Pushing Forward

“If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.”

Well, here we are — 3 months. I have never lived abroad for this long nor have I ever written a blog on Christmas Day, but life is full of firsts. They say that people hit a wall after 3 months, and I think I’m about at that point in terms of feeling a bit overwhelmed with the culture, a bit discouraged with learning Spanish, and a bit worn out from teaching. I saw the quote above the other day, and it’s so powerful to me. I have to remember to reevaluate my goals and motivations for being here, continue to be grateful and curious, and keep working hard and having fun.

A ver…what have I done this last month? I finished my first cycle here of teaching English, watched “Justice League” in English with Spanish subtitles in theaters with my friend, visited Otavalo, made eggnog with my friend, and celebrated Christmas with my host family. I’m proud that I finished my first cycle of teaching, and I hope that the next cycle will be even better now that I have learned the ropes around here. I enjoyed getting to know the students better and coordinating games with them to help them improve their English. What I learned the most is that I need to incorporate more worksheets/activities/explanations outside of the textbook.

Here’s my classroom:

teaching, classroom

Another experience I had one weekend was watching a movie in English with Spanish subtitles in theatres. I think this theatre blew me away with how similar it is to America, and the mall was even blowing fake snow and had a slide.

I also went to Otavalo with my friend and bought gifts for my family, which my husband will take back to my family (the mail isn’t reliable). Otavalo is a pretty small town with a huge world market of craft goods. I enjoyed being surrounded by beautiful colors.

For the first time in my life, I made homemade eggnog with my friend, and it was a lot of fun! Eggnog isn’t really a thing here, so I wanted to make it myself because I didn’t want to miss out on drinking it during the holiday season. My friend was reading the recipe in Spanish while I was reading it in English while we were making it, and we worked really well together. The eggnog was sweet, rich, thick, and overall not bad.

Lastly, I spent Christmas with my host family. For Christmas Eve, we visited my host mom’s relatives and ate dinner with them, listened to music, and prayed a bit for a tradition called “Novena.” Novena is where they pray every night for nine days before Christmas. The host family gave me a warm alpaca blanket, which was funny because I coincidentally gave them an alpaca blanket as well! After the party last night, I wasn’t feeling too well today, but they invited me out with them, and I couldn’t say no. We ate lunch and ice cream and then watched Star Wars in Spanish, which didn’t have subtitles, so I didn’t understand much, but I liked the movie.

It’s also been tough not having my husband here every day with me and not spending the holiday with him (and my family in South Dakota). A long-distance marriage isn’t ideal, but at least it’s temporary. I’m excited for him to arrive in a couple days, and he’ll be here for a week. 🙂 People think we’re crazy, but teaching abroad in South America has been a dream of mine for a long time, and the timing was finally right for it, so I’m not going to give up.

I’m determined to learn more and teach those who want to learn.

Thank you for reading!

Disclaimer: The ideas and thoughts expressed within this blog are my own and are not the views or opinions of WorldTeach.


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