Dunlaps in San Salvador

Online journal of the Dunlaps' adventures in San Salvador.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Holidays and other news...

Think this might be the longest I have gone without posting a blog. Life here is busy and full and warm and pretty darn nice.

Mags was the only 9th grader to compete yesterday on the school’s Knowledge Bowl Team. They beat all the local schools in their first competition! She said the trophy is obscenely large (Salvadorans believe in really big trophies). She was able to answer a lot of questions about vocabulary and American Literature. She said she knew nothing about grammar. Schools just don’t teach a whole lot of grammar these days. I’m reviewing (probably more like introducing) grammar to my 11th grade students right now. The funny part is how much I’m having to go back and study myself. Maggie has also been promoted a year in English - she’s now in class with the 10th graders. She’s very happy in school. And on the good days, even Geometry makes sense to her.

Maggie and I went with friends to the Shakira concert on Monday night. We got home around midnight, but I think it was worth it. I didn’t enjoy the show as much as I did Ricky Martin last year (can’t believe I just wrote that). His show was more entertaining in terms of costumes and lighting. This concert was in a soccer stadium downtown. There were probably 10 to 12 thousand people there. It was fun to listen to Mags sing along in Spanish to all the Shakira songs. And still I have no idea what she is saying. Shakira’s finale was her big hit "Hips Don’t Lie." I can’t even understand the lyrics in English, but she sure can belly dance!

My trip to Bogota was nice, but I was very happy to get back home. Bogota was cold and wet. I’m just not used to that kind of weather anymore, and I had no decent warm clothes. I tried to buy a few sweaters while I was there, but a lot of the stores only took cash. You could definitely feel a certain amount of tension there. I guess it’s related to the drug trafficking. I always felt safe, but then again I also felt really cold and wanted to come home!

Tonight we are off to the Marine Ball. As I understand it, the Marines host a birthday party tonight in embassies all around the world. It’s fun because we get really dressed up. I think this year we’ll know more people there. My dress is pretty fancy. I’m worried it looks like I’m competing in the Miss South Carolina Pageant. Speaking of dressed up, we gave the kids an idea for their Halloween costumes this year. You can't buy costumes here because most of El Salvador skips this holiday. They celebrate Day of the Dead instead. I couldn’t believe the kids agreed to our suggestion. It was just for the school carnival put on by the senior class. Maggie dressed up as me and Will dressed up as James. Most adults had to think about it for a minute, but all the students got the joke immediately. So here’s the picture. James’s tie is forever getting turned around while he teaches, so one of his students made Will turn his tie. It completed the look.

I’m off to walk around the track this morning with friends. There is a basketball tournament finishing up today. I can hear the fans screaming while I type. Our teams didn’t make it to the finals, but they gave it their best effort. The fans were like nothing I’d ever seen before. There are no cheerleaders or school cheers here. So the E.A. students rewrote the vulgar cheers that the Salvadoran soccer fans chant during the games here. Maggie kept translating the cheers for me and they didn’t make any sense. Then someone explained that all the dirty words had been replaced with clean ones. Only in Central America!

I’ll end with the dumbest thing I’ve done this week. I decided to buy a scale. I wanted to see if I could lose a pound or two before the big ball tonight. When I finally got on it, I was so confused. It clearly read "60." Then I realized how ethnocentric I still am. The scale is in kilograms, of course. So we are all practicing our math skills. I’m not going to tell you how to convert - you’ll have to look it up yourself! Happy early Thanksgiving to everyone back home. A pumpkin here is $18 and a turkey is $58. Think we’ll be eating local cuisine instead of traditional... All my best - Susan


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, this is only the second blog I have tapped into and the first I have commented upon.

We regularly think of you guys and wondered how you were faring, and now having read you blog I feel I have a handle on your life. I am pleased that y'all are enjoying it so much and fitting in. Are Maggie and Will keeping a blog, too?

We are back in Florida for the season now, having had a "fast" summer in Sptbg. Barabara's Dad passed away down here in Sept after a five-year bout with Alzheimers. A real blessing, though, and a big relief for Barbara who was a MOST dutiful daughter.

So we made several trips here this summer....as well to help Peter tend to his new 'flock' of children...triplets!!

We are all fine and will look forward to next blog addition. How do we know when you have added more?

PS...As I was reading blog my eyes hit the picture of kids dressed up as parents before I read the backstory, and I truly did a double/double take.....amazing.
Love to all of you.
Hank ( Let me know you get this so I know it worked.)

9:43 PM  

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