Saturday, December 31, 2011

resolved.

in 2011 i wanted to accomplish many things. goals, not "resolutions". and most of them i accomplished.

it's the first year that i really made goals that were important to me and not cliche, like "lose weight" or "watch less tv." it was more of "find something fulfilling and run with it." "live and love."

and for 2012, i've got so many things swimming through my head, so many things that have been set in front of me to choose from, so my hope is to choose wisely, to appreciate each and every opportunity to grow and learn and, most of all to live.

to experience life. the good and the bad.

happy and safe new years, friends. see you next year.

Friday, December 30, 2011

photo shoot.

i had a student last semester who dabbles in photography. he's really passionate about it, and wanted some kid pictures... and well, i have two kids. perfect, right? so we headed out to a park one lovely saturday morning and he buttered the kids up and got some amazing shots. i was waiting to put the pictures on here until i got his web links to link it up (in case you're in the DR - cibao/north coast area (he travels)) but i always forgot to get it from him. so here are four of my favorite pictures from the shoot. 
 samil is forever moving around. he would not stop running all morning. in fact, he didn't want his picture taken unless he was running or eating. 

 amely is playful. there weren't any jungle gyms at the park, so she made her own.
there's a moon rock in the middle of this park (if you're in santiago, it's the "parque de los arabes" in la trinitaria, behind the ayuntamiento - the park with the big pyramid with the globe hanging down from it) and samil found a hole to slide rocks through. fun!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

supermarket-selection overload.

have you been in the supermarket lately? have you seen the rows and rows and rows of the same thing for sale? 
seriously, who needs that big of a selection of milk or juice? or salt. or drinking water. really?
the supermarket isn't hard for me. after all, there are very nice, big, modern supermercados in the dominican republic. really nice ones. with a lot of selection. i mean, there are aisles of wine which is impressive in itself since most of the country just drinks brugal. 
there are some things, though, that just boggle my mind and sometimes throw me into sensory overload. 
i don't think our food is any more natural than north american food - but it looks a little, well, different. my brother bought an onion the other day. a big white ball of onion-y goodness (i l.o.v.e. onions). it was huge and perfect. like, unnaturally perfect. (i would have taken a picture, but remember how i didn't bring my tools for the cell phone camera?) it looked like a giant softball. pure and white and not a dimple on its skin.
i, admittedly, borrowed these pictures from the internet. however, they make my point. do you see the oranges over there? perfect and round and orange? i haven't seen an orange orange in the dominican republic, ever. i don't know why, i don't know how these things work - but when you're accustomed to this kind of "home-garden-y" type of fruits and vegetables, it is a little disturbing to see such aesthetic perfection.
on every visit to the states, the first trip to the grocery store is weird. this trip, though, i got thrown by the drug store. my mom sent me to get some cold medicine. luckily, she was kind of specific - she wanted mucinex. did you know how many different selections of mucinex there are? i stood, perplexed, for a few minutes looking for the one. they were all the same thing as far as i could tell. there were different milligrams, different types of pills, a syrup. had i been alone in the store i might have hyperventilated. good thing i had someone with me just as clueless to the medicine chest as i am (the joys of being 14 and having mom take care of that stuff!) 

i picked the box of meds that matched the price my mom told me - a syrup that was not on sale - and headed to the register. we walked past the aisles of everything in the world - 17 different kinds of cotton balls, 12 different brands of cotton swabs, perfume, makeup, 16 varieties of nail clippers. 
i paid quickly and got out. i haven't been back in the drugstore since, but i'm going to need to venture out before we head back to santiago - after all, there are some things i need to get.


Monday, December 26, 2011

best christmas present. ever.

 i mean, who else gets elfish slippers from kazakhstan for christmas?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

walkin' in the winter...warmth?

look at her hands. this kid is not used to mittens.
 i love fairmount park. there's a creek that runs through this beautiful park with hiking trails and a bridal path. it's such a nice place to walk and there are ducks to feed. and since it's been so warm so far this vacation, we packed up and went back "the crick" on christmas eve for a little walking, a few bags of popcorn for the quack-quacks and visiting with aunt lily.

 samil was so concerned that the geese would not share their popcorn with each other. and when he tried to throw the popcorn to the birds in the water, it just flew away to the "not-sharing" ones on the land.


 after we feed the animals, we took a walk down the bridal path looking for... well, i don't know. i told the kids we were looking for horses, but i don't suppose one goes looking for horses. luckily we did spot one, but when it got close enough for the kids to admire, it spooked and took off.
 we ventured off the path and hiked up a little path next to a small stream. samil wanted to carry all of the sticks that he found on the way and so, of course,did amely.
no snow, but at least we can get out and about this year and see some things. on the list for this week? the zoo, the science museum and the indoor playground (we went last week and the kids loved that, too).

Friday, December 23, 2011

dreaming of a white christmas.

i come to philadelphia every christmas. it was nice when i was self-employed because i could just pick up and go, but now with a real job it's a little more difficult. so, we arrived last thursday and have been livin' it up since.

we've been to all of my favorite stores, to a flea market, more stores...

we have done more than just shop. really. the kids went on a carrousel the other day. and  we went to the playground last weekend. we have tickets to the zoo and the children's museum and a ton of other stuff.

but one thing is wrong. it's warm! like, wear just a sweatshirt and be comfortable warm.
i'm sitting here just dreaming of a white christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

christmas in the barrio.

we used to live across the city in an apartment complex really close to a pretty upper-class neighborhood. it was one of those places where people didn't talk to each other and although we knew the people in our building, i only knew two or three people who lived in the others.

so, when we moved i was excited to live in a place where people actually know each other and talk to each other. my kids have been invited to tons of birthday parties of kids we only see in passing because that's the kind of place it is - invite the neighborhood over for cake.

when christmas rolled around last year, i was surprised that, when walking in from work, there was a group of kids building something in the street. they wanted a donation. i kept walking. i had no idea what they were doing. day after day, this thing started to take shape. it was a christmas tree. a recycled-repurposed tree in the middle of the road. i mentioned it to amalio and he says, "well yeah that's how they do. get some donations and every day add a little til they've got a tree. there's tons all over the city."

oh.

since then i've seen tons of trees. amazing things made from old plastic cups, plates, 20 oz soda bottles, plastic bags, anything and everything. it wasn't until this year, though, that i saw some of the prize winners. because, wait for it, there's a competition! neighborhoods can compete with their christmas scenes to win money for their communities. amazing.

a christmas tradition in the country is to roast a pig on christmas eve, la noche buena, to share with friends and families. i think the roasting of the pig is more than half of the fun, as it's often done over night and someone has to make sure it doesn't burn. gather up some friends and spend the night with the pig? who doesn't love an all-night that doesn't include studying?

this scene won first place this year and it's representative of the lechon or roast pig shared on christmas.
the beginning of the barrio
 christmas tree
this one is my favorite just because the trees are recycled plastic plates painted and lighted from inside. there are a ton of re-purposed things in this scene.  i love that these arbolitos are so pretty, and so cheap.


made from small plastic bags, wire and
"twinkle lights."






our neighborhood doesn't compete, so our trees are humble and small - but most nights during the season there are groups of people out helping to put them up, and taking donations for ginger tea to share with everyone who stops by.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

a new hope.

one of my new goals with the "re-living" of this blog is to connect people to organizations that are doing amazing things in this country. i wrote about my visit to cabral and baez hospital with midwives for the dominican republic (a visit that has convicted me in ways i never imagined - more on that in future posts). and i've got a ton more people doing good in this country. 

a few years ago, i was tutoring out of my house. i'd get calls from people all of the time - i was full, blessed by enough work to pay the bills and some extra. i had tutored a few ex-pat kids and some dominicans. i was used to the work and i liked it. i never imagined changing jobs - it was so easy, work from home, be with my kids and make decent money. 


but, one day i got a call from a woman looking for a more permanent tutoring situation. i was interested - the ideas they had caught my attention. and i went through a process with a group of women, talking about education and what it means. in the end the job didn't pan out, but i learned so much about myself and about what my beliefs are through the process that i was just grateful to have been involved.

one of the women was joy. a missionary living with her family, and working in a school for impoverished children in la vega. she wanted more, though, and i could see it in her. she was convicted to serve the girls in her community - the ones who are battered, abused and left behind. to be honest, though, i didn't see it happening. too complicated, too much crazy.

see, there's a problem here. girls are a commodity to be bought and sold to the highest bidder. and it doesn't just happen in the most impoverished of neighborhoods. parents looking for a better life encourage their daughters to "marry" foreigners, to only be with the man with a good job or who has money. it doesn't matter about love or even like. 


we have a student/friend who's girlfriend wasn't allowed to see him anymore because "he doesn't have enough money" (the kid was 16 for crying out loud!) and the parents needed her to find someone more stable. it's sad, really. but the worst are when the girls do "marry" (marriage in the dominican republic is a funny thing, and the word spouse is thrown around freely - usually two children are considered "married" if they've have intimate relations), she is considered spoiled goods. they "marry" and when it doesn't work out (because what 13 year old girl can really be a wife?) the family doesn't want her back. so she has nowhere to go.

a coworker of mine, the woman who cleans our building, was "married" at 12 and had three children by 15. He "husband" left her when she was pregnant with the third claiming that she wasn't young enough anymore. she had to make it on her own - three kids and a 5th grade education. now, she's older and her 16 year old daughter has a baby. it's a vicious cycle. 


so back to joy. she recently started a school for girls. and god has been moving in that school and my original skepticism is gone. when i read their facebook page and their updates on their blog, i'm amazed at the power of prayer and the sacrifices people are making to support this organization. new hope is taking in these girls and giving them an education, food, hope. showing them god's love, and preparing them for the future.


so, what's prompted this post of mine?


i'm a big supporter of helping people up instead of giving out. empowering people with education, job opportunities and giving the opportunity for personal responsibility is so much better than handing people things. that forced dependence that so often happens just forces the cycle to continue, while creating independence helps to break it.


i checked out their blog the other day and saw their new project. empowering women by helping them learn a craft to sell in fair trade markets, locally and internationally. Their first project was to make sandals. "Each sandal is hand woven and sewn and takes about three hours to create.  Women are able to earn more than double the average wage in our barrio with all the proceeds supporting the work of New Hope Girls Inc.  We had our first public sale locally Saturday where we sold 25 pairs of sandals! The women were so excited and encouraged." (new hope girls blog). (you can buy them, i think for $25 off the blog or facebook)


i sincerely ask you to check New Hope Girls out, because they're doing amazing things. educating and training and preparing. helping girls learn their real value, not just as a piece of meat with a price-tag. giving women self-confidence and skills that will help them support their families. and doing it with a heart full of love and compassion. 

good things are happening in this country. check them out. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

an open letter to american airlines.

to whom it may concern:

let me start this letter by saying that i understand that your company is claiming bankruptcy, that the nasty economy finally caught up to you and you're in a sticky situation. how can you keep up the service and quality that your repeat customers are accustomed to and still make enough money to stay afloat? however, i don't think you are all that concerned with your customers. making enough money? enough, i'm sure, considering your prices and all of your hidden charges. taking care of passengers? not so much. let me tell you why i think that.

you see, a few days i boarded a plane with my two small children and my father. a tricky situation to begin with - a game of who sits where and with whom? who walks and who gets the stroller? and what in the world do i do with these kids on a two hour flight? i planned out naptimes, snacks and activities for two hours on a plane. then, different activities for the insane layover and more activities for the second 2 hour flight.

everything was planned. and, of course, i know that not everything goes as plans. but explain to me why i sat on your airplane for two hours because of some paperwork problem? two hours on a fairly full plane, sitting at a gate with two small children, because your mechanics made a simple and supposedly easy repair and then, presumably, filled out two hours of paperwork. regardless, two hours sitting on a plane? and what do you do to help this problem? a glass of water and free headphones for a tv program that went twenty minutes without sound. seriously,

the flight was uneventful, but upon arrival in miami, we practically ran through the airport - the seventy two miles from your plane to customs - so as not to miss our connecting flight. two small children, remember? collect our bags, leave the airport and go back through security. i get it. i do, really. people died because some crazies got on a plane and now we have to take our shoes off and get body scans. but didn't we go through security for the first flight?

with just a few minutes to feed my children, we found our gate and then found something to eat. quick. because our plane was going to board. except it wasn't. because again, dear american airlines friends, your flight was delayed. not by much, but enough to make our race through the airport completely unnecessary. we board. and then sit. again. this time because the airport took the ground crew away from my flight to service another.

delay upon delay.

again. uneventful flight. luckily my kids slept most of the flight. they would have slept peacefully for the full flight except that not only had the flight been delayed in the beginning, it circled the philadelphia airport for at least 25 minutes in the air before landing. thank you, american airlines. that's what i needed to end my day. 25 minutes of kids asking why the plane wasn't "going down" and were we "stuck" in the air.

i sincerely hope that you figure out the mess you're in because it is no longer pleasant to travel with your airline. and, like you say on all of your flights, we customers do have a choice. you are not the only option out there.

sincerely,
girlinthedr.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

on why there are no pictures for the next two weeks.

so, i had decided to revamp and revive my blog a few weeks ago. "life in the dominican republic", yes?

armed with my blackberry phone (complete with flash camera) i wandered the city. wait. no. i basically just went about life and took pictures of things that i see. some hilarious. some tragic. some mundane.

all with the intention of knocking down some blog posts while i was here in philadelphia. except. well, i left my memory chip thingy at home and now i can't get those pictures onto the computer. and therefore, my fervent blogging might come to a rest for this break.

or i might get enough stuff to write about from philly. who knows.
but for now, no pictures of the DR unless i get an adaptar memory stick. sorry, people,.

Friday, December 16, 2011

navidad is here!



christmas tree at my bank.

christmas in the  caribbean perplexes me. the decorations in the streets and in a lot of houses are mostly what I associate with upper-class new england d├ęcor; santa clause is a hispanic man painted white (yes, white. not cream, not peach. white). the stores pipe in the hallelujah chorus and it’s just weird to me. strange.

these go in your yard, apparently. i've yet to see one
that  actually looks nice.
i associate that Christmas with cold, snow, drinking hot chocolate and watching national lampoons christmas vacation on tv. so, when i went with friends to the beach last weekend... well, i wasn't feeling christmas so much. 

there are some things that scream caribbean christmas to me and i l.o.v.e. them. the homemade and recycled displays in the communities (another post just about that). the christmas donkey song: el burrito sabanero and the arandelas de mi corazon.so christmas exists here, of course. but it's different. and it takes some getting used to. 

the other night we took the kids to the mall for pizza and ice cream (compensation for a rainy day promise to visit the park). on our way home, some neighbors were building a fire in the street to make ginger tea for the neighborhood. everyone chips in money  to buy the roots, sugar and crackers and then share together before bed. we’re usually in the house by the time fun things like this happen, but man, it’s so nice when it happens.
evergreens grow here, but most people use artificial trees for their arbolito


i wanted a tree for a long time, but… well, I don’t like artificial trees. so we’ve never had one. besides, they fall into that weird category for me. when we moved to our new place two years ago I had only heard tell of “street trees” – the barrio christmas trees. then, we had one close to us. it was pretty crappy, so I wasn’t impressed. but we went on a tour looking for trees (it’s like looking at the lights on a cold night!) trees made from recycled soda bottles, from plastic bags, from 5 gallon water jugs. amazing.
my all time favorite tradition though are  seasonal fruit and treat shacks. they set up mid-november, and man, are these places great? apples, grapes, raisins, mandarins oranges, orange slices. when I first moved here apples and grapes were scarce and super expensive. now, in the city at least, they’re fairly common place and only somewhat  costly. at christmas time, though, you can stop by one of these stands and get it all. their lights are on all night and you can  find one on almost any major intersection in Santiago.



we’re in philly now – visiting family and friends – so we’ll be doing all of the philly favorites (light show at the old wanamaker building and that new one; the zoo, reading terminal, visiting santa!) and we don’t get back until three kings day to the dr, but we’ll weave in some new traditions – blending cultures and enjoying the best of both worlds!

Monday, December 12, 2011

a good old fashioned presidente party




i'm not a big drinker - quiza a glass of wine now and then, or a frias shared with friends and i'm my grandmothers' offspring, because i like hi-balls - but drinking was so college and i think i'm a little too old for so much of that anymore.

however, (and i swear this is the last post about my mountain hike!) after that long walk up the mountain and long walk back down, the "kids" decided it was time for a presidente party. where thy got the energy from, i've got no idea - but they turned on the radio and danced the bus-ride away: bachata, merengue and reggaeton. throw in a few jumbos of presidente beer and it was poppin'.

i love that every thing can be turned into a celebration. and alcohol is not necessary for fun in these parts - just a radio with loud music for dancing and, usually, food to go along with it. even funerals can get a little spicy once the music starts pumping.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

campfire food.

let me tell you, 8 faithful readers, how much i l.o.v.e. food cooked on a fire.

when we go to the river, we take a huge pot and cook rice on the river bed. sometimes even at the beach. and every once and awhile, when my father-in-law was still married, i'd beg a fire-cooked meal when we visited.

it's rustic, for sure. it's a lot of work. especially during the rainy seasons, finding dry wood for the kindling is next to impossible. but it is so worth it.

before we climbed to the top of pico quita espuela, we stopped at the restaurant where we would eat after the climb. the ladies were in the back, in a ranchito, cooking. on. an. open. fire. i considered staying there just to smell the deliciousness.

when things got slippery and sticky on the way down the mountain (my pants were proof of how many times i fell!) i just imagined the smoky, rich flavor of that moro de habichuela negra waiting for me at the bottom. and i don't even usually like black beans and rice!

you've never had delicious until you've eaten like this!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

3-2-1 almost time!

we’ve got two pretty big countdowns going on here. grandpop is coming to visit on monday night, and then on thursday we’re going to get on the plane with him! the kids are thrilled because mostly people leave here when they’re sleeping, and this time they get to leave, too.
of course, we’re sad because we still haven’t gotten amalio a visa to visit the states, so he’ll be staying behind – yet again – but we hope that this summer he’ll finally make it north, and not just to the beach an hour away. (in fact, I think I’ll make a countdown for the kids to count the days until they see their papi while we’re away!)
I’ve seen these countdown chains all over the internet, and at first (I’ll admit it) I thought it was kind of dumb. and then samil starting going to sleep every night talking about how manana he’s going to grandpop’s house. and then he’d wake up in the morning and look for his suitcase. the chain has been helpful because he count it down together and then he or amely cuts the last link off (or number). the countdown to our trip has numbers on it for him and the countdown for grandpop is plain, so that’s what amely cuts (and… amely sucks with scissors, so ripping construction paper links is easier on us all). 



Wednesday, December 7, 2011

decidida.

The view from the top of Pico Quita Espuela, Dominican Republicif you read the blog (amazing! considering how infrequently i've posted this year), you'll know that i've been trying to change my eating and exercise habits.

i've waxed and waned this year - i lost 30 pounds before may, and have more or less just maintained that since i started my new job. we, as a family, have been making more healthy food choices and we recently made a deal to incorporate more active activities into our family-time.

it's not always easy to be active in the ways that i know how to be active with two kids. the hiking trails are hard here, and there are few parks to play in. but we try. playgrounds, riding bikes outside, taking walks.

the last weekend in november we were invited on a field trip with a class of enivronmental science students. we wouldn't be able to take the kids, but since we rarely ever have the chance to take part in things like this, and i didn't need the babysitter that saturday, we signed up for the hike to the top of pico quita espuela.

i'm super out of shape. and not at-all-skinny. i made a goal. i would make it to the half-way house and wait it out. i was sure i would probably be dead before i got there, but i would at least make it there.

i watch biggest loser. a lot. religiously, even. partly because it motivates me, partly because i don't believe that they can actually get those people to do the things they do. i remember watching oprah and maury povich when i was younger and they would have fat people clap their hands and wiggle their hips for 30 minutes a day so they could burn calories. and now? biggest loser has 500 pound men going miles in the first weeks at the ranch.

it was unbelievable to me because i didn't think i had it in me. and if i don't, why should they?

so, i make these half-goals because i don't believe that i can really do the whole-goal.
we got to the midway point. my thighs were burning, i was thirsty and tired. we sat down and... when everyone started getting up to go (and by everyone, i mean everyone except the girls who brought their purses and designer boots along for the hike and a few gentlemen companions) i decided that i needed to do it. i was going to make it to the top.
amalio and i at the caseta de descanso - or midway point
i was fine until we decided to go down the slippery slope to the river-spring to drink. the trees were covered in spines and i slid on my butt most of the way. luckily, there was a lovely young man who helped a few of us girls by digging holes in the mud.

i made it back up and decided, again, to keep going. it hurt. it burned. i felt like i would die. but. three hours later, we made it to the top - and i wasn't even the last one there.
this one kid who helped me down the mountain told me that he admired me because most of the skinny girls stayed back at the rest-stop, and here i was determined to get to the top. (if it wasn't for him, i'd probably still be at the top) gregory, my helper, was as determined as i was to get ME to the top! he kept saying he wouldn't leave anyone behind!

when you've got it inside, you have to pull it out. sometimes we get people who can help motivate us, but in the end it comes down to making a decision and getting on with it. it's not always about losing weight or getting in shape - it's about everything we think we can't do. we can.

just put your mind to, make a decision and go.



amalio and i at the top - a horrible quality photo, but WE MADE IT!



me at the bottom, waiting for the bus. so tired!

Monday, December 5, 2011

my husband, the monkey.

i met amalio in the city.

he took a bus and wore a tie to work. his shoes were shiny and he lived in a big house in the hills.

after a few short months of knowing each other, he invited me to the campo.

a beautiful village near the ocean, lush with vegetation of all kinds. his father's house was home (at that time) to an amazing mango tree. see, not all mango trees produce good mangos - sometimes they're too stringy, or too watery. this one was just right. (it no longer produces any fruit, bad or otherwise). there's also grapefruit trees, avocado trees and a lone caimito. there are oranges of all varieties (bitter, for cooking; sweet for eating; and juice oranges) and even a mandarina or italian orange tree in the field.
these fruits come in and out of season, and whenever we visit we try to stuff our bags with as much fresh (and free) fruit we can get. when we had the car, it was insane. and last year, we received about 100 pounds of avocadoes in the mail.
my first trip to this paraiso was eye-opening. not only did amalio not grow up wearing a shirt and tie, he didn't even wear shiny shoes!
and, apparently, spent most of his time playing with machetes and milking cows. when i was pregnant with samil, at least six women told me it would be okay if i ended up having the baby at home (by accident of course) because amalio was famous for helping animals through the birthing process.
lovely.
i took my brother to visit this wonderland on his first vacation to the island... and he'll even tell you about how amalio's tiny little sister climbed up the trees to throw down the fruit. and others will recount how my brother in law would shimmy his way up coconut trees (at times that would break gym-class rope climbing records all over the united states). and while amalio loves all things campo, taking care of cows and pigs and digging for root vegetable, we rarely get to see him in the trees.

we trekked to a mountain one sunday with a group of students from the UAPA university (post forthcoming, i promise, with lots of pictures). we stopped for a break and amalio, who had been lusting over some oranges since the bottom of the hill, took advantage of the break... climbed a tree and stole some oranges.
not bad for a "not so campesino" man!







Saturday, December 3, 2011

psychology?

before i got my current job, i did private tutoring. by some weird twist of nature, i ended up being the gringa in the dominican republic tutoring koreans.

there´s actually a fairly large community of koreans living here for all kinds of reasons - missionaries, factory managers, independent business owners. there´s not nearly as many koreans as chinese, but still. it´s a lot.

somehow, i got hooked into the community when i started working independently and they´ve taken care of me and mine ever since. so, when i started at the university, there were certain families, and certain classes i wasn´t ready to give up.

i´ve been working with two lovely characters for a few months now on my breaks at school.

another lovely, fresh from korea, joined our ¨class¨the other day. like many koreans, she has exquisite reading and writing skills but when it comes to expressing ideas orally, she struggles. that´s normal. she´s learning.

so, on our second day of class, i asked her about her family. with a little bit of help from her classmate, she tells me she has an older brother who studies at the university. excellent.

what does he study?

they look at each other. converse some. look in a dictionary. and then.

Kim Yu K looks at me. Dead serious.

¨Mind control.¨

sure don´t wanna meet that brother!

Friday, December 2, 2011

plagiarism.

we've got a friend living in kazahkstan right now. apparently, hilarious things happen to him on an everyday basis. funny students. ridiculous policies. bitter cold. and students copying their homework off the internet.

see. this happens here fairly frequently. i'll assign a writing assignment about, say, the sun, and i'll get, in return, 20 papers all copied and pasted from the same wikipedia site. once, a girl gave a presentation on all of the "houses of ill repute" in auckland, new zealand, speaking about the "ladies of the night" and "illicit activities." when asked what that meant, she thought it was a club district. not a red light one. because not only do the students copy, they don't even bother to look at what they've handed in.

i'm sure students in the USA cheat and copy and steal... but at least there is some creativity in hiding the cheating. because in these other parts it's blatant. and hilarious.

larry's facebook status the other day: "One of my students just sent me an assignment via email. The subject line was "Review which was copied from internet." It was a film review by Roger Ebert. my sides are busting.

and just a few days later: "The same student who sent me the "review copyed from internet" just sent me "review which I try to write myself." It's one of the most blatant Google translate jobs I've seen." more than a chuckle.

i guess students everywhere are the same. looking for the easy way out of a hard assignment. i say, keep it up students, every now and then i need a good laugh

giving thanks. a journey in photos.


really, it's just a link to pictures from our dominican/american/haitian/venezuelan/iranian/peruvian thanksgiving extravaganza.