Today was my first day back to school after Semana Santa (Holy Week) vacation and I dove in head first. I drug myself out of bed and up the giant hill to school. I’m hoping one of these days it’ll get easier to climb. In all of my classes I was pleasantly surprised that my kids remembered almost everything that I’d taught them before the break. I am surprised because we had a week off with no English and retention of words in a new language can be really hard. I have problems retaining information and words in Spanish which is why I always carry around a notebook and dictionary so I can write down and look up words I don’t know. I guess all the repetition, repetition, repetition we did paid off. I need to drill the information into their heads but in a way that is interesting and using different methods.
Several kids said they had seen me in the processions and at church during Holy Week. I also had my student who’d taken his puppy to be blessed this past Saturday at the church. He asked how Chiquita was doing and called her by name. Very impressive. I like that the kids see me at different events in the community. I think it shows them that it’s “cool” to be involved in activities within the community and church. Sometimes I forget that I am a role model for the kids at school. I think it’s because I often feel like a big kid myself. It’s important for me to remember that the kids (and other people) are always watching me so I need to make sure I’m setting a good example.
At 11:15 today we had an assembly of sorts to celebrate el Día del la Secreteria (Secretary’s Day). Salvadorans like to do a lot of celebrating and I think it’s great. The flag was marched up to the stage area while the National Anthem played. When it was over the director talked about how important our secretary is to the school. Then some of the kids did a puppet show about our secretary and all that she does for the kids. She was presented with two gifts from the school as well. At the end we all applauded her. What a wonderful way to celebrate such an important person!
Afterwards the director pulled me aside to tell me that we’d be having a special lunch for her. We went into one of the classrooms and put tablecloths on the table. They wrote a special message for her on the board and had music playing. We all chatted for a while and when the food arrived we sat down to eat. Lunch was pollo relleno (stuffed chicken), rice, pasta salad, and tortillas. It was all really good. The chicken was stuffed hamburger, potatoes, and carrots. I had never had anything like that before. We were also served a fresco which is a drink made from fruit. They told me it was from the mamey fruit. I’d never heard of it so I wrote it down to look up later. I want to find one at the market because it was delicious.
Around 1:00pm lunch was over so I hugged our secretary, Maria, goodbye and headed back to the house. When I got home I found everyone sitting around the table for a Pastoral Team meeting. I’d only missed the first 15 minutes so I sat down to join them. It’s been wonderful to be able to be a part of the meetings, both formal and informal, that the team has. It’s really helped me to have a better understanding and greater respect of all the work they do. Sometimes I wonder how they have time to breathe with all the work they do. It can be overwhelming just to listen to what all they have done and need to do in the future. The meeting itself lasted almost 3 hours, which is typical for these kinds of meetings.
After the meeting I went to the market to buy a couple things, sent some important emails, worked on school things, and took care of the birds. Kathy told me that the ladies thought it’d be fun to go to Alegría since it is Secretary’s Day. That sounded good to me. So a little before 6pm we climbed into the truck and drove to Alegría. We went to our usual restaurant but they were all out of shrimp. Bummer. I opted for the chicken. We had a good meal and were all so hungry that no one said much as we were eating.
We got back just after 7pm and I spent the evening working on school things and organizing things in my room. I think the disorganization fairy goes into my room while I’m at school and plays around with my things thus leaving my room in a state of disarray. Of course, I have no proof that this is happening but some day I’m going to catch this fairy in the act.
That’s it for now. We’ve got a meeting in San Francisco tomorrow and I need to work on my family’s itinerary for the end of May. Plus I need to renew my visa so I can stay in the country another 90 days. It’s kind of important. Good night!