San Antonio Sabbatical

Finishing October

Posted on: October 29, 2010

  • In: Diversions
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I’ve noticed that October has been very busy for me due to my activities, both the scholarly ones and the fun ones.  My sabbatical time is passing by quickly.

As I mentioned in my latest journal entry, the in-class role plays went well.  My group did a great job; my role as supervisor was perfect for me as it allowed me to prepare and memorize a script (in Spanish) rather than having to create and respond to many statements in-the-moment.  I was pleased with the final result: a fine performance for which my group received a grade of 95.  Classroom Professor was clearly pleased too.  This role play project resulted in forming deeper connections with my classmates — a great benefit.

At my Tuesday practicum, when Clinic Team Supervisor went around the room and asked about each student’s Thanksgiving plans and I mentioned that I invited my Dad to come visit me in San Antonio but that I’m not sure if he will be able to, one of my friendly teammates graciously invited me to spend Thanksgiving with her family who will be visiting from El Paso, Texas.  This was so sweet of her.  I thanked her for the invitation and we agreed to update each other on our plans as the holiday nears.  Her Thanksgiving dinner invitation reminded me of an invitation I received several years ago while doing my clinical internship in California.  Since I couldn’t afford to go home to New York and be with my own family, one of the office secretaries invited me to have Thanksgiving dinner with her extended family.  I went and had a nice time.  I love being around kind-hearted people.

Because of my wonderful sabbatical experience at Our Lady of the Lake University (a Catholic, Hispanic-Serving Institution), I recommended this school and the city of San Antonio as a location that is worthy of being profiled in a new “Postcards” blog sponsored by The Chronicle of Higher Education.  The October 22, 2010 issue (p. A4) contained a request for suggestions of college towns in non-Eastern states that their reporter should visit on his November road trip.  I sent an e-mail a few days ago but haven’t yet received a response.

Yesterday I attended a free online webinar, “7 Ways to Increase Your Income (without having to raise your fees or get new clients)”.  This session was offered by the organizers of International Freelancers Day in which I participated in late September.  I continue to learn more about how to expand my part-time freelance writing business (which will supplement my full-time psychology career).  This week I finished up my six-week online “Write Your Book Proposal” class — I received important content and great feedback on the assignments for my self-help book — so I should have a little more free time in my schedule in the coming weeks. 

During this week’s Spanish lesson at SEFLA, Elvia and I watched and discussed a short video about the Yunque tropical rainforest in Puerto Rico (it reminded us of the Monteverde rainforest we visited in Costa Rica) and then reviewed mandatos (commands) in preparation for more thorough practice with the dreaded subjunctive verb tense.  The previous week, we played a little of various games in Spanish — Cranium, Pictionary, “100 Mexicanos dijeron” (poll results, similar to “Family Feud”) — and Elvia showed me some others such as loteria (Mexican bingo), Adivina quién?, Adivina dónde?, and Scene it?  This activity was fun and I learned lots of new vocabulary words, especially from the loteria picture cards.

A couple of days ago I went to the library (still a busy venue due to the early voting for the elections) and checked out several easy reader children’s books in Spanish so that I could expand my vocabulary and get more practice with reading Spanish books.  During my 2010 summer study trip to Spain, I read my first two Spanish books, an accomplishment for which I am very proud.  The first book I read was Junie B. Jones y el diario de clase by Barbara Park, and the second book was a Disney fairytale, Campanilla y la guerra de los pasteles.  My teacher in Spain said that reading children’s books in Spanish is a good idea; as my comfort with the language increases, I can advance to reading more challenging books in Spanish.  I’ve already read several selections from Spanish newspapers and magazines, but books present more of a challenge due to the words used (many regional phrases and complex sentence structures) and the higher reading level required.  I’m also trying to expose myself to Hispanic/Latino culture by reading books in English.  I’ve never taken a Hispanic literature class because many are very advanced and require reading complex pieces in Spanish, and I’m not there yet.  So, I’m hoping to read some of these works in their English form.  I recently read The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, and am currently reading Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies by Laura Esquivel.

I ordered food again from the Tin Star restaurant.  This time I had their “Two Taco Plate” and a Coca-Cola.  I had a grilled steak taco (#1 – steak, avocado, grilled onion) on a corn tortilla and a grilled chicken taco (#9 – chicken, roasted garlic, red onion jalopeno blend, sweet potato straws) on a flour tortilla.  Warm tortilla chips and salsa accompanied the meal.  I ate this meal at home after my Wednesday Spanish lesson and enjoyed it.  I still want to explore more of the San Antonio restaurant scene.  Normally I don’t eat out a lot (too expensive), but I’ve made an exception now.  How could I come to the great culinary city of San Antonio and not try the different foods?

Up until now, I’ve been focusing on studying (OLLU classes and SEFLA Spanish lessons), reading, writing, and meeting new people.  I haven’t been a tourist, but a resident.  Since the weather has become more tolerable and I have left only one complete month — November — I intend to do more tourist activities because San Antonio has much to see and do.  I’ll begin this phase of my trip with a food tour tomorrow.  Yum!

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