Saturday, October 29, 2005

Aysha's Christmas Wish List

I think I've been a good baby this year, so my Christmas wish list is long. Of course I don't need all of these things, but this list gives some ideas for those of you who agree that I've been a great baby.

Pull Toys
Riding Toys
Finger Paints
Baby Musicial Instruments
(or Baby Friendly Musical Instruments)
Pretend Doctor Stethescope
Putting and Taking Things Toys
Shape Sorters
Dexterity Toys
Bath Toys for Water Play
Bath Bubbles (for Mom or Dad to blow in the bath tub)
Durable Books
Toy Trucks and Cars
Simple Wooden Puzzles with Pegs
Any of the Fisher Price Play Sets (ie House)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Chase...and a Message for Aysha Al Sane

It was Saturday afternoon, and Jamie was looking so
sweet with Aysha, that I thought a picture was in
order. Jamie and Aysha thought otherwise. Thus began
the chase, with squeals of laughter from our little
baby - she loves this game.

Today I'm relaxing at home because we recived notice
from the census that today we will be counted (by law
we must remain at home). Jamie's gone to school with
one of the walkie-talkies so that I can call as soon
as census people arrive. I might even get a bit of
grading done as Claudina is still coming (after the
census visit we can head back to school).

Novembrinas is less than two weeks away, and we've
still not made any decisions as to how this holdiay
will be spent. I wanted to go to Costa Rica, but the
flights are more expensive than I had predicted, and
finances are tight due to having the purchase of
tickets home for Christmas. We may just stay in
Cartagena for part of the week, and head to the
national park of Tyrona for a few days.

This week is Halloween, and I've been working on
costumes for the three of us. I won't tell what they
are just yet, because I'll send photos later! You'll
just have to wait.

Before I wrap up this email, a quick message to Aysha
Al Sane. Could you send your return email address so
that we might respond to comments sent in the future.
It is wonderful to hear from you. I would love to
have you as a student this year - that would be fun.
I also teach grade eight at our school here. You
could send your address in the next comment, or ask
Ms. Katherine for my email address.

Hugs and Kisses to all,

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Run, Dad, Run!

Run, Dad, Run!
Originally uploaded by Karla Maria Germaine.
Mom's coming to get us!

She's Catching Up!

She's Catching Up!
Originally uploaded by Karla Maria Germaine.
Hurry Dad, Mom's getting closer!

Melon Head Dad

Melon Head Dad
Originally uploaded by Karla Maria Germaine.
Dad protecting himself.

Melon Head Baby

Melon Head Baby
Originally uploaded by Karla Maria Germaine.
Dad protects babe from a photo!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Aysha's Harem

Above you will see pictures of Aysha and her boy
harem. These are the little boys of the teachers and
friends that live in the neighboring building. They
were all on the boat trip we took to Playa Blanca
(White Beach), on Saturday. As one of the teachers
says, "Everyone loves that baby!" And she loves the

The trip to the beach was an hour and fourty minutes
late leaving (typical) in a small boat that went so
fast the bottom flew out of the water and crashed back
into the water with a force hard enough that I wished
the wooden seats had had padding. Through it all,
Aysha was good - slept on the way there, and not even
a whimper on the way back. It took us more than four
hours to finally reach the beach (we stopped for a
couple of hours to do some snorkeling), and once
there, we had only two hours before we were herded
back onto the boat.

We were then driven to an impoverished village for a
very basic meal of fish (included in the price). It
was a family run affair (the restaurant operated by
the families of the boat owners), while everyone else
in the village attempted to sell us something. I felt
a little manipulated. Not that I don't think it
worthwhile to see how people on the outskirts of the
city live, but the entire trip was orchestrated in
such as way as to suck as much money out of the people
on the boat as possible. Earlier, the stop for
snorkelling involved renting sub standard masks and
snorkels for about 8$ Canadian (an exorbitant price
for an hour and a half of snorkelling). If you didn't
want to snorkel there was nothing for you to do for
over an hour.

The entire trip took eight hours, and we were at the
beach for only two (we had been under the impression
that the trip was Playa Blanca). I was frustrated
with the waste of time, and won't be recommending that
trip to family and friends when they come to visit!
Still, we got some great photos of Aysha at the beach,
which she definitely enjoyed. I will be on the
look-out for alternative transportation to and from
Playa Blanca.

I've been meaning to add my two bits to this blog for
a few weeks now, but rarely find the time. I've
wanted to talk some of my Colombian experiences,
including the fact that I'm teaching our nanny,
Claudina, to read and write in Spanish! Yeah, it's
ironic. When I asked Claudina to sign a receipt
indicating how much she was paid by us for the month
of August, she told me that she couldn't read or write
because she never went to school. Thus began my
endeavour. I started teaching Claudina the alphabet,
which is very similar to the English alphabet, and she
began to practise forming her letters. We have now
moved on to children's stories (I've taken books out
of the library), and we are doing exercises out of my
Spanish text book (a book to learn how to speak
Spanish, but it works for learning how to write in
Spanish too). Claudina always does her homework, and
she learns quickly. This month she confidently signed
her name to our receipt without me having to write it
out for her first.

Many Colombians are in a similar situation as
Claudina. Like many of the black people here, she is
very poor. She lives an hour away by bus, and gets up
at 3:30 am every morning to arrive on time for 6:00
a.m.. I have suggested that she might sleep here
during the week, but she says she wants to go home to
be with her family (she has three grown children and a
husband). I feel guilty that she travels so far and
for such a low wage, although we pay her more than she
asks. This is the situation for many Colombians. She
told me on Friday that with the money she makes
working for us, her family has been able to buy a
refrigerator. Claudina is intelligent. I know that
the difference between her family's standard of living
and my own boils down to nationality, skin colour, and
education. Claudina is a large part of our lives
here, since she cares for what is most precious to us,
and I talk with her in Spanish every morning and
evening - thus she is a big part of our Spanish world.

One of the electives that I'm teaching this semester
is Photography. I've arranged for one picture taking
field trip off campus each week. Parents come to the
school to pick us up, and off we go for an hour and
twenty minutes (it backs onto a recess). Last week's
field trip was the highlight of my week. A parent
arranged for a trip to the port and using a family
connection, got us permission to ride to the top of a
new crane. From up top we had the most spectacular
view of the city. It was breathtakingly beautiful.
While a couple of my students were rigid with fear
over the height, I felt as though I were on top of the
world, with a birds view of the city. Cartagena looks
even more stunning from above. It is truly unique in
terms of its peninsula location. I will post a couple
of the photos I took from the crane.

This week the highlight was retro day. Sixth graders
were to dress like people in the 60s, seventh graders
were to represent the 70s, and eight graders the 80s.
Each grade also had to prepare a little show. My
grade eights did a great job. They showed everything
from the creation of CNN and MTV to Pac-man and the
rubric cube, to Boy George, Cindy Lauper, Madonna, and
Micheal Jackson. I ended up dressing punk, and even
cut up a couple pair of socks in order to turn them
into leg warmers. Now all I have to do is figure out
a costume for Halloween!

Until next time, I trust Jamie to keep you informed.
:) Karla