What I’ll miss … and What I Wont

2 12 2011

I’ll be home in 12 days. This seems a little bit crazy, but it is what it is. So here are some things I’m definitely going to miss.

1. Monica and Alvaro. I’m not really sure how to say “thank you” and “I love you” enough or in the right ways to express my gratitude and admiration for them.

2. My new friends. So grateful that social networking sites have made the world a little bit smaller. It’s definitely not the same, but I’m grateful we’ll have something.

3. Hot dogs.

4. My students. This should probably have been listed before hot dogs, since I will miss them more. They made me laugh and taught me, by far, more than I could have ever taught them. so grateful for this opportunity.

5. Vacation. I’m going to have to get a job again when I move back. I will have gone roughly six weeks completely unemployed when it’s all said and done…so yea, I’m going to have a hard time switching out of lazy mode.

6. Juices. They make juice fresh for every meal. And they are all really good. I’m going to miss Lulo juice especially. I just shed a tear over the Lulo.

Now, here are a few things I will not miss.

1. The smell of the soap used in mopping here at the house. It burns my nose 😦

2. Everybody honking at everybody on the road. It really stresses me out.

3. rice.

4. not being able to drive. 5 months without driving is waaaayyyy too long. I’m looking forward to being behind the wheel again.

5. Not being able to understand what’s going on. I like being fully in the loop. That doesn’t happen often when there is a major language barrier.

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It has been a while

13 11 2011

Hello, oh you myriads of Jill Nelson blog followers.  I hope you are all doing well.  I sure am.  It’s been far too long since I’ve blogged and my only excuse is that I’m lazy.  Super lazy.

This week is the last week of official class.  For the two weeks after that the teachers will do their wrap-up stuff and work specifically with any students that may need it.  I’m not sure what I’ll be doing, whether or not I’ll need to be there for any of that.  I guess I’ll just go with whatever happens.

I’m really going to miss my students.  I adore them.  Even the ones that don’t want to pay attention and interrupt me every three seconds by saying “I don’t understand.”  They are, by far, the best Spanish teachers.  They make me laugh all the time. Here are some of my favorites:

In transitions (like pre-first), there is a boy named Samuel who cannot sing a song without serenading me.  It’s funniest when he sings the ABCs on his knees with one hand on his heart, the other outstretched before him, and his eyes tightly closed to express his passion.  I laugh every time.  He’s the one in my facebook video that slaps his butt during Silent Night.

In pre-k, there is a girl Lina who cracks up every time we get to the part in Rudolph about Santa.  They put their hands in front of them like they have a big belly and sing like men, “Then one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say.” She thinks it is so funny.  And I think she is so funny.

In 6th grade, seldom a day goes by without one of the boys doing a ridiculous freestyle dance in the middle of the lesson.

In 8th grade, there is an ongoing debate on the number of continents. Apparently Colombia teaches that there are 6, not 7.  They think I’m wrong.  I think they’re wrong.  Fortunately, even scientists can’t really agree.

In 9th grade, they are the most committed to teaching me Spanish, but I think it’s because they are the most committed to NOT learning English.  They are always up to some crazy antic.  I don’t even know where to begin.  Just know that these kids will be missed extra.

In 10th grade, I can’t walk into the room without them all yelling “Jill!”  I’m like Norm from Cheers.  Everybody knows my name, they just can’t pronounce it 🙂

In 11th grade, they have senioritis.  Bad.  The other day they asked me if I ever had to take Spanish classes.  I told them I took two years in high school but I didn’t pay much attention.  They laughed and said, “like us.” I said, “Yup.  But now I’m living in South America. I’m wishing I would have paid attention now.”

I know I didn’t hit all the grades, but that gives you an idea of what my school day is like.

some of 11th grade

a few of my pre-k babies. yes, there is one blonde kid - Carlos Andrés

 

After school lets out, it’s two and a half weeks full of social events: birthdays, celebrations, and graduations.  I’ll be dressed up a lot.  I’m really wishing I would have brought my black heels with me now.  I just didn’t think I’d be getting all gussied up for anything.

THEN, after all that social mingling, I’m going home.  Home.  Somewhere around the 14th of December I’ll be heading back to Stilwell.  After Christmas, I start life over in Oklahoma City.  It’s crazy to think that I’ve only got a month to go.  I’m certain it’s going to fly by.  I’m really going to miss Barranquilla.





What a week

18 09 2011

So, this has been one strange week.

Sunday I stayed home from church because my cough had just worn me out. Did the same on Monday and Tuesday. So, I didn’t go outside for like 3 whole days.

Then, Tuesday night I went to stay with some friends until today because Monica and Alvaro were out of the country on a pastor’s trip. Fortunately, I really like the family I stayed with so it wasn’t unpleasant at all.

Wednesday I finally went back to school but was ridiculously ill-prepared. I even forgot my class schedule so I just tried to wing it. I will never do that again! Ever!!

Thursday I went to visit another school and I loved it there too. One of the students there was so impressed by me that she sent a gift for me with her teacher today. Toblerone chocolate 🙂

Also, on Thursday, when I got back to where I was staying, I learned the my Grandpa had died that morning. It is very difficult not getting to be there with my family during this time. It makes you re-evaluate things. And my family has been so understanding of why I can’t be there for the funeral. Their support has made it easier to be so far away. I need to see them more, and before the next funeral.

Friday was the school’s celebration of Love and Friendship Day (Colombian Valentine’s, basically), so the kids were distracted by their excitement and the classes were having parties so it was another weird day.

Today (Saturday), Monica and Alvaro got back. I really missed them. I was glad to have my Colombian mom and dad back.

But then Monica asked for my passport. We were planning on going to the immigration people this week to extend my stay. Well we discovered that I was only given 30 days….I’m on day 66. We may have some issues with that extension. I’m praying everything works out because I’m just not ready to come home, despite the homesickness. If it doesn’t, it looks like I may be deported, or worse: fined.





#RealTalk

15 08 2011

Today has been a crappy day. I woke up with a pounding headache that made the sun unbearable. Then my stomach started hurting. Then it started hurting when I would take too deep of a breath. Then I tried to drink some water thinking maybe I was dehydrated. It made the stomach ache worse. Then a friend really hurt my feelings. Which made the stomach ache worse. Then the internet connection isn’t that great so I’m having issues watching my guilty pleasure show The Vampire Diaries.

All this makes me homesick. I just want to curl up with my mutt and sleep.

Tomorrow will be a better day. I’m going to the beach!





The Sacraments

7 08 2011

I’ve been going to church here now for basically a month. Sometimes I have a translator, but mostly I do not. I know some of the praise and worship songs in English. I try to sing along to those, but it is difficult singing in English when they are singing in Spanish. And everyone greets everyone with a kiss on the cheek. I forget sometimes and there’s an awkward half hand-shake half kiss between me and some poor Colombian citizen who was unfortunate enough to try to greet me.

Most of the time I feel very out-of-place and totally confused.

Don’t get me wrong, I really do enjoy it. I try really hard to listen to the words of the songs and sermon. I pray that I will pick up on the gist of what is going on. So far, I am failing. But I have ample opportunity to try again and again.

But today, for the first time, I understood what was happening.  We took communion together.  It was a very powerful moment for me.  Yes, I’ve taken communion in other churches and in another country before, but it was not this meaningful for me.  I noticed my excitement for understanding something in the service.  Then I realized it was an excitement for the Meal.  I remembered something my pastor Chris back home said once: Any Christian at any time should be able to go to a service and know it is Christian by this meal.  Or something like that.

This meal transcends the awkwardness of being a gringa in a Latin church.  It made me a part of this community in ways that I will never understand.  It was the first time that I wasn’t just following someone else’s lead (sit down, stand up, pray, sing, etc.).  I was following the same lead as everyone else. I was responding to the invitation, “Come and eat.”

Then, there were three baptisms.  It was very moving to watch these three officially enter into the family, especially considering my revelation during communion.

These Sacraments are what make me a part of this body, not my ability to speak Spanish or play guitar or any of that.  It was good to remember that.





Oh, so homesick

4 08 2011

I’m beginning to feel the pangs of homesickness. It’s not that I don’t want to be here, it’s just that I’d like to go home for the weekend and then come right back to it. Well, here is the list I made at church tonight of 23 things I miss. It is no particular order:

1. Knowing the language
2. Abelard
3. Driving
4. New English television (I’m getting caught back up on Friends though – oddly enough, I did the same thing in Kyiv…)
5. redbox
6. snacks in the pantry (mostly oreos)
7. Diet Dr. Pepper
8. Eating at normal times
9. my family
10. text messaging
11. Divine Life
12. baby Jack
13. Chick-fil-a
14. being 80% vegetarian
15. receiving a paycheck
16. my books
17. the Greens
18. Divine Life nursery
19. library dates with Lea Anne
20. the other 3/4 of my wardrobe – BTW – if anyone wants to contribute, I really did NOT bring enough clothing with me (I wear about 2 outfits a day because I’m sweating like a man). I could use some financial contributions. But, if not, I will just deal.
21. independence (aka not asking permission to do something…this is new and challenging)
22. Abelard
23. Abelard

There you have it. I miss home.

 

While I’m at it, I’ll give you the top 10 things I was thankful for this morning. I’m really into lists.

1. my ankles were a normal size when I woke up

2. I was cold last night

3. I don’t have to share a bathroom

4. fans.

5. wireless internet

6. cheese with my breakfast

7. despite my purse’s size, it holds everything I need it to.

8. water

9. the spanish website I found.

10. the very early stages of a tan.





a brief update with some photos!

16 07 2011

My suitcase finally arrived. The airport delivered it to the house. It was a bit strange not going to the airport yesterday, but it was also kind of nice. For the first time in a week, I wasn’t at an airport. I thought that day would never come.

Yesterday I visited the school. It was wonderful. I was introduced to all the classes. The younger kids could not believe that I don’t know Spanish. The older kids were fairly disinterested in me. The middle kids were totally intrigued by me. They had so many questions. When I left the sixth grade class, my translator said the boys were all saying, “bye, my love!” During lunch, I was surrounded by around 15 children that wanted to start my Spanish lessons. They had me saying everything from star to flute. I’m not 100% certain what they were having me say. I was assured it was nothing bad.

I went to the mall last night. This mall is a billion times nicer than any mall I have seen in America. It is four stories in two buildings. It’s classy and awesome. I kind of want to be there all the time.

So, when Monica introduced me to the school and some members of the church, she said that I will be staying for four months….. I guess they only need me this one semester. Perhaps that will change by the time November rolls around. I am prepared to stay for at least a year, so we shall see what happens. I must have misunderstood or assumed or something. Oh well. Four months or a year or ten years: this is an experience of a lifetime and I will take in every minute!

For those of you who are curious, I do have an air conditioner in my room. I only run it at night to save costs. Right now, I’m in my room and I have a fan going, but I’m probably melting. All I know is I won’t be complaining in Oklahoma (at least not for a while). Here are some pictures of mi casa.

my bedroom

my dining room

my living room

So,I was thinking, when this is all over, I can start my life in the states back up wherever I want. I will have so much freedom of choice! What are your thoughts? Where should I go (Stilwell is not an option, sorry!)?