My preschoolers behaved better this week. I learned that they need to run around every 40 minutes or so in order to pay attention during writing/art/story time. I used my vocabulary for run! listen! behave! wait! make a circle! grab his/her hand! a lot. It is helpful. They have learned how to clean up with no yelling necessary, and they even sing the cleanup song along with me. They all say their names in circle now, they participate in songs, and on Friday not one single kid cried in the morning when their parent left.
On the other hand, Nohelia cried, screamed, and kicked for 2 hours on Tuesday or Wednesday. The other kids just got used to it, and if I came close it was worse, and we didn´t want to reward that behavior by letting her go back to her mom, so we just continued on with the activities. For the third hour she played happily. Her outward behavior, I realize, is not totally unlike my inward experience some days. I think on Wednesday or Thursday I just asked myself why I go to all the trouble. Where is the familiar food? The running water in sinks? The absence of dust? The familiar cultural references? Anyone who´s known me for more than 4 weeks? By midday I was having a ball with my second group of kids, and in the afternoon I was encouraged by stories about prayers being answered in our midst.
It´s hard work, but here I am, and I´m learning and growing and understanding more Spanish and speaking better. I´m enduring homesickness and I know how to handwash my own clothes. I can take the bus alone and I have friends. I get discouraged and I worship, I complain and I pray, I feel lonely and I love my host family. I´m alive!
Two last thoughts:
I completed one month on Tuesday night! It feels like a victory. The hardest part is over and I´m still here, getting more and more comfortable.
I will attempt tonight to make chocolate chip cookies in our little used oven, without brown sugar. Vamos a ver!