Saturday, October 29, 2011

This past week has been marked by hullabaloo over Rina(!!!), but after stocking up on candles, potable water, and ebooks, it turned out to be nothing. A little bit of rain, but less even than we had the week before.

I think one of the cool things about living here is how big a role nature seems to play - which, I suppose, is also sort of the case in Minnesota, but in a far different way. In Minnesota we (me?) do everything we can to avoid it. The weather's freezing so we (me) stay bundled up inside the house, in this little magic bubble that's completely different from what's going on outside. In Coz there's pretty much no way to avoid it. I have AC, but haven't used in probably a month or two. On sunny days I know I'm going to be glisteny and on rainy days - the really rainy days - I'm either housebound or going to have to wade through shin-deep puddles in order to get anywhere. A lot of what I do here for fun involves being outside, so I get to be quite dependent on what the sky has in mind for me on any particular day. I kind of like it, though. Living next to the sea probably has something to do with it too, but it makes you more aware that you actually live on a planet, not a series of climate-controlled greenhouses separated by cars. Although I would never make the mistake of calling anything in Minnesota a greenhouse, letsbereal.

Anyway, so I spent a couple days with my books and lit candles because, come on, I bought them, I want some mood lightning whether my electricity's out or not. Classes were canceled on Thursday and numbers dwindled to a point that the day before teachers Lizzie and Donnamarie got sent home four hours early while I helped make phone calls with América and Fermín, accompanied by walking allergen Layla. Or something like that, I'm not really sure of the name, but the other day this evil cat walked into my room where I was helping out Braulio and Diego after class had finished, and wee'd on Braulio's backpack. More or less a slow reverse ass motion and I busted out laughing, a proud display of the fact that my maturity level is on par with the two 14-year-old boys.

This happened earlier that day as well when I asked my students to describe two little boys in a picture and one student answered that they were skinny, African baby cereals. He meant serious. And he's not so good with his noun-adjective orders. I worry sometimes that I'm going to give my students a complex when they goof up their English, but it's just so damn funny! Mono, in a proud display of his own English abilities, wrote to me saying "Happy 3th Anniversary." This, by the way, was written on a bomb which was on its way to being exploded by the Mexican Air Force. Yeah, keep it up dude.

Not sure any of that qualifies as news but that's all I've got to report.

Happy Halloween!!!! And if you're looking to take a trip in the last week of December get in touch, I want a travel buddy.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I lost my dear one Nora to upstate New York this past week.

Nora has I think four friends back home who's parents have cancer and last weekend she got a call that one of them had died. She decided she needed to go back home and on Wednesday she left.

I'm mostly bummed about this because Nora's great and was my next door neighbor and now it feels rather lonely here. Donnamarie, the new teacher, came this week from Vancouver but her story's a little different as she's in her forties and is, I think, on the hunt for men. Specifically, as she told me, non-North Americans (um, honey, are you forgetting that we're still in North America here?), and "the darker the better."


I'm a little bit worried for this woman but I'm sure she'll figure it out. On the bright side since she's here Matthew moved me to Principiantes 1 and she's now responsible for teaching the evil lady from the morning class that I used to have. I asked Donnamarie how things had gone after her first lesson and she said she thought it went well but one of the women had walked out of the class mid-way through. Yep, that's Mary.

Meanwhile I'm now in a different classroom downstairs and across the patio. Freedom! Easy access to the trampoline! I'm doing the two beginner levels and it turns out that so far I like them a lot. More teaching and tangible learning I think in P1. P2 has less of that because so much time is spent on reviewing and practicing and re-reviewing and re-practicing the past tense, but this time around I'm more confident teaching it and is and is not effective. Also I have to say it is a big help this time around not to have Mary raining on my parade. :)

I was talking to two new students after class on Thursday and I asked where they were from because they kept calling me "vos" and being all accenty and whatnot and they said they were from Argentina but had come to Cozumel partly to learn English. (??) Strikes me as sort of flawed reasoning on their part but in any case I thought it was cool. You came all this way for me?!? Ahh, how sweet!

And then what else. My kids class is no longer because I have to now teach adults at 6 and the 3pm class was too small. These little babies are adorable and I will be sad to see them go. I've said before, teaching children is great because you get to stare at these cute things for awhile and they're easy to make love you. At least this is the emotion I'm choosing to believe Cielo was expressing the other day when she stuck my finger in her mouth and attempted to bite off the nail. Thank goodness for missing teeth.


I had a long conversation with Matthew before the beginning of the new semester and he threw in some stupidities and say whats? and then the next day asked me to be lead teacher, so that's kind of cool. It means I don't get a raise and that I have more work and responsibilities, but I'm kind of okay with that. I might get to boss people around.

That's all for now.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I thought you all might enjoy the following email written by my boss:

you have all been here long enough to know that I march to a different drum.

I definitely have anti-social behaviors and I think I may be a psychopath; except that psychopaths almost always have a history of torturing animals. and I love animals. I don;t love cats, although I do like it when my dogs chase the black cat, but I don;t want it to die. maybe I do want it to die, but i don;t want it to suffer.

anyways, please, if I do something that offends you, let me know. and please, don;t be upset by my behavior. it is never personal. sometimes I find stuff out at the last minute. sometimes I have somethingelse going on. sometimes I think you are on the same page as me. so I bark orders, when i shouldask politely. I am sorry

I have never and will never want to hurt any of you and the thought that I have hurt any of you makes me very sad. Which also disqualifies me as apsychopath, since psychopaths feel no emotions.


This week has not been the easiest for all of us. Last week of classes for the semester meaning lots of extra demands in order to get everything sorted for the course that begins Monday. As I already mentioned Nora and I had to make two trips to the base and speak in front of the people there, and this weekend I've been asked to come in and make calls to the kajillions of people who have ever had any connection to the school and had the misfortune of leaving a phone number for their future SEA harassment. Then additionally Nora and I were reminded at 930 last night (although he'd never told us in the first place) that we had an appointment at the immigration office early this morning, meaning I just spent the last three hours alternating between waiting impatiently and having my thumbprint stamped. On the bright side, three months later, I'm finally legal.

You know, there's a lot of crap that goes on in my job and a lot of reasons I could get really mad or upset or whatever. Mostly it doesn't bother me too much. I think I may not get as much of the crazy as Nora or Lizzie because for whatever reason Matthew seems to think that at any given moment I'm on the brink of quitting. I emailed him earlier this week regarding one of my kids classes and his response was to ask me in the future to please include a subject line because every time he gets an email from me he thinks it's to say I'm going to quit.

Earlier in the week a guy walked in and wanted to talk to Matthew about getting a teaching job. Here's another can of crazy, by the way: when the guy first walked in I spoke to him in Spanish and he got that deer in headlights look like I don't understand what's happening. I asked him where he was from and he said that he was an ex-pat. Which is weird, because that's irrelevant to the question I asked and anyway we all are here. I brought him up to Matejo (my clever name for Matthew, by the way, a superb blending of Mateo and pendejo) anyway. Then later I hear that the reason he said he was an ex-pat was not that he was living outside the country, but rather that he had attempted to renounce his U.S. citizenship. I imagine he didn't officially succeed in this because as the story goes his method was to walk into a U.S. embassy somewhere in the north of Mexico and throw his passport on the table with a dramatic flourish: "Here, take it, I am no longer a part of you." The idea (idiotic) being that without the citizenship he wouldn't get deported for working illegally. Um, you're a dumbass, I'm sorry, there's no being nice about this. I have heard of people renouncing citizenship - it makes sense for tax purposes if you are absolutely certain you're never moving back. But only if you have citizenship somewhere else. You can't just be a free agent.

He has none of that and also, dude, you don't speak the language. And also, dude, you don't have a degree or any of the basic qualifications to be hired as an English teacher. You can't just speak English, ya know? It's kind of insulting to say otherwise. Anyway, as I said, this guy was a dumbass. He had shown up to the island with 66 pesos to his name. That's about 6 dollars and not even enough for the ferry ride back to the mainland.

The point of this digression is to say that Matejo told him that he was afraid of me. Yeah, you better be, ya butthead.

The thing that worries me though is that Matthew really gets to Nora. One night this week she knocked on my apartment door after work absolutely livid about something he'd done or said, and another night she knocked on my door and burst into tears as soon as I'd stepped outside. Now she's taking the weekend to think over whether or not she's going to quit before the new round of courses on Monday, and I don't know what she's going to do. Nora's my best girlfriend here - to be honest I have not an enormous amount of patience for Lizzie or Mel - and I would be very sad if she left.

Side note. This week in class we were working on the differences between past, present and future tenses. One student's response to a job question: "As a child, I wanted to be a builder. Now I want to be a manager. In the future I will want to be a Chippendales." Also in his final exam the future tense question he came up with was "You will sleep in my bed."