Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Officially Certified!

After almost three weeks of hot weather and long days in class, I am now officially certified in Suzuki books 1 and 2 to teach violin. Hurrah! They were two very intense courses but they were fantastic and I learned so much. I made some great friends too. It's always fun meeting people who are teaching all over South America. It is also nice to know that whenever I travel to Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, or Venezuela I have people to see and/or stay with! I wish that the girl who took the pictures got a full view of everyone from the class but this one was cute. I especially like Suzanne's face in the lower right hand corner. :)

We had a ton of fun in our book 1 course and I had the pleasure of taking it with Nancy Lokken although there was another section with Shinobu Saito who teaches in Sao Paolo Brazil. Both taught me quite a lot through class and through observations. You learn so much from observing others. It truly is one of the most powerful ways to learn how to teach well. Emulate what you see works well and don't do what you see doesn't work well. It's as simple as that. I got lots of great group class ideas too. I can't wait to implement them.

For the concert de las Americas, I played Saqras, a traditional dance from Cusco, with Ximena, and David. It was super fun and everyone said they really enjoyed it. I was really proud to represent Cusco as a Cusqueñista. There is some really fun music that comes from Cusco and I am happy to share it. I also vowed that I would memorize all the songs we do in Chorus and Orchestra so that I never have an embarrassing moment like I did in the Municipality in Cusco when I didn't remember the majority of Saqras. Never again! I also played in the orchestra that accompanied the soloists during the closing concerts. I didn't get any pictures of it but it was really fun. It was great to accompany two Cusqueñian kids from Qantu who played Bach's Concerto in F minor on piano and Vivaldi's Concerto in D Major on guitar. I took full advantage of the extra activities during the second block even though it meant that I got home after 8pm every night. It was definitely worth it.

On the last day of class we went out to lunch with everyone in the class including Nancy and I really enjoyed chatting with her about violin and how I got to be where I am now. She is super sweet and so supportive of everyone. She is truly a great teacher trainer and she never says that her way is the end all be all way to teach. She just teaches what she has found to be successful and then leaves it up to us to use what we want and see what works for us. I really like that. There is no one correct way to teach violin. There are many routes to becoming a musician.

On Monday morning after an hour of traffic to get to the airport and delay from 11:45am to 3pm take off, I finally arrived in Cusco to the arms of my boyfriend and a little headache from the altitude. I couldn't have been happier to be home. This year is going to be fantastic and full of new adventures and learning experiences. It has already begun with the festival. :)

My homies from book 1 and 2 plus Erik!

The entire group of us taking the book 1 course.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Refreshing Break

I had a wonderful 5 day break between classes and I took advantage of my time to explore Miraflores. I found the South American Explorers Club in Miraflores and then had lunch with Eric, a fellow club member, who is doing his masters thesis regarding anthropology specifically focusing on a tribe in the jungle of Peru. He was a nice companion for lunch and I found out he goes to UIC in Chicago. He's is definitely happy to be in Peru instead of freezing in Chicago, however, I hear that the weather there right now is ridiculously warm for January. It's in the 50s. That's crazy!

Suzanne and I went out to dinner on Saturday night at a restaurant called La Preferida. We had Causa, which is like a potato lasagna and ceviche, lemon cooked fish with onion and sweet potato, and a salad. We also had delicious maracuya chilcanos and maracuya sours, a variation of pisco sours. Mmmm delicious! It was a fun night.

On Sunday I did almost nothing other than run and practice my violin. I also went to Teletickets and bought the tickets for the Second Symphony Latino that included Suzuki students from 12 latin american countries.

On Monday Suzanne and I made our way to Punta Hermosa to the south of Lima. It was beautiful and we enjoyed the water which was actually quite warm. I got a little burned in places that I didn't get with my cunblock. Thank GOD for sunblock. I would be a horrible red color all over. I like getting some sun but I am definitely not a worshipper and I would love to have nice skin in my old age so I have to protect it now. Unfortunately, there are no pictures of the beach because neither Suzanne nor myself wanted to risk our cameras getting stolen or ruined by sand.

On Monday night we went to the concert and it was really cute. All the students wore traditional clothing from their countries and the music they played were arrangements from the different countries as well. The show was great but when it came to the end it never happened. Well, Suzanne and I left before the end because it was getting ridiculous with the encores. One or two songs after the program is over is fine but 5?? We practically watched the show in its entirety again. There is only so much encoring they can do before it gets to be too much. We did enjoy the music though and it was great to see 5 Cusco students in the orchestra, three guitarists and two recorder players.

Classes have started for book 1 and I am pumped. We have 5 more days of class and then back to Cusco I go to my wonderful amorsote! I am super excited to implement what I have learned and am learning at the festival. It's going to be a great year!

Gotta love dinner and drinks!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Suzuki Festival!

What a whirlwind week I have had. On the 4th of January I traveled to Lima to and was picked up by Omar, my couch surfing friend and Victor, Marco's colleague who had a car and drove us to La Molina from the airport. I was super grateful for the ride and it was nice to catch up with Victor.

On the 5th I started the Suzuki violin book 2 teacher training course. Now, you may be wondering how I took the book 2 course when I haven't taken the book 1 course. Since I took the philosophy course in July of this year I asked permission to take the book 2 and book 1 course at this festival and they OKed it. They also gave me the rest of my scholarship back in cash after the cost of the classes.

The festival has been wonderful so far. There were a ton of violin students which was wonderful because we saw quite an range of playing ability. Every day at 2pm there was a play in and the teachers led songs from twinkle to Eccols Courante from book 8. It was an awesome sight to see.

My teacher was Nancy Lokken who teaches in Minneapolis and does teacher trainings all around the US and South America. She was excellent and very structured. I really liked that. Every day we started at 9am and finished around 5:30 or 6:30 depending on how many hours of observation you wanted to do during the day. We were required to do 8 hours and there were two nights when we had to stay for concerts; the teacher concert and the final closing concert. They were loooong days. We had 5 days of the book 2 course and then on the 6th day half the class went with Helen Brunner, the book 4 teacher trainer. We had two days of teaching strategies. It was an intense 6 and a half days but totally fun and extremely informative. We even had a master class with Helen which was awesome. I played German Dance for her from book 5. She made everyone get up and dance. It was great! We had the treat of being able to play her own violin that is a Nicolo Amanti 1681 I believe. It is crazy to think about the history of that violin. It sounds amazing! The picture with this paragraph is from our teaching strategies group. Suzanne is on the far right side.

Who is Suzanne you ask? I will be working with her this year at Qantu. She is taking over for Angela and I know we are going to get along great because we already do. It is going to be a good year! I can feel it. We went to Miraflores today and had lunch together. We are both trying to get to know the city a little better and enjoy our days off before we start up again on Tuesday.

On the 17th I start the book 1 course and I get my restrung bow back from Tito! I can't wait! It will be nice to have a lighter bow to play with. Right now I am enjoying Lima. I have run a couple times too. It is so nice to go running and not feel like you are going to die from lung failure like I do when I run in Cusco. It's also more interesting because I can actually run on the streets and sidewalks here because it isn't so crowded and the streets aren't as narrow. I have found the SAE clubhouse and made a book exchange. I also found a cute little cafe called Il Cappuccino in Miraflores that has a great 20 sole menu.

Today I met up with Nella and met her 4 month old baby girl Micaela and her son Adriano who is now 2 years old. He was Micaela's age the last time I saw him when I first got to Peru. It's so crazy that a year and a half has gone by since I last saw them. They hosted me for the 7 hours that I was in Lima before I caught my flight to Cusco. It was really nice to see them during the day and to play with little Micaela. She is a smiley face for sure or as Marco would say risueña. :)

That's all for now!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

2012 has finally come! Look out! It's the end of the world! Well, I definitely wouldn't say 2012 is the end of the world but I have a feeling there are going to be some major changes happening this year; a giant energy shift.

Anyway, I am happy to say that my new years was peaceful and fun. I sang for four hours at Dragon's Palate and headed to the plaza with Marco and his son. It was really nice to finally meet him and while it was short it was sweet. We enjoyed the fireworks and the craziness of the plaza for a bit and rang in the new year. Then the boys accompanied me back to my place. I was in bed by 1am. The next day I watched 4 movies, Bad Teacher, Friends with Benefits, Penelope, and The Other Boyelyn Girl. I also finished two books, The Last Kashmiri Rose and Alice in Wonderland. I think it was a very productive day for a Sunday and being January 1st! :)

I would like to recap my year.

January and February were my last two months at Maximo Nivel and by far my best. I had established a great routine by that point and Julia hooked it up with my schedule so that I didn't have class until 8am. Awesomeness! I went rafting in January for free and of course, in February I met my wonderful boyfriend, the love of my life, Marco and we have been together since.

In March I moved to Yamanya Hostel where I worked as a bartender and at the tour desk occasionally for my stay. I also taught a few classes for Excel. I had fun first getting Salmonella and then Shingles this month. Woot woot!

My brother came in April and we went of the Choquequirao trip as well as Machu Picchu. He also got very sick with Amoebas before all that.

In May I moved out of the hostel and in with my current roommate Rocio. We lived in Mariscal Gamarra for two months. I started working at Pasta Mama with my friend Marissa and I got a call from Angela asking me if I was interested in teaching violin. After a few visits and observations I knew it was the next adventure for me to take on and I knew that my violin was coming back into my life for a long time. I started with 6 students in May and have made it up to 20 at the end of this year.

In June I decided to go to Buenos Aires to take the Suzuki Philosophy course. I also experienced Inti Raymi and all the ridiculousness that is festival season for Cusco. I did, however, thoroughly enjoy the parade with Marco in his poncho and hat.

In July I actually travelled to BA and What a great trip that was apart from the ashes from the volcano in Chile keeping me in BA for a little longer than I would've liked. I did see the coolest bookstore ever. Thank you to my friend Gabi whom I met while I was living at Yamanya.

In August I experienced a Pago a La Tierra and really felt blessed for having been sent to Cusco.

In September and October I continued working at Qantu teaching violin. I also gained a mentor and teacher in September who has taught me more than I could imagine when it comes to playing and to teaching.

In November we adopted a cocker spaniel named Pepe from a cool Australian girl named Zara. We are super happy with him and we were happy to spend Christmas with him! He is a jugeton as they say here. He likes to play a lot! 2 and a half and happy! Also, my mother came to visit for my birthday and for Thanksgiving. What a wonderful experience that was. I am so glad that she came to spend time with me and to see what my life is like here in Peru. I am also super happy she brought me my violin!

Finally, December rolled around and I finished all of my classes with my students and enjoyed Christmas with my man and new years with him and his son.

I saw a poll on CNN that asked if you were happy to see 2011 go or if you were sad. over 80% were happy to see it go. I am guessing that they felt the effects of the recession and all the poop that is going on in the states right now. I think the other 20% were either in other countries or were able to keep their job this past year. I voted for sad to see it go but I am so excited for what 2012 is going to bring. I have a feeling it is going to be a big year in my life and I can't wait for all that is to come!