Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Life Unknown

Hello friends and family,

This Web trend could only go on for so long before I cast my own hat into the blogosphere ring. I started this blog over a year ago with the title La Vida Desconocida - the life unknown - but never got around to writing anything. That's (hopefully!) about to change as I gear up for and go on my next great adventure: a 10-month teaching job in Viña del Mar, Chile.

As most of you know, I studied in Sevilla, Spain for four months in 2003. Ever since then I have been itching to live in a Spanish-speaking country. However, since graduating college in 2004 I have had an amazing job working for Apex Learning ( and it's been impossible to tear myself away to do anything else. The timing for this program seemed right to take a sabbatical and, with any luck, there will be a job at Apex waiting for me when I return in December of 2008.

I've used these past few years to focus on a passion I never thought I'd be interested in: education. Developing and managing content for Apex has helped me understand the internal workings of curricula design and implementation, while working as a volunteer ELL teacher (English language learners - ESL is no longer PC) has taught me how to be a patient (me? patient? get out of here) and effective educator. I'm thrilled and terrified at the prospect of applying what I know in a foreign setting.

Working with an organization called Teaching Chile, I've been placed as an English teacher in a university system called duocUC, which has campuses throughout Chile. I'm honestly not totally sure what it stands for, but I know it's associated with Chile's Universidad Católica. It's like really fancy community college which offers 2-year programs, mostly technical but also encompassing areas like ecotourism. This goes to show that you CAN be a university-level teacher with a mere Bachelor of Arts; you just have to leave the country and agree to do it for 300,000 pesos a month, which believe it or not is a full-time salary of a whopping $600. Picture me rolling... This is the campus where I will be teaching:

Did I mention that Viña del Mar is on the beach? Check it out:

I've never lived so close to the ocean and yes, I am ecstatic, even though my aunt Sandy once warned that crackers don't stay crispy at the beach. Viña is Chile's premier tourist destination, with Valparaíso (literally "go to paradise") a mere 15 minutes south, and Santiago about 1.5 hours southeast.

I still have several months left in the U.S. Right now I am in Philadelphia for another 4 weeks. I bought my ticket back to Seattle today, so for those of you interested, I arrive Saturday, December 8 at 11:33 pm. However, I am connecting through Denver, so I hope to be home by Christmas. Special thanks to Jacob Stone for being on call to pick me up from the airport (and for being one of my few friends to own a car - you're all a bunch of hippies). Cross your fingers that Amtrak is, in fact, the best way to transport the few possessions I haven't yet gotten rid of during my myriad cross-country moves.

Once in Seattle I'm still not 100% sure where I'll be living, but I suspect my parents and siblings will get their fair share of me. Shout outs to Anne and Tessa for living in strategic locations in the city, and to my Mom who will no doubt sacrifice the use of her car for me on occasion.

I have been told by the director of the program in Chile that I need to arrive on February 29 (proving that yes, this is a leap year), so I'll have three months in Seattle to pay off credit cards (I'm so close), stress over the status of my Chilean visa, save up cash, start and complete a strenous work project, and party with my peeps. Yes, I just said peeps. I'll also blog during that time which will hopefully keep you interested until I actually get out of the country. Then the really juicy stuff should start rolling in. I hear the Chileans have a tricky accent so I'm looking forward to putting my rusty Spanish w/ faux Spanish accent to work on some comedy of errors-type conversations.

This is probably more than enough for now. I'll update with details as I find them out, and other events I deem worthy, like the December 2 Seahawks vs. Eagles game in Philadelphia I'll be attending. Go Birds! (See what I did there?)

Until next time...


Evan said...

Vina del Mar is absolutely beautiful. You will have a fantastic time.

jrteacherlady said...

I love your blog Beth!!! I will anxiously await your next posting:) It's fun to be a blogger!

Jill said...

How exciting! Keep us posted, your blog is great. Enjoy your adventure. Love Aunt Jill