Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday Morning - Tegucigalpa

November 27, 2011 7:30 am
Sunday Morning, Tegucigalpa Honduras
Sitting on the balcony and gazing at the vista below and around me. There is a cup of coffee sitting next to me along with a Semita and two Tulipanes; these are mildly sweet treats to dip in your coffee. I am soaking up these moments to take out and enjoy on a cold, gray day in Indianapolis or Carson City.

There is more to this little moment than meets the eye. The coffee is from Costa Rica and an early Christmas gift from Gabriel, an eighth grader who is an intense student with a mature sense of humor. The cup the coffee is in was a gift from Victoria, a gifted student, exceptional art student, who attended Interlochen this past summer and brought the cup back as a souvenir for me. I was introduced to semitas and tulipanes by Maricella one of our Spanish teachers. She walks through the art room every morning with her kindergarten daughter whom I call “Pinkalicous”. She shyly smiles at me but never speaks. Every once in a while Maricela places a semita or a tulipanes on a tissue next to my coffee cup. Sometimes I am able to return the favor. Lately her daughter has decided she can walk to her classroom alone and doesn’t need mom to go with her, a big step for mom and daughter.

The tray everything is sitting on is a find from the Emporium a new (to me) stuff store that Karen introduced me to yesterday afternoon. We spent the afternoon “bumming” from store to store, finding things that were on our lists and finding more that were not on our lists. She introduced me to a bakery that had at least nine different kinds of bread and glass cases full of pastries. We had a lovely afternoon.
I guess I have to say that the “little moment” of this morning was really full to overflowing with little moments - small treasures to be enjoyed again and again.

Hope your day is full of “little moments”.

Return to Tegucigalpa - August 2011

Ahhh! It is the Saturday morning after the first full week of school and I have brewed myself a pot of Dunkin’Donuts coffee. I found the bag of coffee at La Colonia grocery store. Money was no object. So I happily paid the almost $15.00 to have the familiar treat at hand. The first days back to Tegucigalpa were filled with unpacking both suitcases and my closet and bedroom spaces as well as unpacking the art room. I still haven’t located key items…like “where did I put the water color paint brushes?”

I am teaching sixth grade through twelfth grade (AP) art this year. I missed working with the middle school students last year. I am really enjoying getting reacquainted with the returning students and with the students who were new to the school last year as well as this year’s new comers. There is always a percentage of student turnover in these international schools. We have a solid core of “local” students and then that group of students whose parents work in Foreign Service offices, embassies and NGO’s. Then of course we have an expected turnover rate in teaching staff as well. This year we only had three new teachers, an unusually low number. Everyone learns to get acquainted quickly knowing there is a time limit on our opportunities to develop friendships.

My first day on campus I surveyed the work that had been done over the summer. Maintenance and office staff had been busy. There was a fresh coat of paint in the administrative offices, many classrooms and the art room. The grassy square between the Spanish classrooms and the cafeteria that is used for recess and lunchtime games (especially soccer) had been fertilized and reseeded and now it was a lush green .

The director had left instructions for certain areas on campus to be landscaped. She simply said, “I want this area planted”. She did not specify planted with what. Knowing that she didn’t want to spend much, the maintenance staff was delighted to find the abandoned small cups of plants started from seed by the second grade as a part of their science project last spring. They planted them everywhere that a plant was needed. When D. returned she was surprised to see green beans growing everywhere! Evidently the summer staff had been harvesting and enjoying them all summer.

We had a full five days of morning teacher training/meetings and afternoon planning and room preparing, more time than I have ever been given to prepare for start of school. The Saturday before the Wednesday first student day we went flower shopping. So I had three large displays of color in the art room plenty of subjects for first drawing exercises.

The first day of school the seniors arrived on a fire truck with siren and horns blaring. It is a tradition here for the senior class to make a grand entrance on the first day of their last year. My two returning AP students jumped down from the truck and rushed for greeting hugs and smiles so big I don’t know how they could fit on their faces. They had done the “grand tour” together this summer and I am sure they have tales to tell. What a brave mom to have taken them …well brave or foolish, maybe both. Any way they promised a power point slide show to share with everyone.

So now we have settled into the school routine. First projects have been initiated and we are catching our stride. The time will go quickly and the calendar is full of special events long weekends and holidays. The AP art students are taking a field trip to Larach, a large “everything” store that has a large hardware and building supply section as well as house wares and even art supplies. We are going to purchase the supplies needed to construct our own easels, picture frames, and portfolios and to survey the materials that are available for future projects. We only have an hour to do all of this so we better be quick.

Time to refill the coffee cup and enjoy the view from the balcony.