Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Hiya all
So this is the article I wrote for The Quill... our student newspaper.
I miss Peru quite a lot.
Really a lot.
It's also great to be around friends and family though of course.
I hope I will be fortunate enough to return someday.

Close your eyes. Close your eyes and shut down your memories of everything past. Take away your hopes for the future. For just a second, concentrate on being. Feel your heart beating against your ribcage and the flickering of your eyelids as they defend you from foreign particles. Feel the energy of life around you, through you, becoming you and appreciate what being alive is. For that one moment, you are with every person before you and billions in the present. Just being.
Open your eyes and look around. Look at what you are, what you have made for yourself and what has been handed to you. Think about the problems facing you every day and how you react to them. This is your world. Now, I want to take you into another world, one that I have witnessed, and therefore have the responsibility to share.
Imagine the average classroom in your school. Quarter the space and multiply the class size by two. You are 8 years old. The boy on one side of you has serious behavioural problems. The girl on the other side is very sick. You don’t know what she has, but the fact she is ill is very clear. You are tracing letters. An hour passes. You are still tracing letters. All week, for the time you are in this cramped space, you are tracing letters. You’re getting pretty good at it. Next week you will be tracing shapes. Maybe you wouldn’t even be here, but that being here guarantees you one meal a day. A meal your family needs you to eat, because maybe they can’t afford to feed you. Or, maybe they don’t care whether you eat or not. Maybe they don’t care if you live or die but your teacher does. She understands because she was you 10 years ago. Your teacher never graduated high school. She has had no training. She does the best with what she has been given and does it for a meagre amount of money. But she is lucky, because she has a job. Maybe one day, you want to be just like her.
But now is your favourite part of the day. You are singing. Singing and learning about shapes. You love this song because you sing it every day. Every single day. Then the kind lady knocks at the door and you are so excited because she brings new food. She brings food and sings some new songs with you. The milk yesterday was kind of lumpy but you didn’t care. It felt satisfying sitting in your stomach. Still, the new milk is something to look forward to. The lady seems angry about the off milk. She is a very pretty woman. You want to hug her, because she’s so full of warmth and richness. It seems she is from another world. Her skin is the same colour as yours, so you don’t understand how she can have so much food to share and you have none. You have heard plenty of people talking of the Gringos and their money, the trouble they bring with them, but she is not a Gringa. She is just a very pretty lady and you like her songs. You like the food too.
There is an elderly woman sitting at the back of the classroom. She doesn’t speak and she doesn’t smile. She watches everything. Maybe her eyes scare you, and you wonder about her life and the things she has seen and experienced, but it’s a fleeting thought. You only know that everyday she will be there, watching.
But now you have need to relieve yourself. You walk outside onto the cracked pavement, in your bare feet, to the toilet. The only privacy offered is a few rows of bricks in front of you. You can see over them. Flies and mosquitoes buzz around your head. You’ve never been vaccinated, but it doesn’t even cross your mind that you might contract something. It’s just a normal day for you.
It is not certain how many years you will be in school for. Your parents might need you to work soon. The thought of high school doesn’t cross your mind. Maybe you will be lucky, but the chance is minuscule.
School is over now and maybe you will venture into another part of the city, pleading with people to listen to you sing, listen to you sing for just 30 cents. 20 cents. 10 cents. Anything they will give you. Maybe you will sell gum. Maybe you will be forced to steal tonight. Maybe you will work in the cornfields. Just a normal day. As you skip off home, maybe you are unaware of the poverty that surrounds you. Maybe you are happy now, being young and innocent. Your future is bleak, but it’s the same for everybody who surrounds you. For now you’re just skipping along. The sun is shining and flies buzz around your head as you laugh with your friends. You’re just another Peruvian child born into poverty.
Maybe for those who will never have the chance, we can all appreciate just a little bit more the opportunities here and the ability we have to grow as students and professors in a post-secondary institution. No matter which circumstances brought us here, our future is our own, and that is such a privilege. Maybe we can’t change the world, but we can improve little parts of it, and if nothing less it’s our responsibility to realise that we are among a small percentage in the world with the opportunity of post secondary education.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Harry Potter!!

Last night I saw Harry Potter, in Spanish. Haha, I love Peru! (I think I may have mentioned that once or twice)It helped that I knew the storyline so it was easier to follow. What is with the part with the swamp where the Weasley`s house burns down? It´s weird cause they are wizards but they don´t make water fly out of their wands they just watch as the house burns. Probably why it wasn´t in the book. There were lots of other parts in the book that I think would have been better. But I liked the part with the liquid luck, and there was a lot of focus on the romance side although the Harry and Ginny kiss was pretty weak. But my favourite character is Luna, what an awesome dress. Okay, I´m sure you don´t actually want to hear my entire review of Harry Potter.
Today I couldn´t go to my private class cause there are no taxis. It is a special day here or something. I went for a walk and it is so quiet. Probably 95% of the vehicles here are taxis and without them it´s just bizarre. But it´s nice cause I can walk in the middle of the road. I just bought up half of Cajamarca. Just a joke, but I bought some gifts, and I think that they are the kind of gifts that you look at once and say, hm, that´s nice, and then stick on the mantlepiece never to be touched again. But I can´t really find anything else.
Yesterday after my class I went for lunch with a friend to the place called vegetariano. I said, there is no meat here and I need meat. My friend said there is meat. So we went in and the menu was all like, steak and chicken etc and I said it´s soya otherwise why would the restuarant be called vegetarian? My friend said no. Then the waiter came and told us it was all soy. I hate being right. So we went to another place and I had green rice and chicken but it was spicy. I drained 2 inca colas just to survive. After we met up with some other friends and watched some live soccer between a uni here and a mens team. It was painful to watch. Then in the second half there was a fight and I saw why there were like 50 policemen with shields and clubs lined up down the field. But the fight was also pathetic, between a player and the flag man and the flag man just nailed the guy in a very sensitive place and he crippled. Then everyone went running over including the police. It was kind of funny but I was ready to run if the crowd got into it as well. But the police stomped it out in a matter of seconds and red carded the player.They finished 0-0 with about 100 missed goal attempts, including one where it was just a player and an empty net and he still missed. I told my friends their team was awful and they had to agree with me. The field was very nice though and the atmosphere was fun. I also tried this kind of candy fruit which you chew and then spit out. It´s like really big though so it´s weird and really dirty when it´s everywhere. I am not too keen on it. Then after we went out for cake. yummmmmy Cajamarca cake. But these friends are really religious so sometimes it´s a little awkward for me, but generally they are fun. Even squarer than me and with jokes similar to my dad.
Irene just spent the whole of lunch talking about me leaving. So now I´m pretty sad and I almost went hysterical at the table. She wanted to eat at 11 this morning. That is so early! Especially for here, where 2 is normal.
Hmm, I have a stomachache. Not nice.
I have to remember to ask Rosa where my suitcase is. I have no idea.
I guess I should stop procrastinating and get to work. But I really want to be outside enjoying my last days not writing reports etc.
Oh well.
Later chicos!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Opportunity knocks---

Amazing news chicos! Today I was offered a job teaching English at the Private University in Cajamarca if I return here next summer. I could work there in the morning and maybe afternoon and at ICPNA in the evening. It is an idea that I am giving serious thought to, and those of you who know me well may have realised that when I set my mind to something it generally gets done. Where there´s a will, there`s a way, and I have a hugeee will to teach at University here. ICPNA told me they´d take me back next year, they don´t want me to leave (probably because I´ve subbed for every teacher save 2, out of about 12). If I come alone, as in not with SWB it is a lot cheaper too, I only have to play for the flight and insurance plus my visa. I have all the vacinations already and the WUSC fee is pretty hefty which I wouldn´t have to pay. Plus with the extra work I could make a fair bit I think. It´s also 280 dollars a month rent and food but it´s not like I could live for cheaper in Canada. Well, I could if I lived with my parents but save that it´s pretty difficult. But, there is no way that I could teach at Uni in Canada, being degreeless and everything, although teaching ESL is way different to teaching English Lit of course. It´s really the perfect job for me and the experience is what I need to be competitive when I apply for my master´s. Plus with my scholarship for Uni next year and my plans to apply for lots of scholarships I think it´s a goal I can achieve. I´m very interested to hear the feedback to this, I hope it´s not all negative. Haha. But I am an adult and I have belief in my dreams, and I will find a way.
Today the director of ICPNA (the head boss) from Chiclayo was in town so we all went out for lunch with him. It´s fun because it´s all in Spanish and I also managed to spill my Inca Cola all down my shirt. Those of you who know me will not be surprised about that at all. I am going to miss the food here a lot, it´s amazing.
People keep asking me how much time I have left and it´s so depressing. It´s actually unbelievable. I have to think that I´m only leaving for a short time otherwise I can´t bear it. It´s funny because I never expected to love my placement. I thought it´d be an awesome growing experience but I thought that it´d be really hard and I´d miss Canada tons. But I don´t, and it´s not that hard because I LOVE IT.
People tell me that it must be because I´m young and adaptable, but I think that when you are enjoying your job and love the people around you it´s not really hard to feel at home. My family here made me feel at home after about 10 minutes. Haha. Papa Julio was here today and he´s like my own Grandpa or something. He always forgets that he´s already talked about things with me but the repition is good practice for my Spanish.
Last night I had Lemon Merigne pie, it was vair vair good. I need to go to the gym but I haven´t had time, visiting with friends in my afternoons and private classes in the mornings. Oh, haha yesterday the little sister of the kid I was tutoring took a liking to my keys and I guess went off to play with them. Later she came in and was dancing around and Fernando asked me, are they your keys. I was like, no, oh wait, yes! Oh my gosh please give me my keys!!! If I lose my keys I am screwed because my family is not here to let me in.
My class of Juniors was slightly better today, but only because about a quarter of them were missing. Sometimes I feel that it´s a good challenge and other times I want to send them all home and fail them. Not that I need to fail them they are going to do that themselves.
Well, I only had a short break between classes and now I better go back to ICPNA.
Take care chicos, see you soon!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Haha, on Sunday I went to watch motocross. It was pretty awesome. I tried so hard to get a photo of a bike in the air but failed miserably about 20 times. The pic is the best one I have. In the end I took a short video, it´s better. Haha. I got sunburnt again (that´s what happens when you forget about sunscreen) I have a nice necklace burn. Sexy. On Sunday in the morning I went up to Santa Apalonia again with two friends, maybe I won´t see them again before I leave so it was nice.
Yesterday I bought my plane ticket to Lima. How saddddd :(. I think I am going to have to pay a fortune for overweight baggage though as I have rather a lot of things. I asked if I could carry 50 pounds and they asked if I was carrying rocks and half of Cajamarca. Haha. In the end I decided that the one hour plane trip was better than 18 hours on a bus and spent the extra 80 dollars. It also means I get extra time in Cajamarca which means I can party after class on my last Saturday. Hm, maybe I´ll invite all my students as I´m leaving anyway...
Here is a pic of me playing the guitar at Santa Apalonia. Let´s just say Jimi Hendrix doesn´t have anything to worry about.
Yesterday was exam day and it was awful. My class of Juniors did terribly. But that´s what happens when you don´t want to learn or study. I subbed for another teacher and corrected her exam and her students also did terribly so I guess maybe it´s cause it´s July and there´s no school and kids don´t want to study.
Haha, I was walking yesterday and I went into this awesome little CD store I saw and all the cds were $1. I pretty much went crazy and tried to buy the whole shop. But in the end I cut it down to 10. How awesomely cheap they are. I made the guy play all of them first to make sure they worked though so it took a while. 2 in Spanish and the rest in English.
Yesterday Rosa´s father in law was here but only for a little while and then he left. I almost had a heart attack because he was right in front of the door when I walked in my house.
Next Tuesday my friends are having this huge lunch bye thing for me so I´m pretty excited about that. Not about the whole having to leave part though.
Have you heard about the Pig flu here? Classes at schools were all cancelled a week early and then they have 3 weeks off anyway. ICPNA always has classes though. Don´t worry for me I only eat thorougly sterilized food.
Harry Potter comes out tomorrow. Maybe I will go to see it on Sunday :)
Today I´m going to the cinema after work with a bunch of people cause it´s cheapy day in Cajamarca, only 2 dollars.
I looked at the mess in my bedroom and wondered how the heck I am going to fit all my stuff in my suitcase. The problem with having a bedroom is that I have filled it up.
OH! Good news amigos! I have a scholarship for Uni next year!!! WOOOOHOOOO. I´m pretty excited about that.
I really should probably go to the gym this morning. It´s easier when Rosa goes as well to motivate myself.
Green spagetti for lunch today, yummmmmy.
I´m still missing gifts for a lot of people. It´s hard cause I suck at buying stuff for males. Teatowels all around then... haha.
Owww sunburn.
Well, thanks for stopping by. I am trying hard not to think of things in terms of days left but it´s hard when everyone keeps asking me when I leave.
See you all soon I expect...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Winding down,

my time here and it is so sad. Last night I was at a party with three girls from another program who are leaving Cajamarca soon too, from Iceland, Germany and Switzerland. They were all crying and it was just so sad. I also managed to sit in vodka so that was nice.
Remember how I was complaining about lack of classes? Hasn´t been a problem as I subbed every day last week, so actually ended up teaching more than if I had my own classes I think. Plus my private class and exams to prepare it was actually crazy. On Friday I did marking for 5 hours and then taught for 7. I actually had no time to think.
My family left yesterday morning for Lima so I am alone. Actually Rosa told me her father in law was coming to live in the house but he´s not here. Irene will be here most days but Sunday is her day off. She did call this morning at like 6 to ask if I was okay though. Nice, but on my day off a little on the early side of things.
Yesterday afternoon two teachers were sick so there was only 2 classes. I think the students would have been really annoyed because they missed 4 1/2 hours of class. When you only have 4 Saturdays in a cycle that is a lot of material.
My class of Juniors is like my own personal piece of hell. It is awful, props to anyone who teaches classes of 25 preteens because I can´t do it. I swallowed my pride and asked for some help with how to control them but I have yet to hear the feedback. I think that they will do very poorly on my exam tomorrow but I´ve never been trained with how to handle kids, half of whom probably have A.D.D. and the other half whom don´t want to learn. I also never ever want to have to teach this age. My other Junior classes weren´t a problem but these kids are awful. I had enough trouble with my group of Guides, but at least they spoke English. I´ve tried everything I can think of and now am resigned to just teach for those who want to listen. I´m not shouting because I don´t have the energy or the lung capactiy.
My Saturday classes are very good though. And as usual Reg.3 is a pleasure to teach.
I´ve been going to Santa Apalonia a lot to look at the city and try to remember it best I can. I can recognise lots of places now. It´s amazing how fast a strange city can become a neighbourhood. I bet I´ve taught about 500 students what with all the subbing. I bump into them often. Haha, yesterday I saw one of my chicos, maybe 12 years old and he walked me home from work. How Gentlemany, haha. I love the spirits of the people here.
My friend taught me a little about how to play guitar. I am terrible but it is kind of fun. Pain for the fingers though.
Well, I´m off to Santa Apolonia with a couple of frinds.
I havent have much time to write cause I´m trying to enjoy the time I have left in the city.
Take care!

Monday, July 6, 2009

HAPPY TEACHER`S DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, so today is teacher´s day in Peru so there are no classes. Just a joke, there are always classes at ICPNA! I told my students in Reg.3 to bring cake but I don´t think they will. Haha.
On Saturday, after what seemed like a very longggg day of classes, the staff went out for supper to celebrate today. It was so cold though because it was pouring down and the restaurant was like a barn with massive doors. The tech guy at ICPNA and I took a taxi to the wrong place so we had to walk a bit, but the road to the restaurant was dirt and it was wet and I was wearing a skirt and my flats from work so they are absolutely filthy now. Nice stuff. Not many teachers actually went to the supper though, which is a shame. The supper went until 10:30 and then I went to party with my friends. Yesterday I slept. Haha, no in the morning I went to my private tutoring and in the afternoon I went to Baños Del Inca. Combis are kind of fun to take when the doorboy isn´t too rude about pushing you off and pulling you on. Hahahaha. Ice age 3 was sooo cute! And I actually understood it in Spanish. It´s amazing that I´m not taking any classes or studying the language or anything but I understand so much more now than when I arrived. My speech is lacking but that´s okay. I also went on the dance machine, so that was fun! And I had chocolate coated ice cream. I need to go to the gym today I think!
So in my morning class on Saturday it was weird because the secretary came and told me that Gwen, the new teacher from the states, was going to be talking to my class because it was Indepedance Day and ICPNA is partnered with the U.S.. Gwen was told there would be a video and a book and stuff but there was nothing. So she tried to explain to my class about the day but it was only pre basic 4 so she had to slow down and lot and speak some Spanish in the end. Then, they brought in sandwiches and juice. So that was okay, but we were all done and they brought in kebabs. My students and I were ready to leave but we stayed and ate the kebabs. We were just about ready to go and they brought in these dried meat things. My students found this very funny. And then, when we thought we were free they brought in desserts. So thats very nice and everything but it was about 1 when I finally left ICPNA so my lunch break was cut short and I was tired by the time 8 rolled around. I was worried first thing in the morning when I had no students and I thought I wouldnt have class. But then a huge mob arrived and I had to change classroom. There are 25 students which is amazing for a class from 8 to 12:30 on a Saturday. All my classes have more than 9 students which means I wont have to pay anything this month. Good!!
Today I am subbing again so will be working 4=10. Thats good because I like to teach. I just dont want to teach my Juniors class. I want my Reg.2 class!!! I saw them on Friday and they were all like, teacher what happened? I was so sad I want to teach them!! Sometimes classes are sort of like families, especially when you see them for an hour every day. Tearsssssss.... Haha. How am I going to last in Canada?
Have I mentioned how I love that I am always seeing people I know now. It is awesome!! Especially since I have been doing lots of subbing, its nice to go out and see people I know. I feel like a part of the community. It is especially nice when children come and hug me on the street! Sometimes I dont recognize them though, especially if I only subbed them once or twice and there was 25 of them and one of me. I have dropped my cell phone so many times I am surprised it still functions. Just sent it flying again.
I have a bruise on my head and I dont remember why. Hmmm.
Well, classes to plan and body to get back in to shape. I dont know if I mentioned this but I am still VERY very white. How sad!
Take care chicos!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009


So this morning I had the mother of all migraines. Well, actually it´s the first time I´ve ever had a migraine so I don´t know if it was bad, but it hurt so much I couldn´t think, and if you know me well you will know that I tend to think rather a lot. I also had vomiting, so that was fun. I took too pills that the doctor suggested and slept and by lunch time I felt better. I am forbidden to eat cheese and ham today and I wasn´t allowed ketchup on my rice. It was very hard to eat white rice and potatoes plain. I now only have a slight headache so I went for a walk in the fresh air around the city. No idea where I went but wondered through a few markets, I love the hustle and bustle. Then I decided retail therapy was in order and I bought myself the most gorgeous bag everrrr. It´s actually the only nice bag I saw and I love it love it love it. I am such a girl. I also bought a few gifts but I can´t find anything that really suits a lot of my friends. I wanted to buy clothes but my friends aren´t alpaca wearing kind of people, they´re about 50 years too young for that. Too bad. Plus alpaca is heavy. If it weren´t for the weight I´d buy some of the clothes just for the expressions on my friends faces. ahahhahaha. I need another suitcase.
Yesterday I was chatting to another teacher from Ireland but born in France, who says he´s sick of Cajamarca. He says it´s too noisy, disorganised (true) and everyone is always late (sooo true) and he´s fed up. Well, he didn´t say the words fed up but you get the idea. I love how Cajamarca is noisy, it´s part of the culture and while I agree that people could do with setting their clocks early, you have to love the people. It´s no problem if you arrive 5 minutes late everywhere too. I am usually early though so I have to wait a lot.
My class of Juniors is very interesting. I´m pretty sure a few of them have learning disabilities and behavourial disorders so I think that should be fun. That must be why Delicia was so keen to give me her class. But they are good kids and very eager to participate, for the most part. I just have to remove sharp objects and rulers from their hands.
My class Reg.3 yesterday was awesome! One of the activities had the students writing things they did on a routinely basis, once a week/month/in a while/ never etc. Then I asked some students to share with the class and one man said, I shower once a week. So that was pretty funny and we laughed a lot. It was a fun class.
Last night I finally tried Manjar Blanco. It´s very sweet.
On Sunday I´m going to watch Ice Age with my friend and his entire family. It´s in Spanish but I think it´ll be okay because it´s easier to understand cartoons in Spanish, like UP was not hard to follow.
On Saturday I have class from 8-8 again with my 2 hour lunch break, then to the discoteca! Haha, as an example in class we had to say where in Cajamarca we could eat, go to the park etc. and I said, You can go dancing at Santos (this club has an interesting reputation) and that got quite the reaction from the class. Hahahaha. Reg.3 is so much fun.
It´s raining! At least it waited until I got inside!
Haha, Juan sent me some videos of me teaching. How scary is that!!
Irene told me today that she is 19. Lies are so stupid. But now shés come clean about not having a baby, so that´s nice!
Well, time for me to prepare for class!
Take care chicos!! Ciao!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Yup, I just went to ICPNA to hand in my exams from Saturday afternoon and Delicia gave me another class. So I´m pretty happy because now I get to work at ICPNA on Tuesdays and Thursdays too! My Reg. 3 class is only 3 days a week because it is longer. I actually only have slightly less work to do now than last cycle because I´m private tutoring 6 days a week too. Granted, the class is Juniors who can be horrible if you get a bad Junior class. Hopefully I get a class of sweet and calm adolescents. But I am actually really happy that I get to work more! Hey, maybe when I´m there at 7 and don´t have class again until 8 they´ll be like, hey want another class to fill the gap? It´s unlikely, but I can hope! Yayyayyay I get to teachh!!
Last night I went to watch Terminator in Spanish. When we got to the mall there was Karaoke in the food court. There were a lot of great songs and singers in Spanish. Then two white people got up to sing Beat it and they crucified the song. Like, maybe you couldn´t actually recognize the song if there weren´t words, and they were also dancing, really badly. But they thought they were excellent. When it was over another two from their group came and sang Thriller, equally as dreadfully. The crowd ran away. And then, after they totally ruined the only songs that were sung in English they were like, we´re from CANADA!!!!!!!!! Oh man, I slid down in my seat hoping to hide the fact that I was white, haha. I felt I had to assure my friends that I am in fact British after that declaration. The handy part of being international, I can choose my country depending on the least embarrasing nationality of the moment. People wonder why everyone here thinks white people can´t sing and dance... well this is why. Also, I´ve never really noticed just how long Michael Jackson songs are. I said to my friends, perhaps it´s a good thing that Michael Jackson is dead. Then my friend sang Mientes Tan Bien very very well and a huge crowd came to watch, and he won a pillow for his mother. It was amazing. All he has to do is sing and the women flock around. Hahahaha, what a gift. I must be accustomed to the Peruvian money now because I complain when a large pizza costs 10 dollars, like that is really really expensive or smething. It seems like a lot to pay 31 soles for something. I am going to be even cheaper when I return, haha.
So, about 2 seconds into Terminator we realised that we had, in fact, already watched Terminator. HAHAHA. But it was good because I understood more the second time. I saw a lot of my students at the theatre and Geraldine and her husband too. Yes, she is married. Wow. It really puts things into perspective because she is two months younger than me and I have no desire to get married at all. It´s funny because some students are very friendly and like hey profe and come and chat for a long time in Spanish which I understand maybe half of when they rabbit on really fast, and others are like, oh my god, our teacher actually has a life outside of ICPNA? They whisper, hi miss and run away. Hahahaha. The cinema isn´t as bad as when I see students clubbing though, that´s a little awkward. Here, Miss is a synonym for teacher.
Haha, I thought Ana had exams today so I wished her good luck and she was like, I don´t have exams until August. I said, oh well early good luck then. Whoops...
I can´t believe I am 19 in one month. I can´t believe I won´t even be in Peru in one month. Yesterday in the taxi to the gym Rosa and I were talking about me leaving and almost in hysterics, I think the cabbie was a little worried. Oh, I can now push 45 kgs at a 45 degree angle into the air with my feet 75 times. Yesssirrr! I don´t want to be 19, it´s way better being 18. Not that I could possibly know that, but I think it´s better. I really need to book my trip to Lima. I haven´t decided if I´m going to take the bus or fly yet. 17 hours on the bus is pretty close to what you might imagine of hell but flying is more expensive.
Oh, this week we have another lady in the house, her name is Sandy and she is the daughter of Ana and Luis´ Godmother. She is 20 and very nice.
Today, the kids I private tutor have an English exam, so I hope it goes well because if not that will reflect badly on me. Although we´ve been doing a lot of science. I am even learning some stuff about physics, which is pretty sad if you think about it. Okay, maybe it´s not learning new, but it´s reviewing stuff I forgot.
Oh, I just wanted to let you all know that my sister is a genius with an average over 80%, and she even took pre-cal. That´s right, go Katie!!!!!!! She also has this awesome orange shirt that I am going to steal to wear on my birthday when I return.
It´s not bad because she has the full run of my closet, which she probably doesn´t use `cause she has nicer clothes than me. I may be somewhat fashion impaired, oh maybe just cheap. Haha. I have the urge to buy a dress. It feels like dress wearing weather and I don´t have one. Maybe I will go sometime.
Yesterday, we had soup with popcorn. I love it. It´s the kind of mad thing I would do, but here it is normal.
I know, there´s no such thing at normal really, but that´s a philosophy I won´t go into now.
Hoping all is well with you and yours,
Ciao from a happier me than yesterday!!!

Monday, June 29, 2009


because this cycle I have like, no classes. There are maybe 6 new teachers and I guess since I´m leaving and they are staying they get the classes. It sucks because I have students who I´ve taught for two months and now I don´t have them. At least I still have my favourite class though for Basic-3. And I do teach from 8-8 on Saturday. But I really want more than one evening class. At least I have my private tutoring too so I won´t be too bored. The problem is that my family is going to Lima for a week and a half in the middle of this month and if I don´t have classes and my friends are working I´m not sure what I will do. I guess I will start looking for a Spanish class or something to fill time. Maybe if I go to ICPNA and beg for more classes... that´s not very attractive. Hm.My contract forbids me from going to another instition for work. That´s too bad because I know of other places where I could work and get hours teaching English. But I won´t break my contract. I´m sad that I don´t get to teach my students for the last month. :( Maybe I will get to sub lots. But it´s not the same.
Other than that, things are going well. This month of teaching was amazing!! I loved it.
It´s a national holiday today so the gym is closed. No muscles for me.
Oh! Irene lied to me about her age. She is 21, not 18. Also, she lied to me about having a son. She has no son, Luis (who´s a doctor) gives her contraceptives. I was all concerned to Rosa about when she has time to be with her son and she said, what, she doesn´t have a kid! I´ve asked Irene so many times how her son is!!! I don´t like lies. Especially stupid lies like that.
Last night I had Chinese food. It was very good.
I think I am going to go for a walk now because I am restless.
Ciao chicos!

Friday, June 26, 2009

I hope that you can ignore how attractive my nose isn´t from that angle. Haha.
I really have nothing much to say, but I miss my classes at ICPNA, not just teaching but my students too. One day off and I miss class. How will I ever survive in Canada? I do not know. Yesterday I tutored physics but it was hard because the kids were not in the mood to study. Here are some photos from when Juan came to see my class. The other pic is me in the courtyard of the church and art gallery in the old hospital. Yesterday for lunch we had yuccas again. They are sooo dry. I have to concentrate on chew chew chew and swallow because I am accustomed to food with more flavour and wetness.
I love Spanish music. I am pretty much in love with the song Mientes Tan Bien by Sin Bandera. Check it out is lovely.
I am now a salsa dancing champion. No, just kidding. I´m awful. I find it hard to let the male lead me, I am used to taking control. Haha.
Michael Jackson died!! And so did Farrah Fawcett. My word. But Michael Jackson will live on forever in his music. He is a legend let´s face it, even if he may have done some messed up things.
My hands are freezing from typing. Haha.
Oh! Haha, the other day when my students came in to kiss me as normal this one student stopped and said, high five! Hahahahahaha. How very very strange.
I can´t believe I only have one month left in Cajamarca. I have to stop thinking about this I will start bawling.
Take care!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Confusion and stress.

Okay, so at ICPNA there is a big sign that says Mier. 24 last day of classes. So, like an idiot, I thought that meant yesterday was the last day of class. I was wrong. For most classes it was the last day, but for Reg.2 I have class on Friday. So all my students came to class ( a rare thing when all 26 come) ready to write the exam yesterday and I was told I wasn´t allowed to give it until Friday. I said, do you want to tell my students that because I sure don´t. So I took a deep breath walked into my class and told my students and they responded with outrage, and I don´t blame them. I was pretty angry myself. Then about 10 of them said they were travelling and couldn´t write the exam on Friday. It´s natural because we all thought we had a week off, so of course lots of people are going on holiday. So I did something bad and decided we´d write the exam anyway, because everyone wanted to and because I think that as teachers we have to facilitate the students who are paying, and not them us. If half the class can´t make it to write the exam on Friday that´s no good. I can´t fail students over a misunderstanding. Hopefully nobody at ICPNA finds out and I don´t get into trouble over this but I have to take my morals over the rules. I am really happy that I don´t have to travel to Chiclayo though. It´s so tiring because you don´t get any sleep for like 48 hours and I don´t need that. Maybe I´m a terrible teacher for letting my students write the exam yesterday but in life we make choices and I made mine for my students, not for me. Unless someone from ICPNA reads my blog we should be okay.
Yesterday was my co-workers birthday so we had a little party in the office with cake and stuff, and the head cahuna boss from Chiclayo was there. It was nice but weird because we all had class and our students were waiting. I left a bit early because I felt bad about it.
Apparently this cycle there´s going to be a break from 6-6:30 where we all have to sit in the office and socialize to help the non-native speakers with their fluency. It´s a nice idea but it means I´ll have class until later and get less sleep. Well, that´s life I guess.
This morning I had a student who needed to make up his exam so I went to ICPNA early and handed in my exams and marks and waited while he wrote his. It was weird because I´ve been subbing for Delicia and her exams were yesterday. The secretary had all the marks for the kids which is impossible because I have the exams. So whatever, I gave her the exams but I don´t understand how the kids have grades.
Today I am doing private tutoring again. And tomorrow.
Last night I went out for Chinese food after work, to desress with Inca Cola. I was sick all night. It was awful. Not going there again. But the food was soooo good!
Irene is back today.
The TV fell off the wall. That´s not good!
Today my friend is going to teach me how to dance Cumbia. Should be fun!
Maybe I won`t look so stupid when Cumbia´s playing at the clubs now!
I can´t believe I only have one cycle of classes left at ICPNA!!! How totally sad! ICPNA here is expanding. They want 15 teachers, now there is about 9. There is totally a job for me here if I stay. But I can´t.
Haha, one teacher is heavily pregnant and the head boss asked Geraldine and I if we were thinking of going the same way. I think not! We said not for a longgg time thank you. Better to be young and freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! The other teacher is 30 so it´s different.
Last night there wasn´t any water. So that wasn´t too nice.
Yesterday for lunch we had green spaghetti. It was vair vair good!
I am tired.
Keep writing me amigos!
P.s. Look, it´s me teaching. haha.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Yes, found it!

I found my lip chap. So, now my lips won´t be chapped anymore. I wanted to start your day off with good, exciting news that will probably change your life forever. You´re welcome.
Yesterday when I was at the gym there was a parade so I went to watch it. Today is a special day, being summer solstice here. It´s Inti Raymi, a celebration of the sun, which is why my boss is in Cusco I guess. Lucky her, sounds like an awesome thing. Apparently Camaron Diaz is there too. Thank you google, for your useless information. It´s also San Juan, this celebration about a feast. Yeah, that´s about as much as I understood in Spanish but you can google it in English and read about Cameron Diaz if you want.
Apparently Irene is coming back to work tomorrow. At least she´s okay.
Oh, I don´t have more time to write we are going to the gym now.
Well, at least you don´t have to read an essay today.
Take care!
Look, Arroz Cubano

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Trying to tan it up.

Yesterday Rosa was sick so we didn´t go to the gym. Instead I went and sat on the roof while I planned my classes in an attempt to coax some brown on my legs. But, unfortunatly I´m still white as a sheep. A white sheep.
When I walked into Delicia´s class of Juniors yesterday they cheered me really loud. So, that was really really nice and pretty much made my week. Delicia´s lesson plan took about 20 minutes so after we played pictionary and bingo. It was fun. The second class with children was okay, they all came and gave me a group hug. It was sweet.
After class yesterday I went for cake again. I really need to go the gym today because I will put all my weight back on hahaha. My friend said I need to go for 3 hours. So that was kind. haha. The cake was very nice though. I came home and deadbolted the doors as usual and went to bed. Half an hour later Rosa called and told me to open the door! I thought they were in bed sleeping but they weren´t even home! Ahahaha.
Rosa is angry because Irene didn´t come to work yesterday or today and she won´t answer her cell phone. So, that´s not good. Hopefully she just doesn´t want to work and is okay.
Tomorrow I have my final exams. I hope that they go well.
Yesterday we had Cuban rice again, which is really dry without ketchup. Not sure how the people here can eat so much dry food without anything. I only eat the rice once it is red. Haha.
The sun is really hot in the day here so I don´t understand why I won´t tan. Probably when I go back to Canada everyone will be tan and I will be white.
Ít´s really bizarre because sometimes writing this blog I write in spanish and then I read it over and change it into English. I think in Spanglish.
Yup, well I have classes to plan so I´ll catch you on the rebound chicos!
The pic is me at the room that the Inca wanted full of gold and silver.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Guinea Pig

Yesterday I went for lunch with the family of my friend and we had Guinea Pig. It was reallllyyy good. I love how here lunch with the family is like 4 hour event. You have your meal, chat, have dessert, chat, drink Pisco, chat, drink cocktails, chat and then chat more and laugh a lot. It´s really difficult to understand the conversation though because they speak really fast and interrupt each other and laugh while they speak so I mostly just laughed at the really funny laughs some people had.
Yesterday I called my familia and chatted for Father´s Day so that was nice. In the evening I went to see Ghost of Girlfriends Past, in English with Spanish subtitles. It was okay but my sister said she cried lots and I didn´t cry. Afterwards I talked with my friends about the meanings behind the story and opinions about marriage etc. We are nerds.
Yesterday morning I tutored science. Haha, it´s pretty hard to explain physics in English to kids who speak Spanish, but it actually went okay and by the end I feel like they understood. I had a problem though because its really hard for me to understand Spanish on the phone because my phone is crackly and theres no facial expressions or hand gestures to help with my understanding. Entonces yesterday I went to the wrong house and had to take another taxi to the correct place. haha.
Today I have to sub for Delicia again. Should be interesting. I hope the children are calm!
I´m going to the gym in the afternoon. Gotta keep in shape!
Oh! I finally bought new jeans, and two new shirts. Yup, I look very good in my jeans, just to be modest about things (it´s my new gym body hahahaha). I have muscles. Rosa says I was fat (people here are very honest) when I arrived but now I´m slim and when I go to Canada I have to keep going to the gym. Haha.
Oh! Remember how last Saturday I puked at work? Well on Saturday one of my students came and asked me if I´m pregnant. Dear God! I almost choked I was so surprised. I assured her it was just bad fish.
3 more days left in this cycle. On Friday I have to go to Chiclayo again. Not really excited about that because it means I probably won´t be sleeping and then have to teach all Saturday again. Oh well. Geraldine is going too though.
On Saturday I went to a new club (for me) Saltos, but it wasn´t that good, essentially a massive room but it was underground so it was really really hot and there were lots of people. We went to a different club after which was nicer because it was more open and they had Karaoke, and my friends can sing very very well. Haha, when we enter clubs here the men get searched but the women don´t. It´s kind of pointless because everyone knows that´s how it works so of course if people are bringing in anything they just have to give it to the women. But whatever. I saw more violence at Houstons than I´ve ever seen here so I don´t feel unsafe. It also helps that there are lot of men looking out for me, and they have muscles. I have noticed that a lot of people here are ripped. It´s nice.
Next week I have Monday and Tuesday off work. How nice! What will I do? I have no idea since my friends will be working. Maybe I will go to Baños and take a natural bath in the hot springs all day. Haha I would be wrinkled like a toad. I´ll probably still do my private tutoring though.
It is hot, but I am still so white!
Take care chicos!
P.s. The pic is me in the courtyard of a convent. Don´t worry, I´m not converting, I could never never ever be a nun.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I want to break free!

This song has become my National Anthem for Peru because it´s always playing, at the gym, in the clubs, in stores, and I love it.
Yesterday I went to tutor this little boy and it was really fun. He is so intelligent! He has an exam today though so I hope it goes well. Today I´m going to tutor him again but another mum heard about it so I´m tutoring her son too at the same time. I hope they aren´t too rambunctious!
So, I´d just like to say that on my midterm for Reg.2 ten students scored 100. Wow!! And it´s not like the test was easy, I´m the mean kind of teacher who likes to challegne my students. I´m happy happy happy about that!
Today the new teacher is going to teach my Pre-3 class. I think she´ll be really good because she seems like a lot of fun. Good for my students!
I have to plan my class for tomorrow morning. It´s my longggg day of teaching after which I´ll be ready to sleep but instead I will go clubbing with Geraldine from work and her friends and my friends, so it should be a good time!
My family told me I have to cook them a traditional Canadian plate. I told them there really isn´t any such thing because Canada is a mix of hundreds of different cultures. There´s poutine, but that´s a French Canadian thing, there´s bannock, but that´s a Native Canadian thing, there´s perogies, but those are Ukranian, etc. Any ideas? Caesar Salad? Haha, it´s easy at least.
Yesterday after work I went to Mister Chopps again to watch music videos. That was fun. There was this really sad one in Japanese, all the girls were practically crying. Haha.
I can´t believe there is only 5 more days in this cycle. Where is the time going? Slow down time!!!!
Happy Father´s Day for Sunday all the Dad´s out there!
I have marking to do, and then I´m going to the gym. Maybe, today, I will finally have time to buy jeans. That would be nice.
Irene is going to Celendin too so I will be home alone for tomorrow and Sunday. Wooohooo house party. No, I am joking. I would never do that, it would be wrong on so many levels. Fun though.
I think Dad would like it here because they are always playing 80s music!
It is hot here now in the days. Summer is hereeee and my nose is peeling. Nice.
I love Inca Cola!!
Ciao chicas!
The pic is proof of my outstanding students!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Just keep swimming---

Well, yesterday was actually insane and crazy busy.
In the morning I went to the house of this couple who wants me to tutor their son. It´s a very nice place. Today I will begin. Wow, I am a tutor. Cool beans. Then. Rosa called me to say that Juan the co-ordinator from Lima was in the house. So I skidaddled my butt home to meet with him. We had a nice chat. The problems in the jungle aren´t affecting the SWB students there, so that´s a good thing! Some of them ate bad food and wound up in the hospital though. Wake up call, I think so! But the food in this house, and the house in general, is very safe. There is a lock and two deadbolts on the front door, two locks on the second door and then my room has a lock which clicks twice. The produce is cleaned with iodine and Rosa picks out the meat. This could be why I am not sick, usually. On Saturday Rosa was in Celendin hence the bad fish. She said never again I will have fish if she doesn´t pick it out.
Yesterday we had asparagus soup. It is yummmmmmmmmmmmy.
Juan and I went to see the room which the last Inca demanded be filled once with gold and twice with silver. The writing there was in Old Spanish so I understood very little, but Juan explained to me in normal Spanish so that helped. Then we went to a church which was totally gorgeous in the typically Colonial Spanish style and two old hospitals. The old hospital for women was a lot nicer than the one for men.
Then, I had to mark a lot of books. I went to Baños Del Inca for a short break and then prepared my classes and practically ran to IPCNA with about 20 books in tow. They weighed a lot. I almost died, but thanks to my new muscles I am strong... ish.
Juan came to observe my Reg.1 class and it was very funny because he kept taking pictures and some of my students assumed the classic, I am thinking like the Ancient Greeks pose. It was really hard not to laugh.
My Reg.2 class involved a classroom change again. After class I had 3 students who needed to write the exam and so I had to stay later. Not really a lot of fun but oh well. No problem.
My legs itch like mad. The mosquito bites from a month ago won´t go away. Probably becuase I keep ripping them open with my scratching. Arrgghh.
My students were laughing at how I said tomato in class yesterday. I told them it´s the proper pronunciation. They don´t believe me. Sometimes when my students repeat what I say they sound all British and I think, hm, do I really sound like that when I speak? Ahahahahaha.
My Elbows have gone plasma-y from the dryness here. Yucky.
I still haven´t bought jeans. That´s maybe a month of procrastinating now. The pocket is almost completely off my current jeans.
Next week I have to teach Delicia´s two classes of children again. It will be nice to see the students but they are insaneeee!
Geraldine wants to go clubbing with my friends and I on Saturday. It´ll be cool if she can.
Today I will go to the gym. Yesterday I didn´t have time. Oh, the other day there I heard this version of I Will Survive that was awful! I almost died exercising it destroyed the song so much. Yes, I don´t recommend listening to any version that isn´t by Gloria Gaynor.
The days seem to be flying by so fast. It´s already Thursday, I swear that yesterday was Sunday. Good grief.
Well, keep sending me your news and such.
Ciao chicos!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A whole day of marking!

Holy man on fire. Well I´ve marked all my exams and I´m pretty happy because my class averages are 92, 91 and 81. The third is bad for ICPNA though I will have to work harder. I still have more homework marking to do though...
So, last Friday there was another teacher watching my class and then after she told me that she would be teaching my class this Friday. So, it´s nice how nobody told me about that...I don´t like having people observe my class it makes me nervous.
My hands are freezing typing this!
Well, I´m feeling pretty full after our usual 3 course meal, some of which I have no idea what I was eating but it was pretty good. I have to load the ketchup onto my rice though because I just can´t eat mountains of plain white rice. Especially with potatoes too.
Yesterday after work I went out for cake. Kind of makes going to the gym useless but it was really good and very chocolatey!
Oh, I forgot on Saturday night I went clubbing again and it was a lot of fun. There was karaoke but I didn´t sing because I´m dreadful and the people here can actually sing really well. Plus the songs they had in English were all Britney Spears and Bon Jovi. Not really in my range. My Latin dancing is improving :)
I can now lift 25kg with my ankles. I know, that´s so interesting for you.
I never made it to the mall to buy jeans. There doesn´t seem to be enough hours in the day. Yesterday Rosa and I went grocery shopping. Is it just me or is this blog really mundane?
I have a blister on my hand.
This weekend my family are going to Celendin again so Sunday will be lonely... hahaha yeah right I will go out and have fun somewhere with my friends.
Oh, one of the kids in my juniors class drew me a lovely picture with my name. It was so sweet!!
My cell phone has a radio. It´s not exactly the most useful thing in the world though. It doesn´t have a camera.
I think it´s going to rain again. It´s always raining. Raindrops keep falling on my head, keep falling on my head...
Okay, I think I´d better stop now because this blog is beginning to take the form of every random thought that pops into my head. Also, I have to go to work, at ICPNA, where I teach English. Yay!!!!!!!!!!!
Do you think that if I tie myself to the staircase at ICPNA they will let me stay here longer? No, they´ll probably send me to an asylym.
Well, okay now I must go,

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bits and pieces

Well, finally the internet is back up but we have a new computer and it keeps crashing. So I get really annoyed and my emails are all really short because if I take too long the computer crashes and I lose everything. Blogger saves stuff every 3minutes though so this should be okay.
I have a cute little new telephone. It was a reasonable price.
On Saturday Irene and I were both sick after lunch. We think the fish must have been bad. It was awful. I was fine teaching in the morning but as soon as I got to ICPNA after lunch I felt all woozy and I was shaking while I taught and I had to actually sit down and teach because I felt so faint and then I had to run to the bathroom where I puked up the entire contents of my stomach. It got in my hair which is gross and I had to continue teaching afterwards. I washed it in the bathroom but I still felt awful teaching. It´s only the third time I´ve been sick in Peru but being sick at work is awful.
Yesterday morning I went to Porcon, which is sort of like a hutterite colony in that all the people work for the community and it´s religious, except that people get paid so they can have lots of possessions. They all get the same pay, 500 soles a month, like 180 dollars which is awful but something at least. There was like a mini zoo type thing and I sat on a llama. Haha. I took gravol so that I wouldn´t be sick on the bus but then I felt really tired haha.
In the afternoon I went to the cinema to see Up with Antonio and his really cute little sisters and his mum and Oswar, his friend from Spain. It was in Spanish but I understood most of it and it was so cute. The girls loved it they were laughing the whole time. After, we played on the dance machines at the arcade. There were these two boys there who were so good at it, but they weren´t dancing it looked like they were having seizures their legs were going all over the place! Antonio and Oswar were really good at it, they breakdanced together before. They showed me some moves. It´s pretty awesome but I´ll never beable to balance like that! haha!!!
Well, I´m off to the gym now. My midterm exams are today, I hope all my students get 100! Some wish!
Maybe today I will have a chance to buy jeans. I´ve been wanting to for a while because my one pair has broken pockets from overwearing them.
Ciao pals, take care!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cajamarca is awesome!

So there hasn´t been internet and I am at a cafe now, but I have been busy. I have been subbing for other teachers lots this week. On Wednesday I taught kindergarten. I wish luck to you Dana and other people who want to teach the crazy children. It is not for me, I much prefer my adults!
I feel like part of Cajamarca now. Maybe because I´ve taught a couple of hundred students and when I go out I quite often see somebody I know. Also, I just love everything about it here. I think when I have to leave I will hide and they can´t make me go back to Canada! Haha, no I will not hide of course but I have to return here someday. I´m so happy!
My family have gone to Celedin because yesterday and today here are holidays, Corpus Christi. ICPNA doens´t believe in taking a break though and I have classes so I couldn´t god It´s just Irene and I in the house, which is nice but normal because I still have to correct like 500 textbooks and go to work. Haha, I can´t come to the internt cafe without making a friend. The man next to me is from Washington. Yesterday I made a friend at the gym too, who works in the mine here.
I feel like my Spanish is way better, I understand and can translate much more for my students now. Obviously I have a long way to go, but I can understand the general gist of things and my vocabulary is much broader.
On Sunday I went to see Terminator. Haha.
This Sunday I am going to Porcon with my friend in the morning. Should be fun! always good to see new places.
Yeah, well the workbooks aren´t marking themselves and time is short so must go!
Ciao pals!

Sunday, June 7, 2009


So last night I went to see Alborada and it was awesome!!! Their music is so beautiful and some was in Spanish and some was in Quechua and some didn´t have words. They played the clarine, a really long instrument, and also the panpipes lots. They had some dancers, but I think I could have done the dances, they were a little bizarre and not too too hard. The opening bands were cool too although I missed the first one because it started at 7 and I had to work until 8. It was really hard to find seats because they sold the exact amount or maybe more or something and we were late. In the end we found a place to sit though. After the concert we went to Stragos, a cute little club here. It was a pretty fun night. Work yesterday was tiring, my Juniors in the morning were okay for maybe 2 hours and after that they were just tired and didn´t want to be in class anymore. I don´t blame them because it´s Saturday morning. I made a mistake in playing games in English with them though because they got all hyper after that. Oh well. In the afternoon it was hilarious because I had a whole family, the grandmother, mother, and two girls. What personalities!! It was hilirious, the grandmother was like that slightly barmy lady on tv shows.
Jen and Eric, who are teaching at ICPNA for this month and are from Minneapolis, invited me to a movie with them on Tuesday with Sarah from work too. So, that will be fun. Eric, Jen, and I are the only teachers with class on Saturday afternoon. I guess they rope in the white people for the sucky shifts. They find ICPNA disorganised as well. They taught in China for a year and it´s way different there. It´s interesting chatting with them!
All of my classes have more than 9 students so that´s good because I won´t have to pay anything.
Today we are making pizza, for the first time here. So, that will be interesting, I wonder what type of bizarre toppings we will have. Maybe it won´t be bizarre. But it probably will be. Yesterday we had fish, yucca, pototoes, rice, and corn. It´s all the same colour! haha. I found it to be very dry.
Brrr it´s cold!
My legs still haven´t cleared up the mosquito bites, it just looks like I have some kind of disease. Yucky. Despite this I´ve been wearing skirts to work.
Ciao for now!

Friday, June 5, 2009

La vida

Well, Wednesday was horrible. The head boss from Chiclayo was in town and he observed my class. As soon as he walked in I was so nervous.It was the most awful class I ever taught. Today he is going to have a meeting with me. I think he has rated us all, and I think I will be at the bottom. I am so nervous. LAter, Delicia, my boss here observed my class and I think that it went very well. So, I hope that Delicia tells him that I do actually know how to teach and I don´t get fired or anything. Oh my. Also, on Wednesday Delicia was angry because she said that I didn´t give my list from Saturday to the secretary with my exams and grades. I was pretty nervous because I gave them in on Monday and I don´t have two copies. Luckily, after 10 minutes the secretary looked around and found my package of stuff. I was so relieved. The two kids classes that I subbed for went pretty well. The kids were so cute. Why couldn´t the classes I subbed for Delicia be that calm?
Yesterday I was teaching Otoniel English at Santa Apolonia and writing poetry, and I saw a parrot! It was just sitting on a tree. How awesome is that!
I have no time these days, I have to go to the gym now. Yesterday I got my haircut, here is a pic.
NExt Wednesday I am giving a private lesson to a kid. Gotta go ciao.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Cycle

Wow, so last night was crazy.
First, I went to the office to hand in my exams from Saturday and the exams that Rebekkah gave me, as she´s moved to Chiclayo now where her man lives. There was some kind of problem which I didn´t understand about Saturday and I was very exasperated because it seemed like I was to blame for something...but it´s not possible because I didn´t do anything wrong. Then, later when I gave Sarita her book back she asked me how 5 of her students failed the exam in her class which I subbed for. I don´t know!! But she was okay and everything the material is tough as it´s an advanced class.
Apparently there were two different schedules made so we were all so confused. I went to the classroom on my schedule and had all sorts of different students come in who weren´t in my class and then a teacher told me I didn´t have a class, which I did. So I had to move to another classroom, but the room was full of students from a different class so my boss came and sorted everyone out. Good grief. Then for my next class I had to move to a different room which is quite small, especially for one of my classes. Neither schedule was right. So, I lost about half an hour of my first class because of all the confusion. But, I´m so happy to have my reg.1 class back, who are now my reg.2 class. I have so much fun teaching them it´s awesome.
One thing that is really weird is that in my Reg.1 class I have new students, and then I have students from my pre-1v class last cycle. So some students speak practically no English and others know lots. I don´t understand how I´m supposed to teach this class because obviously the pre-1vs know how to introduce themselves etc. Oh well.
Markus emailed me that Kenya has died. I was so sad to hear this way. She was a good dog because she liked me...
Did you hear about the Air France plane that disappeared. Scary stuff. There was one Canadian on board too.
At the gym yesterday I was still able to lift the same weights so yay! Estoy delgado ahora!!
Nothing else new for the moment. Yesterday we had Cuban rice again, rice with fried banana and fried eggs. I love fried banana!!
Keep emailing me and sharing your news!!
The pic is in the Plaza De Armas of Peru!
Cuidarte, Gemma

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Unborn

So, last night I went to cinema to watch The Unborn, which was in English with Spanish subtitles. Man was I ever freaked out because I am such a baby with horror movies. But, I did manage to correctly predict the outcome in the first 5 minutes. I should write horror movies. It took me about 4 hours to fall asleep last night though because it made me think so much. Good grief. Although, it makes me laugh how horror movies always have similar predictable things, like the girl who sees a ghost and then wanders off into the woods on her own or the lights always going off when someone is going to die or the girl who opens the door when the bell rings even when she looks outside and sees nobody there. I mean, if it were me I´d be running away as fast as possible, but these horror movie people seem to enjoy the most dangerous route possible.
In the afternoon yesterday I went to Santa Apolonia with Heber. A little kid wanted to tell me the history so he did and Heber helped me understand where I had no clue what was going on. He was such a cute kid. I think I might have mentioned before how much I love Santa Apolonia. I spoke in Spanish pretty much the whole time and Heber understood most of it. Yay!!
I forgot to mention that in Chiclayo in the Psychology session the lady asked a question in Spanish and after I answered she asked how old I was and then did this, oh right rolling eyes thing. I hate how some people dismiss my answers because of my age. I don´t think that it´s fair, especially since I have met a lot of people here who are older than me but seem so much younger and totally clueless about life. I worked pretty hard to get the respect of my students after telling them my age. The first few classes I had the "what could she possibly teach me" attitude from a few of my students, especially the older ones, but by the end of the cycle I had the same students telling me that they would be signing up for my class this cycle.
Antonio has informed me that some of his friends told him to stop hanging out with me because I am a common white girl. Well, isn´t that nice. His friends don´t even know me. But, I am now used to the attitude that many people here have to white people and I´m not too fond of the rude men here either. I prefer the people who are my friends and don´t care at all about the colour of my skin or my age. Antonio told me he doesn´t care what his friends say and that they are ignorant, which I think is pretty true.
Despite the negatives I am actually having the time of my life and am sad that I only have two more cycles to teach.
On Saturday after work I am going to see Alborada in concert, they are a group of native people here who sing traditional songs. I am pretty pumped. I have a DVD of them that I have watched and they are pretty original. In two weeks I am going to go to Porcon and I am pumped because I have heard so many times how awesome it is!
My legs are so itchy in the minefield of mosquito bites.
I am pretty happy to be going to the gym after almost a week because I think I won´t be able to life the same weights anymore. It´s discouraging if I have to go down again. I will have to work hard.
arrr there was something else but I can´t remember what it was...
Well, the pics are of my roomate, Pilar, Ray and I at the restaurant and then just of Pilar and I in the Plaza De Armas of Chiclayo.
Un abrazo,

Sunday, May 31, 2009


A couple more pics for you, the crew from ICPNA Cajamarca.

Gravol is God!

Hola amigos!
Well, I have had an awesome few days. First, nobody told me that after class on Wednesday I was supposed to hand in all my grades. So, my last exam finished at 9:30 and I had to get all the marks in before 10 as well at be at the bus station by 10:15. I just love how nobody tells me anything. So, I worked really fast but I still had one class to do. I handed that one in yesterday. It takes a really long time to grade all the exams, calculate the average for the course for each student, count absences (more than 3 absences equals failure) and assign a letter grade. I hate having to give people with 82 % a D. It seems ridiculous to me. Rebekah (who is my collegue from Texas) took at taxi with me because it´s safer when the white girls stick together right? Maybe not though because we attracted a lot of negative attention. Luckily Rebekah has been here 2 years and speaks fluent Spanish so she told the men where to go. At the bus station we met Ray, Mercedes, Sarita, Geraldine, my roomate in Chiclayo, Delicia and her husband. When I had to board the bus I guess the lady asked me for my fingerprint but I had no idea what she was talking about, so she thought I was right idiot. She pointed to the page and I put my finger there but I didn´t have ink. Point two for me, she was shaking her head at my stupidity as I boarded the bus. The security is really tight, like at the airport, although you don´t generally have to give your fingerprint at the airport. So, the movie on the bus was Twilight which was pretty sweet, in Spanish with English subtitles. I didn´t watch much though because I felt sick. My third mistake was to eat the food they gave me, a sandwich and a muffin with sprite. For the 8 hours it took to get to Chiclayo I was sick constantly. When there was nothing left I was just puking up bile. It was disgusting and I´m sure you would rather not hear that, but the sad truth of this blog is that it´s the sad truth of everything. The first time I didn´t expect to puke, suddenly it just happened, a bizarre thing, so it went everywhere. !Dios mio¡ It was awful. Lukily my roomate who also sat next to me on the bus was safe from my sickness and she had lots of tissues. The bus attendant or whatever you call her gave me some kind of pill which didn´t help at all. Although, I was pretty triumphant because I managed to take it no problem. It´s actually the first time in my life I have ever been able to take a pill. It was useless. So, when we arrived at Chiclayo I was pretty woosy and ready to sleep for about 3 days. I needed to eat but my stomach was too unsettled for food. We squished 5 of us into the most tini taxi ever and whizzed off to the hotel. When we got there we had to give our passport numbers for our rooms. We need our passports for everything here. It was about 7:30 when we finally settled in. I had a shower, but there was no hot water. Well. So I did this weird dance thing because it was soooo freezing but I needed a shower to wash my hair because I was sick...
So, then I lay down for about an hour to try and get some sleep. We all had to be at ICPNA for 9 in the morning. Hahaha. Well, my roomate who is 32 and has 3 kids (just a little fact for you) went and knocked on the door of the girls next door (Mercedes and Geraldine). They weren´t ready so we said we´d wait. Well, they left without us. How rude! So, we arrived at about 9:20 but we weren´t last don´t worry. The Peruvian way is to be late. ICPNA Chiclayo is massive. It has it´s own building, which is blue. It has a library and massive office and a little place to eat and patio outside and even an auditorium. Totally different from the 8 2nd floor classrooms in a random building and tiny office in Cajamarca!
Our first session was all about blended/hybrid and internet learning. If the teachers follow the plan, they´re going to make themselves redundant. I don´t agree with a lot of what he was saying. Having taken a correspondance course in Spanish in Canada I think it´s really hard. Ýou have to be intrinsically motivated and it´s really hard when it comes to pronounciation. If you make a mistake, there is no teacher to correct you right away. I understand that people are busy and it´s easier for some people to learn online, but honestly learning a language takes time. I think the traditional way of classroom learning for languages is the best way to go. It´s all very well to study in books or on the computer but actually having the confidence to use the language when you are surrounded by people who speak it fluently is a whole other thing. Sometimes, it´s hard for me when I totally brutalize the Spanish language and it´s easy to get frustrated. I wish that in my Spanish class at Uni there was more conversation because in the end that´s really what you need to practice. Getting 100% on a written Spanish exam is wonderful but if you are too shy to say anything it´s useless. I am always telling my students here when I ask questions to a student and they don´t want to answer, that if they can´t speak to me in a class of their peers, they can´t travel and communicate with English speaking people. It might sound harsh but it´s true. I´m a very encouraging teacher and I don´t allow my students to make fun of each other so mostly they aren´t afraid to try. Most of the students here are learning English for travel or business. For me, if you go the online way, it´s on top of class. Class every day or every second day plus internet learning for extra practice I think is a wonderful idea. But really, for me I look at the faces of my students to assess their understanding. If they are sending me assignments on the internet or learning lessons on the internet how am I supposed to know how they are doing, or even if it is them who is completing the lesson. So, I wasn´t very impressed with this session but ICPNA seemed to want to implement it and with my one month of experience, what do I know? Oh, I also saw Miranda again and met Colleen so that was nice. I actually only saw them that day.
For lunch on Thursday a group of us went to this little place. Most of them had ceviche but for me raw fish is a no thanks and my stomach needed something not too exotic to calm it down. So I did the most boring thing I have done in Peru ever and ordered chicken and chips. It was actually really good though because the chips were proper English type. I felt better afterwards. To drink I had some traditional Peruvian thing though so don´t worry I haven´t gone off trying new things. It took us about half an hour to work out how to pay for our bill. ICPNA gave all of us 20 soles, so about 6.50, for meals each day. In Canada it wouldn´t stretch but for here it´s average. They gave us our bill together and with stuff that we shared it was so complicated. Well, afterwards we went to the Plaza De Armas in Chiclayo, which is nowhere near as gorgeous as Cajamaraca, but it does have a nice Cathedral although it´s yellow. We went shopping down the main strip but nobody bought anything (as we are teachers at ICPNA and payday is once a month, next week I think, so we are all poor). Okay, that might not be the reason. I can´t remember what we did next!!! Oh! We went to the hotel to rest a little bit and shower etc.. Right, next we walked to Totos which was like a mile away. No, not really, but it was dangerous because the cars go everywhere in Chiclayo. I think that it is similar to Lima. I am so glad everybody ignored when I said I wanted to go to Chiclayo and sent me to Cajamarca instead. It´s about a million times better here. My roomie wanted to buy clothes for her kids. Afterwards, we went to the mall which was a bit of a sketchy walk because it was dark. I chatted to Geraldine a lot. It´s nice because she´s 18 too, actually a month younger than me and from the Phillipines. Her first language is pretty much English though because she doesn´t speak any Phillipinino as when she was 5 she moved to the U.S. and she has been here 6 years or something. Her Spanish isn´t great either. She´s a fun person and interesting. At the mall I bought a t-shirt because we were all planning on going dancing and I had nothing to wear at all that would be okay in a club. We all had ice cream for supper, I wasn´t hungry because I´ve grown accustomed to not eating supper here. The lunches are just so massive! At 10 Delicia and her husband came to the hotel and we all went to get ready (Geraldine did my hair etc because I´m not really into that stuff) and then at about 10:45 ish we went to the club. When we first arrived I thought it was pretty dead. After a while more people came though and it was awesome. They played Latin music and then a band came and played traditional Chiclayo folk music so nobody could really dance but they had these traditional dancers come in so that was good to see. We had Tequeños, which I love, yummy! After, they played more Spanish music and even a few songs in English and we danced. It was fun! We left at 1:30 though because we had to be at ICPNA for 9 the next day. We walked home from the club which I thought was a little stupid but the girls who were from Chiclayo said that this part of Chiclayo was safe at night. One of the others gave me her jacket because I didn´t have a sweater so that was much better. It actually seemed okay though because we didn´t really pass anybody.
In the morning we had breakfast in the hotel, eggs and bread and jam, and the office people in Cajamarca had arrived along with Mirtha, another teacher. We all went to ICPNA and had a session entirely in Spanish about Psycology. This was fine until she started asking questions. Luckily my roomate told me what the questions were so I didn´t look like a total idiot. I got the gist of some of what was going on, the problem is that in psycology there are complicated words. The session was long but we had a break which is shown in the picture above. There was juice and turkey sandwiches yummy. Then, at the end of the session she said we were going to write an exam in the afternoon. In Spanish! Good grief. Nobody told me about this. I was rather panicking because I thought it was like really serious. For lunch most of us went to a cute restaurant. It was nice to chat with my collegues and get to know them as people not just the other teachers. After lunch it was really hot!! We took some photos in the Plaza and then Pilar, Ray, Juan, my roomie and I went shopping again. I don´t think anyone bought anything. After we relaxed in the hotel and then went back to ICPNA for the exam. I was allowed to use my Spanish-English dictionary which helped, but the exam was not that serious. It was more like a personality test but it was really long. It took me about 3 hours to write the entire exam. After the written part we had to draw a person, house, and tree and then the same but in colours. This is supposed to tell us something about ourselves. So, if I did badly in the first part those of you who know my drawing skills can tell that it wouldn´t help much. However, everyone liked my tree and asked if the person I drew was my boyfriend. It wasn´t, which someone said was fortunate for him. Which was true because my drawings were awful except for my tree. After this there was another written part which I didn´t understand at all but did my best on. When we walked back to the hotel I was looking at the sky wondering where the stars were (smog covered) and I fell into a small hole. So, everybody was laughing including me and asking why I was looking at the sky and not the sidewalk. I am clumsy.
After the exam, the same 5 of us went shopping again and then out for supper and to the Plaza. When I told them about my travel sickness we went to the Pharmacy to buy Gravol for like, 30 cents haha. I didn´t buy anything because I really have no money, plus I didn´t see anything that said Chiclayo. Oh well. We arrived back at the hotel at like 10, and had 20 minutes to pack and leave for the bus. Everyone was very impressed that I only brought one bag. Really, it was only 2 days! Gravol is God. I wasn´t sick once on the bus and I just fell asleep. It was so nice! Pilar sat next to me and we chatted a bit with my limited Spanish and her limited English.
We arrived back here at like 7 yesterday morning. When I got off the bus I stood up and hit my head on the roof because you´re supposed to duck. Everybody thought that was pretty funny too. Oh dear. I took a taxi here alone (for the first time) and actually managed to say directions to my house in Spanish and end up here. Yay! I got changed and quickly finished marking my exam and then ran to ICPNA for my 8:00 class. I returned for lunch at about 1, which was fish, yucca (carb), a mountain of white rice (carb)and potatoes (carb). I think that my spaghetti rice pasta pie would go down well here. I used lots of ketchup for some flavour. I quickly planned my class for the afternoon at then returned at about 3:15 to open the doors (I have a key now) and teach my class. The exams went pretty well. It´s so rewarding with this class because they didn´t speak one word of English and now they can introduce themselves and talk basic English. It´s cool to think that I helped with that. I had a student score 100 and lots of 90s and 80s in that class and then I had one 34. This was really depressing for me. I must have really failed to help her somewhere. In my favourite class I had about 5 students ace the exam, which is set by the office to keep a standard. I was pretty happy. All in all, I only had to fail (and by fail I mean less than 80%) 5 students in all my classes this cycle, 2 of whom never came to class or wrote the exam so I don´t feel bad about failing them. Yesterday I got my schedule for tomorrow. This cycle I have 5 classes, 6-10 every night and then 8-12:30 and 3:30-8:00 on Saturday. No little kids, thank goodness, but one juniors beginner class (that´s 12 year olds) which will be interesting. It´s a good schedule because there´s a lot of planning to do during the day and I will have a bit of time to myself, plus I can still go to the gym and I don´t have any classes at 7 in the morning. Yippee!
I had a student email me and thank me for my help and said that the 100% was for me because I am a good teacher. So I was pretty happy but I don´t have a big head because I am so angry with myself for letting a student fail so badly. But I really appreciate that a student would say that to me.
Today I am meeting a friend for lunch. I slept in until 9 this morning. I know, I am lazy but I was shattered after work yesterday.
Good grief, I have written a short novel, but I´m sure I´ve missed out so much.
Thanks so much for all your emails!!
Okay, take care, greetings from Peru!
Un abrazo, Gemma
Ps. the other pic is Geraldine and I

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chiclayo bound and outraged...

So, if you can believe it, I have to pay 30 soles because in one of my classes there are only 8 students and the mininum number is 9. Do you think anybody told me about this? No! Also, this is something that is outside of my control. It´s bad enough that everytime I walk someplace I go on a guilt trip from all the beggars asking me for money (although when they grab my clothes I don´t feel bad about saying no, I get angry) but now I have to pay more for the honour of teaching for 4 and half hours every Saturday. Don´t get me wrong I enjoy my job but I think that enough is enough when it comes to paying.
Today, we had dessert at lunch time... cottage cheese with honey. I have never heard of such a thing. I am not the biggest fan. I told them my tongue was confused and didn´t know whether to go sweet or savory. I am so funny.
This morning I went to the bank and it was so nice, all the tellers waved at me and I got called up right away by name ahaha. The man said, come back again soon. They are so jolly at the bank like a family or something. I have only been there 3 times! Well, that´s what happens when you are the smiley white girl in the neighbourhood.
At the gym today I pushed 30 kgs with my legs. I started with 2.5 so I feel good about myself. I felt even better when on one of the arms machines I pulled 15 and then a young man in his 20s maybe almost died trying to pull the same amount. Okay, so a regular gym going man would have done like 90 or something but still, I felt in shape!
It rained again this afternoon. That´s every day for like two weeks.
I am a little nervous about Chiclayo, about 20 people have told me to be very careful. It´s nice to have people looking out for me but also a little bit unnerving. What are people like there? I hope that we are in a good part of town, the girls at work said the hotel is nice. It will be nice to meet Colleen, who is from Regina and catch up with Miranda from B.C..
Don´t be worried for me, I won´t have a chance to write again until maybe Sunday.
Oh, I forgot on Saturday we had fish soup. Rosa had the whole head of a fish in hers and the whole time I ate it stared at me. I was almost sick. I´m not veggie or anything but I don´t like food with eyes.
Yesterday I was really annoyed because I almost made it all the way to ICPNA without attracting any attention but then this man winked at me and blew a kiss. So that makes 0 trips walking alone without being annoyed by stupid men.
I don´t know why I am anxious about Chiclayo but I have butterflies in my stomach. Weird. I never had butterflies about Peru or in Peru before. So, what did I do to prepare for Chiclayo? Pack all my pepto bismol and plastic bags for all the puking I might do in the bus. Erlack. I am going to get no sleep in the next few days. Plus, puking is tiring. Maybe I´ll get abs (that´s really looking for a bright side). I arrive in Chiclayo at like 4 in the morning. I arrive back here at like 4 on Saturday morning with class at 8. Hm, fun. ah, es la vida as they say here. No, really I´m sure it will be another exciting adventure. Maybe I just don´t want to leave Cajamarca because it´s so completely awesome. That could be it.
Some people asked about my age. Well, sometimes I feel young and ignorant and wonder what an earth I think I am doing claiming to be able to teach English, but most of the time I feel pretty old and capable. Like, when my students say they´ve never left Cajamarca it really puts perspective on life.
Other people have written to me that they wish they could do something like what I am doing. Well, I have to say, do it! You only live once and it´s important to live it out. Don´t let your surroundings suffocate you. The world is huge. Don´t trust what other people say, see for yourself! In the words of Irene Cara "take your passion, and make it happen." Those are my wise words for today.
Yes well, I expect you to email me and leave pretty comments while I am away.
Thinking of you all, whoever and wherever you are.
Un abrazo, Gemma

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


So, if you can believe it, even though I am half way across the world I just had Jehovahs Witnesses try to sell me their religion. Don´t get me wrong, I respect their right to believe what they like, but I wish they were less pushy and respected my right not to believe.
Yesterday watching Luis´ game was painful. They lost 7-0 but they were lucky not to lose 30-0. I could tell they were done for before the game even started when the other team arrived and began doing organized drills while Luis´ team were running about all over the place. In the second half the other goalie was sleeping or something, in the whole game he saw the ball maybe once. After the game, Luis told me his team played really well. Oh dear God. I want to be their coach and work them into shape. Their tactic seemed to be to kick the ball as hard as they could to the other end of the pitch even though nobody from their team was there, and also everyone on Luis´ team ran for the ball. The other team worked circles around them! I have a list so long of things they need to learn. I think some of them don´t even know how to play soccer.
Yesterday, I subbed for another teacher who felt sick. Her first class was okay but her second were devil children! Good grief! I had to give them a seating plan. Holy man I had to be like that teacher that everyone hates because they were so bad! I was relieved to get back to my own classes. I really hope she is better and I don´t get called in again today.
It´s short today but I really have so much marking to do!
Ciao amigos!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Time flying past

¡Hola amigos! ¿Que tal?
Everything here in the beautiful country of Peru is fine and dandy thank you. Yesterday we did not go to Porcon because Luis and Rosa were trying to sell their car and it might get dirty or something, also because there is no place to eat in Porcon an my family like to eat. So, yesterday we went to an outdoor restaurant near llacanora which was sweet because outside there was a park and a soccer field. So, Luis, Luis and I played soccer. Apparently they are very impressed with my goal kick. I played in goal for bit. Today I have decided that I want to go and watch Luis play soccer at Davy College. I think his coach isn´t very good because he didn´t know where on his foot to kick the ball or what being offside meant etc. Plus, they play 7 aside with 3 in defence, 2 in midfield and just luis up front. It is not surprising they are losing all their games, Luis says the midfield don´t come up to help him. How the heck is he supposed to score with no one pass to?
I just met two men who are travelling around Peru because they were sitting next to me in the internet cafe. They are from BC so that´s cool. They said they had been in Cajamarca for ages, like 5 nights. Ahahaha. They tried to ignore me but I am just too friendly. Ahaha. The one guy had his phone stolen so he was calling Canada to get it cancelled. When I see white people I just am so curious about what they are doing here etc.
I only have 3 days left in this cycle. On Saturday I work 8-8! That is a longggg day. Plus, I don´t return from Chiclayo until Saturday at like 4 in the morning.I will have to get sleep on the bus. I am pretty excited for this cycle to finish so that I can hang out with my friends again. They are signing up for different teachers next cycle so that there is no problem.
Luis and Rosa bought a new tv and it is huge. We looked at my photos on it, they are awesome. The screen resolution is wonderful!
Yesterday I made another new friend, this man was walking with his family and came over and said hi and welcomed me to Peru. His kids were so sweet! I don´t mind people like this, it´s the men who shout out to me hola, princesa, linda, reina, bonita etc that gets really really annoying. I probably look like the biggest snob rolling my eyes and walking off but seriously I can´t even walk 2 blocks without attracting attention, even during the day. I don´t have to walk alone at night now so it´s about 1 million times better.
Well, I better go because I am running out of money to spend on internet and I am off to the gym plus have class to prepare. Ah, for a quiet life. Haha just kidding, I wouldn´t have it any other way!
I think that´s it´s going to be really hard to leave this place. I know that I will return someday. I have no choice in that matter. You couldn´t imagine a more beautiful atmosphere, unless you offed all the rudey dudey men. Then it would be perfect.
Well, keep emailing me because I love hearing from all of you.
Saludos, Gemma -x-