Friday, July 2, 2010

Mi Cumpleaños

Tuesday was my 27th birthday (thanks to everyone who sent me such sweet birthday wishes!) and the day started off just like any other day. I taught my Level 5 class at the university, then had a private lesson with Marco. For lunch, I was invited to José's family's house where they prepared rice with creamy shrimp sauce! ¡Qué rico! Then I had the group of children (aged 5-7) lesson, where we played the Memory game I made (boat, fish, soccer ball, sun, moon, cloud, ice cream, etc), which went over quite well. They are pretty strong with the English alphabet and colors, excellent with numbers to 20, and learning objects in the room, like wall, window, door, table, and so on.

After that lesson, I had another private lesson with Franco. For the last few minutes, he begged to play the card game Uno, but he insisted it's educational since we could play in English (Gotta love him). So we did. And he won. And he has quite a victory dance, let me tell you. I told him it was my birthday and that I wanted to take him for an ice cream, and the dance broke out again. When we returned from our walk to the Malecon for the melty treats, he gave me a gift from his room. It was a silver plastic necklace, with beads as little dice. He knows me too well. What a generous little boy!

I watched a terrific sunset on my roof, overlooking my barrio (neighborhood), infused with purple and pink hues, smeared over light blue and white clouds.

When I went to my Level 1 class that night, the first hour was normal, reviewing homework, spelling test of new vocabulary, etc. But when they came back from break, one of the students turned off the light and another student entered the room balancing a large double-layer chocolate cake with shining candles, and everyone sang to me. In Spanish, but that's not the point ;)

They had all chipped in and made a pretty card (using a translator on-line, I get the general idea of the message), and a stuffed animal of a sea lion. The best part is that if you squeeze his right flipper, he makes the noise that is so ambient in this place, the barking sea lion's "Oooort, oooort, oooort!"

We finished our little party, they sent more cake home with me, and I guiltily assigned them homework. That's right, I'm a tough cookie when it comes to teaching!

I got home and told José about the kind gestures from my students and he told me to hurry up and change, he had made reservations at Miconia, a very nice restaurant with balcony, overlooking the Malecon (boardwalk) and pier. When we arrived, his parents and sister were waiting there to surprise me. We ordered rich food and beer and a whole cheesecake.

My first birthday out of the country, so far from friends and family. It felt quite different, but I am blessed to have so many kind and thoughtful people around me. ¡Muchisimas gracias a todos!