Language Learning

I LOVE foreign languages. All of you know that.  Also the people who have asked me for advice in the past about using Rosetta Stone have faced listening to me for the following hour about how much I don’t like it.  Well folks, my days of shunning technology based language learning is over!

Learn Transparent

It’s great.  I love it, I have been using it for a few weeks with Farsi and it’s going great!

Remember though, this is not a “learn language fast” scheme like Rosetta Stone plays.  You will not learn by just going through the motions of the activity. Listen, Repeat after the speakers and take NOTES!

They offer a REAL free trial of a week meaning you don’t even try and trick you into accidentally paying for a month by taking down you CC info and making you cancel in time.  They only require one e-mail address and you can play around with ALL the languages they offer!


Apple Pies

Apple Pies

Aara and I made mini apple pies for Thanksgiving. They have a streusel topping that here looks like dust but was actually sugar, flour and butter. Too much flour though. I’ll know for next time.

Beach Rogby 5s!

Beach Rogby 5s!

What a fun day in the sun playing rugby on the beach in November! I got so sun burnt. I scored though!

I play for Las Hidras Rugby Club which is a female club here in CTG

World Map Project

So let me take a second to say that I LOVE my school and I am so excited to do awesome things with them!!

This week I went through a whole crazy process of putting up my world map.  (<——For my not so tech savvy readers, click on things that come up in a different color and/or are underlined)

I picked this project to do first because it seemed like I was going to need to talk to a lot of people to accomplish it.  It was also something that had little to do with academics and I knew that school was winding down so why would I spend the majority of my time fussing about what we were going to do at the beginning of the next year when that doesn’t even start until the middle of January?? Also, my Mom gave me really good advice and told me that when you are being a sales person, you don’t call your biggest potential prospect first, especially when you don’t have your ducks in a row and you know what you are talking about through and through.  I applied that concept to what I am doing here because I have some really good ideas for HUGE projects for next year but I know nothing about the people at my school, I know on paper who is in charge but I don’t know who is going to help me.  I am trying to sell myself and prove to them that I can do good things.  I was not going to risk falling flat on my face on a project that could, ultimately, define my service.

So I come in on my first day of school and I start talking about my goal to get this world map up by the start of the next school year.  Perhaps a camp during the break of school?  No Angela, the school is closed closed during breaks.  Kids will not be allowed in from Dec 15-Jan15. Ok well, Wouldn’t it be great to do it the last week of of school with some kids who did really well on their finals, a reward? So I asked around about where people would like it and we decided on the wall, and then I talked to the Art teacher who is not my biggest fan let me tell you.  She told me a lot of mis information but I don’t think it was on purpose.  She told me that it was going to about 250,000 pesos for the paint (which is about $125 USD) Which is INSANITY and I did everything in my power to just out right tell that to her that it couldn’t possibly cost that much.  So my counterpart and I were talking about ways to raise such an enormous sum of money when 7, 11th grade boys walk in to the teacher’s lounge and sit down in front of us.

You see the Art teacher doesn’t like to teach art, she teaches crafts and instead of valuing creativity she values precision.  Instead of teaching a medium and letting the students create within a set of guide lines she creates a something and then asks the kids to duplicate it and the closer it is to the original then the higher marks you get.  Well for the 11th grade final project they were tasked with making a doll.  A GIRL doll dun dun dun.

So I have 7 boys sitting in front of me saying that they need an extra point in art and that the teacher told them that they could get that point by painting my world map mural.  I was really surprised, I asked, “Why do you boys need a point in ART??”, “well,” They fidgeted, “we didn’t want to make the dolls.” Silence…. then I said in English, “that’s stupid”  They laughed. Then they explained that they wouldn’t have minded making the dolls if they could have made soccer player dolls but they didn’t want to make girl dolls.  I told them that the map was supposed to be a reward for people who did their work. Then they said that they would do a really good job and that the art teacher told them that they could do it as long as they paid for my paint.

Welcome to the world map project boys.

World map half finishedAfter the weekend the boys came in on Monday with some money.  Total they gave us a grand total of 70,000 pesos ($35) and my counterpart and I took it to Home Center and bought all the paint we needed for a mere 74,000 pesitos! and he paid the 4,000 ($2) out of pocket.

On Tuesday we painted the whole wall white and projected the picture onto the wall and traced it with pencil, then started tracing the lines with black paint. Day 2, Wednesday, we started the ocean and filling in the countries.  This map was based on languages spoken so all English countries were Red and all Spanish was Yellow and so on.

(picture note, a friend jokingly said I had child slave labor so I made sure to ham it up in my next picture near the end)

world map almost complete

I was only making sure they were paying attention to detail!  Although, we did erase a rather large island from Canada but don’t worry no one lives there.

world map language

This guy spend HOURS tracing and painting language names and steadfastly REFUSED to stand anymore.

world map pc symbol half done


This kid sat there with a little canister of paint, dipping  and dabbing with a PENCIL TIP to make sure he was as precise as he could be.  (his Idea not mine!

world map pc symbolTurned out great though.  🙂

All in all it turned out great with a few bumps along the way but it went so much smoother than I thought it would.  And all the teachers in the school are down right flabbergasted.  It’s nice.  And now they have a visual representation of my resolve to get things done.






There is a place in Barranquilla called “Las Vegas” and it is a bar and dance place. It also has an area to play games and the court we’re sitting on is called Tejo. It’s a “bags” concept but instead of boards you have clay pits and instead of bags you have rocks. in the middle of the clay pit there is a metal circle and placed on the upper rim of the circle there is a pink paper origami triangle which is filled with gunpowder. If you and your opponent both get your rocks into the clay pit without bouncing them on the ground or off the back board the person who is closest to the center wins 1 point. The rock HAS to get stuck in the clay though. Then if you hit the circle rim and explode your gun powder and your rock does NOT get stuck in the clay pit then it’s 3 pts. If you get your rock stuck in the clay inside the metal circle (about the size or a little bit bigger than the circumference of a soda-pop can) and you do NOT set off the gun powder then it’s 6 pts. Lastly, if explode the gunpowder AND it gets stuck in the circle, 9 pts. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. In the background you can see what we call “softball bowling” but none of us have ever played. Anywho, you can stay here late drinking dollar beers and eating 80 cent empanadas playing this game for hours and hours and hours.

Trying to cook for ourselves…

Trying to cook for ourselves...

Aara, Elisabet and I decided that we were going to take advantage of Aara’s host mom being out of town and we decided we were going to cook yummy food! this proved difficult and had me walking around the Jumbo super market for hours making multiple phone calls to give bad news that our previous idea was no longer going to work out. Fajitas? Tortillas are about $5 for a dozen! Lasagna? no ricotta cheese or any other kind of cheese except their special coastal cheese, cream cheese from a tube and really expensive mozzarella. Breakfast food? $10 for a small package of bacon. Sausage? people here think hot dogs are sausages. Spaghetti? I had to go to the import section for sauce because here people just put ketchup on their pastas… I got tomato sauce which I thought was spaghetti sauce but was more like pizza sauce. I also made a lot of deviled eggs. Tasted a little weird and it was strange that with every boiled egg we peeled had the yolk showing on the side as if the yolk in these eggs sits always on the shell where as in the US the yolks generally sit in the middle of the egg. . . Also makes a lot of sense now that I can rarely crack my egg for breakfast without breaking the yolk.. hmmm…

Anyway we didn’t have a can opener, so I opened it with a moderately sharp knife and got sauce everywhere scaring Bet into thinking that I had sliced my hand. I didn’t

Colombian Mannequins

Colombian Mannequins

They are something special, they are incredibly disproportionate to normal human beings. When I get the chance I will take a picture of the lady ones. It’s no wonder Colombia is the plastic surgery capitol of the world.