Some GOOD news to report: I’ve found a new flat. I move Monday. It’s not a lot better, so don’t get too excited. I still a share bathroom (with 2 others) and it has a shared kitchen—I’m not sure how many people live there, maybe 10, but enough people that cooking will be difficult. I’ll still be eating most of the time. I had tried to find an efficiency apartment, but there simply wasn’t one open that would take a foreigner. And the rooming house near the school has a waiting list. It could be months before they have room for me. On my salary, I can’t possibly rent a standard apartment. It’s also no closer to the school.
Why move, you ask? The first is that my landlord has been somewhat loose with the truth more than once and he’s not in a hurry to fix anything that goes wrong. I’m also feeling “spied” on. There’s a woman here that is the landlord’s “eyes and ears.” I’ve caught her going through my grocery bags and if I go into the kitchen or living room, she just stands there and watches me. I’ve made two other friends here, and they say she does the same with them. We just stay in our rooms! There’s a nice dining and living area, but under those circumstances, It’s pretty useless to me. Another advantage is that the new kitchen has actual hot water, so maybe people will wash their dishes! I know. A pipedream. Another bonus is that my new bedroom is not right beside a noisy construction site. They sometimes work on Sundays, and they always work in the afternoon. With my current schedule, I don’t get a full night’s sleep, so I need a nap in the afternoon. One of my students works for the company doing the construction and she says they still have 3 more months of work. I’ll be glad for the quiet and a lot less dust! I have to wet mop daily to deal with the dust.
The biggest reason to move is that the rent is a third less at the new place, which eases the sting of having to eat out so much. The commute is the same, but if I don’t have the 7am classes, that’s not so bad. I’ve been promised that I won’t have this schedule next session. We will see what happens in two weeks when this schedule finishes! And with the recent raise and the lower expenses, I can actually save a bit of money while I’m here and not have to dip into savings during unpaid school holidays. One drawback is that I can’t have overnight guests, not even visitors. Of course it’s not exactly a nice place to bring people.
Among the other reasons I want to move is how….messy…the situation here is. I don’t just mean the cleanliness. I’ve not said much on the blog, but this is basically a Latino Telenovela, a Peyten Place with Spanish subtitles. Arturo’s ex-lover lives downstairs. His ex-lover’s mother, lives here too, along with a girl (the lover’s sister?) and a young boy (maybe 10-11 years old). They all argue a lot, usually in the kitchen. There’s also a young girl here, but I haven’t figured out what room she’s in. The worst is the old man who has apparently lived here for a long time. He’s the one who spends most of his time in boxer shorts (not a fashion statement) and occasionally has a problem with them “gaping” in the front. I really think there should be more mystery when it comes to my flat mates! He only says “Bueno” to me. Never “good morning” or “good afternoon,” just “good.” Interesting. He doesn’t wash his dishes, just rinses them in the cold water (there is no hot water in the kitchen).
My Spanish is coming along–partially from Spanish classes and on-line study, but also from necessity. I have a beginner English class at 7am. I have to translate most of the text, especially instructions, into Spanish. It’s often needed to help them understand. While I really don’t think I’m qualified to teach a beginner class, and I’m convinced a native speaker would be more help to me, I seriously love these students. They are exceptional and intelligent adults–a master’s level physiologist and five engineers who come before work each day. So we are learning together! The textbook could be a lot better, but I try to fill in the gaps for them. It seems to be mostly working. It’s just that 7am is not my best time to be creative! They have their first quiz next week, so we’ll see how they do.
In other good news, I got acknowledgement that my visa status has been changed from “Tourist” to “Work.” I must go in next week for fingerprinting at Immigration. It will take a few more weeks after that and then I’ll get my actual work card, so it’s official.
With this split shift and 32 teaching hours a week, I’ve only had time for work. I’ve not seen any more of the city. Nothing new to report. My blog posts have slowed down. I hope to get a break soon. Next week we have Independence Day off on Friday. Not sure what celebrations there may be, but my students say that the Central Historic District should have some celebrations.