Thursday, May 20, 2010

grab bag

I haven't had a longer story in a while, I think since I'm in day-to-day survival mode as I manage my emotions around teaching. It's not mentioned much, maybe because society likes to pretend we don't exist or there's something inherently wrong with us, but I think teaching is sort of predictably hard on introverts.

Yesterday Sara, one of the teachers at school, gave me an iced tea "for breakfast, so you're not drinking water". I swear Chileans think drinking water is bad for you.

Sacha the cat has discovered that if I make a move near her, she can remain inside by running under the buffet in the kitchen. Comepoco and Comenunca haven't figured this out, or just don't care that much.

Allyson, the WorldTeach Chile field director, started site visits yesterday, and I was first, so she sat in on one of my classes: G, the hardest one. Just like I always am, she was amazed that they could be such little fuckers and yet still learn the material. (We check. We practiced introductions, and at the end of class they had to get up in pairs and do introductions from memory, and they pretty much all did.)

We did the debrief over dessert followed by dinner, and she had a bunch of useful suggestions. The most striking was that I need to become more of a disciplinarian: that I'm so nice that I put up with too much chaos. That's my plan for next week.

She also met briefly with the director of the school, who said numerous wonderful things about me. I told Oscar about it at lunch, and he said, "Yes, that's because I've been telling him about you. I tell him you're really friendly and nice and helpful, very organized and you work very hard, because that's how I see you."

Hat tip to Oscar for reminding me yet again that the way I see myself is crap.

(The way you see yourself is crap, too. But see? It's not just you. It's the human condition.)

For dessert I had a cappuccino vienese (mediocre Chilean espresso with a few cubic inches of whipped cream) and a tiramisu (which is cake soaked in espresso), and then joy of joys, the green tea at the sushi restaurant turned out to be bitter, strong matcha.

I didn't sleep very well last night.

Luckily tomorrow is a holiday, the "Day of Naval Glory", so I get to sleep through the clusterfuck of traffic with the major thoroughfares closed for President Pinera's visit. On the way home tonight it was hard to get either a micro or a colectivo, because there was no flow of traffic.

I don't miss the United States. I miss Anna, aikido and Zen and all the people in all my communities. I want a Snickers bar, since they cost about $1.90 here and I can't make myself pay it. I also know that I'm not staying here, and I'm generally pretty patient, so I can just enjoy Chile for what it is--I ate a hot dog last week!--knowing that the Bay Area will still have Mexican food, and Aikido West has been keeping the light on for me, and basically everyone else is carrying on as usual while I drop off the continent to go do this thing that felt epically important at the time, but now I'm too much in the middle of it to view in any kind of grand terms.

Anna is visiting on the 28th! Just for a few days. We're very excited. We're staying in this cute colorful hostel up on Cerro Bellavista, which doesn't have much on it, but it's cheap and pretty and a short walk to downtown. Everyone at school is very excited to meet the girl who's jumping hemispheres to see me for three days. Anna's excited for her big adventure, and I'm excited just...because. It's Anna. Here. In Chile. Wacky. Awesome.

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