Thursday, August 27, 2009

Week 2

Last week was nice and lazy. Class until one every day, and I'd go practice piano and be home by three. Have a big old lunch and usually a nap, do something in the evening or do nothing at all, eat more, sleep more.

This was the week that if we wanted to we could check out the extra classes offered. Those of you who know how I do school... well for those who don't, to be a full time student one is required to take 12 hours, my scholarship program encourages 15, the university caps you at 18. Last semester I took twenty while I directed, produced, and promoted a show and somehow, gods be praised, managed to pull a four point. I have a problem with coasting - I like to go balls to the walls or nothing at all.

So naturally, I signed up for all of them. If a student takes grammar and conversation, s/he can only take two extra classes; if s/he drops conversation s/he can take three. I signed up for five and kept going to conversation.

First was Geography and Culture of Mexico with an emphasis on Tourism. The theme of the class is absolutely perfect - study each of Mexico's major states/regions, their geography, their culture, things people go to see there, and their food, as well as cooking some of it too. When the maestra pitched the class to us, I figured if I could only take one this was it. Then she had us go around the class and introduce ourselves. We were to tell our names and where we were from. All went well until she got to the Korean boy.

He's in my same level for grammar and conversation, so I've gotten to know him a little bit. His name is Sung Rak and he's pretty rad. He's definitely in the better half of the class, not scared to speak in class unlike so many, and usually correct. When he introduced himself, the maestra said, "But what's your Spanish name?"

Um, he said, I don't have a Spanish name. My name is Sung Rak. "But," she said, "All the Koreans, when they come here, they choose a Spanish name because Korean names are too strange and too hard to pronounce. So, you should pick one, and let me know as soon as you do." Um, his name is Sung Rak? Try to say it. You had a tougher time with the Germans and Americans than you would have with his if you'd give it a go. His name is a big part of his identity and who the hell are you to tell him he has to change it because it's "too strange?"

First I should mention that class started a half hour late. After introductions we took a "five minute break" (try twenty) we met back up for her to give us a brief intro to Mexico. She mostly read info off a website, and when she got to the part about religion, she read that 93% of Mexicans are Catholic. "Now," she said, "I want to get an idea about you all. What religion do you have? We'll go around and I want everyone to tell me their religion." First, your question presupposes that everyone here has religion. The first person said either Catholic or Christian, then it was my turn and I said "I don't like to talk about religion," and the rest of the class sounded off with either Christian or Catholic, all of them. But it was clear that I wasn't the only one feeling awkward about it. The next day she basically read a crappy powerpoint presentation word for word and took another "five minute" break in the middle of class (again after starting super late) to answer a Skype call that kept interrupting the presentation. She's on vacation next week. The class isn't required for my major and I can only take so many. This isn't hard math to do.

What else did I try? Phoenetics, which is being merged with the Linguistics class since it's the same teacher and gives us a grand total of three students. But it is required for my major, and the teacher's cool as hell. Honestly made me go and check my university's website to see if I could change my major to Linguistics, so that one's definitely getting taken. Cultura Latinoamericana is another one that will count toward my major, and the teacher has made it clear he's not going to be too hard on us, god bless him. Literatura would also count toward my major if I could figure out when the hell time it's going to be offered.

Historia de Mexico would be fucking sweet to take, because the teacher is not only precious but really just enraptured by the subject, and says she's going to take us on outings to go see sites and museums and stuff, but I don't know if I have room for it, since Linguistics and Phoenetics is going to technically count as two classes. But then, you know me...

No Kiki this week. The saddest thing happened either Friday night or Saturday. No, it was Saturday! Because we were intending to go downtown and go dancing and I got all dolled up and shaved my legs and everything and then I heard Kiki sniffling a rather lot and trying to work the phone. My first thought was about how I went on that little trip to Tennessee and was having a great time and then got the call that Lucie had died. She wasn't having much luck with her calling card, so I just went and set my info to use mine down in front of her. I never know what to do when my friends cry, because everyone wants something different and all I want is to help. Some people need to be held, some need to be left alone, others need all sorts of stuff, but right then Kiki needed to make a call, and I knew I could help with that. Her grandmother, who had been having some health problems, had just passed, so she had to buy a last minute flight back to Canada for the funeral this week. She left Monday morning and comes back Saturday. I have missed that radical girl a lot and can't wait for her return.

I'm getting exhausted by the end of these days where I start out at 9 with grammar, then go negotiate a food purchase in Spanish, then listen to the History teacher talk twenty miles a minute then go to Linguistics then Cultura then practice piano and talk with that teacher... like, my brain starts getting really tired and even though it's the middle of the day and I shouldn't be sleepy, all I want to do is leave whatever discussion I'm in the middle of and go lay down. While I have finally come to terms, I think, with the fact that I am in another country, I'm not quite sure yet that I fully comprehend how long I'm going to be here.

That's all I've got for now, I guess. I'd have had more if I'd updated earlier, when details were still fresh, but I have been one busy cracker this week. Remind me to tell you about the German boy's birthday party and the best taxi ride yet.

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