Telling Stories.

I read something today that struck a chord with me. Something about the reason we tell stories. And it made me think about this blog. Because what I am doing here is really just telling stories. Telling stories of my thoughts and my life. Ursula K. Le Guin wrote that “storytelling is a tool for knowing who we are and what we want” and if that is the case, then I better keep on writing and telling stories because those two questions have been circulating through my whirlpool of thoughts as of late… I think they are questions that we all have at different times in our lives, I do not think I am alone.

Le Guin goes on to say that through art, such as writing, we are “able to find the words to know [our] own experience” and I have found this to be true. When I write I am able to process some of the thoughts in my mind and some of the experiences I am having. I am able to put words to things that help me to make sense of this thing called life.

Words are very powerful. Words can have one meaning, but often words can mean more than one thing. Words can give us a way to explain how we feel and that is why it is so important to read, as well as to write. Because as Le Guin states, sometimes, when we read, we are able to see our own experience mirrored back in the words of another and we feel a sense of clarity. Clarity and an understanding that we are not alone in this. Others have felt the same way too.

Anyway, if you are interested in reading the article that got me thinking about all this today here it is, on Maria Popova’s site, Brain Pickings.

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Becoming More Human.

In my therapy session last week we talked about what it means, and what it might look like, to become more human. Yes, this may sound odd and at first I didn’t really understand, nor did I really like what it seemed to imply. But sometimes that is how things go, I don’t understand at first… but then it makes sense. A lot of sense. So, what does it mean to be more human? I have given this some thought, and I will share some of those thoughts below. And I am curious, what does becoming more human mean to you? Something to consider, por lo menos.

What does it mean to become more human?

It means letting go of the idea of being perfect. Human beings were never meant to be perfect.

It means making a mess of things once in awhile (and knowing that it is not the end of the world).

It means really feeling… allowing yourself to feel.

It means knowing who you really are, and if you don’t, it means not being scared to ask that question of yourself, who am I?

It means recognizing what it is you want (which is sometimes not as easy or simple as it sounds).

Being more human means allowing yourself to enjoy the foods that you love.

It means not taking everything so seriously, we are only human after all.

Anyway, that is all for now. Just something I have been thinking about. I will end with a few pictures I took today on a hike I went on with some friends. It was quite the intense hike (12 km in which we climbed a height of 1100 metres) but it was beautiful. And as I was just trying to put one foot in front of the other on some of the steeper parts of the hike I began to really take notice of my breath. Of the beat of my heart. And I began thinking about this question.

What does it mean to become more human.

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Another Reason. Or Two.

I woke up at 5am and found myself writing my last post. As I have thought about it more though I realized that there is a reason missing, as I knew there would be… actually two reasons… 5am brain isn’t always the sharpest. So, to continue with my answer to the question, why Salta?

  • The PEOPLE. I have been blessed to have met so many wonderful people here in Salta. People who have been so generous with me, so kind, so welcoming. I miss my family and friends back home very very much but I am thankful to have so many wonderful people here that I now call friends.

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    Some of the wonderful people I have met here in Salta. 

  • Salta is beautiful. Especially the skies… as you know from the many pictures I have shared of Salta skies, they are a weakness of mine. While I miss the ocean a lot, the skies help to make up for it. I notice beauty here in so many places, maybe it is because I walk more so I notice more. There is beauty in the unexpected. The areas surrounding Salta are also beautiful… Tilcara, my favourite little pueblito en el norte, for example. I have already shared so many pictures of the beauty to be found here in Salta, so I will just share a few that I took today on my walk to the grocery store…48C3A066-AB40-487D-A5D6-C88395C03FF2

Ok, well I think I have made up for my lack of writing with these last three posts in two days (sorry to inundate you all with words!) Hoping you all have a lovely Sunday.

Why here?!

I don’t know how many times I have been faced with the question… WHY SALTA?? People here have a hard time understanding why in the world I would leave Canada to come to Argentina, not to mention Salta. I must admit I am tired of the question… why must it always be people’s first reaction? I guess I understand why, I understand that Argentina is going through a hard time economically, life is not easy here for most people. I understand that crazy inflation means people are worried about whether they will even make it to the end of the month (and many often don’t). I understand that with elections coming up this year there is a lot of anxiety. I understand that people here view Canada as a paradise… or something like that. A place where things are stable and secure, in comparison to the uncertainty of life here. But I am tired of this question. I am tired of this astonishment. Because sure, on the surface Canada may seem like the perfect country, and, don’t get me wrong, I love Canada and I do feel extremely fortunate to be Canadian, but I also feel fortunate to be Argentinean. Just because Canada is seemingly perfect in the eyes of the people I have met here does not mean that the lives of all Canadians are perfect. Stability of a country does not equal stability of all the people living there. It is not that easy. Just as the instability/uncertainty of life in Argentina means the people here live miserable lives, nada que ver.

When faced with this question (and honestly I think I am asked it each time I meet someone new) I don’t always know what to say. Because the reason I am here, back in Salta, is not always that easy to explain, even to myself. Let me try and explain though, to you, and to myself, why it is that I am here.

  • Argentina is part of who I am. I obtained my Argentinean nationality when I was here back in 2016 and that was a big deal to me (and a whole lot of work!) I may have been born in Canada but there is more to me than that. I come from more places than just Canada, one of those places being here, Argentina.
  • I came here for 10 months in 2016. The first several months of that experience were very difficult, but by the end I started to feel more comfortable. I made some friends, and I found a sort of rhythm to my life here. But then I went home to Victoria. And I think in some ways it was too soon. I had just gotten in the groove, so to speak, and it was time to leave. Some people may not take so long to adjust to a new life but it took me awhile. And so I think in some ways my time here was just beginning when I had to leave. Which I think is one of the reasons why I am back.
  • The opportunity to begin something new is also one of the reasons I am here again. When the idea to begin Kids’ Club was proposed by a new friend I was intrigued. Yes, at home I have a good job. A stable job. A job where I get to work with wonderful people and amazing kids. But also a job that makes me feel somewhat trapped because of the security it offers. Did I want to stay in that job just because it is safe? Just because it is the ‘smart’ decision economically? No, I do not want to do the same thing for the next thirty years just because it is safe. I want to experience life. And so when the idea was proposed to start a project from scratch I was tempted, and I am glad I said yes… even though that meant saying no to safety and security.
  • Some of you may remember a blog post I wrote near the end of my time here last time in which I wrote about the fact that I had begun therapy here in Salta. And yes, that is another one of the reasons I find myself back here. The work I had begun was not finished yet. I don’t talk about this when people ask WHY SALTA?! but I cannot dismiss the fact that it is one of the reasons. And it is ok that it is one of the reasons. It is ok that I am doing what I need to do, and that includes getting help for some things I am struggling with. And the fact that that help comes from someone here in Salta is just how it has turned out. As I mentioned way back when, I never expected this to be a part of my life here but it is, and I am thankful for the progress I have made.
  • Empanadas. Medialunas. Dulce de leche… haha ok, maybe not real reasons I am here but what can I say, the food here is pretty darn good.

Well, I am sure there are more reasons but it is 5 in the morning (couldn’t sleep!) and nothing else is coming to me at the moment. Maybe at some point there will be a part two to this post.

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Hello Again.

Well… it has been over a month since I last wrote… oops! But it has been very busy around here and while I have wanted to try and write I just haven’t really had the time to focus on writing a post. Even now I feel like I am not totally sure what I will write as so much time has gone by but I will try and give a brief update of the last little while.

Firstly, school and Kids’ Club are in full swing. At school we have been working through the first few weeks with our little 3 year olds. There have been some tears (from the kids, I promise), several accidents, but also lots of smiles, hugs, and laughs. Kids Club, the English classes I have started with Juli have been off to a great start. While we were quite worried back in February that we wouldn’t get enough registrations we have been very pleasantly surprised and now have 9 in one group and soon to be 9 in the second. We have decided that we don’t want many more than 10 kids in each group anyway as having the smaller groups has allowed us to do some really neat things (including some very fun science experiments!) It is funny because originally our groups were going to be for 3-5 year olds and 6-7 year olds but we ended up widening the age range of the 6-7 year old group due to parent request and now have 6-12 year olds. While we were at first kind of worried about what we would do with 12 year olds it has actually turned out to be the best decision as we are loving the group… 12 year old boys can be pretty hilarious! The dynamic of the group is also really great, the kids get along so well and love playing all together even though it is quite a wide range in terms of ages. Below are some pictures of the things we have been up to the last few weeks.

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Some of our garden/plant themed activities this past month. 

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Science Fun! (making butter, elephant tooth paste, and testing the buoyancy of cookies!)

In addition to Kids’ Club and school I have been teaching two private classes per week to a little boy and I also started an English Conversation class for adults as I had a few people who had been interested. I call it “Coffee and Conversations” and we meet once a week at a cafe near my place and discuss an article or TED Talk that I send out during the week. So far we have had three meetings and I am really enjoying it. While I was hesitant to start a class for adults I am so glad I did as the conversations have been really interesting. While it is a class for practising English I would say I am benefiting from the socializing and conversation just as much as the participants who are there to learn English. So far we are a small group (2-4 people depending on the week) but I think it is a good number in order to allow for real conversation practise.

So, that is a summary of the work I have been up to, and probably now you can understand why I haven’t had much time to write. My weekends have been a little bit quieter but I have been spending some time with friends, which has been nice, and a difference from when I was here three years ago. I remember my first few months last time were very lonely (probably why I was writing a lot more!) because I had not yet really met many people. This time is different though as I already have friends here, and I am also doing my best to continue making more friends in order to expand my little circle here in Salta. Later today I am going to watch a soccer game that some friends are playing in, so that should be fun. And luckily the sun has come out which is a nice change to the rain we have been having lately.

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Birthday celebrations back in February 

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Top left: Out for hamburgers with the girls from the Jardincito. Top right: Watching a field hockey game. Bottom left: The Kindergarten teachers at school. Bottom right: Out for a Salta specialty, papas con queso!

Anyway, I think that is all for now… I will end with a few more pictures of the Salta sights… there is always so much to take pictures of here… or maybe it is just that I pay more attention.

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Fall is here. 

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Almost 3 Weeks.

Well, it has been 20 days since I was sitting in the Toronto airport writing my last post… evidently my plan of writing regularly has so far not been entirely successful. Today is Sunday though and I have a list of things on my to-do list, but as I procrastinate from the other things I thought I would try and give a little update of life here in Salta.

I arrived in Salta on February 5th, and Megan joined me two days later. My dad was supposed to come with her but my Abuela fell and broke her hip so he ended up going directly to Mar del Plata to be with her. While it was really too bad he couldn’t make it to Salta in the end I know it was important that he could be there with my Abuela as she had surgery and began to recover from the operation. Hip surgery at 93 years old is a complicated procedure but my Abuela is strong and she did well in surgery and is now continuing to recover slowly back at the care home where she lives.

It was really wonderful to be able to share Salta with Megan, it was her first time here in the north of Argentina and we tried to fit lots in to her 6 days here… exploring the city, eating good food, and enjoying some pool time at the AirBnB.

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Megan in Salta!

Over the weekend we went to Tilcara, a small town three hours north of Salta that I have been to several times now over the years but it is the most amazing little place and I was excited to take Megan there. We went on a tour to explore Las Salinas Grandes and the Cerro de Siete Colours (Hill of 7 Colours) in Purmamarca (another small town close to Tilcara).

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Purmamarca

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Las Salinas Grandes

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The little hotel we stayed at in Tilcara. It was so beautiful and peaceful…

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Beautiful Tilcara colours…

Megan’s visit went by much too quick and soon she was off to join my dad in Mar del Plata. I am so thankful for her visit, we haven’t really had a chance to travel together just the two of us before and I am so grateful we were able to share that time together.

Following Megan’s visit things really started to pick up here in Salta… work at school started (so far just for the teachers) and so I have been there every morning working on planning, setting up the classroom etc. I will be working in Kinder 3 (the first year of kindergarten at the school) and will be splitting my time between the two Kinder 3 classes teaching English. The kids don’t start up until March 11 so we have quite a bit of time with just us teachers, much different than what we are used to at home. I am looking forward to actually beginning with the kids so that I can start to have a better feel for how things will actually be. You can only do so much planning before actually meeting your specific group as so much depends on the dynamic of the group and on each individual child. I am, therefore, very much looking forward to meeting the 40 little ones who will make up the two classes and to spending the year with them.

In addition to work at school I have been working on preparations for Kids’ Club, the English program I am starting with Juli, a friend here in Salta. While registrations were quite slow to start we now have 12 kids which we are really very happy about. We have been meeting a few times a week to plan and prepare and this week we will go out to buy materials so we are all ready to begin on March 6. If you are interested in following our Kids’ Club adventures feel free to check us out on Instagram… @kidsclub_2019

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Our Kids’ Club Flyer

I have also been busy getting settled into my new apartment here in Salta. I was so fortunate to find an apartment through the help of a friend and I am so happy to call it home. I moved in last weekend (after spending the first couple of weeks in AirBnBs) and while it was somewhat stressful getting everything sorted out… collecting furniture, dealing with the cleaning (as it needed a VERY good cleaning before I could move in), coordinating the moving of furniture, figuring out how to get WIFI installed… it did all come together and I am so thankful to the friends here who helped me by lending me furniture and helping with the move in. I wouldn’t have been able to do it all by myself!

It is pretty funny because my new apartment is actually on the exact same street where I lived three years ago, just one block away. It feels nice to be back in a familiar neighbourhood and it is very convenient as I can walk to school in less than 10 minutes. I actually feel kind of proud of myself for how I managed to sort everything out with my move in. Of course I had the help of friends but even so it was a challenge that I managed to deal with and while it was quite stressful at times I was able to sort everything out (including the WIFI installation which took three visits to the internet provider company office!!) I feel comfortable in my little Salta home and I don’t think I will ever tire of my amazing view. IMG_7314

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I love Salta skies… I couldn’t have asked for a better view from my little Salta home. 

Well, what more do I have to share… not too much, don’t worry. But I must mention that it has been incredibly hot the last little while, I honestly don’t think I have ever felt such crazy heat before. Seriously there have been times where I have felt like I might just melt. Thankfully it is supposed to cool down a little this week though so I am looking forward to a bit of a reprieve.

Well, this post is ending up to be very long… I am almost done my coffee already and I haven’t even begun on my other to-do list items… oh well. I guess I could always get coffee #2. Before I say goodbye I will add one more picture (ok, maybe two actually…) I have been slightly obsessed with taking pictures of walls, doors, and windows the last little while. I don’t know if it is because they are actually more beautiful here in Salta or if it is because I am walking everywhere so I just notice them more but I love the walls. As odd as that may sound. I am sure people think I am crazy if they notice me stop and take a picture of a wall, but oh well, I don’t mind. I hope you enjoy these Salta walls as much as I do… and I urge you to pay attention to the walls wherever you are… are they really more beautiful here or is it just that we don’t normally pay attention when we move about in cars most of the time? E34BE3EE-6316-4394-8359-1BBE2B7C97712F98FDED-1830-4CCC-8F3B-D40F5EB0D933 2

Well, that is all for now. I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday.

32 flights

Well, here I am at the Toronto airport, about one more hour until boarding… drinking a pre-flight cider (decided to treat myself) and pondering the big question… will I be able to sleep at all on the coming 11 hour flight? Considering the fact that I slept for less than 3 hours last night (pre-trip restlessness combined with a 3:30am wake up in order to get to the airport in time for my 6:00am flight) I am sure hoping I will be able to. My sleeping on flights track record is not that great though so I am not overly optimistic!!!

Anyway, I was thinking today as I flew from Victoria to Toronto how much better I have been at flying as of late. I remember preparing to come to Argentina for a visit in 2015 and almost deciding not to come because the thought of flying was almost too much. Fast forward four years and I seem to be much calmer with the whole idea. I guess the fact that I have been on 32 flights in the meantime has helped a great deal. 32 seems like an incredible number… but that includes all the back and forths from Buenos Aires to Salta and a flight to and from Argentina includes at least 4 flights in itself, but still, I was surprised to arrive at that number once I started counting. Now, I have to add that it is not like I all of a sudden love flying, I much prefer to be on solid ground, but it just doesn’t fill with me with quite as much panic as before, and for that I am glad.

The last few days have been busy and it is hard to believe that I am now on my way. When I came home in December it felt like I would have so much time at home, time, however, is a funny thing, always going faster than you think. My 8 weeks at home were filled with wonderful memories. I am especially grateful for the fact I was able to return to my little ‘home’ in Andrea and Pat’s backyard. Being able to spend so much time with little Lucia was a gift… of course it did make leaving even harder though.

I could write about Lucia for pages and pages. She is truly amazing. Her smile, her laugh, her amazing hugs, her dancing, her inquisitive nature… the way she eats.IMG_6785 It is amazing to see Lucia eat. She loves food, and if there is something she doesn’t like she simply drops it over the edge of her high chair, simple as that. Lucia has fun when she eats. She eats with no concern of mess. She eats with no concerns at all. Eating can sometimes become a weird thing as you get older… but if you watch a one year old eat you are reminded that eating should be pleasurable. Eating should be fun. Why can’t we all eat like 1 year olds

I have been so blessed to have Lucia, and 4 other very special little girls in my life. Sophianna, Isabelle, Linnea, Eleanor, and Lucia have brought me so much joy over the years… ever since Sophie was born 11.5 years ago I have known a new kind of love. A love that hasn’t been divided as the others were born, but multiplied. Leaving these 5 beautiful beings is probably the hardest thing of all, but it doesn’t change how much I love them. And I hope that one day, if they are presented with an opportunity to take a risk and do something new, that they will take it too (even if their mum’s wish they would just stay home, sorry Naomi and Andrea!)

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Well, that is all for now, almost time to board. I hope to write regularly as I did when I spent 2016 in Salta… but to be honest, I feel a sense of pressure that I have to write really well, because I WANT to write well. But I don’t want to get that in the way of the simple act of writing. Like eating, writing should be pleasurable. And so I will write without concern… at least that is my goal.

caminemos juntos

Soy una persona que puede escuchar la misma canción cuatro mil veces antes que me cansa de escucharla. Bueno, puede ser que soy un poca exagerada pero la música tiene mucho poder y cuando escucho una canción aveces se toca algo en mi alma y aunque no entiendo todas las palabras (porque mas que nada las canciones que me fascinan son en español) no puedo dejar de escucharla… hasta que encuentro otro.

La semana pasada fui a un show de música en el barrio de Palermo donde estoy quedándome en Buenos Aires. Me enteré de este show por Instagram (se llama Open Folk) y decidí a ir porque me parecía que iba a estar bueno. Cuando yo llegue casi no entré porque desde afuera el lugar no parece mucho y como soy sola acá estuve un poca tímida porque no supe bien que iba a encontrar adentro. Pero, en fin, entré y estoy tan feliz que tomé esa decision porque fue la mejor noche de música. Es un lugar muy pequeño y intimo, mucho mejor (en mi opinion) que los lugares muy grandes con miles de gente. Pero también el espacio estuvo lleno, y por razón.

El idea atras de Open Folk es que los músicos y los cantantes pueden inscribirse a participar en la noche de música y cada músico hace tres canciones. Entonces, durante la noche escuchas muchos músicos/cantantes diferentes en el estilo de folk.

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Algunos de los músicos. 

Me encantó la noche de música, y una canción en particular me dejo enamorada… una voz increíble… una canción hermosisima…y por eso es mi nueva canción del momento y no puedo dejar de escucharla. Podes encontrar la canción en Spotify si te buscas David Amado, y la canción se llama, Subte. También acá es un video de youtube…

La canción no es sola una canción linda para escuchar. Pero también, me encanta el nombre … Subte… porque estoy tomando el Subte mucho acá en Buenos Aires, algo nuevo para mi… no tenemos nada como los Subtes de Buenos Aires in Victoria. Así que, por mi, es una canción muy apta por este momento.

Algo en la canción también me hace pensar, algo en relación del idioma. Cuando escuchas la canción vas a escucharle cantar “caminemos juntos por la anden vacío” … el verbo ‘caminar’ es regular entonces yo siempre pensé que es “caminamos” y por eso estaba pensando en esa pequeña diferencia. También me impresione la diferencia en el sonido… me encanta como suena la palabra caminemos… tiene algo… aunque no creo que tenía una palabra favorita antes, ahora si, tengo.

Bueno, cuando fuí a mi clase de español (porque tomé clases la semana pasada para revisar y practicar algunas cosas) pregunté a la maestra sobre esa palabra. Ella me explicó cuando cambias el ‘a’ por un ‘e’ en caminamos cambias la intención. Cuando decís caminamos es una afirmación pero cuando decís caminemos es una invitación.

Eso me encanta. Me encanta como podes cambiar la intención solo con una letra. Y me encanta como suena… caminemos juntos… que linda invitación.

Martes es la noche de Open Folk así que hoy voy otra ves a ese lugar mágico… si estás en Buenos Aires algún martes por favor andá… no te vas arrepentir.


 In other words… 

I am the kind of person who can listen to a song hundreds of time before getting tired of it. Not just any song, but when I hear a song that for whatever reasons resonates with me, I find myself pressing repeat over and over… until a new song comes my way.

Last week I went to an evening of music here in Palermo (the neighbourhood where I am staying in Buenos Aires) called Open Folk. I found out about it through Instagram which seems to be where everyone is advertising these days I am finding! When I arrived at the address I thought at first I had made a mistake. I was expecting maybe a bar or restaurant type place but instead I had arrived at what looked much more like someone’s front door… plus it was closed and no one was around. I almost gave up and went home but then saw a few other people waiting around and figured that maybe I was just a bit early… which I was… I am still not very good at this whole Argentina version of timing. Anyway, I walked around the block a few times and then when the door was opened I went in with a few other people who had been waiting. And I must say, I am so glad I did because it was probably one of the best nights of music I have ever experienced. It is a small, intimate space, but it was full… and for good reason.

The idea behind Open Folk is that musicians sign up to participate and then each one sings/plays three songs. So, throughout the evening you end up listening to many different artists all in the style of folk music. It was interesting as some sang in English (covers or original songs) and some sang in Spanish. It is hard to describe the evening… you really just have to go.

Anyway, there was one song that really left me mesmerized, and has since become my new song of the moment. You can find the song on Spotify (Subte by David Amado) and I have also put a video of the song above.

Not only do I love the song but I love the name… Subte (aka, subway). I have been taking the subte a lot here in Buenos Aires… an interesting experience for me as we have nothing like the Buenos Aires subtes back in Victoria that’s for sure… even the Vancouver Skytrains don’t compare. Anyway, for that reason it just feels even more fitting a song for this time.

The song also left me wondering about something in relation to the language. It is funny because it is such a small little thing but it left me curious. It is hard to explain in English but you see in the song it says “caminemos juntos por la anden vacío” which basically means walk together down the empty path (or actually, subway track). Usually, however, if you were to say ‘walk together’ you would write ‘caminamos (with the ‘a’ not an ‘e’) juntos.’ So this left me wondering… but also left me with a new favourite word (not that I even had a favourite word before I don’t think) but I just love the way it sounds… caminemos.

So, when I went to my Spanish class the following day (I was taking some classes last week to help review and practise) I asked the teacher about the caminamos vs. caminemos difference. She explained that when you say caminamos it is more of an affirmation whereas caminemos transforms the word into an invitation.

I love that. I love that by changing one letter in the middle of a word you can change its intention. And I just love how it sounds… caminemos juntos… what a nice invitation.

Tuesday is Open Folk night and I am so  looking forward to going back tonight… there is just something about it that is so magical. If you are ever in Buenos Aires on a Tuesday I encourage you to check it out too… you will not regret it.

empezando de nuevo.

Bueno, llegó el momento para empezar este blog de nuevo. Estaba pensando en mi blog hace unas semanas ya… pensando en si voy a empezar a escribir otra vez durante este viaje a Argentina. Al principio no sabía si íba a tener las ganas o las palabras pero hoy fuí a ver una película al cine y en mi camino de vuelta al departamento empecé a pensar en el blog con ganas de escribir. No se porque fue ese momento… pero así fue, y acá estoy, escribiendo de nuevo.

Por supuesto te vas a notar que hay una diferencia y esta diferencia ocurrió en mis pensamientos cuando estaba caminando recién pensando en el blog. Quiero tratar de escribirlo en castellano. Porque para mi es una cosa muy importante, quiero hablar mejor y estoy practicando pero me parece que escribiendo en castellano va a ayudarme también. En general es mas fácil escribir en castellano (por lo menos para mi) porque cuando escribas podes tomar todo el tiempo que necesitas en vez de cuando hablas tenes que tener las palabras a mano (mas en Argentina donde hablan muy rápido) pero aunque es muy diferente es una forma de practicar y expresarme en este idioma.

En realidad, me parece que el idea de tratar de escribir en castellano vino porque fui a ver una película Argentina (en castellano, por supuesto) y entendí casi todas las palabras hasta los chistes (y los chistes, aveces, no son fácil de entender). Ese fue, por mi, una gran cosa y me puse feliz.

Entonces, espero que podes tener paciencia conmigo y con mis palabras llena de errores y espero que vas a poder entender lo que quiero compartir sobre mis días acá en Argentina.


And now… in English.

I won’t translate word for word because there is a difference between writing in Spanish and writing in English and one cannot simply directly translate one to the other… so, in other words…

This blog was an important part of my time here in Argentina in 2016 and as I prepared to come here again this year I spent much time thinking about whether or not I was going to write again. I also had many people asking me and my answer was ‘I don’t know…’ because really, I didn’t. I was not sure if I would have the same desire to write as I did before or if the words would come as easily. Tonight though, as I was walking back to the AirBnB I am staying at in Buenos Aires I started to think about the blog again and felt that desire to write… but with a difference. I thought about how I truly want to practise my Spanish and how it is something of great importance to me. And I think the fact that I had just been to see an Argentinean movie and understood it all (even down to the jokes!) played a part as well. I felt proud that I had been able to understand the movie so well, and while understanding is so much easier than speaking, it is still something. Writing is also easier than speaking, at least for me. Because when you write you can take all the time you need to think things through but when you speak it is that much harder because the words aren’t always right there where you need them in the moment you want them… this is especially challenging here in Argentina where everyone seems to speak so loudly and quickly. In any case, I figure that writing in Spanish is something that will help me as it will encourage me to think in Spanish… and hopefully with that will come a better ability to keep up in conversations as opposed to getting lost trying to conjugate verbs. Of course, my writing is far from perfect and there will be many mistakes but hopefully those reading the Spanish version will understand, mas o menos.

And while I hope to follow through with writing this time I make no promises, I do not want to force myself to write, but if/when the desire strikes, I will carry on.

 

 

Four Questions.

Today I spent the afternoon away from school at a meeting with other district colleagues. It was a meeting of the Professional Growth Council, a group which consists of representatives from the different schools in the district. These meetings are used to discuss different initiatives, to plan, and to have discussion opportunities across the different levels and schools. Today’s meeting was quite different than any other Pro Growth meeting I have attended and I feel very fortunate to have been able to be there and to have been a witness to the sharing that took place.

As our assistant superintendent introduced the premise of the meeting he told all of us gathered that the day’s meeting would be different from what we may have come expecting based on previous meetings. He told us that for the next couple of hours we should attempt to quiet the to-do lists in our minds, to set technology aside, and to simply be present. He introduced three individuals who would be leading us through the first part of the meeting… a principal from a school in the district and two teachers, who also happen to be two of my very good friends (the same two friends, in fact, who encouraged me to start this blog way back when as I prepared for my 10 months in Salta).

These three educators attended a conference in the Fall entitled Indspire, a national gathering for Indigenous Education with a focus on reconciliation and moving forward together. While at a day led by Niigaan Sinclair they were inspired by a process that was shared. A process that is deeply personal, courageous, and one that is instrumental to the work of reconciliation. The process consisted of the asking of four questions. Questions that on one hand may seem pretty basic, but, on the other, so incredibly deep. One is meant to take these questions and reflect on them as an individual and then to share his or her own answers.

Today, these three educators did just that. They sat at the front of the room and answered the four questions in a deeply personal and authentic way. And I did what was asked of me, I sat and listened. I sat with the others gathered and bared witness to these courageous and inspiring individuals who were sharing their stories with respect to their own journey of reconciliation.

I left this meeting feeling inspired, wishing that all educators (and all people, for that matter), could take part in such a process. To bare witness to the vulnerability these individuals demonstrated and to then take the time to reflect on the four questions in order that we may, as a community and as a country, continue to move forward together in our journey towards reconciliation.

In my own effort to spend time reflecting on these questions I will, over the next few weeks, attempt to do my best to answer the four questions here. While sharing in writing is not the same as the sharing the individuals did today it will be a way for me to reflect in my own way, something I feel inspired to do after listening to my colleagues today. I encourage you to also consider these questions for yourself.

Who am I? – Why am I here? – Who can help me? – Where am I going? 

Dr. Niigaan Sinclair said, “We don’t need more eggshell walking. We need bravery to do this work.” Thank you to the bravery of the presenters today, may this bravery spread to all you have touched with your words so that we may do the work necessary to make true reconciliation a reality in our schools, communities, and in our country.