The final countdown

We invented tea parties. The rest of y'all are just copycats.

I KNOW, BOSTON. I don't understand why anyone would want to leave you, either.

Okay, so this is it. At 9 a.m. tomorrow, I’m on a flight to JFK, then it’s off to Bogotá that afternoon. My brain is not so much wrapped around this whole ditching-the-country-for-a-year business, although saying goodbye to what feels like everyone I know over the last week or so has impressed upon me that something, at least, is happening.

A brief logistical note, for all of my fans: We’re spending most of January in orientation/training, in a town called Cota, which is here, just outside Bogotá. We do not have consistent (or possibly any? The details of this are slightly unclear) internet access while we’re there. Even if we did, we’re apparently getting our brains stuffed full of all kinds of information about how to teach English and what the hell the pluperfect tense is and occasionally, how not to behave in a way that will reflect poorly on the US, because we’re representatives of the country etc. Point being, I will probably not be updating this blog much, if at all, during the month of January. Do not assume this means I’ve already been kidnapped. It doesn’t. I’m just busy, learning how to try to do my job. If it’s possible to update it, I’ll do my best, but don’t expect much action around there here parts between now and the end of the month.

On that note, however, I am pleased to offer a bit of last-minute advice to anyone else considering international travel sometime in the near future. I present to you…

An Expert’s Guide To: The Mature Way to Flee the Country

Waiting for your friend in Panera, unsure whether or not she’s already arrived, you wander slowly downstairs, just in case she’s already at a table. Upon clearing the blocked view of the ceiling, you spy, sitting at a table with some random blonde girl, your Terrible Ex-Sort-of-Boyfriend from freshman year of college. How to deal with this situation like an adult:

1. Proceed to almost fall down the stairs in shock, because what in the name of Rob Gronkowski is he doing here? You work on this block! This is YOUR turf. There is an invisible “Step Off It” sign hanging all around the greater Camberville area, and it is to be respected.

2. Whirl gracefully around, creating a blinding flash of swirling color in your bright green peacoat. CIA experts and decades of research can confirm that this is the most effective way to stay incognito.

3. Scamper back up the stairs as quickly as physically possible without sounding like a herd of stampeding, Lion King-esque wildebeest.

4. Feel incredibly proud of yourself for how well you confront surprising and mildly horrifying situations. Feel totally prepared for anything South America is going to throw at you.

I’m so ready for this. Bring it, Colombia 2012!

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School updates and vague threats

YOU GUYS. January 4th is exactly one week from today. I leave in seven days. Woah.

Way back in the spring, when I was applying for this program, 2012 seemed miles away (fortunately, since I was in no mood to be seriously considering the advent of the looming apocalypse. But I digress). But now it’s here, perched just four days away from me, waiting. Needless to say, I have packed exactly nothing, although I do have a cardboard box sitting on the floor in my room, designated for “things I need to remember to bring.” So that’s something, I suppose.

In other news, I got my school assignment a few days ago — it’s a small, semi-private school waaaayyyyy up in one of the northernmost neighborhoods of Bogotá. It also starts at 7 a.m., so that’s going to be a party. I hope for the sake of my relationship with my students that I don’t have any classes first thing in the morning, or we are not going to be friends. It seems like a pretty cool school, though — there’s a strong focus on the arts and significant emphasis on bilingual education, which means I might even feel useful! Fancy that! The school is fairly small, as well, with less than 900 students across grades K-12, so I’m excited about the small class sizes. Hopefully I’ll get to know most of my students pretty well, rather than resorting to calling them “Hey you, in the blue shirt.” Although if I don’t know their names, I can never get them in trouble, so there might be some benefit to anonymity, after all.

In any case, for all of you here in Boston: You have exactly six days to confess your love to me, buy me a drink or do anything else you’ve been putting off all year. Because when I stay in South America forever, you’ll be sorry you didn’t do it before I left. Consider this your final warning.