Monday, August 18, 2008

Petronio Alvarez

Festivo de Musica del Pacifico

Every year the city of Cali hosts an enormous concert festival celebrating the music of the Pacific Coast regions. These areas are primarily inhabited by Afro-Colombians and the influences of their music run anywhere from calypso to African tribal to "polka-ish" to big band to reggae...and everything in between. No matter the sound, though, the talent is enormous! This year the concerts were held in Cali's Plaza del Torro (Bull Ring) and when the crowd got going, jumping around and waving their white hankies, the whole stadium seemed to sway; it was nuts!

The festival runs from Wednesday to Sunday with roughly ten groups performing a night for the first four nights, and the top ten groups returning the last night. My new roommate, Nira, and I went and watched on Friday evening and then again Sunday night with our friend Lisa. Below are some pictures of the night:

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Did You Miss Me, Mango?

Summer has come and gone. Well, calendar summer that is; it will still feel like summer here for, well, always. After spending a crazy and amazing seven weeks back in the US of A visiting friends, family, and eat English muffins (man, I miss those things), I am back in Cali, ready for another great year!

I was afraid I would have forgotten a lot of my Spanish over the summer and the long drive from the airport would be made even longer by me not being able to fill the awkward silences with anything other than "¿qué?" and "no entiendo" but all was good and we talked about fruits, vegetables, and chicken farms. Don't ask - it was near midnight and I had been traveling for around fourteen hours.

I moved apartments at the end of last year and by "moved apartments" I mean I had my stuff brought to the new place and then I left. So, upon arriving in the wee morning hours I was pleasantly surprised to see that my maid had made my bed and "unpacked" for me. (I was honestly set to just pass out on top of my mattress with a sweatshirt for a blanket and deal with the rest in the morning.) The next few days were spent playing "where did Omaira put _____?" It was moderately fun.

We've had a week's worth of teacher workshop days and gotten to meet and know the new staff. There's a couple from Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls) and Minnesota (St. Cloud), respectively, who just graduated from UW-LaCrosse, as well as a couple from Michigan and a girl from Chicago. It's nice to see the Midwest represent! The math teacher on my 9th grade team, who took me under his wing, left after four years last spring so now it's my turn to return the favor with the new math teacher. It's amazing the number of things I needed to know last year that are now just second nature to me; sometimes I feel like I was here longer than just one year! At an International School, I think it is possible grow more than the time would conceivably allow. Despite this, I still can't believe this begins year four in a, hopefully, long career.