chip wiegand

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The sunlight does not leave its marks on the grass. So we, too, pass silently.


September, 2015 I'm in a new apartment, and more students

Thursday, 4 September, 2015

I'm in a new apartment, yay! I was living in an old 1-bedroom apartment for the last 2 years, and it wasn't bad, just old. It was in a decent middle-class neighborhood. But now I am in a new apartment, just build 2 years ago, in a northern neighborhood I suppose would be considered upper middle-class or upper-class. It's a large studio apartment with very nice tiled floor, built-in closet and bookshelfs, the counter around the sink and 2-burner gas stove burners is coriander. The tile backsplash also matches the tile around the lower cabinet doors (which are quite thick wood). The bathroom is modern, the patio is about the same size as the previous apartment but is fully tiled. The apartment building has 15 of these studio apartment, plus 3 (if I remember correctly) larger apartments. The studio apartments are all in a single-story building with a very nice open air "hallway", or walkway in front, which the doors open to. On the other side of the one wall are the larger apartments. There are a few tiled benches, lots of big ferns and other plants in tiled planters in this area. The rent is almost twice what my previous apartment cost, but now this - my rent is free. How? I am exchanging English lessons for the landlords and their two sons. I get free rent/gas/electricity/water/satelite tv/internet. And I give them English lessons. It's working out very well. They own these apartment and another 15 or 20 in another building, I don't remember how many they said they had, 30 or more I think. And they own an auto-repair shop. They live in a nice house that backs up to these apartments, with a door in the wall for easy entry from the apartment to their home.

In their patio they have a tree with fruit unlike any I had ever seen before. The first time I saw them I asked what are those? I didn't know if they were edible or not, they were quite large, green and spikey; though the spikey bits were soft. So my landlord check a few of them, one was ripe, so he picked it and handed it to me. I asked if it can be eaten, he said yes, of course, and then simply dug his fingers into the skin and pulled a chunk of the fruit out and ate it. I did the same and it is unbelievably delicious! What is it called? Guanabana. Pronounced hwaNAbana. I did a little reading about it and it seems they cannot be grown, very successfully, in North America. Some people try in south Florida, but even there sometime the nightime temperature is too cold. The trees do not do well if the temperature drops below 78 degrees F. It appears you guys in North America can buy guanabana juice, but not the actual fruit, which is too bad. It's amazing! The next day, after my first taste of the guanabana, I was back at their home to start the first lesson and they had made juice, guanabana and milk, from the fruit he picked, and it was really good. I think guanabana is my new favorite fruit. Though fresh mangos are hard to beat.

The best part of this new apartment is this: it is in the north-central part of the city, close to most of my students. I have only two students anywhere south of me, all the others are up here in the north and northwest. This means far fewer bus rides. This is a much more convenient location.

I also have a couple more new students. A woman and her 2 sons. She is a teacher and said she is going to talk to other teachers about them taking lessons with me also. We would do a class twice a week (that's all the time I have left - 2 evenings a week, not counting weekend). My schedule is full now. Starting at 7am and 3 nights a week finish at 9pm, the other 2, for now, finish at 6pm. I am keeping saturday evening and all of sunday open, no classes.

I have mentioned the rain, or lack of it, in a few of my last blogs this year. Well, normally we are in our rainy season now, but we have had no rainy season, at all. Northern South America has been in a drought for years and the weather forcast shows it only continuing into the future. Last night we had a very light drizzley rain for about a half hour. If you count that and the few previous rains, all combined, total less than 1 hour or so of rain this entire year. That's heavy rain, drizzle and any other form of water coming down from the clouds. I know about the droubt in the south-western US, but there is droubt in other parts of the world as well, even in tropical Colombia.

That's about all for now, till next time, take care!


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