Saturday, May 14, 2011

I know it's finals season because I've enrolled in online Portuguese lessons, have taken up yoga, and have been vacuuming relentlessly. Tangible accomplishment, befriend me.

Last night was graduation for my 2nd of Bachilleratos. The occasion consisted of mass in the school chapel followed by special words of encouragement by various staff members in the downstairs auditorium, a presentation of the sashes along with a litany of kisses - my school's version of the American "Here's your diploma kid, now beat it." - and a video the girls had written and acted in. (Me too, I was in it. To be fair it was sort of just my face staring blankly into space, unaware that it was in the process of becoming a film star, but at least I was present. Very in character. See that girl on the left? That's pretty much what I looked like more or less).

This year's graduation was a big deal for the school because it's the last graduating class of all girls. . or is it? This part I'm not really sure about because the mother from the PTA kept mentioning it throughout the evening, but I definitely taught one boy along with all the rest of the girls in 2nd Bachillerato, so either he's being held back a year or the woman was just rounding off the low testosterone level. I feel for the kid, though, he's the only dude in the entire grade level and he seems to be not very fond of verbal communication. Or human beings. On the first day of school he also got mistaken for a terrorist by one of the teachers who hadn't yet met him, and the administration was all abuzz before it was discovered that he just needed a haircut.

It's true, there is a significant shortage of boys at the Bachillerato level of Madres Concepcionistas, but what the school lacks in gender equilibrium, it more than makes up for with nuns. The other day co-teacher Ana came up to tell me she'd just had a meeting with one of them regarding her son Carlos. The same Carlos I give lessons to on Mondays and who was responsible for the village people leprechaun, if you remember. The nun, who also I guess moonlights as the school counselor, told her that Carlos needs a man in his life.

You see, Ana divorced her husband three..ish years ago, and this is not okay by the nun. To each his own, alright, but Ana was close to tears over what the woman had said and seriously, Carlos is my little baby muffin love, he doesn't need a man in his life, he's got me and my bribes of gummy bears. He sees his dad a lot and is often with his grandma and grandpa as well. He's also, like I said, a sweet little baby muffin and I really can't see any reason for the woman to have said that other than the fact that, well, Ana's divorced.

I'm about to do something I despise. I'm about to make a sweeping generalization about Spanish women's rights in an effort to contextualize the psychological evaluation of Sister Who's-a-What regarding Carlos.

Once upon a time women in Spain were expected to be the desperate housewives of the European continent only instead of being desperate they clearly loved it and danced flamenco. Also Spain has sort of this thing with Catholicism which nowadays is not so very constant throughout the population, but for those who are Catholic, it's something they take pretty seriously. Back when Franco was Big Man on Campus he found an excellent way to tie these two together by conceiving of Barbie McBardem as one who should not only be the perfect housewife, but also raise her young burgeoning nationalists into fully functioning Catholic saints. Of course a man must be there to bring home the jamón, as well.

Well I think that still holds on to some degree here. It's not so strong that it describes the situation for every or even a majority of women, but I imagine that for Ana working in a very conservative Catholic school, it's fairly significant.

In other news, shout out to mi hermano Day-reek for being voted vice-president of his class and for rocking it hardcore in Texas. He is doing totally awesome down there and I am very proud of him minus the socks.