Saturday, April 20, 2013

Lesson Planning and other things

Marco is asleep right now and I am working diligently on my lesson plans for Monday. (I obviously decided to take a quick break and post a blog entry.) It is earth day on Monday so we are going to celebrate by learning different songs about the earth in music class. I think it is going to be fun. I have various activities for each grade. 1st grade has the theme of sharing the planet this bimestre which means we will be working on presenting a song at the end and recording it. I think it will be good to do one that is a take on He's got the whole world in his hands. The lyrics were changed to those which pertain to the environment and recycling. I think it is a great short song that the kids can learn. They are bright kids and I think that as a whole it will go over well. We will practice it in each class and do other activities as well to continue on with regular music class and learning how to read notes. I am excited to be advancing and making some progress with myself and with my students.

I have also gotten help from various teachers and psychologists for each grade about classroom management. That is the biggest thing I have to work on. I have the materials and the songs to sing and practice but when it comes to keeping all the kids involved and on task, I struggle a bit. I am slowly picking up tricks but knowing all of their names is something I should really be on target with. I have over 200 students and I only see them once a week. I have taken photos which has helped but I should probably review them at least once a day until I am comfortable with everyone's name.

I find that time is continually slipping out of my hands. I have made the decision to limit watching TV and my time on facebook. I need to focus on getting things done that I want to get done. Too often I finish my day feeling like I didn't get to do everything that I was planning on doing. Managing three different jobs is also quite a trick. I am teaching music, English and violin. It leaves very little time for other things. I am also playing gigs on the weekend and I just joined a professional choir. The choir will be most of my gigging after August because I am still in the training phase. I am, however, going to be singing on the 18th of May with this choir and it will be my first paid gig as an active member. I am excited even though it is two days after I get back from Spain. It's all good. I will make sure to have all the mp3 recordings with me during the trip so I am ready to sing away!

Spain is just around the corner and I feel like I have a million and one things to do before I leave. We need to finish planning out our trip as well and I want to make sure I have all the basic important information before I leave, such as where money changing is best done, the price of taxis, the emergency/police number, a packing list, and all the confirmation/reservation numbers I have for flights and things. I have to make sure that all my English students are good to go and that my school knows that I can't find anyone for the 13th or 14th to cover my classes. The good thing is that they hired me knowing I wouldn't be able to make those dates. I just won't get paid for those classes. I will, however, leave a lesson plan for the homeroom teachers if they so choose to give it during music lesson time.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Black and White Phantom of the Opera Themed Party!

What a fun mesario (monthly anniversary) Marco and I had this past Friday. We celebrated 26 months. How the time flies! We like to celebrate as many anniversaries/mesarios possible. It keeps things fun! It is also an excuse to go out.

We went to a super fun party at the Circulo Militar which is where we are going to have our wedding reception. It won't be nearly as big nor in the garden but the table dressings will be similar and it will be even more fun. The theme of the night was Black and White but more specifically Phantom of the Opera. They hired people to dress up in costumes and greet people as they came in. There was a whole display with a piano and old furniture. It was really great. The party was held to raise money for the charity that the women's committee of the Circulo Militar works with. I am sure they made a decent amount of money considering the tickets were 50 soles and there were at least 2500 tickets sold.

We got to the party around 9:30pm and went through three different checkpoints before getting the actual event. We had to get our table checked, get our tickets checked and put our number in for the car raffle. (Needless to say we didn't win.) We made our way through a sea of tables and a huge dance floor before getting to our table number 129. I met a few officers and their wives. One was Argentinian and taking the course that Marco is in as a guest. The other is also a guest at the school and is in the Peruvian Air Force. Later, one of Marco's good friends and classmates arrived and sat at our table. We didn't spend too much time at our table though. The music was wonderful and as anyone who knows about Latin culture, dancing is in their blood. It is one of the things I really love about Peruvian and Latin American culture. Everyone dances. It doesn't matter if you are a male or female. Everyone can move their hips and starts doing it from the time they can walk. We danced a LOT!

There is something called Hora Loca here. It seems to be around midnight or so and clowns and balloons and crazy hats come out. We got to keep our silly hats. There was one point when the main singer of the band taught everyone a line dance. It involved a decent amount of hip movement and was quite hilarious. There were also two silk acrobat artists. The guy was much better than the girl so I only took pictures of him.

I had a great conversation with another wife of Marco's promo. (They use the word promocion or promo for short to call someone with whom they graduated any type of school.) She has a three year old and is interested in having her take violin lessons once they are all settled in. They just moved to Lima from Piura. I would love to have her daughter as a student!

Finally, it was really great to see Marco with his buddies. He was having such a blast. He hadn't seen or hung out with them in a really long time. Given the nature of his work, it doesn't surprise me. We are going to take full advantage of opportunities like this one and when something comes along where we can go out and meet up with his friends, we will do it. Lima has a way of isolating everyone since it is so big and there is only so much time in the day. We make the most of what we have and it's really not that bad in the end.

I joked that this picture is the closest thing we have to formal engagement photos. Haha!

The crew

I am branching out and I joined a group called Women with Wine. It is a group of mostly expat ladies who get together and drink wine once a month. My friend Julie, who sang for me in Cusco while I was in the States, introduced me. She is living here in Lima too and teaching at an elementary school. We have yet to set up a time when we are going to get lunch or coffee. Like I said, it is not as easy to set up dates with friends when it takes 30 minutes to an hour to get somewhere.

I am starting my training with Coro Arpegio this week and I will be singing as a trainee this weekend at a wedding. We (myself and a woman named Viviana whom I have yet to meet) were going to start in August as new members but because May and June are high season for weddings, they need us to sing as full on members on May 18th. Perfect timing since I will be getting back from Spain shortly before that.

Wedding planning will go into full swing once I get back from Spain as well. There is definitely a lot to do but the main stuff is all squared away. It's all the other stuff that comes along with planning a wedding and since I am not hiring a wedding planner I get to take on the roll of planner and I am sure at times coordinator for my relatives and friends who will be traveling to Peru. It's all good because I can't wait to see all of them and have them see Peru. It's going to be awesome!

All right. This was a sufficiently long blog post. Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, April 5, 2013


Marco and I went to Chosica last Sunday to relax and enjoy the end of a wonderful 5 day vacation. In Chosica there is a club that the military owns and it has bungalows to stay in, a pool. horses, games, and a low ropes course. It was really nice and it was a much needed trip into nature. The city can be quite harsh since there aren't as many trees and as much green space as in Cusco. There are definitely really nice places to go in Surco, Miraflores, Barranco and the beach front. There is also a nice mountain outside of our window that is a reminder that I am not that cut off from nature. Here are some pictures of our little road trip. Marco also bought me a plant to adorn the apartment. What a sweetheart. :)

 Marco in front of the main store and all the bungalows.

 I am reading Proof of Heaven by Dr. Eben Alexander. It is really good and I was sucked in. 


Lunch with a Denisonian and an update on work

I had coffee with my friend Gonzalo on Wednesday. He and I went to Denison together and we lived down the hall from each other in Kappa Sigma our freshman year. I brought my camera but I never ended up taking a picture. We talked for a good 2 hours. It was really fun catching up with him and reminiscing about Kappa Sigma. We are going to try and start a little bullet point email like my study abroad group does every 6 months or so. Someone will start the bullet point email with all the things they want to share about their lives. It is really nice and it is a really great way to stay in touch and get a bit more information than what is posted on Facebook. Gonzalo is doing a lot in the theater scene in Lima. He is directing mostly but I remember seeing him in a SUNAT commercial while I was living in Cusco. I look forward to being able to actually go to some of his shows now that I am in Lima! We decided that we are going to try and see each other for coffee every month or so. I think it would be nice.

I have been teaching music for 3 weeks now. I have to say that it has been quite a challenge in the preparation and management of classes. I know for sure that I love working with kids and being an inspiration to them. I love getting "Hola Miss!" outside of class and I love the smiles on kids faces when we are singing a song or playing a game that is super fun. Cristina and I have weekly skype chats to save on the time and cost of getting to her house. It has been most excellent. I have also bought a 632 page book on the Kodaly method. I took a Kodaly course this past January but it was very short and this book is super comprehensive. I am enjoying it a lot.

I also had my first private violin student two weeks ago. There was an emergency this week so we didn't have class. It's all good though. My student Carla is adorable and so attentive. She is 3 but she has the attention span of a 5 or 6 year old. It's impressive. I know we are going to go far. It's exciting. I am also working on flyers to pass out to the people who live in the villa militar. For a while I was putting it all on hold because I wasn't sure about our housing situation but whether we move or not should not keep me from starting students here where I live. I will let my potential students know that there is a possibility of us moving to the villa but for now classes will be held in my home. People have asked me whether or not it bothers me that I won't be able to have students consistently until we are in Lima permanently (that could be in another 10 years or so). My answer is yes and no. Sure, having a teacher that takes you through the books and works with you for many years is wonderful. I am very grateful for my violin teacher Julie. I took lessons with her from the time I was 6 to 14. It was a decent amount of time and I didn't have to deal with conflict of interests that come with having more than one teacher during the formative years. On the other hand, I look at it as I am able to give my service to kids and families that may not have even thought of being able to have violin lessons before. At the very lease I will be able to offer my services for a few years and advance and grow with them to the best of my ability. We never know what tomorrow may bring and if I live with the constant worry that I can't give my students consistency over long periods of time due to moving, I will never gain any students. I am ready to get out there and publicize publicize publicize. :)

I have two wedding gigs playing violin tomorrow and I am living each day to the max. Like I said in an earlier post, life is not easy and peachy all the time but if I decide to look at it as peachy and wonderful, it will be just that, no matter what obstacle or problem may stand in the way. I take time to be grateful every day and to find the joys in everything I can because otherwise I feel like I am wasting what could be a great day! We create our happiness. No one does it for us. I wish a happy Friday to everyone who reads this post!