In exactly one month I will be going to the airport to pick up my mom and Joe. Our cats, Bacon and Lucy, will be there too. This is what is going to get me through the next two and a half weeks of exams, grading, meetings and parent-teacher conferences.
It's definitely a much more optimistic thought than this:
Who doesn't enjoy a song with their name in it? I certainly do. There are so few songs (that I know of) with my name in them. Although this one doesn't beat Maggie May by Rod Stewart, it is a sort of close second.
I asked my students today for some topics we could use for their one-minute speeches. One boy raised his hand and asked if they could talk about their favorite hobbits. I was a little surprised he wanted to talk about hobbits, especially because it's so obvious the best ones are Merry and Pippin.
Okay, as it turned out he didn't want to talk about the hobbits at all. He wanted to talk about his favorite hobby. No offense, kid, but I'd much rather listen to 29 speeches about hobbits. Elves would have been acceptable too.
Holy crap! My blog has been featured on the website InterNations! What a totally awesome way to start the week! You can read the interview here. Or since I'm super nice, I'll repost it here.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Chile, etc.
I’m originally from Danville, California, a small town outside of San Francisco. Growing up I was lucky enough to be able to travel all around the world. I knew for a long time that I wanted to live abroad. Choosing to move to Chile was an obvious choice. My mom is Chilean and she grew up in Santiago. As soon as I finished my degree in education I hopped on a plane and came down here. It’s hard to believe that was almost two years ago!
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started blogging more frequently when I arrived in South America. Initially I wanted to share my new life as an expat with my friends and family back home. It has also given me an opportunity to help others thinking about moving to Chile, especially those interested in teaching.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
My trips to an alpaca farm and La Moneda have always been two of my favorites. Some that I really like that are about my job include going to see Batman Live and when I gave my students some interesting flavored candy.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Chile differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
I didn’t experience a whole lot of culture shock. Santiago is similar in many ways to other large cities in the United States. I had traveled to Chile several times as a teenager which made the transition a lot easier.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Chile? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I think I was as prepared as I could have been. I am very fortunate to have so much family living in Santiago. That definitely made things a lot easier. I think the only thing that would have helped me adjust more is if I had studied more Spanish before arriving.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Don’t overreact during an earthquake. What I consider an earthquake isn’t an earthquake by Chilean standards. They simply refer to it as a tremor. So there’s really no need to flee to the lobby of your apartment in the middle of the night in your pajamas. You just end up looking silly.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Chile?
If you’re looking for work as a teacher, don’t expect to land a position before arriving in the country. Most of the schools I contacted prior to arriving didn’t even respond until I was here.
Learn Spanish! And actually use it! I’ve noticed that people respect the fact that you’re at least trying to communicate with them in their own language. And really, if you’re going to be living in a foreign country, it’s best to learn the language. It makes things a whole lot easier!
Always end your day with a nice glass of Chilean wine. Even the cheap brands are delicious.
How is the expat community in Chile? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
There is a huge expat community in Santiago. Both of my roommates are expats from Brazil and I have met expats from all over the world. It is always nice to be able to talk with other foreigners in similar situations. Enjoying the expat life in el pais de loca geografía!
How would you summarize your expat life in Chile in a single, catchy sentence?
Enjoying the expat life in el país de loca geografía!
This song was released by Mika in 2007. And somehow I only heard it for the first time yesterday. And I cannot stop listening to it. This song makes me so happy. Pretty good reason to listen to it over and over again. He's so Freddie Mercury-ish. Totally awesome.
Last week was probably the worst week of my life. And I'm only exaggerating a little. Too many loud children, too many meetings and too many headaches. I ended the week without a voice. It was exhausting. On the bright side, September vacation is steadily approaching. Two glorious weeks of freedom. Only 26 more days (of work, that is), and yes I counted.
I've spent the last few hours staring at an unfinished test I have to write about the Mayas, Aztecs and Incas. I'm so over chinampas, quipus and human sacrifices. I'm sure I'd get more work done if I hadn't just downloaded all three seasons of Community. Who can possibly get work done when Joel McHale is only a click away?
Anyway, a while back I posted about the side effects of teaching. After the week I just had, I think it's necessary to write about the positive aspects of teaching (other than shaping the minds of children and all that crap). Basically I just need to remember why my kids are so awesome. So here it goes.
1. Never being fond of math, it has somehow become one of my favorite subjects to teach. It is rewarding to see children finally grasping the concept of fractions and long division (two of my favorites). It's even better when my kids ask for challenging problems. I'd reckon that many adults would find it difficult to divide a fourteen digit number without a calculator. My kids kick ass at long division.
2. My kids ask the BEST questions. They are curious and actually want to learn. We move slowly though social studies and science because we always seem to end up miles (or should I say kilometers) away from the original topic. Our last science unit on the movements of the Earth seemed never ending because of all their questions. At least they now know why Mercury and Venus don't have any moons and why poor Pluto was kicked out of the cool planet club. Side note: I found this entertaining video on the subject. But I didn't show it to my kids because the guy talks too fast.
3.One of my students asked to play a game on my iPod. I was feeling nice, so I let him. His game of choice? Temple Run. As he was playing, a group of kids formed around him. They started comparing their high scores (all under a million points). They awarded me the coolest teacher ever award when they found out my high score was 19 million. This was a few weeks ago. They are still talking about it. I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's so easy to impress kids.
4. For whatever reason I have accumulated a ton of nonsense information in my brain, mostly dealing with pop culture. Well now I can add to it. On Friday my kids were presenting their one-minute speeches. I'm sure I don't need to explain it, but I will. Basically, they need to talk about something for one minute. Okay, I guess it was pretty self-explanatory. Anyway, I gave them some topics to choose from like their favorite food, animal, country or musician. Apparently pasta and dogs are super popular. One student decided to talk about her favorite singer. Justin Beiber. She mentioned several facts about his life including his blood type. I don't even know how she found this out. But I do know that I will be very happy the day I forget that Justin Beiber's blood type is A positive.
Okay that's enough. This test isn't going to finish itself. The moral of the story is that even though they sometimes drive me crazy, my kids are pretty awesome. Plus if you're a knowledge junkie, being a teacher means you get to learn tons of cool things (and some not so cool things like other people's blood types). And in case you're still wondering what quipus are, I'm not going to tell you. I'm not your teacher. Go look it up on Wikipedia. While you're there, look up chinampas. They're pretty cool, too.