Monday, November 30, 2009

Pumpkin? Pie?

(If you are reading this from Facebook, click view original post)

Ah, Thanksgiving- turkey, pumpkin pie, family, buttery-pan rolls…. I wasn’t really sure how I would be spending Thanksgiving this year. We had talked about making some kind of dinner, or at least pumpkin pie, but we had also talked about taking advantage of the 3-day weekend to travel somewhere. (Colombians don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but since we are supposed to be a bilingual school we celebrate some of the American holidays as well. We actually had school on Thanksgiving, but then had the next day off in honor of Thanksgiving.) Anyways, we decided to go for the full meal deal.

First of all we needed to find the ingredients. The grocery stores don’t carry turkey, cranberries, Crisco, pumpkin, or sweet potatoes. So, we had to do some improvising. Personally, my first priority was the pumpkin pie. How can you have Thanksgiving without it? Pie-making is serious business in my family.

Here’s the “pumpkin” that we found. I don’t know what it actually is, but it looked kind of like a pumpkin.

When we got back home and cut it open it did actually look and smell like a pumpkin!

I must confess that even with all my pie-snobbery, I've always made pumpkin pie from a can. After some advice from Sally and Alex via skype, (and a few hours) the pumpkin was ready to go.

But what about the crust? No Crisco... and no pie plate! hmmm....
After consulting with Dave's mom on video chat, I decided to go with more of a bar approach. And so here is the final product. Is it pumpkin? Maybe. Is it pie? Not really.

Somehow it still tasted like thanksgiving.

Of course the pie wasn’t the only thing. We made a chicken, mashed potatoes, salad and a “sweet potato” puree. Also, Dave has an oven and I don’t. My kitchen table is bigger. Our solution was to cook at Dave’s, pack up the meal, and take a cab over to my apartment. So we loaded our backpacks with food, and piled everything into a cab. The cab driver didn’t think anything was out of the ordinary, but I thought it was pretty funny.

When all was said and done, there were seven of us at the dinner: Dave, Elizabeth, and I as well as a couple of our Colombian co-workers. I am definitely thankful for my new Colombian and North American friends.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Night at the Country Club

I decided it was finally time to catch up on some blogging from the last couple of weeks. Anyways, here are some pictures from an event called Passion del Caribe.

Dave and I were invited by one of our coworkers. We didn't really know what to expect, except lots of dancing. It was at a country club, which was not a big surprise. Going to country clubs is pretty common here. So far we've had two school functions at country clubs. (Ruah, and The Chaos... I mean Science Fair) For some reason I was still caught off guard by all the fancy tables and table centers. I started to wonder, what kind of passión is this? Were we going to see some telenovela-style passión? Would people just sit at their fancy tables and clap politely, or would they dance?

The presenter of the show began to introduce the show and another presenter as well. Acabo de llegar de Miami... presentadora colombiana... hmm... I think she's talking about my new assistente famosa! Yes! Helping me with parent/teacher conferences by day, fancy presenter by night! Who knew?

Turns out the evening did have a lot of dancing, and singing, and even a stand-up comedian. One group number was just revered to as Las Nalgas, which consisted of girls in swimsuits booty-shakin' to African/Cumbia drumming. I think it's safe to say that there were people who came just to see this act!

Professional Salsa Dancers who were REALLY fast!

Dancers in cool costumes.

Towards the end of the night, a large salsa band started playing, and the show turned into a dance party. I saw my coworker famosa and she seemed just as surprised to see me as I had been to see her!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sonny, the Cumbia-Dancing Shark

A couple weeks ago I blogged about a dancing shark. Willy the shark is the mascot for Barranquilla’s soccer team, Junior. Our school is sending a team of high school kids… somewhere… to compete in…. something… I’m not really sure. But anyways, our director decided that it was time for the school to officially choose a mascot. And so it was put to a vote.

The choices were-

a dolphin,

a bull,


a shark!

Guess which one won! Our new mascot is Sonny the Shark. His favorite music is Reggaeton, although he loves to dance the cumbia. He wears a hat and has a Caribbean flair.
It’s so funny. The whole idea of this cracks me up. But at the same time today was such a perfect example of the entertaining, enjoyable things I love about Colombia and the frustrations that I don’t love so much.
This week was last week in the trimester and the students had 6 different trimester exams, each accounting for 20% of their grade. Definitely a stressful week. We had half days which I was very appreciative of considering that teachers had their final grades due at the end of the week too. Basically students come to school, take a trimester exam, have recess, class for about an hour and a half, and then go home.
With this in mind I was surprised to read my e-mail Thursday night and discover that there would be an assembly to unveil the new mascot first thing in the morning. The e-mail courteously explained that the whole school would all go to the assembly which would take about a half hour and then return to take exams.
Although this seemed like really bad timing to me, I literally had my kids half way out the door and down the hall, when a student ran up to me and told me that the assembly had been re-scheduled for later. At recess I asked what time the assembly would be, and was told it would be right after recess at 9:25. Fifteen minutes later, I was told the assembly was moved to 10:30. About 10:20 a janitor came into my room and told me that the assembly was starting right at that moment. (This is kind of an on-going joke because there are so many last minute assemblies, and then changes to the last minute assemblies- check out Elizabeth’s blog) I had my students finish cleaning and getting ready to go and then we arrived late at the assembly.
Anyways, did I love the idea of Sonny, the Cumbia-Dancing Shark? Yes- it’s really funny! And kids were excited about it. It was fun. It would have been more fun if they assembly had just been scheduled at 10:30 to begin with, and then had actually begun at 10:30.