I’m sitting on my not super comfy red futon, staring at the city ahead of me. Because Medellin is encompassed by mountains, the lights appear as candles set on hillsides far away. The cars and motos are mossying down the street. And I’m eating a tortilla. It’s not gluten free, and the fact that I haven’t been consistently gluten feee the last six months is messing with my body but it’s difficult to do that here. But this tortilla is delicious. Really, really yummy.
Today I stumbled through teaching English classes- ugh. Part of me takes joy in teaching English and the other minty nine percent of me doesn’t. It’s one of those “toss you into the deep end and swim” type things. I come up with the lessons and curriculum. It’s one hour, once a week. I love the kids, but they don’t retain much on the weekly basis and they’re wild and roudy [in the normal kid way], so sitting in plastic chairs being taught a completely foreign concept isn’t really their forte. Ya know? And today was particularly hard. My usual classroom flooded from the perfectly calming thunder storm the night before, so we were already off on a odd step. And one table of four smallerish [no longer tiny] humans decided to really push my buttons. Yay for buttons. But in the midst of two hideously draining English lessons, I had two sparks of delight. Well, many sparks of delight, just two very large ones. One of my students [who I usually have a really hard time with] excitedly waved his paper in my face after writing down sentences about things we [as a class] like; I like green, I like cats, I like soccer, etc.. And there was something distinctly different. And distinctly familiar. His sentences and letters were all backwards. Like if I had put a mirror on the things I wrote on my paper. It’s because he’s left handed. I know that because my middlest brother, Nathaniel, did that when he was little. It was a nice reminder of how cool our brains are, and a nice reminder of my home and my people there. My next spark was one of my very new students. We met on the street a week ago and I was surprised to see her in my class today. Twenty minutes into English she approached me with a whole lot of frustration scribbled on her seven year old face. She put her paper in my face and tried to explain what was wrong. Frustrating for me, I didn’t understand what was wrong- because my sisnish didn’t cover whatever she was trying to communicate. Her main teacher [my coworker & friend] explained that she didn’t know how to write. So we set her up with my teacher copy and she did a terrific job of diligently copying each letter and creating sentences. But we didn’t stop there. She also didn’t know how to write her name. So while the others kids ran around and did shenanigans, I wrote her name in broken lines. She traced and connected dots until she was writing it without the lines. I’m sure it’ll take much more than a day or a week, but she was excited and smallish human excitement is contagious. Maybe all human excitement is contagious, but hers was particularly beautiful. That was today.
It’s been a fairly successful week. Wednesday’s have become my friendsdays; as in me and my friend [Geraldine & co.] tend to do something every weekend. The past week, we wandered a town, ate some chocolate waffles and laughed a lot. Friday we threw a very successful Cinco de Mayo party, mafia, UNO and Venezuelan arepas all included. Saturday roommate and I went to the cool town where I got waffles on Wednesday and found a great coffee shop. We chilled there for five hours. Yes, five. It was a great time of quiet and giggling. Dancing to coffee shop music, tea, red velvet cake, and one of the guys hitting on me and then giving me a free cappuccino. Thank you Mr. Barista [clearly the guys here are smoother]. And then church. And then we stayed up eating nachos. And Sunday we did nothing. I watched church online because sometimes watching church in your primary language is a necessity. And now we’re onto today. And tomorrow is full to the brim with soccer and a potential icecream hang out that won’t happen. Wednesday friendsday is slated for 4:30, sushi and coffee. I’m not a fish person but great friends make for great adventures, so I’m going for it. Maybe. Yikes on bikes. Flaming bikes. It’s a fairly busy week, but that’s good.
I’ll be on a plane to the States in twelve days and I’m not quite certain how I feel. [Other than way excited for my familiar] A week ago, I was terrified about returning to Colombia, rolling my eyes at myself and the way I sometimes jump into this [in reality I did not jump, I took 4 months, lots of prayer and whatnot to talk myself into coming back]. But after a particularly delightful evening outing of Krispy Kreme donuts & Starbucks [it’s a developing third world country], I was reminded of the seven thousand reasons I am in love with this country. And none of those reasons s were Krispy Kreme or Starbucks. But they did include a sweet, newer friend, Bekah Hall & good conversations. So there’s that greatness. I am a list maker, and one of my frequent lists is things that make me happy in this country. I usually go with ten. So here’s that for you:
ten things that make me smile 1. Wednesday friendsday 2. Venezuelan arepas, arepas in general 3. Coffee; from almost anywhere 4. Worship in Spanish 5. The shop I buy bananas from 6. Developing photography skills 7. When people think I’m from here 8. Learning Spanish [O Lord, help me] 9. Making friends, connections, etc. 10. Fútbol kids
And that’s all I’ve got for you today. I’m still alive, still safe and my Spanish gets better every passing day.