Monday, September 16, 2013

Bring. It. On.

So....I'm back in Quito for another year at my home: the Working Boys' Center! I could truly not be any happier - when I arrived, it was quite freaky because it felt as though I never left. Time had stopped. During the summer at home, I had to keep looking at pictures to make sure the past year had actually occurred, but when I got back here, it was the exact same feeling - was I actually home just 12 hours prior?! Nonetheless of what did or did not occur, I am so very happy to be back & give all the lovin' and smarts to my kiddos, old & new.  May this new year bring more smiles, laughs & hugs than the last.

Algunas pensamientos:
  • There are no words to describe the sweet details of the warmest bienvenida I have ever received. Damn. This place just brings you all the love. 
  • I feel very comfortable coming back into the front of the classroom & am ready for things to get rollin' with my new classes....even if my students look at me like I have gone bat-shit crazy.
  • The excitement I have for all the shenanigans to occur this year [with the new vol family & with the Center familias] is unreal! 
  • The smiles on the students & families that I grew very close to last year will forever be etched into my memory - such beauties.
    • Richard, my "son" had probably the best smile I have ever seen. We both looked like idiots, I am sure, but neither of us could wipe 'em off. Although he pretended he didn't care that I was back, the ginormous hug he gave me told me otherwise. It was perfect. 
  • My 4 adult education students were in class tonight, and all found out that they had passed to talleres which is where they start classes learning a trade. I am beyond proud of all of them, but the two women I had grown closest with have impressed me so very much:
    • María - a strong-willed woman who had some attitude to boot will now be in costura [she will be learning to be a seamstress; something she had only dreamed about when she was younger]
    • Norma - a true gem, who would do absolutely anything for her family, no matter what it takes. There was a point last year where her marriage was not in a good place & we tried to work things out, and eventually the situation was resolved due to her perseverance & commitment to her family. Norma worked very hard & ended up being placed in promociones de salud which is a nursing program of sorts. This is the most advanced taller and very few people achieve this. I could not be more proud of her accomplishments, and needless to say I bawled like a baby when she told me the news.
  • To go along with that, my emotions are still on the loco train & I get teary-eyed and/or cry at just about anything that happens...
  • Have I mentioned the smiles of everyone....TOO DAMN CUTE! 
This is what I have for y'all thus far, and I cannot wait to share more of my experiences with you as the year progresses. Wish me luck! 

PS - if you would be so kind as to check out my fundraising website. *Please keep in mind that any amount is greatly appreciated. Muchas gracias!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Looney birds galore!

Un paseo: the one thing that will keep the kids in line...or at least sort of. My 3 English classes have been working toward this moment ALL year & it has finally arrived! My kiddos have finally earned their field trips!

11AM Boys: El cine
Man of Steel, anyone? There was no debate to be had - my first boys' English class had unanimously decided to go to the movies, and naturally we had to see the newest action movie ["Not a silly kid-movie, Señorita Olivia!"]. So, although the kiddos were excited to see the new Superman movie, nothing was more thrilling than the bags of popcorn, nacho cheese [throwback to the HFS concession stand] & sodas that were bigger than all of their faces!  Probably one of the funniest sites I have seen - all of their eyes were bugged out & mouths fell open, just like out of a cartoon. Truly priceless.
Even though the movie was 2.5 hours long, these ten-year olds' 3D glasses-wearing eyes were glued to the screen. A few times I had to look over to make sure no one was one was, thank goodness! [I personally could not look away from Henry Cavill, but that's just me!]
It was a great afternoon & am so proud of how hard they worked to get this paseo! Erick Baez. Miguel Camacho. Marco Suarez. Cristofer Vimos. I'll miss you crazy boys. 

2PM Girls: Parque Carolina
Due to the size of my girls' English class, I thought it best if we did something fun & easy, so we took the bus to go get bagels [which I had wanted them order in English, but they had some luck and the English-speaking owner was not working] & had a picnic in the park! Despite my best efforts to explain what a "bagel" is in Spanish, these chickadees were very pleasantly surprised by the goodness that is "Mister Bagel" - ladies, I don't lie about food. Anyway...we played soccer, did gymnastics, snuggled puppies, climbed rocks & laughed. We laughed a LOT. Mery Cueva. Angeles Navarete. Pierina Chuez. Roxana Perugachi. Samantha Chin. Belen Chimbo. Tatiana Pantoja. Jessica Fiallos. Stefany Folleco. Diana Limaico. You ladies are truly wonderful & I hope you remember that...and also that you promised me [and God] that you wouldn't marry anyone until you were 30 years old.

5PM Boys: Patinar en hielo
I would say this was one of the best days. Ever. The week before finally earning their prize, we were taking a vote as to what activities we could do and it came down to going to an amusement park or ice skating. Although the amusement park won the vote, the next class I was informed that they had chatted some more and that our paseo would be ice skating. I was incredibly excited!! Irene & Andrew came along for the ride and were able to experience the insane love I have for my boys [YES, this is the same class that at the beginning of the year was going to be the death of me]. By the end of the hour & a half skate session, Kelvin & Mateo were zoomin' and Richard & Patricio [the 2 newbies] were racing across the rink and doing spins. I truly could not wipe the most ridiculously stupid smile off my face...
While we were walking back from the bus, Irene told me that she could see how happy all of my boys were & how I created a family within my class. I immediately started crying. Klever Negrete. Kelvin Herrera. Mateo Zambrano. Patricio Baraja. Richard Leon. These are my boys. I will love you, forever and always.

Entonces. Let the madness continue. XO

Thursday, June 20, 2013

and the "birthday" beat goes on.

My birthday celebrations at the beginning of May were just the best. I cannot even begin to describe to you the love I felt. Everyone - my volunteer family & all the kids - were just incredible. I am truly blessed. I had a party in Special Ed. with a delicious cake. I was "kidnapped" and sent on a scavenger hunt by some pretty cool ladies. There was a not-so-surprise surprise party in Girls Program where I got my face smashed into not one, but TWO cakes. And to top it off, the class that was once the bane of my existence [5PM English class....which is now my favorite. class. ever.] had a party for me & even decorated the classroom. All in all, May 10th, 2013 was the most.

Mother's Day...?

Favorite snacky, a beer, a love note from one of my favorites and the most beautiful of bouquets!


Cake face plant #2

Lovely sunflowers that Irene's English class gave to me!

I love my boys.

Party on, Wayne.

What a wonderful world I live in.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

These things do happen...

Yes. As we all can see, I am not the most attentive person in life. Actually, my parents joke that I have major attention issues - LOOK! SHINY PAPER!
I digress. I am going to [finally] update you a bit on my life...through the lens of my camera.

"Ze Jungle" & "Random love"

"Things & such"

"Flutterbies & ice cream"





My life: it is beautiful.