This is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of how my life here is different. I walk. A lot. Everywhere. I mean, it probably seems really obvious, as I don't have a car, or plans to buy one. Now I might change my mind about this in a month or so, when it gets super hot. Right now I kind of like my morning walk to work each day. The weather since about the beginning of September has been pretty much glorious, almost every day. Taking the bus is really cheap, and a cab is affordable, but I just prefer to walk. The only time time I miss a car is when I buy stuff or want to buy stuff, but have no way to get it home. Think about it. If you walked home from the grocery store, would you EVER buy a watermelon? And the watermelon here is freakin' delicious.
But there are benefits. 1. I walk about 2.5 miles a day just going to work and back. And teachers know how much you walk AT work. This is good because it counteracts the effects (so far) of empanadas and really good ice cream. 2. See picture. 3. I haven't been the designated driver for 4 months.
|Sometimes it looks like this on my walks. Not bad, eh?|
I won't lie. My teaching job here is really cush compared to the United States. 2.5-3 hours of planning time a day, a full-time aide, barely any standardized testing, and kids with every advantage. Sounds nice, right? Well there is a small downside. The fact of the matter is that all those things are great. The only downsides are that the kids NEVER stop talking, and working with wealthy families is really different from what I'm used to. And also, no matter what, spending every day with 10-11 year olds is just plain exhausting, I don't care HOW much planning time you have! And my group is a little rowdy.
Teaching abroad would suck if it weren't for friends. Right now all my friends are my coworkers. But I won't complain about that because I have really great coworkers! People who choose to work abroad tend to be really fun, interesting people!
I won't lie. Spanish is hard for me. I have basic travel Spanish but I'm frustrated that I don't feel like I've built on it much. And Paraguayan Spanish is not the easiest Spanish to master. They mumble and use the vos form and Guarani words. I mean, really. In all seriousness, I am starting to realize I'm not going to learn Spanish magically by being here, which is what I was kind of hoping. I need to start taking a class or get a tutor.
Coming next: Daily Life in Paraguay, Part 2: Food, Beer, Safety, and Other Stuff I Haven't Thought of Yet.