First Day of School! (1/17/11)–Salem

First, a little update on yesterday (Sunday). Yesterday was Loren and my 3 month anniversary. We completely forgot. Not that it should be a huge occasion, but it’s something exciting for us. We did find a nice restaurant called DaVinci, though, so maybe unknowingly we had our anniversary dinner.

Check out those prices! (Just kidding, Q125 is about $15… and our food wasn’t even close to that expensive.)

My dinner: Spinach linguini with olive oil, sundried tomatoes, green olives, mushrooms, peppers, and very finely chopped onions. Yum.

Loren’s dinner: Tortellini Au Gratin with chicken. Also yum.

We were also able to get a picture of a chicken bus!

Imagine going 50mph down a bumpy road squished 3 or more to a seat with a guy yelling "ANTIGUA ANTIGUA ANTIGUA!” out the open door he is standing in. Good fun.

Now for today!

Today was the first day! It went a lot better than I thought. The thing I was really nervous about was catching the bus in the morning. I caught a school van last Thursday and Friday, but this morning I had to catch an actual school bus. Loren and I stood at our usual stop and a couple of buses passed us without even stopping. One bus finally stopped and I asked the bus driver if he was going to Colegio Boston. He said yes and opened the doors for me. I don’t think that was the bus I was supposed to take, but all the buses from Antigua have to go by my bus stop to get to school.

First day in my uniform. The polo shirt says “I love BOSTON kids!” with a big smiley face.

When I got there, there were a few kids in the classroom and a bunch of parents wandering around. It took about 40 minutes after school started to get everything set up and ready to go. We started by asking everyone their name and how old they are. It was surprisingly hard, because we have to be very careful with the language we use. All of the kids in my class are Spanish-speakers and none of them are native English-speakers, so they only know the words they remember from the past two years of school. After we got to know each other, Hania left to find the copy lady and I was left with the class. I taught them head, shoulders, knees, and toes, and we sang it a few times getting faster each time. Then we went back to their tables and did some more name games. We played bingo, went out for recess, and then the kids played with legos while Hania and I sorted out what each kid brought. The school doesn’t provide anything (paper, pencils, scissors, etc.), so the teachers make a list of what they need and the parents buy it. We had to look through every kid’s box of things they brought to make sure everything was there. It takes a long time, because there were a lot of things to look for. We are supposed to have two groups of kids (one is in English and one is in Spanish, and then we switch), but we didn’t do that today because it was so chaotic. That means I have a whole other group of kids to meet tomorrow. It’s nice, though, because there are 13 in my class right now and 15 in the Spanish class. 28 is what a normal class in the US might have, so I’ll have the same amount of names to learn.

Then, when it was time to go home, I got to take the bus line to the buses while Hania took the car line to meet their parents. I had to take the bus home, too, but I didn’t know what number to take. All of the buses are numbered, but some of them didn’t have the number in the window, and they weren’t in order, which would have been very helpful. I finally found my bus and sat down, but when the driver tried to start the bus, it wouldn’t start. He started fiddling around under the hood, but nothing happened. After about 10 minutes, they decided to use another bus to jump it. I only know a little about jumping cars, but the way they did it scared me a little. We eventually got moving, and I got off at the gas station by our house. It was a long day and I’m exhausted, but I’m excited to see what the other class is like and hopefully school will calm down a little more tomorrow so we can have a more according-to-plan day.


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