This weekend was pretty crazy but fun! On Friday morning the stern, British Lower school principal came to observe me teach a writing lesson. I was pretty intimidated and nervous to say the least, primarily due to the fact that she has been an administrator of highly prestigious and academically rigorous International schools for a long time. Basically, she knows her stuff. But everything went unbelievably well! Her comments were incredibly encouraging. In fact, it was definetely all God, as teaching always is, because on Thursday I had felt like I needed to be improve my classroom management and discipline with this group of kids. And one of the things that Ms. Patricia said after she observed me teach was that I have excellent classroom management! We are weak, but He is strong. Probably the best compliment I could receive considering this is an area I feel like I am continually working to improve in.
Saturday morning I woke up early and took a taxi to Alliance. Julie, Melissa, Barbie, Christy, one of the teacher's at Alliance and I took the bus to Otovalo. What an experience that was! I thought our bus was going to fall off the edge of the twisty, turvy mountain roads at least twice. (Sorry Ma) Haha but it was definetely a good cultural experience. I bought a lot of Christmas presents there :) The Otovalan people are kind and gentle. Bargaining with them and walking through their market is nothing like the Zambian market. They are pushy at times but they don't pull you in by the arm and refuse to let you go until you buy something like at Victoria Falls. The Andean culture is just beautiful. Check out facebook for pictures of the people in the next few days so you can understand what I mean. They work so hard and are quite thrifty. Barbie and I found LIGA Jerseys for only $10! They are the Quito futbol team who will be playing in the South American Finals this week! So we were excited to find jerseys.
After a long, successful day of shopping, we traveled back to Quito by bus. When we got back around 5 I had to rush to get a taxi back to my apartment and get ready for a dinner party on Saturday night. I took a cab with a couple who live up the street from me to this dinner party put on by my co-worker, whose husband is the DCM (works right underneath the ambassador). When the cab pulled up the house I couldn't believe my eyes. There were three guards out front, kind of like bouncers, who had to check to be sure our names were on the list before you could enter the house. They stood out front for the entire night in order to watch the cars of the guests. This house was literally a mansion. The entry-way had marble floors and white pillars. A few men wearing all white suits walked around serving appetizers on silver trays. When I walked into the living room, everyone had a drink in their hand and were standing around chatting in a huge room with a fireplace. Everyone there was at least 27, most were over 30. There must have been at least 30 people in the room socializing. It was truely a scene from a movie.
Finally, they moved us into the dining room for our real appetizer and meal. I had a great time talking with some co-workers from the school that wre sitting around me. Including the vice principal of the school who may have had one too many drinks!
On Sunday morning I went to Dios es Fiel, a Spanish church, with Barbie and Christy. Loved the upbeat worship that really led the congregation to recognize who God is and what he has done for us. But not only recognizing who He is but thanking him for that and celebrating it! The sermon was preached by a guest speaker in English and translated into Spanish. After church, the director of Alliance and his wife had the Alliance student teachers and I over for lunch. They were incredibly kind and hospitable. Very encouraging to talk with. Then I got home and Donna had a dinner party with 4 of her close friends, the director of Cotopaxi and his house guest. I had a good time again socializing with people who are much older, and very different than I. The topics of conversation ranged from sailing, to alcohol, to teaching, to world travel experiences, to war, to teaching, to alcohol and back to teaching. Haha it was good fun though.
Today I taught all day and it went well! I taught a fun, hands-on science lesson which the students really enjoyed but took a lot of preparation and clean-up work for me! On Wednesday of this week we will have a big, Thanksgiving lunch at school! THen on Thursday we get out of school at 12:00 and later in the afternoon I am going to my student's house for another Thanksgiving dinner with a large number of single marines who they also invited over! But it will be a classic, American Thanksgiving and that will be nice.
I let the guard borrow my ipod yesterday and today because he looks so bored just sitting by the gate waiting for someone to walk by and say Hi. He was listening to an alarm clock radio yesterday when Igot home so I offered him the pod just to borrow until he left work at 6. My housemate thinks he's going to steal it or something, I think he is trustworthy. In fact, I think we might be friends. He told me today that he really likes listening to Maroon 5, Jessica Simpson and the Backstreet Boys haha!
Hoping to do some travel over our 3-day Thanksgiving break! But these are my adventures over the past week. I'm starting to really love the Ecuadorian culture and I think my Spanish is starting to improve. :)