Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Successful First Year

Well Ladies and Gentlemen, I have finished my first year at CCHS and I would consider it highly successful! I will be teaching there again for the 2010-2011 school year teaching Sophomore English II. I couldn't ask for a better workplace!

I can't believe a year has passed since Belize and I have learned so much but I will always cherish the time I spent in beautiful Corozal!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Things are winding down...

In 48 hours I will be leaving Belize and heading home to Kentucky. This is a bittersweet time. I'm ready to get back to my family and friends and familiar territory, but at the same time am not ready to let go of my time here in Belize. I taught my final 3rd form class today (hooray poetry!) and my final 2nd form class is tomorrow (I'm sad I won't get to finish The Sword in the Stone with them).

This past weekend we went to San Pedro. It was definitely one of my favorite weekends ever. First of all, San Pedro is beautiful and wonderful and great enough that even Madonna had to write a song about it (called "La Isla Bonita", which we listened to multiple times this weekend).

We get there around 9 am (after a two hour boat ride...ugh) and go straight to our hotel. The Blue Tang Inn is gorgeous and the perfect place to stay for a weekend in Paradise. Luckily we were there in time to eat at their free breakfast (waffles and fresh fruit). We spent most of the day by the pool, sun-bathing and swimming.

Dinner that night was at the Blue Water Grill and the meal I had (Thai Beef Salad, Calamari, Espresso Creme Brulee) is definitely in my "Top 10 Meals of my Entire Life". It was simply fabulous.

That night we bought chicken and potatoes for Saturday's dinner (Blue Water Grill wasn't so cheap... about... US$30 a meal, but definitely worth it).

Saturday started with the same routine, wake up, breakfast by the pool and sun-bathing. At two we went on a snorkeling adventure. Unfortunately, I forgot my sea-legs and got sick halfway through. It was not my finest moment.

After that I needed a nap and napped until dinner, which was grilled chicken and potatoes (thank goodness for good cooks on this trip!).

Afterward, I made the decision that my stomach was better and I could handle a night out on the town.

I may have forgotten my sea-legs, but I definitely had my dancing shoes. The night started off on the beach at a place called BC's and then we traveled to Jaguar's, but were told to come back after Midnight, because that's when it picked up. So, we returned for a night of dancing and fun. This was probably one of the most fun nights of the entire trip. I'm so glad I went!

Sunday was another day of sunbathing, but only for a little while, because we had to return to Corozal.

It was hard to leave knowing I'd have to come back and do some lesson plans for today and tomorrow.

However, I did get asked the magic question today in an email from my parents, they said, "What do you want to eat when you get home?" Oh, boy! So, I requested baked steak, mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob. I can't wait!

I shall be flying out of Belize City on Thursday with a short layover in Houston (I wish it were longer) and then on to Nashville. Friday morning I'm driving home to Ashland. Saturday I will be going to Lexington for some graduation festivities and then back home to spend the summer in Ashland.

Again though, I can't believe this trip is coming to an end!

In happier news: Happy Cinco de Mayo!


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Three Weeks Down, One to Go...

Another week has come and gone. I can't believe this trip is already nearing its end!
Dr. Bonnie Higginson and Dr. Campoy came to visit this week and do some observations. Mine went surprisingly well but I was happy to see it finished.
I've been teaching more this week. 2nd form is reading The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White and working on Gerunds (ooo... Verbals!). 3rd form is doing a poetry unit and today we are beginning "Richard Cory" by Edwin Arlington Robinson (I love this poem).

This weekend is our big Tourist Weekend in San Pedro. A few of us have discussed going out fishing on Saturday with one of those packages where the people clean and cook whatever fish you catch that day.

Personally, I just want to kick back in a hammock and nap.

I'm sure some people are curious as to what's happening with the swine flu in these parts... to tell the truth I have no idea. Dr. Bonnie made me go to the doctor last night (Stomach issues, headache, and she was worried I had a fever) just in case. That gave me the opportunity to ask about the flu. They said that there are some people who have flu-like symptoms but there are no confirmed cases of swine-flu yet. I'm not too worried about it, to be honest.

Like I said, I'm only a week away from my return to Kentucky. I'm starting to miss it. Rice and Beans are good... but I'm ready for my parents' cooking (mmm... baked steak!).

Also, 9 days from now I will be a college graduate (even though I'm not walking at graduation, I'm opting to go to Lexington to spend graduation with some of my favorite people ever). I will be in Ashland on Friday and Lexington Saturday.

All you CCHS students get ready, I'll be back that next week (probably the 14th or 15th) to do a presentation (I promise I won't give a quiz...).

I need a summer job... badly. Any ideas?

I've become accustomed to "Belize Time" down here. Everything moves at a much slower pace. I've not had my cellphone on since I've been here (except once for 5 minutes to see if I had reception in Chetumal, Mexico... I didn't). So it is probably going to be a rude awakening when I get back home and everything is all "go go go go go".

I hope everyone is doing well!

Monday, April 27, 2009

I fed a Jaguar this weekend.

So, I have had one of the most amazing weekend of my life, and I say that without any exaggeration whatsoever.
The weekend began Friday afternoon with a much needed nap. That night the group went to a place called Cactus Plaza to eat tacos and celebrate being done with our first week of student teaching.
Saturday morning we got on the road around 7 AM and headed straight for the Belize Zoo, about 2 ½ hours away. We get there, pay our fee and the man gives us a once in a life time opportunity. For a small donation to the zoo (US$10) we could go feed and play with Junior. Junior is a two year old spotted Jaguar. We immediately jumped on the offer. Junior is precious (well, as precious as a 115 lb. Jaguar can me). I got to feed him chicken legs and pet him.
The rest of the zoo was also awesome. I saw spider monkeys, black howler monkeys, many different types of cats, the Harpy Eagle (biggest eagle in the world), Crocodiles, Snakes, Parrots, Toucans, a stork with an 8ft wingspan, and so many other animals!
After the zoo we went to Xunantunich, a Mayan ruin site. That was almost as scary as climbing Lamanai except the climb has a few breaks in it. I was able to walk about the top and see from all sides (whereas on Lamanai I was too scared to stand up, it was a small top there). We visited another site, Cahahpech after that, it was more “residential” it seemed, I was able to go down hallways and look into rooms and such.

Saturday night we stayed at a place called Marta's in San Ignacio and ate in the restaurant of the hotel. The beds were soft, the A/C cold, and the showers hot. I was a happy kid.

Sunday morning we woke up and headed to Aerial Trek Belize to go Zip-Lining. We got into our gear and climbed to the first platform. Being short has its disadvantages in this adventure. The guy had to literally lift me up by the middle of the harness (he could do it one handed) and hook my center thing in. I didn't mind though, it was kind of funny. Zip Lining was scary and amazing all at once. We did a total of 6 runs, of varying lengths and speeds. At the end we repel off of the final platform, straight down, no rocks to push off of or anything. If you know me, you know I'm scared of repelling, I've had some bad experiences (all of which ended with me crying) So I was definitely nervous. It started off slow and then WOOSH! I went down fast. Needless to say I screamed, loudly, and in a pitch probably only dogs are able to hear. But once I hit the ground, safe in the arms of Kent [haha] (he was the one at the end of all of the runs to keep us from smacking into trees) I was ready to go again.

We had other plans though so I will have to go zip-lining again another time.

After zip-lining was cave-tubing. Wearing nothing but my bathing suit, some shorts and flip flops we began our trek into the rain forest, with two guides, and carrying out inner tubes with us. We hiked about 45 minutes and came to a form in the road. Take the well worn path and start where everyone else starts or hike another 45 minutes up a hill and back down on a path that few have chosen and start at another cave system. We decided to keep hiking. After some falls and slides and trekking through the mud we finally made it to the entrance of the cave.

It was gorgeous! We began just lazily paddling (with our arms, not oars) down the cave and he said, we're going to go to my secret room. So we set our tubes and side and climb back into this cave and inside there is a small waterfall that is AMAZING. He then says, back over the waterfall is another of my favorite rooms. Only a few of us chose to go there, you have to climb along on your belly to get through. Oh man, the rocks were sharp (my knees look a little worse for wear)! But we got back there and there is this clay he says has never seen the light of day and is really good for the skin, so like good little tourists, we slather it on. I can honestly say it worked and my sunscreen-induced zits are now gone.

After that we go a few kilometers down river, stopping here and there to cliff-jump (I've pushed my body to so many limits this weekend, I'm surprised I can still walk)! The entire cave-tubing took a few hours and at the end we got to swim around in the river for a little while.

A stop for pizza afterwards (it was delicious) and we were on our way home. It was d a quite ride as everyone was exhausted!!

Like usual though, I put off lesson planning until the last minute so last night I had to finish my lesson plans for this week. But I got them done though and made it to bed around 9:45.

This weekend has been amazing!! I feel like my talking can't do it justice. I wish I could have taken pictures of the cave tubing, words can describe the way it looks coming out of a dark cave into the light and rain of the jungle.

But the weekend is over and it's back to school for me! I've got two classes to teach today, one at 1:00 PM and one at 1:45.

Two professors are in from Murray State for the next few days to do some observations, maybe they'll take us out to dinner? Haha... the food here continues to be delicious every time.

I will get some pictures up this evening at the Internet Cafe.

Hope you are well.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Half Way Point

Can it be that my trip is halfway over already?! Surely not! Alas.
Tomorrow is "Open Day" at school where there are no classes but booths are set up to display students' work from the past semester. Students present what projects and work they have done to their parents and the students who visit from the lower schools. Students are going to be dismissed early from classes today to give time to set up for Open Day tomorrow.

I have gotten together my plans for what I'm teaching next week. In 3rd form I will be doing a poetry unit and in my 2nd form class I will be doing the Sword in the Stone for Literature and Gerunds (I can't get away from them!) for the grammar portion.

I have the unit plans for both due on Monday (eek!).

This weekends' activities include Cave-tubing and Zip-lining in San Ignacio in the Cayo District of Belize as well as a trip to the Belize Zoo (Jaguars and Tapirs, oh my!).

There is a cockroach that has taken up residence in the dresser in my and Dara's room. I've decided to call him Henry. He's somewhat massive in size.

It seems all I do around here is eat. The food is SO good. Last night we made our third trip to Restaurant Mirasol (this time I got the traditional stewed chicken instead of the rotisserie).

Cafeteria lunch here at school isn't too bad. Yesterday I had nachos and Chicken Tortas (a bun with chicken, lettuce and mayo).

Hopefully I will get some more pictures uploaded soon (I've figured out how to get to facebook from school so trips to the internet cafe haven't really happened lately). I plan on taking a lot this weekend on our trip to San Ignacio.

Hope all is well with you all.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Finally, some pictures!

So I was finally able to upload a few pictures of my time here thus far. This is by no means a full set, only a few highlights. At the current time I've got a few hundred to sort through. Enjoy!

Belizean Adventures

Monday, April 20, 2009

My first day of teaching in Corozal...

Well, I made it. I successfully got through my first day of student teaching at the high school here.
I am with a teacher who teaches 2nd, 3rd, and 4th form classes. The school is based on the British school system so they are like sophomores, juniors, and seniors, respectively. I will be working with 2nd and 3rd form classes doing Literature and Grammar. I was looking through the resource room and saw copies of Beowulf and got excited (haha) but I will not be teaching that down here... I guess Grendel will have to wait until I get a classroom of my own.

The school down here is different from many schools in the US. Instead of the students rotating between classes the teachers actually rotate. I have two classes total I will be working with and they are in separate buildings.

My first day started with me getting to school at 7:30 AM (hmm...feels familiar) and meeting with my supervising teacher. From there I observed her three 4th form classes and went to Assembly (held every Monday) and lunch (mmm nachos!) and then my teacher said she had to leave (with her 3rd and 2nd form classes left to go). So...

I taught two classes, alone, on my first day here. I was so nervous! The students were nice and asked me lots of quesetions (the first in each? "Are you married?") So I talked to each class and had them introduce themselves and we did a bit of class work, but that is about it.

All the students got a good laugh out of my trying to pronounce their names.

I don't have any classes for the rest of the day so I get to catch up on my news and events and such.

To recap the past few days:

Saturday I went to Lamanai and visited the Mayan Ruins. We climbed the "High Temple" and oh wow, it was high. Going up was the easy part, it was the climbing back down that scared the crap out of me. All that is there is a rope to hold on to as you climb down. But obviously I made it okay, or I would not be typing this. My legs are still sore though! Yikes!

Sunday the group went to Chetumal, Mexico and did a bit of shopping at the mall and market and then went to Bacalar, Mexico and went to swimming and out to eat.
I was really excited because I thought I was going to have cellphone service in Mexico, but alas, I don't. Feel free to call and leave voicemails though, my dad is checking my voicemail and passing along the messages to me.

So far I am loving this trip. I've not had one bad meal or bad experience so far *knocks on wood*.

I have been taking lots of pictures and am starting to put together a big slideshow for all my students back at CCHS (I miss you guys!). I plan to go back there for at least a day and talk about my trip and what I learned (and where all I got to go and such). So far I've taken a few hundred pictures and am trying to figure out a good soundtrack for the slide show I'm doing. I'm going to have a lot to talk about (I hope!).

One thing I love about the weather here: I never have to style my hair or even brush my hair. Thanks to the humidity my hair goes straight into curls and I don't have to do anything to it! It makes my mornings much more relaxing (except this morning, Kathryn and I managed to burn the cinnamon sugar toast we made [no toaster, only an oven]). I need to learn to make rice and beans as well as stewed chicken (with a big helping of cole slaw on the side) so I can still eat it when I come home.

Anyway, I'm all out of things to say for now (has that ever actually happened before? Probably not...)

Hope you are doing well, also.

<3 Amy