So I’ve definitely experienced a little culture shock. I’m not going to describe every little thing, but trust me when I say every little thing is crazy. For me. I think I’m getting over it and settling down into a daily routine. My host family is incredibly generous, and though my Spanish is pretty limited, I CAN say ‘muchas gracias.’ The students here are doing such a great job - integrating into the community, working on community and group projects, and participating in discussions and workshops. I’m so proud of them. I think we’re all learning a lot from each other, even when we’re just hanging out and relaxing. Having students from so many different backgrounds turns every interaction into an opportunity to learn and grow.
The language barrier has been really tough for me. I know some basic Spanish, but I have a really hard time keeping up with the speed and the accents of my family. I can’t make jokes, which is a big bummer for me, since that is how I get close to people. Since my vocabulary is limited, I can never express exactly what I want to say. I end up saying the same words a lot: me gusta, yo quiero, yo puedo, gracias, and the ever-present ‘que?’ I can’t speak to the wonderful French students at all, which sucks because they seem pretty cool.
Every day is a challenge, but every day I’m learning. I owe a lot to the staff here, including Adam ‘The Man’ Lammers, for doing the tough job of setting things up and for helping me work my way in. Much love.
As for details, we’ve got an English class going on four days a week, an anti-littering campaign, a children’s book, and a documentary film being made. This afternoon we have a workshop with the community about ethnicity and culture. Tomorrow we go on a paseo with our friends in Batey Ocho (also known as “the batey that’s not quite as cool as batey uno”). I’m really looking forward to the adventure.
I feel like I could write a novel, but I’ll spare you all that. Stay tuned for more next week.