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.





On Diet Dr. Pepper, Languages, and Diamonds

19 05 2011

Diet Dr. Pepper:

About a week and a half ago I decided one morning to stop drinking diet Dr. Pepper.  I could literally drink 2 big gulps a day without even the slightest bit of shame or guilt or disgust.  Then one morning I woke up and said to myself, “Self, you have a problem. The buck stops here.”  I haven’t had DDP since that morning.  (note: I did have a regular coke at game night and a coke zero at Mazzios on Sunday night…but I never said I was quitting soda, now did I?  Leave your judgment at the door, please.)

In all reality, it hasn’t been that hard.  There are two times it gets really difficult.

One: when it’s right after my lunch break, I’ve sat outside in the nice warm sun, ate a nice little lunch, then tried to go back to work.  COMA. And I don’t have any refreshing DDP to help snap me out of it.  That’s rough.

Two: when I think about what I’m denying myself too much.  The more I think about it, the more I want it. The more I want it, the more likely I am to freak out and collapse on the floor at work (it happened today – but mostly as a joke to make Vivi laugh…but just mostly.).

Anyway, we’ll see how this goes. 

Languages:

I have a fascination with languages and people who can speak more than one.  I keep telling myself I’m going to be fluent in a second language, but it’s very difficult to learn a second language when your first is the only one you ever hear.  So, I know a bit of Spanish – like, enough to tell someone I don’t know Spanish or get arrested.  I know a bit more Russian.  Well, maybe not more, but I think about Russian more so I remember it more readily than I do Spanish.  Then there is Greek.  I can read it and, with the right tools, translate it.  I cannot at all form a sentence in it on my own.  Finally, I know like 4 phrases in French.  French hurts.  Seriously, it uses a whole set of muscles I didn’ t even know could be used in talking.  My whole jaw ends up sore within 30 minutes of lessons. 

Well, for a PhD in my program, I must demonstrate a reading proficiency in Greek, Hebrew, and 2 other modern languages (Typically French, Spanish, or German). 

THIS. IS. TERRIFYING.

I’m going to have to prove that I can keep at least 4 additional languages differentiated in my head. I start Hebrew tutoring next week.  I should probably start back up on a Greek regimen.  I just can’t decide if I want to do French or German (Spanish is a given).  Suggestions?

Diamonds:

I don’t want a diamond.  If some *ahem* lucky fella ever asks me to marry him, I don’t want a diamond.  I want a simple band (not gold, please).  I don’t want diamonds to be on it anywhere.  My number one reason is because, unless he mined it himself, I don’t trust that it’s not a blood diamond.  The other reason is because I’m terribly hard on all my belongings.  I’m not a gentle creature.  A very expensive diamond sticking off my finger will inevitably get knocked off.  Not worth the risk.

So, if you plan on asking me to marry you, I suggest getting me a simple band, preferably with something terribly romantic engraved on the inside.  In platinum. 🙂





Let me save you a dollar

25 03 2011

For those of you who do not know, I now sell Mary Kay skin care and cosmetics.  I love the product, and not just because I sell it.  In fact, I sell it because I love it. 

Here are a few of my favorite items:

Microderm Abrasion:

Try it! Love it!
These results were experienced after just one week.**
85% saw improvement in skin texture.
73% saw a reduction in fine lines.
71% saw smaller-looking pores.

Ultimate Mascara:

This mascara makes me look like I have gorgeous, Marilyn Monroe eyelashes.  Fabulous!

Finally: The Brush Collection

believe me when I tell you, the right brushes make all the difference.  The entire set of real-hair brushes (powder brush, blush brush, 2 eyeshadow brushes, and eyeliner brush – all in an awesome roll-up makeup bag) is only $48.  Many companies sell just one brush for that much – and they’re synthetic!  Real hair brushes are porous.  This is a good thing! The pores hold onto the powder and then release it onto your face, making your product go further. 

 Anyway, here’s how I’m saving you a dollar:

I’m placing an order on April 4, 2011.  I’ve got some good discounts in place for you:

Orders up to $25 – 10% off

Orders $26-50 – 15% off

Orders $51 and up – 20% off

Host a party: 50% off any one color item of your choice! 

HURRY, HURRY!  Balance your checkbooks, give up Starbucks for a week! Do what you have to do to take advantage of this! 

Men, does your mom, girlfriend, wife, or sister have a birthday coming up?  Anniversary?   contact me!  Girls love make-up! you can’t go wrong!





on yummy breakfasts, the Thesis Chronicles, and the joys of puppy parenting

24 03 2011
Yummy breakfasts:
 
This morning I went to my very first “professional breakfast.”  It was for the Edmond Chamber of commerce and it was delicious!  I’m pretty sure I can’t eat anything else today if I’m going to stay within my calories.  Eh, who am I kidding?  I’m still going to eat!

The guest speaker was one miss Jennifer James.  She spoke on social networking and blogging.  She is a public relations consultant and she talked about some of the ways that social networking has driven her business and made her name known.  She talked about how she is unafraid of posting her opinions on her blog  and the risk she runs of losing business because of it.  I appreciate that honesty.  I’d much rather read the blog of an honest, heart-felt person than a dried-up, tired old business agenda written by an overworked, underpaid, burned-out administrative assistant.   So, I suggest you follow miss James’ blog.  It’s www.jenX67.com and her twitter is @_jenniferjames.  She’s saavy, engaged, and honest….sounds a lot like me, actually 🙂

Thesis Chronicles:

T minus 38 days until it’s due.  I spent last night game-planning how I can realistically acheive this goal even when I can’t put in more than 30 minutes on some nights without losing too much sleep.  It’s going to require extra work on the weekends and some get-the-heck-off-facebook-no-one-thinks-you’re-that-interesting-anyway discipline.  Ah, discipline.  I’m learning a lot of it lately. 

So, keep me in your prayers.  I know how stress can tear up my body, so I’m trying hard to stay calm and focused and rested.  It will be worth all of it when my degree is complete and I have something to show for all my loans and suffering!

The joys of puppy parenting:

Oh, Abelard.  You are insane.  I haven’t talked much about him lately, so I shall get you up to speed.  Abelard is my insane rat terrier/shih tzu mix.  He’s black with a white soul patch and a white man patch on his chest.  He recently got a hair cut and his ears look HUGE right now.  I mean, yoda-style.  It doesn’t help that he keeps them sticking straight up most of the time.

I recently learned that he has pancreatitis (spelling????).  Basically, he’s on a special dog food diet (special = expensive) and can not have any people food.  It’s linked to high fat foods, so he’s on a low fat diet.  I never gave him people food to begin with, but at least now I don’t feel guilty when he begs.

We have a stand-off in my living room almost daily. It usually starts with him trying to get in the trash or nose through my purse or chew on something he’s not supposed to.  When I tell him to stop, he’ll growl (aka: talk back).  Then I really get onto him for sassing me.  At which point, the lines are drawn and who is top dog in the house is, again, up for debate.  It usually ends with me, spray bottle drawn and ready to shoot, threatening his life and him, butt in the air, staring me down like I’m the cat he hates at my mom’s.  One squirt with the spray bottle, and he’s finished!!  I’m top dog.  Usually.

Lately, he has been going through my purse to find new things to chew up.  He likes pens and pencils, thermometers, etc.  If it is shaped like a stick, he thinks he can drag it under my couch and demolish it.  Fortunately, he hasn’t busted open the actual ink portion of the pen. Trust me, if I end up with an ink stain on my carpet, Abelard is getting dropkicked.  PETA can just deal with it.

In all seriousness, I love my dog.  I would be terribly lonely in that medium-sized apartment all by myself.  He’s extra sweet in the mornings when he’s sleepy.

sweet puppy, sleepy Jill

The mornings definitely make the rest of his insanity bearable.  Maybe someday he’ll get trained.  And maybe someday I’ll wake up with my eyebrows on fire.  Neither one is very likely.