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Showing posts from November, 2015

Can we Say Inappropriate?

Another branch of my language school is requiring senior students to perform in a highly inappropriate play.  The brother of the manager of the school seems to have the illusion that he's a world-famous TV director and producer.  He wrote this ridiculous play in Spanish because he doesn't speak a word of English.   And yes, he is paid for the script by the school. The play is about a dysfunctional family.  There is spousal abuse, arguments and yelling.  The 13-year old in the class gets held by the neck and threatened by the father figure.   The father figure carouses with other women and brags about it. Evidently, at the end, the father figure kills his wife, chops her up into pieces and serves her for dinner.  Maybe this is to someone he suspected was sleeping with her?  Because he says, "you ate her in real life, now you eat her again."    Can the machismo be any more overdone? And here's the kicker:  the guy who is to play the father figure is the direct

The Problem with Language Schools Overseas

OK, I feel the need to vent.  Teaching in a language school in another country and culture is an extremely frustrating process. The main reason for this is that the schools are in the business for the money.  Management at the school I'm at does not care one iota if students learn English or not.  As long as they're paying the monthly fee, they will continue to pass students to the next level year after year. For example, my Teens 5 kids have been in the teens program for 5 semesters, or 2.5 years.  Many went to the Children's program for up to 4.5 years before that.  90% of my students don't speak English.  They don't understand basic greetings like, "How was your weekend?  Did we already do this page?  Where were you last week?"  I am presented with a classroom of blank faces every single time I ask a simple question. The tests are set up to include all these extra points for things like class participation, homework, and "online activities&q

Remembering Montanita #2: The Wildlife

I had never expected to encounter so much wildlife in a beach party town in Ecuador.  But it was all around us.  Partly because we were down a dirt road a little ways out of town and the area used to be full of farms. First we have Little Burrito, from the previous post and his mom.  There were about 5 donkeys in the area. These are the street dogs that were probably attacking Burrito.  They were friendly enough with humans though.  A few of the breeds used to herd us into town, walking alongside and slightly behind, making sure the herd of humans stayed together.  Whenever one dog went into another's territory, there was barking and posturing, then they'd either make friends or fight.  We saw a few dogfights that were not pleasant.  A horse lived behind my room and I would hear him neighing sometimes, but they normally took him elsewhere to graze. There were chickens EVERYWHERE, and the one behind our cabanas started at 3:15 every morning.  He would

Remembering Montanita #1: Our Little Burrito

Burrito and his mommy When we all arrived in Montanita and got settled in our little cabanas, within a few days we heard of the baby donkey in the area.  He was the cutest, sweetest little guy ever and we immediately fell in love with him.  He had some kind of nasty gash on his side and it hurt him.  He was holding his leg up so it wouldn't touch the ground.  It looked like it may have been from the street dogs.  So our horse breeder compadre, Sarah, and Steven took some soap and water and a rag and scissors to clean up the wound and trim off all the extra hair.     After the cleanup - I love this picture! Burrito was the talk of many an evening at the long dinner table.  We were all very concerned and even considered bringing him into Casa Cacique to keep him safe. Then he disappeared for awhile and we feared the worst.  We were worried that the dogs got him for good.  But one day, Misha, Lisa and I ventured on a little exercise walk the other way down the dirt

Cuenca Independence Day Trip

It was a four-day weekend here in Ecuador -- Day of the Dead and Independence Day for Cuenca so we had Monday and Tuesday off.  Two other teachers I work with and I took the "buseta" which is a van from Loja to Cuenca on Saturday.  It's $12 and takes just over 3 hours, vs. the bus which costs $7.50 and takes us over 4 hours. We booked La Querencia Hotel which is way on the uphill side of town, about as far as Rio Tombebamba (which is where all the action is) as you can get.  It was a cute little place, $17 a night including breakfast. The best part was "Uncle and Aunt", the couple who ran the place.  They were adorably hospitable in an Aunt/Uncle kind of way.  Breakfast was eggs how you like them, yogurt with fruit, bread, and coffee. The first night, we went to dinner and ended up here at Wunderbar.  The bartender told us there would be a $2 happy hour on Sunday so we decided to go there in the afternoon.  But when we got there, alas, it wa