The Fourth House on the Left
~ By Madison
I honestly never imagined myself living in an entirely pink house. More than that, I never thought I would want to live in a pink house. The houses on Isla are beautiful and I love all the bright colors and spiral staircases and rooftop terraces. It is a stark reminder of the differences of where I have been and where I am. I have always lived in suburbs of various cities in a house among a row of the same with Homeowners Associations restricting colors and landscaping and quiet hours. Here, the rows of houses are vibrant and the environment of neighbors talking and children playing create more of a community feel than any of the places I have previously lived. The island has a special air and I can see how people can’t just visit once. Everywhere you turn is a person ready to help and talk and learn and play and everyone feels so accepting. At the top of the list most definitely is our neighbor, Antonio. He has offered countless times to let us use his bicycles and even his moped, and has already helped us to fix a few things. As this is the first time I’m truly living on my own, it is comforting to know that all around are people willing to help if needed.
My first month teaching at Julio Sauri has been absolutely wild, generally in positive ways. At first I was nervous that we would be teaching such a wide age range, but now that is one of my favorite aspects of the program. It is exciting to learn about the differences in the age groups and learn more effective ways of presenting similar information to children at separate stages in their lives and education. I thought I would only want to work with the younger kids, because I only have experience with young children, but some of my favorite moments have been with the 10 and 11 year olds. With the kids at Julio Sauri, it seems that the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders are the most excited to learn English and like to play the different games and try to speak in a different language. I enjoy seeing the progress they make, but to be perfectly honest my favorite thing is the random sayings in English the students ask me to translate to Spanish. The best thus far has been “turn up for what”, which I had a very hard time explaining in Spanish.
The program overall has been everything I wanted. I am able to learn and speak more Spanish each day and become a member of a small community through weekly fairs and living among my students. I appreciate that I have the opportunity to try out a career that I never planned on for six months and discover if this is something I can imagine myself doing for a longer period. Although I have only been on the island for one month, I have become very inspired to travel more and learn of various cultures and am excited to see where this experience leads me. At the moment I plan to discover more of the island and become more acquainted with my temporary home and then let the journey unfold.