Hi! My name is Mariu Rodríguez (Maria Eugenia is my full name, but all my friends call me Mariu). Spanish is my mother tongue, but I also speak English and French. I started my experience as a teacher teaching French in my hometown. I was born and I have lived all my life in Venezuela, South America. I live in a coastal city called Maracaibo, a city with high temperatures throughout the year (about 86 ºF and 92ºF). One of the many activities I enjoy doing is taking a stroll early in the morning at sunrise, when the temperature is not so high and the air is fresh and soothing. I also love riding my bike on weekends, accompanied with my husband and my two children (a son and a daughter), and we even enjoy kayaking on Maracaibo´s lake from time to time.

Despite the fact that my city is one of the hottest in the country, in Venezuela there are all kinds of climates, from eternally snowy mountains such as the “Andes Mountains”, or endless kilometers of beautiful and warm beaches in the Caribbean Sea, or jungles, savannas, and even a desert area with dunes and all! There is a little of everything, for all tastes. In the northeast of the country, we have the island of Margarita, a famous tourist destination. In the southeast, we have Canaima, a National Park that is home to the “Angel Falls”, the highest waterfall in the world.

As Venezuela has been suffering a strong economic, political and social crisis for several years already, today our country is not as attractive as a tourist destination as it was before. However, we Venezuelans have learned a lot from this crisis, and, most of all, we have remained optimistic and we think that the difficulties we have encountered have made us stronger.

One topic I cannot omit to show you a little bit more about my country is food. The arepa, the hallacas (traditional Christmas dish), the pabellón (rice, black beans, shredded meat and fried plantain), the tequeños (cheese sticks in a fried, crusty dough), to mention a few, are dishes that defines our culture. Naturally, I love cooking, especially when it comes down to making desserts, so I am my family’s official cook in charge of making birthday cakes and even the traditional “tequeños” when there’s a celebration just around the corner.

Like most of my students, I too love to travel and make friends all over the world. As I see it that is the best part of learning (and teaching) a language: to meet people and be able to communicate life experiences in their own language. That’s what I enjoy the most about being a Spanish teacher, not only being able to teach the language to my students, but sharing a little bit of my life, my family, the culture of my country, and my experiences learning new languages, and in return, receiving the same affection from each of you. Thanks for allowing me to be part of your life.

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