This is Maria Eugenia and she is an amazing teacher and someone I hope I will always be able to call friend. I am working with her at San Simon University in Bolivia. Her classes are great and I can’t say enough about her students! This whole experience in Bolivia has been amazing and it has a lot to do with this woman. We get along so well and I honestly feel like I could talk to her about anything. It is so funny because sometimes you meet people and you just click. She is Catholic and I’m protestant but I have found that we can easily talk about our faith. I have had some amazing things happen to me since I’ve been in Bolivia and I know God is the only one who could have made all these things happen. She told me today that God is blessing me because of what I’m doing in Bolivia. Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m doing that much but I think to these students it means the world to them that I’m here. I could have spent my summer so many ways but I’m so glad I chose to spend it working with students in Bolivia. This has truly been an experience of a lifetime. I think I finally found my calling. I know I have to finish raising my children but once they are grown I think I would like to do some missionary work. I know I should be able to combine teaching and missionary work together. I’m getting so much more out of this experience than even the students are. My pastor said when you reach out and help others that the gifts you receive are very often greater than the gifts you give.
I know that I have always been extremely fortunate when it comes to my everyday life but I never realized how spoiled I was until now! In Bolivia it isn’t safe to drink the water so families boil their water to drink. Susana has a filtration system in her house for one tap in the kitchen so she actually has fresh drinking water but most families don’t! On Monday afternoon we had no water for several hours because the tank was actually empty. I didn’t completely understand at the time. Later she explained that they haven’t had any rain this year. Their tank was empty so she had to get up really early to meet the people that deliver water. I started feeling guilty for taking showers everyday. The family also recycles their shower water to use in the toilets. I never realized how lucky I was to be able to walk into my kitchen or bathroom and always have water. I will say that this experience is humbling me. Susana is always so great about making sure I have everything I need. I feel like a bit of a burden to her. I am beginning to understand more and more Spanish. I wish I would have spent more time studying it before I got here. I hope hope that I will use this experience in the future to make my life at home better. Life is too short to be miserable over an ex that never thinks of me!
So I stayed up pretty late last night trying to get everything ready for my trip and then I was at 7. I had to take my dogs to the vet, go to the bank, get a pedicure and then do some last minute shopping for the trip. This afternoon I went to see my mom so that I could say goodbye and take her my plants. After all the running around I’ve done today, I am finally at home trying to relax before I leave tomorrow. I realized that by 7pm I was already exhausted from all the errands I had to run. Now I am sitting here contemplating what tomorrow will bring. What is it going to be like to travel to another continent where I don’t even know the language? What will my host family be like? What is it going to be alike to teach college age students? I know that the whole experience in Bolivia is going be unique and different than anything I have ever been exposed to before. I am anxious and excited all at the same time. It is so weird to think about all my family and friends going on as normal while I am so far away. I guess a part of me is worried that all my friends will forget about me while I’m gone. It sounds a little ridiculous but I guess a healthy dose of insecurity isn’t a bad thing considering what I am about to do. I plan to write as much as I can but I have no way of knowing how practical that will be. I probably won’t be able to write every day so my entries may be longer. I want to make sure that I document all my experiences through blogs and photos. I consider this a once in a lifetime kind of adventure so I want to make sure and enjoy it. I still haven’t heard about the other job which is extremely disappointing but I know in my heart that God will protect me and lead me to the right career opportunity for next year. I will approach next year with a positive attitude regardless of whether or not I am at my current school or a new school. Life is short and honestly my job is not the most important aspect of my life. My family and friends are much more important to me. I plan to spend even more time with my kids next year. I want to have lots of great memories so that in five more years when they are both in college, they will look back on this time as family bonding in the best way.
I find it so interesting how other people think they know so much about you without even knowing you. Working at a high school I see a lot of this every day but I have noticed that it is even worse at church. Going to church is very important to me, but I feel like so many of the people at church judge me based on their own perceptions. I try really hard not to judge people because I don’t feel like that’s my job. God is our true judge and he is the only one that truly has the whole story. I know that I am far from perfect but I’m still not sure why so many people judge me so harshly. It seems like so many people see me as this manipulative person without a heart. I feel like people don’t see the real me at all. I know that I keep a lot of things to myself but I still don’t understand why that would make people think about me the way they do. I refuse to live my life worried about how other people feel about me but it still hurts when I discover that they feelings like that about me. I think part of the problem at church is that my ex said a lot of things that he shouldn’t have during a time a few months after we broke up. He was jealous because I was trying to move on so he trash talked me to other people at church. The crazy thing about the whole situation is that I never did that to him. I still haven’t done that to him. He’s definitely not the man I thought he was when we met and I’m not even sure he is the man I fell in love with. He has become this man that can use someone and then walk away. If that is his true character than I’m not even sure what I saw in him from the beginning. Maybe the problem is just the way he feels about me and not his whole character but I know that the way he treats me sucks. He’s told me that I am important to him and that he will always love me but then he treats me like I don’t matter. I almost let myself fall into the same trap with him again. I wish walking away was easier but unfortunately it is the hardest thing that I have ever had to do. I still haven’t found out about the new job and I only work four days this week. I don’t know what God’s plan is for me but I sure wish he would show it to me. I need his guidance right now because I feel lost. I am about to embark on a new chapter in my life and I need to leave the old one here. I need to leave the past behind. I need to heal for once and for all. He played a big part in my life but I don’t think it is in the plans for him to stay in my life. He has shown me that in so many ways and I need to listen to my head and not my heart on this one. It is time to let him go. Today is his birthday and I will wish him a happy birthday but then I am not going to contact him anymore. He knows how to reach me if he really wants to communicate. He said he would try to keep up with me while I was in Bolivia but I don’t believe that. I seriously doubt I will hear from him at all. He has plenty of distractions here and I won’t even cross his mind.
So today marks the end of my last full week of school. It is so hard to believe that I have almost finished my eighth year of teaching. I am still so uncertain about what will happen next year. I haven’t heard about the other job yet but I know that if I stay at my current job I will be completely miserable. I leave for Bolivia in nine days so I really hope I find out about the job this week. I am trying really hard not to get stressed out about my job for next year. My new principal has completely changed our English department and it will be insane if I have to stay.
Today I saw my 7th period class for the last time. I know that I should be sentimental about it but I am so glad that I don’t have to deal with them anymore. I have all their grades done but I’m still not done grading the research papers for my 4th period class. I guess I will have to take care of that on Tuesday. I will also have my last LPAC Meeting on Tuesday. I can’t believe that I won’t be teaching ESL next year. I guess whether or not I get a new job I will still have a unique experience next year since everything is changing. I wrote several notes today to my fellow teachers because I just felt the need to say thank you. I’m not sure what will happen with the job but I feel like things are going to be different next year regardless.
On another note, I have been binge watching the first season of “Gotham” and I love it. I love that all the villains appear in the show as children or regular people. I am trying to finish watching the show before I leave for Bolivia. My daughter and I have both been watching it. It is strange how life works. I wonder how I am going to feel when I get back from Bolivia in July.
Society has all sorts of boundaries within the bounds of relationships. One of my students asked me today how long I’ve been single. The question struck me as odd. I started thinking about it and I realized that even though I haven’t been in a real relationship since last summer that I don’t feel like I’ve been alone. I have dated and I have spent time with my ex. I just haven’t really found the need to be in a real relationship with anyone. I think I have gotten used to being on my own and at this point it would take a very special man to convince me that I need to give up my freedom.
I am about to be traveling to a country where I am going to have to respect the boundaries in an unfamiliar place. I will have to work hard to fit into a new place. I am really looking forward to meeting the new challenges of traveling to a developing country. I have always been pretty spoiled when it came to my life. I look forward to being able to test the limits of my comfort while I live in Bolivia. I have wanted to simplify my life for the last couple of years and now it’s going to happen for at least six weeks.
So I haven’t written in over a week. I have been sick and incredibly busy with life. I have continued to try and do the best I can at work despite the fact that I know my principal hates me. I got some exceptionally good news yesterday when I got a call from a district opening an Early College High School next year. I’m a little nervous but I have an interview with the principal of the new school on Thursday morning. I applied for the position on a whim never expecting to hear anything back from them. This job would be a whole new experience and challenge but it could be very good for me. I am so ready for a change and this might be the first step in making that happen.
On another note I am completely single again. I leave in like two weeks and my focus right now is on getting ready for my upcoming trip. I can’t wait to be done with school and on an airplane discovering another part of the world. I have never been to South America so it is definitely going to be an adventure. It is funny how a few months ago I thought I needed a relationship and now I realize how much better I am on my own. My life is so much less complicated when I don’t have a man in my life. I have also managed to make an actual break from my ex. I haven’t talked to him in about two weeks and I haven’t even hardly seen him at work. I have intentionally stayed away from places that I expect him to frequent so that I don’t have to deal with him. He’s a good man but I need to make a final break. We are never going to be together again so it is pointless to let my feelings be on a roller coaster all the time because of him. I don’t need to spend time with him because it just makes things harder in the long run. Spending six weeks in Bolivia this summer is going to really be good for me. It is time for me to branch out and explore new things and experiences.
So the whole time I’ve been in Spain I’ve been with a group of eleven people counting myself! Interestingly enough, I am the second youngest person in our group not counting our guide! The youngest person is only four months younger than me! All of the ladies in the group are quite a bit older than me! I’m as far off in age with the guide as I am to the other ladies! It is actually quite strange! I like my group for the most part but I can definitely see differences too!
There are only two males in our whole group! The first one is our 27 year old guide that is from Spain and the second one is gay! I have to say it has been aninteresting trip! I can’t believe that I’m going home on Sunday! I’ve had so much fun and I’ve seen so many amazing things!
Isn’t it funny how out of no where you realize that you’re attracted to someone you shouldn’t be! So I have been traveling in Spain all week and we have this guide that is from Toledo, Spain! He has been great all week but I’ve noticed the last couple of days that I’m attracted to him! He is way too young for me and obviously I will never see him again but he is very cute and he is extremely sweet! He told me yesterday that he was surprised at my age because he thought I was a lot younger! We have had a few conversations but nothing really until tonight! Tonight he had offered to take us to an Irish Pub after dinner to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day! I was the only one willing to go so it was just the two of us. I had never had Guinness so he bought me a Guinness! We drank our beer and talked and then he had these people take a picture of us in these ridiculous hats. The guy who loaned me his hat let me keep it. It was perfectly innocent but I’ll be honest I felt drawn to him!
On another note, I have met some incredible ladies on this trip. I would love to be able to do another trip like this in the future! Maybe I will be able too!!!
So today I had the privilege of taking a city bus from Madrid to Toledo! We spent almost all day exploring the historic city of Toledo! I am still jet lagged and tired from walking over 12,000 steps but it was a good day! I tried some authentic food and enjoyed exploring the city! Our group is pretty small and we are all teachers so it has been easy to connect with everyone!
This is a photo I took as we were leaving the city of Toledo this afternoon!