Monday, August 9, 2010

15 again

One of the odder aspects of this year has been that I am navigating being an adult in the real world for the first time, while at the same time feeling 15 at times

I feel 23 when I am standing in front of 25 6th graders for 80 minutes teaching about technological advances and their impacts on society... in English. Teaching science in English to Costa Rican elementary students is something I struggle with daily and I can not imagine trying to do it even a couple of years ago. I am living in a foreign country for a year with a more limited support system than I had in my study abroad program (not a criticism of WorldTeach, which does a lot to help me.) While I'm a volunteer, I am a full teacher in the sense that I do all the lesson planning and tests for my sections of science in English.

At the same time at times my life is like being 15 again in so many ways. Teaching in August makes me feel like I'm working at a summer camp, except more serious and without the songs. I eat the food I am served both at the school and at home.  I am reluctant to just grab food from the kitchen, not knowing what is needed for dinner that night.

I have amusing arguments with my host mom about who should do my laundry. One of the first things I did when I arrived in February was ask how to use the washing machine. Yesterday I started doing my laundry, but then my host mom told me to leave it and she would finish it. I tried to convince her I could finish it myself, but she was having none of it.  I was not going to argue about using her washing machine, but yeah, not being allowed to do my own laundry is not what I'm used to at 23.

Other things which make me feel 15: I walk or take the bus everywhere I go. I have limited spending money, even less than I did in college, because I can't have a part time job (which I probably would in the US, given the free time I have). I only have the stipend, which while not nothing does not go that far. Some of the emotional ups and downs have also reminded me of being 15, though of course the specific causes (culture shock and anxiety over my lack of teaching experience vs. normal adolescence) are different.

I do intend to do a better job of trying to figure out making food. That will help me if I feel I can get myself lunch without needing to wait for someone to serve me. I just don't want to do what my host sister did, when she made chicken in salsa with chicken the host mom was saving for chicken in rice. I can barely cook with ingredients I'm used to in the US, never mind here in a foreign language without recipes. Still, making rice and beans is not that hard.

(the title is a reference to the Zac Effron movie, which was pretty amusing to watch dubbed into Spanish with my 13 year old host brother)

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