Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Mi Casa y Escuela de O
Ok, I am skipping ahead a bit. I plan to tell the the whole story of the trip down Baja which was totally crazy and one event after another. But now it's a memory a story to tell the grand kids...or well you know what I mean. A story to be told but that can wait. It's time to focus on the present and get you all up to date on whats been happening down here.
I have only been gone a month and 1 week of that was traveling the Baja. The other three weeks have been surreal. Surreal in the fact that this "moving to Cabo" thing is actually falling into place seemingly effortlessly. Everything that could go right has. How often does a person get to say that. I was expecting some rough patches and I am sure they are to come but for now all the hard work of preparation for this move is paying off big time.
As most of you know I was planning on living with my good friend Betty. She offered us a room in her home free of charge all I had to do was buy a refrigerator and I assume split the bills. I so excited to live with Betty because I love her family and have a real cultural experience, stay in a Spanish speaking home, eat the main meal at 2:00pm (an idea I love but have a hard time adjusting too) and live in the barrio. All things that I was really physicked for while searching for my own pad. The ONLY thing that I really was not excited about was sharing a bedroom with my daughter. My darling daughter who apparently moonlights as an aerialist in her sleep. The girl can pull a triple sou cow while flying through the air and yet still remains asleep. It is a wonder she stays on the bed. I found this out while sharing a room and for the first few days a bed with her in which I had to sleep stiff as a board on one eighth of the bed. The rest of the time after Katie went home (who by the way can fall asleep with in 2 seconds of her head hitting the pillow and never wake again till dawn, we sort of think she may have fathered my child they have the same narcoleptic tendencies) I slept on the other bed and still remained sleepless. Ophelia also speaks in tongues during REM as well as sucks on Gigi so loudly it could wake just about anybody but Katie out of a solid slumber. Needless to say I was starting to get tired. After a week of this I knew that perhaps I should start researching places sooner than later knowing that something in my price range might not come up for months. The next morning I find a forwarded email from my mom who is a part of a social network down here that posts long term rentals. There was a furnished home for rent in my price range. Just for fun we decided to check it out. I really had my mind set on Betty's but then something else came along. Casa Button Bottom, that is what O wanted to name the house. I couldn't talk her out of it. And with the little sickness we had going around for a bit there... well it seemed appropriate. The moment we walked in the door I knew it. I loved the sweet older couple who told me how they met and fell in love in East Africa while he (Tony) an American was teaching a math class to her (Anna) who is from India, who are my now landlords. I loved my pool and outdoor kitchen that I share with this couple. I have a washer but I have to hang my clothes to dry them. I love that. The view is spectacular. I am just across the highway which is just across from the path to the beach. It gets a little loud but I'm pretty used to that. The house has a great lay out very open and the kitchen is awesome. I can look out at the pool while I do dishes and O eats her bagel and jam (she prefers the word jam over jelly) or does her home work. Even though the home came furnished it was sparse and since my mom has everything from Villa Miguel in storage we took a few things to spruce up the place. I got a bunch of the art from Villa Miguel. I got the "Dos Gorda's" And the Cuban ladies. And the big bellied man sleeping. My faves. Like old friends who live with me now. And the best, and I told my mom and Betty this and they made fun of me for saying it, but I have really great stars at my house (apparently they do too or something). And the moon shines into my bedroom along with it's reflection on the waves. Sometimes so brightly I want to turn it off and then remember its the moon in bask in the light. From my patio I can see the sun rise over the Sea of Cortez. Or at least in theory, I haven't had a chance to bring in the morning for my upper patio yet. Usually I see the pink sun rise above the horizon out of my rear view mirror as I race down the corridor to get O to school on time.
Which is another piece of the moving to Cabo thing that has been seamless. When I came to visit in April I found a great little bilingual school that could take Ophelia. It was the same school that Beto, Betty's son, goes to. I loved it when I visited. The week that I was there was the "Week of the Child" or "Semana de los Ninos" and I loved it. After driving down a somewhat sketchy looking dirt road just outside of Cabo, only to come upon a dusty nondescript wall of a compound I was uncertain as to what Betty was to show me. We had to wait to be let in, security is high, for the same reason it is in the states, just an added precaution. But when the opened the door we entered a wonderland. The whole school was decorated in Snow White theme as the children were going to be putting on a production for their parents in celebration of their special week. I was sold. I met with the principal and some teachers and was very impressed. But that was April and as time passes you can't help but wonder if you have over glorified things just because you want it so bad. And just because you like the school doesn't mean that Ophelia will. What if she HATES it. What if no one can understand her. What if she cries everyday before and after school. This would be terrible. But she was excited on her first day. She went with her teachers strait away. We had visited the school a few days prior to give her a tour and get her curriculum and uniform, and introduce her to some of the staff. I'm not going to say that this was completely smooth but most of the issues lie with me and still do. Whats the problem you may ask? Well it's going to be the same thing. I don't speak Spanish and though it's a bilingual school it is geared towards Spanish speaking parents. O's days are 1/2 in Spanish and 1/2 in English, but ALL of my info comes in Spanish. I really just am confused and feel as if I am always missing something, like there is going to be a big concert or something and I am going to miss it just because I don't know that the schedule reads "Big Concert on Friday. Dress your child in green and white and practice this song" If someone sent such a notice home my Spanish would understand the message to say "Big Friday Child Green and White Song". That is just not enough information to get it right. So right now I'm having Betty help translate and some of the English teachers are giving me a heads up which I cannot appreciate enough. In fact I just got a notice today about the festivities for Halloween and Dia de los Muertos. Two pages of instructions and a cut out of and skeliton which I haven't a clue what to do with. After a 20 minute conference with the head of the English program there I come to understand that on Oct 31st there will be a performance and beforehand all of the kids will decorate the rooms and then we will vote on the best room (duh I'm totally voting on O's room). We will be given instructions on what to bring (remember instructions are not my strong suit at this moment). But here's the kicker people after that and a some point which I'm not totally sure when that is all of the parents of your childs grade is supposed to get together and plan to decorate and alter for "Dia de los Muertos". ummmmm I really don't even know where to begin with that. How far am I putting my self on a limb. First of all I am so new to the whole kid at school your a parent so you gotta do "kid at school parent stuff. I am dreading the day have to sew my kid a costume, which could potentially be next week I don't know. But on top of that I am going to have to PLAN with other parents and alter. I can tell you right now my strategy with be the good ole "Smile and nod" tactic. As much as I am scared to death about this situation I am equally as thankful. If O weren't in school I would not get to have any of these experiences. I am more than excited to see my kid singing in her Mexican school amongs the mixing cultures of Halloween and Dia de los Muertos, (a holiday that I am so looking forward too, I'm already planning Mikes alter).
With these events in mind and all that are to come I have been diligently doing my part to learn Spanish as fast as I can, but now I know lessons are a priority. Its not horrible, I have learned the words for paste, draw and trace which help me, help O with her homework. Yup that's right O has home work. It is simple things like trace the word "one" and draw the number "1" we do it both in Spanish and English. Really it's fun and I'm learning too. And despite the fact that O is going to school with kids who primarily speak Spanish she leaves school happy as can be. Though she did tell me about the "Naughty brown kid who won't listen to me and wears a pony tail" but another day she pointed to two shelves and about the upper she said "arriba" and the lower "abajo" and she was right. It's going to be just like this I think, our ups and our downs. The "brown ones" who "won't" listen and the ones who offer their home and translate for us. Isn't that what we came here for? The learning here does not just come from school it is every part of our daily life. It's exhilarating. Its exhausting. Its all that I could have hoped for.