Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Settling into a real life....

Monday I'd planned to enroll in one of several Spanish language schools, but the first one I went to gave me a bad feeling, like it was a rip off and there was little or no interest in the students, only in money.

I used to ignore feelings like that, on the pretext that feelings are not knowledge, but I've learned the hard way that my intuition is fairly good if I'll let it have full rein. The second and third schools simply were not findable. Google maps gave me a location, but there was no school there. Either they've gone under (maybe too interested in money than in teaching?) or the maps were wrong. So I've been left to my own device, which is to look up words a lot, write them down, and talk to Yesi, Malena's 16 year old daughter who somewhat reluctantly corrects my poor grammar.

The landmark cross in the Church Plaza.
Tuesday evening there was a movie that looked good; Maria, Full of Grace. The shows are in a small theater in the back of the Casa De Pan restaurant. At 6:00 there was an older white haired man standing by the door and as it turned out, we were the entire audience. It's a Columbian movie with English subtitles. And that was a good thing, because Columbian Spanish is difficult to understand, even for fluent speakers. They might as well have been speaking Portuguese.

It's an excellent movie about a 17 year old girl who is rebellious and gets conned into becoming a cocaine mule. She swallows about 60 pellets of cocaine and flies to New York. Other aspects of the plot, good and bad for her, is that she is pregnant and doesn't really want to have much more to do with the baby's father.

After the movie, that white haired gentleman and I decided to have dinner at Casa De Pan. Actually, he had tea as he'd already eaten. His name is Arnulf and he's a retired professor from Studtgardt, Germany, where he taught ethics. We had a wonderful conversation. He is also learning Spanish and has a private tutor, who is one of the teachers at the school I hadn't liked. He pays her directly about half what the school charged and is quite happy with her and his progress. I may have found my "school", as he is willing to introduce me to her and I'm more than willing to pay.

Just off the Andador Guadalupe is a used bookstore run by a black woman from New Orleans named Linda. She's just cute as a button with flared hair, sage colored eyes, and curvy figure. We've hit it off well, and she invited me to go to the organic market on Friday with her and a friend, and also to dinner. She lives a few blocks from the casita. In fact, she once lived in this same casita before she and her husband bought some property up the street. It was so run down and dilapidated that they cleared the lot and started over. I can't wait to see the new house they've built, especially after living in this much older place.

My room mate John 
John took off Monday and overnighted on a bus to one of the small resort towns on the Oaxacan coast. I don't know how long he'll be gone. He's expecting a friend to show up in a week or so and then the three of us may go to Guatemala. Meanwhile, Yesi and I have been hanging out. She speaks English mostly to me and I speak Spanish to her. Today we went to see a movie, The Tower Heist. I'd already seen it and it was good to see it dubbed in fast Spanish. English is a more curt language. It's hard to get an entire thought out in Spanish in the same timeframe as one English sentence, and the same goes for German which is even more curt. The dubbing was good, there were few lapses when Spanish was still coming out of someone's mouth but the mouth had already closed. On the other hand, the sheer speed of the speech made it very hard to follow.

On a domestic front, there are still a few things the house needs like a small lamp for reading in the loft. It appears that small reading lamps come in two forms, the kind that run on batteries and clip to your book, and the non-existant kind. So far not one electronics store, department store, or appliance store that Yesi and I visited today had a lamp. There is a clip on lamp with a goose neck in the kitchen which I will use in the loft until a more suitable one is found. I have no idea where that clip on light came from, or I'd sure go to that store!


Life is settling down. The town is showing itself to be an interesting place with many evening activities and colorful artesanal markets. I feel like I need to find something contributory to do. The Reading Train is almost kaput. John said the people running it were way more interested in making money from the tours. That would appear to be so. During the past weekend there were only a couple of tables and maybe 15 books out for the kids, no little peddle-trains for them to ride, and yet, the big "train" was running full of tourists. Sad to see. I had such high hopes for that project. (See post from April 10, 2011  Reading Train) Linda at the bookstore expressed sadness over it too.