Friday, November 28, 2008

The School Flag Ceremony

For quite a while now, Laura and the boys have been talking about the weekly flag ceremony, at which they watch a presentation of the colors (red, white, and green), recite the Mexican version of the Pledge of Allegiance (to the flag of the United States of Mexico), and sing the national anthem.

This is the version I witnessed on Monday, November 23. I am told that everything was fairly standard, with the exception that the recording of the national anthem wasn't working. So fortunately the second and third graders sang their little hearts out. Theo, as you will remember, was singing "watermelon watermelon watermelon," and Nathan...well, he wasn't singing much at all.

Have a look.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Nathan's Classical Recital

Tonight Nathan gave his first classical recital in Ensenada. As is usual, the date was announced relatively far in advance, but the actual time of the recital was not communicated to us until 2 days ago. Five students of Nathan's teacher, C├ęsar Marmolejo, performed. Here is a video of Nathan's performance.

Monday, November 24, 2008

TALENT SHOW!

Yesterday, there was an event at school, called the Dia de Cristo Rey. There were a lot of fun games and events, but the one I worked the hardest for was the talent show. I played piano, and the song I played was called "Agent X," which I played in two concerts before. There were probably a couple of hundred people in the audience, and I think it came out really well, even though I was so nervous before the concert.

My dad taped it on video. Here it is!

HOMESCHOOLED!

Today I was homeschooled by my dad for part of the day. He took me out of school and for two hours, and I studied Spanish intensely. My brother was jealous, but it was really just studying the whole time. I learned the future tense, the preterite, the present progressive, and another form of future. I think that it was a productive day in Spanish!

TAREA!

Today I am proud of myself for starting the fifth grade homework. Before I had been doing the easier fourth grade homework ( I attend fourth grade classes when the fifth graders are having English class). All of this means that just maybe, only maybe am I learning a tiny, tiny bit of Spanish!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Running on the Race Course

The biggest problem with running in residential areas of Ensenada is that I attract the attention of many dogs. Since crime is a problem here, people have dogs . . . big, vicious-sounding, mean-looking guard dogs. Most of these dogs are not on leashes. Some are locked behind the ornate fences of gated homes. But others run and chase freely. Since dogs can't tell the difference between innocent exercisers and "narco-traficantes," I have been chased by many furious furry beasts as they try to protect their turf.

After a bit of searching, and with help from Mark the Map Man, I found a workable running route from my apartment. (It is always possible to drive to the beach and run there, but I also wanted a place to run from home.) From my little condo in "Zona Centro" I can run 3 or 4 blocks east (away from the ocean) and into the hills. In just a few short minutes I can be off of the pavement and onto dirt roads in the dry hills that surround Ensenada. There are few homes in this area, thus few dogs. There are many off-road cyclists who love these dirt roads and paths, so I have enough company to feel safe and secure. I'm never really alone.

Yesterday, Mark accompanied me on my run. We noticed some police barricades near our route, so we inquired about getting through. After I asked in Spanish if we could continue up into the hills, the police officer responded in clear English, "Yes, just stay on the side." So, we did. We ran up and up and wondered what all the commotion was about. Finally, after a mile or so of dirt road, we ran into a man who wanted to make conversation. He pointed out a helicopter circling overhead and said that the helicopter was probably following a pack of cars, so we should see some action soon. . .

So, as it turns out, Mark and I were running on the actual race course of the Baja Mil. We had no idea that the racers were using MY running route yesterday. In fact, we thought that the Baja Mil was a race that started in Ensenada and ended in La Paz. But, apparently they change the route all the time. This year's course started and ended in Ensenada. So, we stopped to catch our breath, moved as far to the edge of the dirt road as possible, and waved to the motorcycles, ATVs, dune buggies, souped-up SUVs, and VW bugs that came careening by. Luckily, there wasn't really a pack at this point. So, we had plenty of time between cars to run down to the wider city streets.

It just seems awfully strange to me that we were allowed to run on the actual race course. The police officers never would have guessed that we didn't know the race was happening -- I don't think they were withholding information. They just assumed we were die-hard race fans who wanted to be the first to see the cars come out of the hills. But no, we were just oblivious foreigners living in a land where you run at your own risk.

We didn't have a camera with us to document our run on the race course, but we went home and got the boys and watched a few more cars from the safe sidewalk of our neighborhood. Here are a few photos:

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Baja Mil

Yesterday one of our friends took Theo and me downtown to see some off road vehicles that were getting ready to race in something called the Baja Mil. The Baja Mil is an 1000 mile off road race all around Baja California. It's been happening annually for about 35-40 years and is pretty big around here and with racing fans around the world, (there were many Gringos there). There are motorcycles, pickups with extra big shocks, and big off road vehicles with shocks so huge I could sit in between the wheel and the wheel well. Even though I'm not a racing fan of any sort I still had a good time.

Here's a picture I got off the internet of the race.
http://ten.ewzone.com/articleImages/38293.jpg

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Things Happen

Today was one of those days when you just want to go hide in a corner and be alone. The day started as a normal okay day, with my classes going great. I even got a big Hershey's dark chocolate candy bar in math for getting a good grade. The bad kicked in when I went to the fourth grade. I started to get a little off my good day when I needed to get a copy of my homework assignment sheet. I went in and everything was just fine except that the teachers were saying something about me and I didn't know what it was. That was just a small thing but things do get on your nerves sometimes. The next thing that happened that just got on my nerves was that I seemed to be saying a lot of things wrong today. People were laughing at the things I said wrong and not telling me what I said wrong just leaving me wondering. The thing that just finally pushed me past my breaking point was another small thing. It was when my class was practicing for a presentation when I had to say my line. All I had to say was a name ("Limantour"). I thought that I had said it completely wrong because everyone was laughing. I just couldn't control myself and I just sat down and cried. After I pulled myself together I thought how stupid it was to let that happen and I am writing this to try to feel better.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Water Woes

I must have angered Poseidon in a past life. And now he is getting back at me, not with a tidal wave of trouble, but rather with drips or droughts at the most inconvenient times. Right now there is no water at all coming out of the faucets, but there are soaked towels all over my kitchen floor because when I do have water it leaks from the pipes. Our running water "dries up" about every two weeks for a few hours and then magically returns. The water often stops running on Friday afternoons for some reason . . . I think it's because I often want to do laundry at that time. The leaking problems started with our boiler. It started leaking just before our first house guest arrived from Denver -- of course. We've had the boiler replaced, but the plumber who installed the "new" (used) one didn't seal the pipes well. The bottom line is a kitchen full of puddles and many befuddled telephone conversations with el plomero. We still have plenty of water to drink, since we buy that from a convenience store across the street. So, perhaps I only irritated Poseidon and didn't infuriate him. We'll see . . .

Sunday, November 2, 2008

"TOYS"

Here in Ensenada I have no toys, not one and sometimes on the weekends I get bored with nothing to do. Recently I have found some "toys" to play with. One of them is not a toy it is called, cats. If you met these cats you would be amazed because they are the nicest cats in the world and I'm glad to finally have a pet. There are two of them, one is black and the other is white. Both of the cats like each other and like me.I'm not sure if they have owners or not but I never see them with any one so they are now mine. Having cats to play with is fun but not enough. So the answer is paper airplanes. My mom packed a paper airplane kit for her students because it had an article on flying. I realized it would be fun to use. Now it is the best thing ever. So far I think I have made twenty in two days. I've been experimenting with my own and using the book.. My Brother and I have been throwing them of the top floor of our apartment building. Since some of the airplanes are bad they ended up on peoples' balconies, and I now only have fifteen planes. I am glad I thought of paper air planes and met these awesome cats or else life would be quite boring on weekends. Here are some pictures of my new "toys" here in Ensenada.