This is the third in a series of blog posts written by Elizabeth Williams, the daughter of Kathy Williams, director of communications for the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville. Elizabeth provides a fresh and witty travelogue of their trip to Peru September 29–October 13 2019.
Hola mis amigos. Where do I even begin? Today seemed like a long day. But, an amazing day!! I absolutely loved going to the school and seeing all the children. They were way too cute to handle. For real. A lot of them were in their track suits. They only wear those on days they have gym class.
I felt like a celebrity by the end of the day. I mean that’s not really different from my everyday life back home though… jk. They all knew my mother and mines name. Well kinda… they pronounce our names as Elisabet and Katy. The “th” sound is hard for them. When they would pass us, they would all wave and say “ello” or “good morning” in their cute little Spanish accents.
The school has a very interesting, but very cool layout. It is very open. In the center is a courtyard type area. This is where gym class, recess, and just the typical hanging out are held. Surrounding that are the classrooms and they opened up onto the “courtyard”. I say “courtyard” because it is concrete. The school is three levels and has grades K-12.
They start the day with a morning assembly. They have an opening prayer ceremony followed by what I think was the Peruvian national anthem. I loved it. And then we got announced by the principal… aka my awkward self and my mom having to walk in front of the whole school and stand there awkwardly while the children stared at us like we were aliens.
Right after the morning meeting, two little girls ran up to us and handed us bracelets. They said they had made them for us! How sweet is that?!?
Sister Sue introduced us to all the teachers. They are all super friendly and nice! Peru tip: when you greet someone you only do one kiss on the cheek. Do not try to do two like they do in Spain because then you end up in an awkward situation where they are confused and you’re confused and you both just slowly pull away from each other..
We visited several classrooms. I had to actually be my mother’s assistant today. Gosh, can you believe that woman?! I tried my best to translate for her with the children. She took a lot of photos today, which she was very excited about. I told you all this was a work trip. The children have very curious little minds. They wanted to know where we were from, why we were there, what we were doing, what we were going to do with the photos my mom was taking, etc. so, I told them we were strangers. Ok, obviously kidding.
We visited a second grade English class. They were learning animal names in English. The teacher had my mom and I ask them questions in English about the animals. We asked what color certain animals were. There was one little guy who asked me in Spanish, “Elisabet, do you know what other animal has big ears besides an elephant?” And then without skipping a beat and before I could even answer, another boy in the class said “you!” to the other little boy. I’m not gonna lie, it was very funny. I laughed and the whole class laughed and then I felt like a terrible human being for laughing because the little boy’s face did not seem happy about it. I told him I didn’t know what animal, and you know what he freaking said?! He said, “Dumbo”. Like how freaking cute. And how freakin’ terrible I am for laughing.
We went to Sister Yuli’s kindergarten classroom. Such precious little babies. She is a great teacher with a patient and kind heart. Yuli asked us if we had a game to play. Tell me why my mom and I could only think of Duck, Duck, Goose?! Yeah, I couldn’t tell you either… But that is what we taught them to play. It was a little chaotic. But so is life.. am I right? Today, I was wearing a soft black jacket. The moment I claimed my spot in the duck circle, the kids started petting my jacket. One little girl said “gato” (cat).
We also visited a fourth grade classroom. They have been learning the song, “Heal the World” by Michael Jackson. They’re going to present it for a special event. Talk about freaking awesome. Their pronunciation was great. They really got into the chorus. I loved it.
On the way back to the house, my mom and I had a little adventure. We didn’t want to pass a couple of sales people so we walked around the block and stumbled upon a bakery. Wow, what a coincidence. I mean, the only option we had was to enter. My mom does this thing where she forces me into situations where I have to speak Spanish. Most of the time I am thankful for it. We succeeded in purchasing a dozen little pastries for us to take to the house.
Sue cooked us an amazing lunch and then we went back to school. The secondary students stay in school longer. Today, they had their special area classes. We visited a sewing class. They recently just made bags that you can take for shopping because #savetheearth. We visited an art class. They are learning about how to make one color go from dark to light with paint. We visited a cooking class. They were learning how to make a cake. Get this, they forgot to bring the ingredients to class, so the teacher had them all go out and buy the ingredients. I mean it helps the store is right around the corner. But how cool is that? We never had that opportunity at my high school.
For our evening snack, Yuli and Sue made us fried bananas (If I come back 20 pounds heavier, you know why). They are spoiling us. The bananas were delicious! I love sitting and talking with them at each me. They are both so kind. Yuli is hilarious and so animated, and Sue is so caring and intuitive.
All in all, it was a wonderful day. I loved visiting the school and seeing the sweet little babies. It reminded me of my teaching days in Spain. I’m excited for what’s to come tomorrow, not sure what that is, but that’s the adventure of it all!
Peace out, EliSabet (that’s how they pronounce my name here)