Posts tagged ‘Spanish’

Flashback: Studying Abroad in Mexico


In the last post I shared a flashback to the Camino last year.  So, then I thought: Why not go back even further?  The following is an excerpt from the first day of my study abroad experience in Mexico on January 1st 2001 (translated from Spanish because I even wrote the journal in Spanish!)

Ah.  I will try to write much in Spanish, but I may need help.  Maybe I can understand new vocabulary in this way.  I want to start a vocabulary journal.  In this way I hope to understand new words.  So, I have felt many different feelings.  First, sadness and a lot of fear.  A lot.  Suddenly I wondered “Why am I doing this?”  And also, the feelings I shouldn’t feel until 2 weeks from now!  Many times I thought: “Why am I here?”  Why don’t I leave from here and return to my country and my house.  At first, when I left my parents, I wanted to cry.  Suddenly I realized that I was leaving my parents, my roots.  Everything.  It didn’t matter that I was leaving ____ or ________ or ____________, although I missed ______________  a little more,.  I missed my sister, but most I missed my parents and wanted to bring them with me.  This pen isn’t good.  I have a lot of blotches.  I didn’t know where I needed to meet with Juliette.  I was lost at customs and didn’t even know which parts of which documents I needed to fill out.  Juliette told me that my classes are incorrect.  How frustrating!  Well, it’s possible I can find better classes.  I wonder which classes are correct.  Now I’m registered for 2 classes — how funny!  The way I see it, I can see this situation in 2 ways: how horrible/how funny.  But all could be much worse.  I stay with a very nice family.  The only problem is that they speak too fast.  I can’t understand much.  And the words slur together.  I feel dumb/stupid.  I want them to know that I’m an intelligent girl and that although I didn’t take a class last semester and haven’t practiced much — I know some words in Spanish.  I have a vocabulary — only, it isn’t good.  And my comprehension isn’t very good.  Also, I am very tired.  I need a nap.  I don’t know how I will write to everyone.  I will need to send an e-mail to everyone at the same time.  No one will like that but I think that I don’t have other options.  One of these days I will cry, I know, but I must stay.  I know that I would stay, no matter what.  It is difficult when the first day I have this problem.  I hope that I can have my parents with me.  And I want to understand how _____’s trip went.  So fast!  It’s incredible!  It reminds me that I need to speak very slowly with foreigners.  English is a very difficult language.  I feel bad that I haven’t dealt with ______ very well.  But I have a fear of being uncomfortable.  He was a boy, and wanted me to go to his apartment alone.  How crazy!  Well, I wanted to be independent.  I wanted to leave my parents, sister, and friends.  Well, here I am.  I am not like _____.  We are different, I think.  But, I do enjoy my independence.  I am happy that I did so much on my own.  I did it!  I’m here!  I am here.  Just boarding the plane was difficult.  But I made it!  And packing!  Very difficult.  I need to rest.  I realized two things.  First, all could be worse and all could get better.  It is only the first day!  I need to pray.  Where did I put my prayer papers like “Our Father”?  I don’t know.  I’m tired.  I must to bed.  Until tomorrow.

Much love and many blessings. ❤ 

Simple Pleasures

Image courtesy of foto76 /

Image courtesy of foto76 /

I’ve been struggling quite a bit with changes in my life and trying to visualize how I want things to be (even last night I was practically falling asleep during my visualization exercise).  In the meantime I’m trying to find enjoyment in the present moments as I can.  Here are  15 highlights from last week:

  • I accidentally left my hair down at work because I left my ponytail holder in the car, forgetting to grab it after I meditated.  It actually turned out just fine.  My hair didn’t get in my way, and I gloried in my femininity, enjoying the movie star effect every time I walked by a big fan, as my hair swirled up behind me.
  • I got to ride in a warehouse cart.  Work was making some kind of system change and had us reapply for direct deposit.  One of the managers was rounding up people and taking them from the warehouse to the office, and since I was first, I got a quick buggy ride.  What a rush!  Same day as my hair being down, so again, I felt the swish of air in my hair.  If I’d been anywhere else but work I might have clapped my hands and giggled in my delight.
  • I shared about metaphysics.  I found out a few months back that one of my coworkers shared my enthusiasm for biking; later I discovered that he was spiritual, too.  He’s asked me about my class before, and last week he was asking some fairly detailed questions.  I found my excitement growing as I shared my knowledge and personal experience with spirituality.  I was getting so enthusiastic, I thought I might scare him!  However, we wants to talk about it more this week.
  • I chit-chatted in Spanish!  There are some really awesome people at the warehouse — they really are the best part of the job — and one of them asked me about my past, and I guess I’d mentioned that I taught Spanish last year.  He told one of the processors, and she struck up a conversation with me in the bathroom. 🙂  It felt so good to use it again and also to make a new friend.  Lesson 9 in metaphysics class was about meeting new people and making new friends, and I realized that there are SO many people in the warehouse!
  • I got to be a little teacher-y and left some cutsie sticky notes on some of the processors’ tables.  My job is frustrating sometimes because my job is to check-in the carts of the processors, and every processor is different, and many of them are new,  so many mistakes are made, and that really adds a lot of stress to my work.  One of the things that is helpful is if the processors fold over the ruined pages of books (ripped, water damaged, or full of writing), so I can see why they’ve put those books aside on the cart.  Instead of getting super upset when people didn’t fold over there book pages, I decided I was going to write mini-thank you notes to those who did it: “Thank you for folding over the pages of your No Values! 🙂 🙂 🙂 ”  And I got some positive responses from it.  I may try something similar next week. 🙂
  • Peace. One of my tutoring jobs is stressing me out a bit, but yesterday, in the midst of some of the stress, I had a mini-epiphany and felt complete peace.  I wish I could remember what is was because the stress came back in full force later!
  • I heard the sound of silence.  Silence has a sound!  Maybe it’s actually some specific sound that I wasn’t aware of before, but I heard it in the car when I meditated.  (I’ve discovered that I cannot meditate before bed, as suggested — I get sleepy and antsy!  But meditating in the car while I wait to punch in has been a great experience for me.  Compared to my upstairs bedroom with the noise of highway traffic coming from the windows, my car is like a sound vacuum.  And that’s where I first heard the sound of silence.  But tonight, when I meditated in that bedroom, I heard it again.  And then I heard it a bit during the candle activity, too!
  • Pumpkin pancakes! My eating has been all messed up since my jobs have been changing, and my new position is moderately physical, and I’ve lost a lot of weight and have been really hungry.  I’ve concluded that I need to spend more time with food, and for lunch today I made pumpkin pancakes from the Trader Joe mix, and Brian made some super scrumptious eggs and hash browns.  I was one, full, super-satisfied lady. 🙂
  • Play.  In the middle of a math game with one of my students on Saturday I realized: “Hey!  I’m playing at work!”  I tried a new multiplication math board game, and she loved it and wanted to do it again next week.  And the best part is we both had fun!
  • Faced my Fears. As mentioned in my previous post, I pushed through some uncomfortableness this past week and learned how to ask for what I needed — and it wasn’t bad!
  • 1771 — Got this twice at the exact same time from my two different odometers (107701 and 177.1)!  According to Joanne Sacred Scribes, these numbers mean I’m on the right track and thinking good thoughts.  This is great news from my angels!  It also reminds me to be grateful to the universe.  Will do!
  • Dreaming about ghosts.  I’m dreaming more again, which is a good sign that I’m reconnecting with my subconscious.  I get frustrated, though, when I can’t figure out what the symbols mean or how they fit together.  I had a pretty wacky dream this weekend with ghosts in it, and though I didn’t understand it, my School of Metaphysics dream dictionary said it has something to do with the inner levels of consciousness and that I may want to study out-of-body experiences and astral projection to gain conscious knowledge of my whole self.  Cool!!
  • Danced with my sister. I keep wanting to dance, but I don’t make some time for it.  I keep telling myself to just put some music on and dance around the house, or else work out to Zumba.  Finally, I got some dancing in at my cousin’s wedding last Friday.  My sister and I were the first ones to arrive at the reception, and some alternating Sinatra and Buble were playing on the speakers in the incredibly gorgeous Crystal Gardens of Navy Pier.  My sister and I took advantage of the privacy and twirled away, her royal blue skirt, and my echnicolored-Joseph-y skirt swishing, as we flitted about the floor, jumping fountains splishing and splashing around us.
  • Heard my all-time favorite reading. 1 Corinthians 13 — amazing reading.  If you’ve been to many weddings, and you’re a feminist like me, I’m sure you’ve heard that particular reading or two that has made you either cringe or want to punch through a wall.  Thankfully, my cousin did not pick those particular readings for her wedding. Instead, I found myself extremely moved, wiping at my eyes with my hands and my shawl, when I heard the entirety of my favorite Bible chapter read aloud in that enormous cathedral.  I still have not completely made peace with my Catholic upbringing, but this experience certainly helped.  I decided right there that I was going to type up that passage and post it on my wall next to my dream board.  I was truly inspired.
  • Understood why I cry every time I read The Giving Tree.  That is my absolute favorite book, and taking a Childrens Multicultural Literature class for my masters nearly ruined it for me. (Some critic related the story to the plight of women and society’s demand that they give and give without receiving in return.)  Today I understood why the story is so enchanting for me.  Because this has been my struggle and my focus: giving and receiving.  I have trouble giving; I have trouble receiving; and my intuitive report added a further dimension to this realization when it revealed my resentment of forced giving or unappreciated giving.  Here, in this story, the tree epitomizes the perfect giver.  She is a Jesus figure, ready to give everything she has, even parts of herself, without expecting a thing in return.  And she is happy, just to be able to do this.  This is something I have yet to understand or be able to do, but I recognize how powerful and beautiful it is.  This is something I know I must aspire to if I hope to reach enlightenment.

I’m looking forward to my discoveries for next week!

8 Spanish-Related Videos That’ll Make You Giggle

"Child Is Laughing" courtesy of Stuart Miles/

“Child Is Laughing” courtesy of Stuart Miles/

My 5th grade Spanish class has earned enough stickers for their end-of-the-year fiesta AND THEN SOME.  So, as an extra reward, they will get bonus movie minutes at the end of class.   Last week I showed them a favorite that I’d seen at a workshop (#1 below), and then today I scrounged around Youtube looking for more.   I’ve linked to some of my favorites here, some that I plan on showing tomorrow, and some that did not make the kid-friendly cut.  Here they are in David Letterman “Top 10” style from Least to Most Favorite.

#8 Ser — to be (Funny Spanish Song)

Not my favorite, but catchy!  Useful to help with conjugating a common Spanish verb, too.

#7 Como Eres? Rap

A little more advanced, but still repetitive and catchy.  May be a useful introduction or conclusion to a descriptive adjective lesson.

#6: How to Learn Spanish (Funny Videos)

A cute comedian clip.   Unfortunately, I haven’t seen Dora, so the references were lost on me.  But the kids should get it. . . Also, there’s one alcoholic reference, but hopefully they won’t get that. . .

#5: Learning Spanish

A cute, short, kid-friendly comedian clip.  I was disappointed by the derogatory/suggestive/obscene language that popped up with other comedians.  I was like “Oh!  This is funny!  Wait. . . .  darn it.”

#4: Learn to Speak Spanish Quickly with Funny Videos on Youtube

Such a clever idea!  Some of our favorite crazy youtube videos (like the talking and fighting cats) combines with learning Spanish!  (passes the kid-friendly test just barely due to the dancing girl).

#3: One Semester of Spanish Love Song

Remember those beginning phrases you learned in Spanish? Here they are put to the tune of a love song.   There’s also the 2nd Semester of Spanish, Spanish Love Song, but that one didn’t make the kid-friendly cut. Also, I had to look up who Erik Estrada was . . .

#2: Que Hora Es?

This movie is HILARIOUS.  This is like #2 but in telenovela (Spanish soap opera) form. I wish I could show it to my students, but it’s more for adults.  Part 2 is just as hilarious, if not more so!

#1: I Love Lucy: English Pronunciation

This movie passed the kid-friendly cut.  I first saw it in one of the SIOP workshops I attended last year, and I loved it.  The reference to Spanish reference doesn’t come until the end, but it’s great for the kids to see their language from another perspective (as Ricky struggles with the many different pronunciations for the same English vowels).  Here are some other great I Love Lucy episodes that focus on Lucy learning Spanish that didn’t quite pass the cut: Lucy Tries to Speak Spanish and I Love Lucy- Ricky Translates for Lucy .

I hope you enjoyed these!  Which was your favorite?


Bah.  I was so excited today because I had some extra time — and I never have extra time on Tuesdays — and then I was lost as to what to do with it.  And so I squandered it.

I didn’t get my snow day today, but I did get a snow afternoon.  Usually I have 3 tutoring students in the afternoon after my day of teaching Spanish.  But I canceled one and was able to keep and push  forward the other session, since I was now home early, and the student meets near my house.

But I couldn’t figure out what to do with myself when I got home.  Normally I come home and immediately tear off my work clothes and throw on some jammies, but I couldn’t do that, since I still had a lesson in an hour.  I felt helpless.  Do I snack?  (Yes.)  Do I write?  (No.)  Do I get some work done? (No.)  Do I do various inane things that I will not even remember hours later when I write the post? (Yes.)

And what also stunk is that I missed karaoke tonight because of the snow.  I LOVE karaoke, but it seemed ridiculous to cancel a tutoring session, only to go trouncing out in the snow later the same evening, throwing caution to the wind.  So, what did I do in place of karaoke tonight?  Sadly, I ended up typed up tutoring lesson summaries and responded to a bunch of work e-mail to parents about corrections and final grades for Spanish.

What the heck? Where was my snow day?  Where was my trade-off?  Why am I a masochist sometimes?

On the upside, I am now pretty caught up with parent e-mails, I am still fairly caught up with grading and planning, and I have a light schedule the rest of the week, since it’s the end of the trimester.  I know that this effort that I put in today will help toward making the rest of the week easier and will help me reach my goal of having more relaxing weekends.

The Thing About My Job Is. . .

My career/life purpose coach gave me the assignment this week to look at my job — teaching in particular — and look at what I like and dislike about it.  It’s that time of year again when the school year is more than half way over, and summer vacation/summer jobs are peeking over the horizon.  So, what am I drawn to?  What do I enjoy about what I do, and where can that take me?

I’ll start with do not likes, so that I end on a positive note:

  • Excessive grading (unless I’m paid for it!) — especially of projects and other complicated assignments
  • Excessive Planning
  • Balancing interesting activities with less intense planning and less intense grading
  • Working at home (and not getting paid for it, and not doing things I want to do at home)
  • Managing disruptive students
  • Managing off-task students
  • Dealing with a loud noise level
  • Keeping a classroom organized
  • Less pay
  • No insurance (which can also be a benefit)
  • Negative parental contact


And then there are likes:

  • The stability of the job.
  • The hours.
  • The variety of the job.
  • Going into a job and leaving the house.
  • Less pressure than last year with a specials subject (Spanish).
  • Interacting with people.
  • Students and teachers greeting me in the hallways.
  • Students saying they are enjoying an activity.
  • Managing students who are mostly on-task and interested in the work.
  • Helping teachers or students who need help.
  • Connecting with students/teachers.
  • Snow days (if there are any!)
  • nice lunch (on full days)
  • on my feet and moving around
  • having a good laugh
  • fun activities
  • positive parental contact, including open house and conferences

That’s it for now.  I may add more later.


"Can T See You" by imagerymajestic /

“Can T See You” by imagerymajestic /

This morning a number of uninvited Victoria Secret models visited my  3rd grade Spanish classroom.

They were the opening act for my video of “The Little Drummer Boy” in Spanish, with accompanying lyrics.

And I swear the opening ad was a different one when I previewed the movie yesterday.

I don’t think my face has ever felt so hot, as I panicked and fruitlessly stepped in front of the projector screen, causing the kids to howl even louder with laughter.

Seriously, YouTube?  The Little Drummer Boy?

The joys and perks of technology.

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