Wednesday, September 17, 2008
So far success in Mexico for me is entirely dependent on my ability to be flexible. Most of the time I’m able to “go with the flow” without too much anxiety. Due to my own Spanish-language deficiencies, minor cultural misunderstandings, or just plain old mistakes, I am often the last person around to know what is going on. My first blunder was showing up exactly one week early for my faculty meetings. Although the Mexican teachers started formal meetings on August 11 at 9:00 am, the American faculty had the week to get set up in new apartments and get oriented to Ensenada. I needed much more set-up time than I anticipated, so that free week was a blessing. When my meetings did start I showed up on time and ready to roll at the designated time each day and waited anywhere from 30-40 minutes for others to appear. I expected start times to be flexible (before classes began), but I thought that I shouldn’t be the one to be late. I still haven’t figured out how late is appropriate and how late is late. So, I was happy to sit and read. Then, when we had a really important orientation day with students, I arrived an hour later than I was supposed to be there. My American supervisor had sent me a text message late in the evening to communicate my report time. Oh dear. Yet another language to learn! I’m not fluent in texting. I had never even received a text message before (and this one I received too late!). Despite the language gaps, generation gaps, and general goof-ups, I am feeling successful. My goal is to survive September. Almost done. I plan to thrive in October . . .