We are still here

It’s been kind of crazy here lately.  The volcano has been spewing ash into the air, we finally bought a car, and I started doing some volunteer work.

When it comes to mother nature, you never know what to expect.  No matter where you live in the world, you have something to deal with.  We used to live in Ohio and dealt with tornadoes in the spring, summer, and fall.  During the winter we had ice storms.  When we lived in Colorado it was snow and more snow and then some more snow.  Oh, and blizzards.  Did I mention the snow?  We also had tornadoes there.  Here, we have earthquakes and volcanoes.  Even in the US you have earthquakes.  We are lucky with where we are though, we don’t get hurricanes.  Just this past week we had a few small quakes but nothing too serious and no damage.  Today one of our many volcanoes decided that it needed to burp really good and spew some more ash into the air.  You have good and bad where ever you go in the world when it comes to nature.  You just have to decide for yourself what you can live with.  I look at it this way, at least I am not freezing my butt off anymore.

Buying a car was an experience to say the least.  Here, cars are not cheap at all.  They hold their value a heck of a lot better than in the US.  A big reason for that is because of the extremely high import tax.  We just bought a 2002 model car and it cost us around $8,000.  We couldn’t go through a regular dealership though because we don’t have permanent residency yet.   We just reached the point to where we can change over though.  Also, for a down payment, you need at least 20% down, some places require 25% down.  So, don’t think you are going to come here and pick up a car cheap with a zero down payment like you would in the States…not happening.  If you have the money feel free to pay for it outright; it is better that way.  We just couldn’t go any longer without one, my back was really hurting on the bus, plus it was getting difficult getting on and off the bus. It is so much quicker getting to where we need to go now.  They say time is money, the bus is very cheap but takes a long time; gas is very expensive but you get there so much quicker.  Plus my back doesn’t hurt as bad from riding or driving in a car like it does on the bus.

How I got suckered into volunteering; I have a soft spot for animals and little kids.  A friend of mine asked me if I knew anyone that could volunteer one day a week to teach English at one of the elementary schools, of course I don’t know of anyone but why can’t I try it?  So here I am trying to teach kids who barely know two words of it.  Although there are a couple that know a bit and most know numbers.  I find it easier to work with the real little ones that know nothing; with them I can just start at the very beginning and go from there and not worry about them getting bored.  They are great kids and I really like them.  Although it is costing me some money.  I don’t get paid for this, it is completely voluntary and I had to buy my own program to teach from, plus I have to make all of my own copies.  I have about 100 kids I teach from pre-school to 6th grade; which means close to 200 copies a week I have to make.  Not sure how long I can keep it up, but we are going to try and my husband is a great supporter of this.  The school that I am at is in a very rural area and they are having trouble finding teachers for this school, that is why I am there.  Including me there are a total of four teachers, including the principal too, and I am only there one day a week.  I do enjoy being there though and the kids are great, they really make me feel welcome and appreciated.