|Death, criticism, and foreign affairs
||[14 Apr 2002|04:11pm]
Our cat was found dead last Sunday, my sister's husband found her lying under his car while the two of them were ready to drive off. My sister really hated it, she was crying her eyes out and really couldn't stop, she really liked that cat. At the time, I was trying to muffle my giggles at her being so sensitive, and also trying to pacify her but she was severely shaken. She wanted to stay behind and bury the cat somewhere in the garden, but it was 2am at the time and we wouldn't let her deal with anything like that anyway, as she's pregnant. I think she was even more sad as because of her pregnancy she hadn't been able to pay much attention to the cat or have any contact with it at all - a couple of nights ago the cat came and sat in her place, but of course we had to chase it away, that's how things were for the last few months.
Anyway, the two of them drove off and left the cat sprawled across the driveway, and of course I felt compelled to take it away somehow so that it wouldn't make a grim first-thing-in-the-morning sight for the neighbours and my mother. I put plastic gloves on and took the largest paper bag I could find, went outside and handled the snow-white corpse of the cat in the middle of the dark night. It was bloody heavy, or maybe it seemed so because it was so rigid, she must have been lying dead under the car for the whole day. I shoved the cat in the bag, but as she was frozen in one position, I couldn't get to cover part of the hind legs and most of the tail. I just left it to the side of the garden on the ground, while thinking of the black comedy I had coincidentally seen the previous night : a gangster sawing off a corpse's arm to make it fit in its otherwise luxurious coffin. There's nothing quite like rigor mortis.
I had the boss come and sit in during one of my classes on Monday, and then she came to me to offer some advice/moan about my teaching. She said that I shout too much while in the classroom, and that creates havoc and gets the students to shout too. She just told me to take it easy, as all the strain must be tiring for me too, and I told her I'd try but that I wasn't sure whether it'd be as productive, heh. I also told her that the reason I raise my voice because the four people occupying the first two desks never stop whispering/talking to each other, which creates a wall of sound right in front of me.
In fact I was very annoyed at her comment, as she knows that this particular class is problematic - it's a dozen fourteen-year-olds, some of them quite vibrant. The guys placed on the first desks are there because they just have a ball during lessons if they don't get invigilated all the time. When I took the job at the beginning of the academic year, I wasn't meant to teach this level (as I had no previous teaching experience), but this class was handed down to me because the person that taught them before had had enough of them. So I felt a bit hard done by for being judged on how I deal with this madness.
This has thrown me off : is it that I don't accept criticism easily? Am I too egotistic to listen to advice from people who know better? I've always liked to think that I am very open to criticism, no matter where it comes from, so I was badly challenged by seeing the way I reacted to my boss' whining and how I felt afterwards. Maybe I don't take criticism as well as I like to think I do!
But in fact, I think what made me so upset is that her comments almost always sound like accusations. She even mentioned that she asked the person that teaches in the next classroom is she gets disturbed by my noisy classes, which I thought was insulting. The two classrooms are seperated by what looks like a thin wooden wall, and I was concerned about the noise travelling too so I had asked the other teacher months ago if we disturbed her, and she said it's not that bad. What she said to our boss is that she's used to it, which I know would come from the teacher's mouth as a polite answer, but in fact the boss did make it sound like an insult too. Basically she has a knack for making me feel like a failure, at times.
For the rest of the week, I taught following a voice-level awareness scheme - and had a word with the students to, a combination of steps that worked very well. But overall I feel that this woman really will never get satisfied with what she gets out of me, because she can't really pinpoint what exactly she's after. She's a perfectionist, but instead of setting the goal in front of me beforehand, she comes and comments on how I've done afterwards. Maybe it's my fault too, maybe if I wasn't so competent she wouldn't keep demanding more of me ;) But in any case, what it all boils down to is that can't demand from your employee to be a wonder-teacher when you have them working for peanuts.
Towards the end of the week I got a phonecall from my father-in-law-to-be, he had been over for almost two weeks at the time but he had gone off on his own doing his thing (which is, visiting archaelogical sites and other ruins). He did call me when he first arrived, but he sounded like he didn't feel like getting it touch much, in fact he gave me the impression that he wanted to hang up - maybe he did, he might have been running out of phone credit for all I know. But this time round, he was very eager to meet, go on walks together, and even visit my parents at home. I thought it was having spent over a week alone in a foreign land that broke him, and made him appreciate some English-speaking company ;)
We settled to go on an excursion, and after considering a few alternatives, we decided to head for Aegina. This is a small island a few kilometres away from Athens, and one of the reasons why we chose to go there was because we were going to take the boat there. We were lucky that the day was brilliant, the sun was bright and in fact it got too hot in the afternoon. We visited the famous temple of Aphaia, a somewhat poor museum (that only had its leaflets in Greek and German, heh!), and the site near the main port of the island. Dad-in-law wasn't very impressed with it, as he had just spent ten days touring the three most spectacular mainland sites, but it was a nice day and we soaked in the leisurely rythms of the island.
It was very interesting spending time alone with him, I think we matched up well as travelling companions. We were dead beat by the end of the day though, we could hardly talk to each other. But we did talk so much, during the day - we talked about all sorts of things, in fact this guy always impresses me, he can get personal when you least expect it. Being the queen of noseyness that I am, I find it somewhat scary the rare few times when I get people lead me so far in that make me back off! Especially with Englishmen I am always used to playing the opposite role, actually digging or seizing the place. *sigh*
Anyway, all that was on Thursday, and he got to stay the night at our home too. On Friday night him, B. and I went out together, I thought he'd be cool about it (I tend to think of him as young, as he's quite mobile and -most importantly- single), but the evening got a bit off as he sort of played the father-card on us. Oh well. B. was a laugh too, she wanted to meet him but in fact I think got too self-conscious in the end, as she was expecting somebody a lot more "middle-aged". As my older sister commented, it was good that N.(my younger sister) talked to him with her rusty English, for B. -who was brought on for this cause - proved out to be too silent, hahaha.
This exhausting week led to an exhausting "marathon night out" on Saturday night. It was the usual configuration (L, B, me and L's friend G. who had a flight to catch at dawn, going to the US on a business trip!), but we joined a group of G's friends, one of them stuck around with us even when G. had already left for the airport.
This guy - whose name I can't recall even though we were introduced and all - came and commented on my attitude a couple of times. The first time was when we were with the rest of his group, and I kept staring at the group's girls dancing, with the usual smile on my face. He came over and started talking to me about that - I told him how it often gets me in trouble when I'm in the UK. Then, a couple of hours and bars later, we were at this quite popular club when the dj started playing greek music, and everybody went wild (apart from B who was dismayed, of course, and the rest of us that were half-laughing at it, though we were caught in it really). I was amazed to see how these people behaved - I don't go to such places that often, so I was literally staring at was going on. Some of the dancing that was going on I found shocking, and also there was this girl that was dancing on a sort of a balcony above and slightly behind us, that only had a bra on. What were the chances? Of course I'd stare at her! It's good entertainment, if nothing else. Well I also made a fuss about it, and this guy reached over and said "you're more excited about this than I am - and I'm a man!". I thought this was hilarious, and I wanted to repeat it to B. that was too far away to hear it, but unfortunately I won't be able to share such jokes with her anymore, it's funny when she'll be making innuendos following the sentiment of the joke.