Sunday, January 17, 2010

Back to School

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Here I am back in Barranquilla! I had a wonderful time seeing lots of friends and family at home over Christmas. It was so nice to see everyone and to be with so many of the people that I care about.

When I flew into Barranquilla, I couldn’t help thinking about what it was like when I first got here in August. I didn’t know anything! Not even my address! In the cab ride home, it felt nice to realize that everything looked somewhat familiar, not quite so foreign looking. And of course, I know where I live now! I can help direct the cab driver to my apartment (in Spanish of course). To me it doesn’t really seem like I’ve learned much more Spanish since I’ve been here. But then on the other hand, I know that I am more comfortable speaking Spanish than I was 5 months ago. The biggest improvement is that I can understand people much better. Here on the coast, people talk very fast. They drop the ends of words sometimes, and they are genuinely difficult to understand. It definitely took me awhile to get used to how people talk here.

I am really hoping for a big improvement at school for the second half of the year. I feel like I had such a terrible beginning to the school year, and had a very hard time recovering from that and building relationships with my students. With the combination of the lack of supplies, the constantly changing schedule, and the fact that I didn’t really know what was going on… it was difficult. Add in the fact that I really do have a difficult group of students who had run off an American teacher last year- I felt like I was set up to fail. Since the American teacher last year left at Christmas, I was hoping that when I came back after Christmas that that would send the message that I really am their teacher for the year and they might as well work with me. Anyways, things do actually seem better. I feel like overall I have positive relationships with my students. And I think they might actually view me as a teacher now, and not someone who doesn't belong at their school. At least I felt more like my regular teaching-self this week than I have all year.

Other things that happened this week…. our class had a dance-off to choose the king and queen of carnaval…. There is a new comida rapida restaurant right by my apartment- and it has Mexican food! I’m really excited to have a place to eat and hang out at so close by…. And there are lots of pretty, purple, flowering trees.

These trees are all over!
It reminds me of springtime and cherry blossoms.

Another flowering tree.

Bright flowers