Saturday, August 21, 2010

Lots of cleaning…

I actually did manage to get a lot done yesterday and it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. I just simply demanded, first thing in the morning, to get up and start cleaning whatever was in front of me. The job is not completely finished and I managed to get distracted again, something I am very good at, but the distraction turned out to be a very good thing because leaving the house and going to the market and doing other things that needed to be done is always better than cleaning up the house. Cleaning is simply not an enjoyable task, especially when you are comfortably sitting down and just thinking about doing it.

I have been thinking this year that, if I have the money I could get a cleaner to come in and do the floors and dust a little bit. I don't know how much I can get out of this but I have been thinking that this is something I really want. The problem with getting a cleaner is not the money- well that's not true it is exactly about the money, but more specifically, it is about how much money the job is worth. I have been asking around about how much it would cost and apparently, house cleaning here is not counted by an hourly wage. They say you just ask someone to come around, maybe twice a week for 90 minutes or so, and you pay for the month’s work- which is kind of like with me and the teaching. I don’t know, probably they could breeze through the place a lot quicker than that and I guess normally, just like how good students go faster than slow ones, this would be a benefit to the one paying for the help- well, that is if it was hourly, which it is not. But the worst part is that they told me that the money needed to get a cleaner is also about how much money I take from students to come and work with me on their English!

Now I don't mean to come off as a snob and I certainly believe that people should receive fair wages for their labors, but I can't believe that the level of competence necessary for cleaning and dusting is supposed to be equal to that of helping people learn a second language. I mean, am I forgetting communism or am I just overestimating myself? Or am I simply underestimating the necessity (and value) of having a cleaner. I mean I could just do it myself but then again, the students could also decide to avoid me because the place was not clean and therefore unprofessional or that there is no woman’s touch, whatever that is. Who knows, maybe it is the same. Anyway, you get the idea.

But because I do hate cleaning, I didn’t finish and I did go out and spend a lot of time walking around town and at the markets and I am glad I did because I have got my advertising running and yesterday was one of those days where people came up and grabbed my hand. I love when that happens. The familiarity was wonderful and I picked up some new clients and confirmed some old ones and this really lifted my mood. I can't tell you how nice it is to feel wanted and needed again. Being relevant is a good thing.

Actually, one of my main worries when coming back here was whether my current appearance and condition would effect people and keep them from coming to me. I mean, missing a leg doesn’t really have anything to do with sitting at a desk and talking about grammar, but it is disconcerting for people at first and for the time until they become comfortable with how it looks and all, this could be detrimental to business. So one of the things I did, and this was against the suggestion of several friends, was to walk around in shorts and to show everybody what it looks like. And I did get stared at, which is not exactly pleasant and I did have to talk about it more than I would have liked. But in the end, it turned out to be a very healthy thing and did a lot to get it out of everybody's system.

I have also noticed that there are not a lot of prosthetics here in Pinsk. My friend Losha came by for some coffee last week and he told me that this, as with pretty much everything here in the beautiful and interesting Republic, is absolutely a matter of money and most often they would just give a fellow crutches in a similar situation and that would be the end of it. I think that is too bad though. I can't tell you what an enormous difference having the new foot and being able to walk around is. And this is regardless of the problems of keeping it straight. It is easily 10,000 times better than trying to get around on crutches which are uncomfortable, tiring and disallow for the use of your hands for other things. Crutches are not even comfortable to use around the house at bedtime. I wouldn’t even want to think about having to do Pinsk on three points.

So like I say, yesterday was a great day and a lot of people, well, I wouldn't say a lot of people but several people came up to me and talked about studying. My plan, the Excel program graphic I use to remind me when people are coming, is starting to look like last year's did. Last year was my most successful year ever and so seeing the time slots getting filled in and colored is a very good thing. Relevance, having something important to do or someplace to go is always good for beating down depression, or whatever word we decided to use.

So, I am pretty much ready. I am pretty much done getting the apartment together. The new toilet is in. It is a very pretty thing. The telephone however and consequently the internet, is not. I don't know why. They told us they would do it quickly -quickly was actually the word they used- when we first called the local phone company. But for some reason to them "quickly" means waiting a week and a half. I don't know why this needs to be. I really had hoped to have the internet put in by this last Thursday, but now we are looking at next Tuesday, or the middle of next week so I guess we are going to wait till then before thinking if there are going to be any more newspapers. I think I am going to be making newspapers but until I actually get into doing it, this is not for sure.

So about the only thing left to do really is to get my pictures on the walls. Well, they are not pictures but documents and diplomas and such. I have also got a couple of flags and other mementos which have always been used to decorate my places. I guess this is my fourth office but I would like to keep a sense of continuity, if it is possible. After this, there is only some sweeping and I guess we will be ready to go. Maybe I should hang a mirror so I can keep my eye on the front door. There is no intercom here so when people come there won't be a lock on the door while I am working and a mirror would help me keep track of what is going on in the corridor. I don't know. Looking around, it seems like the place is not exactly where it needs to be. There really is still a lot of stuff that needs to be done. But basically we are there. The office looks like an office and September is just around the corner. Students will be coming and there is going to be a lot to do. Interviews start in earnest Monday and school starts in earnest next Sunday. It’s ok. It’s going to be ok. It is good to be home.

More soon...