01 July 2011

7pm and I'm Ready for Bed



I can only describe this day by channeling Tevye.

On the one hand, the first two pages of the placement test weren't so bad. In fact, I was a little bit proud of myself for understanding as much as I did. Then I flipped the page.

On the other hand, during the post-test break, we found some fabulous café and pastries (and Brits and Australians). So, even though I didn't hear a word of the Alcala tour, my new Australian friend and I wandered at the back of the pack and talked about churches and missions and being terrible at Spanish. Bonus points!


On the other hand, when I left to catch the bus, I exited Via Complutense in a very different place than I'd expected to be, then ran to the closest bus stop and waited for twenty minutes, hoping that perhaps it had just been delayed and could scoop me up on the way out of town. It wasn't. 

On the other hand, I was able to walk back to Carrefour and buy some necessities: a beach towel and juice.

On the other hand, I didn't have time to go anywhere else, so I sat outside a store window not consuming the juice. The sun started poking at me with her nails, much like a small child in the grocery line, unable to remain still for just one more second. And I was the mother who speaks in a calm voice through gritted teeth, trying to ignore the heat and my tiredness and my frustration at missing the bus and the fact that my phone was out of minutes so I couldn't return any of the three calls I'd received. It didn't work so well. I wanted to cry, but it seemed more appropriate to write a letter to a friend in really horrible handwriting and force myself not to drink straight out of the juice carton in public.

On the other hand, I didn't have to sit there forever.

On the other hand, when the bus finally did come, Lady Gaga was on the radio. I seriously got teary-eyed. Not because Lady Gaga moves me, but because she is the last thing that I want to ever hear when I am frustrated. She is the last thing I want to hear even if I am exuberantly happy and just saw a shooting star. Lady Gaga makes me feel like I am being wrapped in dirty wolf pelts on a 200-degree day. Then I got home, took a wrong turn somewhere in Camarma, and skirted the plaza for about fifteen minutes, which is ridiculous, as not finding something in Camarma is a bit like not being able to find your own fingers.

On the other hand, I was able to recharge my phone by myself! And I had an entire box of orange juice to look forward to!

On the other hand, the landlords showed up at our house shortly after I got home. They are super nice people, but we spend most of the conversation struggling to communicate, and the parts I understand best are small talk--which is even hard for me in English.

On the other hand, Justa brought me a fan from Alcala--a very sweet gesture that gives me legitimacy, since I can now whip out that fan in church like all the Spanish ladies do, rather than fanning myself with a hand and looking like a seal! (On behalf of seals, if I had to look like any sea creature, I would certainly prefer their faces to those of most other ocean critters.)

So many hands. At the end of Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye cries with disdain, "No! There is no other hand!" But where Tevye's final hand falls in despair, my final hand trumped all. The landlords did not just bring a fan. They brought a toilet. (Technically, the toilet installation men brought the toilet, but since half my writing is hyperbole anyway, let's just roll with it. :)

To say that the toilet balances out the Lady Gaga is a total understatement. Oh, toilet! Who knew you could bring me such joy?! And this hand has another hand attached to it, and that hand is called The Internet. All the things I had been worried about yesterday ended up not at all being the things I should have worried about. Jay and Brian mastered the internet and the furniture and everything else, and all of my frustrations were negated. Toilet and internet on the same day! It's like Christmas, a birthday, and Arbor Day all rolled into one!

On the other hand, the toilet installation man had to drill holes in the floor to install said toilet. Several minutes later, I heard sounds like breaking glass and figured he was smashing apart the tiles around the toilet. I peeked into the bathroom--nothing. I walked toward the patio--and there was the old toilet, smashed to smithereens! What a horrible way to go, bashed into dust on the tile, at the mercy of some man with a sledgehammer. I cried aloud, probably in a very un-Spanish manner, "¡Pobre servicio! ¡Está muerto!" ("Poor toilet! It's dead!") The landlord's wife laughed and laughed at that, probably because it was so ridiculous, but on the other hand...it doesn't matter. Because tonight, I am typing this from my bedroom. I do not have to turn the security system off and on, and my toilet works! THERE IS NO OTHER HAND!

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