The school year finished up the second week of December, and I couldn't have been more ready. It seemed like less and less actual learning was happening as the school year drew to a close (but that's how it is in the states too). I listened to the Nicaragua school "promocion" song way too many times to count. When I was in high school wind ensemble we used to have to play "Pomp and Circumstance" every year at graduation. "Pomp and Circumstance" is way better than the Nicaraguan promocion song. Especially because the sound system is usually awful. Anyway, I went to a total of 4 promociones. 2 in my school in town (preschool and 6th grade), one at my rural school (combined preschool and 6th grade), and the high school graduation ceremony in town (because my host sister graduated.) Promociones were way more fun this year because I got to see my own students, who I worked with all year, graduate from 6th grade. I sat on stage and helped give out the diplomas, and took pictures with some of the kids after the ceremony was over. My rural school promotion was short and sweet, with just 10 or so kids graduating (only 2 of which were 6th graders.) I'm hoping both of those students keep studying and head on to the instituto (secondary school) next year. Many students in communities don't continue with their education and instead help out their families, most of which work in agriculture. Just finishing 6th grade, as a student from a small community, is an accomplishment that is highly celebrated. I was so proud of my 2 sixth graders! And, last but not least, my sister's high school graduation....which was the longest of all. Luckily it was a block from my house, so I was able to go home in the middle to change my uncomfortable shoes and hang out for a little while. I snapped some pictures of her, and helped out at the party that we had for her at the house after. I helped serve up the food, but also got to enjoy some of the rum later on in the night.
|Preschoolers are always adorable, but even more so when they're all dolled up!|
|With my 2 Sixth graders in Valerio|
|6th graders in La Concordia|
|With one of my best students, who won 2nd place nationwide in the "best student" competition!|
|Seydi graduating from high school|
Then, on December 20th, I headed home for Christmas! With a quick stop the day before to the artisan market in Masaya to buy some gifts and a visit to my training host family in Niquinohomo, I made it home to celebrate Christmas with my family. Being home was fun and overwhelming at the same time. It's hard walking back into people's lives after being gone for so long. There's a lot less you have in common, a lot less to talk about, and many things have changed. Overall, I enjoyed my trip, but by the last couple of days I was ready to come back. I felt a little bit bad about it, but I have a family, friends, a community, and work here in Nicaragua. And feeling excited to come back just helped me realize how much I better take advantage of every minute I have left here!
|Enjoying time with friends at home|
I came back on January 1st, and had a few days to hang out in La Concordia until my parents arrived for a visit on the 7th. We traveled to Granada and Masaya before they came to visit my site and meet my host family. Then we stayed a night in Jinotega and finished out our trip in Leon and at the beach. It was a nice vacation, but a little stressful for me with all of the translating and navigating that I had to do since my parents rented a car. Overall, I know my parents enjoyed their trip, and it was nice to show them around a country that I've grown to love so much.
After saying goodbye to my parents at the airport, I headed back to my site, but only for one night. My PC group had an in-service training the next day at the Selva Negra, a coffee farm and resort about 2 hours away from where I live. Each volunteer brought teachers that they will be working with this year to receive trainings. In addition, I brought one of my best co-teachers to help me lead a session about co-planning and co-teaching. Often volunteers have trouble getting their counterpart teachers to share the responsibilities and understand what working with a volunteer entails. I think Profe Maritza and I did a good job of clearing it up. We'll see what everyone says once the school year gets started.
So, after being gone for a week with my parents, followed by 2 nights at the Selva Negra, I am finally at home and really just hanging out. I've gone to the pool a couple times, but mostly I'm just relaxing and gearing up for the school year, which starts on the 11th or 12th (or so I've been told). I'm working on planning a short little day camp for the kids in town, just 4 days, 3 hours each day. I'm enlisting the help of friends from my PC group and other volunteers that live close. The camp is next week, so I'll try to post pictures and hopefully I won't go so long without blogging this time!
Thanks for reading!
|Oh yeah, did I mention I spend a significant portion of my free time hanging out with this adorable 6 month old?!|