Thursday, July 21, 2011

Life Recap

So, lets recap my life for the past month. A lot has changed, I’m not really sure how it always works out to be that way, but everything always seems to change and remain the same all at once.

  1. Tobago Cays
  2. End of School
  3. Adoption of Puppies
  4. Carnival
  5. Art Camp
  6. Vegan/Raw Diet
  7. Plans for the "Summer" Break
Before the mayhem of the end of the year I was able to take a very relaxing trip to the Tobago Cays (pronounced Keys).  Separate post on this and more! forthcoming.  But to summarize, it truly was picture perfect. The beaches had white sands and the waters were crystal clear/turquoise. I honestly thought that scenes like this were photoshopped for calendars and postcards.

The last month was crazy hectic; both professionally and personally as well as in general as a country.  Professionally everything revolved around preparing for school exams; both preparing the students and the actual exams, as well as a smooth execution of said exams. Personally things have been changing as I continue to integrate into my community and get accustomed to life in a new culture and in SVG. My life changed drastically when I adopted two puppies (more on that later too).  In general as a country, life has been gearing up for Carnival with pre-carnival events and culminating in Carnival from June 24-Jul 5th.
            The end of the year is always a busy, fun, exciting time of the school year. It was compounded when I adopted two tiny, sickly puppies that needed much tender love and care and ALOT of attention. The end of the year also means that the only thing that separates you from a few months of bliss is a few horrendous final exams.  This was true for me too, in a way.  My role in the end of year activities consisted of helping to print, staple, and organize the exams by putting them together according to the schedule, for the appropriate classes, accurately distributing them, as well as proctoring some of the exams when there was a staff shortage. I never really appreciated the printers that can do the stapling all in one step until after stapling some 500+ exams! Overall, it was tedious and not so much fun, but the execution of the final exams went pretty smoothly, so it was a success!  I never realized how much work went into producing the final exams. It never occurred to me that the teachers have to determine which topics/questions to test on, type it up, some one has to print it, staple it, and organize it for each class.
          Once all the exams were finished, I came to school to help with grading the exams, and to assist teachers in inputting their students’ grades into the excel database. School exams ended the second to last week of June.  Graduation took place on the final day of exams in June.  Once all grades were calculated and input into the “markbooks” we were officially on break with no time to spare before the height of Carnival events.
        Carnival was both exciting and intimidating. I only went to a few events since my host sister was out of the country.  She “carried me” to J’Ouvert, which is a street party starting at 1am on the Sunday before Carnival Monday.  There was music, dancing, booze and PAINT.  Everyone was given a water bottle full of paint and you just paint each other up.  Yes that’s right.  It was tons of fun and I was covered in blue paint.  Strangers would come up to me and pour paint on me.  It was completely nuts. After 6+ hours of dancing, drinking and painting we headed to the beach to wash off.  We were home by 9am in time to shower and nap to prepare for the Tshirt Band in the afternoon.  After our naps (mine only lasted 1 hour because I needed to do laundry or I would not have anything to wear), we went back to town around 3pm. The Tshirt Band is like a jump up/parade.  Semi trucks with towers of speakers drive slowly in a circle around town.  Each truck is a different Band with a different Tshirt color and representing a different company or Band.  Behind the Speaker truck the people in that Band were dancing and just generally having a good time following the truck along the parade path.  Behind the people in the particular Band was that Band’s Drink Truck.  This truck dispensed unlimited amounts of Rum Punch. I did not participate in any of the Bands, but rather just observed from the sidewalks.  For me, it was chaos, but really fun to watch.  This lasted until late at night, I think we got home around 1am.  Needless to say I was exhausted from dancing for hours and the extremely loud music. 

Tuesday was Vincy Mas.  This was the day that most people probably associate with Carnival.  It is the parade with all the pretty costumes.  My host sister was “playing mas” and had to be in town early to prepare.  I slept in and met her later in the afternoon.  Vincy Mas was pretty much the same as the Tshirt Band, with the addition of costumes.  There was still the parade of people (now with very pretty and elaborate costumes) marching around town, following semi trucks with walls of speakers, dancing, drinking, etc.  It was really cool to see all the costumes. Perhaps next year I will play mas.
Before J'Ouvert.
 The start of it all..Thanks Garett!

 After J'Ouvert
 This lady was dressed as a pregnant nun and Im not entirely sure why? She also had a sign, which i didnt entirely understand..
 Washing off the paint at the beach.
 Later that evening....
 Drink Truck..
 Jump up.
 Walls of speakers with people on top. Like literally 20 feet high!
 He was wearing the american flag as pants..

After Carnival was over, I planned to do nothing but rest, sleep, relax, and clean my house. I only had the rest of the week of "freedom" before I started helping facilitate at an Art Camp for kids in Town. 

check back later for the rest of this blog entry!

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