Acclamation

Tuesday

20 of August, Second Day of Shool

Today was another success! I arrived late to shool because Kanon was being a bother, he’s a tough one. Mum dropped Kira and I off and we dashed up the stairs to our classrooms. To my surprise, I found my class empty, only a few stray bags dwindling on the tables and floor. I wandered around the outside of the classrooms awkwardly after hastily setting down my messenger bag. Looking about my surroundings, I found only Kira’s class chatting in their room and the eighth grade class, called second grade. I turned and was about to walk further down the balcony turned hallway when there was Alma, waving to me at a room at the end of the hall. I ran down the dry, orange passageway and slipped carefully into the only open seat, next to two of the girls that don’t speak English well; two of the four girls that Daisy warned me about.

The room I had ran into is the art room- artes in Spanish. A high domed ceiling protrudes into the vast sky with turquoise, geometrical planks of wood supporting it. The dome extends out of the room, because the artes room is literally four rough walls built inside the dome without any regard for the space between the alls and the dome. It gives the effect of a large pot lid set over a too-small pot. But it is in this way that the air filters in and out to create the collest room in the school. The artes teacher (whose name I don’t know, just like every other teacher I have) isn’t my favorite person right now. When I attempted to slip into my seat like delinquents in America do, she looked at me and blabbered something in Spanish- the only word I caught was regresar, or return, go back. I got up and scooted right out the doorway, where I stood as she commanded me in Spanish. I understood the gist of it, the maestra (teacher in Spanish) wasnted me to ask for her permission to enter the class since I was late. With a demeaning smirk, I said in English, “May I please enter the classroom?” I may have batted my eyelashes too like a juvenile, for that I do not recall. In any case, the maestra hemmed and hawed for a minute before deciding she would let me come back inside. After that little escapade was over, the maestra rattled off all the rules to the class- in Spanish of course- so I tuned out for a while. She looked me in the eyes and asked if I understood anything she had said. I leveled with her and responded that I didn’t. I just thought about how I’d have to be on my game with her.

Artes concluded with an examen in which we had to draw a two centimeter box around the edge of a piece of paper, then split the box into six squares to draw representations of movement, balance, proportion, harmony, emphasis, and variety. Everyone was getting up and stepping into a closet to retrieve rulers, so I attempted to follow suit, but just before I could grab the last ruler, one of the girls who doesn’t talk to me, Frida, swiped the last one. I searched around the closet as quickly as possible, determined not to make a fool of myself in that class. My eyes landed on a curved piece of wood with no numbers on it. I went back to my seat with my “ruler” and attempted to find the spot where two centimeters should be. I had just finished lining up the last line for the outside box when the maestra walked by, cooly stared down at my paper, pointed one skinny finger at my lines, and smirked back at me in English, “That is not two centimeters.” Sorry Mexican lady, I was thinking, but you had no more rulers! I turned to Anaclaudia, another one of the girls who I assumed wouldn’t like me, and pointed to her ruler. “May I please borrow that?” I added in English, although I thought she wouldn’t understand my words, but Anaclaudia smiled and handed it to me. I then proceeded, correctly, maestra, to create exactly two centimeter lines.

My only saving grace in that class was my artistic abilities. I hoped to wow the maestro and win back that first impression, like I usually am able to do. But for some reason, maybe bad vibes or something, I struggled to draw a decent hand; I put some fine dance shoes down for movement; a version of SCRUB, my graffiti tag, for variety; an ink-style tree for harmony; and that was as far on the examen as I got, on account of my perfectionism. All along I thought what an escape art is for me when I’m working on a great piece with my headphones in, playing Pandora. But here in Mexico, although I still love music, I don’t have to rely on it to tune me out of the sounds of the world- not comprehending Spanish does that for me. Cries of que linda shattered my concentration. The kids were gathered around my crunch-time sketches, complimenting me on them. I was glad they liked my art, and humbled that they would say such nice things to a gringa they just met. (We call white people gringas, for girls, and gringos, for boys.) I turned in my examen to the maestro, who didn’t bat an eye at me or my artwork. One thing that teacher could never tell by looking at me is that my brain is wired in a way similar to hers. Behind that blank, cold facade I thought I saw on her, there was an artist, just like me.

After that bad beginning with the rates maestra, my day was fantastic, even better than the first day. I am still unsure about what subjects each class is, so in my binder tabs, behind the little slips of paper that stick out with the names of the subject on them, I put more slips describing the teacher that I thought taught that subject, that way I’d sorta-kinda know what class I was in. For instance, the first class I have on mondays is taught by a Spanish woman with a lisp, a pixie haircut, and a dark bruise underneath her left eye- so I call her the “PixieLispWhoGotIntoAFight”. Original, I know.

Some more good news: it is only the second day of school and I no longer get headaches from being in an environment where only Spanish is spoken regularly, and I think it may have something to do with the fact that today I had my first class in English. The teacher strolled in, a punky white girl who just moved from Minnesota to teach English to the kids of Playa. She started a group discussion on what the rules of the class should be and wrote them down on the blackboard, but accidentally spelled the word privilege  wrong. I kindly corrected her, and she sweetly laughed that she was supposed to be our English teacher. Funny, I’ve never had an English teacher in the sense that it’s a foreign, second language.

Aisha told me today that a senior in particular and a couple other kids were talking about the skills Kira and I have in soccer. We are pretty popular amongst the people here- maestros, maestras, and the administration call us the Jackson six; people who know me call me Michael Jackson upon occasion; Primera Secundaria, Kira’s class, and Segundo Secundaria, the eigth grade class, call me Skrillex because of the shave on the side of my head. When I walked to Paseo and got Starbucks with Dario, Daisy, and Lily after school today, the girls told me that the boy Justin I had hung out with at the party had been asking about me. He wanted to know how old I was, and was disappointed to find out that I’m only fourteen. Anyways, I had a great day overall with lots of new friends that are helping me with Spanish- but mostly they want to hear me say cucharita, God knows why. Even though I was the one who fought most against coming here to Mexico, I’m having an absolute hoot here in Playa!

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