It's all coming at an excellent time because last week was freezing and my school's heating system leaves much to be desired. In most of my classes I had to teach with my sleeping-bag-like winter coat on to keep warm, and did my best to avoid drinking liquids that might warrant a visit to the unheated bathrooms with its unheated water. Perhaps this is due in part to the fact that there is a serious cultural difference when it comes to the Spanish approach to washing hands. I hesitated to mention this when I first saw it back in September, assuming I must just be seeing an abnormally unhygienic, non-representative sample, but after weekly seeing coworkers come out of the stall and exit with nary a drop of soap dripped onto their tainted hands, I'm chalking it up to a real and widespread phenomenon.
They might be on to something though because despite my hand-washing diligence I ended up missing half my classes last week when I lost my voice, while they remained healthy and audible. I listened to a story on This American Life a while ago that said that people are actually in better health if they are exposed to germs and shit, and going along with this theory a man from the U.K. traveled to Africa and spent several weeks going to various rural tribes, asking where they do their bathroom business, and then taking a barefoot wander around the designated area. He contracted a parasite and his allergies miraculously went away, and now yours can too if you buy the parasites he. . harvests. . and sells online for what I'm sure is a very reasonable price.
Ew.Anyway, weekend was good although not entirely productive. When Juliet and Carissa came over to commence with online job-hunting on Friday we ended several hours later having submitted zero applications but with nearly three empty bottles of wine. On Saturday Jessica and I went and engaged in cultural interaction by learning Spanish drinking games from our Spanish hosts. It made me realize, ironically, how much I miss speaking Spanish. Way too many of the people that I spend time with speak English, and of course in classes that's how I communicate. When I came here one of my biggest reasons for doing so was to keep working on the language but while the hour-long Metro commute to grad classes has meant an enormous improvement in my reading ability, speaking hasn't been so much. It seems especially absurd to me considering how much effort I put into improving other's language skills, but maybe next year I won't have so many yanqui friendships? A whole 'nother sad cup of tea but a hazard of a life ruled by antsiness.
Also: the photo shows the horrifying image of pig leg I found in the kitchen cupboard when I opened it the other day. Yes of course I took a picture.