Sunday, August 19, 2012


I'm an idiot.  In my mind, I was certain I had until the end of August to renew my work visa in Colombia.  What I failed to consider/remember is that I received my visa in the U.S. at the beginning of August.  On August 3, I looked at my Colombian ID and read that it expired on August 4.  To renew my visa requires a mountain of paperwork from my employer, so I went to the office about a week and a half later to get my new visa. 

When I arrived at the visa office to get my new visa for this year, they informed me that in order to get a new visa I would have to leave the country.  Awesome....AND in order to leave the country I would need to file for a salvoconducto and pay a fine.  Double awesome. 

So now I have a surprise/forced vacation scheduled for August 25.  In order to make the most of a bad situation, I am flying to Houston, Texas to spend 9 days with some of my favorite people in all the world.  Trying to make lemonade out of this lemon that life (and my own stupidity) have given me...hoping for a problem-free visa application process in Houston.  Stay tuned for the final outcome.

On My Own!

At the same time the new school year began, I also moved to my own apartment.  Because of that life has been crazy and therefore it has taken me until now to write about my new digs.

Anyhow, it is awesome.  I only moved about 8 blocks from my old home but I'm now near everything:  grocery store, Juan Valdez (Colombia Starbucks equivalent), salons, outdoor markets, bars, restaurants, and more.  I also now get to live alone.  I have my own space, I can use my kitchen whenever I want, I can have guests over without feeling bad, and I can sing and dance around in my underwear (if I so choose).   Being on my own also means more responsibility and learning to live in Spanish in new ways:  Calling to get my phone, TV, and Internet set up; paying bills; getting locks changed and new keys made... I love it! 

Here are few photos of my new place...visitors welcome!:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Back to the Grind

Headed back to school today - my month of vacation flew by!  It was great to see folks and the beginning of the year is always my favorite: new pens, notebooks, and other office supplies (best case!) but also a clean slate, an opportunity to start fresh with the students.  Also, found out that I will be teaching 5th grade and will be a course director.  Say what?!?!  This should definitely result in some interesting blog posts throughout the year. 

Last year, 5th grade was a challenge.  They are babies!  I'm hoping by only teaching 5th grade and having more time with them each week, things will be a bit more enjoyable...for everyone.  Also, the opportunity to teach the basics to these little guys will certainly make me more qualified for the stuff I want to do down the road:  train teachers! 

As for the course director part, I'm pretty sure the administration has gone mad.  The position itself is perfect for me - I get to be in charge of a course - gosh, I love control!  I can decorate the classroom, arrange the desks the way I'd like, build up team moral and work on the classroom culture.  I also get to work on the individual improvement plans with the struggling students, work closely with parents, and run the weekly grade level meetings.  This is great stuff and certainly good professional development, especially because half of these things must be done in SPANISH...which is also why I think the administration is off its rocker...SPANISH!!?!?!  Yes, I can order my food at a restaurant, navigate my way around the city well enough, hold a conversation at a bar, and confirm a reservation by phone...but having difficult conversations with parents about their children?  Haha...this is going to be verrrry interesting...