A day in the life: August 21, 2016

I had grand dreams of doing monthly Day in the Life posts, but either kept forgetting to start in the morning or was thinking “but today isn’t a typical day for me.” I keep forgetting that a typical day for me is atypical. So after a four month break, here we go again. On the day I finally went for it again, I was fighting a cold for the third week in a row.

For breakfast I sat down at my table with a book (I’m accidentally currently reading three; this one is Skinny Legs and All) and enjoyed eggs followed by a grapefruit. Another time my host dad caught me eating grapefruit like this and said, “Noooooo that’s not how you eat that fruit, you need to peel it like an orange. I will show you next time.” I just explained that I like to do it this way, even if I am fighting to detach the fruit from the peel, because I can get some sugar to soak into it.

At least two days a week I try to spend a couple of hours in the schools’ teachers’ lounges, just working. It gives me a chance to talk to teachers and be at the disposal of anyone who has a question – and makes sure they don’t forget I exist. This day I was working on some images for the community classes that I’ve been planning but am still waiting to find a space to actually hold them in.

An hour later and I haven’t moved, but I’ve switched to working on the children’s book that I am trying to copy to have on hand. Books are not a part of the culture here, whether when raising a child or as an adult. They’re expensive – purchased at American price, that makes a book about 45mil pesos, which is more than most people make in a day. For my first one I decided to break copyright laws (no one besides me or maybe a school will use this), but I might try to write/draw my own in the future.

I’m in my first 1st grade class of the week. There are very few school resources – teachers have to either pay for the copies they make or pass the cost on to their students (more often the case because 40 students at 100 pesos per copy gets expensive quickly), so some teachers use tools like stamps to be able to put images into kids’ notebooks so they aren’t just words and numbers.

I”m home for lunch. It’s hot. I’m sweaty. I’m sick. I have a huge ugly cold sore on my face. I hate this day a little bit.

I’ve stopped by the local papelería, where you can buy school supplies and phone limits, or pay to have things printed and copied. I had created a couple of worksheets for kids to use to practice their vocab, so got them printed.

Class was supposed to start at 1:00, so where are the students? It turned out there had been a miscommunication about our students not coming to class this afternoon. Eventually we got four students, who my counterpart had take inventory of the computer equipment while I played English music videos on the projector and speakers.

I’m back at the other school, but the class I went there for isn’t having English class due to a standardized test, so instead I’m stopping by the concession stand to get a natural fruit juice to sip while I go back to coloring hippos.

Back in the same classroom as this morning, but with a different first grade class and teacher. We have been practicing the numbers 1-20 for a few weeks, but 11 and 12 being so different trip the students up every time. I don’t know which of the two teachers put the words above the whiteboard, but I love them – “be optimistic and cultivate a sense of humor.”

My go-to sick drink here is a tea made by boiling chamomile leaves and ginger, then slipping in some lime juice and honey. After chilling for a few hours watching the Olympics on my laptop (pick any event! commentary in English!) and drinking my magical tea, I’m ready to go to bed early and try to recoup for tomorrow.

Check out all of my Day In The Life posts here


About the author

Mountain View

A little about me!

Hey! I'm Brianna Hope, a born & bred midwesterner embarking on an adventure as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia. I am clumsy, I spill a lot, and I share most of my interests with 6 year-olds.

Follow me on Snapchat: alabrianna


The content of this website is mine alone and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government, the Peace Corps, or the Colombian Government.


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