A Travellerspoint blog

You can't go wrong...

...with Mac and Cheese!

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Don't get me wrong, at school the cafeteria usually has delicious lunches (often very typical Colombian food). Today I basically had a Colombian mixed grill with grilled steak (carne asada), sausage (chorizo), potatoes (papas criollas), blood sausage (morsilla), and rice (arroz), along with fried bananas for dessert. It was delicious, although I passed on the blood sausage (not my thing). However, after school I went shopping and the Kraft Mac and Cheese caught my eye. I'm so glad I bought it. It was a very yummy dinner. I only wish I had bought some hot dogs to go with it! Who would have thought I would miss mac and cheese so much? So while I will always be grateful and willing to try new Colombian dishes, I will also never take for granted such American classics as mac and cheese, hot dogs, hamburgers, or pb&j.

Chao!

-Amy

Posted by AmyLynn 16:00 Archived in Colombia Tagged food Comments (0)

I am teaching English, y estoy aprendiendo Espanol.

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I got beat in Snakes and Ladders three times today. I started teaching English to an 8 year old boy named Aldo Fernando this morning. He is the cousin and nephew of my landlords. Let's just say he knows more English than I know Spanish (but I guess that's not saying much)! We played Snakes and Ladders and on each square we had to spell a different word. He spelled almost everything correctly in English, while I spelled more than one word wrong in Spanish. But he did teach me how to say and spell giraffe and lion in Spanish (jirafa and leon), so I suppose these lessons will be more worthwhile for me than for him. For next week, I'm hoping to bring a few books home from the library at school so we can read together. I hope he enjoys reading.

After the lesson, we went outside in back to take a few pictures. Catalina (the daughter of my landlords) is a photographer. She decided to take some pictures of me, her, and Aldo to send to Kristina, who is the woman who lived here the last two years. She taught at the same school I do, and she's from Rochester, MN. I've talked to Kristi a few times through e-mail and by phone, but we've never met. Despite the two of us not meeting, she was a tremendous help before I arrived to Bogota by giving me advice on preparations and expectations. Anyways, here are the three best pictures of the day. As you can see Aldo is quite the character, and wasn't too thrilled about sitting still for pictures. : )

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Well, I'm gearing up for the final two weeks of the quarter, and then we have a week-long break...yahoo!!

Chao,

-Amy

Posted by AmyLynn 18:57 Archived in Colombia Tagged photography Comments (0)

Everyday life

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Time is going faster and faster lately. When I first arrived and was only in Bogota for 2 weeks, I felt as if I'd been here for at least 2 months. But here I am now, and the first quarter at school is over in a week and a half! Even though I still have days where I feel December might never come, I am succeeding more at staying positive and being grateful for this experience. I'm sure the next two weeks will fly by since all of the teachers are stressed and busy trying to add grades to the computer, write final exams, and fit everything in before final exams start. I just finished writing my final exam for the second graders, and I have most of my grades in, so I'm not too stressed. After final evaluations are finished, the students have a week long break, while the teachers go to meetings (yay!...not). I think we do get Thursday, Friday, and Monday off (the 9th, 10th, and 13th), so we'll have a nice long weekend. I'll have to figure out something fun to do those days, so I don't get too bored.

Anyways, I finally feel that my Spanish is improving. In addition to the conversation tables that we started, I'm also taking informal Spanish lessons with my friend Olga who works in audiovisuals at the school. She is currently teaching me verb conjugations. I think I have improved, although there are definitely days that I get so frustrated saying "No entiendo" all the time. I just want to understand everything right now!

Olga has been super helpful. Last weekend I went with her and her sister to Usaquen which is a part of the city that has markets that sell Colombian crafts and food. I didn't buy anything, but I'm hoping to go back again sometime soon. We also ate lunch at a very good Thai restaurant. Last Saturday I also went out with Alex and her friends to a bar that her friend owns. It was a pretty cool place, but very loud. She had never been there before either, and we both thought it would be a chill bar where we could all talk. But the music was so loud, we couldn't hear anything. We still had fun, though. I drank a martini with a juice made from a fruit called maracuya. We also danced a little. El fin de semana fue muy chevere (the weekend was very cool). Chevere is the slang for cool in Colombia...everyone uses it!

I'm not sure what the plans are for this weekend yet. A fellow teacher, Rodrigo, asked me to come to his house for dinner on Friday, but now we are moving it to next weekend because he wants me to meet some other American teachers that he knows and they cannot come until then. So that should be fun.

School has been good lately too. In second grade, we just started our big project. The girls are writing paragraphs about a pet they have or want to have. It seems like they are having a lot of fun with it. My sample paragraph was this: "My pet dinosaur is named Mike. He likes to jump over me. Mike is big and green. He is like Mudge the dog because they are both big. Mike is my best friend." (They have to say the type of animal and its name. Next, they have to write a sentence using an action word, then another sentence using two descriptive words. Finally, they have to compare it to another character we read about, and say that their pet is their friend). And in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade we are currently presenting commercials and news reports. The commercials today were hilarious. The girls wore costumes, brought props; they were very creative. We were all cracking up when one girl walked in with a drawn-on unibrow and a pillow up her shirt (her group was advertising a machine that turns people beautiful).

Anyways, this was just a pretty long post about my everyday life...I hope you enjoy it anyways!!

p.s. I'm thinking about buying a new camera (maybe as an early b-day present to myself!) so I will be able to post pics on here...we'll see!

Hope you're all doing well! Miss you all!

Chao!
-Amy

Posted by AmyLynn 16:01 Archived in Colombia Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Dia de amor y amistad

Love and Friendship Day

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The good news is that tomorrow is a jeans day, which means I don't have to dress like a teacher. The bad news is that I have to dress as a hippie because that is the requirement for tomorrow's jean's day for the teachers. Hmm... should be interesting. Anyways, the reason for the jeans day is that tomorrow is el Dia de Amor y Amistad (the day of love and friendship) or Valentine's Day. There will be valentines (called carnations here) sent out all day: cookies, earrings, headbands, and roses. For a million pesos (50 cents) students and teachers could send the valentines to each other. It should be a fun (yet very noisy day). I don't think I should expect to have my students' attention at all tomorrow. : )

I'm not sure what I'm doing this weekend yet. Hopefully, something exciting. I really want to get back into exercise/running again, so I'm hoping to do that this weekend. I have put it off long enough. And I eat way too much to not be exercising.

I cannot believe that the first period is almost over. I think that the last two weeks of the period are going to be stressful and crazy because all the teachers will be grading papers, entering grades, giving final exams, and grading final exams. Should be fun...yippee.

So this post has been random so far, and it is about to get even more random because I'm pretty mad that so many people are jumping on the McCain/Palin wagon. This might sound cliche, but we really do need change. Obama is that person. By adding Biden to his ticket, Obama only enhanced his chances of being a great president. That choice alone shows that. McCain on the other hand shows that he is desperate to gain votes. He chose a woman who has absolutely no foreign experience (and after continuously criticizing Obama for that very thing). Maybe he thought he would gain some Clinton supporters, or maybe he thought he could gain some "pro-life" Catholics. I know that he probably has done both, but to all you pro-life Catholics out there (of which I am one), try to remember that "pro-life" means more than just anti-abortion. Support life in all areas. In my opinion, supporting war is the exact opposite of supporting life. Also although Bush and Cheney are considered to be pro-life, in all the 8 years did they pursue a law or amendment outlawing abortion? Instead, countless lives were killed from both the US and the Middle East in their wars. In addition, I am all for having a woman in the White House, but only if she is prepared for the job. Heaven forbid that something happen to McCain in office, would we want a person in office whose major experience has been the governor of Alaska? Whether that person is a man or woman? Definitely not. Also, being abroad has shown me in a huge way that Americans are in no way knowledgable about current events (in the US or abroad) whereas most people in other countries are knowledgable about the entire world. I have been asked numerous times how I feel about the election, and who I am going to vote for while I have been here. And in world polls, Obama is leading. Their knowledge about our politics and about our impact on the rest of the world might lead the US to a better place than it is now if they could vote or if more Americans would listen to their opinions. Okay, enough political rambling for one post...I'll try to keep my subsequent blogs about my travels in Colombia : )

But you should watch this clip from Jon Stewart...funny but oh so true. I think he says better what I tried to say, and in a more light-hearted way. Check it out.

http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=184086&title=sarah-palin-gender-card

On a lighter note than politics, I hope everyone is doing well in the States. I miss it and I miss all of you!

-Amy

Posted by AmyLynn 18:08 Archived in Colombia Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

A "Bazaar" Weekend

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The school has been preparing for the annual bazaar for about two weeks now. Each grade is in charge of selling one food item (very typical Colombian food). I expected the fest to be fairly small, with a few food booths and some bingo. Well, I arrived today to a full-blown carnival. There was a rock-climbing wall, a zip-line, a few inflatable attractions, a band, and tons and tons of food. Second grade was in charge of selling the typical Colombian soup called ajiaco. It has chicken, corn, potatoes, cream, rice, and avocado in it. It's really good. I had some after I had already eaten two lunches. I ate lechona (which is roasted pig) and patacon (which is a flattened plantain topped with meat, guacomole, and salsa. Everything was delicious, but now I am stuffed. I didn't really want the ajiaco, but it was the end of the day and they gave me a bowl. So of course I ate it : ) I don't turn down food.

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This is a picture of ajiaco.

But anyways, the day was beautiful. We've had constant rain for about two weeks I think...it feels like it has been raining ever since I moved here. But today was gorgeous. I could actually see the mountains today. The bazaar would have turned out much differently if it was pouring.

Anyways, most of the day I spent with one of the other teachers named Rodrigo. He's the second grade religion teacher, and he's very nice. And actually, his daughter Cristina is in my class. She's talkative but fun. I had a good time playing tag with her and another of my students Mariana at the end of the day. I also was able to meet many families of the other teachers and of my students. It was good to meet some new people. Again, everyone is super welcoming even after I've been here a month!

Tonight I was thinking about going out, but I'm exhausted. However, I might be going ice skating tomorrow with some fellow foreigners. Yes, ice skating. That is one thing I did not plan on doing in the country of Colombia. Jime introduced me to a girl named Katie from Minnesota who is also teaching in Bogota. She called me to let me know they were going ice skating on Sunday, so we'll see. I'm excited to meet this group of people because I'm sure they will be able to relate to my experience better than anyone I have met so far.

Well, time is going by much quicker than it did at the beginning of my experience, and overall I'm enjoying my time here. I still have days when all I want to do is hop on a plane and come home, but I think those days are getting fewer and fewer. And of course I still miss Matt. I think if he was here, this experience would be much easier! But when I do see him, I will definitely not take him for granted!!

I miss everyone else tons too. I hope you're all doing well. My parents are leaving for Israel in a few days, so keep them in your prayers!

-Amy

Posted by AmyLynn 17:21 Archived in Colombia Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

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