As promised yesterday, here are my top ten realizations/moments/ and things I will miss. I decided to put them all together so that I could make it short and sweet.
10. I can't live without air conditioning for an extended period of time. Call me a pansy, but it is true. I feel like I've adjusted very well to the culture here and the way of life, but I never really adjusted to the extreme heat and am glad to be going home to air conditioning.
9. I've developed a passion for traveling and want to see more of the world. Having the opportunity to student teach in Belize has only opened the door for me to travel to see other amazing places in the world. Although they probably won't be for as long, I definitely have several places that I want to travel to soon.
8. I'm going to miss the freshly squeezed orange juice and buying fresh fruit from the vendors on the street throughout the day. There's no comparison to the fruit here.
7. I'm going to miss the overwhelming kindness and friendliness of the people here. From making friends to being brought gifts from my kids and their parents to show their appreciation, I can say that I have been blessed to have met so many wonderful people.
6. Time goes by way too fast. As one of the things I found very difficult to adjust to in the beginning, I've learned to appreciate the most, the slow paced way of life. In America we are always constantly doing something, whether it is with work, school, or friends. The people here take it day by day and make it a point to enjoy the simple things, such as a hot afternoon at the river with family and friends. Even though many Americans would consider Belizians to have a lower standard of living compared to the U.S., I feel that they have a higher standard of life. You always see people out smiling and enjoying the day, from the wee ones to the adults.
5. Studying abroad has opened my eyes to appreciate other peoples' beliefs and way of life, but has also strengthened my own beliefs.
4. Teaching is the most rewarding job on Earth. Period. People think you're crazy for doing it and try to talk you out of it. Lord knows you don't do it for the money or benefits. You do it for the kids. As a person without kids, my students are the closest thing that I have. Nothing makes me smile bigger than when kids run up to me with huge smiles on their faces and hug me like they haven't seen me in forever. It's a blessing to known that what I am teaching them will help them be successful in their lives.
3. My confidence in teaching has grown tremendously. If I could succeed being completely out of my element, with a chalkboard, plain paper, and no copy machine, I am excited to see what I can do with the resources available back home. I've learned new teaching strategies and acquired skills for differentiation. One of the areas that I felt I struggled in was in differentiation especially with language barriers. Having the opportunity to work with ESL students has definitely increased my confidence.
2. As a result of this experience I have become more independent, assertive, and confident. I now feel more prepared to graduate and find the job I've always wanted.
1. Although this experience was mainly for educational purposes, I will never forget about the fun times. From swimming in the river, relaxing on the beach, climbing to the top of every Mayan ruin structure, going to barbeques, and just hanging with friends, this was an experience of a lifetime and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to do it.
Thanks for reading my blog! I hope you all have enjoyed it!