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Princesses, Procrastinating, and the Return of the Rain

Sunday, November 20, 2011

To celebrate the school’s anniversary last week, classes were canceled for three days and everyone (prekinder through 12th grade) was divided into three “alianzas” (green, blue, and black teams) to compete in a variety of activities — indoor soccer, treasure hunts, group choreography, eating contests, dance contests, most-people-in-a-square-meter contests, etc.  Even after nine and a half months in Chile, I was floored by the level of chaos, confusion and misinformation, not to mention the bickering among teachers.  But as a judge, I got front row seats at every event, and full permission — a mandate, really — to oo and aw over kids.  And I love these kids.  Each team had a Queen, King, Prince and Princess representative, all four of which did some beauty-pagent like events (Queen’s talent, all four in sporty outfit, formal outfit, recycled outfit).  This means each “alliance” had an adorable little girl in her favorite princess dress-up outfit, an adorable little boy who had no idea what was going on, and several mothers toting all the costume changes.  After the results were announced on Friday morning, the Alianza Negra (black team — prek, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 12th grade) queen was coronated.  Both king and queen are beloved English students, and as the queen tearfully reminded us this is her last year of high school, I was not far away.  Endings, celebrations, coming of age.

I would like to write a better post, and track down some photos to accompany it, but my time is limited.  In all my years in school, I never once wrote a paper the night before it was due; in college, it felt like a last-minute scramble if my footnotes were not perfected a safe 24-hours before the deadline.  These days I hardly recognize myself: I have transformed into a procrastination professional.  There is a big event Tuesday — The English Olympics, hosted here in Palena — and I am scrambling now (midnight Sunday) to finish activities I could have done weeks ago.  I think part of it is that I know when the Olympics are over, my year is pretty much over; but when I offered that explanation to a friend, he said, “Or you’ve just become really Chilean.”  This stress is not pleasant, but I have to say, it’s remarkable how things actually do get done, even if at the last minute.  Is my quality the same?  Almost, but not really.    I think procrastination is also a coping method with everyone else being last minute.  There was nothing more frustrating first semester than planing something out well in advance, only for it to be forgotten, changed, or postponed; I have in part eliminated that frustration recently by waiting for confirmation before planning the details.  Or, maybe I’ve just become lazy.  Probably it’s a combination.

I would also like to mention that after a heat wave last week (I was sweating and drooping and hiding in the shade), my good friends have returned: the cold and the rain.  Today I got soaked hitch-hiking to Melissa and Tito’s, and curled up around the fire with mate; tonight I am writing by my stove in a sweater and fleece just like old times.  This means that when I finally get my work done, upstairs in my attic bedroom, the rain is waiting for me.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Eliza permalink
    Sunday, November 20, 2011 10:22 pm

    So good Margaret!

  2. Sunday, November 20, 2011 10:24 pm

    I know you feel the same way about footnotes.

  3. sally johnson permalink
    Tuesday, November 22, 2011 11:14 am

    Margaret,
    Hard to believe your time there is almost at an end. Soak up ALL that you can and I don’t just mean the rain!! 🙂 Perhaps the cooler weather is preparing you for your return north. I’m sure this is an emotional time for you, and for your students as well. much love, Sally

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