March 22, 2010 at 1:10 pm (Colombia)

The last few weeks have held several “firsts” for me, even after being in Colombia for seven months. It’s been quite a roller coaster, with some issues as school but great times with my new friends here. Anyway, here are the stories of my first ….

marriage proposal. Yes, I say first, because I hope that someday I’ll receive one I can actually accept. This one came from a sixth grader, so though I was flattered I turned him down on account of our age difference. He insisted that love transcends age barriers, which I suppose is true in some cases, but I still had to decline. He blurted out the question in the middle of a class, so all of the students had a good laugh.

hockey game. I’m not absolutely positive it was North American-style hockey, but during a drive through the city I’m certain I saw a group of men with wooden sticks, roller blades, nets and even a guy in the net with pads that looked suspiciously like the ice hockey goalie variety. I wanted to stop and watch, but since I was in a vehicle carrying a bride to her wedding I figured the request wouldn’t be received well. And that brings me too …

Colombian wedding. And not only was the marriage ceremony itself the first I’ve been to in South America, but I also had the opportunity to do the wedding photography for the first time. My friend’s sister was getting hitched and since they couldn’t really afford to hire a professional, I offered to do the job. Now, I’m not sure if every Colombian affair is similar, or if it’s just because this one was a pretty small, low-key deal, but it was pretty different than all the weddings I’ve been involved in. The photography was fun, though I didn’t realize how exhausting it can be just to take pictures for like three hours straight. I hope the newlyweds are happy with what I captured – I’ll probably post a few photos here once I finished some editing.

Spanish to English switch. I speak as much Spanish as I can when teaching sixth grade, otherwise they probably wouldn’t learn much from me at all. A couple of weeks ago I was in the middle of giving instructions when I had to stop and consciously switch to English because I wasn’t sure how to proceed in Spanish. I took it as a sure sign of progress: purposely changing my brain back to English mode.

period with no failing students. That’s right, folks! All the high school kids learning English are passing the course. We just completed our second academic period, and I finished with six students in the superior grade level; last period there was only one so I guess we’re all improving.


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