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.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

It's nine months early so of course I'm trying to plan out all the details of the next year of life. Mexico revamped its immigration system just last November, and it seems like no one, including the people who work at the immigration office in Cozumel, really knows exactly what to do with the new system. I've been researching from afar but wasn't finding the answers to my many questions, so I sent Mono to the immigration office in Cozumel this past Monday to see if her could get some answers.

Guau guau
Bless his heart but Mono understands nothing about the immigration process. He always goes with me if he doesn't have to work, but I realized after awhile that it's probably more effective if he doesn't tag along. The office workers tend only to address him when we go together. Actually this happens all over the place; people just assume I won't understand them so they don't try. Normally I'm annoyed by this. Really, for those of you who have never lived in a non-English speaking country, imagine existing in your own little foreigner bubble anytime you're in public. I'm talking down to the baggers at the grocery store, who act surprised when they finally notice I've repeated something three times in 
Spanish before it's caught their attention. There are so many tourists in Cozumel and a good number of expats too that only speak English. I think a number of Cozumeleños just tune out anything that might come from my mouth because they expect it to be a foreign language. Annoying. But also sometimes helpful. One time Manchas poo'd in the plaza where a number of city workers "work" during the day. The plaza was across the street from our old apartment, so I know the work I refer to largely means finding a relatively cool spot on a bench under the shade. Manchas loves that place. There she is, standing guard and looking at the neighborhood pups that would visit the plaza each day. 

Dotted throughout are signs that say dogs must be on a leash or the owner will be fined, but many of them are scratched out and painted over with short phrases to promote civil unity and discourse (caca, poop). I keep Manchas on a leash in the streets but in the plaza I let her go free because we always go at night and the workers aren't there to lay down the law. One time she ate a dead bird. Actually on another occasion she ate a live bird. But on this particular visit to the plaza, daytime, I let her go, she went romping away, and I saw the civil workers look in her direction, stand up from their position of relaxation, and upon looking over at me they sat back down. There was a moment of hesitation, half step - should I say something? shouldn't I? - but in the end they said nothing. Then Manchas poo'd in the bushes and a look of wrinkled eyebrow concern passed over their faces. One of them shifted his weight, but it was a false alarm as he was simply transferring his broom to the other arm as he waited to see what I might do. 

I cleaned it up. Did the stern voice on Manchas to show her who's boss then performed a couple flailing lunges as I tried to get ahold of her and reattach the leash. I was grateful I wouldn't be fined the 1500 pesos mentioned on the sign, despite the bag of poop I was now toting, but the reluctance of the workers to talk to me was something I'd seen before, and it gets a little old after awhile.

As I was saying, immigration. I asked Mono to go to the immigration office this past Monday and after a three hour wait he saw one of the guys from his football team, who it turns out is a law student and is doing his practicum in the immigration office. He advised us to get married sooner versus later, so that we could get the visa for family unit rather than waiting and depending on a job to hire me.

I wasn't thrilled about this news at first. I was not imagining any kind of extravagant wedding; I was thinking more along the lines of skimming over that part and jumping right ahead to an extended honeymoon. No problem with a civil registry wedding, but since we did that same routine when I officially became Mono's concubine (an offical legal status in Mexico), I wanted to at least go to a different city or do something to actually acknowledge the fact that we are now married. My justification before was that we already live together and have the same life as we'll have married, so I don't want it to be just another day of running an errand in the morning and then celebratory drinks (normally celebrating the drinks but in the case of the wedding celebrating with drinks). Since we've been apart for the last lifetime, I also wanted not to have to come back to Minnesota and live apart once we've gotten married.

Some of those things have been sorted and some of them not but right now it looks like we may be going the way of the court house in Michoacán in the spring. There are some disgusting awful horrifying murder pictures when you Google Image search some of the cities in Michoacán, but there are also pictures like the one to the left, which I think is what happens when you poke a hole in a volcano just as it's about to rise. As well we have lots of pictures of beauty queens, which is great because that's really my thing.