"Someday, somewhere - anywhere, unfailingly, you'll find yourself, and that, and only that, can be the happiest or bitterest hour of your life.” - Pablo Neruda
Hello All! So since we last chatted, I have done a lot of self reflection. I have really sat down and thought about all I have been through in my life. While I am not going into specifics it always hasn’t been rainbows and butterflies. After reflecting on how that has all shaped me into the woman I am right now. I am ahead of my pace for graduating early, I am a treasurer of an honor society, I work a full time job and am a manager, and I am in Chile doing what I love.
How can I not be proud of myself? I often struggle with my own perception of myself and have a lower self esteem which I have been working on, but this trip has really helped to improve both of those. I may hit a few bumps in my life but I will always overcome them. I have learned that no matter where my journey takes me I will be able to smile and take adventure by the horns. I am so proud of finding much more of myself while I have been down here.
So I have been up to plenty of meetings and sit ins at Universidad Mayor. They are all so welcoming and really want to know our opinions unlike most others back home. Because back home to many teachers are those who can’t, even though teachers make all other professions possible. I really have grown through this trip to even more appreciate my field and the people within it.
I also have realized what a support team I have back home and how grateful I am for them. I have enjoyed my calls, video chats and texts from home much more than words can describe. I never really understood how much these people mean to me, until this trip and not being able to pick up a coffee and go and see them. I also realize how much I would not be who I am today without them. I wouldn’t be the strong, independent, and outgoing woman adventuring in Chile without them. So thank you all back home and just know I am missing you all so much.
In these past couple days I have also learned to go out without makeup, find my way alone around a big city, and have a decent conversation with my host mom in Spanish. I have gained a lot of self confidences from this trip already. But my host mom has really helped my Spanish soar. She helps me with my homework. She engages in many different conversations with me throughout the entire day. Yesterday, I came home with a whole sentence about how I am doing with Spanish and how much I love Chile. As I read it to her it was like I was in first grade again learning and being so proud to show off what I had learned.
So the next few days are full of field placements. I am so excited to go and then share the experiences with all of you. I also have my Spanish school and some night activities. I am defiantly staying busy down here; good thing the coffee is strong.
Hasta Luego Amigos!
Today I want to write an extra little post. As most of you know while we are down here we are learning Spanish. We go Monday through Friday. Most days there is laughter and learning occurring today. As a future educator that is what you hope comes out of your classroom. But today for the first time in my life I really hit my frustrational level in learning. Every Monday while we are down here we get a new teacher. We also always have two classes, conversational and grammar. My conversation class was difficult but I didn't get frustrated. Then the bell rang and went to my grammar class. The teacher first got upset that our past teacher didn't get us farther in our work book. Then she began to speed through 8 or 9 pages of different things without explaining or stopping for questions. She then got to the page with all different fruit on them. Now myself being a beginner level in Spanish I have no idea what the names are or how to spell them. She then proceeds to say the name of the first fruit very fast in Spanish. I trying to understand did not get it. So I ask a peer how they spelled it and got yelled at. Then she went through the whole list rapidly. I tried my very best but knew I did not succeed on this bizarre spelling test. She then saw I was struggling and told me to go to the board and write the first row of answers on the board. I did not even finish my first word and she told me "incorrecto" and I hit my wall of frustration. I have never experienced that as a student. So I took myself out of the classroom and took a breather. I have never not understood or had a such a hard time learning something in my life. I think this moment is really important to reflect on as a future educator not only for my ELL or ESL students but any student who may hit their wall. Tomorrow will be a better day and I will learn Spanish to the best of my ability. Sometimes you have to take a step back before you can take a step forward.
Since we have last chatted a lot has happened. I really am trying to mentally appreciate what I am doing and how proud I am of how far I have made it. I have climbed the Andes Mountains and seen the amazing coast. I also have had some time for reflection and discovering myself.
Let’s talk about these mountains first. There are no words to describe them but I will try. That was one time in my life I felt completely small and powerless. And you know what? I was okay with that. It was so breathtaking and amazing. I had the most amazing time and had a meditation time as well. I really reflected about the trip and the fact of everything I had overcome in my life. I have really done well.
Then we went to the coast today. God was it gorgeous. I think the best part was honestly Pablo Neruda’s house. I loved the way he lived and the designs. He had ship carvings and mermaids all over and I was in love. Then we went and had lunch (so much food). Then went and explored all along the sea. Just was an amazing weekend.
I also found something else amazing in the past week. True Friendship. I have become really close with one of the other girls on this trip. We both have similar histories and passions. We get along like ying and yang. As a person who struggled to make girlfriends in high school and who is not the most typical girl herself I really did not expect to make any friends on this trip. Sure glad I was wrong. Here’s some pictures of us living it up in Chile.
Well that's all for now. Definitely missing home but most definitely embracing my last 12 days in Chile. Adios till next time.
The students in Chile really seem to value their education. The past two days walking into the courtyard where they are playing and getting almost trampled because they are so excited really motivates you. Then when you are teaching or assisting another teacher with their lesson you can tell how engage and interested in it they are. One teacher at the school said to me “You all coming makes English a real thing to them, not some foreign thing that is boring.” It really makes you think how one small visit can really impact a child’s desire for learning or even just for their education. It makes me really thankful that I got accepted into this program. I like many other teachers and teacher candidates have had my doubts if this is the right path for me. After just a week here I don’t know how I had any of those doubts. Teaching may not bring in the big bills, have a fancy title or be the most glamorous job in the world but to those kids today I was their rock star, cheerleader, and motivator and that is all teaching needs to bless me with and I will be one happy woman.
Well that is all for now. Miss you all back home and these three weeks will fly by. Time is flying in Chile. Thanks for reading. More to come soon!!
So we made it to Chile. The plane rides were an adventure to say the least. My first flight I tried my very best to stay awake so that I would be able to sleep for the next flight. Little did I know I would be sitting next to someone who would not allow for that or to even try to relax, but that is not going to start my trip on a sour note. Customs and immigration were not as scary as I pictured them to be. I am honestly super proud of making it through that and our crazy van drive. (motion sickness does not do me well). Then I arrived at my host families’ house that welcomed me with open arms. As I tried to unpack and use my very little Spanish to talk with my host momma, I start to really feel that I am in Chile. She then takes me and Renee for a walk to a farmer’s market and a small grocery store. We learn some foods and how to interact in the social construct down here. When we get back to the house we both decide a nap is in order. That hour was golden. We met the group for finding our Spanish school and then proceed to find money. When we find a restaurant to have lunch at 4 pm (this will be an adjustment) I order my first legal drink ever and I needed some home cooking so a hamburger. Then me and a few of the girls went exploring. I really am proud of how well I have been holding up but then when we got back home I got sicker than a dog.
After a great nights rest I woke up to probably the best thing as a teacher, sounds of children laughing and getting off the bus for school. My host mom walked me and my roommate to the school and dropped us off like it was our first day of school. I had the nerves to prove it too. Our placement test was nerve racking but the more we went the more comfortable I became. ECELA is nothing like language learning back in the states. It is so much more comfortable. In my conversation class a lot of my Spanish came flooding back and I actually had a few small decent conversations (with only one French word slip up). The lunch at ECELA was my very first Empanada. Empanada es muy bien. Then off to Universidad we went. We stuck out like a sore thumb but were welcomed by everyone with a smile. We had presentations from multiple people involved from the education department and international affairs. They were all so wonderful and full of great knowledge. After, we went exploring to the mall. We did have a little rough patch but that is when I had my “light bulb” moment. Yes, it was awful I thought to myself but I have made it this far nothing is stopping me. And that is when it hit me. I am in Chile teaching, learning, and exploring on my own. I am honestly really proud reflecting to myself about that. Then we went back to ECELA for a BBQ. We had lots of food and conversation. I also broke out of my shell and made a new friend from California who is in the military and I danced (or tried to). Well only two days in and ready for more.
As it gets closer and closer to us departing my to do list keeps shrinking. This morning I finalized all my lesson plans, my back pocket classroom ideas and finished packing (expect for last minute items). I had a realization this morning, that my nerves are also shrinking and that I feel ready to tackle this adventure head on. I feel like I have had a lot of personal growth in preparing for this trip. I am so excited to see what Chile has in store for me. I really am now most nervous about being able to sleep on the plane and if they have enough coffee to keep me awake for 9 am Spanish classes. Well now I am off to my last day of work for about a month. Thank goodness the time has come. Good Bye Buffalo Here I come Chile.
As I sit here preparing my packing list, getting all my documents together and finishing my lesson plans I realize it is no longer in the months till we leave it is 18 days till we leave. I am extremely nervous being a home body not only leaving the country but the continent. I don't know what I will do with out my Tim Horton's , my dogs, my family and friends but I know the adventure is just out there. I am excited to meet my new host family, make new friends and new memories. Time to let the count down really begin.