Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hard at Work

Today is Review Day which means everyone is trying to finish up grading before we all go insane. Fortunately I finished the majority of my grading the past two days. I also managed to read 430 pages in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet´s Nest while my students were taking their quizzes or exams. I only had to grade 12 exams today after our teacher meeting. You´d think grading days are better than work days but after a while it gets a bit monotonous. It was pay day today though so that helped. I am happy because only 7 or 8 of my students didn´t pass their exam or quiz. I must have done somewhat of a good job right?

Tomorrow is our mandatory service day at Maximo. All of the teachers will be going to Taray and helping build houses. I´m looking forward to it. We get paid too which is funny because it is a service day. It is mandatory though so it makes sense that we are paid. I´d be down either way. I´m excited to visit a new place.

Speaking of new places, I am going on a bike ride to the Maras salt mines and Moray which is an archeological site. I´m pumped! I´m finally going to be back on a bike. I miss mine so much. It´s really too bad it was stolen two days before I left. Poor mom won´t get to ride it while I am gone.

Other than that my plan is to take it easy today and finish my book. There is a farewell party for Carl who was a teacher here and just finished his last month. He is going back to England to go to University. He´s only 19! That´s crazy to me. I cannot imagine moving to another country and teaching and then going back home to go to college. That´d be rough. I´m glad I don´t have to do that. I can stay here as long as I want potentially! :) Don´t worry, I will come back at some point even if it´s just to visit.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A little bit of Mozart and Grammar

This week my intermediate classes had a short reading on Mozart, the child prodigy and musical genious. It made me nostalgic because I have fond memories of watching ¨The Magic Flute¨ and ¨The Marriage of Figaro¨ as a child and loving them. I was sad when I realized I had no Mozart on my Ipod. What a shame! I wanted to play my students some music. Most of them had never heard of Mozart. Now that´s a shame. I love classical music and have recently been listening to more of it. I have a wonderful Baroque album of Yo-Yo Ma´s. It´s great background music for any occasion. :)

In other news I got a package from my Dad!!! It had Jif peanut butter and Kiss My Face lotion in it! What a wonderful package. If anyone wants to send me anything feel free to do so and send it to
Amy Brown C/O South American Explorers
Apartado 500
Cusco Peru

Letters a welcomed (especially since they are cheaper to send than packages). If you write me I WILL write back, guaranteed.

There is only one more day of class before all the students either take quizes or exams. All I have to do this weekend is prepare jeopary games for a few of my classes. I am looking forward to resting. I have a little bit of a cold and I don´t want it to get any worse. I am definitely staying in tonight and getting a lot of sleep. I hope I feel well enough to play volleyball tomorrow. It was so much fun last weekend. I miss playing sports so it is nice to have something to look forward to every Saturday.

I also have plans to do a bit more weekend traveling. I really want to go to Maras Moray which is a ruin about an hour away. I also would like to go to Quillabamba which is towards the Amazon and I might have the opportunity to do so this next weekend with my roommate Whitney. It´s really important that I travel a bit especially if I want to get the job with Tucan. Any travel experience around here will do nothing but help my chances I am sure.

Tomorrow there is a potluck at an apartment of some of the teachers here. I´m looking foward to it. I am going to make pasta salad. I´ve never made it before but I am sure it won´t be too difficult. Now, if I could find some feta cheese...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Somewhat Broken Computer but No Broken Heart

Well, I figured this would probably happen. My computer is being really weird and only booting in safe mode. On top of that it only types in caps even though the caps lock is not on. Everything opens and functions very slowly. It´s frustrating but not the worst thing. I don´t have internet at my house and I use the computers at Maximo pretty much every day. The only thing that is annoying is that I can´t type on it if I want to. Being stuck in caps lock means something is definitely wrong with the keyboard. I know there is an apple store in Lima but the question is, when will I be in Lima next or when will someone I know be going to Lima who might take it with them? Oh well. I am not dependent on my computer. I bought one used because I knew it might die. Optimism will prevail. Haha.

In other news I met informally with some people from Tucan Travel and they are interested in setting up an interview for November when they have a better idea of who they will need at the end of February! Keep your fingers crossed for me!

I have still managed to stay healthy which is great. I have been cooking a lot for myself. Lots of rice and onions and tuna. Mmm mmm. I need to cut back on the crackers a bit though. They are just soo good. I am also thinking of joining a gym possibly. Maybe I will start doing Yoga with some of the girls at work during the week. They say it´s great.

I am off to play some volleyball with co-workers in Parque Zonal. Chao!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

It´s the Weekend!!

I´ve made it through my first full week of teaching and couldn´t be happier! I ended today with some race to the board games with my basic classes that culminated in peanut M&Ms being passed out and consumed. I also played the song ¨Let me Love You¨ by Mario to my Pre-intermediate class that is learning about how to give advice using the word should. It was awesome! Apparently it was so cool that one of my coworkers decided to use the song too in his class. Score! It´s been a great week!

A few fun things that have happened this weekend:

I found a lamp for my room at El Molino which is, according to Ian (a coworker of mine), what the bastard child of a mall and a flea market would be. It´s pretty accurate actually. There is everything from DVDs to shoes to tacky toys and towels. I picked up some soap, a towel, a lamp, a couple bulbs and a pair of scissors. It was a successful trip.

Whitney, who is one of my apartment mates went on a walk with me earlier in the week when I was searching for a lamp and we found some great shops over near the San Pedro market. After payday we plan on heading over there to see what we can find. I wouldn´t mind getting a few more tops.

I made friends with one of my apartment mates named Roberto. He is in his 40s and has three kids that visit him on the weekends usually. He is an architect and has a beautiful drawing on his wall. He lent me a book of Peruvian poetry and also brought me nails so that I can put up my mirror. He is a very nice man. Some may think it´s weird that I live with two older men but I rarely see the other one and they are both clean. I have had to replace TP and soap though because no one else was doing it and I refuse to live without TP and soap even if I have to throw it in a bucket instead of in the toilet. That´s a luxury of the US that I forgot about until I got here. Throwing your dirty TP in a trash can next to the toilet makes for a smelly bathroom after a little while.

I went to an open mic on Wednesday night with Whitney. It was super fun and next week I think I might sing! I also met a former student of Whitney´s named Josed who I am going to climb to Christo Blanco with tomorrow morning. Christo Blanco is a statue of Christ that is white and on top of a hill that overlooks Cusco. I´m looking forward to the view. I will make sure to post pictures.

Other than that, things are good. I am going out tonight with some coworkers and there is a potluck tomorrow at one of their places. I am going to make a rice and veggie dish of some sort. Simple and quick.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

New Pictures!

New pictures of my apartment are up in the Peru album. :)

First Week Completed!

Week one is over! I made it and while I was absolutely exhausted on Friday night I had a moment in class when everything felt right. I really like teaching. I had a feeling I would. I definitely had my share of misshaps. I accidentally taught possessive pronouns as my, your, his, her, its, etc. when really they are possessive adjectives. Possessive pronouns are mine, yours, ours, etc. Easily remedies though. I will just make sure to fix the error on Monday so that everyone has the words classified correctly. If they messed that up on the final exam it would certainly be my fault.

In other news I found an apartment and I moved in yesterday (Saturday). It is 4 blocks from the Plaza de Armas on calle Zaphi. I found it through a co-worker who just moved in as well. I had to move out of the Family House by Saturday so I was very happy to find this place for such a decent price. It’s S/. 427 a month which works out to roughly $150 a month and it includes utilities and cable. I don’t have internet but that’s OK. If I need to use internet for some reason I can always run down the street to an internet cafĂ©. I am just so happy to be able to unpack and make this place my home for at least the next 2 months. I haven’t decided yet if I am going to stay longer. It depends if something better came up. I really can’t beat the location though. It’s only a 15 minute walk to work and if I ever go out at night I don’t have to worry about needing to take a taxi home. The only things it doesn’t have going for it is that the walls are not soundproof at all, but that is typical in Peruvian houses. It would be great to have gas heated water too but electric is better than nothing. At least there is heat of some sort right?

I was a little sad to say good-bye to the Family House since there is always someone there to talk to and hang out with if I wanted. They are just around the corner though and most of them are still around for another couple months. We had fun going out a few times.

I went shopping yesterday for food and unfortunately on my way back someone swiped my phone. I should’ve known better because the phone was in my pocket and the pocket was unzipped. Honestly I am happy they took the phone and not my wallet or keys. Those are a lot more valuable to me than a phone. It was easily replaced and not expensive so it’s all good. It was a good reality check though. I might have been getting a little too comfortable since I feel safer here than in Quito. I learned my lesson. I won’t let that happen again.

I am expecting to be making a decent amount of rice and beans as well as spaghetti. I bought the basic breakfast, lunch and dinner food. ! I made a rice, tuna and onion mix for dinner last night and it was delicious! It is so nice to have my own kitchen.

Today I am planning on getting a decent amount of lesson planning done for this week. My goal is to at least have Mon-Wednesday planned for all my classes by the end of today. I also am looking to find some hangers and maybe a lamp at some point as well. I definitely need hangers since the dresser I have has only 3 shelves and a place for hangers. Guess I have to live out of my luggage for just a little longer.

Other than that, things are good! I am looking forward to working a full week and seeing how it goes!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Teacher, Teacher!

Well, I made it! Day one is over and I am feeling pretty good! My students are really nice and I really like my Intermediate I class. They are funny. I was a little nervous going into my first class today but as soon as it started I felt at ease. I don't know what I was worried about. I like speaking in front of people and I love when my students (aka clients or learners according to Maximo Nivel) get the vocab word or concept. One student today asked what even though meant and eventually asked if "in spite of" would work. Yes, yes it would. It was great!

In between my morning classes (7-10am) I went on an apartment hunt. (Afternoon classes are from 5-8pm.) The first place I tried to find was a failure. I hope that tomorrow I can reach the woman so she can meet me and walk with me to her place. The other place I went to see is a 2 bedroom and he is asking $175 a month if I find a roommate and $250 if I am by myself. There is no way I can afford that. That's more than half my paycheck. Haha. Gives you a good idea how far the dollar goes here. I talked to a co-worker who said she is in a place that costs S/ 400.00 which is roughly $143. I am going to check it out tomorrow. It does have going for it that it is so close to work and the plaza. We'll have to see. I want to keep my options open but I am also really needing to find a place. I need to move out of the Family House by Friday if I don't want to have to pay the extra money per day.

After classes today I went to a place called the Real McCoy which just so happened to be hosting the South American Explorer's Club quiz night. Perfect! I knew I joined that organization for reason. I only had to pay 3 soles instead of 5 to partake along with a few of my co-workers. I'm going to have to hang out at the clubhouse a bit when I'm needing a break from Maximo.

It is 10:40pm which is past my bedtime. I wake up at 10 to 6am so I can use all the sleep I can get. What's really nice is that there is no reason for me to have to stay up late when I have all day to plan for the following morning or mornings for that matter. I am planning on getting week long lesson plans done over the weekends which will make life even easier. Having 3 different levels of classes is a bit overwhelming but a good challenge. I managed to elicit all the vocabulary words from them without using Spanish. It's so hard not to use Spanish when I know it would just be easier for them to understand the meaning of the word if I did. I do say yes if they say it in Spanish, as long as I wasn't the one who offered the word. :)

Off to bed I go.