Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Standardized Testing

Take a standardized test in a foreign country: check.

I'm going to preface the test day with a little story. I didn't bring my calculator to Ecuador, due to lack of foresight. So my parents sent me a package containing the calulator in the middle of October. Normally, it takes about a week for something to get here, and we were a little nervous about sending a calculator, but this was urgent. When I got back from my Manabí trip, my host parents had already left with my uncle and aunt to a winery tour in South America (Ruta de Vino). I couldn't retrieve the package then because the shipping address is to my uncle's box at the post office. So when they got back I asked him if it was there. It was taken to customs because it weighed too much. So the Wednesday before the test, my host mother took me out of school to go to the post office. They said that I had to go to customs to pay the fine. So I went to customs (and ran into another exchange student who was in my same class in my school here who had the same exact problem - overweight package). I got some papers. They sent us to the bank. I paid the $77 fine! I went back to the post office and finally got my package. All that for candy and a stinkin' calculator. I was so relieved that I ate a bag of skittles right then and there.

Friday I left school early and went with Wacho, who drives my host mother around, to Guayaquil. I had a backpack full of clothes and testing materials: three sharpened pencils (almost forgot those at the house), admission ticket, fruit snacks, eraser, cd player, headphones. We went to the Guayaquil airport to pick up a friend of my host parents, and I met up with Johnny there. Johnny and I hitched a taxi to his apartment, then we went to the San Marino mall because there was no power in his apartment(there have been quite a few power outages because of the lack of rain here). At the mall we ate at the American Deli - I ate grilled beef, rice, menestra, salad, and a fried egg. How American! Then meandered around the mall. We finally found an unused computer with internet (we had to go to the mall across the street) so I could check on the test - and get some last-minute studying in. Went back to Johnny's apartment, ate some jello and skittles, and went to sleep early to get some good rest! We had it planned that his cousin, Andy, come, sleep in Johnny's apartment, and drive us the next morning.

The next morning I woke up myself and Johnny - fortunately Andy was there, too. Johnny helped me make some eggs (mixed with milk and cheese like at my Missouri home). I also ate jello, chocolate milk, cereal, an apple, and yogurt - what a hearty breakfast. We left at 6:30 (entrance to the test was at 7:45). We got a little lost and had to ask for directions from this old man in a muscle car. Johnny and Andy were joking that I had stopped breathing in the backseat from nerves. We actually passed the place when I told them the name of the place, and we had to turn around. Luckily, we still got there at 7:15. The door was locked so we waited a bit with the other people. It was surprising to me that all of them were Ecuadorians. I was expecting at least one other North American in a similar situation to mine, but I don't think there were. I took a walk around the block to get some oxygen - I think Andy must have thought that I'm a little weird because my pre-test drill. Got in and to the room. I was with only one other student because we were the only ones taking an SAT II with listening. He didn't have a cd player so the teacher searched and found a stereo that he used. Luckily I had my big headphones and didn't hear the noise. When we were filling out the info on the form, the teacher was pointing out everything for me, even though I've taken these tests multiple times before. Did the test. On the Spanish one, since the other boy finished early, she struck up a conversation with him even though I was still working. Had breaks, like normal. Ate my fruit snacks. At one point she reassured us, saying that she wasn't too strict on time, because she doesn't want to stress us out. How nice. I also saw her skim over a lot of the text and ask me if they really read all of it in the US. After the test I headed to the front gate and was a little nervous because I still had my ticket. I asked the other boy but he said that she doesn't collect them. All I was thinking was "I hope that test gets to the US and they accept it." Johnny and Andy picked me up, we went to the apartment, and I packed my stuff to return to Machala. What an experience.

1 comment:

  1. Wow this was an experience that sounds crazy. Glad to hear you made it all work!