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Top 7 Reasons I am Happy Right Now

Friday, February 25, 2011

1. Personal space. Today is my first day since arriving in Chile almost a month ago that I am alone.  This morning I played Chris Pureka while I made myself oatmeal, and I can come and go without letting anyone know my whereabouts.  The people I work with (and have been living with) are great, but I was ready for this space.  It is delicious.

2. This just happened. I made myself a wonderful lunch, another first here in Chile!  White beans cooked with onions and topped with cheese; sauteed beet greens; and a salad of red cabbage, carrots, and chive.  When I bought the beans, the woman reminded me to soak them overnight before cooking them– so sweet, though given my family, I learned that around the same time I learned to walk.  The beet greens also have a story: we get lots of vegetables from a woman who goes door to door selling, and when we were at her house it came up that I eat beet greens (which no one here seems to have conceived of), so yesterday she told me, “And I left the leaves on the beets, the way you like.”

3. I got a package from home. The mail works!  Well, it arrives and leaves once a week, but now that I know when (Tuesday night), I know when to send mail (Monday) and when to pick it up (Wednesday).  What a treat to see a box waiting for me!  Spices, tea, vitamins, tofu, popcorn, chocolate, vanilla…  My parents are really great.  I lucked out.  And in case you’re wondering, my address is below.  That’s right, no street address.

Margaret Woodman-Russell
X Región Los Lagos

4. I have a job.  After so much anticipation, I have now met most of the teachers I will be working with and begun planning.  School starts on Thursday (though school starts the following Monday in Puerto Montt, the regional capital, so that might change), but already with meetings and planning, free time is suddenly precious, as opposed to the default setting of the past few weeks.

5. I might be making friends.  At school, I’ve been sitting with the Spanish teacher, history teacher, and 3rd grade teacher (all new, young, and female).  I was invited to a photo reception at the library, and it turned out to be a small group of friends plus me, sharing drinks and snacks.  When the conversation turned to politics and history, I couldn’t believe my luck to have landed in this situation.  The school English teacher is also new, young, and enthusiastic, full of ideas about teaching as well as socializing.  And I just went to a parade in honor of Palena’s 82nd birthday with another two teachers, who were good friends with the Foundation teacher last year.  It is a joy to run into people I know, to be able to greet people by name; but even beyond that, I’m becoming cautiously optimistic that I will make genuine friends.  Delicious.

6. I still have friends at home. I’ve never appreciated the internet as much as I do now.  I feel so sustained and supported by the emails, blog comments, chatting, and skype conversations.  When I’ve felt disconnected here, what a relief to know I really am known somewhere.  I have that foundation to build on.

7. I kind of know what’s happening the next few days.  I doubt I’ll ever more than kind of know here, since things change and plans are never set in stone.  But I have to say, I love to at least have an idea of the future.  I know there’s a concert tonight, some different options for tomorrow, and then a day of helping out in a farm (same woman who sold me beet greens) on Sunday, before returning to planning on Monday.

Alright, now I’m off to finish draft of 1st and 2nd grade English curriculum, before meeting with my co-teacher to go over our ideas.  I’d say that justifies categorizing this post in “being a grown-up.”

8 Comments leave one →
  1. David Russell permalink
    Friday, February 25, 2011 1:58 pm

    Seven “top” reasons: It must be great to have to be selective! Each seems powerful. I stopped by Zumis this morning and Umesh said he tried to find you blog unsuccessfully; I gave him the info so he will be having a look shortly I bet. I’m really curious to hear how all the school stuff is going to go. TTFN!

  2. Friday, February 25, 2011 1:59 pm

    Thanks Dad! Yes, so much school stuff to talk to you about. I’m looking forward to it.

  3. jane woodman permalink
    Friday, February 25, 2011 2:18 pm

    Bonjour beans! Potential friends! Beet greens and kind vegetable woman! Teachers, purpose, and the beginnings of being a part of Palena. Good job missy, xoxo p.s. lol (laugh out loud) re: the toddler that knew about soaking beans overnight!

  4. Friday, February 25, 2011 2:27 pm

    Thanks Mom! And FYI you are the only person who feels the need to clarify the meaning of LOL- I don’t know any one else who has ever used it to mean “lots of love”.

  5. Davie permalink
    Friday, February 25, 2011 4:27 pm

    Good to hear that things are getting more concrete and settled! Nothing quite like knowing whats going on, especially when one is used to Klinger. Beet greens? Wierdo. Although that all sound pretty yummy… I love the updates, keep it up! I am sending warm southern wishes from gainesville and lake lanier!!!

  6. Friday, February 25, 2011 7:48 pm

    1. I also knew about soaking beans overnight as a toddler. I mean…duh.
    2. My dad thought LOL meant lots of love for oh, about two years. He recently discovered he was wrong and was quite distraught.
    3. Do you remember when you called me during the summer after our first year at Smith? It was so wonderful to hear the voice of a friend when I was having such a lonely, difficult summer. I hope you know how much that meant to me.


  7. Cathy Canney permalink
    Sunday, February 27, 2011 11:24 am

    Hi Meg,

    I’ve enjoyed reading your posts. Really get a sense of what’s going on but of course, can only imagine how it feels, not truly know. I think about you often and hope you are doing well. Looking at your beautiful pictures of the countryside is in shart contrast to what I’m looking at outside my window. It’s snowing in Templeton! Good luck with school later this week!

    Take care,

    Aunt Cathy

  8. Cynthia Watkins permalink
    Sunday, February 27, 2011 3:04 pm

    Seven great reasons! Friends!!
    You inspire me to make some lists of my own.
    lol (in both senses)

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