Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Falling in love with Peru...

So wow! It´s Tuesday and I haven´t written since Thursday. I expect you were friggid with despair at not having to read another essay from me. Actually, I have been very very busy, which is a good thing, I think.
Thursday evening I met with one of my students, Otoniel, who is 23 and we went to the Polleria, which is not the name of the place but a kind of restaurant that serves chicken. We studied English. After this, we went to Santa Apalonia, which is gorgeous at night because you can see the whole city. I think I would have cried if I were a more sentimental person. He walked me home. It´s good to have people looking out for me.

So, Friday was exam day and naturally my students begged me to hold off the exam until never, but since they had two weeks warning and lots of time to study I was mean and said no. The exams went pretty well though. Saturday morning at 8:00 I went with Rosa to meet all the teachers in the the program (the schools of poverty in Cajamarca). These teachers have a high school education at the best, so we all went to a training at Davy College. I really wish I could have read the minds of the teachers when they walked around the College. It is 1000 worlds away from the schools they teach at. Some of them were in awe facially though. It was really interesting for me to take the training entirely in Spanish. It was about teaching children though, which would have been useful for me before when Delicia was away and I taught classes of children. You can see my Children CD class pictured above. I tried to take it when no-one was looking because the camera would have created a lot of excitement. The first part of the training was lecture form and I understood the general gist of it so that was exciting for me, of course it helped that we were given hand outs and it´s easier to read Spanish for me. The second part involved singing and group work though... I almost managed to learn all the words to the song before it was over. The group work was more difficult, in the end I did the artsy stuff and when we presented someone else did the talking, thank goodness! I did meet some awesome women though. When we got back here one of Rosa´s brothers and his daughter were here so we chatted for a bit and had fish for lunch. In the afternoon I had about 1 hour to plan my 4 and a half hour class (yes, I organised my time well) and then ran off to ICPNA. However, when I got to ICPNA, out of the five of us who had class that afternoon only one of us had a key and it didn´t work. So, that was good planning. We had students up and down the stairs (which, by the way, are going to kill me) waiting. In the end the keys were sent by taxi and we started class 45 minutes late. My class was okay I think, we give our students 20 minute breaks on Saturdays because the classes are so long and it´s just not fun without some time to relax. After class on Saturday it absolutely hammered it down. So much for Rosa telling me 2 weeks ago that there would be only one more rainfall in the season. I went to the Plaza to meet one of my students but being a man and useless he was 10 minutes late. So, I was pretty soaked but despite that actually pretty happy beacuse the Plaza is beautiful and Cajamarca is beautiful too, especially at night. We went to Quinde, the mall here and had pizza (my first time in Peru) while we studied. Then, we tried to go to Santa Apolonia (because I love it there but I can´t go by myself at night because it´s too dangerous) but Otoniel wouldn´t let me go up because he spotted two men lurking who I didn´t see. So, you see why it´s a good thing that I don´t go out alone. Anyway, we walked away pretty fast and he walked me home.
On Sunday morning at 8 I walked to La Recoleta Church, which is gorgeous, and met a different student, Antonio. We took a taxi to Banos Del Inca for a walk in the park so he could practice English. It was somewhat depressing as the night before his girlfriend of 3 years dumped him and he was a total wreck. I felt bad for him. He told me his entire life story, and it was pretty difficult. He is the mathematical genius I talked about before. He told me he finished first in the class at the most difficult math school in the world, located in Lima, and that´s why he has a grant to go to America and why he needs to improve his English. He then tried to explain to me this really complicated mathematical thing that he loves but I didn´t get it. It didn´t help that the whole thing was in Spanish. After, we went to a little restaurant place for a drink and took a Combi back. He, too, walked me home. I have decided that the Combi drivers are really rude. They are yelling at you "get on get on get on" and "get off get off get off" and practically push you out. Antonio is 25 and has had 92 girlfriends. He had pictures of them all. I told him he was a player. He said he was honest with the girls he was dating at the same time and they didn´t care. I told him he was still a player and that it was only necessary to have one girlfriend at a time.
Rosa, Luis, Ana and I went to Quinde for lunch to the Polleria there. The fries here are proper big chips. Yummy. Big Luis went to Celedin for the weekend. I couldn´t go because I had to work on Saturday and the others couldn´t go because Ana isn´t doing well at school and might have to repeat the year. When you´re paying 300 dollars a month for private school this is a big problem. In the afternoon I marked like 500 workbooks and exams. Arrhhh!! But, I think it´s important that students know what they are doing wrong so it was a good thing. (I had students come up to me and thank me yesterday for my feedback so that makes it worth it.) At 7:00 I met a different student (I´m starting to realise that none of the students who ask me for extra help are female...) and we went out for supper at a pretty nice place. He is 25 too, I thought maybe 20 from the way he looks. He is the biggest square I have ever met! It´s awesome, he´s even straighter than me! He doesn´t drink, smoke, or do drugs (which is good!), he´s never had a serious girlfriend (i.e. he´s a virgin) and he only goes to the club or the bar very very rarely is there is a group of 10 or more. He´s very religious. When I said I was agnostic he invited me to church with him on Sunday. He goes like 4 times a week. He says I shouldn´t go out in Cajamarca if there isn´t a large group of people and some men to look after me. When I told him I that I walk home from work alone he was totally shocked. He said that after class he would walk me home, which is a pretty good thing I think. Despite this, he is totally crazy and a fun person to be around. We also went to Santa Apolonia and just talked to practice English for 2 hours. I love Santa Apalonia, I think I should just live there in a cardboard box. I would be happy. Until it started to rain or creepy men came up to me. I´m having such a good time here now that I have friends close to my own age and a family who are a lot of fun. Don´t worry, all my male friends here know I have a boyfriend in Canada, some of them think I´m engaged, and people here have respect for things like that. When he walked me home he wouldn´t let me walk beside the road. Everytime we crossed the street and I tried to stand there he stood closer to the road than me. I was like, what are you doing!! He said that it was custom for the man to walk beside the traffic, so if a car verges over he´d die first. So, thats sweet in a disturbing kind of way.
Yesterday was awesome! In the morning I was supposed to teach one student to catch him up with his class, but he didn´t show. Delicia saw me and said she wanted a word in her office so I had to wait. I was so nervous!! She gave me my lesson plans and said I had to type them up. So, that will be fun. There´s like 50 of them. Then she said she was going to observe my class in the evening. I was like noooooo AHH!! Then, she said that the rule at ICPNA is that teachers are not allowed to socialize with their students. So, how many times have I broken that rule? A lot. I think it´s a silly rule. I understand not going to a party with them or drinking with them but I don´t see why I can´t help them with English outside of class. Most of my friends here are my students. So, I was in a pretty bad mood when I walked home and when creepy men said hola to me I gave them a glare that could kill. At 9:30 I met Otoniel because before we were talking and I said I wanted to see some waterfalls, he said he would take me to llacanora. So, we took a taxi with his friend the cab driver who was very funny and kept laughing at my Spanish, and stopped a few kms away from llacanora. We walked up the mountain to check out this cool cave thing and there was a dog who followed us. We walked though the mountains over rocks and through forests and stuff which was so fun! But, there were spiders. I freaked out! Most weren´t very big but I spotted this little hole which was a spider´s den and I pointed it out to Otoniel, who proceeded to poke it with a stick and then this huge spider came crawling out. Well! I have never run so fast in my life. I ran halfway up the mountain in 2 seconds, which Otoniel thought was hilarious. This spider is only poisonous to cows apparently. But still, I don´t like big creepy spiders! The dog followed us all the way to llacanora! The waterfalls were gorgeous. You can see the two main ones above. Again, I wanted to cry but I didn´t ahaha. I had fun running near the waterfall and getting wet like a 3 year old or something. For lunch we went to the actual town of llacanora and I had... wait for it... Guinea Pig. I told Otoniel that in Canada Guinea Pigs are pets and he thought that was very funny. He said he would prefer to eat it. Guinea Pig has a really odd flavour, I don´t think I´m a big fan of it to be honest. There isn´t much meat. It`s Ana´s favourite food though. You should see my legs. They are so mosquito bitten!! I look like I have a really bad case of chicken pox. I didn´t even feel the mosquitoes biting me and I didn´t see them either! It was sooo hot yesterday! We went to visit Otoniel´s parents which was 3 km away from Yacanora in the mountains, where they have a little house and land. Only his dad was home though, and he was a pretty cool guy. Otoniel told him I was agnostic so he proceeded to read me parts of the bible in Spanish and explain how there had to be a God etc. I wish Otoniel hadn´t told him I was Agnostic. It was a little awkward. But, he was a really nice man. Living in the beautiful landscape he lives in, every day looks like a miracle. Otoniel played music from different Spanish bands and then suddenly he played Here I Am by Bryan Adams!! I remembered Grad and everyone in Canada then, but I wasn´t really sad. I love my people back in Canada but Peru is awesome. I absolutely love it too! Haha, When I told my other student that in English speaking countries we don´t kiss each other on the cheek to say hi and bye, but instead shake hands, he thought I was joking. He was like, how stiff is that? It´s unnatural. I think he´s right. Now, when someone tries to shake my hand, it seems really stuck up. Like, do I have something on my face, why don´t you like me... Having said that, only one person has tried to shake my hand, and they were white.
Yesterday evening I was so nervous for my class!! Delicia left for 5 minutes to talk to someone else and I let out this big breath and started laughing and my class cheered. It was quite funny. After, Delicia said she liked my class. I was so relieved!! Apprently I asked 23 comprehension questions though, which is a lot. I hope she never comes to watch my class again. I don´t like tests!
Yeah, well I´ve been hogging the computer for about 2 hours now to write all this and answer questions from students so maybe I had better go!
Hoping you are well!!
Un abrazo,
Cheers, Gemma -x-


  1. Hilarious! I am so glad that you are having the time of your life there. I knew you would. As for the rule about not socializing with students...that's crap and I think you should tell them to shove it! Or just get around it by saying you are giving private lessons !!

  2. Thank you!!! Someone who agrees with me! Next cycle all my friends are taking class with different teachers so we can hang out again!
    Hope the res office is going well for you, when do you get a vacation?
    Cheers, Gemma!