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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Surprises, Suppositories, and the Scent of Senescence

Today isn't all that important, but it is my birthday. This marks 23 years on Earth for me, and it also marks the 3rd time I've been in a Spanish-speaking country on my birthday. Reflecting on that makes me realize just how much good fortunate I've had in such a short time, and I'll take this time to thank all of you who have brightened my life in one way or another.

I woke up a little late today and, consequently, got into class about 5 minutes after it had started. I had my headphones in, so I didn't really pay attention, but the minute I walked through the door I noticed a cake with a candle in it. Then came the singing. In English and Spanish, my seminar class sang me happy birthday. It was so sweet, and I loved it. The teacher, Laura, is a goddess when it comes to desserts, so I knew I was in for a treat. The cake was a chocolate mousse that she had made and baked. On top she had drizzled chocolate syrup and dulce de leche, then she threw on some sliced pecans and roasted it all in the oven again. It. Was. Heaven.

After the discussion of birthdays and celebration, the class actually started and we began talking about Proverbs in English (the lesson I had been teaching before). To review, we played charades by dividing the class in  two. They were doing well in English, so we did one round in Spanish. Of course, by this point we were all trying to make the others have to act out something hard, so I suggested the Costa Rican phrase "Más metido que un supositorio" (In your business worse than a suppository). Lucía, La negra as she is called, got stuck with this task. She's a very outgoing girl, so she had no problem. But oh, lord, was it hilarious. I will spare the readers some lengthy description, but suffice it to say that there were obscene gestures, grunting noises, and lots of laughter.

After that activity, we got on the subject of singing somehow. One of my students sings opera, but hasn't sung for us yet in class. Today, she did. She sang an English version of the Habanera from Carmen, and I was stunned. In class she doesn't talk very much, but once she started singing it was incredible. What a voice! I considered that to be quite a privilege.

After class, I got on the bus home. I was talking to one of my students most of the way, but then a very old, feeble man got on board. Despite all the available seats next to no one, he sat next to me. For one, I don't like being that close to people, and for two, he smelled a lot like moth balls and horse manure. My entire body went rigid for the rest of the ride. I don't know what it is, but occasionally I get this cringe when I smell that smell. You know what I'm talking about. It's that formaldehyde smell that makes you instantly think of nursing homes, your great grandmother, and doilies that are on plastic-covered furniture. I was not a happy camper.

Other than that, my birthday has been magical thus far. But wait, friends...the celebration has only just begun...

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