Monday, April 5, 2010

another temporary home

The hostel is an enclave: isolated from the neighborhood outside, with a large shaded patio-yard with comfortable chairs. Many of the chairs, and all of the table umbrellas, bear the logo for Brahma beer, which is also sold in the lobby, along with Escudo, Corona, and bottles and splits of red wine. Speakers play a party-oriented radio station during waking hours (the patio closes from 12-7am, so it's not entirely out of control, at least so far). We referred to the Hotel Plaza Londres as a "hostel" out of habit, but it was really a hotel. This, a Hostelling International establishment, is a real hostel. There are luggage lockers in the rooms and they sell beer and wine in the lobby.

Susan, the ASL interpreter, struck up a chat with the shaved-headed deaf Russian guy who was hawking up a lung in the bathroom this morning.

"And he knows ASL?!"

"No! It's really interesting!"

We had an earthquake last night, a cute little 4.5 that wouldn't have woken me except for the Chinese volunteers panicking very loudly about it in the halls. It was short, so when they woke me up, the building was finishing swaying and mostly I wanted them to shut up before I woke up even more. I did get a kick watching my half-awake mind try to get worked up and anxious about a big earthquake that OMFG COULD HAPPEN ANY MINUTE DIDN'T YOU FEEL THAT LAST ONE HOLY CRAP, which I'd notice, breathe, let go of it, watch it happen again. My mind goes into its loops sometimes when I'm sleeping poorly.

An hour after that, around 4:45am, a group of Chileans either started or ended their day smoking by their cars under our window.

Today was the first day of Ministry training. It's a bunch of really great people, but so far it's talking and PowerPoint slides. Good information, though not much new, but especially after the dynamic and interactive WorldTeach training, it feels a little...bureaucratic?

We already knew it, but it's increasingly clear that the extra money paid for WorldTeach is more than worth it, for the better training and the in-country support. It creates a funky dynamic with the other Ministry volunteers, who are here on more of a shoestring, jumping into even more unknowns than we are, and almost without a net. Benefiting from WorldTeach's special relationship with the Ministry, sometimes it feels like we're on a sort of Cadillac teaching program.

It's going to be a long week, and I'd like to be moving on to my placement.

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