September 15, 2012 by jiejie768
A few things from the last couple of days, in no particular order or relation to one another.
The first thing of note, is that my car was finally found by the Ellensburg Police. Of course, this is of little use to me as I now live in Peru, and frankly would have gotten rid of the car before leaving anyway, but it brought much laughter and confusion when we received the notice from Ty, Meg’s brother (we’ve yet to hear from Ty how or why the EPD contacted him about this as there was no way we could think of that they would have tied my car to him — Meg isn’t even on the title).
Apparently it had been at an apartment complex at 301 S. Pine (two blocks from our apartment) for about the last 9 months, and is still in pretty good shape. We have decided to simply let the impound lot crush the car as it is of no use to us, but it certainly was a shock to hear it was found, in tact, after all this time.
Secondly, I have finally broken in my lungs at altitude during sports competition (see accompanying photos). And let me tell you, it was no piece of cake. Each Friday, the program hosts an activity for high school age kids (most or all of which were once in the regular program). Once a month, this Friday activity consists of renting a small indoor-sized (but actually outdoor) soccer field just up the hill from the house (of course it would be UPhill!). I was very excited to play, but was wheezing within minutes after just two or three trips up and down the 20-yard field. During the hour of play, I needed two breaks just to keep upright, while the other 12 or so players played all the way through — many of them in long pants and hoodies. Suffice it to say I was a little ashamed, but I have faith that in the months to come I’ll build up my endurance to the point I can stay out there for the full hour. Whether my soccer (futbol) skills follow suit is a whole ‘nother question. Also working to my advantage is that in subsequent months half of the time will be spent playing volleyball, a sport that requires much less sustained running and which puts to better use my significant height advantage. It’s worth noting that I did score about four goals and my habit of simply kicking the ball as hard as I could on first touch earned me the nickname “El Poderoso Ryan” (The Powerful Ryan) from my fellow players.
Finally a slight update on things with the program. My quest to learn names is coming along pretty well. I’d say I have about half of the names down, though that’s sure to fall off a bit over the weekend. I have faith that by the time GeGe returns from her upcoming trip to the States I will know everyone’s name. I also have felt more and more useful as each day has come and gone. On Thursday, I worked one-on-one with one student who has some trouble learning to read. I’m not sure we made a lot of progress in the half hour or so we worked, but later that day during playtime he asked me to read with him again, which certainly made me feel good. Next week I hope to have a few more chances to pull him aside and see if I can get a better idea of how to help him.
Lastly, but certainly not least, I think I may have a new best friend. He goes by the name of Isak (see photo) and he is the youngest son of one of the program’s employees. His brothers are in the program, but as he is just 3, he is not technically enrolled as the classes here begin at first grade. But his mom is here each day at 1 — about an hour before we open our doors, and Isak is always in tow. At first he was a bit timid around me as I am roughly 40 times his side, but a few peace offerings of carrot sticks, potato chips and orange juice and he’s begun to seek me out as soon as he arrives. He always is extremely curious about what Meg and I are doing (usually wrapping up my daily Spanish lesson) and follows around asking us to identify various things for him (computadoras, vasos, iPad’s, computadoras again, etc.). It certainly has been a highlight for me, and I already know it will be pretty tough to say goodbye to the little guy when I leave … fortunately that’s still a ways off.
That’s all I have for now, but stay tuned as Meg is poised to post the Picture(s) of the Day in a little bit.