Saturday, January 12, 2008

Coat in the classroom

They said these days would come, and they're here with a vengeance. Bone cold, dry cold, tooth achingly cold. So cold you can't really remember why you wore skirts to work.

The entire school is made from cement, which is miserable and damp in the humidity and miserable and impossible to heat in the cold. It's crept into my knee for the first time ever; I have "Winter Feet" now. Moisturizing hands and elbows is pointless. The heater stays on 24/7, classroom and home. I have my coat, scarf and three layers on underneath while I teach. I made a concession to typing this without gloves on.

I feel like a bit of a weenie- after all, it's only around 38-40 Deg. F. Must be the dry that keeps it feeling colder. That and the wind. However, ever structure in this country is built to catch a breeze and swing it around the room, not keep it out. I made the amazing discovery that my house could reach 20c if I simply kept the curtains shut.

Other news...I made it to Ikea, picked out some frames and got some long deserving art from the Museum of The Warsaw Uprising framed and on the wall. I mean, not the professional stuff that I like, stewing at P & B's house in Sacto, but it will do for the time being.

Saw K. for the first time in...can you believe it? Eleven years. Eleven years! She is still looking her fantabulous self, living her stunning life. It was like moments had passed, not years. Did I also mention that we saw an accident and were rear ended by a bus? Busy weekend.

Ah. Have to put my gloves back on for right now. Not even the keyboard is keeping them warm any more.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Luckiest Goyl

So we hit "cold" in's predicted to get to 3C tonight, definitely wasn't any higher than 10 yesterday. My work is right behind Dasman Palace, so we got the full brunt of the dust storm/wind coming off the Gulf.

My Assistant, A., made it back from Pakistan...'nuff said. Yesterday's lessons for the students were long on worksheets, short on vocal delivery since both of us are sick with head colds. At the time, we couldn't breathe through our noses. By the end of the day we couldn't breathe at all. Jet lag kicked in, my thalamus switched off, and I was a shivering wheezing mess by the time I reached...Staff Meeting!

Which everyone had forgotten about. Staff Meeting is on Sunday, All Staff the first Sunday of every month, and we're contracted to stay 30 minutes past our regular time. Usually the Head just stands in front, barks at us (about 200) if we look too dozey or glazed over while they run statistics of Student Intake. This time, they wanted us to participate. This time, they split us into groups and required Our Input into several public documents the school was trying to edit. Normally, I would have considered it sort of sweet and at least mocked the other efforts of teachers trying to put themselves forward, in my head. Today, all I could do was look bleakly that the papers they handed us and pray I wouldn't fall asleep in the chair. My chances were good though, it being nearly as dusty and windy in the Auditorium as outside, that I would simply stop breathing first and keel over. "So Ms. S_____ is a 'No' for adding that comma...anyone else?"

By the time they cut us loose, the wind had picked up to about 25 knots. Remember, we're practically on the beach. I made it home, jumped in the shower, couldn't get warm. Put on three layers of clothing and took a nap, falling asleep to the daydream that The Sweetest Man Onna Planet (T.S.M.O.P) remembered that Ka__ and I mentioned that we need heaters.

The people who actually DID show up were some guy with my gas cannister for the cooker, so I got my tea and hot dinner (it was missing since I came home) and the woman from the Holiday Inn about the gym membership. I was literally falling asleep standing up, but I was trying to keep myself awake to sleep entirely through the night. So I took another brief nap, woke up at 8:30 and read my Gourmet magazine ("Herb Crusted Pork Loin with Sour Cherries"), laying in bed trying not to think how cold the tile floor is. TSMOP was supposed to be coming by, anyway, to pick up some papers so I needed to stay awake.

The doorbell rang- The Sweetest Man Onna Planet was standing outside with a heater in the box, "I heard you weren't feeling well." One for Ka___too, left in the elevator doors which were opening and closing around it.

Get this, he assembled it for me and turned it on. Then he diagnosed my Coffee Machine, the one I talked and talked about bringing from the States, then I brought it from the States (It has a timer, will make your coffee by the time you wake up!) and killed in reckless forgetfulness of 220v vs. American 110. Then was set up as a little tragic monument of fabulousity on my coffee table, still with factory enhanced shinyness. Said it could be repaired, he'd find a place to take it. I am now in the absolute luxury of being sick in a warm house with warm food (Hey, I know I had more than I wanted in August). With my little statue of Coffee looking at potential resurrection.

Plus, they announced Islamic New Year will be Thursday, not Sunday. So I have 3 more days of work this week. I AM the luckiest woman on the planet, hands down.