Jun 30, 2008

I Imagine So...

What Animal Guide Would You Produce If You Could Cast A Patronus? (Harry Potter - Updated With Additional Results)
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Tiger

It is only likely you would produce a tiger as your protector. Like you it has a wild and fierce nature although this can be hidden. Passionate but sometimes harsh natured you tend to be alone as your own person.


















Teacher training is all done and I've been hired! I'm working in the ICPNA - Lima Cercado branch (downtown), just a block or so away from Chinatown and the central market. I have a class to observe on Saturday mornings and an accelerated adult class from 3:15 to 6:30 pm Saturday afternoons. During the week, I have 2 basic adult classes and a class to observe every day, starting at 5 pm and finishing up at 10 pm. Between the 5 branches of ICPNA, there are 50,000 students total. That's pretty big.

Celeste is happy! We are back on a regular schedule for July, anyway, with plenty of time for Celeste-time for playing and and getting outside in the mornings. I'm happy, too. I don't mind saying that those days when I was up at 5 am and didn't stop till I fell into bed at 11 pm were more than a little hard on me. Not to mention that there is a certain amount of stress involved in learning to do something someone else's way, fumbling around with busses and transit systems, going to new parts of town I've never been before, and at the same time, holding down the old job to maintain an income to pay the monthly bills.

Besides getting a new job where they pay better and have benefits and really have a contract, two other good things came out of this past month: I never once noticed that there was no sun to speak of and I've learned better ways of teaching. I found out that I wasn't that far off track with what I was doing on my own, just better ways of doing it. And I uncovered my worst weakness: I am dreadfully disorganized (mentally) until I discover my own rhythm in teaching. It's very hard for me to walk into a teaching situation on someone else's terms. However, I am really good at telling children's stories, especially if I can prepare some pictures to go along with it to illustrate what I say. I think that's because the pictures help me organize my thought process.

Now if I can fumble my way through this first month, I think I'll fine.

Jun 27, 2008

Almost finished

I'm coming to the end of the training seminar and work starts tomorrow. Today we're supposed to find out if we are hired (for 1 month) and where we are to go. There are 5 branches of this institute and I have my fingers crossed that they don't send me either way north or way south of where I am now. After our 1 month contract, then we could be contracted for 2 months, after that, then 3 months, and finally a one year contract. If and when we complete the 1 year contract, then we are considered to be permanent employees of the institute. Whuuuuf...it's been a rigorous month and I imagine the next few months will be just as rigorous.

Now I'm encountering a few problems with CIVIME...I put on my resume that I'm working there, and what I've been teaching. ICPNA asked for a verification of that, and now CIVIME is dragging its feet about it. I'm not sure what the reason for that is. O says that many times an ex-employee will use that to try to extract some kind of benefits from the past employer, even though there were none offered. Hmmm. I just want a verification that I worked there, not a weapon to use against them. This is something I've never encountered before. However, I have my pay records, so I could use that to prove that I was at least paid for something there at CIVIME, although I have no proof of what I received the money for. Why do things have to be so complicated here?

Anyway, with things as complicated and irritating as they are, today is one of those days when I feel like chukking the whole works and going back to bed. I've been tired and stressed out all month and the last thing I want to deal with is an uncooperative employer.

This morning I received an e-mail from someone I thought was a friend, who told me that I've turned completely unfriendly to her. That caught me off-guard. Just last evening, we were having a very nice conversation and I thought we were on good terms. She's borrowed several books from me and currently has The Shell Seekers. She borrowed a book on cd from me yesterday and just returned a different one to me this week. I wonder if she doesn't want to return the books, and so is attempting to sever the relationship before she has to give the books back. Another hmmm for me. I'd probably just give her the books if she asked me to. There's no reason for e-mail hostilities.

Jun 15, 2008

taking just a breather

Whew! For the last couple of months, I've been in "teacher training" in two places. I wrote earlier than I was called by ICPNA (Instituto Cultural Peruano Norteamericano, which is the Peruvian Cultural Institute of North America, or something similar). I got through the screening tests and am now in the training seminars for prospective teachers. My schedule is crammed full and my days are hectic. I'm not having much fun right now, but I'm hoping that it will calm down by the end of the month, when we are informed as to whether we have the job or not.

So I'm up at 5 am to let Celeste run her guts out before she has to be shut up in the house for 5 or 6 hours, till O comes home at lunch time to let her out again. Then he's usually home again at 2 or 3 pm till 4:30, when he goes to class. I leave for teacher training at ICPNA at 7:15 am. I take the bus across town to Miraflores. This bus goes up Angamos Avenue and drops me practically at the door of ICPNA, which is really convenient, but cripes, the ride there is like mashing myself into a sardine can. By the time the bus arrives at the stop on my block, it is already filled pretty much to capacity. A couple of people get off at my stop, so I can get on. I push myself through the mass of people to a spot where I can kind of breathe, and off we go, stopping every few minutes to let people off or on. It takes about 40 minutes to arrive at ICPNA.

I have a class to observe at 8:45 am, so I am there a little early. I have time to eat something in the cafeteria and read over the lesson for the day. Then I go to my class to either observe or teach the class. In order to complete the training successfully, I have to give demonstration classes in whatever topic the instructors choose, whenever they choose, and teach three regular classes, observed of course by the teacher who normally has the classes. There are also seminars that we have to go to, there are dress code, attendance, participation, and attitude requirements to fulfill. I hope I'm doing okay so far with the whole course. At 3 pm, we are finished for the day with the teacher training, so I catch another bus that takes me 30 minutes down Arequipa Avenue to my usual job. I arrive at about 3:30, get some lunch, prepare my 4:15 class and start working there. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I work until 10:15 pm and take another bus home. On Tuesdays, I get home about 6:30 pm. On Thursdays I work until 8 pm and get home about 8:30.

Then it's all about Celeste for about an hour. We go outside to play and do whatever business she may have, brush her coat, then walk and run for a little while. By the end of the day, my feet are KILLING me, so I'm happy to change into tennis shoes and walk some, but I don't feel like wrestling or playing rough. After Celeste gets her time, I prepare whatever I need for the following day and then fall into bed and am unconscious till the alarm goes off at 5 am the next day.

One of the things about a heavy schedule is that I'm so tired all the time. I'm terrified that I'll fall asleep on the bus, if I manage to get a seat, and that I'll sleep past the point that I was supposed to get off the bus, or that someone will rob me while I'm dozing. It was explained to me that here in Peru, many people are taught to steal whenever possible...not violently, but in an underhanded, pick-pockety way. One of the people I work with, Hilda, told me that people are considered stupid if they don't take advantage of a situation or person whenever possible. When I asked her if that was how she behaved, she responded with, "Of course! All the teachers do it here," smiling broadly. As usual, I spoke before I thought...it flew out of my mouth - I told her that was very low-class behavior and attitude, and that I didn't associate with people with whom I constantly had to be on my guard. If your friends are so willing to rob you and take advantage of you, what on earth are your enemies willing to do? So Grandma's best friend may help her cross the street just for the opportunity to rob her blind. Sheesh.

So. I've been learning several lessons recently. I suppose that's just life in the big city, but it's one more thing that I have found that disappoints me.

Jun 14, 2008

Handspun sock yarn

Last week I finished spinning a skein of sock yarn. The details:
Fiber: Blue-faced Leicester roving from Maggie's farm
Colorway: Purple Tweed
Yardage: 110

Soft and lustrous! Only one skein so far, but there's more roving, so I should get at least one more skein's worth of yarn from it.

Jun 10, 2008

just kidding


As a 1930s wife, I am

Take the test!

I'm so out of date...I think I've exceeded my expiration date here!

Jun 4, 2008


Lately, I have been dissatisfied with my work place. Not the work - I love it - but the work place. With a new director came a lot of changes that haven't resulted in much good. Yes, they gave us all new erasers and markers, and name tags with terrible misspellings. But also came the change in criteria for classes, and the requirement for bigger classes. Now there must be at least 10 students in a class, and preferably more, for the class to exist. Bigger classes means less individualized time for each student, and in some cases, no attention at all, and believe me, many of them desperately need the individualized attention. Because of this, there are fewer classes altogether. But the simgle worst thing that has happened is that they are messing with our pay. We no longer know when we will get paid. Maybe next week. Maybe after the first of next month. Maybe Saturday. Hmm. So we are waiting there, day after day, for our end of the month pay.

So, when this began to happen, I applied at a couple of other institutes. Yesterday I was called by ICPNA - Instituto Cultural Peruano Northeamericano - one of the leading language institutes in the country. I've already taken their two exams that weed out those who don't have a command of the language. So next month I take the next step and attend a month-long series of seminars designed to teach the methods they want instructors to use there at the institute. I'm looking forward to it. If I don't end up gettng hired there, I will at least come away with some training and that is more than I've received at the place I work now. And, hopefully, an international language instructor's certificate. That would be nice.

Sometimes the age thing comes into play. Age discrimination is everywhere. Even McDonald's discriminates against older people here. They only hire young people between 18 and 24. Many schools turn away teachers over 30, until they get in a pinch and need teachers, then they open their doors to anyone they can get. Heh, that has happened recently. One institute lost all its teachers when they changed management practices. A private high school lost all its teachers, too, when pay was cut. Things like this leave me wondering about management practices and personnel offices. I've never heard of a teachers' strike that lasted 2 years or every single teacher quitting - not striking, but QUITTING. Wow. Makes you wonder.

Jun 3, 2008

another sock, women's size 6/7

The latest socks: white 100% alaca yarn from Woolyworks and toes and heels done in handspun, handpainted tussah silk. One more sock to go and I'll be done!

Princess status removed

Poor Celeste. Yesterday, she decided to see how far I could be pushed. She hasn't pushed for a long time...maybe 5 months. Anyway, she started by deciding to make a mess in her bed, which I let her deal with for a while after she made her decision. Five forty-five a.m. is too early for me to have the stomach for cleaning up dog poop. In the afternoon, without warning of any kind, she decided to gift with a similar work of art in the living room. She found out what MY decision was very quickly, and after being given a very close examination of her masterpiece and an equally vigorous spanking, she spent some thinking time in her crate while I cleaned up her aromatic artwork.

Today, she's feeling sad, repentent, and punished because the living room rug has been rolled up and there's only a hardwood floor to snooze on (she only just missed the rug while on her...er, shooting spree). Neither have there been any invitations to nap on The Bed (that would be my bed). Nor has she been trusted to spend any time roaming at will through the apartment or sleeping where she pleases. The trust has been broken for now, priviledges suspended, and Princess of the House status removed. We are back to the basic owner-dog relationship till she earns them back, which means she's got to be on her best behavior for the time being, and promise never never never again to make such a decision again, without first consulting me.

The cardinal sin in this home is pooping inside. Celeste commited this sin twice in the same day and now she's doing her penance. There are limits to how far even the Princess of the House can push.