Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A New Year in Antigua

Ok folks-

So yes, this is the first blog post that I have written in FOREVER, I realize that. But you know me, super important, super busy, doing all the important and busy making awesome things that you wish you could be doing…that’s not to say that you aren’t awesome as well—if you weren’t awesome, you wouldn’t be reading such an awesome blog.

Anyway, to get to the point…I have returned to Antigua, Guatemala and will be staying here for at least a couple of weeks. The first thing I did when I got here was to quit my job at Colegio Boston. The atmosphere was crappy, the pay was insulting, and honestly I got little reward out of the day until I left. After only one day back at school, I decided that this most certainly was not the place for me. So on day two, I walked into the director’s office and told her so. I also told her that I was willing to give her two weeks’ notice so that she could find an adequate replacement and have me train him or her for the tumult they were about to endure…unfortunately, by the end of the day, they had found a replacement—no joke, the literally (not figuratively) hired the first guy to walk in off the street. He walked in off the street about two hours after I gave my notice. Because they are so unabashedly cheap in blatant disregard for the interests of their students and the parents who pay thousands of dollars (x8 in quetzales) to send their students to “the best bilingual school in Antigua” (read: “the most expensive and therefore most prestigious school with a front as a bilingual school in Antigua”), they decided that they didn’t want to pay me for those two weeks if they had another teacher in the classroom, green though he may be. Whatever, no big deal, I hated that place anyway, and two weeks less of that torture is no skin off my back.

Anyway, the quitting process itself was great. Seconds after I told the director that I was not going to be staying on for the year, the owner if the school walked in and began to commend me for my excellent teaching the previous year, cvelling about how pleased she was that I had returned, and about how she only expected the best from me and my students in the commencing year. The director tried to interrupt her several times, but the owner ignored her so that she could continue her rant. Finally, the director cut in (quite rudely, I might add, as I was enjoying the owner’s endless stream of complements) and informed the director that I intended on staying for only two more weeks. The director lost the ability to speak for just a moment, and then asked me if I was staying in Antigua. I told her that I had planned to and she immediately offered me a job as an English tutor for the staff at a hotel she had a share in…the swankiest and most expensive hotel in town. Of course I accepted, much to the chagrin of the director, who I am sure at this point would have been happy to feed me to the wolves. This new job pays per hour over four times what my job at the school paid.

Anyway, since then, I have been tutoring at the hotel, which has been a challenge, because the students are adults, and rather uneducated and lacking in a lot of the school culture I have come to take for granted in secondary school classrooms. Yesterday, I spent two hours teaching and re-teaching, “Hello, how are you? My name is…” It’s not the easiest group to teach, but that’s part of the challenge of being a teacher.

I have also picked up hours at the wine and cigar shop that I worked at in the fall. As I am writing this, I am on my first shift since returning and quite a few things have changed. Firstly, the entire operation has moved across the street into a different location. It is smaller, but it is now within the domain of a restaurant (I’m not really sure how the lease works) and they are able to sell wine by the glass, so now there are more people around, and it functions kind of like a wine bar…except there are no tips for the quality servers. Also, I make a fifth per hour what I make tutoring, so in the five hours that I will have worked by the end of the day today, I will have made half as much as I earned in the two hours I worked yesterday. C’est ca.

I have also been taking Spanish lessons with a private tutor for the past week and have really noticed a marked improvement in both my understanding, as well as my ability to speak with ease and accuracy. After just a few intensive lessons (they are one-on-one) I have learned and put to use quite a bit or grammar as well as vocabulary. I think most importantly, however, is the fact that these lessons force me to speak in Spanish for three straight hours every day which has made me much more comfortable with my ability. Also, I have really good teacher which is always important.

Ok, well I have two and a half more hours of wine to sell. Keep checking in on this blog, I should be writing plenty more as it’s a good way to use my time at the shop.


  1. wow that was an excellent quitting story. i dont have much experience quitting jobs...getting fired isnt as fun.

  2. i want you to know that if I start a focus/career in in new world archaeology, a very large part is because of your dora the explora adventures.