Friday, January 8, 2016

The More I Study Spanish...

and the more I teach English the more I realize I do not even know my native language. Go head, give me a quick definition for the following and no cheating.
1. What is an Adjective?
   -  Name 2 Adjective suffixes
2. What is an Adverb
3. What are the 14 punctuation marks commonly used in the English Language?
4. What is a Modal Verb?
5. What is a phrasal Clause
6. What is the difference between the present participle and a gerund
7. There are 12 basic verb tenses in English, name them.
8. What about sentence Diagramming (big fun there)
9. What are the 9 parts of Speech
10. I should have listened more in High School

 My new best friend is an old friend. School House Rock. I am not kidding. I am rocking to Conjunction Junction as I type this. There are over 200 videos that include numbers and math, grammar, history and civics (I'm Just a that you have that song is in your head. Your Welcome). For those not in the know, these are NOT new internet cartoons. They were a part of Saturday morning television oh so long ago. Arguably the most effective Saturday morning bowl of cereal teacher ever created. Now the most effective learning tool for people who have no idea what they teaching, let alone saying.

Now lets talk about adding this little exercise in learning for the sake of my burgeoning career as an English Teacher to my daily attempt to learn Spanish and the rules of Spanish grammar. Now that we are on that role there are processes and procedures let along methodologies and systems to learn how to teach. The good news is I am encouraged to toss everything into a pot, simmer and stir and find my own productive delivery system that is encouraging, engaging and somewhat entertaining to a room full of teenagers. To all those teachers in my past, I am sorry....wait, no I am not. Most of you were dicks.

Time for a Quetzel Trekkers Break. My latest hike up El Hoyo was special for a few reasons. The first being I put the entire trip together for a group of 7 plus 2 guides. My hiking partner was an 18 year old guy who has been with QT for a while now. He did do the grocery shopping and cooked breakfast the morning of but the rest was all this cowboy. This is not arrogance, it is excitement and pride and knowing everyone was happy it was a job well done.

Atop El Hoyo during sunset. Momotombo in the background
What goes into a typical trip? After the 6m closing I take the hiking list. For El Hoyo it comes in 2 parts. This crew also does one trip down Cerro Negro so that is planned as a second trip.
Lets start with El Hoyo. Counting the hikers I needed to arrange a food list for 2 days and a night. This includes 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, a dinner and snacks. I put together 8 litres of water for each person by sanitizing 2 litre bottles and filling them with filtered water. Including the guides that was 36 bottles. Then each person needs sleeping bags and mats. Tents need to be organized and checked. Medical kit, fire kit, spice kit and the much needed shit kit are rounded up.

Food needs to be arranged by meals and packed into small enough bags so that it can be carried by the hikers. Each hiker takes 8 litres of water, a sleeping bag, either food or a tent and personal items. Also needed are bowls, cups, spoons, cutting board, big pot and ladle, and my personal items.
Breakfast potatoes need to be blanched and pasta cooked. The entire process if you put your head down and plow through it "Oil Patch Style" can be done in about 3 hours. The biggest challenge is the "take it easy we will get it done" approach that slips into the hammock swinging, mobile device staring crew that I am a part of. Of course not all and most of the guides are brilliant and have a sense of pride and responsibility. This time however I just did what I do and got it all done as the mobile device glowed and the hammock swung freely. I still get a rush from a job well done. Take on more work and responsibility, bring it.

Next up is part 2, preparing for Cerro Negro. An easier prep of bagging up suits and gloves and another litre of water for each person. As we become a part of the larger Cerro Negro tour the leaders of that group finish up with the other needed supplies.

This is all the prep work. Next comes transportation, entrance fees, safety reviews, hike and fun facts, viewpoints, water breaks, photos, lunch, gathering of firewood, pitching of tents, hiking up for sunset, bonfire, cooking, chatting, 5am wake up, breakfasts, downhill and a 5 hour hike, break and snacks, a swim in a lagoon, lunch, 90 minute hike, 2 bus rides and a short walk back to the shop. Clean up and the next take wake up in agony.

As I am not traveling around much this has become sort of a diary but I will try and not go down that path.Finally, the irony of coming to Nicaragua to learn Spanish and realizing that I do not know English is not lost on me.

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