Friday, October 23, 2015

Scratch and Sniff

Last week was bad. Then this week, I redid the horrors of last week a second time, but it was even worse. Let me explain:

 Last Monday I started teaching English at a paper making machine company, but got terribly sick to my stomach. This week I went back to teach the second lesson and got the same virus again. Add in some computer glitches, some high pitched crazy talk on my end and a general lack of energy on their part and that is how that went. To be honest, I have had one sort of cold or another since mid-August and don't remember how it is to not be nauseous and to be able to breathe through my nose at the same time.
It's Tissue. Best friends' necklace or symbolic representation of the current state of affairs? You decide.
Health issues aside, I couldn't believe our luck when I scored an appointment to see our dream, gigantic, affordable, perfectly located, quiet, apartment that is owned by a legitimate Marchese -- an aristocratic title which turns out to be even higher up than a Count. Two nights before the appointment, I spent the whole night awake worrying about it. The next day the agent/geometra texted me to say that the apartment had been taken. When my cell phone chimed at me that he had written unexpectedly, my blood went cold. I understood right then and there that he had used us to seal the deal with the other family who had gotten to see the apartment first. I am beyond disappointed.

"One apartment you can never have, two apartments you can never have, three . . ."
There are only five apartments listed with all of the dozens of real estate agents in Lucca, and that is a sad state of affairs. We have no new leads. Our current apartment is still filled with tiny flies that try to get into my eyeballs and nostrils whenever I turn on my book light or the computer because instead of being drawn to food, they are drawn to light and heat. In the meantime, the humidity in the apartment has caused black mold to form all over our ceiling and walls. We have to keep spraying everything down with stinky vinegar. Today we just gave up and turned the heat on in the hopes that we can finally dry out a bit. Our upstairs neighbors probably have no idea how well we can hear their every move, argument, and odd idiosyncratic habit. On the other hand, people who jump rope three times a day, wear stilettos indoors, and chase each other around like horny teenagers may not actually worry about such mundane things.

Then, last night, I went to teach my advanced group at the same paper company where I have gotten nauseous in front of everyone not once, but two times. A student at a rival company told me about a gentlemen who recently switched over from his company to my new job site. He said that his name was Fabio and that he spoke English perfectly and was an oddball visionary. He added that Fabio would never be in my class because of his perfect English. Needless to say, out of all the Fabios in Italy, he was the one in my class. I guess this made me a little bit nervous because I started out the class with instructions for how to log into the accompanying website using the access codes from the book. The codes were seemingly hidden under a gray sticker so I told them to pull off the adhesive in order to find the correct number sequence. The one woman in the group started tearing away and I looked on in horror to see little gray pieces scattering everywhere along with tiny scraps of the first page of the book. Before I could even take a breath, my two other students were doing the same thing. It looked like I was in a life size litter box filled with eager cats -- A real Honey, I Shrunk the Kids moment.I got a hold of the female student's book and realized too late that it was supposed to be scratched off like a lottery ticket rather than yanked off like an old shoe. And so I made my mark as an epic failure of a teacher after only about 14 seconds had elapsed out of an hour and a half long lesson.

It quickly became clear to everyone that I am not equipped to talk paper industry or business dynamics with anyone over the legal drinking age, and I had to resort to some pretty diabolical level bullshitting. The students spoke English so well that the level of conversation escalated high over my head from a discussion of interest rates to the political stability of various countries around the world to privatization in the European community. Meanwhile, F was upstairs teaching an alphabet game to his beginner students that went: A is for an Adventurous cat; B is for a Bold cat. . . I kid you not. in the waiting room I told him how lucky they were that he was teaching that class because everyone knows that I could never get to the letter F without saying, F is for a F*cked up cat. 

It has been interesting explaining what has happened thus far to my new boss.

I want a new apartment.
Then I want to be locked inside until enough time passes that everyone forgets who I am.
I will emerge in a post menopausal sigh of relief, looking like a buff Madonna/J-Lo hybrid and I will sell scratch off tickets to tourists.
Or I will continue on as is, looking rough, and take on five new courses so that every waking minute of my life will be spent teaching English or dying trying.

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