Thursday, September 10, 2009

No Reason To Cry Over Spilled Beer and Spoiled Milk – (the days that followed)

No Reason To Cry Over Spilled Beer and Spoiled Milk – (the days that followed)

On Tuesday morning, my alarm clock didn’t go off – I woke up at 6:25, had to be out the door at 6:30, and start work at 7:00. I still had no water, so no shower for me.

The school schedule, which is still not official after 4 weeks, started extracurricular activities today. I was supposed to observe my director teach a class, but she didn’t. I ended up teaching the class with a bit of help from the counselor. There were about twenty 7th and 8th graders whom I had never met. Not fun. Ironically, the topic was ‘how to manage stress.’ I ended up teaching some yogic breathing, which actually did help. Nothing like not having any lesson planned for an hour and a half with a bunch of teenagers you’ve never met before. It’s a good thing I know how to wing it.

Afterwards, I drank 3 cups of coffee and ate patacones con queso. This also helped. I was laughing at myself and at the irony of my extracurricular subject matter. On top of little sleep, no shower, being unprepared to teach an extracurricular activity, I still had to teach 5 hours of Language Arts and Social Studies. Surprisingly, I had decent lessons with all three classes afterwards. It felt like maybe I’m finally starting to break the ice with students. My principal brought me the teacher’s manual of my literature today, finally.

I found out at lunch why we didn’t have water, it’s a small thing called paying the bill. The problem was, I didn’t know we had a bill and the vigilantes didn’t tell us we had mail. I am going to ask for mail every single day from now on. Thankfully, I had grabbed some money on my way out the door. School didn’t end today until 3:45 (yes, it still started at 7 – yuck!) and we don’t leave until 4. The water place closes at 4. I gave Alberto, the helpful, tolerant, but incredibly hard to understand chofer, money to pay the water bill while I stayed at school teaching. Some other bills are also past due – not a good thing. Whoops! How were we to know? A bit of guidance might have been nice.

Right after school I got more money and went to the store and paid the other bills. Thankfully, I paid the electricity bill before it got cut off. Life without fans and AC here would not be pleasant. I bought two 5-liter containers of water and two cans of beer (you can buy individual cans of beer here and I always do because they’re heavy). Mind you, I still can’t wash dishes or flush the toilet until the day after tomorrow. Delightful.

Afterwards, I went to the gym to take a shower and visited the Zona de Humedades and specifically El Turco. This is the steam room in the gym. I’m sure it sounds nuts to go in a steam room when it’s 90 + degrees outside. Actually, it feels very cleansing, and remember, even when I do have water, it’s never hot water. El Turco felt wonderful and was certainly the most relaxing part of my day.

After El Turco and my not hot shower, I was packing up my backpack when I noticed some liquid dripping out of it. I had accidentally squished a can of beer by repacking the water on top of it. Just as I’d finally gotten clean, I had a backpack that smelled like a fraternity. This is the backpack I take to work everyday. Remember, when I got home I couldn’t wash it because I have no water. Ugh! This did make me laugh though.

I arrived at home to find my amazing boss in our apartment building trying to get the water situation resolved for us, while I stunk of beer I that hadn’t even drunk. Apparently to fix the water, they needed some spare part. My boss went, bought, and delivered it. I also found out that when I’d been teaching her lesson in the morning, she had sent Alberto to go see why our water wasn’t on. What an incredible woman!

Kären got water that night. I didn’t. I was glad at least one of us had water. I went to her apartment and filled pots with water to flush and clean my very stinky toilet. I had left the milk out as I ran out the door in the morning, so I went and washed the pitcher of spoiled milk at her apartment too. While I was doing this, she said I could borrow her backpack for work the next day…and then she dropped her 5-liter container of water on it. Hilarious.

The next morning I showered at Kären’s. When we arrived at school, it had no power or water for several hours. Unbelievable!

After 48 hours of no water in my apartment, it is finally back on. I was supposed to go out tonight, but my friend forgot. I’d post this now, but guess what? The internet isn’t working either. Mercury went into retrograde on Sunday and it certainly has done so with force.

I have hassles and annoyances, but certainly not horrible problems. I’m safe, I have food, some (though not much) money, and I now have water. I’m in good health, but exhausted. The disorganization of my school this year is driving me nuts. Apparently, it wasn’t like this last year.

Maybe now that I’ve learned a few lessons here the hard way, things will start to go more smoothly. I’m trying to stay positive, but my patience is a bit worn. I’m keeping things in perspective: things could be better, but they could certainly be worse. Let’s hope they get better.


  1. Elizabeth~ I love reading about your adventures~ the highs and the lows! They are so lucky to have you there! We miss you lots!!!

  2. Gives a whole new meaning to...where's the milk!?