“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” ~ Mary Anne Radmacher
Friday Finally! It’s been a long week. Still have to work tomorrow, but a 9:30am class seems easy compared to 7am.
Yesterday the flooding was horrible. I knew it was an issue here in SLP, but had managed to stay out of the worse of it so far, mostly by simple luck. Yesterday is started to rain very hard an hour before I needed to leave for school. It was over in time for me to leave for class, but the streets were flooded with both water and traffic. My apartment was like an island. When I tried to step from the sidewalk to cross the street, the water came just below my knee. Many sidewalks were flooded and I saw water coming into the front doors of many homes and businesses. The last time I saw a city with this much water was Venice. Unfortunately, the smell was much like Venice, too: Backed up sewers. That can’t be healthy. Note to self: buy rubber boots. Make sure they come to the knee. Are hip-waders in fashion this year?
Gave two final exams yesterday and graded them during my one hour that I’m supposed to have a private lesson. Three days this week I’ve been scheduled for a one hour lesson on Business English with a gentleman named Javier. I have yet to meet him. The good news is that I get paid. Anyway, the point is that I got the exams graded. Unfortunately, the grades were poor. I barely passed three students in my 8 going to 9 off-set class. I left them strong notes that if they didn’t study much harder, plus go back and review the last two levels, they would not pass the next. I hope they take me seriously. Two of them have attendance issues, but the third is a sweet young girl who just isn’t getting it. She’s at an age where language skills should be easy for her to learn. She isn’t learning. Often she can’t form a simple present sentence, spoken or in writing. I wonder if she even wants to learn English. She’s my Justin Bieber lover, the one who had never heard of The Beatles. If I had private time with her, I’d work through his songs. We’d translate them and discuss the idioms. That might work with her. The problem is that the rest of the class would HATE it if we did this and it wouldn’t prepare them for the exams.
The hardest part is that the first question in the level 8 final exam was the lyrics to a Beatles song. I played the song in class two days before. I gave them the lyrics. We read them out loud. I asked ALL the questions they were asked on the exam. Despite of this, almost everyone missed more than half of the questions. It’s depressing.
Finally found a realtor to work with me to find a new place. She’s the mother of one of the other teachers. Unfortunately, I’ve not successfully gotten her to understand what I’m looking for. I only need a studio apartment. She located a house. The location is great, but the house is three times the size I need. It even has a two car garage and a yard. It’s also more than twice the money I can pay. And I’d have to arrange all the utilities—which is beyond my Spanish skills. I could only swing it if I had one or two roommates and my Spanish was much better. If I were going to live here for 2-3 years, I’d seriously consider it. Clearly the teachers who come here need a place to stay and I could get Michael to send them my way when I had an opening. But It’s more than I want to arrange. I think she was pretty disappointed in me.
In the meantime, there’s been a new development in the “I seriously need to find a new place to live” front. There is an older man downstairs. He rarely speaks. I never see him leave the apartment. (What’s really scary is that this “older man” is probably my age!) Mostly he walks around in his boxer shorts, grunting. It’s not a good look. (He’s also one of the kitchen “offenders” who doesn’t wash dishes or counters and leaves uncovered food out). Occasionally, I’ll catch him using the upstairs bathroom. I’d rather he didn’t. After all, his bathroom downstairs is off limits to me. However, it’s possible that it’s an urgent need, so I ignore it. The other day, however, his boxers were “gapping” in the front. I have seen things I can’t UN-see! It’s the second time it’s happened, too. The first time I pretended not to notice to be polite. This time I made a point of turning my head while pointing at the “area.” He was completely un-phased. He barely adjusted the boxers.
My Spanish is coming along slowly. Every week I learn new words and find it a bit easier to make transactions or small talk. It’s slow. This week I needed to buy vitamins and I realized I had the skills to say (badly), “I don’t want the Vitamin C tablets you put into water and drink. I want tablets.” A small victory in language.
The crazy schedule has worn me out. It’s Sunday, I’ve slept 10 hours. I slept 9 hours yesterday. It was such a thrill to “sleep in” to 7:30a! At the moment, It’s overcast, so I might not go to the fair today, the last day. One of my students gave me directions for taking the bus. I know I should go. I’m here to explore and learn, but my energy level is low and I don’t think I want to deal with rain as well. Regardless, I’ve got to make a run to a decent sized shopping center today. I need boots to deal with future rain. I can’t afford to ruin my good shoes.
Short on sleep, again. My nap today was made impossible by first the construction next door, then a man replacing the wireless router outside my door. Since the latter completely changes both the network and the password, it seems inconsiderate that Arturo wouldn’t mention it. But then, communication isn’t his strong suit. Also odd that the man seemed un-escorted.
Began week two of my horrid split shift. I get exhausted just thinking about it. I love the students, but 5-6 classes a day is a lot to deal with, in addition to a 7th class on Saturdays. Can’t get anything printed in the morning, either.