Monday, January 6, 2014

A little bit late but still in time to have a thought parade about 2013. I started disliking New Year's years ago because I'd look back at the year and think, that's it? What a lame year. I'm lame. Granted, this began I think maybe in middle school so perhaps I was being a bit hard on myself. It's hard to accomplish great things when you're 14 years old and only have 7 minutes of passing time with which to grab your books for next period, go to the bathroom, and facilitate world peace. The world is still at war but at least for my own part the past few years have been more enjoyable compared to age 14. 2013 wasn't my favorite, though.

This year Mono and I were at the same house we'd visited the last three years, although with different owners. It was a typical Mexican gathering, at least compared to the ones I've been to. The men were attempting to set up the grill, absolutely ineptly. I'm not sure what the problem was because of course I was seated along with the other women, tending to the children. One of the little girls had a squirt gun and I told her to go spray Mono in the butt, which she did, and then we were best friends. This house is also noteworthy for being the scene of a murder a couple years ago. A woman was cheating on her husband, and the husband, who was a cop, shot and killed her before doing the same to himself. He left a one-year-old baby.

FYI Mom and Dad, this is not at all typical in Cozumel and yes, I was safe.

Anyway, year in review. I wish 2013 a peaceful farewell and am not sad to see it go. Sorry, not sorry. Peace out.

I am hoping for really good things in 2014. I've been sending out my resume and doing lots of research on jobs in Korea. It is going to be a big change for me and Mono's going to be completely out of his element and hopefully that's a good thing. We were grocery shopping when I was down in Mexico and he said that he hoped they had flour tortillas there, and not corn tortillas. And I'm like, honey, guess again.

In other news, I saw the javelina again, and he's grown. Remember this cute thing? In the picture on the left? He's living on the base and he's big now, and has fangs. Also did you know that javelina's have a little hole on their back to spread their flava flave? I was petting it with a stick because the fangs, they kinda scare me, and I came across what appeared to be a nipple. But instead of shooting out milk it shoots out odor in order to identify itself to members of its herd. This poor thing doesn't have any herd members except for the cat that also lives on base.

And in keeping with the animal theme I got to babysit this little guy Eddie on his way home to the United States. A woman from Brainerd had seen his photo online six months ago, back when he was just the skinny, ring-wormed thing you see in the bottom left oval. I wanted to keep him for mahself but since Manchas will be making the trip herself in a couple months, I let the little lamb go.

 That's all. Happy 2014 full of success and happiness and enough flour tortillas to make up for the ones we won't be eating in Korea.

Friday, December 27, 2013

At a certain point I start to feel
silly making these kinds of announcements, but dooh da dooh, can you hear the trumpet call?

Mono found out yesterday that he can ask for extended leave from the military so that we can see if there's a better fit for us outside of Mexico. He still doesn't have a visa for the States yet, so that's out, but I can be his sugar mama if I get a job teaching English or Spanish elsewhere. He needs to study, since he doesn't have a Bachelor's degree, but if he can focus on that while I'm bringing home the bacon we should eventually maybe possibly be able to plan for a move to the U.S. one day.

In the meantime I have to look for jobs. No, I mean in the meantime I'm drinking my body weight in margaritas and then when I get back to Minnesota I'll be looking for jobs and sending my resume out to the universe and all its goodwill hint hint points for positivity.

I'm pretty excited about this, I have to say. I feel like my time traveling was cut short when I met Mono and although I obviously wouldn't change that, I'm tentatively thrilled about the idea of setting out on another adventure, this time together. I'm also nervous because it's a big move for both of us and now it's two people hanging on the teeter-totter instead of just one.

Yesterday Mono called the powers that be at work to find out if taking a leave was possible. One of the captains overheard him and called him into his office and they ended up talking about it for three or four hours. He advised Mono to leave for reasons of stability and money and family and everything. He told him a terrible story about when his kids were born which I won't repeat because I don't think I'm officially supposed to comment on those things, but oh my dear.

He also said "grab yourself by the balls and hold them tight, and when you think it's difficult, grab even tighter." Meaning man up and be brave. So I guess I'll be ball grabbing myself as well (or something) and see what else life has in store. Bring on 2014!

Monday, November 25, 2013

This is not for any of your viewing pleasure. This is an experiment for myself to see if I can make a reasonable list of things for which I'm thankful. Tis the season, right? Mostly I'm a grouch so I genuinely want to know if I can do this. Plus I've read somewhere or maybe heard it on Oprah, that it's good to do such a thing every once in awhile. Practice gratefulness and love life. 

These won't be in any particular order, but that doesn't mean that number 1 isn't in it's rightful place. I'm going to write them down as they come to me.

1.) I'm grateful there are no cockroaches in Minnesota. At least that I've seen and that's good enough.
2.) I'm grateful for Facebook. I mean that for real. Facebook chat is my primary means of communication with Mono.
3.) On that note, I'm grateful for Mono.
4.) I'm thankful that Cozumel isn't located in Siberia.
5.) I'm thankful that even on days when the kids are naughty little devils, I can call them little eggs or something else equally hilarious, and they'll smile and be cute and the battle for control will be lost and gone forever. ¡¡A huevo!!
6.) I'm grateful for my baby Manchas the cutest thing alive ever with cute teeth and cute manchas and cute toes that are painted to match mine when I'm in town and she's so cute oh yes what a cutie pie.
7.) I'm grateful that when Manchas had a tick growing out of her head it wasn't discovered until I was in Minnesota. 

Manchas had ticks. We sprayed the apartment but we (I) kept finding them on her (and me!! agh, dreadful!) and we (I) burned them then pulled them out of her hair. The reason I did it was that Mono was a clumsy fool the first time he tried. He used some kind of pliers which he'd heated up in the flame, then he smooshed the garrapata and pinched it in half, and also burned Manchas' skin where the tick had been.

Or so we thought. Manchas started to grow this scab, which I thought was scar tissue from the burn. It was irresistible and black and ugly and I picked at it with my fingernails because I thought it should come off, but also, hellooo, it was a scab and I couldn't help myself. I'd aways stop short when I got through the first layer and it started to bleed. 

Then when I came back to Minnesota.. this is innovation and it worked out for the best but let me tell you I don't approve of this approach. Mono took scissors - the same scissors we use to open up our boxes of milk - and snipped off the scab. I hope he washed them. Inside was that tick, alive and growing in the skin of poor Manchas' head.

I'm grateful I was gone because I googled pictures of 'tick burrowed in skin' and blechh.

8.) I'm grateful that when I go to Zumba and a Latin song comes on, I feel a little bit like home.
9.) I'm grateful that I'm slowly but surely making gains on paying off my student loans this year. 
10.) I'm grateful that my family lets me crash their pad even though I'm 26 mother-effer years old and really shouldn't be living at home now.
11.) I'm grateful I get to go visit Nicole in a few days.
12.) I'm grateful it's a short work week because I've been sleeping like zeero.
13.) I'm grateful for shipping within the U.S.A. and the pile of books I've been accumulating from Amazon.
14.) I'm grateful for a diversity of experiences and this year counts as one of them.
15.) I'm grateful for happy hour, although it's been some time since I've been to one of those guys.
16.) I'm grateful for Raid.
17.) I'm grateful for the sun, when it's warm, and if that doesn't work out then at least when it shines.
18.) I'm grateful that Felix has a fluffy head and he lets me snuggle it.
19.) I'm grateful I started back at the gym this past year. Besides a brief stint riding the bike, all I'd done in the past probably 6 years is go on walks, with few exceptions. I miss my long walks while I'm here but I can kind of twerk! Let me explain it to you this way. Imagine some dad (hi Dad!) thinking he dances well, and doing it enthusiastically. That's what I do except it's twerking version. I have to be in the groove though, I can't just twerk on a dime. I also can't do it if any complicated arm movements are thrown in because that just ruins my concentration. Basically, I can put my arms out stiff like I'm balancing on something, and I imagine I furrow my brow a little bit to keep focus, and then I twerk it girl, twerk it. 

After doing some research in the interest of finding a photo or video, I realize I have some room for improvement, though.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Lying in bed, scented candle resting on my chest (unlit), pajamas on (okay, so they have been all day but I've showered and it's a Sunday so give me a break).

I'm trying to learn how to relax more. Not just distracting myself with the computer or a book or the pile of work I always need to get to, and not just being lazy, but relaxing. I'm not sure I'm very good at this but I'm making efforts. I ordered a book of poetry, for goodness sake. I've read like four poems in my life, and two of those were Dr. Seuss.

I spend a lot of time stressing out about next year's plan despite it being impossible to figure out right now. Perusing job boards, considering my options for different cities near Cozumel, calculating how much money I should make for student loans and while I'm at it a trip to Indonesia. I never, ever thought I'd be here right now. When things with my Saudi job kept getting delayed indefinitely, I remember saying to Mono for the first time that I might have to leave, but I didn't actually believe it would come to that. And then a feweeks later that's exactly what happened, and I was here about three and a half months before I got to go back for a visit. That time when we said goodbye we knew it was going to be the longest stretch. Six months! I mean, that's just too much. But nowe're down to 34 days as of today and the time is crawwwling because it's in my sights but not here and I'm just waiting for my life to go back to normal.

Deep inhalation of candle...still 34 days.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Today when my class was dancing to the ABCs a student raised his hand and told me he knows how to lap dance.

That's all.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Proudest moment of the week: (!!!)

One of the Paras at my school is from Oaxaca. On Tuesday she came into my room and said she had some questions about how I'd gotten my teaching license in order to work in a Minnesota public school. Teachers here have to be licensed by the state, however, in my case I have a Community Expert license since I've spent several years in Spanish-speaking countries and was granted temporary status as a Spanish immersion teacher. 

I danced like this in my head when
 she said she thought I was Mexicana.
I told her about my situation and, confused, she said, "But you're from Mexico, aren't you?"


You have no idea how happy this makes me (!!!) because hello, I don't look Mexican, and I obviously never said I was from there. Do you know what this means, people? It means she thought my Spanish sounded Mexican!!! 

It's not that I think Mexico has the best accent, but losing a non-native-speaker accent is not easy and not even something I was really striving for because I thought it was pretty much not achievable. I started learning Spanish too late in my life, and didn't have any kind of handle of it until I studied in Ecuador at age 22. And by handle I mean not much. I spoke English to my local friends down there and they spoke Spanish to me, so I really mainly had passive skills. And think about Arnold Schwarzenegger (why is his last name in the spell check dictionary and not marked as wrong?). He's still got an accent and he's been living here for the last 45 years! I Googled.

Toot toot. Tootin' my horn thank you very much.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I found this gem when I was looking for information on the tiny town where my Grandma-in-law-to-be lives. I adore it because it reminds me of listening to the fifth grade band at school assemblies, and the horse does the same dance I do when I've been holding it for too long.

It was a false alarm, people. Though a March trip to Michoacán for the wedding seemed to be a good idea for about 24 hours, we pretty quickly came to the decision that we'd wait until we have more money saved up and the financial capacity to at least buy some furniture for the unintentionally minimalist apartment. The three months that I was in Cozumel waiting for my job to start up were all kinds of stressful, and we're both trying to prepare ourselves for the possibility that I don't find work on the island next year. We'll be better off because loan payments will be reduced significantly and we'll be paying less on rent, but I know myself and the fact that I'm much more expensive when unemployed versus working. It very quickly gets boring not to have a job and by the time Mono's done with work I need to get out of the apartment and recover at happy hour asap.

During the day I could take Manchis for walks and go for bike rides, but both of those were eliminated when I broke my arm in January. The way that happened was really stupid so I'll just tell it now and get it out of the way. Mono was on his bike in front of me and I was behind. I thought that if my tired bumped his tire, it would, you know, bump it. Like a bumper car. No harm done. Actually what happens is the person who bumps (me) loses all control of the front wheel, jerks it back and forth wildly in an effort to correct it, and then falls off with the bike on top of her. The first thing that happens following that is an old man passeryby on his own bike riding behind will stop and ask Mono if the bike is ok. Ooh, that looked pretty bad, hope it didn't get scratched or anything. 

I didn't cry (at that point) but I did kind of do the wild-eyed huge grin-in-pain look. It f***ing HURT, ok? I can admit that now. At the time I just laughed and tried to play it cool. Let me tell you something, there ain't nothing cool about wiping out on a bike when you're 25 years old and it's due to the fact that you were trying to pester your boyfriend. You look like (are) an idiot. 

I insisted we keep going (aka get me away from this embarrassment immediately), and continued on our way to the cable company. Shortly after I realized I could only break with one hand and this was going to be a difficult ride. Then my not crying per se, but that runny nose thing you get when the tears are coming began when I was standing in line surrounded by strangers as we waited to pay our internet bill. I comfort-fooded myself with Diet Crush and then we began the slow trek home, where Mono had to open the bottle of soda and put my hair in a sweaty ponytail because I could no longer bend my elbow. Two kernels of knowledge born that night: 1. You're so dumb, 2. Putting hair in a ponytail is a learned skill. Isn't that odd? Seems so instinctual to me.

This past week we had conferences at school and oh my, those were some long days. My normal self would have been nervous to meet all these parents but I was too busy to even think about that and they turned out fine in the end. It's always nice to hear the perspective from home, and it sounds like kids are enthusiastic in their learning and eager to showcase their Spanish skills. One mom told me whenever her son sees someone who's.. brown, for lack of a better word, he'll go up to them and try speaking. The last person he tried this on was Indian, but it's the thought that counts.

On Tuesday we're going on a field trip to the farm and ohmydeargod, it's going to be coooold. I don't know how I'm going to make it through a real winter this year. Death. Aside from the weather I'm thrilled to see some animal baby lovies and I think it will be a necessary learning experience for some of the students. We spent quite a lot of time this past week learning about the farm and farm animals. None of the students had ever seen a cow being milked so they were pretty confused by the close-up photo in one of our books. I explained that the farmers attach a machine to the cow, and that machine takes the milk out of them. 

"Like a breast pump. My mom has one of those," offered one student. This served to clarify for the kids how it works, which is just strange to me really, and I think says something about the evolution of our society in the past fifty years or so. 

Another student asked me how to say 'booty' in Spanish. Later when I looked at her response to the writing sample for the day, I learned that she'd previously been to a farm where a cow's booty grew and grew and then out pooped a baby. 

It was not my intention to address reproduction when the farm unit came up but somehow that seemed to be quite relevant to students, and I don't blame them. I still remember being at the cousin's farm and my aunt waking me and the cuzzies up in the middle of the night to go to the barn. Unnatural humphs were coming out of the mouth and flared nostrils of the mama cow and then at some point a bloody something made an appearance, helped along by my uncle pulling on it's hoofs. I don't remember its booty growing, though. I think that's the only thing I've ever seen being born, and I'm pretty ok with that. 

I just did a Google Image search for calf being born and it is pretty much as I remember it so instead there's a nice picture of a rhino. Enjoy.