Hi everybody. Sorry I've been not-blogging recently. I think about it a lot. But as I come to my final weeks in Ecuador, I'm thinking a lot, internal style, and this blog, while holding a lot of internal style thoughts, is in essence external. So instead of blogging, I've been thinking, spending a lot of time talking with people, writing my very intermittent journal entries, and researching restaurant entrepreneurship, a word which here means "opening a pie restaurant with Elika". (Incidentally, I've been rereading A Series Of Unfortunate Events. Gotta love that online public library, and actually all libraries.)
Anyways, here are some things that happened to me in the recent past:
1. Today one of my high school kids asked me to sit next to him on the bus. Like, normally. I think it was the second time he's talked to me outside of class. After I sat down, he proceeded to listen to his mp3 in silence for the whole ride. But hey, he asked.
2. One of my students who sleeps in my class has suddenly become my best friend, at least in the way every time he sees me he's all "Valerie!" and does the high five thing they do here. This confuses me, but at least he's awake.
3. So, I've been super duper excited about this before, but a month or so ago, one of my students' mothers had a baby. And it was named Valerie. And I found out today that the reason the parents named her Valerie is because my 3-year-old student asked them to. My heart exploded, and melted, and I love that child.
4. It was announced that the school will close next year. The reasons for this are monetary, but also because with some of the new laws passed in Ecuador, things like the core curriculum and salaries for teachers will be strongly regulated by the government. And while I'm sure the government means well (raising the minimum salary for teachers is a good thing) it means that a small private institution that has always been progressive in its teaching methods and curriculum, and is very concerned with accepting students from different ethnic and economic backgrounds (Meaning a lot of scholarships) cannot support itself, and cannot reopen next year. The reaction of the students kind of showed me the value of what has been progressing here: I know I've griped a lot about school culture and resources and disengagement. But seeing the tears on the faces of some of the senior girls who have been there since kindergarten, talking with the mother of a second grader on where she is thinking about sending her kids next year, has really put into perspective the difference between this school and some of the others in the city. And despite its setbacks, it is truly a school that is deeply concerned with the education of each individual student, and it will be very sad to see it close at the end of this year.
5. On a lighter note, I have a new favorite song. I particularly like that every part of this is lyrics, and although it sounds like "bubbity seh bubbity uh" its "you know what they say about the young". Also, I enjoy the music video, and how its from Arizona (Maryam got excited) and it also reminds me of Into the Wild, in its "I'm embracing nomadship" type mood.
And speaking of Into the Wild, Eddie Vedder, the amazing singer who wrote the soundtrack to that movie, has an album that you should check out, if not for yourself, than for a present for me! (Elika, I'm thinking about it for a present for you)