As for me? I put up Christmas lights outside my house yesterday! Hahaha Normally, that would so not be okay. At home, you don't do that until after Thanksgiving. But as I walked through Jumbo yesterday and two Christmas aisles stood grand and colorful and shiny before me, I almost broke down in tears. With a mix of awe at the beauty and crazy depression from missing such a simple piece of home, I had to do it. Half the strand is out already but I guess that's what you get for paying only $100RD. But I'm totally getting more when I go to the capital next. My house is gonna be the best house on the block.
Today I cleaned my house and did my laundry upon rising from bed. I have a jam-packed day tomorrow and Sarah is coming to visit for the weekend! I figured I should get it done now and she won't have to sit through four hours of me washing clothes and moping the floors haha. I then went to El Batey, taught for a bit and discovered four more students from third grade that can't read that weren't on my list. That makes three out of the whole class that can read. I have the rest (14)...
Then my favorite part of the day followed. Which still surprises me. One of the things I was not looking forward to here was teaching English. It's hard, I've only heard stories of failure, and the people lose motivation fast (understandably so). So I've got my adult class here in my community on Fridays. The first week, one person showed up-my pastor. We didn't start for obvious reasons. The second week, my pastor and another guy about my age. Again, we didn't start. The third week? Three people. Three different people. We started... My other English class is with my eighth graders (and a few others) which is okay but it doesn't feel like they actually want to learn.
So when Ramirez came with the contractor for our future cancha (SI DIOS QUIERE) and talked of wanting an English class a few towns over, you can imagine I wasn't too thrilled. But he continued, saying they would pick me up, bring me back, provide a place, asked what I would need, and how many people I could manage, etc. It felt pretty serious. And organized. So I thought hell, let's give it a shot. So Thursdays at 6, in Juananito (spelling?) began today.
And? It was amazing!! First, Ramirez brought me because the contractor guy had a compromiso. Ramirez wasn't staying for the class but stayed with me until things were settled and I was alright-which felt so wonderful. He's was watching out for me and with everything going on here at my site, let's just say I wanted to hug him and thank him for it. But I knew he wouldn't understand. When we got to the church, we had to wait for the pastor to show up with the key. Finally. 6:30 rolls around and he arrived (and Ramirez left). They had a chalkboard and a wall for me to tape my posters up (including one that is a red circle with a red 'x' through the word 'vergüenza' which means 'embarrassment' and I have a speech about how they must lose the vergüenza if they want to learn! Like I had to do!). 8 adults came even though 15 were invited. But the main guy talked about how many in the community want to learn. And how maybe I could do two cycles. Work with this group for a few months, have a graduation, and then begin again with a new group. And the graduation would include a parade walk through the community, certificates made from a university and finalized with my signature and music and food. And how he runs this organization, that community group, set up these workshops about the environment, health, education, etc. It was like I actually passed through some sort of transporter on the Duarte and out of the DR. As for the class itself? The people were phenomenal. Enthusiastic, funny, understanding, patient, and fun. We learned greetings (lame copying but you have to do it so they can study) and then did presentations. I split them into pairs and made them practice introducing themselves to someone, asking how they are, nice to meet you, see you later... All that jazz. I explained that I am naturally a teacher of little ones and proceeded to make them say "Lights, Camera, Action!" with hand motions before each presentation. And then different fun applauses after each one (it's a Dominican thing I'm totally bringing back to the states). They loved it! Participated without grumbling and genuinely seemed to have fun! I flew out of that church. And felt a little guilty for not wanting to do the class in the first place. The main guy then called a car for me to take me back but came with us to ensure I got home safe. Ugh, such a good feeling.
I'm excited that I have something to look forward to each week now. And it's out of my site with new faces. It's hard to explain why that's such a good thing but Lordy, it is. And I now feel more motivated to make my lessons more exciting, different, and interactive. I don't like teaching English. But I now love teaching this group :)