We are now two weeks into the new year, and it is mid-summer in Costa Rica. The days are beautiful and sunny, and the weather cool in the evenings. It reminds me of high season in Palm Springs.
Life is good. I teach English a few hours during the week to private business clients, and just about every evening for my Chinese overlords. Those online classes are enjoyable, in that I teach conversational English and key grammar points to adults in China. The problem is that the course content ranges from acceptable to bizarre, as it is written by company employees who are not completely fluent in American English or culture. There are numerous grammar and spelling mistakes, and some of the content, as presented, is unteachable. A lesson on child abuse, which in itself is an odd choice for a 45-minute conversation, began with a warm-up question “Have you even been abused?” How’s that for an ice-breaker? A class on the Education Gap, an interesting topic, ended up being a dialog of two rich women discussing if their children would avoid falling behind if transferred to private schools. One particularly memorable class, entitled I remember really well, was so incoherent that, to this day, I have no idea what it meant. I thank god that the stars were aligned that day, as my student showed up 43 minutes late, which left us two minutes, so I never had to teach the lesson.
I’m still adjusting to being semi-employed, and my e-book is not progressing as it should. I’m up for a class at the American Embassy, which, while interesting, will complicate things a bit more. I still have a mostly stress-free life, and I am enjoying my working and leisure hours.
Every time I go to the states, I buy gadgets for converting my lovely place into a smart-home. I have WEMO plugs, which allow me to turn on lights while on my way home to a dark house. My security cameras are supposed to link with my google home-mini, so that I can say “I’m leaving” and everything will arm and say “I’m home” and everything will disarm. Unfortunately, Arlo (maker of the cameras) has a glitch and says they are doing a work-around. I had an odd experience when a female voice started speaking to me out of nowhere in rapid-fire Spanish. In frustration, I said “Speak English!” and a male voice responded softly (a la Hal in 2001), “I am speaking English.” I had an urge to back out of the house slowly. If you ever call and someone else answers, please contact the local police.
Since I moved here, I have had two people on whom I could trust: the guard in front of my house and the manager. The manager moved out yesterday, and the guard is leaving in a few weeks. I have always left them with keys when I’ve gone out of town; now I’ll have to rely on my internal security system. The neighborhood is very high-end and safe, but I liked having someone on the premises to make sure my sprinkler system didn’t start flooding or my wifi didn’t cut out. Oh well, plus ca change….
I read that there’s going to be a lot of rain in southern California, so I hope my friends there don’t get swept away. As for loved ones in the northeast, I hope you stay warm. Until next time: Pura Vida!
Translation of quote from Eduardo Galeano, an Uruguayan novelist:
They had the bible and we had the land. And they told us “Close your eyes and pray.” And when we opened our eyes, they had the land and we had the bible.”