Friday, October 1, 2010

vice, and clarity

I'm almost done with Lost, which is a relief: only 9 more episodes to go. I've watched the latter 5 seasons in an unhealthily short time, and I recommend against it, but on the other hand I don't think I would have done anything more healthy with my time. I think I'm done watching TV after this.

I'm feeling better, in general. It turns out my Chilean friend at school was not involved in any strange cultural thing that I missed: she was just being incredibly rude and aggressive and selfish. She apologized today, and we hung out for a while and had a nice lunch. That was pretty awesome.

In the liquor store the other day, looking for something to replace the thoroughly terrible Tres Palos "cognac"--I'll grant it's made from grapes, but the resemblance ends there--it occurred to me that I should give pisco another try, being the national liquor. Like all cocktails in Chile, the pisco sours here are so brutally strong that I actually can't drink them, so I've avoided pisco. Plus I think I like the Peruvian style better, but don't tell anyone, I think I can get deported for that.

(When Anna was here in August, I ordered a gin & tonic at a restaurant. They brought me a bottle of tonic and a Collins glass about half-full of gin--easily 4-6oz. [for reference, a large single U.S. shot is maybe 2oz.]. I had them bring me another glass so I could decant some gin and make it drinkable.)

The little 150ml bottle of Capel Especial costs about US$1.80, it borders on being drinkable straight, and it's absolutely delightful when mixed with Coke. I think another two dollars gets me up into the high-end stuff.

Marcela has tonsillitis, so she was out yesterday and today, and will be gone for the coming week. Whenever she's sick I have this angsty thing where I feel like I should hold class, and then I imagine trying to get 21 Chilean kids to come do English while their 21 classmates get to spend 90 minutes in the classroom doing whatever they want, and while it's possible I could badger them into it, I'm not sure it's worth the strain. Eventually I decide it's not, and admit that I am also happy to have the time free, and we don't have class, and I read a book or whatever and feel guilty about how I'm balancing my own emotional needs with some level of commitment to teaching and helping these kids learn and whatever.

Today I decided to just stop having that conversation with myself, because it turns out the same way every time. I also realized that this is one of the times where the school does not treat me like a credentialed teacher--they often do, everyone calls me profesor and very generously acts like I know what I'm doing. When it comes down to it, though, no one holds the illusion that I have all the responsibilities or institutional impact of a contracted teacher, and that's great, because they shouldn't: my value lies in being apart from the system. Neither the school nor the students expect me to hold class when there's no official teacher there, so unless it's going to be an entire week with no substitute, I'm just gonna roll with it.

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