Sunday, August 10, 2008

Simple Discoveries and Strange Experiences

Well, the first week of school is over, and it's going to be a very different year from last year. There are less than two thirds of the amount of students we had last year, and most of the loud ones are gone. So it's much more tranquil than we're used to...and kids don't hang out in the halls as much and are consequently on time for class! I'm not used to such luxuries!
It's going to be a busy year for me. I'm doing the reading class this year, which I've decided is going to be a lot of fun. Mostly because I get to read the books with them, but they have to do all the work! I just sit there and make sure they did their roles well and guide the class as needed. I love it! It's a refreshing change from the typical class. My other classes (English) will be much the same as last year. I also gave up being in charge of yearbook and took on the chapel ministry (which is basically a worship team). I'm co-sponsoring the junior class this semester to help them raise funds for the banquet next semester. I'm helping lead the high school choir (a new addition) to prepare for the Christmas program they'll be taking part in. I'm helping record the accompaniment music for the elementary's half of the Christmas program. Sound busy? I think so. But I also added a non-school related ministry. A couple of the elementary teachers run a ESL class (English as a Second Language) and have been asking me to help out. This semester I said yes. So we teach two one-hour classes every Wednesday. I've only had one week, and I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. I may not be cut out to be that kind of teacher. Ironic, I know, since I teach English at school! :o)

Life in my apartment is going well. I really like my roommates, and we seem to get along well. We speak in Spanish about 80% of the time, so I've been learning a lot. Although, since they both know English, we can switch back and forth if we have to. This is very helpful in the morning when my brain is a little too sluggish to think in Spanish! :o)
We just got our fridge and stove hooked up on Tuesday, and I haven't had time to do grocery shopping since then, so meals have been an interesting experience. Hopefully I can figure out some kind of routine soon, because I want to get back to eating normal food and not prepared-by-a-culinary-challenged-bachelor type meals!

After all that, I'll finally get to the items that inspired the title of this post.
You know, I've been here a year, and I'm still finding things out for the first time. For instance, last week I made a very simple discovery that made me soooo happy. In the whole time I've been here, I have not known that the Subway sandwich place exists in Chile. But last Saturday I found out it does. And not only that, but there's one a block and a half from my apartment! I don't know why that thrilled me so much, but I was definitely entertaining my roommates with my exuberance over sandwiches!!

I've also experienced another first, and this happened just this morning. It was a very strange experience. I was on the metro heading to church, and I started to hear some strangely familiar words coming from a guy about 5 feet away. I realized he was speaking in English (although with a pretty thick accent), but I quickly understood that he was emphatically spouting some of the worst swear words and other crude comments that the English language has to offer. It was plainly obvious to me that he was saying all this for my benefit although he was talking to his friends. Since it was incredibly offensive stuff he was saying, I put on my best poker face, never looked over in that direction, and pretended that I don't understand English. It seemed to work. After a couple of minutes I noticed that one of the guys was slowly backing up to be closer to me. He stood parallel to me, but not overly close and he never made any kind of contact. I had a sneaking suspicion what was going on, and sure enough, when I quickly yet nonchalantly looked over at them, they had a camera out. They took his picture with me!! Not that it's going to be a good picture, because I tried to look as far away as possible and still look natural. I think they took several pictures though. This was definitely a first! It was the weirdest thing, like I'm some sort of celebrity or freak show...not quite sure which!! :o)

I just never know what to expect when I'm down here. Some days are hum-drum, and others are anything but! Plenty of other things have happened already, including Children's Day at church, countless visitors at our apartment, an unwittingly illegal bonfire, a weekend retreat with the students, being tackled by some of the girls during a game, experiments resulting in small burns from a finicky shower, growing frustrations at my limitations in a Spanish speaking country, and many other things...but I've written a lot already, so I'll save some for another time.
Until then...

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