I’m trying to be more healthy with Lent. Last week I bought radishes and like three things I thought were cilantro (and weren’t). But the biggest fail . . . well . . . I have a lot of fruit allergies, but I can eat citrus. Cool. Except I’m against things I have to peel. I don’t like sticky-hands and I find oranges too labor-intensive. But at the store I thought “oh, what the hey,” and bought a tangerine.
Or so I thought.
I took it to the beach with the roomies (when it was “feels like 113” degrees) and in order to distract myself from not ordering our usual cooler of cerveja, decided to busy my hands with my prize. I displayed it proudly to Lele and Anysia.
“That is not a tangerine,” they both said with authority. “That is a large orange.”
“Um, but like, it was by a sign that I think said…”
“Yeah, maybe, but no.”
“Shoot.” But then I opened it anyway. And it was even worse than a not-tangerine orange. It was a GRAPEFRUIT. Try eating one of those on the beach when every cell in your body is screaming for the french fries and beer you gave up three weeks ago. Fruit of the devil.
I have a long and somewhat embarrassing history of misidentifying healthy food. I used to grocery shop for my grandma, and once came back with six heads of cabbage instead of lettuce, because I actually did not know the difference. I was a college sophomore at the time. I’ve grown since then – I even briefly considered naming my new pet lizard Kale. But that’s too trendy.
Yeah. I have a pet! Or rather, he has me. Aw. No more creepily staring at the dogs being groomed in the pet shop windows on my way to the grocery store. So it happened like this – in my classroom, within five minutes of each other, there was a belly-up cockroach on my desk RIGHT NEXT TO ME that my students refused to kill, despite the gagging noises I made, and then we had to rescue a twitchy gecko thing from a spider web that was also covered in my hair. We took the lizard outside, had a small ceremony in the rain, because I thought that was it. But then I got home, and found him above my door frame. Maybe he hitched a ride on my backpack, I don’t really know. But now I have somebody to love – Freddie Mercury. That’s his name. His other name choice was Kitten, but I think based on his skinny legs and sassy insistence on staying in my room, he’s a Freddie. He joined me in my workout today.
Click here for my most recent video montage of jokes of the day, some live Freddie footage, and Olympic diving tests!
Living in Brazil means living in a very different kind of nature than California or North Carolina. Tropical storms come with mere seconds of warning to flood streets and cut power. Monkeys are the new squirrels – climbing on and hanging from the telephone wires, staring menacingly at your chicken pot pie while you’re on a field trip with screaming children, beady eyes hiding evil thoughts (I really hate squirrels and really don’t miss them, so this comparison is a bit unfair. The monkeys are okay, but sometimes they get into your house. “I can’t keep bananas in my house,” my friend Duda says.).
The cockroaches are so large you can hear them walking, and every night at sundown the cicadas make the trees sound like they’re screaming. Tonight on my run a man and I waited patiently for a large freaky albino crab to cross the path and join his blue brethren in the swamp before we continued our exercise. And capybaras mosey on by all the time. My dream is to take a selfie with one as we both wear top hats. It’s actually crazy.
Teaching is okay at the moment. Last week I endured a 20-minute monologue about a cat in a Portuguese/Spanish/English mix with a very snotty nose and speech impediment, but she had my sister’s name, so I thought she was cute. My current challenge is an Italian-only 3rd grader who derives great joy from answering my daily “what is the weather like today?” softball question with a deadpan response of whatever the exact opposite of the weather is. But I’ve been approved to attend a conference in Peru in April, and to enroll in some classes online to help me become a better ELD teacher, so I hope that this inspires me. And I spend a lot of time in first and second grade classes, where I get covered in totally undeserved love and hugs.
Teaching Yearbook is proving to be quite the challenge. As is teaching high schoolers in general. They are far less competent at time management than I would like. I do enjoy that they speak! English! Fluently! And I can tell jokes! And talk fast! And be sarcastic! And no one cries! But they are terribly unorganized and only a few are willing to try and figure out something on their own, instead just yelling “Miss, where is such and such/how do I this and that” and I’m like “A SIMPLE SEARCH THROUGH THE EMAILS I HAVE ALREADY SENT YOU, OR IN THE BOX UNDER THE HELP TAB WOULD HAVE SUFFICED. IF I COME OVER THERE AND FIND THE ANSWER WITHIN 30 SECONDS, I WILL DROPKICK YOU OFF THIS ONE-STORY BUILDING.”
I also work with people like that, though. I’m far too proud to ask for help until I know I can’t find the answer on my own, and it kills me when people have clearly not read their emails, or just blindly look for the easy answer through someone else, rather than thinking for themselves. I think it’s how my mom must have felt 24/7 for about 15 years when my sisters and I would complain we couldn’t find an item like a shirt or sunglasses that we would literally be wearing at the time.
I end up doing a lot of the yearbook stuff myself, because its just easier that way, and I naively decided it should be a “pass/fail” class, so motivation is low. Also, I now receive emails like “How to Create a Memorial Page for a Student or Teacher Death.” So. That’s neat. I’m learning. That I never want to do it again. But learning.
I’ve been trying to get more excited about being here for another year. I’m in an emotional slumpy slump for a variety of reasons. So I’ve started looking up tickets to the Olympics. I went with some peeps to a diving event at the aquatic park that will have diving and synchronized swimming and stuff for the Olympics, and it was so cool. I can barely turn in a circle without stubbing my toe but these people were free-falling from a thousand feet in the air, perfectly timed with another human, and making splashes smaller than the gas I might pass in a bubble bath. It was incredible.
I’m going to get tickets to volleyball, gymnastics, and then something weird like medal ceremonies for badminton or competitive walking. I also want to get tickets for the sitting volleyball medal games for the Paralympics. AND I read a cool story about refugees living in poverty while still training in hopes to compete in the Olympic games here in Rio. This is the stuff that gets in your heart and your bones and makes you admire the human spirit, the power of a dream, and feel nothing but awe and respect for the sheer will and determination to follow that dream in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. This is so BAD.ASS.
AND,someone has invented the modern day adventures of Han Solo, Leia, and their son Ben. Giving me liiiiiiiiiiife. Seriously. Clicky on that link. Laugh. Forever.
So things are looking up. Always up! Excelsior, my friends.
And if you need to hear it and you haven’t yet today, when I’m at the Olympics and they catch me on tv and it looks like I’m mouthing “hi, mom!” I’m also saying hi to you, too, but like, silently, with my mind grapes.