Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Yes, I’m Still Alive

Monday, January 14th, 2013

It’s been a year and a half since I wrote a post on this blog. That’s terrible; I’m sorry.

Moving on, I’m going to try to keep up with this blog a bit more.

Here’s a little of what’s happened in the last half-year.

  • June and July: finished the school year, got a chance to visit a beautiful natural park an hour out of Bogotá, and visited my siblings, home church, and friends in Michigan.
    With Two Nephews
  • End of July: came back to Colombia and visited Jaime and Paula and the church they minister in in Medellín (8 hours northwest of Bogotá).
    Preaching in Medellín
  • August: school started. August is kite month, and I love kites, so I flew my kite.
  • September: more school. This year, I’ve been focusing more in my classes on instruction on why we learn and work and do the things we do as human beings, and on how this is based in God’s blessing to Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28 (ESV), “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
  • October: school continues. I took a trip to San José del Guaviare again to encourage the believers at the assembly there. Also visited the local zoo near Bogotá. God’s creation is amazing.
    Spectacled Bear
  • November: school still continues. I’m the homeroom teacher for twelfth grade (see picture), which involves helping them raise money and decide where their senior trip will be: a growing experience for all of us. As the ECA motto goes, we’re “Training for life.” I also drew a new comic over at fallingfifth.com.
    Class of 2013
  • December: Finished the semester. Presented a Christmas play with my local church at our church and two others. Celebrated Christmas and New Year’s in Bogotá with my parents and Deb. I also turned 28.
    Christmas - Rogers Family
  • January: Started the year by going to a camp in Sta. Rosa de Cabal, about 8 hours west of Bogotá where my parents were invited to give talks on marriage and family. I finally made it to Lake Guatavita, where the Legend of El Dorado was born (see the panorama below; the lake is to the right). I bought myself running shoes and have gone running once so far (not including my morning sprints to the teacher van).
    Guatavita Panorama

God bless you all. Keep in touch.

Year 3

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

Yep, I’m back in Bogotá. After a wonderful 8 weeks spent with family in the States, I flew back to Colombia on Wednesday. Unlike both other school years spent here, I came knowing where I’d be living and was able to settle in immediately. It’s a nice feeling. Thanks Hudgins family!

Today I got my picture taken for my Colombian ID. It took three and a half hours from the time I walked in until I got it. No, it really shouldn’t take that long. The good news is that it looks like me. See?

Picture taken for my Colombian national ID

Speaking of identity, here’s my twin whom I met last week at camp. We’re not actually related, but plenty of people thought we were.

Picture of me and James

Well, that’s all for now. Next week is teacher orientation and preparation for classes which start in earnest August 8.

Bus Strike!

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

Yesterday morning I went to church, so I got on Bogota’s bus rapid transit system (called the Transmilenio) and headed south to what is known as Soacha, a municipality about to be swallowed up by Bogota proper.

Now, to get to church, I have to take the Transmil as far as it goes and then get on a tiny bus called a colectivo, ride that for 10-20 minutes, and get off to walk another five minutes to church.

As it happens, the Transmil system is being extended on that end so that in a few months, I should be able to cut out the colectivo step of my transportation: a real benefit in time and money.

Apparently, bus drivers in Soacha don’t share my enthusiasm, which may be why they went on an unannounced strike yesterday. So, the few buses that were in operation were charging extra and not going as far as normal. The only other options were to pay for impromptu taxi and “bus” service: people driving personal cars and pickup trucks with wooden walls, as you can see in the following picture:

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Today when I went to church, everything was back to normal.

I guess you never know what to expect in Bogota, other than excitement at every corner.

Two Months

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

In two months, I will be getting on a plane and heading to Grand Rapids. I suppose that means school is almost done, so I should probably get some more good teaching in.

Now that I’m more-or-less past the survival mode of first-year-teaching, I’m moving on to the stage of enjoying the teaching. It’s a nice feeling. Of course, not every day is as enjoyable as the next, but I love being able to teach interesting topics (and attempting to convince students that they’re interesting), encouraging logical thought, problem-solving, and the like.

This quarter, we’ve begun studying MySQL with the tenth graders. (Most of will want to skip to the next paragraph at this point.) It’s been fun teaching them about the inner workings of how information is stored on just about anything that lives on the Internet. Someday they’ll realize the marketability of the skills I’m teaching them and give me a monetary gift of appreciation, I’m sure.

My parents and me at the cathedral of salt in Zipaquirá

In other news, my parents were just here for spring break, and we got to visit about a thousand points of interest in Bogotá and the surrounding towns. (The above picture is from our visit to Zipaquirá—a salt mine-turned-cathedral.)

Of course, the dry spell we’d been experiencing since January broke upon their arrival, so we had to contend with rain while they were here, but at least they got to experience the typical Bogotá climate.

Their visit was busy but really wonderful—I couldn’t have asked for a better break!

Back in Bogotá

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Well, now that school is two-and-a-half weeks under way, it might be time to update my blog.

I teach the same classes this semester as last (plus another study hall), though my schedule has been reorganized, meaning I now have a class during first hour two more days a week.

I got back on Thursday, January 7, to Colombia’s summer, meaning the days were hot (into the mid to upper 70s) and the nights were cold (as low as freezing). Between the resulting frost and the current lack of water, the price of vegetables, fruit, and milk has gone up, and things are generally difficult on farmers.

More recently, the weather has been slightly cooler (though today got up to 70°F). Since changes in weather are accompanied by wind, that means I finally got to fly my kite again!

Flying my kite by the supermarket somewhat near my house

Tip Du Jour

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Don’t bite too hard into unfamiliar food. Sometimes what looks like a piece of sausage is actually a piece of bone.

In the Swing of Things

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

Well, I’m four weeks into school now, and I’m starting to feel like I have an idea of what I am should be doing.

I’ve realized a few things in teaching middle- and high-schoolers:

  1. They’re not adults yet.
  2. They’re not necessarily interested in the same things I am. They may even think there’s something more important than computers or math.
  3. There’s a fine balance between challenging your students and pushing them so hard that they want to give up. At least, I presume there’s a balance. I’ll let you know if I find it.

This week, we had open house. As it worked out, the one hour my students’ parents came to, I gave a test. I made sure I had enough copies for the parents to also take the test. Here’s a sample question:

Give the equation, in point-slope form, of the line that passes through (2,1) and is perpendicular to the graph of y = 3x + 31.

In other news, I’m learning the importance of balancing my personal life few hours of sleep with my school-work. I’ve had a few people remind me that I need to be realistic in the expectations I set for myself or I will get burned out here. They’re probably right.

Occasionally, I get a chance to do something that doesn’t involve grading or lesson-planning. One such occasion was last weekend, when a number of us teachers (and one non-teacher friend) went out to eat in honor of Suzette’s birthday. Here’s our happy bunch:

ECA Teachers eating out.

I hope you’re all doing well! Drop me a line and let me know how you’re doing. It’s always nice to hear about things back home, even if I’m not there.

God bless,
Mark