Today began the new semester at Ole Miss--as far as classes go. I was at work all day yesterday in meetings and preparation. I had my first class at 1 this afternoon for the social work practice with groups at the undergraduate level. I am looking forward to it. About half of the class are students whom I do not know, and about half are students I have had last summer in the Introduction to Social Work and Human Behavior classes. I am trying new things in the group class this semester in terms of class projects, so that will be an exciting time as well. We will be working again with the Job Corps program in Batesville, the Oxford Housing Authority, and in three new projects to be determined by each of the three groups in the class. Each month, one group will be at Job Corps, one at OHA, and one in the new project. Each group is always different, and this is my favorite class of all of the ones I ever get to teach.
Tonight was the first class for the MSW program and my first time to teach a graduate class at Ole Miss. There are 12 students, and they are going through in a cohort, so they all know each other well. I have had only one of them as a student, but have had contact with two of them in their former roles as field instructors or on our advisory board. The class is practice with families and groups. Tonight was primarily my getting to know them, their getting to know me, and going through the syllabus, discussing class expectations and projects and selecting groups for family and group work. The size is perfect, the diversity of age and ethnicity and experience is a good mix, and I am really looking forward to this opportunity. All of them work, have families, and a number of them also travel--though the distance is short compared to the 6 hours travel time I had in my graduate program. :)
Today was also a day to talk with colleagues, students, and others who stopped by, so it was a busy day as well as a long day. As I talked about my experiences in San Pedro, it reminded me of the things I miss about there--like the warm weather (it snowed here yesterday and was 18 this morning) and the relaxed and laid-back atmosphere. In the grad class tonight, I mentioned something about Belize and Dr. Shackelford and everyone began to laugh. I said, "Oh, yeah, you all had her in the fall and know all about it." Still it was fun to talk about San Pedro and St. Paul and South Africa in the terms of the class and my work. I also have already talked to some students about going to the Belize May Intersession class that Dr. Shackelford will teach.
So, with that being said, on this cold winter night in Mississippi, I decided to revisit a few things and people in San Pedro, beginning with my plane ride from Belize City to San Pedro--it took longer to load the plane than it did to fly to San Pedro.
Once there and settled in our apartment, Kim "forced" me to go over to Wet Willy's to watch the Ole Miss-Tech game. I am not that much of a football fan, but I still went and rooted for Ole Miss. Here is proof we watched it, even though we were in Belize. The bad part was their TV closed caption capacity was "going out" and there were white bars in half of the captions, so we never knew for sure exactly what the announcers were saying. LOL
However, it was relatively easy to tell by the score and watching Ole Miss make touchdowns the general gist of the game. :)
Kim introduced me to the Belize national beer, Belikin. I am not a beer drinker, but thought it was an important cultural experience to check out the "Maya pyramid beer."
Alas, the two weeks passed quickly and before we knew it, it was Thursday night and my last night there. We went to My Secret Deli, as you know from earlier posts for the last supper. Kim, though covered in rain and after a long hard day at the school, smiling and cheerful as ever.
Our new friend Ernesto, the most polite and considerate gentleman, ever willing to cart us around, eat spinach lasagna, and put up with my endless desire to eat at My Secret Deli.
Hope you both are having a wonderful evening in Belize!