Monday, February 9, 2009

A new pillow (and other stories)

Today I got a new pillow. This may not seem monumental for you, but you have NO IDEA what I have been sleeping on. Picture the thinnest, most worthless excuse for a pillow you have ever seen, make it even thinner, and make the pillow case a little bit abrasive and NOW you have an idea of my former pillow. I asked around the dorm, and it quickly became apparent that everyone else was perfectly happy with their pillow, and thus I determined that I had somehow been screwed over by the Pillow Distribution Services. I was forced to take matters into my own hands. I noticed this afternoon that one of the boys was moving out today, and casually glanced at his pillow... nice and thick! SNATCHED!!! New pillow. I'm leaning on it right now as I type, and cannot express how thrilled I am.

ANYWAY, you are probably wondering much more about my first day of school than about my pillow... fair enough. It was good! It's a bigger class than I expected, 13 students in all, 8 men and 5 women. We're a big range of ages, from a couple years younger than me, to several about my age, to 4 men that appear over 50 (one is most certainly over 60). Everyone seems really nice, and we're all kind of in the same boat. Although there are a few people with teaching experience, it appears the majority of us anyway are new to the whole thing, and are here for similar reasons-- career change, and an opportunity to work abroad. And a bunch of travel-lovers all in one place can't be half bad! The teacher seems like a nice enough fellow-- he is a kind of aggressive Irish guy with an intense personality who may take some warming up to, but overall he seems to have a good head on his shoulders... we'll see.

The reeeeally intense thing is how fast paced this course is going to be. I can barely even believe it as I type it, but I am going to teach my first course this Thursday! And another one on Friday! With real students!! Ahhhh!!! I'm terrified, which is why I am up at midnight blogging and pretending to research lesson plans. My class on Thursday will be intermediate level, and the one on Friday will be advanced. Overall over the next 4 weeks, I will teach a course every Thursday and Friday, totally 2 beginner, 2 intermediate, and 2 advanced when it's all said and done. But who knew I'd be thrown in so quickly??

I'm nervous-- I have to write the lesson plans tomorrow, present them to my class on Wednesday, and then execute them Thurs and Fri-- but also excited! I figure it makes sense to just jump right in. I don't feel I've had enough instruction at this point (after all, it was only ONE DAY), and I have no idea what I'm doing (he left the assignment very open ended, so our lessons can be about just about anything), but I'm assuming their expectations are realistically lower for the first lesson, and I'll only have room to improve.

So yeah. I'm going to be a certified ESL teacher in 4 weeks. Whoa!

In other news, I would like to recount the story of my first experience at an Argentinian grocery store. I've been into a few smaller markets, but I'm talking about a 2 story monstrosity called a Coto that sells everything. Well, just about, with a few key omissions. Like beans. I must rant about this-- you cannot find a can of beans anywhere in this city!! They just don't sell beans! It's horrible. Not only can I not buy a burrito anywhere, but I also can't even make my own?! It's like I'm being tortured. You can only buy the dry ones that you need to soak and boil, and if you could see my dorm's kitchen you would know why that is absolutely not going to happen.

Anyway, other than not finding beans, oh man, what a way to spend nearly 2 HOURS of my life. Wasted! It's a mad house! You go winding through the aisles, and it's like every single person in the city is in there, crashing into each other, with not even an inch to yourself. I spent almost an hour steering through the crowds, picking up easy-to-cook-in-an-awful-dorm-kitchen essentials while simultaneously being fascinated by the selections of funny looking cookies, bizarre meat parts, and tubs of spices labeled "spice." Pasta-- check. Tomato sauce in a bag (hmmm)-- check. A loaf of bread (the only one that looked remotely multi grain, although it turned out to be oats)-- check. Some ham and cheese for sandwiches-- check (although I have no idea what kind of cheese I bought??). Cheerio's and milk (the only one that appeared to be slightly reduced in fat, though I'm pretty sure they don't have skim here!)-- check. A couple grapefruits and a couple avocados. Mmmmmmmm I LOVE AVOCADOS.

So then I go to check out, and the lines are THIS LONG. Like, REALLY LONG. I am not exaggerating, I was in the "15 items or less" aisle behind about 10 people and waited an hour!!! God it was a nightmare. Even worse, some woman who I thought was just kind of fat started cutting in line in front of me, and of course being the disgruntled, impatient person that I am, I was trying to subtly sort of cut back in front of her.. finally she shoved past and marched to the front of the line, cutting in front of us ALL, and it was only then that I looked up and realized I had gotten myself into the "handicapped and pregnant women" express lane-- ugh, she wasn't fat, she was with child. STAB. (Frankly I don't care if you're pregnant with quintuplets, I have been in line for an hour!!!)

When I FINALLY arrived back at my residence it was already about 10:30 PM and the only reason why I was remotely okay was the thought of a yummy ham and cheese sandwich with avocado smeared all over it. So you can imagine my misery when I realized I'd somehow managed to not pack the avocados in my bag!!! I'd paid for them. Oh yes, they were on my receipt, but not in my bag. Grrrr. I am going to bed hungry in protest.

Note to self: do whatever it takes, pay extra, eat out every day, go to every corner market in town, but NEVER GO TO COTO AGAIN.

xoxoxo Love, Erica


Jennifer said...

Oh man, sounds similar to some of my Germany shopping experiences. You had to bring your own bags there, and I had to walk 30 minutes to get to the larger grocery store... so i would bring my big 'ol LL Bean backpack and just throw everything in there... once a month... that was it. So far sounds like you're having some great adventures! I'm so jealous, travel bug has been biting me... now I need $$ so I can appease it! :-) Beware of Botflys!!! (saw them on youtube the other day). <3 you!

Kirsten said...

maybe you need to stuff your flat, sad, pillow under your shirt next time so you can cut everyone in line?

Hi, I'm Erica. said...

That is a BRILLIANT advice Kirsten. YES. <3

[dave] said...

erica, try not to shove women in the uterus when they got something a'-brewin in there.

Heather said...

Today's your big day, teaching! enjoy it all! i know your students will! xoxo

Hi, I'm Erica. said...

Dave, I promise to TRY not to. But when I've been standing in line for an hour and pregnant women keep shoving in front of me, it can be hard for me to restrain myself. ;-p

Mom, thanks!!! I'm nervous/ excited/ horrified. I'm mostly just excited for it to be over!! xo