Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lots of random stuff....

So I have been meaning to update for the past few days, but things have been pretty busy.

So here are some pictures from the barbeque that Zoe had for her birthday on Saturday:

Sunday I met up with Walker and Erin, as we haven't seen each other in about 3 weeks or so.  It was great getting to catch up with them, and we sat at La Terraza for about 2 and a half hours just talking about random things.  I got a huge hamburger with all types of stuff on it, but didn't think to bring my camera with me.

Later that evening my roommates and I had planned to make dinner together, and so we had beef tacos with salad.  We also had some wine, but I forgot my bottle opener at the asado for Zoe on Saturday night.  Mario tried opening the bottle on his own, but when he had trouble with it 3 of my other roommates started hovering over him and decided to try and help out:

After about 10 minutes they managed to get the bottle of wine open, and this is what our dinner looked like:

This week at school has been a rollercoaster ride in some ways.  I love how I am greeted as if I am a movie star, and I get lots of students coming up to me and asking how I am and shaking my hand.  Dealing with some of the student behavior has been very challenging.  I was incredibly frustrated after working with one class.  It all started when I told a student to sit in a different seat during presentations and he refused to move.  In hindsight, I should have just kicked him out then, but I was told it's better to talk to kids at the end of class here if there are problems.  Then after that, I was dealing with cell phones and kids refusing to turn them over after being told to put them away multiple times, kids banging my desk, talking throughout presentations and simply talking louder in response to my death stare, trying to blame me for them cutting up their papers and demanding new ones, and more.  We talked at the end of class, but there didn't seem to be much resolution.  Let's just say I am not looking forward to working with this class again on Tuesday.

So that left me really frustrated, but then the classes on Wednesday and Thursday were refreshing.  They were eager to learn and speak English, and I have gotten into the habit of bringing out my frisbee at recess to play with the kids.  They seem to really enjoy it, and it's a nice way to get in some movement after being in class for a while.  Talking with some of the kids I've learned that they and their families have connections to the States, and they have gotten to travel there.

I am also figuring out where to pick my battles.  In a class today the teacher was checking assignments that the students did by having them come up indiviudally to her, and with a class of 36 that takes a while.  I walked around and helped the class complete a list of irregular verbs as well as an interest inventory for me, but there was still a lot of chaos.  I encouraged the kids to work on the two assignments, but there were kids that already had everything done and had nothing to do.  So if I saw their Ipods out and they had everything done, I told them they had to be listening to songs in English.  I told the students with Uno cards out that they had to play in English, and I played a round with them to be sure that they knew all of the words they would need to do so.  I encouraged the boy that was throwing a paper airplane across the room to say "Catch the airplane!  Are you ready?" and "Throw me the airplane!"  And I think that was the first time I heard him actually speaking English in the class besides his presentation in front of the class.

I just had to laugh as one student decided to make a tip jar, put a coin in it, and walked around the room tyring to solicit tips from his classmates.  Others were drawing in their notebooks, and others were walking around the class to talk with their friends.  I started up a game of Hangman on the board, and some students came over to me to play.  This is simply the way the classrooms tend to be here, and I'm thinking perhaps I need to be less strict with the class I had such trouble with on Tuesday.

Today Claudia (one of the teachers at my school) invited Erin and me out to lunch with her husband and 5 year old daughter.  We went to an Italian restaurant named Basta Pasta in Las Condes, and afterwards we enjoyed the nice weather at the park.  They are such nice people and offered to help us find free or low cost things to do in the area, and her husband offered to help me find a kickboxing gym and also gave tips on biking in Santiago.  Their daughter is adorable and a bundle of energy, and after stopping at their home for a short while she decided to give Erin her chocolate bunny from Easter and to stuff my pockets with her chocolate eggs.  Unfortunately I didn't have my camera on me to capture the delicious food or good weather or get a picture of us together, but hopefully next time.

Tonight I decided to experiment with cooking some churrasco (for you Jersey people it is like steak in a steak sandwich) with potatoes along with some salad, and it turned out pretty good:

This might come across as a morbid topic, but despite that it is an interesting one with different cultures.  My roommate told me that she was taking the metro home but she was delayed because someone committed suicide by jumping onto the tracks.  Apparently in Chile they have a system set up where if that happens they have a crew set up that turns off the lights down by the tracks and they have 8 minutes to clean it up.  Once they complete the job of cleaning and taking the body away, they have a mandatory paid month off so that they can recover and cope with what they just had to deal with.

Furthermore, she continued to tell me that if a person tries to commit suicide in Chile but does not succeed that they go to prison for 15 years.  This stems from the fact that Chile is a deeply Catholic country, and taking your own life is considered a sin.  The only other alternative to this sentence would be to go to a mental institution, but she said that going to prison is more likely to happen.

This weekend I am hoping to catch up with friends over dinner and buy a bike.  We'll see how that all goes....

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