넌 벌거 다 한다 – Angell, you sure are doing all sorts of things…

My mom said the above to me out of jealousy and cute humor after I had told her I liberated a sea turtle this past weekend.

 

*UPDATE!* I have connected my Instagram to my WordPress and have transformed my personal Instagram to an Angell Kim’s Funny Moments Peace Corps portal to share even more awesomeness through pictures. This is located on the right side bar. You don’t need Instagram to view the pictures and if you do have Instagram, of course you can follow me. 🙂  I hope you enjoy as much as I enjoy sharing the chuckles I go through my life.

 

I think I have finally settled down and organized my tons of stuff, decorated and customized my room in the way I want it, successfully established a routine (super high five), and mastered how to work our crazy laundry machine and flush the toilet without running water.

How, do you say regarding the latter? Well, I never knew how a flush really worked until I came to Colombia and am proud to inform you. Haha.

When the water does not flow, we have to withdraw a bucket of water and dump it into the toilet with a certain distance from the bucket to toilet. This distance from bucket to toilet and amount of water in the bucket are vital for a successful flush.

The more you know. 🙂

 

How is everyone? I am doing muy, muy bien.

 

Here is my family who have received me with generosity and genuine care. My dad’s name is Jorge, my mom’s name is Diana, and my sister’s Sofia. Sofia is like a mini Shakira. She is only 7 years old and can sure dance and her hips do not lie. I really need to get on this dancing bandwagon. Music and dance are everything in Colombia. 

 

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I live in a tiny village that is named after a rum that an indigenous tribe makes in the mountains…or so I heard.

Where I live depends on one main highway/street called, Troncal del Caribe. On this street, one side hugs the ocean and the other hugs the land. On the side of the land, there are a few rivers that feed into the ocean, but due to the drought, not all rivers make it that far. Both sides have a lot of banana fields, villages, and greenery. Just think Jurassic Park. Lots of trees, mountains, mystic views,  except no dinosaurs.

 

One of my students, Yurleidys, took me to visit my home’s beach and nearby lake. I saw monkeys and they made this scary noise that reminded me of that part in Planet of the Apes where they were preparing for war. On the walk, I saw a buffalo and my sister, Sofi, got so scared so we had to take the longest way around the buffalo to get to the ocean. We saw the buffalo dip into the lake and literally disappear. That was scary.

Here are the neighborhood kids, my sister, and me in Jurassic World.

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I co-teach in two schools, one in Buritaca and the other in Perico Aguao. My home is located in right in between them. Both villages have their unique characteristics and I love both schools.

Currently, I am under the observation phase, where I am getting to know the teachers, principals, and students, knowing what resources are there, how to use those resources, who to talk to to use those resources, how to get around the school, and assessing what the school needs from me and how I can help.

At the same time, I am integrating with my community which really requires a lot of energy of saying YES.

At one of my schools, there is a teacher named Arnol who teaches physical education and ecotourism. He had invited me to a beach clean up with his ecological group made up of the students of our school and I said YES.

On our way to the Parque Nacional Natural : Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, we split into two groups. One group would pick up litter and the other, bottles. The path we walked used to be a river and it was sad to see how we were walking on a trail of rocks…On our way, we picked up the litter and I added some English teachings while doing so.

This is “trash,” that is a “mule,” and that’s a “horse.” My students cracked up when they couldn’t pronounce some of the words. They have so much shame in presenting themselves or speaking English. This shame in Spanish is called pena and there is so much of it, and I am trying to shake this out of them.

I have pretty much yelled out loud during classes, “No pena! Come on guys, No pena!” Going to nip pena in the butt during my service, I assure you.

 

So…cleaning the beach taught me how out of shape I had become because walking on that sand and picking up trash from the ground really worked all sorts of muscles. My two students, Yurannys and Amy, who stuck with me like little piglets accompanied me the entire time and took a break from the day’s labor by running around in the water and chasing each other. I realized how much energy I lacked as I just sat on a log and observed. Haha.

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There is an organization in the nearest major city to me, Santa Marta, where they preserve sea turtles and every year they host a liberation day. Arnol invited me to this liberation day with his ecological group and it was a beautiful experience. People from other organizations, schools, and tourists conglomerated and listened to a few speeches from the founders and one by one, each group or organization had their turn to release sea turtles into the ocean.

 

Look at me taking a part of a sea turtle’s freedom!

 

 

After, we played sand volleyball with a soccer ball (an example of utilitizing resources effectively) and I think I gained some brownie points with my students seeing that their teacher can play sports. Haha.

It was cool to see the smallest student, Dubian, truly be the MVP of the other team. I couldn’t believe some of his hits go over the net and he saved his team several times. I screamed a few times like a crazy woman because the game got pretty exciting due to that little fellow.

Size and age are nothing but a number.

 

 

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Perico Aguao’s Ecological Group

 

The other day, my mom took me out to our beach and she fed me, fiambre –  food served in a banana leaf. Who needs Ziploc bags when you can save money and protect the environment with a sturdy banana leaf?

 

 

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We took our chihuahuas, Lulu and Nico, out with us, too, on our outing. They are husband and wife, but Lulu doesn’t really like her husband. That day I learned why. Nico is quite the chicken. During our outing, it started to sprinkle, so we had to cut across into the lake to get home faster. After a few moments of hesitation, Lulu jumped into the lake and swam like a BOSS to reach us. Nico, on the other hand, whined and ran around the lake and went the long way. We called him a gallina – hen or chicken.

Haha. Girl power within dogs. How remarkable.

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Back to what my birth mom had said to me jokingly earlier that I am doing all sorts of things is quite true and I am here to share my experiences and hopefully inspire you to see another part of the world for mental growth. I am taking in all that the coast of Colombia is giving me. There are things that stress me out, things that open my mouth in awe, things that make me inspired, things that depress me, but ultimately, there have been opportunities to share my happiness with others and gain happiness.

An example of sharing happiness… I go to the small store near my house almost everyday and asked for papas-potatoes. People also call papas-potato chips and Arnolfo, the store owner, thought I asked for potato chips and when I looked at him like he was crazy and that I wanted the actual potatoes to cook with he cracked up and I cracked up too for some strange reason. 

I am learning how the people around me live and how to adapt, I am learning how to share with others that America is comprised of many different people, I am teaching others where South Korea, Japan, and China all are located on a map since people guess that I am Japanese, Chinese, and others. Haha. I should put, “Geography Teacher” along with “Teaching for English Livelihoods Teacher” title.

 

A special shout out to my little brother, Michael, who turned 17 years old on May 4th and happy mother’s day to all the mom’s out there in the world – from single mom’s, mom’s in Heaven, mom’s who sacrifice everything for their family, and my mom, whom I can message solely by emoticons and we just understand.

Hugs from me to you.

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