15 of October 2013
For the last week, prepa and secundaria have been knee-deep in examens, and today was my artes one. Out of the two homework assignments we had to do, only one of mine did Carmen accept, because the second homework I completed wasn’t done in the format she wanted it in, so she just told me to throw it away without even looking at it. So today I wasn’t allowed to take the exam and had to leave the class because all my “tareas” weren’t turned in. Alex, Alma, and I sat outside in a slump while the rest of the class struggled with Carmen’s exam; she nonchalantly leaned in the doorframe by where the three of us were sitting and spoke, addressing Alma and Alex only, which was obvious to me, because her words were in Spanish. After a couple minutes of what seemed to be idle chitchat, ALex stood and entered the classroom to take the exam. I was slightly confused at the situation- we weren’t allowed to take the exam, as far as my understanding went- so I assumed she made an exception for Alex, since he needs the good grade to qualify to go to school in Canada next year, which I was extremely grateful to her for doing. Alex wants to go to Wichita and live with another family for a year while attending the university there, but to do that, he has to have a GPA of 8.5- or roughly 3.5 for you Americans.I rejoiced at what I assumed was happening between Carmen and Alex for a moment, but then Alma explained to me that Carmen had told them they could take the test, but whatever grade we got on it was the grade we’d have in her class. “Well then what the hell are we doing out here?” I stood and at the cusp of the threshold, I asked the teacher if I could enter to take the test, and when I turned to see if Alma was coming in the classroom too, she wasn’t there. I ended being able to comprehend and answer all the questions on carmen’s four question test- impressing her with my knowledge I guess because she commented to Jim the excellency I displayed with her that morning.
Later today, I hung up the posters I created for the costume contest fundraiser. (In case you were wondering, Concurso de Disfraces means costume contest.) Everyone was thoroughly overjoyed at having my artwork advertising our event, which is such a nice sentiment.
Juan and I have become increasingly close. The six foot tall basketball player plans on leaving for LA next year with a program USC runs for international potential scholarships. Juan is one of the greatest basketball players in all of Playa- like Alex, all he has to do is keep his grades up and he’ll easily qualify for the scholarship. Who knows, maybe I’ll see him next year if I return to LA. On the subject of leaving, Alma also plans to move to Mexico City with her relatives next year, and Orlando is going away to school in Oregon. So many people are leaving Playa to try to make something of their lives, and I CAME to Playa for that exact reason. There’s a healing power here for me that only something foreign could bring. But Playa is a small town that they’ve grown up in- my friends here know every street, who owns the corner market, which clubs the tourists usually hit up. They know the secrets of the people, and have, forever etched into their minds, the rolling, drenched, fabric of the land and the cracks in the cobblestone streets. I aspire to become one of them, and in turn, they receive a piece of my foreign lifestyle, a piece of my culture’s opportunity, the possibilities that they desire for themselves. There is something I could never quite capture in my writing though, a feeling, a moment, a glimpse of something incredible, maybe the reason for life itself, when I am with my friends here. Now, though, two and half short months in, they are no longer just my friends- the kids of tercero secundaria at Papalote in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, are my family. And that is something that will never go away, even as we go our separate ways- we are all here now, for this moment, for this year, and I will hold onto this life for as long as I possibly can.