That´s the only word I can come up with to describe the first 24 hours in Medellin. To say I was thrown to the wolves is an understatement, haha. It´s quite insane for me to think I´m really going to be here for almost two months, but my nervousness is mixed with excitement definitely.
This morning, I awoke and ate an arepa for breakfast, arepas are small pancake like things made from bananas and you cover them with this sweet butter that makes them both delicious and filling. Then, it was off to the Casa de Maria y El Niño. When I got there I was introduced to the head of the orphanage, Raquel, a very nice lady who led us to a back room where I could be briefed on what my job would be for the next weeks. Needless to say I was quite intimidated. My spanish is good, but these people speak really fast. I see it taking maybe a week to adjust to the accent, it´s already getting better even in the last day or so. I met Daniel and Maria, in charge of the children´s education while at the orphanage. The older children go to school (some in the morning others in the evening) but the younger children participate in a kind of kindergarten at the orphanage under the tutelage of the women who work there, whom all the children refer to as ¨mamás.¨ I then was introduced to Mauricio and Lina, two kids who are quite excited to be adopted soon, and we discussed what they already knew in english, which surprised me as it included numbers, colors, greetings, and various day-to-day vocabulary. This got me quite pumped for what was to come. I was told I´d have to wait for the morning-schooled children to return to begin teaching a little english.
While waiting, I was treated to an excellent lunch by the kitchen staff at the orphanage, including beef, rice, and vegetables as well as soup. Also, Colombians drink very little soda, mostly staying with fruit juices and milk, which they find a way to make really really tasty.
After the kids returned and lunch was consumed, I met the older children and as soon as they learned that I was from the United States (a shocking fact in itself for them) and was going to teach THEM english, they were estatic. I have NEVER seen kids so thirsty for learning. In fact, my first day ¨teaching¨ turned into the kids asking ¨como se dice ______ en ingles?¨ over and over again and me picking up little kids and letting them touch the ceiling, which they liked so much that when I told them I was getting tired of everyone bouncing on me and climbing, they simply formed an orderly line as they waited for tired ¨mateo¨ to pick them up, haha.
After about an hour and a half of my english school, they kids were allowed outside on the playground to play. There they begged for me to let them ¨montar de caballo,¨ (piggy back ride) until I could barely walk. Let´s just say I¨m definitely going to lose some weight on this trip haha. Then, my ride came, and off I went. What a day.
So in the next few days I¨m going to have to come up with a way to teach these kids in an organized manner, which could be hard because of their varying ages. I´ll figure it out though. I´ve been on the computer a while though, so I should prolly get off. The view is amazing from this house. I¨ll put up pictures as soon as I start taking them, I´m still in a little bit of culture shock, but I´ll get over that soon. Until next time, Que dios les bendiga. God Bless.- Matt