Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ash Wednesday

Wednesday, 3-9-11

I slept well last night as did my little chick. He was quiet all night and woke up with me this morning at 7am. After eating breakfast I gave him some fresh newspaper, food, and water. It was a little chilly outside this morning so I didn’t want to put him outside yet. Later on, when it got nice outside I set him in his box outside so he could enjoy the sun as well. I made sure to put a towel over part of the box so he could have some shade if he needed it.

I let him out three different times throughout the day so he could roam in the yard. I was watching him closely because I didn’t want Barbara to peck at him. But when she got close to him he ran after her and she ran away! Imagine that, a duck being afraid of a baby chick. He’s very brave. When I walked he kept following me around the yard and then sitting on my feet. I sat down to watch him and he came over next to me to peck at the grass. He must think I’m his mom because he wouldn’t stray more than a foot away from me. He was even pecking at a few bugs on the ground. I saw a group of ants eating a piece of food on the ground so I picked up Chelito and put him next to the ants. He soon began eating them. What a good little chick!

Later in the morning Kathy, Cecilia, and I began walking to the school to talk with the director. We hadn’t gotten far when we saw him driving the other way. Well, we couldn’t go there if he wasn’t going to be there so we turned around and started to walk home. The director had parked his car in front of the house and got out to meet us. He greeted us with hellos and hugs. He asked if I was planning to teach again at the school. When I said yes he responded with, “Magnifico!” which is a word that people here don’t use very often. He had to get something at the hardware store next door and then we could all go to the school.

He was back in 5 minutes and drove us up to the school. We went into the office and I saw several teachers I knew from last year. They welcomed me with big hugs. They also asked if I would be teaching there again and were excited to hear that I was. One teacher gave us two examples of things I’d taught last year that she remembered. Wow!! I was surprised she remembered that. The teachers who were there seemed very pleased with my teaching style, probably because it’s different than the English classes here. They all told me that the kids learned a lot from my classes.

We talked about what my schedule would be like. I said I’d be willing to teach grades 1st – 6th five days a week. So I’ll have nine classes (1A, 2A, 3A, 3B, 4A, 5A, 5B, 6A, 6B) in total; five each morning from 7:30 to 12:00. Then on Friday during the last class I’m going to teach the teachers which should be a lot of fun. They were excited about having me teach an English class for them. It should be a lot of fun. I’m still nervous about teaching but I’m feeling better than I did in the past few days. After a while we said goodbye to them and walked back home.

Lunch today was an adventure. We had beans, rice, chicken, and some other sort of food. Aminta had plated up the beans, rice, and chicken for me and asked if I wanted to try the other thing. Stupidly and without thinking about what the food actually was, I said yes. If you remember my blog from last year you may recall the dish called “torta de pescado” that I tried. It was awful. And that’s what I had just asked to try today. Of course, Alisha, of course!!! Torta de pescado is a special food served during Lent! This is the first day of Lent! What were you thinking!? Well, for some reason I was thinking it was a pork chop. I don’t know why. I will never make this mistake again. I gave such a wonderful description of my experience last year with it that I decided I didn’t want to try to recreate it. Here is my description from last year:

“Lunch today was an adventure. I was pretty hungry after school and looking forward to lunch. When it came time to eat Idalia placed a bowl in front of me with some kind of mystery food in it mixed in with soup. It didn’t look to bad. She told me it was torta de pescado. Basically a fish patty with eggs and cheese mixed in. It’s a special dish for Lent, and it actually sounded tasty. Then I tried it. There’s no nice way to say this: It was terrible. I’m not exactly sure what made it so vile, but I could barely choke it down. Most of the time I can eat food even if I don’t like it, but this was a challenge. Kathy came to the table and Idalia gave her food as well. She took one bite and I could tell she didn’t like it either. We’re pretty sure Elmer (Cecelia’s son) didn’t like it because we saw him get two glasses of water to eat with lunch.

As soon as Idalia left the room we were discussing how to get rid of it. Kathy suggested taking small bites and eating them with tortilla. I said I wanted to swallow whole pieces with water so I couldn’t taste it. We did the best we could. Now, because Kathy’s stomach wasn’t feeling well she had a small piece of torta de pescado. I had double the amount in my bowl, and I could have sworn that every time I took a bite more of it appeared out of nowhere. After eating about half I finally decided to put the rest in a napkin and put it in the garbage. Thankfully, Idalia didn’t make the food so I didn’t feel as bad. I told Kathy that it would be worse if I gagged on my food than if I were to decline it all together. I said if that were to ever happen I hope the person serving me food would know that I was just trying to polite. They probably wouldn’t see it that way. I was looking forward to pan dulce time at 4pm. I knew I’d be hungry again.” ~Alisha, 2010

In the afternoon I spent a couple hours planning for our meeting tomorrow with the Directiva of San Francisco. My church in Des Moines, Westminster, partners with the canton of San Francisco. I have list of things we need to discuss and went through notes I’d taken during our last meeting when I was here in September. Kathy and I also went through the books for San Francisco so I could see what money has been spent in the past for certain projects, scholarships, health issues, and other things. We went over the current census we have for San Francisco and looked at past solicitudes. After a while my head was starting to hurt so I took a break.

I decided to make a trip to the market to buy some more notebooks. I want to have one notebook per class to keep track of how the class is progressing. It was good to get out of the house and walk around a little bit. I found some notebooks for myself and some for Kathy as well. When I got back to the house I was able to spend a little time catching up on my blogs. I really don’t like to fall behind. And right now I’m so tired at night that I’m having a hard time keeping myself awake to write the blogs.

Pecking at the grass

He's so cute

He likes sitting on my foot

Next to mom

Baby Chelito

Beautiful flowers from our garden

A little before 5:30pm Cecilia, Kathy, and I left the house for Ash Wednesday mass. There are three masses held on Ash Wednesday at the Catholic Church we go to in town. When we arrived at the church we soon realized that there was no place to sit. The pews were completely full. So we stood at the back of the church for the 1 ½ hour mass. More and more people started coming in and standing at the back with us. Kathy and I estimated that there were about 150 people standing in the back. We were packed in like sardines. But I always find these special services exciting so I was glad we stayed. A cute, little baby being held by his mother was playing with my hair. He was pretty adorable.

The homily was shorter than usual which was kind of a blessing since we’d been standing for a while. When it came time for the people to receive ashes there was a bit of a mad dash to the front of the church. I was excited because I’ve never been to a Catholic service for Ash Wednesday. Some of the kids cried when the priest or nuns put ashes on them but most did okay. On the way up to the front Kathy and I had counted pews so we could estimate how many people were in the church. When we got back to our spot I did some quick math and realized we were sharing the church with about 720 other people. That’s a ton!

There were a few microphone problems and then the lights flickered. “It’d be cool if the electricity went out,” I said to Kathy. She just gave me a “look.” Okay, maybe it wouldn’t be good. The problems quickly resolved themselves. Several songs in a row began to play. Kathy said she wanted one of them played at her funeral but didn’t know the name of it so I don’t how we’re going to figure that out when the time comes. She may have to settle for something else.

Several people came by with baskets for the offering and then it was time to greet the people around us with “Paz” (peace). I like to shake a lot of hands. We saw some kids in front of us who really seemed to want to shake our hands. One little kid pushed another little kid toward us. Eventually they came to shake our hands. Kathy said something to the effect of, “Now they’ve seen the monkeys in the zoo.” We do stand out quite a bit but most of the time it’s an honor to be a monkey. As usual, I went up for communion although many people didn’t. Kathy said that’s pretty typical. I asked Cecilia about it but she said that some people just don’t take communion.

When church was over at 7:00pm we decided to go to a nearby pupusería to pick up some dinner. As we left the church they were handing out hot chocolate and cookies to everyone. The pupusería was a busy place and we ended up waiting about 20 minutes but eventually the food was ready. As soon as we got home I scarfed down my two pupusas and some pan dulce. It was 8pm and I could have gone to bed. But that didn’t happen as there was inevitably something else I needed to get done. Maybe if I pretend that I went to bed early I can trick my body into thinking it went to bed at 8pm. Wouldn’t that be nice?!

Proof that we went to church

1 comment:

Matt said...

Chelito is pretty cute and sounds like he is very smart as well. I'm glad that some of the teachers remembered you and the things you taught them. What a great compliment that they are excited for you to teach again.