August 22, 2006

Getting settled, loving the beach

Hola, amigos! Como estan?

We are well. Natalie is picking up some Spanish already, and Brady’s is already improving. We plan to take some classes once we get settled.

We’re still living in this nice condo that we were sent to after Natalie said she didn’t want to live in the first one. Brady didn’t like it either, but not so much that he was willing to tell the owner/director of the school that we needed a new place. Natalie, on the other hand, said she was unwilling to live with cockroaches the size of mice. We were both also frustrated that when we arrived at the apartment it had not even been cleaned – there were spiders and spider webs, other people’s toiletries in the bathroom, a t-shirt under the sink along with other items, trash in both the front and back yards (a LOT of trash in the back), the bathroom sink leaked like a creek, the windows were really dirty gross, etc. If we had arrived and it was clean, we probably would have just stayed there. But even if they clean it and fix the leak, it really is a dump. So we’re staying temporarily in a condo the school sent us to, which is very nice, with a pool, and it’s at a marina where we can easily get our kayaks in the water and paddle out to sea. But it is very isolated and is not on the bus line, which is hard since we only have one car and it’s way too hot to bike. It’s also about a 30-40 minute drive to the school from this condo. We’d like to be closer, and on the bus route. We have a few leads, but it’s slow going since we have very poor communication: this condo has no land-line telephone (we’d have to have one installed), no Internet connection, no pay phone within walking or biking distance, and we don’t have cell phones yet. Aye aye aye. In any case, it looks likely that we will be able to find a place big enough to host guests when they arrive (hint hint, to all of you). We’ll let you know.

Our car is fixed (we think). Some of you asked what happened to it, and it was drivable, but the alignment was all messed up either from the poor roads or a potentially bad alignment job we got in Portland or both (probably both). It seems to be fixed now. We’re still deciding whether it needs more work in Tucson, but for now our little Ocho, a.k.a. Herbie the Love Van, is doing fine.

The school is interesting. It will be an interesting year. Natalie is going to teach second grade in the morning and 10th grade in the afternoon. Brady will teach 8th ad 11th grades. We’re both teaching a lot of different subjects, which will be hard. Also, most of these students are R-I-C-H. So, they have attitude. And when we say rich, some of them are rich not just by Mexican standards, but rich by American and international standards as well. They are some of the Mexican elite, with money in construction, oil, sweat shops, etc. The woman who owns and started the school is richer than god, as far as we can tell. Hence the reason Natalie feels more or less justified asking for a decent, functional, and clean apartment. We’re not in the Peace Corps here. Essentially, we’re teaching the next generation of Mexican Bushes how to speak English (maybe when we come back the American Bushes will pay us to teach their kids how to speak English too). But, we are told about 30 percent of the students get scholarships and are not wealthy. So that’s good and it will feel good to help them.

We’re very excited about learning more Spanish, and very excited about all the kayaking we can do here. We dropped our kayaks in the marina Saturday morning, around 6:30 am (when did we get so old that we wanted to wake up at 6:30 am to kayak?), and kayaked for a few hours to three small, rocky, cactus-covered islands nearby. We got out of our kayaks at one island. We saw a fish catch a breeze and fly over the water, a hawk preen itself on top of a saguaro next to seagulls hanging out on neighboring saguaros, lots of pelicans, and some frigates. We collected a few shells, picked up the trash on the island (many Mexicans have no qualms about dropping their trash everywhere), and then kayaked back. It was beautiful. Brady is also super excited about learning to flyfish in the sea and has been out exploring the waters twice now. When it gets cooler, we’ll go mountain biking and hiking. Also, some of the beaches here are gorgeous. On Sunday, we had so much fun playing in the ocean with the dogs. Blondie swam in the ocean and played fetch with a coconut (but then an hour later was throwing up a ton of salt water. Oops.). After playing in the ocean, Natalie sat on the beach and read while Brady fished… and he caught his first ocean fish on a fly! A needlefish, and it “needled” his finger so much that a little blood was shed. It’s a whole new world down here.

Hasta luego, amigos!


Anonymous said...

Hey Natalie and Brady... Kim and Brian here. We just wanted to say that your blog was by far the most exciting thing we've read all week... thanks for the updates and glad your out of that nasty apartment!

Anonymous said...

Hey Kids! Thanks for the update. Glad your new place will be big enough for visitors :)

Anonymous said...

There was no need for the Bush comment. :)

Glad to hear you kids are doing well -- Jess and I are loving the updates!

Coli said...

Hi you guys! Your pictures look good (you look well). Brady, love the flies in your hat. :-) I look forward to more fun stories, especially the teaching stories.

Take care,


Anonymous said...

Hey y'all! I loved seeing your pictures and reading your last posting- it's BEAUTIFUL! When do you start teaching? Have you already? I start my law school classes tomorrow- I also think I need to get used to rich kids- but these will be law students!

Take care, and look forward to hearing from you soon.


Anonymous said...

So glad to hear that you all are doing well. Maybe you should sabotage the Mexican bushes, you know teach them the wrong words and grammar, strike back for the lower and middle classes. It looks beautiful down there from the pictures, hope we will be able to make the journey to visit. It doesnt rain during the winter much does it? Take care - Randy and Sara.

Michael said...

Okay. NOW I'm jealous. The saltwater flyfishing thing got to me...and the kayaking some. Still prefer a canoe though. I can usually use a baggage train when I do anything and it holds more "stuff". Pretty pictures. Can't wait to see some of yer digs and la escuela (I don't know Spanish but they did manage to teach me THAT much at least). Lookin' forward to the next installment. This was a really great idea.