There’s no place like home

No, I am not talking about Ralston, Omaha, Fort Collins, Castle Rock or Barranquilla…I am talking about Rotinet. Finally, after two months, this little town is starting to feel like home. I have settled into a nice routine, I’ve made a couple of friends, people know my name and I finally convinced my host mom to let me cook some of my own meals! Not only that, but one of my biggest challenges of my house was not having a ceiling. Remember when I told you that my walls stop and then there is just empty space up until the roof? Well this was starting to have a major effect on my quality of life. I felt like I had no privacy because my host parents could hear everything I was doing, as they didn’t have a ceiling either. Also, the bats were keeping me up at night, when it rained, it rained in my room and everything was just covered in dust. I finally spoke the housing coordinator at the PC and she worked it out with my host family and I paid for my ceiling, but they are giving me a discount on rent. I was so worried about it, I thought it would be such a pain and would cost way too much money. I was so wrong. I went away to Barranquilla, enjoyed the hotel life for two days and when I came back, I paid about $160 USD and BOOM, I now have a ceiling. The only downside is that it traps in all the heat and I now have a sauna. I think a read an article that sauna-sitting is how Britney Spears lost a bunch of weight…here’s hoping!

In addition to teaching secondary students, I began direct teaching primary…K-5. It really isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I don’t really like the younger grades because they can’t do anything and they cry and stuff so that’s annoying. In fact, I am not going to teach Kindergarten anymore because they just aren’t ready. But grades 2-5 are just adorable. For example, a 4th grade student came up to show me that he had written all of the vocabulary words in his notebook. I told him good job and instead of going to sit down, he gave me a big hug! Get cuter, right?!?! So things like that are adorable but I still prefer secondary.

Outside of school, I have my run club and apparently I am on the girls’ soccer team. I have no idea why all my extracurricular activities are athletic, that’s definitely not what I’m all about in the States. I think the last post I promised to tell you how I got started doing a “run club” so here you go….One day, my host mom asked me to go to mass with her. I said no, because I was planning on going on a run (which is obviously really unusual for me). So I’m running down the big hill in the middle of town and I see a bunch of people in the middle of the street. As I get closer, I realize that the church service is going on right there, in the middle of MY running path (how dare they!) It was too late to turn around so I just kept going, right through the middle of service. People were waving to me and I tried to wave back as inconspicuously as possible. It was so embarrassing. Then, I encountered a herd of cattle on the path I like to take along the basin so I couldn’t go there, but I didn’t want to go back up the hill through the service. I ended up crawling through a pig sty, a chicken coop and climbing a rock wall to get back to my house. Total running time: 4 minutes. Anyways, the next day at school, the third grade teacher came up and said she saw me running, I was like uhhh yea so did half the town. And she scolded me for not inviting her. This woman is about 40 years old and on the first day of school was introduced to me as “La Gorda Bella” (The Fat Beauty). People are constantly making jokes about her weight…which is offensive and terrible in the US but it is part of the costeno culture which I will address in another blog. So I told her, I’m sorry I didn’t think you were interested and she said well I am! So I told her to come by the next day and we would start running. Now, you can find us every Monday, Wednesday and Friday out and about town, usually with a gaggle of children following us. She said she is already starting to feel better about her body and people have come up to me and said they have noticed a weight loss in her ever since she started running with me. So far, this has been my most rewarding experience.

Now, on to my soccer experience: One day, the PE teacher came by my house and said he knows I like to work out (I don’t) and I probably don’t get a great work out with the run club and would I like to work out with him some time (I didn’t). I said yes because I am desperately seeking friends and any sort of social interaction. He said that tomorrow, after he coaches soccer practice for the school girls’ team, we would run hills together (what a punishment). Now, in my attempt for further social interaction, I asked him if he needed help coaching. He asked if I played soccer before and I was like oh yea I played for years when I was little and I played on a team in Barranquilla. LIES LIES LIES! I couldn’t help myself. So the next day, I go to practice and I just hang back to wait and see what he needs me to do. Apparently, my espanol needs a bit of work and instead of helping coach, I agreed to PLAY on the girls’ soccer team. OMG So now it is me and a bunch of 13-15 year old girls running around on a concrete soccer field trying to kick the ball. I obviously look like a giant ogre compared to these dainty little teenagers and I was playing terribly, so of course half the pueblo came out to watch the gringa play soccer. I was trying to act all cool and said I was holding back because “I don’t want to hurt anyone.” I started jogging towards the ball and the next thing I knew, I was laying on the ground with a bruised ass, scraped up elbow and hands and an irrevocably damaged ego. We actually have soccer practice today and I am hiding in my room writing this blog post instead. I just can’t bring myself to go out there again. We all know I am no stranger to making a fool of myself but that had to be one of my top 5 most embarrassing moments of life.

I finally found the super, secret internet connection in school so hopefully my posts will be more frequent. While I currently consider Rotinet my home, they say home is where the heart is and my heart is back in Castle Rock, nestled in my bed at my mommy and daddy’s house, with my puppies laying next to it. My mom and brothers are visiting in May and as excited as I am, I’m already dreading the thought of their leaving. Thank goodness I have fun adventures planned for this summer! I’m sending you all a big, sweaty, virtual hug! ❤