school

that freshman feeling

People kept staring at my massive, black umbrella as I walked from the tram stop to the central plaza of the university in the grey drizzle. Maybe they were awed by its span. Maybe they wished both the tops of their backpacks and the tops of their heads were dry like mine. It’s a struggle to maintain both when you have a diminutive umbrella. But all my belongings were free of moisture.

However, the downside to a venti, triple-shot, extra-special, super-sized, double-the-fun umbrella is that it holds extra water when folded up. Mine drip, drip, dripped a trail of darkened rain on four floors’ worth of average stairs, across a wide breezeway, and around and around a deep-summer-strawberry-red circular staircase to the fifth floor. The two other people there in the tower-like corridor slouched against the radiator by the window. I wandered to the end of the short hall and peeked around the corner, hoping to appear nonchalantly curious rather than lost or clueless. Then I joined them and swiped at the screen of my phone, feigning a deep interest in its display.

Between serious-looking phone-staring sessions, I alternated my furtive, upward glances between door 3501 and the spiral staircase and my watch. The time displayed on my phone didn’t register in my mind. Three minutes til class time, and still none of the three professors, who had raised my hopes with their footfalls on the staircase, had entered the appointed room. One minute more and I would have to try the door myself; I would be forced to contend with its lack of a rotating door handle; I would be required to figure out what the light switch-like button to its left meant. I would surely be foiled in my attempts to enter – as I had been with previous German doors of that nature – and would turn back to hunch over my phone in embarrassment. But, wait. Hallelujah! A fourth person emerged from the stairs! She headed straight for the terrifying door, buzzed the doorbell with all the confidence of a German accustomed to dealing with a wide variety of confusingly closed entryways, and slipped into the room – a library? – when the lock clicked open to admit her.

I quickly followed her example, and inside the – sure enough – library, we exchanged whispered inquiries:

‘You looking for Byzantine–‘

‘Yeah, Byzantine Archeology. Is there a classroom in here?’

‘Not a clue.’

Our mutual confusion was reassuring, and we padded down the faded industrial carpet side by side. An older man appeared from an office beyond the end of the bookshelves, a half-dozen yards in front of us. He cheerily beckoned us to the end of the little departmental library with the glad tidings, ‘The classroom is down here.’ Success!

My fellow loiterers from out in the hall were just seconds behind us. And soon I found myself seated in a cushy chair, surrounded by nine classmates, listening with bated breath to the professor explain Introduction to Byzantine (Art History) Archeology, waiting for the axe of daunting assignments to fall, and wishing I knew the definition of every other word he uttered. I’ve never felt so much like a freshman in my life.

gratitude lately [Job 2:10]

The week before last was a long week here at school. My friends and I agree that we’re just ready for school to be over. And it isn’t even close to fall break yet.

It’s not that I had a lot of tests that week. Or that I had an unusual amount of homework. Or that the weather was dreary. None of those things happened. The week just dragged by in a mundane succession of slowly ticking minute hands on classroom clocks and shuffling crowds between classes.

So, inspired by Today’s Letters – a collection of letters and other wonderful things, written by an ever up-beat and thankful couple  – I’m making a list of what I’ve been grateful for recently.

Because,

 Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”

– Job 2:10 (NIV)

No indeed. Bring on the dense readings, mindless busywork, and 5-hour blocks of back-to-back classes. Because with them comes many good things.

Lately, I’ve been grateful for:

Almond butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. And dining halls that are usually stocked with bananas.

A bike to get me places fast and a lock that keeps my wheels from being stolen.

Exercise. And soreness, which is the reminder of hard work done well.

An aunt and uncle who live close by, who let me use their kitchen to cook off steam and their driveway to store my ride home.

My little iPod and listening to NPR as I walk to class.

Sticky-tack and how it solves all sorts of quandaries.

Re-discovered hair barrettes and how they keep my fluffy hair from taking over the world.

Study rooms and praying mantises that join me to watch the sunset.

And fall break, which is now one week closer than it was when that slow week finally ended in a glorious, sunny Friday.

the definition of spring break

 

The view from one side of our little apartment/hotel in Frisco, CO.

The view from one side of our little apartment/hotel in Frisco, CO.

 

I realize there has been a severe lack of posts on here in the last week or so. That, my friends, is due entirely to that much-anticipated, stupendous event of the semester called Spring Break. Of course, I discovered that some of my professors need to reassess their understanding of the term break, since they do not seem to understand its meaning. Just in case some professor somewhere reads this, let me enlighten you:

2break

noun

(1): an abrupt, significant, or noteworthy change or interruption in a continuous process, trend, or surface (2): a respite from work, school, or duty <coffee break> <spring break(3): relief from annoyance —often used to express exasperation or irritation in phrases like give me a break(4): a planned interruption in a radio or television program <abreak for the commercial>

Merriam Webster

To make it abundantly clear: no homework of any kind should ever be assigned over break, nor should any tests be scheduled for the week afterwards. Take note, professors of the world.

We had Biscoff cookies on the plane!

We had Biscoff cookies on the plane!

While I certainly adhered to the true meaning of the term Spring Break by doing no school work beyond making German flashcards, my linguistics professor assigned a 15-page group paper. How on earth were we supposed to work in a group over break? No one accomplished anything, naturally. It’s due on Wednesday and is now consuming my life.

What it looked like when we landed in Colorado.

What it looked like when we landed in Colorado.

Despite the residual stress from the aforementioned paper, two tests, and spare bits of reading homework, I thoroughly enjoyed my break.

Dad getting ready to conquer a slope at Arapahoe Basin.

Dad getting ready to conquer a slope at Arapahoe Basin.

We went skiing in Colorado, which was quite excellent. Having never skied out west before, I was duly impressed by the length and variety of the ski runs and the sheer volume of snow.

Cramming out skis into the back of our Jeep.

Cramming out skis into the back of our Jeep.

Over three days of skiing we visited Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin, and Keystone.

The view from the back window of our apartment/hotel/thingy/place.

The view from the back window of our apartment/hotel/thingy/place.

 

Of those four, I liked Keystone best. Its blue runs were generally wide, rolling hills, and its black diamonds included the best stretches of perfectly spaced moguls we came across all week. Breckenridge was similar, but its four peaks and numerous ski lifts were a bit overwhelming. And the moguls weren’t as good. Copper Mountain was like Keystone and Breckenridge but with less quality slopes, and Arapahoe Basin was the odd slope out. It was highest in elevation, I think, and was the only place that had the majority of its runs above the tree line. Though the views were beautiful, it was a bit desolate and steep up there on top of the world. Skiing Keystone right after A-Basin was marvelous.

Carrots and yellow beets. Recipe coming someday.

Carrots and yellow beets. Recipe coming someday.

I will get back to posting recipes eventually here. Once we returned from skiing, I managed to fit in a bit of cooking in between social engagements and such. But for now I have to finish this linguistics paper.

Dawn in Frisco, CO.

Dawn in Frisco, CO.

So long, Spring Break.

Relaxing after a day of skiing.

Relaxing after a day of skiing.

comparative progress

I like learning Spanish. It is fun. But, sometimes it feels like swimming in an ocean of molasses past a featureless shoreline. It is difficult to gauge my progress as I flounder my way towards fluency. Sure, I can remind myself of all the verb tenses and gramatical structures with which I have grappled and over which I have occasionally triumphed. Of course I can delight in the infrequent opportunity to supply a noun or a conjugated verb to someone just beginning to assemble to puzzle of the Spanish language. But, when I open my mouth and words I know I should remember refuse to come and all the verbs that fall into neat, properly conjugated categories in my mind suddenly swap endings and combine themselves with the wrong pronouns, it is hard to see anything but my elementary mistakes. That is why it is good to be in Guatemala again.

The last time I was here was slightly less than three years ago, the summer I was 15. I came for two weeks to attend Spanish school, something I had been dreaming of doing since I was eight, maybe even younger. I enjoyed those two weeks and learned a lot. In fact, that was the first time I learned how to use and formulate gerunds (the verb to be + verb ending in -ing in English) in Spanish. At some point during those two weeks, I wanted to tell one of my cousin Kain’s friends that Kain was lying. But, of course, I could not remember how. I had to inquire of my other cousin, Holly. I have no idea why that instance has stuck in my mind, but it gives me hope. I would never have to ask that now. In comparison with that summer three years ago, my Spanish has improved exponentially. Having this place, this specific location in both time and space to pinpoint in my mind is quite helpful. Other aspects of my life have changed, but I am still learning Spanish. I can recall my ability then and compare it to where I am now.

And I can see it; I can see progress! And boy does it feel good!

adiós, Cusco

I can’t believe it; my eleven weeks are up! It seems like just the other day I was taking in the dizzying array of colorful houses and the glorious splendor of the Andes for the first time as I rode from the airport to my Cusqueñan home with my host mother. I surely have enjoyed being here in Cusco, learning Spanish, meeting interesting people from around the world, and eating amazing food, but I am definitely ready to go home.

Every student gives a speech during the break on their last Friday at school. Here is mine:

No sé porque, pero cuando pensaba en Perú y Cusco antes de venir aquí, imaginaba una ciudad un poco sucio y con comida abburida y desagradable o aún fea – con muchos frijoles. Estaba increiblemente incorrecta. Con la excepción del aire en las calles, Cusco es mucha más limpia que expecté, y, más importantemente, la comida es incredible! Si hubiera sabido cuán rica y deliciosa es la comida (especialmente la comida que se puede comprar en las panderias y pastelerias), habría estado a dieta por meses y meses antes de venir.

Hablando de comida hecha por harina y azucar, tengo que confesar algo que probablemente cada persona ya sepa: soy una pan-adicta . . . y, tambien, una pastel-adicta . . . y, además, una empanada-adicta. He probado, en solamente once semanas, todos los tipos de panes, pastels, y tortas allá en el restaurante Meli Melo. Y, por supuesto, yo sacaba fotos de cada uno, aunque todo el mundo me reía.

Estoy dispuesta a compartir mis fotos de comida con ustedes, mis compañeros de la escuela, poreque estoy segura que ustedes van a regresar a sus países y van a mostrar sus fotos de sus viajes a sus amigos. Seguramente, sus amigos van a preguntarles, “Que comiste en Perú? Queremos ver la comida del Perú!” Y, ustedes tendrán que decir, “Oh. Olvidé a sacar fotos de la comida.” Entonces, así que es obvio que este va a ocurrir y para que ustedes puedan evitar ese destino horiblemente avergonzado, les ofrezco mis fotos ahora. Tienen que elegir su destino!

Bueno, quiero decir algunas gracias:

Primeramente, porque vení aquí para aprender más español, gracias a mis profesores numerosos: Alberto, Albertito, José, Erwin, Rebeca, Wilfredo, Evelyn, Luz y Yusey. He disfrutado mi tiempo de aprender con ustedes y me alegra que, en teoría ahora yo sepa todos los tiempos de verbos y algunas cosas de la gramatica y puntuación, aunque siempre los olvido cuando hablo. Espero que ustedes todos ahora comprendan y sepan más de el homeschooling, ya que lo explicaba a cada profesor, creo. 

Quiero decir una gracias especial a los profesores que me dieron recomendaciones muy útiles:

Gracias a Luz por su recomendación de helado de lúcuma. Lo probe y me lo gusto mil veces más que la fruta.

Gracias a Yusey para su receta de la bebida de leche evaporada con coca cola. Cada persona aquí debe probar esta combinación; es extraña y deliciosa.

Y, gracias a Erwin por su recomendación del libro El Principito, que era el primer libre que había leido en Español sin saber el argumento antes de leerlo.

Tengo muchas más varias gracias para decir.

Gracias a Evelyn de la oficina por recomendarme el restaurante Meli Melo una de mis primeras noches aquí.

Gracias a Meli Melo por la major comida de todos los restaurantes en Cusco.

Gracias a mi madre cusqueña, Adela, por abrir su cas a mi, por la conversación, y por la comida, nada de que no me gusto, y especialmente por la mazamorra morada y las maracuyas.

Gracias al libro Lonely Planet Peru, cuyas recomendaciones aseguraba que siempre econtraba buena comida.

Gracias a todos los estudiantes de la escuela. Ustedes hicieron mi tiempo aquí muy divertido y interesante.Una gracias enorme a mis mejores amigos de la escuela – Joe, Erik, Matt de Inglaterra, Simon y Emil de Dinamarca, y Anna de Alemania – por muchas conversaciones interesantes y graciosas, montones de risa, miles de juegos de Capitalismo, y muchas cenas de comida chifa. He disfrutado MUCHISIMO su compañia y por siempre voy a recordar y contar a otras personas mis memorias divertidas de mi tiempo con ustedes.

Gracias a todos los estudiantes de la escuela. Ustedes hicieron mi tiempo aquí muy divertido y interesante.

Una gracias enorme a mis mejores amigos de la escuela – Joe, Erik, Matt de Inglaterra, Simon y Emil de Dinamarca, y Anna de Alemania – por muchas conversaciones interesantes y graciosas, montones de risa, miles de juegos de Capitalismo, y muchas cenas de comida chifa. He disfrutado MUCHISIMO su compañia y por siempre voy a recordar y contar a otras personas mis memorias divertidas de mi tiempo con ustedes.

Y, finalmente, y lo más importante: gracias a mis padres y a Dios por la oportunidad de venir aquí.
Esto es todo mis gracias.

Espero que nos reunamos un día en el futuro. Voy a recomendar Cusco y Perú en general a todos mis amigos, bien, a todas las personas que conozco que les gusta comer.

Es todo, excepto que tengo que decir, aconsejar, mandar que ustedes prueben la torta muss de maracuya en Meli Melo antes de que se mueran o salgan de Cusco.

Es todo. Gracias!


Here’s the translation:

I don’t know why, but when I thought about Peru and Cusco before coming here, I imagined a slightly dirty city with boring and disagreeable, even disgusting, food – with lots of beans. I was incredibly wrong. With the exception of the air in the streets, Cusco is much more clean than I expected and, more importantly, the food is incredible! If I had known how rich and delicious the food is (especially the food you can buy in bakeries and pastry and cake shops), I would have gone on a diet for months and months before coming.

Speaking of food made of flour and sugar, I have to confess something that everyone probably already knows: I am a breadaholic . . . and, also, a cakeaholic . . . and, furthermore, an empanadaholic. In only eleven weeks I have tried every kind of bread, pastry, and cake over there in the café Meli Melo. And, of course, I took a pictures of every one, even though the whole world laughed at me.
I am willing to share my food pictures with you guys, my school companions, because I am sure that you are going to return to your countries and show your pictures of your travels to your friends. Assuredly, they are going to ask you, “What did you eat in Peru? We want to see what Peruvian food looks like!” And, you will have to say, “Oh. I forgot to take pictures of the food.” So, since it is obvious that this is going to happen and so that you can avoid this horribly embarrassing situation, I now offer you my food pictures. You must choose your destiny!

Okay! I have various thanks to say.

Firstly, since I came here to learn more Spanish, thank you to my numerous teachers: Alberto, Albertito, Jose, Erwin, Rebeca, Wilfredo, Evelyn, Luz, and Yusey. I enjoyed my time learning with you guys, and I am please that, in theory, I now know all the verb tenses and various grammar and punctuation things, even though I always forget everything when I speak. I hope you all now understand and know more about homeschooling since I explained it to every single teacher, I think.

I would like to specially thank the teachers that gave me some useful recommendations.

Thanks to Luz for her recommendation of lúcuma ice cream. I tried it and liked it a thousand times better than the fruit.

Thanks to Yusey for her recipe of the evaporated milk and coca cola drink. Everyone here should try this combination; it is strange and delicious.

And, thanks to Erwin for his recommendation of the book The Little Prince, which was the first book I had read in Spanish without knowing the plot beforehand.

I have many more various thank yous to say.

Thanks to Evelyn of the office for recommending me the café Meli Melo on one of my first nights here.

Thanks to Meli Melo for the best food of all of the restaurants in Cusco.

Thanks to my Cusqueñan mother, Adela, for opening her house to me, for the conversation, and for the food, none of which I didn’t like, and especially for the purple corn jello and maracuyas.

Thanks to the book Lonely Planet Peru, whose recommendations made sure that I always found good food.

Thanks to all of the other students here at the school. You guys made my time here very fun and interesting.

An enormous thank you to my best friends from school here – Joe, Erik, Matt from England, Simon and Emil from Denmark, and Anna from Germany – for many interesting and funny conversations, lots of laughter, thousands of games of Capitalism, and many suppers of Peruvian Chinese food. I have really, really enjoyed your company and I will always remember and tell stories of my fun memories of my time with you.

And, finally, and most importantly: thank you to my parents and to God for the opportunity to come here!

That is all of my thank yous.

I hope we will meet again some day in the future. I will recommend Cusco and Peru in general to all of my friends, okay, to all of the people I know who like to eat.

That is all except I have to say, suggest, command that you guys should all try the maracuya mousse cake at Meli Melo before you die or leave Cusco.

That’s all! Thanks!

 

[Sorry about the weird spacing. I’m not sure what the issue is.]

More or less ready to go home! My suitcase does zip, believe it or not.

a more comprehensive view of Spanish school

A while back I was discussing this blog with Mother, and she suggested that I do a post about Spanish school. The idea had not really occurred to me. I think it was a good one. It is a bit hard to keep track of who knows what details about my life here in Cusco. I am in rather close and regular contact with the family at home and my best friend; consequently, I often forget that everyone else has not been told this or that. I fear that I often leave you to deduce your own pictures of certain aspects of life, Spanish school, for example, from the shreds of information I happen to scatter about in other posts. Sorry about that. All that to say, here is a more concrete, complete description of what I have been doing at Spanish school and how the whole thing works.

Every Monday morning new students arrive. Sometimes there are as many as ten and sometimes there is only one or two. As they wander somewhat hesitantly into the courtyard where usually a few of us “veteran” students are seated, we generally greet them with an “hola” and initiate the exchange of basic information like name, nationality, and number of weeks at school. When the bell rings at 8:30, the new students are shuffled off for their placement tests, orientation information session, and city tour. Carolína, the lady in charge of classes, reads out the teacher and classmate assignments for the rest of us, and we follow our respective teachers to our classrooms.

Our teachers, and often classmates, too, change from week to week. I am not quite sure why. So far I have had the gregarious, talkative Alberto, the slow-spoken, somewhat awkward, diminutive Albertito, the slightly creepy José, and the fun, amusing, best-teacher-yet Erwin (though, tragically, he was my teacher only for two afternoon classes last Thursday and Friday after my Machu Picchu trip). My classmates have more or less stayed the same, though they have changed simply because some of them have left. On occasion I have been the only student in my class, which suits me just fine, too, since one-on-one instruction is often more productive and helpful.

What exactly we do during class varies widely between teachers. Generally, however, the first 15 or 20 minutes are used just for talking. Typically, we begin to work on the week’s verb tense after that. However, sometimes I have spent the entire first hour and a half of class just talking. The discussion typically includes numerous popular American culture and music references about which I am ironically clueless compared to my Peruvian teachers and even foreign classmates. Frequent topics of conversation, at least in my classes, also include politics, religion, homestay experiences, soccer, movies, and, once the teacher finds out my educational background, homeschooling. Naturally, I am forever assuring my teachers and classmates that I do indeed have friends. I have also explained standardized testing, as used medium for universities to compare homeschooled and traditional schooled students, three or so times.

During the break most everyone snacks on something. I certainly do. Some days I have a banana that I have bought on the way to school; other days I eat a croissant or some similar pastry from a S/3 bag of 8 or so day-old pastries I purchase from a nearby bakery. We either play cards in the courtyard (or big room with the wood fired stoves if it’s rainy) or just talk.

The agenda for the second hour and a half of class also depends on the teacher, but is slightly more predictable. Most teachers choose to hand out fill-in-the-blank-with-a-conjugated-verb sheets for us to complete individually and then review as a group. Those exercises annoy me. They seem like a waste of class time that could be used for practicing, for conversing. They would be better for homework. Oh well. After that, we usually read a page or two of some literature excerpt and discuss it and learn new vocabulary. I do not mind those so much. The final exercise for the day is often listening to ridiculously ill-pronounced lyrics from some Spanish love song and attempting to fill in the blanks on a lyrics sheet. It is a waste of time, nothing else. But, before you start imagining that most of my second halves of class are unproductive, let me assure you that teachers deviate from the pattern I have described rather frequently, thankfully. I have spent entire second halves of class talking or listening to my teachers tell stories. I prefer the former over the latter, but either is infinitely superior to the idiotic song-listening work. Overall, I would say I enjoy my classes.

After class everyone hangs around for a few minutes to make collective plans to meet somewhere and do something (usually a place with food to talk and play cards at least for me). Once or twice a week we will be unable to coordinate our individual plans, which will provide me with a free afternoon. That is when I blog.

Besides morning Spanish classes, the school provides other activities and opportunities. The main alternative to Spanish school in the mornings is volunteering. In fact, some people come just to volunteer through the school. They typically work with poor kids in an orphanage or school-like situation from 9 to 1ish. Often these people will take individual Spanish classes in the afternoons, another option the school provides. The classes can last anywhere from two hours to four hours (including a 20ish minute break). Of course, if you wish to have no time to do anything before 9 at night, you can take group classes in the morning and volunteer in the afternoons. Sounds unpleasant to me. Outside of learning and working opportunities, the school will arrange very over-priced excursions to nearby towns or even trips to Machu Picchu. Other less outrageously priced, daily activities like salsa dancing lessons, Peruvian cuisine tasting sessions, or chocolate making classes, are posted on a bulletin board in the courtyard. The only one I have participated in was the salsa dancing class. Yes, yes, I, Claire, took a salsa class. Everyone else was doing it, and for once in my life I let myself be pulled along by the “peer pressure.” After a few minutes of the class I stopped regretting my decision. It was not too bad. True, choreographed dancing is quite tolerable, I think. It was more like an aerobics class than anything else. Of course, when I had the opportunity to use my newly acquired salsa skills later, I declined. ‘Twas fun and amusing to learn, though.

I think that just about covers Spanish school. I like the school. I like the nice, bright, clean building. I like that there is heat on cold, rainy days. I like that there is a sunny courtyard. I like that it has excellent, free wifi. I like that I have thoroughly enjoyed some of my classes. I like that I get to meet people from all over the world. Yup. I like it.

Cusco: the rest of my first week

My days fell into an easy pattern starting Tuesday afternoon:

7:15 a.m. – My alarm goes off, telling me it is time to get up and dressed, even though I am usually awake an hour or at least a few minutes before this. I get dressed, put on my shoes (no walking around in socks here), and wrangle my hair into some sort of orderly appearance by the time Adela calls me for breakfast.

7:30 – I am seated with Adela at a table for four, spreading a minuscule amount of peanut butter and jelly on my round roll and stirring my hot oatmeal drink (very watery oatmeal with some butter and sugar).

7:45 – Breakfast is over, I have dried the dishes that Adela has washed, and am putting away my pjs, brushing my teeth, and packing my backpack, not simultaneously, mind you.

8:01 – I don’t know why, but it seems like I always leave at 8:01, not 8:00. Having locked my room, I exit through a low door onto the sidewalk and start breathing in exhaust.

8:15 – Having walked quickly to stay warm, I arrive at school, grab a blanket from the blanket table, and plop down in a chair or on a bench in the courtyard, exchanging “hola”s or “buenos dias”s with anyone I come across. The 15-minute warning bell rings.

8:30 – I am seated in between my fellow classmates, Lawrence from Germany and Kristen from Washington, informing the teacher (they change every week; this week’s was Alberto) that I am and everything is, in fact, “bien” today. We usually start in on some sort of grammar lesson.

10:20 – I think this is the time the bell rings for our 30-minute break (I think it’s that long; I don’t really know). If it is sunny, we sit in the courtyard and talk. If it is rainy, we huddle near the two stoves in the big room where the computer and wifi are. Regardless of the weather, most people purchase snacks and hot beverages from the little snack bar in the big room. The prices seem arbitrary and odd: for example, a cup of tea costs 1.50 soles while a pack of four Peruvian Chips Ahoy cookies costs S/1.00. Why does hot water and leaves cost more than four cookies? I don’t get it.

10:50 – We summon our courage and plunge back into our cold classroom for the post-break session, which usually consists of talking (more like listening to Alberto tell stories, this week), doing reading exercises, listening to songs to fill in blanks in the lyrics, and making up stories or sentences about a given phrase.

12:40 – Class is over and people congregate to discuss their day’s activities and/or make plans to meet somewhere for supper.

1:00 – I usually arrive home almost exactly at 1:00. Adela always has lunch ready, so I quickly toss my backpack on my bed, wash my hands, and bring my plate of the first course into the dining room.

1:30 – Our three-course lunch is over lunch is over, and I have dried and put away the dishes Adela washed. I brush my teeth and head to my room to unpack my backpack.

2:30 – By this time I have written my journal summary about morning’s events and also removed my notebook and pencil case from my backpack and replaced them with my computer (yes, I did bring it), camera and computer cords, and my journal.

3:30 – I leave the house, after having zapped some water and perhaps read some Jane Austen or taken a shower, usually around this time, sometimes earlier, sometimes a bit later. Most days I walk straight to school.

3:45 – If I did indeed leave at 3:30 and walk straight to school, I immediately claim a chair in the big room with the wifi and start blogging or skyping (I often do this in another room to avoid bothering people) or facebooking or catching up on Pioneer Woman and Tasty Kitchen stuff. However, sometimes I stop by the bank or the laundromat (once this week) on the way and, therefore, arrive a bit later.

6:50 – The school closes for the day at 7:00, so I have to leave around this time, unless I have gone home earlier to drop my stuff off in order to return and meet people for supper, unencumbered by large electronics. If I leave after dark, which is around 6:00 or 6:15, I take a taxi home. They cost S/2.50 or S/3.00, about $1.

7:00 – Once home, I unlock the kitchen and heat up leftover lunch that Adela has left me. She leaves the food in the microwave and sets me a place at the little table in the kitchen, complete with a thermos of hot water and various tea options, all on a placemat.

7:15 – I have finished dinner and have everything cleaned up and put away.

8:30 – I usually go to bed. Between bed and supper I read some, finish journaling about the day, and sometimes upload and label some pictures on the computer.