Saturday, August 15, 2009

Farewell USA; Hello El Salvador

My last dinner in the US was on August 3, spent with Richard and Arlene on their deck eating lamb, salmon, and salads. Betsy and Bosco joined us - she has lived in El Salvador and Bosco is from Honduras. English and Spanish intermingled throughout the dinner.

This is the main drag of the complejo, the compound, of the Escuela Americana of San Salvador, El Salvador. My apartment and garden are behind the curved wall, lower level. Another teacher occupies the upper level. I arrived here late on August 4. Arlene awoke at 4:45am to drive me to the airport leaving at 5am to arrive at the airport at 5:45am. Continental had oversold so I didn't have a seat until the very last minute. About 8 people were not as lucky. I don't know why I was almost bumped - certainly my tickets were purchased well ahead of time (March).
This is my apartment - I am standing in my kitchen looking through the living room to the garden beyond. My kitchen is so small that I never need to take a step, I just pivot to reach everything. While it doesn't inspire real cooking projects, it is efficient.
Standing in the living room, looking into my kitchen. My baskets are from Panama; the bananas are ceramic, made in El Salvador.
Standing in the living room looking out at my patio. There is no other place for a table so I almost always eat outside - al fresco. If it is late and the bugs are out or if it is raining hard, I eat in the living room with a plate on my lap. Not really difficult or inconvenient. I miss having a table inside most when I have work to do and need to spread out - if there is a wind or rain, outside is impossible.

I returned on August 4 believing I would start work on August 7. The H1N1 flu delayed the opening so I had a few extra days. Unfortunately this bonus time coincided with a national holiday week so little could be done since everything was closed. I wasn't supposed to enter the school, but I did to get some materials. Teachers started on Monday, August 10, and students on Thursday, August 13. I am teaching AP Literature and Composition, a grade 12 course, Grade 11 American Literature, Journalism 1 and Journalism 2. I am team teaching Journalism 1 since there were too many students for one block, and that was all I had available. This will be challenging since the teacher working with me has never taught in a standard classroom before and has never taught Journalism; she has worked in special services, in one-on-one situations.

That is all for now. Next entry will show my classroom and the school. Abrazos, Mary

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