la mano pintada

La mano pintada
“The painted hand”

This phrase is a peculiar one.  I suppose your hand could be painted, but when I think about this phrase I don’t think of a painted hand, but painted nails, ‘uñas pintadas.’  When I was in Córdoba, Argentina (6 years ago now), there was a small shop called, “La mano pintada” that sold women’s clothing, bathing suits and accessories.  It was a cute store, but I remember it for quite an embarrassing reason that for some reason I feel compelled to share with all of you.

When I packed for my 6-month trip, I confess I did a very poor job and didn’t pack a lot of things I really needed, one of those things being a bathing suit.  I guess I didn’t really think I’d need one, which was such a big mistake. I don’t know if it was this store in particular, or the whole of Argentina, but there wasn’t a single one-piece.  Not that I don’t like two-piece bathing suits, but theirs consisted of two triangles for the top and a thong for the bottom.  To make matters worse, the sizes are very very different.  They only had 0, 1, 2, and 3 on the floor and 4s available in the back.  Now, I don’t know what these equate to in the US, but I know here I’m a size 6-8. And the saleswoman proclaimed (after examining my rear) that she hoped I would fit in a 4. Awkward.

Anyway…after getting the least revealing bikini, in a size 4, I wore it twice over there, under clothes and haven’t touched it since.

But..I’d still like to say a bit more about the phrase, “la mano pintada”.  If you didn’t know, ‘la mano’ is one of those words that is an exception to the rule as far as gender agreement (ends in ‘o’ but is feminine). Also, just because I never do it! I’ll show you my pretty pink ‘uñas pintadas’ (painted nails).

Happy Thursday!

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Holes in Education

I have tutored for over six years now.  In that time I have worked with students from 12 months old to adults in their seventies. In this time and with this experience I have learned many things. Now, mind you, some of these things may be a matter of opinion, but I believe they are important.

– No two students are the same

– Textbooks are generally for the birds, and best used as references

– When it comes to grammar explanations, textbooks generally leave students dumbfounded and confused

– The average student needs an English grammar lesson to be able to identify parts of speech in a foreign language

– Immersion is extremely important, as is an excellent foundation

Why are there these ‘holes’ ? Honestly, I don’t know for sure, but here’s my good guess:  the general education system. I understand there are certain subjects that every student needs to learn, i.e. math, reading, etc. But the concept of a general education is beyond ridiculous. No one person is exactly like another. And what does a general education do? Take all the pressure off the parent and put that pressure on the teacher.

Oh don’t worry about teaching Timmy the alphabet, or phonetics, or even basic manners…..Mrs. Smith will do that for you. And for the parents of her other 29+ students. And we wonder why we have a problem.

Now, this wasn’t meant to be a rant. Truly, I wanted to mention some ‘holes’ I have noticed only to say, perhaps as a parent you can ask your student, ‘how are things going?, are you struggling with something, can I help?’

fresca como una lechuga

Let’s start off the week all ‘bright eyed and bushy tailed’!  It will be great, we’ll get so much done, and you will feel awesome!

Now I have to explain the saying that is my title.  My freshman year of college I took this great seminar class where we explored the political history of Latin America through its authors.  It was such a wonderful class taught by a very interesting man, Juan Allende.  Name sound familiar?  Anyone out there who is a Isabel Allende fan (you may freak out….or not, but I really did) will be excited to know that this man was (is) her brother.

I will tell you right now that this intimate (we only had about 8 people in the class) little seminar was the best class of my college career.  Being a freshman, I only knew two things:  1. I wanted to study Spanish and 2.  I wanted to learn about Latin America.  Sorry U.S., but we’re seriously lacking in the history education department.  In my experience, the only history you learn (secondary education) is U.S. History and Western European History.  What about Asia? Nope. Latin America? Nope. Africa? Nope.  The Middle East? Nope.

So, you can see that this seminar class was an exciting eye opener!  Near the end of the semester the professor (who we grew to really love and tried to convince him to show up one day to class in his pajamas…he refused and that is another long story) told us to write our own pieces of poetry, about whatever we wanted, and present them to the class.  The day before presentations he said to us, “I want you to be as fresh as lettuce!”.  And we all gave him that ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ look.  What??  Lettuce??

Yes, and now that is an expression I’ve heard many times: ‘fresca como una lechuga’ a.k.a ‘bright eyed and bushy tailed’.  So, here’s to hoping you have a fresh week!

My Story

When I was in high school I was voted: Most Likely to Become a Foreign Diplomat (we were all given a superlative, it was a small school).   Although that wasn‘t exactly what I wanted to do, it was close.  I was thinking more along the lines of interpreter, traveling, working for a government agency, etc.

That was my plan.  So when I started college I declared a major in International Relations with a minor in Spanish.  And I started taking classes in Economics and Political Science.  I loved my Spanish classes, but the rest really wasn‘t doing it for me.

I changed schools (unlike some people who change their major many times, I changed schools) and ultimately ended up at Clemson University (Go Tigers!).   While there I also changed my major, Spanish Language with a minor in Tourism.  And I was still contemplating interpreting, but that slowly began to change as I started my work-study job in Clemson‘s Language Lab.  For the first semester I was an admin assistant in the lab and I would schedule and coordinate time slots for the language tutors and students.  One day I asked my supervisor how I could get a job as a tutor.  He told me to contact the director of the Academic Success Center, and from that day on I became a thorn in the director‘s side.  I wanted to make sure that I at least had the opportunity to interview for the Spanish  tutor position for the following semester.

After the interview I was informed that the position was mine if I wanted it and that training would begin in the fall.  I kept in touch with the director all summer and I was so excited for that first meeting with all the tutors. After that first day, I felt an excitement and sense of belonging that I can‘t explain.  I loved working with my peers.   As part of our training we all took an education course to obtain tutoring certification.  There I learned about teaching styles, learning styles, learning disabilities, time management, etc.  And I loved it.

I loved tutoring.  As the one Spanish tutor on campus, I was busy and never knew what to expect.  One night I would have one or two students, the next fifteen to twenty, in different classes and levels.  I worked for the language lab until I graduated in 2009.  Once I had my degree, I was like most recent grads, I had no idea what to do.  I knew I wanted to use Spanish, I just didn‘t know in what capacity.  So, I got my first ‘real’ job as a bank teller.  I used my Spanish daily, which was great but I despised working with money and trying to sell banking products that I would never use myself.   I worked at a bank and as a personal assistant and I was miserable.  The stress level was very high and it wasn‘t very fulfilling.

I tried to find something else, but there wasn’t much out there.  One afternoon while I was visiting my dad and his neighbor we were trying to figure out something different I could do.  The light-bulb went off!  Tutoring, duh.  Why didn’t I think of that before?  So that’s what I did.

In February 2011 I started tutoring after work. In September 2011 I moved to Atlanta and slowly began to grow my business.  Two years later, I can say that it’s been quite a journey, but I’ve loved every bit.  Now I’m helping others and doing what I absolutely love and I’m so thankful!

No hay tocino

 

 

I can’t believe that it’s been over 5 years since I completed my study abroad program in Cordoba, Argentina! Where does the time go!?

I guess time flies when you’re having fun!

For some reason today I’ve been thinking about a particular event that occurred while studying abroad….I think that we were about half way through our stay and a bunch of us began to crave things that we couldn’t have (or things that just weren’t common in Argentina).  Prime example: bacon.  Now, I’m not an avid bacon eater….once in a while if I head out to IHOP I may munch on a strip or two….but like I said before, you always want what you can’t have.

And we had it bad…we found ourselves talking and talking and talking about bacon….A LOT.  Finally, one Saturday afternoon when we just couldn’t take it anymore we decided we were going to have a good ole’Merican breakfast….yes all of our host families thought we were crazy (those crazy Americans and there BIG breakfasts!).  But the day of our feast as we entered the grocery we couldn’t find the one thing we all really really wanted….BACON!  So, we settled for jamón crudo…and fried it up a bit….at least it smelled like bacon!

What you hear on vacation

dotted-world-mapLast week I was up in Maine visiting my family and while in Moody’s Gifts (browsing around and wanting to buy everything) I heard Italian.  There were some tourists there, browsing just like me and speaking Italian.  Okay, a lot of people would say “that’s nothing to write (home) about.” But when you’re in a small town in Maine, I’d say it is.

Not that I was eavesdropping, but I was so excited that I could pick up a word here and there.  I don’t know about them, but I enjoyed my stay (and I hope they did too!) and it just goes to show you and the world isn’t as small as you think!

¡buena suerte! (good luck)

…To all those students returning to school this week!  I hope you have a great start to a new year!

I remember the first day of school.  I would pack my backpack the night before and get everything organized (I was nerd, but that’s ok!).  Then every year my mom would take a picture of me at the front door, all ready for school.  And when I say every year, I mean every year….I didn’t look so thrilled in my senior pic!  Anyway, I always remember be a little nervous every year that first day.  You never knew what teachers you’d get and of course you’d heard stories of teachers you didn’t want to have….it was all a little nerve racking.  But, I liked settling into a daily routine and after a week or so everything was fine!

So here’s to a great week of settling in to your routine! And were ready to help you get a jump-start on tutoring whenever you are!