Friday, September 5, 2008

Day is done

The day is done.

That phrase sparked a new thought in my head this evening. It is a sentiment that I have felt, but have not put into words since I have been here. I have realized that what I miss most in my basic day-to-day understanding and use of this new language is the innate poetic feel and connotation of a phrase. I am lucky to get away with understanding the gist of an entire conversation. There is absolutely no way that I could feel the poetry of this language while by brain is occupied with basic understanding.

So to say “The day is done” imparts a certain flavor or feeling to the end of the day, at least for me, and the ability to invoke in the mind of another human the selfsame sentiment that I am feeling with a simple phrase is something that I miss.

New topic:

In these last couple of weeks I have been jerked around more than a five-year-old at a family reunion.

First I was living in a house where full on remodeling was taking place for five days, then I actually packed my things and moved to a different place, upon my arrival I pulled beds and desks and chairs out of storage to try and make a cozy habitation for myself for the last 10 days or so of my stay, next I learned (yesterday) that I will have to be out of this place by Sunday at noon because other renters to whom Jorge has promised a place to stay are moving in then, (I’m beginning to feel a little unimportant at this point.) so today I was awakened by the incessant ringing of the downstairs front door buzzer. This apartment building is not truly soundproof so I hear other people’s buzzers ringing all the time. After about the fifteenth time I got up and answered the buzz. It was Ivan. Ivan is Jorge’s personal handy man and go-to-guy for moving furniture and fixing things. So as I got ready for work this morning Ivan, who is Ukrainian, and his assistant were moving in couches and chairs and things to make this apartment habitable for someone who is paying to have an apartment. So Sunday I have to leave. I don’t know where I am going. Probably Jorge’s house or some perhaps some crappy unfurnished place where I will be given a closet and a blanket.

Yesterday I got paid for the first time as well. The entirety of my earnings in one lump sum was very unimpressive. Monica (the business manager) told me that I have been the teacher who has given them the least amount of problems… perhaps I just take too much crap from people. I have learned, at least in this situation, the only way to get what you want, what you need to survive, is to make a noise long enough and loud enough that they cant stand it any longer and give you what you need so you will shut up. Kind of like a 3-year-old would. I saw the other teachers demanding and nagging to get what they wanted from these people that I have been working for, but that is not my style. Evidently it should have been. Jorge had all of the accoutrements to make this little house livable all along, I just didn’t nag him enough for him to have it brought down here. I think in the future when I am faced with a similar situation I will just dissociate myself from the people that behave this way.

All in all they are very happy with me as an employee. I taught all the classes I was given, I went everywhere I was asked, and all of my students were satisfied with their classes. And I will write truthful reviews for Los Naranjos on all of the English teaching forums. I’m sure the lure of Spain will still bring people here, but they should at least arrive informed.

As for Spain… I think I will come back sometime. How soon or late depends on what happens with life at home, but I have not seen nearly enough of this country. I had high hopes of traveling around the whole of the country and seeing the cities and the mountains and the Basque country, but it was not to be. If I wake up early enough I may hop on a train to Barcelona tomorrow… perhaps.

The bike man did me a good turn today. I have been kind of down on the bike man since I have been here. I think he just didn’t like Jeff and since I always went in with Jeff I was cast in the same mold. But yesterday my handlebars on my bike broke off… if you have ever had this happen it is not too bad once you are moving because you can ride with no hands, but if you are trying to start or stop with just a nut and bolt between you and the ground or a car… well lets just say it can get a little peligroso. So I rode/walked my bike to the bike man’s shop in Alquerias today and showed him my problem. He said joder! Which is the common slightly vulgar form of disgust used here, and said that he could get me a new part or he could hacer un punto which is “make a point” I had no idea what he meant, but he had me follow him to the back of his shop. He pulled this ancient looking thing off of the wall and while I was still trying to figure out what was going on he started welding my handlebars on. No mask, no hood, no nothing. POW! “There you go, that’ll cost less” he said. I asked him how much he wanted for his one-minute weld… He made the right move and said I could pay him nothing or whatever I wanted. Always the best move with me. He probably meant it was free, but I gave him a five euro note and rode out happy.

So, here I sit at a little café half a block from my house.

And the day is done, and my work here is finished, and I’ll be home in a week, and, for different reasons, I am looking forward to it. Although I am sure I will long for the simplicity of being ecstatic just to have understood an entire conversation, and before long the ability to go into a store and get just what I want or to have small talk with anyone I please will wear off.

Maybe Ross will buy a house here instead of just talking about it, and then I can come visit more often.

I know this post has a bit of a feeling of finality, but I am not stopping writing just yet; that just happens to be how I am feeling right now. (Doggone it I should have saved a sunset picture for this post)


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