I have been trying to be a consistent exerciser, which means when I get home from work I lace up my shoes and go for a run. Depending on my ambition level, I have a short route and a long route that I lap a few times before happily passing out under the shower.
Last night I started running my neighborhood loop and – surprise – the shower came to me. I still can’t figure out what they were doing – either emptying or filling some kind of water reserve / well – but it had FLOODED the whole back street and half of the one running perpendicular. The sidewalk had just barely escaped partaking in this gigantic-scale sprinkler.
The neighborhood kids and dogs were having a blast, while the parents were standing there scratching their heads. Since the last street isn’t paved yet, there was mud and pebbles flying around as fast as the kids could move.
Needless to say, I had to run a third route last night – that of “obstacle course: flooded back streets and kids, version 3.0″. Any takers for that reality show?
On a side note, there was one really magical, magical, magical moment when the sun was setting and the sunset reflected off the length of the flooded street – it looked like a mirrored book was slowly closing it’s pages.
At the end of class the other day, my intermediate students (nosy as they are) asked me what I studied in college. I told them, “Spanish and English.”
They replied, “Teacher, but how can you study English if you already speak English?”
I said (in Spanish), “Estudié lenguas.” [I studied languages - the closest Mexican equivalent to my US major that I could think of.]
Cue the hilarious, uproarious laughter of my students. ‘Lengua’ in Spanish can also mean ‘tongue’ – just imagine where a class full of 18- to 20- year old guys went with that one. ‘Lengua’ can also refer to the edible cow tongue, which is commonly eaten in tacos here.
“Teacher, so you make really good tongue tacos?”
“Teacher, so you have a skilled tongue?” (etc, etc, etc.)
Never a dull moment
This morning I went to pick up my renewed visa (after almost TWO MONTHS – thank you, ever efficient Mexican government). It was seriously roasting outside, so on the way back to work I decided to take the (somewhat more efficient) colectivos (description HERE) instead of the bus.
I was lucky and got the last seat in the back of the car, so I didn’t have to sweat inside the heat box any longer than necessary. Regardless, I was still dripping sweat when my oh-so-couth neighbor says the following gems in quick succession:
1. ”El calor está bueno, verdad?”
2. “Qué sabroso el día, no?”
3. “Está sabroso el calor.”
These all translate more or less to the same thing: “It’s a great, fu&%$ng hot day, right?
All I could do was sit there and shake my head, trying not to hit this man, and keep wiping the sweat as it dripped from my face. Great heat, all right.
We’re about three weeks into a new semester. I have a heavier load this semester, but the classes are a bit smaller. I am teaching one section of beginners, two sections of intermediate learners, and one section of advanced students.
The intermediate kids had their first quiz this week – descriptive adjectives. (I’m trying to increase the amount of vocabulary they know, so I hope to give weekly vocab quizzes based around themes). As part of the quiz, they had to describe famous people.
These were some of the prime examples:
- James Bond is aggressive because he shoots too many people. Thanks, Capt. Obvious.
- James Bond is disagreeable because no se quien es. (I don’t know who he is.) So your ignorance makes him disagreeable?
- Barack Obama is disagreeable because he is black. When I asked the student what she meant, she said, “Teacher, black people aren’t pretty.”
- Snow White is considerate because she cares for little people. With a note in Spanish saying, “Teacher, I don’t know the word for ‘dwarves’.”
This semester is shaping up to be anything but dull.
We have next week off for Easter vacation, so here’s to a good stretch of rest. I’m fleeing the return of the humid spring heat ASAP.
from two ladies on the bus:
“Did I tell you about ’Miss Hottie’?” (This translation is as close as I can get to the [very regional] Mexican Spanish phrase ‘La Chulada’).
“A gay dude that sells in the market. He got married and invited me to his wedding. One day I was drinking with a close friend who owns a bar [also a woman] and I saw him there. He whistled to me and came over to invite me to his wedding.”
“He had a public wedding with another gay dude?”
“No, this is the kicker, he married a WOMAN. AND they wanted to get married at the cave [which houses a Catholic church and is very, very old and sacred in this city].”
“No, really! But they say the woman is macho, so you know how that goes…”
“Oh, the world these days. I know couples who entertain their lovers with their spouses looking on.”
“Can you imagine staying at ‘Miss Hottie’s’ house? Visitors, be careful, the man with the man and the woman with the woman. You’d never be the same.”
If you really want to understand this conversation, add a thousand swear words and cackling laughter every sentence or so.
…on the home front.
I gave exams at the end of January and handed grades in a week later. I am not at all surprised to report that 44% of my students didn’t pass because of absences. They must have 80% attendance to pass the class – meaning they have a right to 12 absences a semester – and they STILL FAILED.
I also got my air conditioner installed. I went from this:
to this (but with the a/c):
I have also come to a few “new” conclusions, such as:
1. Wal-Mart is the equivalent of Neiman Marcus for the people who live in this area. They get dressed up to go – I’m talking high heels and matching sweat suits.
2. Mexicans SUCK at parking their cars. The teacher parking lot is more like a labrynith, or a Frogger game. You have to hop around the cars – some parked vertically, some horizontally, some diagonally – wherever the owner thinks the car might be blessed with shade.
3. Exercise is a completely foreign concept. I have been running at night in my neighborhood and the neighbors watch me go by and shake their heads. Their thought marquee reads, “What is that white lady doing? She’s CRAZY.” At first, the kids chased after me, thinking I was trying to play a game. After I got rid of them, I had to fend off a few dogs (the neighborhood guard was ever helpful during this ordeal, throwing a few rocks at the dogs and almost hitting me in the process). By now they seem to have accepted me and my ankles are safe.
4. The really hot season is coming up. I am thinking of investing in a sprinkler for my front yard. Or maybe my back yard…easier to avoid the children and the dogs.
That’s all for now, folks. If anyone wants to get out of the snow, you know where to find me.