On Living Abroad

It’s funny how living abroad makes you hold on to things from home more than you usually would. I’ve visited, backpacked, studied and stayed with friends abroad, but living in another country has created a shift in my mentality especially as my life becomes increasingly intertwined with something that was once so foreign.

More often than not, when travelling I would let go of my “americansims”, try to quiet down, blend in, learn a little language, taste the local foods, and do as the locals. When Bush was president, and I was backpacking through Europe, I didn’t dare utter that I was Texan. I almost told people I was Canadian in an effort to avoid the Bush shame. But when you live in a place and your idea of home starts to shift, you find pieces of your identity, pockets of your home and covet it like an irrational gollum creature.

“Damn right I’m from Texas!”

“Of course we’re celebrating Halloween…and Thanksgiving…and Christmas, and Valentines- ALL the celebratory American occasions!!!”

“What do you mean they don’t have triple sec? What kind of godforsaken land is this?!”

“I finally found black beans!! They actually exist!! Don’t touch! My precious….”

…You don’t want to imagine the greedy hoarding that would take place if I found refried beans. Continue reading

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Happy Valentines Day!

ImageWow. Time really is flying! Again, it’s been WAY too long since my last post and here we are already- Mardi Gras has passed, it’s Valentines day, and Saturday marks the 2nd to last holiday. After that I have 6 weeks left of teaching!

That being said, Happy Valentines a tous! Unlike many I know, I’ve always loved this holiday. Not because of the commercialism and candy and consumerist driven love (ok. candy has always been a major plus to any holiday), but because it’s an excuse to be creative and let people you care about know that you do. The holiday was never about having that “special someone”, but rather a reminder of all the special people in my life. I blame my parents for my valentines enthusiasm- they would kidnap us from school and take us to a secret location or event (ex: the circus). Or the neighborhood valentines decorating parties my mom would host, or the late nights hand crafting class cards could also be to blame. But honestly, I’ve always enjoyed creative crafts and been a bit of a hopeless romantic, so call me corny, but Valentines is an excellent outlet.

I’ve had quite an interesting and entertaining time with my students surrounding Valentines. Over the past 2 weeks, I used the holiday to talk about love and dating- topics that of course grabbed highschooler’s attention. I held a speed dating session in one class which proved to be not only hilarious, but wonderfully effective in getting them to speak. They were having real conversations!! (Even if they were pretending to be characters from Titanic…). I made other students laugh with cheesy pick-up lines and cliche break-up excuses, and got them to learn new vocabulary with Valentines Bingo. I love it when I’m not the only one leaving with a smile on my face.

Today was particularly entertaining as it is actually Valentines day. I only got in a few words on how I usually celebrate it, when one student interrupted to see if I had a boyfriend and if said boyfriend had gotten me a present. He then offered to be my valentine for the day and to go into town and buy me a present. I laughed, told him that wasn’t necessary and then moved on to the personal ad portion of the lesson where they have to use adjectives to describe their looks, personality, interests and what they look for in a guy/or girl. However, I should have known better as the very same student described what he’s interested in- “a girl who az ze red hairs, ze average height, iz nice, beautiful, iz uh assistant”. Yeah. I pretty much walked right into that one.

In other news- we had a wonderful Valentines fete this past weekend, complete with a pink pinata, over the top cake and lots of candy. Sadly, we were apparently too loud and can no longer have soirees there. Dommage! Since when did breaking pinatas at 1:30 in the morning become problematic? :{ At least it was a good way to go out…

The Pinata

The Pinata

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Happy Valentines!