Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Cattle Aren't Lowing and Another Reason to Come to Cartagena

The cattle aren't lowing. The baby is not awake. Maybe I've been listening to too many Christmas carols.

I do have time and energy to post to the blog. Tomorrow is the last day of exams and the day before we head home to Canada for Christmas. It's pretty exciting. Calgary is showing clear sunny skies and highs of -7. It's pretty exciting.

Today, I finished my first set of exams, the English ones, which are the ones that take longer to correct. Tomorrow, it's Social Studies, which is mostly short answer and multiple choice questions. I might be being a little optimistic here, but I have a chance of getting them all done tomorrow afternoon and coming home empty handed. Karla is not so fortunate. There's just a bit of packing to be done tonight, a PTA Christmas feast tomorrow afternoon, a 4am taxi ride to the airport, and we'll be back on snowy, frozen ground in no time.

And now the new reason to come to Cartagena: the dentist. I had my first Colombian dental experience this week. I had a filling replaced. The office was small and not nearly so full of fancy equipment as the Kuwait dentists office, but the dentist was patient and conscientious. The whole visit consisted of an exam, an xray and the filling. It took about an hour and a quarter. It cost $40. I figure that anyone needing any dental work should come to Cartagena. Sure the flight and the work will cost a little bit more, but it's worth it for a week in the sun. Heck, I even opted for the more expensive procedure. Between the exam and the actual drilling, the dentist asks if you'd like the filling done with anesthesia, or without. In my best Spanish, I had to ask, "Does anyone have this done with nothing?" Yes, according to the dentist, they do.

Otherwise, this last week has been a sometimes slow, sometimes quick countdown to this weekend. At school, everyone has spiralled inwards, getting excited about their own Christmas plans. For al the other holidays, teachers group together and go out and explore, but for Christmas, almost everyone is headed home or to meet someone somewhere. However much Christmas has changed - been altered by Santa and gift giving and overindulgence, it's still packs a punch. It's the one holiday that most makes people think of home and loved ones.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

It's beginning to look a little like Christmas

Karla and Aysha are out to look for a few Christmas things - they have been for a while and I am waiting for them to get home to reheat dinner.

Christmas has arrived in Cartagena. The decorations and trees are up everywhere. At night (any time of night), we can look out and see the glowing trees in people's apartment windows. There are lots of lights decorations everywhere too - trees and pointsettias and butterflies. The trunks of all the trees around out apartment buildings are wrapped in little lights that flash all night. It's festive, but it just doesn't quite feel like Christmas. Last night was our school concert. I though, "I'd better get dress up a bit nicer than I usually do." So, I got out a clean pair of dress pants and a fresh shirt - you know, the usual Christmas gathering outfit, less the sweater. The students and Colombian staff all arrived in their shorts and t-shirts ; they looked ready for a family picnic, nice but definitely relaxed. The concert started with "White Christmas", which just about summed it up for me - as much as people try to be Christmas-y here, it just won't be the same until I get home and see the snow, feel cold and Christmas trees everywhere.

I also found out that Friday, the third last day of classes before the exams (and the day of my test) would be partly cancelled so that the Cartagena Soccer team could come and play against our school team. It was a good thing I went to the Christmas concert, otherwise, I would have been blissfully unaware that my test was not going to be able to be held on Friday until Friday morning when I got to school. I am often frustrated by the school's cancelling of classes without notice. It discourages me from planning too far in advance.

Marilyn and Cody visited. It was great to have them here and it forced us to get out and do all the things that we are too lazy to otherwise do. It was exhausting to keep up with them on the weekends, then with Aysha all day and be ready to go back to school. We kept moved Aysha's crib into our bedroom, which upset her rhythm and kept us busier than usual.

I copied a bunch of music off of Marilyn's iPod and discovered dynamic playlists on my own - in iTunes, you can create a playlist that selects it own songs based on some criteria that I set up - like songs that are less than 30 days old, or songs that haven't been played recently. I have been meaning to make some playlists since I got the iPod so I could have easier access to my favourite songs, but have never got around to it.

Alright - Karla and Aysha came in in the middle of this post - it began about 6:30, but now it's close to 9:30 and time for bed. Tomorrow I'm going on a field trip to see a Spanish play and then there's the big football game. In case you are thinking that my Spanish has developed enough to attend a play, it's not. My new hope for learning Spanish is that when Aysha starts to speak it, I will have to learn it to keep up with her.

Good night.