Thursday, June 16, 2011

Beans and a Broom!

Unfortunately those two things are the most exciting things since the last post. For lunch yesterday, I ordered fish and a side of (white) beans came with it. They were very good, but beans are just very rare here in Peru. Having previously been in Costa Rica and Nicaragua and eating (black or red) beans at least twice everyday, it is different to never have them here - so me getting beans for lunch was great.

Secondly, we finally borrowed a broom. We don't have any cleaning supplies in the house and haven't yet made the investment to buy our own cleaning supplies. So a clean floor was very exciting for us (finally for the third week!) And furthermore, we were told we may be on the hunt for a new place to live the next 2 months, since the neighbors complain too much. We will see....

So it was somewhat sarcasm that that is all that has happened, but it has been pretty much just been lesson planning, classes, and eating. And the worst part (for you) is there haven't been any new pictures. We are hoping to get one or two this coming weekend. Last weekend we ventured to the market, used some bargaining skills and got ourselves a new pair a cute boots. You could argue it wasn't the best financial decision since we already are cut short on money for food- but you have to live your life to the fullest which includes doing fun things for yourself sometimes.

Classes have been interesting still. The kids last Saturday I had were fun however it is just more babysitting than actually having class. Sure I still speak in English and teach certain phrases, nouns and verbs but because it is only once a week for two hours- I'm sure it is difficult from them to really retain very much. Nonetheless, I have fun talking with them. The kids give me energy! For the week classes (with high school, college and adults) I had my best day and worst day so far back to back this week. I had a much smaller class than normal with one class and this resulted in great participation, joking, and "ah-ha!" moments for the students which made me excited and feel like a successful teacher. The next day, they did not listen at all, talked to each other the whole time and didn't participate. Then in the second class, they could not grasp the grammar concept that day. The more we tried to understand, the more all got confused. It just turned to be a quite frustrating and exhausting day for all. I know this is part of teaching- some days the students just won't "get it" but it was still discouraging and I'm hoping I can walk in today with double the energy to tackle it all over again.

Karlene and I met a nice couple from New York and we had lunch at their house the other day. We grilled Alpaca burgers, had a lovely lunch out in the sun and a great conversation about our previous experiences in life and the impact it has had in our lives. We compared it to Peru and really shared some great experiences and thoughts. It is nice to have a group of people to be able to take it all in individually and then debrief together since it affects each person differently. Part of the conversation we had was the challenge it is to go back to the U.S. and explaining our experiences to others. Even when people truly care and want to know- it is difficult to fully understand without actually walking the same ground as we are. For this, we decided its a really great idea to blog some of our thoughts so you all have a basic idea of our lives and then can ask about specific events that we write about or questions about the stories or crazy foods we eat. We want to share our experiences but sometimes it is a struggle to really come up with words to properly fit the story. So for that, I hope you are enjoying reading this so the "how was your trip" question when I get home can be more useful to "how was the utter you tried!?" or "tell me about being crammed in a combi with 30 people."

So I suppose I should explain what a combi is. This is basically a large mini van - maybe with 16-18 actually seats. Well these are the public transportation around Peru (and really around much of Latin America to some variation.) Anywhere you go, you see the combi's. There is one person who will stand at the door and constantly yell out where that particular combi is heading to if you want to get on or not. If you want on, you wave down the combi who will stop for about 13 seconds as the person yells "sube sube sube" (get on, get on, get on.) He or she will also collect your money for the transportation. So far, it is fairly normal- but then let's talk about how many people are actually pushed onto this vehicles. Depending on the hour, they can be so full that the person who collects the money is actually outside the van basically hugging the doorway (so that he is the door himself since it won't actually shut) so that no one falls out. Normally Karlene and I just choose to walk, but we rode one the other day. There had to be at least 30-35 people on this combi and although no one could move, the person was still yelling (while hanging onto the door barely in himself) "move back! There is more room!" This made me laugh because literally no one could move. Then it was our time to get out which was a whole new challenge because no one moves- you just need to shove your body through the crowd. A little different from the St. Paul bus system I'm used to back home.

Well I should probably start figuring out how my night will play out with my students. Have a great day!

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