My apologies for those who have anticipated a blog post for so long!
So I have a job as an ESL teacher and I love it. I can't believe I am lucky enough to work with cultures and finally get paid for it (with a retirement fund)! Most of the students I work with speak Spanish, so I get to brush up on that (thank you Chile!).
I still tutor every Monday night with my group of African refugees (and one Latino!) and I love it. I mean, every time I leave that class I am so elated. It has become such an important community to me and a part of my life, and I have become such a part of theirs. Every time I roll into their government housing neighborhood, I know half the population. I just knock on people's doors to pick up students, and even if I knock on the wrong door (they ALL look the same!) it's the brother or niece or whatever of a student and they point me in the right direction. I love that sense of family and community and I'm proud to be part of theirs.
I also helped coach the 5th grade girls basketball team at my school. It was a challenge, but rewarding. We had one girl move mid-season (kids in my district unfortunately move around too much), but our girls were pretty realiable with practices and games. We had some talent on the team too! The biggest challenge was getting the girls to not blame the refs for the team's losses. I really do feel that coaches are valuable mentors, though, and I hope the girls took as much away from it as I did.
Cincinnati Parks is keeping me connected to nature and how the Native Americans used to do things around these parts. I just do weekend gigs for them right now, but I will be working again this summer with the kids camps.
Three weekends ago, I dressed up as a Native American to explain how they used to tap trees for maple syrup and then boil off the water using hot rocks heated in the fire. I think I educated a fair amount of girl scouts in the area. I did NOT wear the moccasins...my toes were freezing already!
Two weekends ago, I learned and presented how we make maple syrup in the modern age. A ton of maple trees in California Woods are tapped with tin buckets hanging below them. Did you know maple sap is 98% water and tastes and looks like sugar water when it comes out of the tree? It takes 10 hours of evaporating the water to get "maple tea," which is like a sweet tea. After 24 hours, you finally get syrup (40 gallons of sap makes one gallon of syrup) and if you continue the evaporation process, you get taffy, then granulated sugar. Cool! I mean, seriously, I got paid to give out syrup samples and explain this to people...love it! (Aunt Jemima is NOT maple syrup!)
Then, last weekend, I was in downtown Cincinnati's St. Patrick's Day Parade! I dressed up as a bat for Cincy parks and high-fived all the kids and danced the "running man" to entertain the masses! Oh man, it's such a fun random job. And bonus- there was a batch of Deloreans in the parade (the car from Back to the Future!!!) One was radically decked out with a flux-capacitor and Mr. Fission food processor on the back- totally legit!
So that's been my life lately. I have a couple of trips lined up for school breaks. In a few weeks I will be in Tahoe to visit my "Squaw family" and ski! I'm psyched, as my grad classes are coming to an end after this next week (oh yeah, I forgot to mention I'm getting my Masters). I figured Tahoe would be a nice little present to myself. Then this summer I'll be in Ireland for a friend's wedding...she's marrying an Irishman! I am so excited to experience a cultural wedding and explore the northern regions of a beautiful country full of fun-loving people with attractive accents that overuse a particularly distasteful word.
So happy spring to all! Enjoy the coming of balmy weather and sunshine =)