Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cesar, love, it´s raining...in the kitchen!

Apparently since I got this camera 5 years ago I have taken over 7000 photos! wow!
Ok, so here it rarely rains, but once in a while we get a torrential downpour like you can see in the photo, remembering that rain rarely shows in my photos should help you imagine the quantity of water that fell. What started as a nice tinkering sound on our glass roof, upon investigation turned into OH MY GOD ITS RAINING INSIDE and movement of everything into areas where we have real roof (luckily, due to the lack of furniture, this took approximately 5 seconds). We cut the top off big water bottles and set them around the room to catch the water, but I wasn´t very helpful because I couldn´t stop laughing. I might be crazy. Good thing we don´t have carpet!
On Sunday we went to watch Cesar´s friend play 6 side soccer, at which he was absolutely dreadful, and his side lost more than 8-0, I lost count. In the picture, he is one in the middle with the green stripe on his shirt. I asked Cesar why he doesnt play, and he said he did play but the ball hit him in the face and 3 of his brackets fell off (anyone who has had braces is now cringing), so now he´s off the sport until he gets his braces off which will hopefully be soon! The place he played is called Santa Barbara, another part of Cajamarca, and the concrete pitch had a restauarnt and some entertainment, so that nice. First there was a female singer and she was great. And then, this man gets up and starts winking and dancing away singing in Quechua, which was so not pleasant to listen to, but out of respect for his age and sheer guts we gave him a little tip when he came around with his bag. We were going to go to the cinema afterwards, but they were only showing 3 movies and we had already seen 2 of them, so we bought a pirate movie and watched it on the laptop instead. On Saturday Cristian and Davo came over in the afternoon and we sat on the balcony, when Cesar got back from work he joined us and we ummed and ahhed over the beautiful view from our balcony...a busy highway and construction :) oh well! In the night we finally went out dancing, but I was so tired from work that we came home at like, 2, and everyone else was there until 5. Luckily, the old diarrhea excuse frees you up every time! :)The other picture is of La Molina, the outdoor restaurant and soccer pitch where we had chicken kebabs which were yummy! Saturday was the last day of the cycle for Sat classes and tomorrow will be the last day for regular classes, and then Thurs is Independance Day here so hopefully I will get a chance to do something more exciting like TRAVEL!! Cesar has the week off from university and I think I get a week, or at least 5 days off. My student of private morning classes has gone back up to the mine for his week on, so now I have mornings free. I have a huge pile of correcting to do though...! I promise, when my life is more interesting (ie, when I get paid) my blogs will be too! Till then, take care lovelies! xx

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Peru wins!

Well, their quarter anyway. Yesterday we spent the whole afternoon from 2 after work watching soccer at Cesar´s friend´s house. It is the South American cup which is played every 2 years and this year is in Argentina. It was Peru vs Colombia for a spot in the top four, and despite all prediction Peru pulled out of it with a 2-0 victory in the extra half an hour. Then, it was on to Argentina vs Uruguay to see which team Peru will be up against on Tuesday. After 90 plus 30 minutes of play they were tied 1-1 and in the penalty shoot out, Uruguay won with 1 more goal than Argentina. I´d hate to be the Argentinean who missed! The thing is, the game was much more intense, and they play at another level to that which Peru and Colombia played at, so everyone is pretty sure that Peru will stay in their 4th place position. However, it is a game and you never can be totally sure!
After that, we all went out for chicken. Today is Pollo a la brasa day. Everyone here says the way in which they cook their chicken on the fire is different to the rest of the world. I believe it tastes the same as any other chicken does, but nobody wants to hear me say that. The plan was to go dancing after the chicken which we finished at 9, but we got back to the apartment so tired that instead of changing to go out we went to sleep. How boring, right! hahaha
Apparently it is neccesary to have a day for everything, even chicken!
I just came back from lunch with Cesar´s mother who seems much happier. She may even start to work because she is bored, although we are not sure what she will do, but that is what she said. I think it would be better than being in a room all day watching television.
I am eating M and Ms and they are yummy. I missed them. yummmm. Cesar and I are going to see Harry Potter after he finishes his 20 pages of homework for University, and I guess I should get to marking the midterm exams I set yesterday. I have a crazy student who is Harry Potter mad and spent half my class making a heart and writing herself a love note from Daniel Radcliffe. At least, she says, she is learning english so she has a chance with him. oh boy.
Cesar´s id card expired so we are waiting for the new one he bought to come in the mail. His old one had a picture of him at 16 years old. I told him, they are going to make you get a photo because you dont even look like the same person. He said, no way, this is Peru, nobody cares. So, we get there, and guess what! They make him get a photo. I feel triumphant enought to share this story with you. Anyway, we arent travelling right now because you need your ID card to be safe, especially when traveling with a white girl, the police like to pull me over for interrogations more, because I am obviously super suspicious looking.
Oh, and also because we dont have any money, that could be more the reason. We are thinking of going to Jaen for Independance Days at the end of the month which would be awesome because I have never been there and it is far away. Still in Peru, though.
On Thursday we went out with Cesar´s friends after work. Oh! and we went to the best pasta place ever. There was this weird French family there who asked me if I spoke French when I went in to which I replied no. The dad was being very special and was like, no I dont want this dont want that etc and then he yelled- I AM FRENCH AND I ONLY DRINK WINE. Everyone was like, ok go back to France then. Then he asked me, what is your nationality. English, I said. And your boyfiend? Peruvian. Ohhhhh woman you dont know what you have got yourself into. Nice, right!
On Thursday I went to visit the host family I stayed with the past two years. We had something yummy which I can best describe as a slimy green case with meat olives tomato eggs and other random stuff packed inside, and you are supposed to eat the case too. With rice, of course. Alwayyyssss rice. Rosa traveled to Cuzco and Macchu Picchu and was showing me her photos. Looks like fun, but you need 1500 to 2000$ to go she said and that is a bit steep for me. Rosa took me to a dance and song performance that the public schools in her program were putting on. That was neat to see.
I will attach some photos now so that you will get more idea of my life. The first is Cesar in our kitchen dining room area which is almost empty haha. The other is Cesar´s friend Pedro hogging half of the photo when we went out on Thursday. The last is during the break between the two matches yesterday, the sun was out and man was it hot! As soon as we have money to travel the photos will be more interesting! love xxx

Monday, July 11, 2011

Oh, body, thank you for this moment of peace!

Oh my goodness. I have been sooo sick. On Friday night after work Cesar and I went out for pizza and I proceded to spend the rest of the night rushing to the toilet, no you don´t want the details. Luckily, Cesar is awesome and went to get me get some pills as soon as the pharmacy opened. Unfortunately, I puked them back up. He bought me some electrolyte drink which I used to get through my 4 hour saturday morning class of teenagers. So, I turn up at ICPNA, manage to enter the wrong classroom, and begin teaching SOMEONE ELSE´S STUDENTS A DIFFERENT UNIT THAN THEY WERE STUDYING. Oh my god. So the teacher knocks on the door and says, uh, those are my students. And I realized I didn´t recognize them, and they weren´t mine. And this wonderful teacher insinuated that I should stop taking drugs and partying so hard. What a great rumour that will start if his students understood. I told him I was sick, and he was like, whatever, get yourself together. I am so not his greatest fan. He is Peruvian but lived in the states for 27 years so he is quite fluent. And eccentric. Somehow I coped with my class who thought it was hilarious. After, my collegue Cristian invited me to his house for lunch which is great because it was free. His mum was so happy to see me and it was very welcoming. After, I met Cesar at the apartment and the carpinter came and we spent the rest of the day building our wardrobe (the one you see in the pictures was unfunished, supported by the walls only). We havent got any hangers or a pole yet though, so we just use the drawers for now! We didn´t party on Saturday night because I still wasn´t feeling 100% and I was exhausted from lack of sleep the night before. Yesterday we went to visit Cesar´s mum, but she wasnt home. One of her friends from Huambos (the village Cesar is from) has moved here so they were out chatting. I think having a friend will help her a lot. We left the comforter and blankets Cesar bought her on her door, so I hope nobody robbed it. (even though we left it inside the house area you never know if someone else inside the house might take something). We went to the cinema and saw the movie about the Zookeeper (they only have 4 screens and I already saw the penguin one with Katie), it wasnt amazing but it was okay! While there I saw the mothers of two of my private students from before and they took my number, so that might mean more work! We spent the day Vagabonding as they say here, and ended up back home watching a movie on the laptop about WW2. We also went to my favourite pasta place where you get a TON of food for 3$ and its sooooo good! We also went to visit Cesar´s old landlady who, as many older type women here often do, proceeded to say what a miracle, what a miracle that you´re here. She said business is down, she sells beer too, but Cesar says people are saving up for fiestas patrias, or Peruvian Independance Days. Why have just one day when you can celebrate for a week?!
Today I went to work with Cesar, he went to fix a semi at the cattle market just outside the city. It was fun because I got to ride in the semi hub and see everything from up high (I must sound sooo sad right now). In the market there wasnt any electricity so we had to go and search for a store which would rent us electricity so that Cesar could use this little welding tool to fix the switchboard. I managed to get myself covered in grease, even though I SWEAR I didn´t touch anything! After that we came back with Carlos and ate a MENU, I had pork and RICE of course! In the afternoon I came back to prepare my classes and then had a surprise call at 5 to 3 saying I was needed as translator for the Texan guy again, he had showed up with a friend from Alabama as a surprise. So, I went. It is good, because now they people there know me, and will call me whenever they need help. I know they had a great translator before, but apparently they got a better job. I don´t want to be the person who translates their documents because that is boring, but I like oral translation, because I learn lots and get to meet people! Even though I knew nothing about welding, I feel that I am learning, but most of all, it is strange to talk to the people at the top of corporations and have them rely on you to translate a message...its actually a kind of power if you think about it!
I had to leave early though because I cant neglect my first duty and that is to teach 25 10 to 12 year olds at 430. Oh, you cannot imagine, how difficult that is, by yourself. I am sending 4 of them to remedial classes, and I hope they will learn lots there because I dont know what else to do with all these different levels of students. Anyone want to come and be my EA? haha
I had a great day a work, lots of laughing and I feel that now my students are getting used to me and are starting to improve. I like that!
Also, a man asked me for private classes 2 hours a day, for the days when he is not at the mine. That will help us decorate our apartment a bit, I think!
Well chicos, that is all for today, I hope to have more interesting blogs to follow but the travelling is kaput while the bank is empty...love! xx The one picture is of Cesar in the store we found with electricity. The other picture Cesar told me NOT to put on my blog, but I like it and so, here it is! At the pasta place :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Saving up...for a frying pan!

You wouldnt´t think it would be so exciting to start from scratch and have to save up to buy things like frying pans. We have one pan so far, but no sauacepans or frying pans. We are going to get some kitchen cabinets and pans in a week or so when we have saved up. It´s awesome, because everything we have is really ours, and even though its not much, it is enough to make a cozy space. Actually, what you see in the pictures? That´s it. Nothing more yet. But as we get stuff I will post more pictures. I have had a bit of a tough week, because the food made me sick, and I had headaches, but now I am feeling better. I also only teach classes in the evenings, which meant I was in the apartment with nothing to do all morning every day. So, our apartment is VERY clean! Today, I decided to go to work with Cesar, and that was way more entertaining, as I met the owners of a semi and a digger which Cesar was wiring (oh my gosh it looks so complicated I have no idea how he made them work) and got to chat. Then I got a call from a friend asking if I could meet him in 10 minutes to translate. That was cool! I went to meet the Quality Inspector of Yanacocha Mine, which is the American Gold Mine which practically runs the city, as it half the population works there and they have boosted the local economy, while destroying the water quality at the same time. Anyway, I had to meet the head of the local welding academy and accompany them to inspect some big water tanks and then sit down and talk about this contract and agreement. I felt important, because George from the mine is from Texas and has been all over the world, no joke he was telling tales of mining in Saudia Arabia and India and Chile, and seems to be well respected. The Spanish guy was from Barcelona, with a Mexican wife, who has worked all over South America because he is passionate about training young men to be professional welders. He said he could live comfortably in Spáin if he wanted, but he prefers to help people out. Then, he showed us a picture of this building he had built in Barcelona, a sky scraper, and said he named it after his son Johnathan. I was like...WHAT AM I DOING HERE WITH THESE PEOPLE!!! But, in the end, if you can´t communicate it doesn´t matter what high position you have, you must use a commoner like me to get your point across! So anyway, my friend who works in the mine was supposed to translate, but it was evident that it was hard for him, so I took over. It was beautiful to see that when the Spanish guy was using hand gestures talking about the welding process, no translation was necessary, because the Texan could understand due to them both having had the same career for more than 40 years and arrived at the top. The Spanish guy was proud of his tanks, because they were welded by people from his own welding school. Anyway, it was interesting for me!
After that I had to go to ICPNA to judge project citizen. Those of you who kept up with my blog last year may remember that I was asked to judge a project that local schoolteachers had to do about teenage alcoholism and how to prevent it. This year it was ICPNA students at advanced levels. They presented about Gangs in Cajamarca. Another teacher and I had to ask them questions afterwards. You could tell they were nervous because they were shaking! But they put a LOT of work into the presentation. They decorated their 4 bullentin boards and gave us a brochure and made a whole binder full of information. I thought it was great. I challenged them to put their plan, which was prevention through education (YAY WUSC!) into practice. The problem was, this made me 20 minutes late for my class. My students were not happy, but what could I do! All the Project Citizen students were wearing suits and ties and dresses and I could´nt very well walk out, plus my boss was there so there you go. The head boss was here from Chiclayo, because yesterday was National Teacher´s Day so we were all invited for a lunch together which we actually DIDN´T have to pay for! wooo! There were about 20 of us, including admin, and 4 teachers were missing. It was nice, but in typical Peruvian style, we ate 1.5 hours late, and all had to rush home for our books in order to arrive at class on time. Or, maybe I was the only one who rushed. Who knows! There was a young lady from the states at ICPNA to tell us about a new program which matches ACCESS, or students learning English and tieing it to community involvement, with other ACCESS students around the world. I think it will be a great tool for them, in which to practice their English and connect with the world around them. I hate to say it, but the people here are somewhat old-fashioned in their beliefs, set in their ways, and somewhat closed minded to other cultures. There is interest amoung some to learn though, and that is great!
As for Cesar and I, we are getting along very well, we eat the MENU every day while we are poor, which means for 1-2$ I get a 3 course meal. They usually have few options and it usually means 4 cups of rice are on my plate and I can´t eat it all, but that is ok. I feel like a Peruvian when I go to place which sells menu, and there are hundreds, because there are never any other white people. Plus you don´t have to wait, they bring you soup right as soon as you sit down and ask you for your seconds choice 2 minutes later. Very efficient.
Cesar is at university right now, which he loves, so I am happy for him because it is not cheap and I know he has worked hard to save up to go. Also, he employs his cousin and is teaching him his trade on the condition that he finishes his high school edcuation (he is 22 I think) and goes on to study at SENATI. He says, that his cousin will be able to get a good job in the mine in a few years if he works hard. Cesar doesn´t want to work there because you have to get up at 4 to arrive there on time, and it is cold and damp. He says he prefers to work in the open air and make his own hours. I guess thats the best part of having your own buisness. I met Cesar´s Mum on Sunday. She is such a little woman...like half my height. And so very sad. I hope I never end up alone and scared of spirits and ghosts like her. She has this idea that Cesar and I are married, which Cesar says is because we live together and her religious ideas cannot allow her to think any other way. Apparently after I left she told his cousin that I am pretty, but I will probably beat Cesar up. Hmmm, nice analysis. I´m off to buy a wooden spoon...
Seriously, it was sad to see her though, alone in a room which Cesar rents her. There is nothing wrong with the room, just that it is lonely, and small, and she thinks there are spirits because the floor creaks. Apparently, every month she tries to get Cesar to move her to a different place. She has moved many times, and Cesar told her she has to stay for a while. I think, that she seems like a woman who has seen too many bad things, and stuggled too much in life, and doesnt know how to pull through it, or maybe has never known, becuase there was never anybody to teach her. And she kept saying how scared she was to die. Shes about 64 I think- and not likely to die anytime soon, but it was scary to see a grown women crying and talking about death and spirits. I think it makes you appreciate greatly the people you have in your life.
I keep seeing people I met last year or 2 years ago, and it is amazing to see how much they have grown, in height, personality, and English. I feel honoured, because while it is difficult to see large improvement month to month, the improvement in 11 months is noticable.
My boss asked me to give and oral exam in her class tomorrow night. I have to ask students lots of questions and evaluate their answers. Sounds cool!
I bought myself a bath towel! It is blue! You wouldn´t think that was exciting, but after sharing a towel for a week it is nice to have my own again!
Well, thats all for now! Thanks for the comments!
Take carexx
The picture is taken at the Exposition Park in Lima...AKA, Park of the Chinese!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Settling in...or diving in!

You never quite remember how disorganized and last minute everything is here until you arrive. The meeting I was supposed to have at 4 on Friday...didn´t happen. I got my books in the office and the lady who was supposed to meet me showed up at 435 and told me I had students waiting for me. Might I note here that I was told that I would be starting yesterday (saturday) so that I had time to prepare class after the meeting on friday evening. So, lucky me, I had to walk into a class of 15 preteens and pull a class out of my butt. Luckily, since I thought I just had a short meeting I was not dressed formally at all, so the students didnt think I was their teacher, rather a random stranger pulled off the street to subsitute teach them. Great, right! Anyway, somehow I managed that and then came out to meet my boss she proceded to tell me that I had to give a speech the next day, or yesterday, for 20 minutes about the importance of American Independence Day. I said, you do realize I am British right, and therefore the ¨bad guy¨ in the war of Independence. She was like, basically they just want a white native speaker to talk about it. So I gave this speech in English to about 50 students with basic English so they didnt understand and it had to be translated into Spanish anyway...and they filmed me! Weird feeling. Anyway, I didnt appreciate having to spend Friday night after teaching preparing a powerpoint and speech about July 4th. AND, I didn´t have a chance to prepare for my 4 hour Saturday morning class with 20 lively teenagers. They were pretty good though, so it was ok. So, there I am at 1 after the presentation and my boss tells me she has a family emergency and has to travel to Chiclayo, and can I teach her class for her. Ok, mmm how long is it? Well, its 1245-630!! Wow! That is suchhh a long time to sit still. But I agreed because she gave me cash and I need to buy things like a bath towel which I didnt pack because it was too heavy. I was CURSING the decision to wear high heels to work by 630 believe me, because I was standing up and teaching from 8 in the morning until 630 with 1 hour of breaks but all broken up, in 2 of which I was still teaching because students came to me with questions about other random things they wanted to know in English or culturally. Actually, I am glad I took the afternoon class because it was not a regular cycled class from ICPNA. The students were all public school teachers, all at least 6 years older than me and the best thing about teachers? THEY ANSWER WHEN YOU ASK QUESTIONS!! They know what it is like to ask a question and have nobody volunteer an answer. Also, since they are English teachers, their English was quite good and I didnt have to try to speak slowly for them. They also had interesting input as to the topic, which was big business and corporations. Apparently this class is paid for by the mine, which I dont really get. One of the students travels from Bambamarca every week for her class, which is a 2.5 hour journey providing there are no hiccups en route. So, rather than being oozed slowly into work here I feel that I have dived in!
Apart from work, Cesar and I are busy trying to keep the apartment clean. Due to developments across the road we get a lot of dust come in, which is lovely.
Last night we went out for his friends birthday, and later met up with my collegues in this bar that used to be an artsy rock place, and is now full of teenagers (seriously, 13 yr olds) and pop tunes, which is a shame.
As for today, I am off to meet Cesar´s mum for lunch, and then we´ll see what happens later...
thanks for checking in! Hope you like the pics of our home! The stained glass roof doesn´t look too dirty there right! byeee!