Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Writing my Spanish 10 Final

Today, which still feels like tomorrow because I haven't yet gone to bed from Monday, I'll be writing my Spanish 10 final. I've been doing it through a distance learning school, what we used to call "by correspondence" back in the day.

If I had been 21 or younger, it would have cost me far less than the $500 they charge students over 21. You get a full year to complete the course. For my $500 I'm provided a teacher who I can call or email if I have questions. Lessons are submitted electronically, marked and sent back to me via the school's Dropbox. I can also submit the oral part electronically but I'm a dinosaur and have no idea how to do that, so I call the marker (not the same person as the teacher) and do it over the phone. I'm sure there are cheaper ways to learn Spanish but I need the structure of a class setting.

Arranging to write the exam has been a logistical nightmare. I requested it to be sent post mail. The local school I was having it sent to (I have to be in a supervised setting) gave me their street address which isn't the same as their mailing address. Small town = post office box. After 10 days, it still hadn't arrived and I had a devil of a time trying to track it down. Turns out it got sent back because of the wrong address.

So they've had to send it electronically. Today is absolutely the last day I have to write it. I have to have the course completed by Wed and, since I work Wed, I'm not able to write it then. So now I'll have to get a lesson from the exam supervisor on how to do the electronic oral part. GAH!

To make things even worse, the last 2 lessons were submitted to my marker last Monday. They still haven't been marked and, technically, that all has to be done before I can write the exam. I also still have to do the oral part but haven't been able to get in touch with my marker to do that.

I was on target to have this all done last week which may seem like a close shave to most others but, to my procrastinating self, is looooots of time. Aahhh...the best laid plans and all that. Oh well. I'm going to write the exam and then deal with the rest.

Soooo...if I may toot my own horn...I'm really proud of myself. I haven't told anyone my marks because I don't want to sound like I'm bragging, but I'm certain that all of you who have taken up the challenge of learning Spanish will be supportive. The lowest mark I've received through the whole course is 91%. That was on my midterm exam and it pulled my mark down to 96.5%. My goal was to complete the course with a 97 or 98, which is where I was until the midterm. I'd have to get 100% on the final and that just ain't gonna happen. I do well with reading comprehension. It's the recall to write my own stuff that suffers. Isn't midlife grand? Not! Oh well. My ultimate goal is to be proficient and I'm sure that once I've completed all 3 levels, I will be.

Anyways, wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Preparations Have Begun

We'll be heading down in about a week's time so it's time for me to get started on things.

Digging through the stash of sunscreen, I realized that one of them had expired and the spray can of aloe (in case  for when I get a sunburn) had sprung a leak. I learned many, many moons ago, to keep liquids I travel with in ziplock bags and this hard won wisdom paid off. They were all still in the bag from our last trip down so all I had to do was wipe off the bottles and exchange the bag for a clean one. Do you know what spray aloe does when it dries? It's get all gelled. As I wiped it off the bottles, it balled up similar to the way the glue from those infernal stickers on glass items does. Happily, it was much easier to get off but it still took a bit of elbow grease.

My box of stuff-I-want-to-take-with-me doesn't have much in it. There isn't much we need, anymore. Well, actually, there isn't anything we *need*. Now it's just the little things that are nice to have. Like a felt marker. And an apron. And some small Tupperware containers. Yeah, we can get everything we need down there but not all things are available at any given time. Sometimes it's just easier to get it here and bring it with us.

I still need to go buy some school supplies. We always bring some down and take them to Richard and David at Bolom Balam on C80, if we can catch them. If we miss Richard and David, we give the items to a lady in the complex who takes them to a local school.

I've been working on a couple of crocheted sweaters for kids. The second one is almost done and I'd like to get that finished before we leave so I can bring them both, too.

Had to buy a new suitcase because the retracting handle on one got damaged in a previous flight. We got one of those fancy schmancy ones with the 4 caster-type wheels. Sears had them on for half price after Christmas. Our friends, who came down with us in Nov, have them and they're just the cat's bum. We gave the old one to a friend who fills old suitcases with goodies and then sends them to her friend in Jamaica who disperses everything amongst the less fortunate.

I have to get Señor B to pull a suitcase down from the shelf so I can start packing. It seriously takes me a week to pack, even with My Packing List . I'm in awe of Señor B. He can pack in less than an hour. How does he do it? I suppose his lack of hair means no hair products needed and he doesn't wear make-up so he doesn't need to pack that. But his real secret? He doesn't worry about making sure all the other stuff gets packed. Like the sunscreen. And the "pharmacy". And the TP for forays into pay bathrooms that don't always give you enough . All he looks after is his clothes. He leaves all that other stuff up to my much more anal personality to take care of.

I have my to-do-before-we-leave list going and everything's being taken care of expeditiously so I don't have a boatload of running around to do too close to our flight date. I hate that chicken-with-no-head feeling.

Eight more sleeps til our flight and nine more until we hit Progreso. Can't wait!