.

Meredith said...

What a beautiful beach! I have loved following your posts each day, but I have to say this one is my favorite. Having just lost my dad 2 weeks ago, it warmed my heart to read about how close you felt to your dad while you were in the ocean.
By the way, during my little chefs class yesterday at the Y, I had to smile when I noticed your handwriting on the big box of crayons that we are STILL using! :) I miss working with you!