Teach Online with VIP Kid!

Last year, I started hearing about and seeing some teacher friends doing this online gig teaching English one-on-one to kids in China. After finishing up my Masters in December, I found myself with more time than I am used to so I decided to check it out myself. I’m glad I did! Here’s a quick rundown and any of you fellow teachers or stay-at-home moms/past teachers may want to look into it. (P.S. If you do, use my referral link please! https://t.vipkid.com.cn/?refereeId=12271165&refersourceid=a01 )

What is it like?

You teach one-on-one classes via an online portal for 25 minutes. Curriculum is prepared by VIP Kid, so all you have to do is prep maybe the night before the class and know the target vocabulary, sentence stems, phonics patterns, high frequency words, etc that will be covered in the lesson. You may teach trial classes to kids trying out VIP Kid for the first time or major courses to kids already enrolled in it. Trials are a bit more challenging because you don’t know student’s exact levels and they may have never done the online thing before, so it’s a bit intimidating for them! There are levels 1-6 with Level 1 (Pre-VIP) being age based for kids under 5 years old. Currently levels 1 and 2 are interactive, whereas in upper levels, you and the student can write on the screen but much of the interactivity is through acting things out and props. Most of your students will likely be emergent English levels, so you have to be very energetic, speak slowly, use lots of TPR (Total Physical Response), and find ways to get the students engage. The goal in lower levels is 50% teacher talk/50% student talk. In upper levels, the goal is 30% teacher/70% student. Getting certified for different levels can take awhile. Initially after being hired, you may only be allowed to do trial classes until you’ve completed a certain number. I was invited to do the Level 1 kiddos based on my mock classes and I’m glad I did because a lot of my first classes were with this age group! Even after a couple months, I only have level 1 and 2 certifications. This may move faster if you teach more classes, but I primarily do weekends only and that works for me.

How much are you paid?

This part seems complicated, but once you figure it out, it makes a lot of sense. Essentially, you will receive a base pay per class between $7-$9. This is determined based on your experience, interview, and mock classes. Then for each class that starts and finishes on time, you receive $1 for the “participation incentive”. Let’s say you start out with a small schedule…for example, my base pay is $8. So when I complete a class, I get $9 total ($18 for the hour if I teach 2 classes). But then, if it is a short notice booking, meaning they booked less than 24 hours in advance, you get an extra $2. So now, I could be earning $11 per class or $22 in an hour. But if you teach a lot of classes in a month, there’s even more incentive! If you teach 30-45 classes within a month (even if they are no-shows), you get an extra $0.50 per class. If you teach 45+ classes, you get an extra $1 per class. Some people teach a LOT and so they bring home more money than I even made as a classroom teacher. But there are a few caveats…

Student no-shows: This is common with trial classes. If a student does not show up for a trial, you have to wait 15 minutes or until it is marked as no show. Then you’ll get only 50% of the base pay. You still get the participation incentive though, short notice if applicable, and it counts toward finished classes.

Teacher no-shows: VIP Kid is really hard on these. You can only have six no-shows during a six month contract period, or they can fire you. If you cancel with less than 2 hours to go or don’t show up, it counts against your six no shows and they deduct $10 from your pay. If you cancel between 2-24 hours in advance, it counts against you and you lose $2.

Taxes: You are considered an independent contractor when you work for VIP Kid, so none of your earnings are taxed initially which means you may owe a lot come tax time! You’ll want to consult with a tax professional to determine if you need to estimate and pay your taxes quarterly and how to file accurately. Don’t forget to set aside quite a bit of your earnings to pay Uncle Sam!


  • Bachelors Degree (or Associates is acceptable if it’s in early childhood education)
  • Native English speaker
  • Experience teaching kids in some capacity from ages 5-12
  • Computer with good Internet
  • Criminal background check

I’ve read different things on who gets accepted and estimates that only 6-10% of applications are accepted. Talk up all teaching experience and even if you don’t have an official teaching background, if you’ve worked with kids at all, list everything you can on the application and you never know! It doesn’t hurt to try.

Interview Process:

  • Application: To sign up, go to the website: https://t.vipkid.com.cn/register. You’ll have to fill out a short application form where you need to highlight all the work you’ve done with children. Be specific. Then you’ll wait to receive an email and see if your application is accepted in order for you to move on to the next step.
  • Interview/Demo Class: At this point, you’ll have to prepare for a demo class which is basically your interview. You can sign up for a time slot and do it with a staff member, or you can record your own and send it in. I opted to record my own at a time that worked for me (11pm at night :)), but I don’t suggest it. Here’s why: the first few minutes of the interview, the staff member will ask you a few questions about your experience and background, or if you’re recording your own, you just talk about it. This part was fine. The next 15 minutes, you will record a shortened demo class using the material they will send you via pdf. If you’re doing it with the staff member, they will pretend to be a 5 year old with limited English. This sounded strange to me, so I decided to do the self-recorded option when you have to pretend you’re talking to a 5 year old that isn’t even there. This turned out to be much harder! I recommend signing up to do the video interview with the staff member. **Wear an orange t-shirt for every video/mock class in this process, as this gives you little brownie points since it’s the company’s color! (I wore one inside out because it was the only orange one I had, but it had a picture on the front and no one ever said a word…)
  • Teacher Training & Quiz: If you pass the interview/demo class, they will send you 6 hours of material to study and videos to watch to learn about the curriculum, teaching techniques, and more. Then you take a quiz, which you must get 80% on to pass to the next step. But you can take it multiple times, so it’s not too stressful.
  • Mock Class 1: In a 30 minute video chat with a VIP Kid mentor teacher, you’ll teach a full 25 minutes just like you would with a kid. However, it is split up into two parts. The first 15 minutes, you will teach part of a level 2 lesson (material provided to you ahead of time so you can prepare). Then your mentor will stop you and give you feedback. The last 10 minutes, you will teach part of a level 5 lesson, at which point your mentor will give you additional feedback. **This mock class is super important, as your mentor will choose personality tags for your profile based on your teaching. Good personality tags associated with your profile will help increase your bookings! (Once you’re hired, you can email the support site FreshDesk and ask what your tags are. I was happy to see mine were the following: outgoing, enthusiastic, phonics and reading, body language and facial expression, speaking and discussion!) 
  • Mock Class 2, if requested: Following your first mock class, you will receive an email indicating if you are immediately hired or if they want to see you do a second mock class so you have more practice time.
  • Sign contract/upload paperwork: If you’re hired, congratulations! At this point, you will sign and upload the contract, a copy of your bachelor’s degree, government issued ID, and teaching certifications (if you have any). You will need to fill out a W-9 form and upload your bank account information too, so you can get paid!
  • Set up your profile for parents to see: You will upload a few photos of yourself and record a short greeting video that showcases your personality and maybe a prop or two. I put mine together on iMovie, put a quick intro slide with your name, perhaps some music behind it, and talked with my monkey puppet. Remember to talk slow and be enthusiastic! Parents use these to decide whether or not to book classes with you.
  • FINALLY open up slots for booking and be patient! It can take awhile to build up bookings, especially in the beginning. I don’t open up very many due to limited time, but they’re still not fully booking yet.
Screen Shot 2018-03-13 at 7.24.16 PM

Speak slowly and be excited in your greeting video! Wear an orange shirt, have good lighting, and a happy, colorful background. Use a prop if you have one.

How do I get booked?

The beauty of this gig is that you can open up as many or as few slots as you want. You can open slots from the app on your phone or online and if you check the little box, this means you’re willing to do a short notice class that can be booked in less than 24 hours. If you do this, make sure you’re paying attention to the app! I’ve heard of people that checked this box, went to sleep, and forgot to check in the early morning and missed classes, racking up teacher no shows and losing pay. 😦 I only ever do the 24 hour booking myself for classes that are after other ones I already have booked. I have a hard enough time waking up as it is!

Here is one of my previous weeks…I leave for work at 6:15am, so I only have time for one class in the morning during the week at 5:30am without waking up too crazy early. Your times will depend on your current time zone. I’m on Central Time because it’s Bogota time, so Beijing time is 13 hours ahead. It’s important to note the red and orange times. Red is Peak Peak Time (PPT) which is when most kids want classes and they’re likely to be booked first. Orange is Peak Time (PT), which is also highly sought after. If you have a boring weekend, this is a great time to maybe pull an all-nighter and make some cash!

Screen Shot 2018-04-01 at 1.49.36 PM

Below you see an upcoming week. I only opened up Saturday and Sunday morning times. Only a few are booked so far and may fill throughout the week. I checked the 24 hour short notice box so that way they could still sign up Saturday morning if they so choose (and I get an extra $2 bonus!).

Screen Shot 2018-04-01 at 1.49.49 PM

Support after being hired:

Even after doing tons of research, reading other blogs, and watching videos, I felt kind of lost after getting hired. This is where I was thankful for social networking! On Facebook, there are two groups in particular: VIP Kid Newbie Support and VIP Kid Teachers. These are great to ask questions, read others’ questions/advice, and learn! I also started following some teachers on Instagram to get ideas and support.

VIP Kid offers discussion forums through something called the Hutong (where you can also do challenges and earn coins to be redeemed for different things), something called FreshDesk where you can submit tickets if you have questions or problems, and they have lots of workshops and material to teach yourself. The workshops are taught by VIP Kid Teachers and you sign up for a particular time and it’s like a webinar workshop. I haven’t actually done any myself because the times don’t work out for me, but they seem helpful from clips I’ve watched.



Are you enthusiastic and interested in making some quick money working from home while wearing pajama shorts on bottom and an orange shirt on top?? Use my referral link if you decide to sign up! Thanks!  https://t.vipkid.com.cn/?refereeId=12271165&refersourceid=a01


I heart.

As teachers, we have some of the most peculiar and most wonderful things happen to us, often in the same hour. I’ve had students poop down their pants and leave it for us to find on the floor. I’ve had more kisses and hugs than I can count, and not always in the most appropriate of places. I’ve had chairs thrown at me. I’ve had “I love you” and “I hate you” notes from the same child within 5 minutes. I’ve had insect attacks in our classroom. I’ve had tricks played on me and I’ve played tricks on kids. We’ve had laughter, tears, pain, and anger. But most of all, we’ve learned and grown together.

There are times when I feel like I nailed it…you know, said exactly the right thing at the right moment. Man, those moments feel good. There are other times when I screwed it up. I reacted without thinking first, let my impatience show, or simply said the wrong thing. How I wish I could go back and fix those moments. But then along comes an instance when I realize how rewarding this job is and how it is worth all the time, energy, stress, frustration, and regrettable moments.

One day this week, we were at closing circle and sharing the best part of our day. Students are not required to share, but since we’ve started it, it’s been amazing hearing what they enjoyed the most and really reaffirms my decision to be a teacher. Even if 40-50% of the time, they say recess! J One of my more difficult children raised his hand and in his broken English where he repeats “I me” a lot, he went on to say that he hearts his school…he hearts his friends….he just hearts everyone and everything. It was not related to a best part of the day at all, and I started to redirect him, but then realized how impassioned he was and just let him talk. As he continued to go on, I gave our “me too” silent signal and so did many other students. It just warmed my heart. It made me smile. It made me laugh. Especially since he literally said “I heart _____” rather than “I love”. And If I’m being honest, I got a little teary-eyed.

As I went home that afternoon with emotions still running high and thinking about what it is that “I heart”, I couldn’t help but reflect on my experience thus far in relation to the culture shock continuum I posted 7 months ago.


At about 6 months, you finally get to the At Home phase. I’ve definitely felt all of the above emotions, though it hasn’t been such a smooth down and back up…rather, it’s more of constant ups and downs like a roller coaster, but I feel that it’s typically been higher than lower. I can’t explain where I am right now because it’s not on the continuum. I feel at home here, but what’s more is that I feel HAPPY. Even when I was “at home” in Indianapolis, I didn’t feel happy. Working 60-80 hours a week and having zero time to take care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially doesn’t allow room for happiness. Now I’m only occasionally taking work home or doing it on the weekends (except this weekend because I’m behind). I go to the gym. I go to salsa classes. I go to tumbling classes. I watch a TV show when my internet is working. I practice a new language. I cook. I go to the pool sometimes. I read books, though fitting in time for adult books is still hard. I travel to new places (Bogota last weekend. The coast for Spring Break is booked. Hopefully Peru and Bolivia this summer.) I spend time with friends. I do things on the weekend. All of this was unimaginable for me when I was home. Is this what makes me happy? Activities? Time to do what I enjoy? I don’t know…probably.

People say to me, “Oh, you’re living the dream.” Not quite. Remember that most people only post the positive things, myself included. Shit still hits the fan here. Work is still stressful. Drama still exists. Miscommunications happen frequently. I’ve cried, yelled, and felt crazy. Problems of all sorts still occur. But let me be cliché for a moment…what I’ve come to learn is that it truly IS how you respond to the situation. It’s all about your mindset. A few quotes that echo what I’m trying to say…

http-::dailyquotes.co:happiness-is-a-choice: http-::dougleschan.com:the-recruitment-guru:inspiration:quotes-about-happiness-that-will-make-you-happy: http-::www.quotesdump.com:love-life-happiness-quotes-8: (Click on photos for sources.)

And my favorite, which used to be my phone background as a reminder to keep growing, keep taking chances, keep challenging myself…


So many people get stuck where they are because they’re AFRAID. Stepping outside your comfort zone is terrifying. Believe me, I know. The night before I left for Colombia, I was physically ill and couldn’t sleep. The unknown is scary. But you know what’s scarier, at least in my opinion? Settling for a life without ever trying to figure out what really challenges you and what fills your heart. Living your entire life with a “what if”.

Now, I’m not saying traveling and living internationally is for everyone. Not at all. Even for me, this is what makes me happy at the moment, but come 3 years, I might be singing a different tune. What I’m trying to say is that you need to be responsive to what you are feeling at this point in your life and not try to sweep it under the rug. If you feel a yearning, check it out. Big or small. Go for it. You’ll never know how it turns out until you TRY. Figure out what it is that you “heart.” And really, can the result be so much worse than living a life full of “what ifs”?



The literal translation means “coexistence”. At our school, it means a field trip to a location nearby, where you do team building and self-esteem activities. On Thursday was my class’s convivencia and beforehand, I really had no idea what to expect. As it was our first field trip, the kids were excited beyond belief. Plus, it was a casual day which meant no uniforms for them!

We arrived at a finca about 20 minutes south of town and led the students to a pavilion to meet their leaders. I found out later that convivencia is common all across Colombia, and the leaders of our group travel around doing this for different schools. Unfortunately, many public schools do not have the funds to do it, but at our private school, parents pay a “convivencia fee” along with their regular tuition that month.

Throughout the morning, students participated in some team building activities like this ball game below.

Then they talked about Hopes and Dreams, including what they wanted to be in the future and how that profession is beneficial. They paired up and traced each other’s profiles before coloring and decorating it like their future professional self.

There was a giant soccer field, playground, and some animals there, so we spent our snack time and recess exploring that area. It was SO great just observing the animals and talking about them with many of the students, rather than all the pressure you have in a school setting. I even have some great videos of the turkey gobbling at them to go away! haha

Enter more games, activities, discussions, etc…..then came my favorite part and the whole reason I wanted to write a post! Students were given a blindfold. Soothing music was put on, the leader was talking them through the growth of them, as if they were a seed. Students relaxed down onto the ground, felt their heart as their seed center, stretched and grew, and so on. I felt as if I was at the end of my yoga sessions doing the Savasana! They were mostly calmed down over 10 minutes of this…of course, being first graders, some were curious and kept trying to take off their blindfolds! haha.

Then we were told to choose about half the class that we felt were sufficiently calmed. Those students went around to the still-blindfolded kids, gave them hugs, said thank you for different things, apologized for others, and in general, had kind exchanges with the others. I LOVED seeing the reactions on everyone’s faces and the hugs. Then they switched places. Several kids began crying. Once they all took blindfolds off and some kids saw the others crying, of course they began to as well. Seeing this made ME cry! The students went around and did lots of hugging, then they all started coming over to my assistant and I. I cried more and the kids noticed. We talked about how it was out of happiness, instead of sadness.

We had finished up most of the activities by that point in the day, so it was lunchtime and extra long play time! The students were LOVING the merry-go-rounds, and I got 19 of them going fast on one of them. I explained to the Colombian leaders how they are now illegal in the states. Shortly after, one of my kiddos fell off a different piece of equipment (a climbing arc thing) and split open her lip. Whoops. Then another boy fell while trying to spin the merry go round. Whoops again. But as I tell them…they’re tough! They’ll be just fine. Kids spring back so easily most of the time.

While not necessarily educational in the traditional sense, this field trip was one of the best I’ve ever been on. It was like counseling for a group of kids! They do it again in the spring, but also with parents. Very neat. Today during our Morning Meeting at school, we talked about what we had learned yesterday…they seemed to have absorbed most of it! Of course, some students were fighting within minutes, but hey, they’re kids…right?

27 Perks of Living and Teaching in Colombia

After my last post about the lessons I’ve learned in my first two months here, I realized some of them came across as negative when, in reality, they are the things I am learning to laugh at. Since there are so many wonderful perks of living in this country, I decided to highlight some.

1. I get to practice my Spanish day in and day out! Yes, people always immediately recognize me as a “gringa” as soon as I open my mouth, but it’s a really good feeling when you participate in an IEP meeting fully in Spanish and contribute and understand 99% of it!

2. There are little shops everywhere to get your fresh fruits and vegetables, basic groceries, drinks, and so on. Great for stopping by when you just need a couple things and don’t want to go to one of the big supermarkets.

3. As already mentioned, alcohol and any other goods can be delivered right to your door just by calling the corner shop.

4. You get to walk everywhere! Some people may hate this, but I really missed being within walking distance of everything when I lived in Indy.

5. People actually work out hard here and sweat as much as, if not more, than I do. Yes, the girls are wearing cutesy coordinated outfits, but usually they are actually doing something productive.

6. Exercise classes are way more fun in Spanish! Also, instead of random Zumba classes, I have the options of rumba, salsa, urbana, danzika, and more. I couldn’t be more happy.

7. Everyone is a good dancer and most people love to dance! No matter where you are, a small party, bar, or social gathering at school, there are always bound to be people dancing.

8. Certain things are cheaper here….produce, certain services, phone bills, medicines, and so on. Of course, other things like clothes, electronics, cereal, and hair products are more expensive.

9. Beauty treatments are readily available and cheaper than in the states. I’ve been seriously considering a keratin treatment on my hair, but that means I would potentially be sacrificing my curls for good…definitely for at least 3 months. But with this humidity, it may be worth it!

10. You can buy single cans of beer from nearly any corner store.

11. They have awesome juices that they make from all the different fruits. I’ve attempted them at home and don’t do the greatest job, but you can get them freshly made at several different places for cheap.

12. The weather is beautiful….year round!!! It still hasn’t sunk in that I will still be going to the pool come January. Especially after the polar vortex this past winter. Am I starting to miss a bit of fall weather and pumpkin spice lattes? Yes. But sunny weather day in, day out, really helps put you in a good mood!

13. I complained about it being difficult to get a regular iced coffee, but I didn’t mention that those granizados (blended iced coffee) are really quite delicious…

14. Most people are incredibly welcoming! Isn’t it always so in countries where they kiss each other on the cheek when they first meet you??

15. You need small denominations for your taxi rides, but that’s only because they’re so cheap! To go into the actual center of Bucaramanga (about a 15-20 minute taxi ride depending on traffic) is only about 8,000 pesos, or $4. Split that amongst 3 or 4 people and it’s dirt cheap.

16. The scenery! Even though I live in the city and don’t have nature immediately available, it’s always a good feeling to be walking home and looking up at the mountains around you. I can’t wait to visit the coffee region of Colombia over our fall break because it’s in the Andean region and supposedly even more gorgeous!

17. Teaching has way less pressure and stress than in the states. Most of the pressure I have is what I naturally put onto myself.

18. I have a great bilingual assistant in my classroom…never did I realize how many little extra things I’ve had to do and deal with until I’ve had her and she’s taken care of them.

19. I have so much prep time!! Even on my busiest day, Thursday, I have a morning prep from 9:45-10:30am when Spanish is in my room and another in the afternoon from 12:45-1:30pm when they are at Music.. I only have recess duty 3 days a week (really only 3 recesses out of 10 total recesses in the week). And I have a full lunch break. I still tend to scarf down my food because it’s what I’m so accustomed to, and I’m struggling to make the most productive use of my preps at the moment, but I wouldn’t trade the time for the world. (GB friends, don’t get jealous…you’re more than welcome to move to Colombia and teach here, too!)

20. Administration and parents (for the most part) fully respect you, your position, and your expertise. I’m given quite a bit of freedom to adapt my instruction for how I see fit and parents are asking my recommendations on extra tutoring for their children. Yes, more involved parents has definitely come at a cost that may drive me a bit crazy from time to time, but it’s well worth it.

21. (edited) I don’t know how I forgot to mention this the first time around, but Colombia has the second most number of national holidays, I’m pretty sure. This, coupled with the American holidays we also get off, means we have a 3 day weekend, or puente, as they call it at least once a month. Plus almost a week fall break, week at spring break, and 3 and a half weeks at Christmas. Yet, we still start at the beginning of August and get out by the second week of June. God knows we teachers need those breaks probably more than the kids!

22. CHIVAS. Enough said.

23. Consistent sunrise and sunset. This has helped me to be okay with getting up in the 5ams. When you’re walking to school at 6:15am, it doesn’t feel like when I was driving to those horrid 7:20am meetings where I felt like a zombie. Having full sun really helps! Of course, this means I’m ready to be asleep by 8pm.

24. Living in South America means it’ll be way easier for me to travel throughout the continent. While I’ve decided to come home this Christmas since most other expat teachers are also going home, I’m looking forward to exploring some other countries next summer! (I’ll be home Friday, December 19 to Wednesday, January 7. I want to see as many people as I can! You can still iMessage me if you have my email in my contact, or contact me via FB/email since my US phone number doesn’t exist anymore.)

25. Condiments come in squeezable bags instead of jars. At first I thought this peculiar, but now I’ve realized how convenient it is! They are smaller and you don’t need a knife to spread it.

26. Yes, all sorts of bugs in our home and around is terrifying, but on the flipside, I’m becoming less of a baby in dealing with them (until we have dead geckos or cockroaches…then my roommate is the brave one). I figure by the time I return to the states someday, little spiders won’t scare me anymore.

27. Frozen yogurt is everywhere! I’m obviously in heaven and may or may not get it on the way home from the gym 2-3 times a week. My favorite part is that they have plain or chocolate yogurt, but you choose a frozen fruit or two to blend into the frozen yogurt as it comes out of the machine. I try new combinations nearly every time I go.

Coming up with these 27 things was quite easy, and I know I could come up with more if I tried. Colombia is really an incredible country that is changing for the better more and more as time passes. I’m very fortunate to live in a city where I have many creature comforts of home, beautiful weather, safety, and a supportive school community. Obviously I’m still adjusting and go through periods of up and down, but I honestly don’t know if it could get much better! 🙂

27 Lessons I’ve Learned in Colombia

**I just want to preface this by saying these “lessons” are not always true, but definitely things I have experienced at one point or another during my first two months in Colombia. Others are accurate time and time again.

  1. Toilet paper, electricity, hot water, and soap are precious commodities. You will need to carry napkins in your purse, get used to cold showers, and become accustomed to losing electricity at school periodically.
  2. If you’re at least an hour late, you’re on time. If a bus says it will take 2 hours, multiply by 2 and add 10 minutes. Same goes for departure times.
  3. “Pare”, Spanish for “stop”, does not actually mean stop. It’s more of a suggestion. It means maybe slow down and honk to let cars know you’re coming. Or just honk because you feel like it…because that seems to be the thing to do.
  4. You must have small denominations of cash for your taxis, or you’re screwed.
  5. You become accustomed to itching and scratching from all the weird bug bites and rashes you will get.
  6. Problems with drug trafficking are the least of your worries. It’s the traffic itself that will probably get you. Taxis and motos seem to live for nearly running down pedestrians.
  7. You can get a mani/pedi for the same price as a container of ice cream or jar of peanut butter.

    Yes, I have baby nails, but it's not stopping me from getting fun, cheap manicures!

    Yes, I have baby nails, but it’s not stopping me from getting fun, cheap manicures!

  8. You will sweat through at least three articles of clothing a day, including your underwear.
  9. Wearing see through shirts is the norm.
  10. Always have alcohol on hand for bus rides. No worries if the bus is broken while driving on the edge of a cliff at night in the rain.
  11. Que vive la chiva! Party buses in the states are no comparison for a chiva. Hopefully you don’t value your toenails or dignity. What happens on the chiva stays on the chiva….we hope.

    Chiva = Colombian version of a party bus. Way less safe and way more fun.

    Chiva = Colombian version of a party bus. Way less safe and way more fun.

  12. Bus stations are actually just alleyways. Sometimes you will buy your tickets from random men on the street, and you even get a better deal.
  13. You will learn to like aguardiente (“guaro”)….or rather, you’ll drink it yet still hate it.
  14. All food must be kept in the refrigerator or you will have streams of ants in your kitchen.
  15. Bugs are way bigger and will attack.
    A cockroach that kept running toward me and I was spraying with bathroom cleaner. Took way too long to die.

    A cockroach that kept running toward me and I was spraying with bathroom cleaner. Took way too long to die.

    Ant that was crawling across my kitchen floor. But he was no ordinary sugar ant like the hundreds of others we've had.

    Ant that was crawling across my kitchen floor. But he was no ordinary sugar ant like the hundreds of others we’ve had.

  16. Get used to having dirty feet and floors. You’re only guaranteed a clean floor for 10 minutes after mopping.
  17. Air conditioning is a rarity. As are iced coffees…literally just cold coffee over ice is difficult to explain and you’re bound to end up with a granizado anyways (blended coffee).
  18. Allow 30 minutes to download a 20 minute show. Don’t even think about trying to stream a movie.
  19. The weather is consistent and if it rains, it pretty much only rains between 3pm and 7pm.
  20. Going to the pool is a serious affair…don’t forget your cap and you better not wear sunscreen or you won’t be in the water.
  21. Waiting in lines doesn’t follow the same rules as in the states. Be quick and be aggressive.
  22. You can’t be afraid of buying raw meat hanging outside in the heat for hours…or seeing the chicken heads as they tear apart the body on the street in front of you.
  23. Your safety is based primarily on how smart you are with your choices. No railings or cones put out to give warning.

    The buses drive like this...if you're not careful, you may fall out.

    The buses drive like this…if you’re not careful, you may fall out.

  24. Alcohol can be delivered literally to your front door with only a phone call to the corner shop…for a mere 500 pesos extra (~25 cents) and zero ID. Great for those rough days of school when you can’t even leave the house!

    Our (2nd) bottle of wine that was delivered to our door on Monday night for a mere total of $10.

    Our (2nd) bottle of wine that was delivered to our door on Monday night for a mere total of $10.

  25. You must figure out how to use a match and quick, or else singe all the hair off your hand as you attempt to light your gas stove or water heater every day.
  26. Anything you try to do will take at least 3 times as long as originally anticipated. This includes getting things fixed at your home, buying items at a store, going to a bank, and so on.
  27. There are so many fruits that you can’t actually eat. Some even look like slimy snot…but most do make delicious juices.

    Granadilla...I really don't care for it, but I think it's because the texture and seeds get to me.

    Granadilla…I really don’t care for it, but I think it’s because the texture and seeds get to me.