I Moved To Oaxaca

Thursday, August 21, 2003

I realized yesterday that for me the decrepitude is fading into the background. Gaping holes in the sidewalk don't bother me like they did at first. I'm noticing a lot of butterflies and flowers. It rains most every afternoon. Every day the sky has big, puffy clouds. Pumping drinking water out of the 5-gal. plastic jug and making sure there's water in the nalgene bottle in the bathroom doesn't take a second thought. Every so often, though, something breaks through this new ordinariness: I can't rinse produce or hard-boiled eggs in running water; I have to fill a bowl or pan with clean water and rinse them in that. I can't find construction paper anywhere, at least anywhere outside Gringolandia. My fingers get confused switching back to my Mac's oh-so-American keyboard. Winnie the Pooh is still everywhere I look.

Yesterday, Greg had two classes, so after our back-to-back Spanish class with Gilberto and Greg's teaching Patricia English, he stayed at school to work on his lesson plans. (I don't know why he fusses so much; I admitted to him on the walk home yesterday evening that I was envious of his easy rapport with his students, and his creativity in the classroom. Of course he denies it, but he was full of fun stories about his students yesterday over dinner.) I only had the one class, and felt okay about the lesson plan, so I went home. Well, first I went cruising for construction paper, and on my way home, say that the Donut Lady's car was parked on the corner. Yes! I went over and saw that she had some new pastries, or maybe they were bagel dogs -- they had something inside them, I just couldn't tell what. She also had taquitos (or roll tacos for you Insane Diegans), and asked me if I wanted any. Oh, you bet! I got three taquitos with guacamole, cheese, and hot sauce, and a sugar donut, for M$18. Yep, a buck-sixty. The taquitos were filled with fresh chicken and chipotle chiles, and were delicious. Try to get lunch this week for a dollar-sixty -- a good lunch. I think you can get three tacos and a coke off the El Grullense taco truck near Fruitvale BART for US$3, or a carnitas taco from Cactus taquiera on Solano Ave for US$2.90, and it's about the same for a plate of chaat at Viks, too. You can get down to US$2 for a slice at the Cheeseboard, but unless you stoop to something like that "$1 Food" Chinese buffet in downtown Berkeley, I think you'll find yesterday's lunch hard to beat.

Now, today after Spanish class I took off to the Internet cafe, while Greg stayed to teach Patricia, and afterwards to start next week's lesson plans. I've got a class tonight at 6p, but after I finish up here I'm going to grab some lunch at home (unless You Know Who is there with her little white car), make a mix CD for tonight's class, then head over to school and bust out my lesson plans, too. That way we will have no school commitments for Friday. The name of our little two-student Spanish class is "Tlacochahuaya," a little village near the Tule Tree, so we might see that tomorrow. We may even drive out to see the ruins at Mitla.

We're supposed to have music in every class. During our training for the kids classes, Manuel played a cd of kids songs with stuff like "The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round" ... again and again and again. I still wake up with it in my head. Now, for my little Ants (4-6 yrs old) and Crickets (7-8 yrs old) I have my They Might Be Giants "No!" cd which is FAR better, even if the songs do sometimes get stuck in my head. It's TMBG; who cares? But for my group today, the Shirts, I need something else. They're 10-12 yrs old, and on our little About Yourself forms they filled out Tuesday, they like pop music. Not surprisingly. So I'm going to mix a cd and see what they think. Bet you they don't like it!

Still trying to figure out how to get photos online so I can link to them ... most Internet cafe machines are PCs. Bear with me.

Ooh! HAL 9000 Alert! Patti Topper, the third person in our Berlitz training, got canned yesterday. Greg got a chance to talk to her briefly just after it happened; Patti said the reasons given were scaring the staff at the front desk yesterday (she took the hour bus ride in the day before yesterday ... only to find out she wasn't scheduled to teach, and slammed the schedule down on the desk with a bang), and for bad-mouthing her ex. ? She wasn't buying into their corporate pitch, so maybe the slam-bang was the excuse they were looking for? Of course nothing was said to anyone else. We'll see what comes out at the next TDS. Greg implored Patti to stay in touch, and fortunately, we know where she lives. Fare well, PTP!


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