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Forward motion     

Posted by Katherine Putnam on March 3rd, 2010

“Cause forward motion is harder than it sounds”

No school today (Wednesday). Or tomorrow (Thursday). And no, once again, it was not a planned thing. No, this midweek holiday is courtesy of a paro (a blockade). All of the public transportation is shut down and there are blockades everywhere in protest over the possibility that entire companies could be punished if one of their drivers gets behind the wheel while inebriated.

While I know it makes me a bad teacher…I’m glad we had a paro today. Sure, it means I need to rearrange my lesson plans (again), but it also means that I can sleep past 5:55 am. In terms of lesson plans, I’m lucky that we can at least get assignments to the students via the website (yes, we have a paro contingency plan), so we don’t completely miss a day. And I’m lucky that it didn’t happen on a drama day!

Speaking of drama, things are…going. It’s hard for me to know, only ever having been on the acting side of it. We’re starting to work on costumes and props (I’ve finally finished going through the school’s costume room to see what we have already) and blocking is almost done. Only one scene left to block, which means there are nine completely blocked already! The one scene that’s left requires the presence of the seniors (since they’re all onstage for it) and they’re on their senior trip this week. Oh well, that means that we were able to devote our hour and a half to running scenes we’ve already blocked: trying out new things, focusing on specific lines, etc. I have a huge source of help in Eliana, a wonderful young woman who’s helping me direct/herd the cats; this week she took half the cast and worked on making props which left me to focus only on a small group of actors–much more my style!

In English we’ve moved on to poetry…finally. We’re not very far into the unit yet (thanks to the paro and pre-field day races), but I have had a chance to read Neil Gaiman’s “The Day the Saucer’s Came” to them. For those unfamiliar with it, I’ll include it at the end of this post; it’s one of my favorite poems.

As usual I find myself asking: what else has happened since my last post? Chris and I climbed to the Cristo, for one. We were able to meet up with Chris’s friend David (who Chris knows from previous trips to Bolivia and who, as it turns out, knows my roommate Hadit) and the three of us embarked on the long hike up to the 30+ meter Jesus statue (the tallest of its kind). Now it’s important to know that there are cable cars that lead up to the statue, but instead we hoofed it up the endless steps. Between the altitude and my general lack of physical fitness I was absolutely knackered by the end of our trek! We rested for a bit at the top and then Chris and I joined the dozens of other tourists who were climbing up inside of Jesus. Chris pointed out that, as it was Sunday, it was only appropriate to spend it inside of Jesus. (Or something like that, I’m paraphrasing.) Despite the physical toll the trip was quite worth it. It was great getting to meet David and spend some time with him, and the view of the city was astounding.


Last Friday was Carachipalooza, an event showcasing the artistic, literary, musical and culinary talents of Carachipampa’s students. I helped judge the high school poetry and prose categories, cast my vote for the art entries and tasted/judged the high school dessert entries. One dessert that did not win but definitely deserved recognition was the entry from the Lindquist boys. Since the culinary competition was for dessert entries only, the boys contributed their Dessert for Men or Honey Ham Cookies. That’s right. They rubbed a ham, grilled it, cut it up with an apple shaped cookie cutter, made a faux apple out of the leftover ends of ham (and some basil), arranged the apple shaped ham cookies aesthetically on a plate with the faux apple in the middle and ringed with alternating green and red apple slices. It was by far the best presentation there. Some of the (female) judges did not get the joke and just thought it was a bizarre entry, but the male judges got it and thoroughly appreciated the entry, taking multiple cookies for themselves. And the secret ingredient in the Man’s Dessert? No honey. That’s right, the name was chosen for alliteration, not accuracy. Honey Ham Cookies aside, the night was a lot of fun. It was wonderful to see the kids display their talents and I was especially blown away by some of the musical acts. (Examples? The quiet girl from my class who revealed a strong, clear, beautiful, emotive voice and the band that played a lovely, catchy tune that was written by their tenth grade singer/pianist!) Hopefully the play will be just as impressive.

As I’ve stated before, pictures are forthcoming, provided the internet and the blog ever cooperate. As that begins to work I’ll also try to go back and add pictures into previous posts, so be on the lookout!


Katherine Elyse

The Day the Saucers Came by Neil Gaiman

That Day, the saucers landed. Hundreds of them, golden,
Silent, coming down from the sky like great snowflakes,
And the people of Earth stood and
stared as they descended,
Waiting, dry-mouthed, to find out what waited inside for us
And none of us knowing if we would be here tomorrow
But you didn’t notice because

That day, the day the saucers came, by some some coincidence,
Was the day that the graves gave up their dead
And the zombies pushed up through soft earth
or erupted, shambling and dull-eyed, unstoppable,
Came towards us, the living, and we screamed and ran,
But you did not notice this because

On the saucer day, which was zombie day, it was
Ragnarok also, and the television screens showed us
A ship built of dead-men’s nails, a serpent, a wolf,
All bigger than the mind could hold,
and the cameraman could
Not get far enough away, and then the Gods came out
But you did not see them coming because

On the saucer-zombie-battling-gods
day the floodgates broke
And each of us was engulfed by genies and sprites
Offering us wishes and wonders and eternities
And charm and cleverness and true
brave hearts and pots of gold
While giants feefofummed across
the land and killer bees,
But you had no idea of any of this because

That day, the saucer day, the zombie day
The Ragnarok and fairies day,
the day the great winds came
And snows and the cities turned to crystal, the day
All plants died, plastics dissolved, the day the
Computers turned, the screens telling
us we would obey, the day
Angels, drunk and muddled, stumbled from the bars,
And all the bells of London were sounded, the day
Animals spoke to us in Assyrian, the Yeti day,
The fluttering capes and arrival of
the Time Machine day,
You didn’t notice any of this because
you were sitting in your room, not doing anything
not even reading, not really, just
looking at your telephone,
wondering if I was going to call.

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