Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Back To Work - Heslington Language

Seven weeks have passed quickly as they do when you are backpacking and around Central America. It is soothing when the only things you have to worry about are border controls, guns, gangs, bus schedules, food poisoning, dengue and Chickngunya, street dogs (not the Toronto kind that taste amazing at 1:00 am), money changers, touts, mosquitoes, spiders, giant snakes, altitude sickness, bad water, sun stroke, smelly clothes, cold showers and over crowed buses. However these small inconveniences are rewarded by swimming with sharks, amazing conversations with new interesting people, exploding volcanoes, clear views above the clouds, deep cave hikes, the overwhelming beauty of Mayan Ruins, tubing in a clear river with cold beer at 9:00 am, holding a baby crocodile, Colonial towns and busy town squares, helpful and smiling locals, great taxi driver stories, jungle lodges and the ultimate, hammocks. Glorious, glorious hammocks. Now that reality has reared its ugly but important and useful head. It's time to get back to work and find a routine for the next 3 months.

My recent contract is with the Heslington Language Program in Tehuacán which is a modern, clean and very safe city of about 250,000 in Puebla, Mexico. I accepted this position just before the New Year for the spring and summer semester and it runs May 9th to August 13th which to me is a nice 12 week program. Then it`s the big bird back to Canada from Mexico City for either a Visa run or a regroup to teaching parts unknown. Maybe its time for my great Asian Adventure, but lets not get ahead of ourselves just yet. There are other parts of Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Cuba just waiting to be explored.

40 Pesos = $2.86C at the corner market today. I could find it cheaper at the main market
I arrived in Tehuacán from Oaxaca on May 3rd and was immediately met at the bus terminal by Danny and Kaitlyn. They took me to my apartment, handed me my keys and off they went which is exactly what I wanted so I had indeed arrived. Training was to start on the 5th so I had 2 days to settle in, explore and get setup which meant laundry and groceries to start. I had not washed my clothes in the better part of three weeks and regardless of my attempt at cleaning socks and underwear by hand my clothes were nasty. Things had to be tossed out and there was a Wallmart and a Woolworth, yes a Woolworth in this town. I used to get excited about live concerts, good weed and cold beer. Now it`s Wallmart and Woolworth for new socks and underwear. How did that sh** happen? I better go look into a mirror and have a long emotional chat with myself. (That should freak out the new room mates a bit).  I will be sharing an apartment with Rachel, Scott, Cathy and Fleur who you can read about in the  TEAM BIOs

It was a busy and interesting prelude to my first day of school which is on Monday the 9th. We had a welcome/training session on the 5th where I met most of the new and returning teachers.  It is an interesting mix of 20 somethings and well NOT 20 somethings which include me in that group. Experienced veterans and brand spanking new graduates, like  shiny new pennies all mixing together. Like the scene in The Shawkshank Redemption where the inmates are betting on which new inmate cracks during their first night in the pen I have a little bet in my head as to who is going to snap first.  A man needs  hobby to keep him occupied. We are a crew of Canadians, Americans, Brits and a Welshman who although his name is Tom who is well over 6 foot, 250 lbs, long red beard and big hearty laugh. Friendly and funny he now goes by the name Thor. It was fun to share beer with him, Emma, Katy and Matthew our first sunny Saturday. Nobody and I mean nobody drinks Corona. Well nobody drinks the Corona in the clear bottles that is shipped worldwide. "Es Basura!" (its garbage) say the locals. There is a Corona in a brown bottle that I saw and will try that in the future. Saturday was all about Indio which has long been the Pabst Blue Ribbon of Mexico...good grief. It is tasty.

After 2.5 days of lesson planning, meet and greets, orientation, a BBQ and cold beer it is time to get back in front of the class. In my case, classes. Every day I will be teaching a mixed class of grade 8 and 9 for 90 minutes, then a class of grade 7s for 90 minutes. I then have 5 hours off to regroup for my Adult Fluency classes at 6 and 7. These can be long days if you waste your time. There is a small gym near me plus I can get work done during the day to free up my weekends. Night time will be Spanish study and believe it or not English grammar study because I suck at it.

My house has hot water, decent internet and no roosters. I miss roosters.

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