English–Salem

Today was an eventful day. I had to take a different bus today. And I had to leave home an hour earlier. So it was up at 6, on the bus at 6:50, and to school at 7:30 for school to start at 8. I actually got on the wrong bus this morning, because two buses come by my house, but I made it to school.

After school I was told that I needed to take a different bus. I got on the bus and no one else was there. Eventually some kids got on the bus and were speaking English, which is something I don’t hear from the kids at school very much. Most of them choose to speak Spanish when they’re not in class. There were only about 7 people on my bus, and two little girls sat next to me. One of them asked the other (about me), “Do you think she speaks English?” I’m not surprised they were wondering, because there are a lot of “white” people here who speak only Spanish. One of the girls finally decided, “I think so,” and I responded with, “I think so, too,” and that is how I met my new American friend. We’ll call her Kara (because I don’t want to identify any kids here). Kara introduced herself saying, “I’m from America,” and I told her I am too. It turns out she’s from Ohio and will be here for a little while because her dad has a job down here and the whole family decided to come. She’s a little first grader, and I feel like I really get along with that age group and that is the grade I would love to teach. She started asking me if I knew some English songs, and we sang some of them. I think she was just excited that someone would speak to her in English. I know her teacher and from what I can tell almost all of them are native Spanish-speakers. She also started spouting random facts about camels and that her parents say she’s half koala and basically everything she could think of. She found out I am from Michigan and told me that her uncle doesn’t like Michigan (she meant U of M) because he lives in Ohio. Then she said that now that she knows what Michigan people are like, she likes Michigan. We talked the whole way home and she asked if we could all sit in the same seats tomorrow. The other kids were really nice, too, but Kara took up most of the talking time. I did find out that one of them is from Guatemala, but she has American parents, so she speaks English very well, and the other is from California. It will be nice to have some people to talk to on the way home, and I’m hoping that in talking to me they will be more comfortable being here, because the two American kids could speak Spanish only at a very low level.

I should say that I have seen Kara before. Her teacher is one of my teacher’s good friends, and that teacher is very nice. She always asks how I am and how I’m liking Guatemala while most other teachers seem to stay away from me. That might just be because they don’t speak English. But anyway, on the first day of school Kara didn’t bring any food for snack time because her family assumed there would be a hot lunch. There isn’t a lunch hour here, so she didn’t have food all day. During the second recess, her teacher went to the cafeteria and explained the situation. They agreed to give Kara some food. Kara went to the cafeteria by herself and came back almost crying because she couldn’t understand anyone. I’ve been meaning to talk to her since then, but first grade and prepa (my grade) haven’t had a recess together since.

So that was my day. I’ll be teaching a class by myself sometime in the next few weeks, so wish me luck!

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