Friday, August 17, 2007

Messin' with Sasquatch

“Vas a jugar conmigo, Meni?” I’m confronted with this question nearly every day. My over-sized 4-yr-old, terribly disciplined, host “sister”, Antonia, deserves a blog entry all her own.

Between sticking her fat little fingers in the dessert bowl during dinner, sneezing directly into my face and acting as if this is totally normal, running around the house with her pants pulled down after using the bathroom, and throwing basketballs at her 1 year old brother’s head and kicking him violently around in his rolling walker as if he were some kind of hockey puck, I’ve got quite a bit to laugh about, snicker at and also go nuts about right here in my host family’s cozy peach-colored corrugated tin home— one in the thousands of similar multi-colored tin homes that speckle the otherwise dull, hazy blue-gray landscape of Punta Arenas.

My dear little Sasquatch looks like a chubby 8-year-old boy with a bowl cut—an entertaining personality combination of Veruca and Augustus from the original Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory—rather than a sweet little 4-year-old girl who plays nice with her dollies. My host mother Paola says that Antonia does as she pleases, and lord, she’s not kidding.

Whatever the case, whatever Paola’s decision not to “tame the beast”, it keeps me going, breaks any awkward tension that might otherwise exist between cultures, as a foreigner coming to have a 4-month peek into the lives of a random family in a random place, where I’m not quite sure what strange stroke of fate led me here at this time and for what reason. Sasquatch is a comic relief… a much needed comic relief.

If you can imagine, its cold here. Not as cold as I expected, but I also didn’t expect my host family to leave the bathroom window open all the time, making the tiles, the porcelain, the metal… everything cold as ice to touch. So close the window and start up a hot, steamy shower? That would be nice… if there were hot water. Apparently its broken and “is going to be fixed” at some yet to be determined point and time. As it stands, I’ve gone the past 5 days without a proper shower. Just…fully-clothed, lean my head over the side of the frigid tub, and nearly in tears, shampoo, rinse, conditioner, rinse, wrap towel as fast as possible around head… it’s miserable.

Enter Sasquatch in her too-tight T-shirt stained with food, her highwater pants giving her a wedgie, shoes on the wrong feet and her lips stained red or orange with some variety of over-sugared juice, threatening to throw the nanny out on the street for laughing at her speech impediment, then crawling under the table to yank the 16-year old dog, Piti's tail and sitting on it crushing the ancient thing nearly to death. It's hard not to have a good laugh despite the cold, dark weather, which will hopefully get better soon.

I started teaching observation this week and the school is crazy, wild, out of control with kids running around the classrooms out of control and not paying attention for more than 25% of the almost 2-hour class periods. Today in 8th grade, a student put a padlock on the door which no one had a key for, so we spent about 20 mins of class time watching the maintenance man take the entire door off its hinges so we could get into the classroom.

It looks like its going to be quite a ride when I start teaching, but it's incredibly entertaining at the same time. Between screaming, out of control kids at home and screaming out of control kids at school, my retreat to the more remote parts of the "ends of the earth" like Torres Del Paine and Tierra del Fuego, will be all the more appreciated :) More to come soon!


Juan Andrés said...

hahahaha... That was funny, and the picture goes very well with her description.

Hope you'll have hot water soon enough, at least before you pack your stuff the head back to Santiago!


Juan Andrés said...

When do we get an update of your adventures in Punta Arenas?
No hay más historias de cuchillos o mp3s que contar?