I am so happy to finally have some internet access and feel like I am somewhat connected to all of you who are far away!! I had a couple of opportunities to make phone calls, but I never had anyone pick up, and our house has no internet for the time being. We're hoping to get hooked up soon! I'm sorry for this mass email.. but it's all I have time for right now!
Well, I only arrived Saturday, not four days ago, but it feels like forever! We have had a pretty regimented schedule since we arrived, including communal meals (necessary due to our empty houses and kitchens and no stores nearby) and meetings. Several of the school families, including the director and his wife, and the elementary principal and high school principal, have hosted some of our meals the first few days. There are 17 new teachers this year, so there have been lots of new people to meet! Four of us met in Houston and were on the same flight in to Honduras and it was fun getting to know them. One of them was my roommate, Hannah. She's also teaching third grade with me and she's so sweet! My other roommate, Twana, is the elementary art teacher and she's super great, too. (And she's white, fyi).
Most of the teachers live in the school apartments, which are enclosed within the school walls and off to one side. However, we live across the street from the school's back gate. We live in a big house that is on the same 'compound' as a family of 8! They were also on our flight, and the six kids and even the mother with a 5 month old arrived excited and stress-free! They have lived here before (for 3 years) and they are helpful in letting us know how certain things are done around here. Plus the baby is fun to have around! In the house right next to our compound there are four guys who teach at Pinares. I've only met the two new teachers and the returning guys come sometime this week. Other Pinares teachers live in other adjoining houses as well. We hosted a game night at our house the second night becase our house is the best! It's got a big, open living/dining/kitchen area and lots of seating!
The school is only 7 miles outside of the city, but because it is 7 miles up a winding hill, it takes a long time to get to the city or back up. We drove into town yesterday afternoon to do our first big shopping trip. We had to hit a plastics store for any kind of plastic household item we'll need. Then we went to a mall that had a wal-mart style store, and a department store, where we bought cleaning supplies/groceries.. even a toaster oven. Our house was pretty much empty, which is a little frustrating because so many of the apartments are nearly fully stocked from past teachers.
The shopping trip was so exhausting and we spent a lot of money to get set up.. but it's nice to have our house semi-stocked.Macayla (my friend who teaches here) met up with us and helped me shop. I was also glad to get in and see the city a little bit.
That's one of the only hesitations I've found so far--the location of the school in relation to the city. While there are definite advantages to being up here (cooler climate, calmer atmosphere) it's also quite a commute into the city and there aren't any grocery stores or markets up here (aside from a hole in the wall kind of store that has a few essentials). It's going to require some effort to not isolate myself up here on the mountain.
Ok, I'm trying not to make this a novel right now.. but I'll add that this school is like night and day from Lincoln school. Oh my gosh it is huge and gorgeous and my classroom is a REAL classroom!! I have an overhead projector and a microwave (the kids eat lunch in the room) and regular desks and lots of supplies. AND, the school personell and administrators are really amazing. They are all so supportive and yet firm in their goals and beliefs for the school. They are really encouraging us spiritually as well as with basic things like our health and safety.
So, I think this e-mail is just a random collection of paragraphs, but at least it's something. I left my camera/computer cord at home.. so pictures may not be posted or sent any time soon unless I find a cord to borrow. I'm still in a weird transition phase.. it hasn't quite sunk in yet, but I am sure it will soon, especially when I spend some more time in the city. I'll try to continue updating my blog instead of sending more mass e-mails, so check it out in the future! (www.taralpeterson.blogspot.
One of my roommates and I have already staked out a place for our compost pile :)
AND, we are getting our MAID soon! ( All teachers are expected to have one.) She'll probably come 3 days per week. For the whopping salary of about $7 a day--a fair wage here! :)