18 August 2008

First Week

I made it through the first week of school fine.  My kids seem like they're going to be a lot of fun.  It's going to be a challenge, but I tried to start things differently this year, so maybe it'll be a bit easier to get them to do something for me.  On the whole, they seem like they really are good people, just really squirrelly.  We'll see what happens.  I do have one class with 21 boys and no girls.  That's going to be interesting.  I have a feeling it'll be a smelly classroom when they're there.  

Today was our first puente (Monday holiday) of the school year.  The only plans I had were to spend time at the pool.  Too bad it's been rainy and cloudy all weekend.  Very disappointing.  I tried today, but a downpour started as soon as I got there, so Tina and I ended up having lunch and bloody marys and going home.  Total bummer.

09 August 2008

Vaca Replay

Aside from the trips to Costa Rica and Tennessee, I did take some other trips this spring/early summer. Nothing nearly as exciting as our vigilante action took place, but a lot of fun was had by all. Here are the highlights. I'll add a few pictures here, but the rest of them will be at Shutterfly. I'll pass on the link when I'm done organizing them.

Guatape/El Penol--April 2008
Guatape and El Penol are two pueblitos about 3 hours away from Medellin. Sarah, Jenna, Jen, and I took the bus up on a Saturday for the night, just to get out of town. Both of the towns are on this awesome lake: some number of years ago (I think in the 1970s) a dam was built and an entire town was flooded. The lake is beautiful; it has all of these fingers and there are tons of fincas built all around it, including one of Pablo Escobar's, which was bombed by the military during one of the failed attempts to catch him. We took a boat tour of the lake and were able to see the cross of the church that still sits at the bottom. It's pretty cool.
The other main attraction here is a giant rock that sticks up above everything else. (I believe it's actually named El Penol, too, but I'm not positive about that.) You can climb to the top of the rock to check things out, which the girls did but I chose not to do. Next time I'll climb up, too.

Bogota--May 2008
We had one of our famous long weekends, including a puente (Monday off), during the first part of May, so Jen, Jenna, and I, along with our friends Tina (Jen's roommate) and Paula (our resident counselor) went to Bogota for the weekend.

After living in the city of mediocre food, Bogota was a treat for our taste buds. Our first stop was the Hard Rock Cafe--admittedly not the best food, but it was all kinds of American, which we all needed. We also got Thai, Arabic, and the best Mexican food I've had since leaving the States. And don't forget the beer. Oh, the beer. There is an actual microbrewery in Bogota, which always makes me happy.

Aside from eating and drinking (which took up a lot of time), we toured around the city. We went up to Monserrate, which is a cathedral on the top of one of the mountains in the city. That place has the most amazing views, which are almost enough to convince me to move there. The cathedral also has the world's scariest Jesus--I kid you not. I won't post the picture here, but I promise it's in my batch on Shutterfly.

We spent a lot of time in the La Candelaria area of town, which is the historic district. The buildings and the museums and churches and Plaza Bolivar; they're really amazing. It's beautiful and so rich with history, and the plaza is full of pigeons and people and street performers. I truly can't get enough of it. And not to mention that after 16 (I may be exaggerating here) margaritas, all it takes is an 'I'll pay for it' to get Jenna to climb atop a llama. It was awesome.

Our last night there we went to a dance club and ended up staying out all night. We got back to the hotel just in time for breakfast. Fabio at the front desk was impressed.
(an aside: if you ever decide to go to Bogota, you've got to stay at La Casona del Patio Amarillo. It's fantastic and cheap and they make killer fried eggs for breakfast!)

Cartagena--1st Weekend of June 2008
Our trip to Cartagena was the 'last hurrah' for Sarah, Jen, Jenna, and me, since Sarah has left us for China. It also was a celebration of the Jenna's 3rd Annual 29th birthday. We went big and stayed at an all-inclusive, where we proceeded to spend as much time as possible pool-side with cocktails. We tried the beach for awhile, but there were so many vendors who did not understand the word 'no' (including the guy who kept trying to get me to go out with him under the promise that men from the coast are different from men elsewhere. whatever.) that we decided to stay in the compound at the pool. There we met some seemingly nice guys from Georgia, who later turned out to be racist bastards. It's possible we're actually better off sticking to our own company. The weekend was tons of fun and very restoring. There might have been some dancing in the Bogota airport, fueled by Ron Medellin. Airports here are awesome...they have these little carts that sell beverages and snacks and such. We like to call them 'bars.' And you can carry your drink, whatever it is, everywhere around the airport. In the Cartagena airport, we actually had to make our own bar once we got past security. Here are Jen and Sarah mixing up some ron.

03 August 2008

I may have solved the picture problem

I've started uploading my pictures to Shutterfly. It seems to be working much better and is quite easy to arrange and title them (so much easier than I thought Kodak was). And I've been able to upload over 100 pictures at a time and it's generally only taking about an hour. So much better! Sometime within the next week or so I'll be sending out a link so you all can check them out.

On another note...I start school for real tomorrow. No kids yet this week, but all of the fun pre-year teacher stuff. Oh, and recuperations. If I haven't told you about those, let me know, and I'll be glad to fill you in on what a pain in the ass they are. I can't wait to spend even MORE time on that!