When I started teaching Chileans English, I was extremely disappointed by my inability to teach them. So much so that I even questioned whether I should be a teacher and even asked my CELTA teacher for advice. Well all that has changed. Each day, I wake up looking forward to teaching and being with my students. Sure, I still have bad days, but I think that comes with the territory so you just have to go with it, whether it’s good or bad. Also by relying more on worksheets and games, the students seem to be more interested and participate more actively. Now, not all the levels like the same things, some like games, some like worksheets and some like a mix of both. It removes a bit of creativity on my part, but hey, that’s a small price to pay to get the students excited to learn.
I know what you are thinking, I’m crazy to start an online Spanish class. That may be so, but the more stuff I can involve myself in the less I’ll remember the sad fact that I’m on an island, at the end of the world. This will also be a good way for me to improve my Spanish, talking with people is helping but not cutting it, and also learn about Chilean culture. My first assignment is due Monday, wish me luck.
Next week is a religious week. Despite this or maybe because of this, I will have the opportunity to participate in a ping-pong tournament. The tournament will take place on August 31st, I’m bringing it home to Canada baby! Lets hope that my skills are up to the task.
Tonight I am going to be dancing Cueca. At first the dance scared me mainly because of my inability to coordinate my feet, there’s a lot of footwork involved, and also trying to break the habit of approaching the dance like a martial art (I move, stop, next move…) Not anymore, I really like the dance, I know the moves so all that’s left is to work on the footwork and making it look pretty. Some of the other dancers there are even impressed with my Cueca dancing, going so far as saying I need to bring this dance to Canada. What do you guys think? You imitate the nuptial ritual of the rooster and the hen, look it up, it’s well worth it. Another thing I realized, hopefully I’m wrong here, but Canada doesn’t have an official dance, that is unless you consider bump and grind an actual dance (please don’t). I don’t know how this didn’t shock me before. Dance is extremely important when it comes to cultural identity and therefore having a national dance is almost essential. Without it, it’s almost like the culture is incomplete.
I’ve started coaching public speaking and so far things are going very well. My student’s pronunciation is near-native-like except for a few problematic words like ‘astonishing’ mainly because of the lax a sound. Now the challenge will be for her to learn it by heart and also add tonal variation and body language as well as be able to answer the judges questions on her topic. There’s still a lot of work to do, but I like the progress we are making. If anything else, I’ll be able to travel to Punta Arenas for the tournament and I also get to stay in a hotel. How far can my student go? Who knows. But to me the sky’s the limit and I can’t wait to see the final result of all her hard work.
What to do when it’s raining outside and there’s nothing to do? Make bread of course. That’s right I made bread, but not just any bread, a caramelized onion loaf. One word: Yum! The other volunteer was being given a Chilean saint name that means ‘snow’ and therefore she also did some cooking. She made an amazing chicken, with rosemary, oregano, white wine, green onion, cilantro, olives and plums (you heard me). It was absolutely scrumptious, I will definitely be asking for the recipe. Thanksgiving is slowly approaching and since the date is different in the States and in Canada, I’m going all out and planning a Thanksgiving dinner. I want to cook a turkey (for the first time), make stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy and for dessert, this may be ambitious but hey when in Rome, an eggnog pumpkin pie. If anyone has good recipes for stuffing and tips on how to cook the turkey I would really appreciate it.
I have finally realized why my family stays in their little bubble. It may be a bit of culture shock but it’s mostly a language barrier. Apparently my Spanish is horrible. (Thanks a bunch eight Spanish courses including for in university. I think it would be a lot better just starting from scratch. Sure there would a language barrier but it would be reciprocal. There are so many words that I don’t know and there’s also the fact I’m getting many instances of sound prononciation confusion such as with bs and vs. I think English Opens Doors should tell you that it’s preferable to either know a lot of Spanish or none at all, and warn you that middle ground is a death trap.
Well I’m off to my Cueca class to improve paso a paso, step by step (literally).