Sunday, August 30, 2009

Notes on living here

FYI, here = "not at home," "Central America," or "the place where the internet cuts out occasionally."

1. I just got locked out of my own house because I couldn't manage to turn the lock far enough to unlatch. I must have stood there for half an hour turning the key this way and that, because I wasn't even sure which way was the "unlocked" position. So, a nice (male) neighbor comes over and I ask if he can call my Central American parents, but they aren't at the only number he has (and the number I need is... yep, in the house), so I let him know I'm going to my friend's and he goes back inside his own house. I hop across the street to my friend's, and hang out there for a while until my friend's C.Am. mamá beckons me back to my house so she can try the lock for me. Of course, she gets it the first try. Oh well. The experience is what counts, you know!

2. Walking everywhere is, surprisingly, amazingly freeing. I can just step outside and I have the whole world accessible... I don't have to worry about borrowing the family car, or having enough gas (and gas money) to get somewhere, or whatnot. I could even take a bus downtown and, still, I'm out like a buck round-trip. And there are so many things within less than fifteen minutes' walking distance.... a good church, my classes, the park, the supermarket that sells anything you could possibly need. I love it.

2a. (It's a corollary.) I need to go live in a city, apparently, as much as I enjoy biking and walking!

3. I visited a church today. I could understand almost everything the pastor said (and he was definitely speaking Spanish the entire time). I recognized two, almost three of the songs that we sang. And it's a very small church, so I could actually get to know people. I think I'm going back. :)

4. I went to the beach yesterday, thought I had covered myself with sunblock, then found out I had not reached part of my back. It was bright red last night, as my C.Am. familia pointed out. But it doesn't hurt, thankfully. Anyways, the beach was... amazing. It was BIG and had nice BIG waves and beautiful BIG mountains nearby (which we got to travel through on our way there, and I took pictures of them!).


5. Classes start Tuesday, but already I've been learning new words. And re-learning a few that I always have on the tip of my tongue, but never quite seem to remember. And then re-learning some that I've plain forgotten! I love talking with my mamá--she's very patient with me as she tries for five minutes to get me to understand the simplest thing she's saying. But sometimes, we have some good conversations. I've learned so much about this culture from her.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Adventures downtown

We went by ourselves to the downtown of the (rather largeish) city where we're living today...

[6:26:19 PM] Sarah: anyways. We went there Monday with our guide, but this was the first time we went by ourselves on any bus and we waited for like half an hour to get a bus that would go where we wanted. Even then we had to ask a lady to help us (she was very gracious and took good care of us while we were travelling the same path)

[6:26:33 PM] Sarah: So, we got there fine, and had a good time browsing the AMAZING souvenier shop down there.

[6:26:39 PM] Sarah: now, it gets interesting.

[6:26:50 PM] Sarah: on our way back, first we went to the wrong part of the bus stop hub

[6:27:03 PM] Sarah: (there's a collection of bus stops and we were at the completely wrong end)

[6:27:54 PM] Sarah: so once we finally get on a bus headed back home, we accidentally get off at the wrong place (too early) because there are apparently at least two stores with the same name... a popular brand which he (who pulled the line for "parada" should've known)

[6:28:08 PM] Sarah: oops, wrong place for the parenthesis. you get the idea anyway.

[6:29:53 PM] Sarah: anyway. so, only one of us (another guy) knows where we even ARE and is positive he knows the way back. So we get to this HUGE roundabout and have to cross some of the streets--a challenge in itself, as you may imagine--and we get to this somewhat questionable part of town, right about five-thirty or five-forty-five when it's getting towards dusk

[6:29:59 PM] Sarah: and of the ten of us, only three are male

[6:30:05 PM] Sarah: so some of the gals aren't too comfortable

[6:31:19 PM] Sarah: anyway, we get past that part safely, and suddenly see something familiar--the place where we turned around earlier today when we missed another destination (that was walking though, not a big deal) and rejoice to know we are about half an hour from home.

[6:31:33 PM] Sarah: and the rest of the story is less interesting, since we don't get lost again or lose anybody or anything.

[6:32:01 PM] Turkey Man: aw :(

[6:32:02 PM] Turkey Man: j/k

[6:32:22 PM] Sarah: *rolleyes*

[6:32:55 PM] Sarah: it was crazy, but.... yeah, crazy.

A second day in C.Am.

I have now spent three evenings (two full days, plus the day I arrived) with my Central American host family, and it has been really really AWESOME. I mean, it's been great beyond what I'd hoped.

I talk to my mamá a lot, even though I'm usually slow with my words (and can't remember half the ones I want) and she has to be really patient. She's very nice. She has said I speak Spanish well, and she told me today that of the four gals she's hosted I've been the least nervous and most confident. To tell you the truth I've not been nervous. Honest, really! Just excited to be here and finally delve into the language. And I'm learning new words every day, and re-learning (remembering) the words for a LOT of things. (Earrings? Aretes. My nose? La nariz.)

Today was the beginning of orientation at the institute, and we did some sightseeing too (mostly just visiting all the houses we are staying in). And tonight we ate at a popular local pizza place... I can see why it's so popular. Its walls and ceiling are plastered, completely covered, with movie posters (in Spanish, of course) and they show whatever movie you want. Our group picked "The Dark Knight" and it was interesting to read the subtitles in Spanish and compare the translation with the original English script.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I'm out of the country.

That sounds so odd, really. I'm in a country, of course, just not my home country. I'm overseas now, and my orientation for my classes begins tomorrow. :)

It's pretty interesting, living with a family of practical strangers. Of course, my familia has hosted foreign students before (I know the gal they hosted last year), so they know the deal. I, on the other hand, am new at this and just learning my ropes.

It's all good. I'm really pumped to learn some more about the country tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Waiting for my sister

My sister went to a meeting tonight... and hasn't yet returned from it. Crazy, huh? But it's a final, end-of-year, potluck-happy meeting with both teenagers and adults involved.

Oh, and now she's home!! At precisely 10:56 PM, just two minutes after I'd typed that. (Quite literally.) Apparently this was not a mixed teens/adults group; there were adults there, as chaperones, kinda, but then the rest were teens and held a meeting followed by hanging out. No wonder she was gone so long. (A meeting/potluck starting at 6:30 does not normally last four hours.)

Enough for stream-of-chronology blogging.... (you know, like stream of consciousness.)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Observations upon recreation

I should make a label that calls itself "observations." I use the term often enough as a title formula!

I just watched "Ella Enchanted" with my little friend, Bee. Today was the first time in quite awhile that I've been able to see her--I've been busy/working, she's been in D.C., etc. So we were together for most of the day; she even came with me (and my siblings) when I drove over to get my hair trimmed/styled before my trip overseas. Anyhow, we watched the movie tonight, partly to give me something to do while the rest of my family went to see "Night at the Museum 2" at the dollar theater, and to give Bee an excuse to get out of the house while her little sister, Banana, and Banana's friend practiced their homemade "ballet" performance.

Carey Elwes is so funny as a bad guy, because he's so good at it! I first saw him in "The Princess Bride" (the best comedy ever, imho *wink*) and then as a bad guy in "Twister." Only after I'd seen "Twister" at least twice did I realize he was the same guy. Then he showed up in that old Mel Brooks movie "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" as a comedic character again. And of course, when we saw this movie a few months after it came out (we had the library copy), he was the elderly bad guy again. Go figure. But I hadn't seen this one since, and I remembered enjoying it. It was definitely amusing.

Second observation: I just heard a Beatles rendition of the song "Till There Was You" (originally from the musical "The Music Man") on my Pandora Radio station.... talk about odd.

And in a completely unrelated vein, but still within the topic of recreation:
Yes, this is my idea of recreation. I've had these links pulled up in my Firefox tabs the last several days.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pie chart....


Totally not mine. Found via the Andrew Sullivan blog (which is on the Atlantic's website, so I occasionally drop by) and found it hilarious.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Audio #3

Gabcast! Audio #3



"Listening" to the Perseids Meteor Shower!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Miscellaneous Graffiti

I came across a hidden bit of graffiti today at work--on a product shelf, of all places, and in Spanish. It was a sort of conversación to the effect of:
  • "This place is horrible."
  • "No it's not. I've seen worse."
  • "It's very horrible."
  • "How are you?"
  • English gibberish pretending to be a Spanish answer to that. I couldn't quite make out what it was saying.
  • Illiterate English graffiti to the effect of "Spanish is dumb." It resembled texting to me, I think.
It's kind of amusing to see all that in such an odd place, you know? I wish now I had written the location down.... and on second thought, I could probably remember where it was....!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Meh.

I was going to post a wonderful, fantabulous blog post... but...

I leave the States in two weeks. That's about all I got.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Goodbye to my friends

I said goodbye to a good friend of mine today--a gal I know from my college. She worked not too far from where I live this summer, but between our crazy schedules I saw her only once this whole summer. So we had planned on hanging out for awhile today, before I leave the country and she goes back to our college.

Unfortunately she ended up having more to do today than she thought--last week at her job (a camp) and all--so we only got to talk for a few minutes when she came to borrow a book. It was a quick goodbye.

I said goodbye to my roommate last weekend, when I left her house late at night to return home. I won't get to see her, either, until after I return from studying abroad. That goodbye wasn't so quick, thank goodness.

We plan to keep in touch over the internet while I'm gone, and for that capability I'm grateful. They're some of the few people I feel completely comfortable around.... I trust them that way. I don't want to lose their friendship.

In a way, this sort of goodbye--after already having missed them over the summer--is different from the goodbye that I bid my friends in May at the end of spring semester. Then, I was able to see them often before leaving. The ties of friendship were strong.

After having been apart from my friends for so many months already, I miss them. And seeing them, briefly, only to part from them for a definite few more months? It's sad.

One thing I do know--these gals will be around when I get back. And we'll be great friends, even after so many months. That's how we are. :)

Friday, August 07, 2009

"New and Improved" Jeans

No, really! They're new to me, and I improved them significantly. :) When I got them (from the Salvation Army thrift store), they fit me extremely well--except that they were four inches too long. I wear petite, and these were the tall kind... plus they weren't flared at all, and I much prefer the flare-cut at the hem. Sooo.... I had some fun with them!

I first cut off a good two inches, and left the rest for hem. Then I found some fabric I liked--this time it ended up being an old placemat with nothing that matched it. Mom didn't care if I used it since there were no matching pieces at all. So, I cut that in half (roughly) and pinned them into these 13-inch slits I made up the outside of each leg, along the hem. And I sewed them in, and trimmed off the extra fabric on the inside so it looked more like the triangle it was (rather than the rectangle it started as).

Then I hemmed up the whole shebang and pranced around taking pictures of myself in my new jeans. I had to have some way to show them off, you know. :)

I did this once before, but that pair is wearing out; thus, the new pair. I have some appliques to put on another pair too, but I don't know which pair yet....

Thursday, August 06, 2009

(Addendum)

Oh, and I just found a blogger widget that will show the most recent comments on my blog. Just for your reading ease. :) It's now over on the left right below the little pen picture.

At approximately 12:16 AM...

Doesn't that just amuse you?

The use of "approximately" in that context, I mean. If you're saying 12:16, is that really approximate? It comes closer to exact.

Yet, this evening at work, I asked one of my coworkers--a mechanical engineering major, for the record--what time it was. He pulled out his phone and said: "It is approximately 11:02."

I laughed. My dad does the same thing. Maybe it's an engineer's quirk.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Pastoring oddities

So, remember that sermon about the letter in Revelation to the church in Philadelphia?

My roommate's dad (a pastor) just preached on the same exact passage this past Sunday when I went down to visit her....

How odd is that?

In other news... umm... I got to eat at a Chinese buffet today! It was good, but I ate too much. Alas, it seems that every time I go to a restaurant either the serving sizes are too big to start with, or the buffet has too many choices to settle on a decent amount of food....

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Roomie weekend

I got to see my roomie this weekend!!!

See, ever since she got to come and stay over at my house... last summer it was, I think, and one other time too--we've been trying to arrange so I can stay over at her house, and it finally worked out (after trying since this spring!). I got there Saturday afternoon and stayed until late Sunday night (got home just two minutes before midnight) and had a wonderful time.

My roommate's pretty cool. She likes reading and word stuff, just like I do, but she's much more into the psychological aspect of EVERYTHING (she's a psych major, so it's to be expected) and likes to wonder about the mental stability of everyone around her. It amuses me to listen to her psychoanalyze everyone's actions and reactions. :P

And now... I leave in two weeks, six days. Wow...