It’s been a while since I’ve checked in. I’m contently writing from my terrace with a coffee to my right and León on my lap. The weather has been just beautiful this weekend. It’s impressive how much of an impact good weather can have on my day.
In Santiago, I’m just chipping away at the school year. We’re in the homestretch if you can believe it or not. The kids leave in the middle of December and we’ve got a ton of random holidays and school events packed in there too.
This time of the school year has been my favorite. The weather is getting nice, but not unbearable. And now you can really start to see the progress the students have made. I wish I could go back in time and show myself a snapshot of how far my kids have come. Because let me tell you, when they first arrived, not speaking a word of English, I was worried. I’m ready for summer and for a break, and they’re ready for second grade. But I don’t want them to move on, I’ve come to love my little rugrats and they’re my family. It’s so exhausting to get them this far, and then circle back and start again. It’s all in the job, but if you ask me, I’m in the best part right now.
So school has been good, the other day we had the second round of “vacunas” or vaccines. These days will always be comical to me, because it’s truly like a scene from a horror film and no one can do anything about it. This round was mandatory by the Chilean government so all the children had to get it. Through the years, Dani and I have found that being honest to the kids and telling them what is happening is the best approach (who knew, right?). We pump up the kids by telling them we’re injecting a germ-fighting army into our bodies to make us stronger. Then we play the “Rocky” theme song and warm our bodies up with air punches, jumping rope etc. By the end of this whole spiel, the kids are actually excited! I always say Dani and I should market something as we are great sales people. Theres always about 2 in each class that throw out of this world tantrums. Some run away (like down the stairs out the school), others punch their teachers, others have to be lifted over someones shoulder kicking and screaming and restrained by 4 adults. See? Horror film.
We celebrated School Days which is an annual school-wide celebration of Santiago College’s birthday. The seniors are in charge of organizing games. The entire student body is divided between 4 houses (yes, like Harry Potter) and they compete against each other. I’m the yellow house, probably because they sensed I don’t own one piece of yellow clothing. The games take place during the entire school day for two days so nothing is achieved academically. These days are basically glorified babysitting. School Days are my least favorite school event because I feel they’re disorganized and random. The second day we have a parade and everyone is required to dress up in random costumes. This year I had to dress as Titanic. And while it's my favorite movie, it's incredibly difficult to dress as Titanic. The games are created for 4 people at a time, so what are the other 146 7-year olds supposed to be doing until it’s their turn? For a teacher, school days are a nightmare, plain and simple.
I’ve met several other gringo friends in the past couple of weeks. My friends are always coming and going. For example my German friend is only here for 4 months, which is unfortunate because we’ve gotten pretty close.
^^ I'm teaching myself to play the ukulele and I'm very excited about it
^^ The high school students are adding art to the once plain white walls of the school and I'm loving it. The talent is incredible.
While rounding up the troops at recess I said the word “vamos” or “let’s go” and immediately my students started whispering to each other “Miss Kim knows a Spanish word”
We decided to throw a baby shower for the Spanish teacher of our class since she’s just amazing. When we told the kids this, they just could not understand the concept of a “baby shower”. One raised his hand and said “My mom had a baby shower but it was too small for the baby” Another said “My mom had a baby shower but not the baby (his mom is still pregnant)”.
I have a student who comes very early in the morning and we always have the funniest conversations. He’s a small boy, but extremely intelligent. The other day he told me “I have the hormones of Lionel Messi”. Clearly something his dad has been telling him.
I met up with a new gringa friend to welcome her to Chile. The waiter asked my name and literally thought my name was “King”
Sometimes it’s hard for Spanish speakers to pronounce the short i sound, so it comes out as ee. For example, everyone calls me “Keem”. Dani was telling our kids of how Columbus asked for some ships from the Queen of Spain but the students thought he asked for some sheeps. So everyone was thinking Columbus came to America on a sheep instead of a ship.
I was walking downtown one day and I saw an older man wearing a Southern Connecticut State University sweatshirt. I thought I was being Punk’d.
We were trying to explain the meaning of “one of a kind”. One of my students raised his hand to give an example, “ one of a kind is like Miss Kim’s shoe because it’s one of a kind.” There was a long pause after his answer…
When we were taking our kids to the dreaded vaccines, I asked “where are we taking them?” someone said “the vaccines are in the chapel this year” to which I replied dumbfounded, “we have a chapel?!” THAT’S how big Santiago College is. I didn’t even know we had a chapel.
^^ So a Dutch Artist, Florentijn Hofman, creates gigantic inflatable statues that travel all over the world. I was so excited to see his gigantic inflatable duck in Santiago and I kid you not, one hour before I left to go see it, the duck floated over a sign in the pond and deflated. I demand a do-over!
^^ They decided to film someone dying for a political campaign outside my building
^^ I'm all about art and expression, but maybe not at the entrance of the school where 5 year olds walk by everyday...
^^ The students gave me adjectives while I was secretly drawing our adjective monster
^^ A friendly student reminder to the other 7-year-old students not to smoke at recess