Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Eweewweweweweeeweewewwww. Today in the middle of my morning class I was drilling my students on irregular past tense verbs when along came a hideous glaring mess of gross. There, right there, on the floor not three feet in front of me was a disgusting something scuttling his way across the classroom floor. I fell silent, staring at the ground as I scrambled on top of a stool. I can only imagine the expressions on my students faces, as I could no longer look at them and had left off speaking mid-sentence. My eyes widened, my heart beat faster, my arms tickled with nervous energy. CUCARACHA!!!

Thank god one of my students was brave enough to stamp his foot. It didn't even occur to me to do that as all I could think of was "Bug Spray? Where's bug spray?" In the half hour Práctica lesson that another teacher leads following my class, the subject was brought up again. My class is working on past tense and she had asked them to describe something embarrassing that happened. The bug stomper described me. Thanks guys, real sweet.

I'm starting to like this morning class more and more. There's one woman in there who thinks she's a hotshot and is too good for the class and I've found that now that I've been personally checking papers and not just correcting out loud to the whole class, she's more humble. It always pleases me to find mistakes she's made and it makes for a more peaceful class so everybody wins.

Today we had a rather long pause in the lesson spent on pronouncing the word "showed." One student kept saying "chode," which, as you may or may not know, is a slang word for penis. Several days prior a student asked me what "tidy" means. I told him it was ordenar. He got an embarrassed look on his face which I did not understand until someone else questioned "orinar?" No, not orinar, it does not mean to urinate. We are not reading a passage about a girl who urinates up her room before her friends come to visit. This week in Clases de Inglés con Megan: The boy who urinated and chode his friend.

So that's me, up in that picture at the top. That's the beach where I go on the weekends. I didn't know the picture was being taken so I don't have on my not drowning face, but seriously, look at that water, look at that sky. Now buy a plane ticket and visit me immediately.

Next week begins a new semester of classes for the littluns. I'm teaching 4 to 6, and 7 to 9 year olds, which both frightens me and excites me. I loved the Kids Camp kids to death and was sad to see them go even though it meant they could no longer abuse me. Once I gave in to jumping on the trampoline, ONCE, I was from then onwards a goner. "Teacher Mega, Teacher Mega, ven!" And with those cute little runny noses and sticky fingers I couldn't say no to a five minute break. On the final day I tried to (half-assedly) crack the whip one last time for good measure. Five of the bigger ones and the little one Emiliano swarmed and dragged me from the classroom to the trampoline. It was a scene out of Jaws and I was powerless against those hungry monsters. That's me again in the picture to the left only in this scenario I'm a sea lion.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Seems like in Spain I had more to comment on in this here blog than I do in Cozumel, and I think that comes from a number of reasons, like:

1.) I feel very well acquainted with this place already - my job, friends, the place where I go for happy hour football games. It seems I missed the getting-used-to-it phase and went straight to the negotiating-for-the-locals-prices-whilst-petting-the-bartender's-dog-who-sits-unwillingly-in-my-lap phase. Maybe this is because I'm used to being abroad. Maybe this is because I'm living on a small island. Maybe because I spend all my time either at work, with coworkers or with a briefly extended group of friends of coworkers. I suppose there's not an excessive amount of new action going on any given day.

2.) I haven't had internet (nor, until yesterday, a cellphone), so I've been more intent on, say, "living my life" versus turning it over in my head and spilling it out into its constituent and disorganized parts via the web.

3.) Some of the things I perhaps would like to comment on here should be avoided in the interest of professionalism.

Quick interruption, the little boy from downstairs just walked into the open door of my apartment... and we just completed our half hour of taking photos on my computer. His name is Ever and he is this darling little piece of cuteness you see to your right. I really love the little boys downstairs because they are a) adorable, and b) think I'm cool. Last week Ever's 9-year-old brother Tucho accompanied me to the grocery store and let me in on the secrets of the Mexican produce section, so I bought him an ice cream cone in appreciation. I think perhaps he suspected that if he acted real sweet-like for a bit he might get a treat out of the deal because as soon as I bought it for him, he was off on his scooter in the other direction.

I also have two dog friends at this apartment complex. We don't know each other's names but when I come home at night and leave the door open to let in the "cool" air, they'll stand sweetly at the door as if waiting for an invitation. In the morning when I leave for work they're still there sleeping outside the front step. I like to think of them as animate lawn gnomes since I haven't yet decided whether they're allowed in my house.

My apartment has enough living creatures, anyway. A total of four cockroaches have been sighted, though only one since I bought my can of Raid and placed it threateningly on the kitchen counter. They are joined by tiny lizard things about the size of my finger, which can be seen daily climbing up or down any given wall, while the larger iguanas thankfully prefer the backyard. In the mornings I can also hear a peacock cawing in a nearby overgrown lot. Last but not least is the heavy breathing noise, which sounds like.. like an animal engaged in an activity that would bring on heavy breathing. Thus it remains an unidentified but daily reminder of the naturaleza in which we all live.

My classes are coming along much better now that I've come to terms with the fact that most have a level that is suuuper bajo and I should therefore not expect them to do things like understand anything I say in English. Today I taught the past tense of can and cannot as well as the structure "____ years/days/etc. ago," and 15-year-old Estefany laughed for a good two minutes straight when I used as my example "Three years ago I couldn't speak Spanish." Is that funny? Is my accent that bad? What?

Hopefully not because last week I also had my first classes teaching Spanish, and let me tell you, it was awesome!!! Fourteen-year-old Jace and his uncle David came in for a week from Arkansas and I got to do what I do with my English students everyday only with Spanish so I actually knew all the tricks. English I just know, but Spanish I had to learn how to know, so it was kind of fun to pass that along and hear their thoughts on Cozumel. On the last day we studied the past imperfect and past preterite with a story about how the guy I'm dating woke up in a hospital in California a week after getting lost in the desert while attempting to border cross, and Uncle David told me I was doing a good job with my life and with my teaching. It was all very sweet.

And then what happened. The boys all left for Mexico City at various times throughout the past week so now it's just us girls here until they come back after completing their duties in the Mexican Independence Day celebraciones. I'm pretending to play catch-up on my lesson planning so I don't always have to do it in the hour or two prior to class, but then, you know, there's Facebook and whanot. I've actually been reading like a mofo and have only recently commenced with Chuck Palahniuk's "Haunted," which my boss insisted I read. It features a very graphic and disturbing and not at all appropriate-for-employee-lending opening chapter involving an adolescent male and a pool filter. And I guess that's pretty much all.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

I just got done teaching a Spanish class to two guys from Arkansas and now I'm sitting in my classroom looking up pictures to illustrate the conditional tense: Would you rather be blind, or have perfect vision bas a cyclops? Discuss.

Things are good in Cozumel-land. Still drippingly hot and sunny and tropical with a faint to non-existant breeze unless I'm lying beachside. I do that often enough, though, and the water here can only be described as nearly as good as Turkish coffee. The other day we went to the east side of the island and the ocean was so calm and clear that we could see out forever. My favorite spot to be on this island is with my head half-submerged in the water so that I have at eye-level the crystal clear horizon of the sea against a sky that looks purple in comparison. Wet Wendy's with it's giant margaritas is a pretty nice spot as well.

I had some frightening mishaps this week. One night I came home to find not one, not two, but three cucarachas. After a panicked text message to my military friend confirming he was at work and therefore could not kill the bastard, I did some dirty work with a flip-flop and went to bed for a long and sleepless night. It can't have been as bad a day as my student Raul had, however. Twelve-year-old Raul told me woefully that morning that el destino es cruel - destiny is cruel. His girlfriend of three and a half years (you're twelve! that puts you back to infancy!) had broken up with him that weekend and he could barely keep it together for our lesson on trees and mountains. Muy triste.

Busy busy busy. Time to get back to work.