This week was a week of explorations and observations! You’d think that studying the language and something about the culture would prepare you for full on immersion….wrong! This week has been a challenging test of my linguistic abilities as well as my previously dormant good sense of direction.
Adventures: I spent a whole day exploring the coastal sector of Castro. It is a scenic display of gently rolling hills that wind down to the coast. The streets are lined with small grocery stores and random curio shops. As you make your way closer to the coast you are greeted by the enticing smell of sea salt and an open air artisan market where you can buy nautical related things as well as fresh seafood. The Plazuela del Tren is a waterside area where you can observe the towns railroad past firsthand as well as random couples making out on benches. Heading closer to the big market, you pass a line of fine (smelling) seafood restaurants which serve some of the freshest fish you can get! In the market I decided to sample some local salmon ceviche which is a combination of lime marinated salmon tossed with cilantro and diced onion and served with a spicy ají sauce. The flavors are complex as the acidity of the lime cuts the fishy edge off of the raw salmon while the onion and cilantro add a more detailed and aromatic facet to the dish. The spicy ají seems to add just the right amount of savory heat to round out this intriguing seaside snack.
On a more scholastic note, my school observations are now done! Monday I dive headfirst into immersion English education and plan on starting out full speed ahead! I have been working to really determine the level of each class from 5 año (5th grade) to 4 medio (12th grade). It seems very much like the classroom demographics back home, a couple class clowns and a few star students with everyone else somewhere in between. One of the challenges is to really discern who can speak English on a basic level and is simply wrought with nervousness at the opportunity to present themselves to a native speaker, and who simply cannot produce. For this reason, regardless of subject matter I am going to take an age appropriate spin on reviewing basic greetings and self presentations. This should work well because I can fill in some of the knowledge gaps as well as to boost the confidence of the other students who can witness firsthand their own English speaking skills. I would have given anything to have an immersion experience back in high school. I appreciate the opportunity to have the flexibility to do my own thing in the classroom guided by the notes of my two head teachers. We are going to have 5 simple rules.
1. Respect (Yourself and others)
2. No Cell Phones!
3. English Only! 😉
4. Try Your Hardest!
5. Positive Attitudes!
As I get ready for the first big drop on this roller coaster, I am reminded that nothing comes easy. If I am to expect my kids to give their best effort in class, then I have to give them my best effort, creativity, planning, in order to get them excited about where they are heading! One of my main leverage points to the naysayers is that “If I can learn your language and leave everything behind to come help you, you can certainly learn mine….close to home!” Let’s go!!
P.S. – I met my Chilean twin. Anyone who can bust out singing The Police or Queen music and who likes good beer and candy is probably my brother from another mother.