Happy Holiday….sorta

Since some of you have expressed concern, let’s start with the good news: My prostate ultrasound showed no evidence of cancer.  There’s an undefined problem, so my doc put me on medications and told me to check PSA levels in a month.

And, related to that, when I met with him, I showed him my appointment for the biopsy scheduled for January 2019, he chuckled.  You see, what I hadn’t read was that the appointment was for a consultation with a urologist; the biopsy would have come even later. Maybe someday someone will explain to me why I needed to wait a week for the referral to be approved and then three weeks for the consultation to be approved and then five months for the actual consultation.  In the private system, I got it all done in a week and paid under $200.  Lesson learned.

I have been waging a one-man and most likely futile war against the two Chinese e-learning companies with whom I contracted.  With the first one, based in Toronto and serving international Chinese students in English-speaking countries, I pretty much screwed myself:  After four days of waiting and begging for their techie, Diem, to give me a link that I needed to begin my probation, I filed a complaint with the central office.  Four days after that, he sent me the link.  I wondered what my punishment would be, and I received it during the final step of probation. I was in the second of a multi-step process in teaching essay-writing when I saw that it showed completed; so, of course, I didn’t pass the process because it looked like I had forgotten to perform several of the required duties.  (And, no, I checked; it was not my error.) I immediately reported the problem, but it proved to be the perfect crime; I seemed like a crazy or inept person and had no evidence that it was payback.  Let this be a warning to you: Never piss off a techie.

I’m currently working for the second company, which is an easier and fun job.  I chat with between one and four students online for 45-minute conversations and I then do quick evaluations. They also evaluate me, and, if they score my highly, there are bonuses.  Here, though, the students are not the problem; my teacher advisor is a young Chinese woman in China, where, it appears, the status of supervisor is one of superior status and it is perfectly acceptable to treat subordinates as flunkies.  I was a couple of minutes late in signing in, 10 minutes before class, because I was wrapping up my evaluations from the previous session; I received a phone call on WeChat from this charming person telling me I was late and yelling at me “Don’t be lazy!”  You can imagine my response.

I kept it together for the next session and then sent her an email that she must never ever EVER call me lazy. I then advised her as to her responsibility to correct, not abuse.  We’ll see how long this job lasts.

Today, September 15th, is a feriado (holiday) throughout Central America. It commemorates Guatemala’s and Nicaragua’s independence from Spain; since Costa Rica was part of the kingdom of Guatemala at the time, it is celebrated here as well. (Apparently, nobody here got the news until a month later, but they celebrate the 15th anyway. I’ll say no more.)  There is in all three countries a “running of the torch” from northern to southern borders, a la Olympics. There are also parades which, alas, I am not attending.

So, here’s to yet another odd holiday.  Did I mention that Mothers’ Day, in August, is a religious holiday?  They celebrate the Virgin Mary by making a pilgrimage to one of her shrines.  Who knew?

Ciao for now.