It has been an exhausting and overwhelming week to say the least- this has been more challenging than I expected! Given my Spanish (or lack thereof), and not knowing Cusco, which bus to take, where to buy food, or what areas are safe, I feel like a 5-year old child. I need help with everything even how to start the washing machine (it’s all in Spanish) and where to put my poopy toilet paper because you can’t flush it… So, when I managed to take a bus alone and get to work 10 minutes late, with only 3 wrong turns, I felt as though I had achieved the world’s largest accomplishment. However, upon arriving at work, I quickly realized that all our training sessions, workshops, and would be conducted in Spanish. SO, I have sat through an entire week of training in all Spanish… The other teachers, my colleagues, speak very very minimal English. My broken Spanish (blended with random Fijian words) in most cases is better than their English. Even the Ministry’s curriculum, a 10-page document, was given to me in Spanish. I am doing my best to translate and apply it to my lesson planning, but as you can imagine, this adds a tremendous amount of work to an already daunting task!
As I have been busy trying to figure out the basics such as which water is safe to drink, what bus to take, and where to buy food, I have not had much time to be a tourist in Cusco. However, what I have seen has been amazing! I explored Sacsayhuaman, an Inca ruin located about 5 minutes from the city, spent a few days with the owners of the school at their weekend house in Urubamaba, which is located in the Sacred Valley, and I have tried guinea pig (a Peruvain delicacy). I also had the opportunity to meet up with a Peruvain/American couple from Frankfort who were able to answer a lot of questions and put me in contact with important people! So things are looking up…
My head ache from adjusting to my new 14,000 ft. home and trying to understand Spanish is starting to go away, I can give the right amount of money to the cashier, sometimes manage to get on the right bus, and understand about 30% of what’s going on around me! Also, today, I moved in with my new host family. They are a very kind family with two kids, lots of barking dogs and Wi-Fi (!!!).
Lesson learned from this: My kids will learn a second if not a third language from birth.