10 August 2007

First Weekend Meltdown

So, my first weekend in Medellin wasn’t the best. I had planned to go to dinner at the apartment of 3 of the other new teachers. After my nap, I gathered all of my stuff and called for a cab as instructed in our ‘Welcome’ packet. The phone rang once, I heard some rambling in Spanish, and the line went dead. I found that odd, so I double checked the number and tried again. Same thing. I tried a few more times, all of them ending the same way, in what I’ve now figured out is a message that the line is busy. Not to be discouraged, I headed down to my porteria (doorman) to ask him to call. It was difficult getting my question across (see previous post), but I finally figured out I needed to bring him change to make the phone call. By this time, I was totally frustrated and decided that I was not going anywhere. I went back up to my apartment and called the girls to let them know. They proceeded to call the taxi company themselves to get me a ride, but twice were disconnected near the end of the call. I ended up eating over-priced spaghetti (have you ever tried to find something familiar in a foreign grocery store?) and going to bed early.

The next morning I called Jen and the Tinas (above-mentioned coworkers), and they were so nice to come pick me up in a cab so that we could all go shopping. While I waited for them to get here, I did a bit of crying over the fact that I was all alone in a city that I couldn’t even get a cab in, my roommate hadn’t made it here yet, and to top it off I hadn’t even figured out how to call my parents yet! All I wanted to do was talk to my mom! I had to put on my big girl panties and deal with it all by myself!

After shopping, we all had dinner at their place, and I ended up spending the night in their maid’s quarters. Seriously, if it weren’t for the lack of closet space, I’d have moved in right then. The girls were so wonderful to me and really knew how to step in and help.

Sunday brought the start of the math institute hosted at our school. It was a great learning experience. We had kids in the morning, with experienced teachers working with them as facilitators (instead of lecturers), and in the afternoon we had professional development and discussion. It was awesome to see other teachers in action again, and learn some new things to do in my classroom (or, not do, in the case of leaving markers on the students’ desks when they are done making their name tags). We also had a chance to work with teachers from other cities in Colombia, so we not only made professional contacts, but reservations for future trips. I have all kinds of places to stay in Bogota!

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