Friday, August 31, 2007

The Waiting Game


So, it finally seems that life is coming together here after almost a month. Last Friday the boxes that we all shipped back in July arrived safe and sound. It was like Christmas in August! I forgot I even packed some stuff...other things I sense that Mom may have snuck in. (If anyone needs a year’s supply of ziplock baggies, I’ve got plenty to spare! Thanks Mom; I love you!)

Other amenities are coming along nicely too. The oven and range in our apartment now function properly and Omaira can now cook dinner for us. Fried plantains here we come!!! The gas has also been fixed but it takes a loooong time heat up and some forethought to turn it one ahead of time and as of right now I don’t necessarily feel that I want to wake up at 5:15am just to turn on the water heater to have a warm shower at 5:45am. So for now I stand and stare at the shower head giving myself a pep-talk before turning it on. Some days take more convincing than others. Ananda also is a happy camper now that Direct TV was installed and the apartment gets cable. Although I must say that watching “Flavor of Love” in Spanish is quite entertaining albeit no less trashy.
All we are waiting on now is internet (supposedly two days ago) and the washing machines (if they are not at the school today, the school is refusing to buy them and will go to another company and then we will wait some more). That is how we roll here in Colombia!

Last weekend was pretty low key. I went out with some other teachers to happy hour which turned into late night party before long. One highlight of the evening was visiting a “Video Bar” which is basically a bar where they play 80’s and 90’s rock music videos and the Colombians sing along. At times it’s like large group karaoke. A room full of Colombians singing along to Audioslave is a sight to behold. The motto of the bar was fantastic too: “Cerveza, Pizza, y Rock and Roll”. Really, what else do you need?!?!
Later on in the night we ended up at a salsatecha, naturally, and this Colombian guy we were with orders a bottle for the table of supposedly top shelf rum. He said it was really expensive. The only way I could see this shit being expensive would have been because a bunch of guys had to puke in a bottle just to fill it. If you think that is gross, you should have tasted it. Sick. Basically my friend, Lisa, and I were doing “Coyote Ugly”-style shots and spitting it back into our ginger ale chasers. I’m ill just thinking about it.

This week at school has been fun. The kids are awesome and I continue to love my Pre-AP Biology class. Probably mostly because there are only 11 of them and so they talk a lot less, but who knows? This week I also learned about the 9th grade class trip, which was originally planned for October and has been moved to the middle week in September. Oh, and I’m supposed to be leading a three day lesson? Or something? But don’t worry, they’ll tell me about it later. (!!!!) Apparently, every class goes on a “trip” with some years being better trips than others. The 9th graders get a good trip I’m told. But what I’m about to tell you is basically all I know…you know, because they’ll tell me more later. We will be traveling to the Island of Gorgona, off the Colombian coast in the Pacific Ocean. This is an uninhabited island where ecological tours can come and visit and relax. We leave on a Saturday and return on the following Friday. There will be a 10 hour boat ride to get there. There are lots of snakes on the island and you are forbidden to walk alone in the rainforest without a guide…or boots. The students tell me I need to bring “old clothes” because the “monkeys steal them.” Cool. I just brought clothes; my “old clothes” are now the property of Goodwill. I’ll just have to tie everything down?!? What else? Oh, they’ll tell me later.

On Wednesday we had our HS Open House. Basically this is a time when the parents walk through their kid’s schedule and the teachers introduce themselves and their class. The National Honor Society Club volunteered as interpreters for us which was much appreciated. Carolina saved my life. I did speak a little Spanish at the beginning: “Hola, me llamo Stetson Johnson y soy professor de biologica. Entonces, beinvenidos a biologie! No hablo español todo via pero estoy aprendiendo.” Then I told a story about how when I came three weeks (treis semanas) ago I knew (yo sabia) 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10, hello, goodbye…and beer. And that’s it (es todo). So, I found I can be funny in Spanish. [Those of you Spanish speakers out there, I’m sure there are errors in my spelling, but right now all I need to know is how to talk!] Anyways, the parents were great and all wanted to know if I was old enough to drive. Some things never change…

Adding to my previous list of things I’ve learned:
8) You can tell how well-off people are by looking at them. Women you look at their chest or face. Something will be fake. (Sometimes their ass…really.) Men you look at their hands. A surprising number of men here get manicures. Some of the girls in our import group were talking about it and I have never really looked at a man’s hands before so at HS Open House I started. Basically every man who came in a suit had immaculate nails, and a few others. I’d say it was about 60% of all the fathers that came had their nails did.
9) My newest favorite fruit is the guañabana. It is the size of two cantaloupes, green, and spikey. Great for juices.
10) There are two kinds of notebooks here: Girly notebooks or “Girly” notebooks. On any given day in my class, I have more notebooks with half-naked women on them than a porn shop. I checked it out at the stores too. Your only options are bikini models or hearts/flowers/kitties/etc. I think I saw one with a motorcycle. Plain is not an option.
11) The Colombian mullet is a sight to behold in all its glory. I love them. I will get a picture up as soon as I can convince a kid to let me take a profile shot of him. I just might get one. (Kidding…?)

Until next time…gracias por la lectura!
Hasta Luego!


Shipsstaff said...

Hey Sergio,
Soy Beverly! I love your new blog....thanks so much.
Oh the joys of South America. Thank you for keeping me connected to the other Amercia.
Yes be very careful in the jungle, with Cameras too!!! I was told the same thing, they are fast and they are smooth.....attaching your camera to your belt is pretty much the safest....they will take hats, shirts over your back, anything.....and if you go swimming, well I hope you won't do it naked, with those kids around, butttttttt...... they have been known to run off with clothes and you are stuck in your birthday suit!!!!!! I would suggest going somewhere and finding old clothes........WOW...10 days will be great, well then again you are stuck with the kids.....ha ha ha.
Enjoy..can't wait to hear more and SEE PHOTOS!

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