I know that it has been a while, but I have good reason! We have been without internet at home for almost a month now…. And it is certainly testing all of our patience(s?). Most of the time I am actually glad to no longer have the option of spending useless hours of procrastination on the Internet, but in terms of planning for my classes and communicating with my students/bosses/friends and family at home it is extremely inconvenient. As a result, I have become an expert at surreptitiously using others’ wifi connections.
At any rate, now that I finally received my camera cord in the mail… I can share with you all some more pictures that I took from December-February.
This December I spent a month at home visiting family and friends in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York City. It was, in a word, wonderful.
Here is our makeshift Christmas tree (a house plant decorated with lights and ornaments), accompanied by the one and only mini Frida Kahlo and Andy Warhol.
Being at home included a lot of time on the new (and very comfortable) couch with Arlo… especially when I got the flu the day before I was originally supposed to fly back to Córdoba (I ended up taking a later flight) .
Miraculously, although most of the time I was home the weather was pretty mild, it did snow a few days after Christmas. Needless to say, it was beautiful. I was glad not to have to go a year without seeing snow…
Or family. Got to see (almost) all of my cousins’ on my mom’s side of the family, which is a very rare occurrence these days.
My trip back to Córdoba was the shortest yet… I think my longest layover was only 3 or 4 hours, which is incredible considering previous trips I sometimes had to wait 5-8 hours between flights. And the spectacular view of the Andes mountain range on the flight from Santiago to Córdoba always makes it all worth it.
I arrived back in Córdoba just in time for the most suffocating heat of the summer, but I was able to escape with my host family to the country for a few weekends, where we spent plenty of time at the pool. On this particular trip to Bell Ville (see photos above), a small city about three hours from Córdoba, I rode an ATV and tried barbecued goat for the first time (both of which I enjoyed).
In one moment, I pulled out my sketchbook and markers to draw and within 30 seconds looked up to find 6-10 of the small children there in front of me, with their hands outstretched asking for a sheet of paper so that they could draw too, and calling over their parents saying, “Look! Mom! She comes up with all these drawings IN HER MIND, using her IMAGINATION. Can you believe it?!?!” My two most dedicated fans spent the rest of the afternoon completing their drawings. I was glad to have inspired some creativity.
At home, we took advantage of the impressive amount of basil growing in the front yard and made a bunch of pesto sauce.
I continue to marvel at the dramatic clouds and lighting that form in the sky before rain and wind storms. In an instant, the sky fades from a clear light blue to a menacing gray before finally dissolving into vibrant yellows, oranges, purples, and dark blues.
Unfortunately, these storms (with the help of Lilu and Taico) have destroyed most of what was growing in the vegetable garden.
In early February, the kids found a box of abandoned puppies on the street on an especially hot day and… long story short we ended up keeping one. His name is Congo and although he poops and pees everywhere, wakes me up by parting at 6 a.m. and constantly chews on my pants and shoes, he is pretty undeniably adorable.
Soon after, we had yet another tiny addition to the household as Laura had promised the kids a kitten for Christmas. Her name is Gigi (which won out over my suggestion of Zanahoria, which means carrot in Spanish), but Vera sometimes affectionately calls her Mini-Cat or Mini-Gato.
The two have become great friends and almost always sleep together.
Their playful and uplighting presence has helped to soften the blow of the sudden death of Arenita, the beautiful, curious, and affectionate multi-color cat, who was hit by a car in front of our house two weeks ago. She was great company, always sitting with me as I wrote or drew or did yoga on the roof.
Since the school year finally started a few weeks ago, I now have a pretty full schedule. I somehow agreed to work at three different schools (my level of sanity when I made that decision was questionable): IICANA, Milestone Idiomas, and Passport Idiomas. Both Passport and Milestone Idiomas give me adult students in businesses to work with and at IICANA I teach three different classes: two for high school students (Advanced level and Upper-Intermediate level) and an Advanced Conversation class for adults.
The Advanced level class only has 5 students in it which is great. I had them write a journal entry last week about what job they would like to have if they could have any job in the world and their answers were: Video Game Designer, Dance Teacher, Dentist/Fashion Designer/Psychiatrist, Aeronautical Engineer (ambitious much?) and Actor. They are sweet and all insist on calling me “Miss,” although I told them they can call me Lila. My adult students call me teacher, which with an Argentine accent sounds like “Teech-air.”
The Upper-Intermediate level class is bigger, with 14 students ranging in age from 17 to mid 30s. Most of the students are in high school but the class is also open to adults so there are a few. That class is every Saturday from 9-12 in the morning. I am still in shock that anyone would offer let alone be willing to attend a class at 9 a.m. on a Saturday, especially teenagers, but I apparently agreed to teach this class for the rest of the year so I guess I will have to get used to going to bed reasonably early on Friday nights.
The Advanced Conversation class for adults has about 14 students as well. That students are between the ages of 21 and 60 (I’m guessing) and their jobs range from architect to graphic designer to doctor to criminal investigator. Because the students already have a good level of English we are able to have some really interesting conversations. My one complaint about teaching at IICANA is that the school has no copy machines or printers for us to use. I’m still dumbfounded as to how this can be possible in the 21st century.
It is an interesting dynamic to be teaching mostly people who are older (and much taller) than me – I often hear “you’re so young! / you look so young!” and I sometimes worry that I will not be taken seriously as a knowledgeable/authority figure, but I haven’t had any major problems so far. From what I hear from my bosses, my students are very content with my classes thus far. Though I prefer to work one-on-one with students so I can really hone in on their particular interests/needs, working with the larger classes is a good challenge for me and it can make class time richer to have a broader scale of perspectives/personalities in the room. My throat is still getting used to talking so much – on Monday and Wednesday nights I have class for 3 and a half straight hours – and has been sore lately.
This week will be my second full week of work… so I better start planning.
Sending much love to everyone. Hasta pronto.