Friday, July 30, 2010

I'm a Kid at Heart

Last week I had the opportunity to go back to Camp Bob as a volunteer. Because this place is so special to me, I was super excited to go hang out for the week, see old friends, and play with some great kids.

I got there a couple of days before the week's campers arrived and spent some time in town and running trails :) However, due to lots of unexpected circumstances (camp is all about being flexible, right?) I ended up being offered a counselor position for the week. I immediately accepted and then began my week looking over 15 eleven and twelve year old girls.

I had definitely forgotten about the demands of trying to keep children from stupidity and death, and the week was full of teenage drama, sickness, and tears. However, mixed in with all that, was lots of fun, smiles, and hugs. I'm hoping that my girls got as much out of that week as I did. I think that having a job that allows me to swim, hike, sing lots of crazy songs until I lose my voice, etc. is just about perfect! I know I must enjoy camp just as much (if not more) than the campers.

The week was also a great reminder, after a year without really working with kids, of why I want to be a teacher. Last summer I had an administrative position in the camp and was mainly doing behind-the-scenes work and discipline. While it was a great experience and I grew and learned a lot, I was reminded by this week as a counselor how much I get out of more direct interaction with the campers. I can't help but make the transfer to education and my (hopefully) future career as a teacher. Maybe eventually I'll want to look into other areas, possibly even school administration...but for now I'm excited about being in the thick of things as a classroom teacher, taking both the ups and the downs, and being a "kid" for as long as I can!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

An update about...

So, I've neglected this blog because 1. I'm no longer in Mexico and 2. Life just doesn't seem as eventful. Then, while this blog might not be too interesting, at least I'm making the effort, right?

I've pretty much been in Burlington since I got back in June, and I'd better start getting used to it because I'm going to be commuting half an hour to UNCG and back every day starting in the fall. This is going to be a completely different sort of experience for me (I mean, talk about the two extremes: living in a foreign country...and living at home), but I'm working on having a good attitude about it.

I'm keeping up with my running (mostly consistently) somewhat for the simple fact that there's not too much else to do right now. I ran a race in Greensboro at the end of June and did a lot better than I had expected. Now I need to bring up to speed my swimming and biking...triathlons, here I come :) :)

One nice thing about being home (and being on vacation) is having a wonderful, relaxed morning routine. A 4-5 mile run, a cup of coffee with soy milk, the newspaper or a book (the local library is probably one of my most frequent current hang-outs)...perfect!!

While a couple more things have been happening, I'll save them for future (and hopefully more entertaining) posts!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Back in North Carolina

Well, I am back in the States, speaking English, sitting in air conditioning, etc. It's kind of weird.

Actually, reverse culture shock hasn't been too overwhelming yet (I'm still waiting for the big shock), but there have been little things that really get to me.

First, traveling back was kind of a nightmare. I had gone to a goodbye party the night before leaving Guanajuato, so I had slept maybe 5 hours before beginning the journey. In Leon, my flight was delayed two times so it left over two hours later than originally scheduled. Waiting to get on the same plane were 4 other Americans (who spoke English really loudly) who complained to the room in general the WHOLE time. And they were really rude about the inconvenience. It irritated me a lot, and I didn't have any desire to associate myself with them. Then, in customs in Houston, the line was reallyyyyyyy long and I waited over an hour (with my backpack that was about half my body weight) to see an immigration officer. During this hour there was a couple in front of me and a group of people behind me who complained the entire time about the inefficency of it all and threatened to write nasty letters to the airport, the government, their senator, Obama, etc. I could not believe how ridiculous it was for them to get so worked up about such a comparatively small thing.

I know I'm not being very understanding or gracious, but it was just such a disappointing way to come back to be around my own countrymen.

Currently, I'm trying to:
-not suffocate from the intense humidity
-not freeze from air conditioning
-not forget all my Spanish (I'm already scared about this)
-not be bored out of my mind from sitting at home...I have to find something to do/someone to visit

Although it's nice to be back, I still do miss Guanajuato.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Futbol Fever

Yesterday was the beginning of the World Cup (soccer). Like any other American, I knew/know extremely little about the world leagues of soccer...actually, probably even less than the average American.

However, yesterday the inaugural game was Mexico vs. South Africa. Of course, being in Mexico, it was almost like a requirement to watch the game. So, I dutifully woke up really early and walked the 30 minutes downtown to eat breakfast in the Jardin with Jenny and Mark and watch the game in the restaurant.

I actually really enjoyed it. Not only was I eating my favorite breakfast food (chilaquiles), but EVERYONE was completely focused on the game, wearing their Mexico team jerseys, and enjoying the atmosphere. In those couple of hours everyone was on the same side, cheering for the same team. There was a sense of unity and camraderie that I've never felt in the States (mostly because the Super Bowl invokes some intense rivalries). And you wouldn't believe the excitement when Mexico scored and the tenseness when it looked for a while like South Africa would win. I couldn't help being caught up in the collective emotion.

So, it looks like I will be following the World Cup in the States as well (but maybe cheering for Mexico)!!

P.S. Soccer players will always be hot. Period.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Last Minute Things

Today I officially turned in my last assignment! I'm done with school...well, for now. It's been an interesting year not studying my "real" major. I think it's going to cost me a little to get back into the whole music thing. Now the idea of trying to identify a key signature seems really foreign and far away. I should have taken the Praxis II when I still actually remembered my music theory.

And, all my gifts are bought! For those of you who know how much I hate shopping, this is quite the accomplishment. I'm pretty excited about them all and stayed relatively true to my list. I also got a couple of little things for myself :) Now, the issue is getting it all in my suitcase...

The days pass by so quickly now. Sunday is going to be here before I'm ready for it.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Coming Around Full Circle

The most common question nowadays: Como te sientes? (How do you feel?)

This question refers to me leaving in exactly 1 WEEK after having lived here in Mexico since July. Wow.

It's hard to answer, but I say that I'm okay with going home on June 13th. On the other hand, I would also be okay going home in another two months. I'm accepting the return date because that's what it is; my plane ticket won't change.

With that in mind, it's been strange how I've been coping with the prospect of going home. Living here in Guanajuato has become normal life for me after so much time here, but, recently, I've noticed that I'm experiencing Guanajuato more like I did at the beginning of the year. I notice when cowboys ride their horses up my street, I sit in the Jardin and people-watch a lot more, and I'm going out more with friends since it's the time of despedidas (goodbyes). It's like I'm becoming more and more an observer and less a participator as I get ready to go back to NC.

Although I think that the transition back will be pretty rough (apologies in advance for probably acting like a jerk), I have been thinking about things that will happen when I'm back. Some things I can't wait to be the same, but I'm also hoping to incorporate things that I have picked up here in Mexico. Such as: running a lot more, riding my bike and walking instead of driving as much, drinking tea without sugar, eating fresh fruit every single day, and, of course, speaking as much Spanish as possible :)

I don't know how I've changed this year in Mexico (although I'm sure I have), but I know I will have to re-adjust. On the other hand, I am also sure that there are lots more exciting adventures to come in the next couple of years. (Be prepared Dad, I've already got lots of crazy plans to go over with you!! Haha.)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

National Running Day

Dear Creeper,

Thanks for cutting short Shannon's and my run this morning. You're lucky we're such nice people or else we probably could have told you quite a few things that we were thinking. Go creep on someobody else...or, better yet, not at all.

Other news:

-It's been in the mid-90s for like a week solid. Ugh. You step out of the house and the heat and the sun kills you. I have absolutely no energy after being outside all day and think I am continuously dehydrated. I know I've been an air-conditioning basher, but what I would give for some relief...or a giant pool to jump in.

-I have my German oral exam today. I'm going to try my absolute hardest to not slip into speaking Spanish. But it's going to be hard.

-I don't know how I'm going to pack all my stuff to comply with airline regulations.

-This picture makes me laugh every single time I look at it. It's from our bike trip to San Miguel. Jumping pictures will ALWAYS be the best. Period.