Tag Archives: teaching

Plus ça change…and all that.

Haven’t written in here in a looooooong time. This blog feels kinda redundant now, to be honest. A lot of the blogs I used to read are now no longer in existence, or they’re “private” and I wasn’t invited to join the party (and don’t care enough to ask for the privilege). I’m sure some of my readers are still out there (I can see some of you have email subscriptions) and maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s not.

The impulse to start afresh is strong. But I’m not sure I see a point. A new blog would mean a big, brave new start to a big, brave new chapter in my life but that, sadly, is not how life is.

Every so often I check who has left me comments on here and it’s nearly all people having suicidal thoughts who have stumbled across my “How to Kill Yourself Painlessly” post. I feel that my blog has become a social club for the fuck-ups of this world. I guess this bothers me because I consider myself to be a fuck-up, and it’s never nice to be reminded of this.

Oh, I know that happiness is a “choice” yadda yadda yadda but, you see, the thing is, I don’t seem to be very good at making that choice. I started blogging in (when?) 2007, and nothing much seems to have changed. It seems that most blogs have a limited shelf life because the writers change and go on to do different things. I feel that I’m the exception in that I’m still stuck.

The teaching thing didn’t work out, by the way. I HATED being a teacher. The job market is so shit in this state (and in the US, in general) that I knew I would have to stay in that godawful little town for another year if I wanted to get out with enough experience to get a job somewhere else. It was soul-crushing living there, so I didn’t want to do that. A parent actually called the school to complain that there was a “foreigner” teaching her child. The head of my department hated “gringas” who “didn’t understand the kids” and went out of her way to sabotage everything I did. Ironically, a week after I left, she got fired for stealing money from the school! I could go on and on and on and on about how awful it was to live there.

I haven’t, for one single second, regretted my decision to quit teaching.

Now I’m back in civilization (the same city as before…which doesn’t seem half as bad as it did before I moved to Hicksville) and working for a major company in a customer service role. Apparently I can’t even give a hint about the identity of this company because I have been warned that it actually has a special department looking out for disgruntled employees posting shit about it on the internet. It’s probably just as well that I hadn’t posted on here before I found this out because, oh, I would have bitched all right!

Life just meanders on. I’m tired working the 9-6 daily grind. Haven’t got much energy for anything once I get home. Sitting all day on your arse in an office really takes it out of you. I want to be a singer and writer but, same old, same old, I don’t really do much in that area. I am trying to learn piano, though.

Still married to MM and things are going….well, they’re just going. I’m fond of him, but I can’t say that I love him with any passion whatsoever.

This is why I don’t blog. I’ve become the person I never thought I would become. Everything about me is stagnant, and I have no idea how to change that.


How to kill yourself painlessly

You can tell it hasn’t been a good weekend when I find it hard to get out of bed, and google “how to kill yourself painlessly”. It’s embarrassing to admit it, but that’s what I did. Here I am, a teacher of juniors and seniors in high school, and I, myself, have yet to outgrow my own teenage angst. Anyway, when you google the above, you actually will find a link to this man’s website. It makes for quite interesting reading. And it’s nice to think that you can end your life quietly and painlessly without having to blow your brains out, or jump off a building…or anything else bloody and disfiguring.

His name is Jerry Hunt, and he came up with a fool-proof way of killing himself in 1993 when he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. You can read all about it here.

Oh, don’t worry. I’m not really suicidal. I can’t manage to achieve anything in life, so why would you even think that I’d manage to take my own life? I’m cringing as I write these sentences because I do realize that they are so self-pitying and self-absorbed. It’s so embarrassing that I can barely even bring myself to write about it. I started blogging at the end of (what?) 2006 or 2007. I’ve got married, I’ve started teaching…and, yet, still I’m not happy. I’m just not very good at life.

I feel trapped – in every single aspect of my life.

I feel trapped living in this little podunk town, teaching kids – who for the most part – don’t really care. I would probably like teaching part-time, but doing it full-time is just too much. I can’t deal with the work load. If I could wave a magic wand, and have my life the way I want it, I would live in a little cabin in the mountains with plenty of time for myself to write and sing.

Maybe this will happen one day…but when? I’m nearly thirty-three years old, and I’m bogged down with debt. I can’t afford to work only part-time.

If/when I get certified at the end of this year, where will I go after that? The sensible thing would be to stay here for another year to get some more teaching experience, but this idea hardly fills me with joy. I would like to get out of this state, and move somewhere else, but it would be hard to find a job with so little experience. Some other states wouldn’t even accept my teaching certificate from this state.

I feel trapped because I own eight pets – six cats, and two dogs. They bring me so much happiness and pleasure, but I would probably have left this country long ago if it wasn’t for them. I would like to take off to a brand new country, and start all over again, but I can’t because I would never be able to afford to take them with me. People suggest that I could just find new homes for some of them, but I would never do that. These animals have always been there for me, no matter what, and I just couldn’t abandon them because they’re “inconvenient”. Nonetheless, they stop me from being free, and travelling, and seeing new places and meeting new people.

I feel trapped because I’m married to a man I would probably never have married if I hadn’t needed some way to stay in the country. I wouldn’t just have married anybody to get a green card – there were real feelings there – but I would probably still be single if I hadn’t needed to get married. I’m really not sure I love him. We haven’t had sex in God knows when, and I cringe when he hugs me, or wants to cuddle. I want him to stay as far away from me as possible.

He does a lot for me now that I’ve started teaching (makes me dinner most nights; cleans the house; takes care of the animals) but he does everything so begrudgingly that I don’t know why he even bothers. I suppose I don’t really blame him. It must get pretty tiresome to help somebody who gives you nothing in return. I don’t know why, but I just can’t bring myself to put anything into this relationship.

I am tired. I’m tired of working twelve hours days, and then having no money to show for it at the end of the month because I’m supporting both of us (this place is so poor that it’s been really hard for him to find a job). I wouldn’t mind if I thought there would be an end to this, but he has no career to speak of, and it doesn’t look like he ever will. He wants to be a graphic novelist, but he never does any work. He has all these pipe dreams about how to earn money as an artist, but he never gets started. I can’t go on spending every penny I earn to support both of us. I’d like to put some money aside for a “rainy day”, so that I can start afresh somewhere new.

I just don’t feel well. I think I’m suffering from anxiety and depression, and I think that my husband probably is too, so we can’t help each other. I can’t give him anything because I’ve got nothing to give. Every weekend, I spend the whole Saturday in bed, dreading the idea of getting up. It’s nearly 4:00 p.m. on Sunday and I’ve only now got out of bed! I have all my lessons to plan for tomorrow, and all my grading to do, also, so, as usual, I’ll be up into the wee small hours of the morning doing what I actually had all weekend to do.

I’m an adult, and yet I’m completely disorganized and inefficient. There are numerous things I’m good at (writing/singing) but I don’t know how to use these talents. Everything just seems like such a huge, insurmountable obstacle.

Before writing this, I spent some time researching psychiatrists online because I would like to visit one and be prescribed some kind of medication. I want something to make it all better. NOW! I don’t want to fucking talk to a therapist because that has never worked very well for me. I just need something to help me get out of bed, and feel a little bit better about myself.

Are you local?

Up until I was around fourteen or fifteen, I had my heart set on being a vet. I was good at science (although not great) and I would have maybe pursued that dream had it not been for prize-giving at the end of my fourth year of secondary school. I won first prize in English, French and German, and this made it obvious that my talents were more literary in nature. Eventually I went off to university and got a degree in languages and then a Master’s in Comparative Literature.

After just over two months teaching in an American public high school, the main question that comes to my mind is: “Why the fuck did I pursue that path in life???!” I can’t say that I really like teaching. In fact, I fucking hate it. Sometimes it’s bearable, but that’s the best adjective I can come up with to describe it. I’m hoping that this will change at some point, but it just seems like such a worthless, thankless and poorly paid job. I went into teaching because I wanted to help people less privileged than myself but, quite frankly, I now think that they can all go fuck themselves. I would much rather work with animals who are far more appreciative and pleasant to be around than most teenagers.

Perhaps I would enjoy my life more if I just had to work in the school during the week, and could retreat to civilization at the weekend, but the town we live in is in the middle of nowhere. The nearest city is an hour’s drive away…and even it’s a complete shit-hole. Perhaps even that would be OK if the locals were welcoming but, no, that would be expecting too much. A parent complained to the school about how a foreigner was teaching her child, and she was removed from my class! The kids in my Period 5 class spent weeks complaining about how the American flag was displayed in my classroom (i.e. balanced side-ways on the whiteboard, and not “properly” in a wall bracket) and how that this meant I was disrespecting their country. Curiously, some of the American teachers (even the fucking Social Studies teachers!) don’t even have a flag, but this doesn’t seem to bother the kids. On top of that, they make fun of my accent.

It’s impossible to teach them anything because they’ve been used to getting away with doing no work for their entire time in school – and getting A’s! The principal hired me because he knew I had high expectations for the kids, but he has also told me that I can’t fail anymore than 5% of my student body. This is rather difficult given that 95% deserve to fail. I have never met such lazy, entitled, ignorant, disrespectful kids in my entire life. And, oh yeah, they’re racist, too – towards white people. Well, maybe racism is the wrong term. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that they are deeply suspicious of and hateful towards anything different, and anybody who is not “local”. They hate gay people, blacks and, oh yeah, vegetarians. It absolutely blows their mind that I don’t eat meat. At first I thought this was funny but after two months of being mocked for not stuffing my face with barbecue and being fat slobs like them, it does get a tad tiresome.

I try telling myself that the kids can’t help their ignorance because they’ve grown up in such an isolated place, surrounded by bigoted, ill-educated people, but it’s hard to keep that in mind when the wee shits are out to get you. The mother who had her kid pulled from my class actually had “spies” in all of my classes who were noting down “inappropriate” or “racist” remarks I had made!

I honestly don’t think I’m cut out for this job. I take all the kids’ insults far too personally. Also, much to my surprise, I’ve reached the stage where I really don’t care anymore about most of the kids’ abusive backgrounds. Does that give them the right to be verbally abusive and disrespectful?

I’m honestly not sure I even like people.

Welcome to small town American, eh?!

I was looking for a job, and then I found a job…

And heaven knows I’m actually not so miserable now. More like conflicted.

I went to a teacher job fair about a month ago, which was the usual depressing meat market of hungry, desperate wannabe-teachers trying to impress school administrators. If you’ve never been to a teacher job fair, and don’t know what it is, just imagine hoardes of people lining up like drones to talk to representatives from schools, hoping they’ll be interviewed and offered a position. Everyone is dressed to kill, and too nervous to talk to the people around them because they are the “competition”. Of course, people do make small talk, but it’s always uneasy because you can tell that the “competition” is wondering who the fuck you are, how much experience you have, and if you’re more qualified. If we were all allowed to bring knives or guns into the arena, I’m sure the place would be a bloodbath within seconds.

Here’s a picture, but it does nothing to depict the tension and generally depressing nature of the event:

I wouldn’t mind going to these things if they were actually worth my time, but they always seem so pointless. You stand around for ages waiting to speak to a school district, and then when you finally do get to talk to somebody, they seem completely uninterested but take your résumé anyway, saying they’ll call you for an interview. Of course they never do. The only reason I go to job fairs is because it panics me to see how many people are looking for teaching jobs, so it puts me in a more ruthless job-hunting mindset.

At this particular job fair, I was more depressed than usual. I had been mailing out résumés left, right and centre in the previous weeks, but hardly ever got any response. I had been to two interviews, and the interviewers couldn’t even be bothered to contact me to tell me I hadn’t got the job. This is apparently the norm these days. Whatever happened to fucking manners? Are people really too busy to send a simple rejection email? Or are they too cowardly? Don’t they realize I would rather be rejected than waste countless hours checking my email to see if they want me?!

My state of mind hadn’t been helped very much by this New York Times article which stated that teachers in 2010 are “facing the worst job market since the Great Depression”. It was becoming more and more obvious that I wasn’t going to find a teaching job. Why would anyone hire me? I’m getting certified through an alternative teacher certification program so I don’t have a nice shiny BA or MA in education from a university. I also have zero teaching experience unless you count the pathetic two weeks of student teaching I had in 2009. Back in the good ol’ days, I’ve heard that this didn’t matter; apparently all you had to do to get a teaching job then was have a pulse. These days, though, with countless experienced, university-educated graduates looking for jobs, I was hardly an attractive candidate.

Back to the job fair, though. Right at the very end of the day, just as I was about to skulk home, tired and dejected, I noticed another school district right at the very back of the hall. I had ignored them before because I didn’t recognize the name, which meant that it must be miles away, and my teacher certification program wouldn’t let me take a job out of the district. “Ach, what the hell”, I thought, and went up to speak to the principal anyway. I liked him immediately, and he told me to come for an interview on Tuesday! The catch? The high school is in the middle of fucking nowhere – three hours away from where I am now, and an hour and a half from any other decent sized city. It’s in a town of about 3,500 people!

MM and I discussed this job, and we both decided that we would never be able to live in such a rural environment. I was just about to email the principal to tell him so, when I checked my inbox, and found an email from him checking if I still wanted to come to the interview. “Well”, I thought, “if he’s so keen to interview me, I might as well go for the sheer hell of it”. Also, I had never been to that part of the state before, so I thought it would be interesting to see it.

To cut a long story short….I got the job, and will be moving down there in around a month! Yikes! The idea of living somewhere so small is scary (everybody – and I mean everybody – knows each other, or is somehow related) but the town is way cuter than I imagined, and I’m so fucking ready for a change of scene. My life where I am now is going nowhere. There is nothing for me to do here. Also, I’ll be teaching in a very low-income, minority school district, and this is what I always wanted.

But why did I say I was conflicted about the job in the first paragraph of this post? Well, let’s just say that MM is not exactly thrilled to be moving somewhere so isolated. There are very few jobs in this part of the state, so now he’s going to have to apply for art teacher positions in a high school. He thinks teaching is “selling out” and would much rather stay here and work on the graphic novel that he never seems to fucking finish. He thinks that moving away will deprive him of a glorious career in art, which seems to have curiously eluded him although he’s lived here for five years.

MM has a very bad habit of being passive aggressive and being resentful towards me, so I’m nervous about what the move will mean for our relationship which, to be honest, has never exactly been perfect. And, if I’m honest, I’m feeling resentful towards him also. He’s thirty-three years old, and yet refuses to get a real job despite the fact that his art career is going nowhere. God knows why he can’t finish his graphic novel (fear of failure? Fear of success? Crippling perfectionism? Or just simple disorganization and laziness?) but whatever it is, he needs to realize that what he’s doing now (or not doing) just isn’t working for him. I find him to be an overgrown spoiled brat, always harping on about how a real job will take so much time away from his precious art. What makes him so special that he can’t find a relatively well-paid day job like every other single fucking creative person out there? Ugh.

Sigh. Will there ever be a day when things will go completely smoothly for me?

So what does this mean, Sigmund?

I was so tired last night that I lay down on my bed “for a few minutes” around 11:30 p.m. I don’t know why I always think it will be for just “a few minutes” because what always happens is that I wake up hours later, with the lights blaring in every room, fully clothed and still wearing my contact lenses. Last night was no exception, of course.

I woke up around 4:30 a.m., and then couldn’t really get back to sleep again because I started thinking about Wednesdays, which are, from now on, going to be one of my “days off”. 2009 was a disastrous year for me because I was so stressed out about money that I never really allowed myself to have “down time”. Of course, I did end up having “down time” but it was mainly because I got so frustrated and depressed by working myself too hard that I ended up being forced to stop working instead of actually choosing to have fun and relax. The main result of this was that I never really could have fun and relax because I always had this nagging feeling that I was slacking off and should be doing something else. This a pattern I’ve followed since I was eighteen, and I don’t know why it’s so fucking hard to break it. I don’t understand why I have a lot of self-knowledge, which I then proceed to ignore to fall back into my bad habits.

Anyway, I digress….so back to the main story. So, here I am at 4:30 a.m., thinking about Wednesdays, wondering how to spend them. I’d like to make Wednesday a “creativity day”, a time when I attempt to write a short story, or just do anything creative and fun. It terrifies me to think that I might “only” be a teacher. I know teaching is a noble profession, and it’s definitely something I enjoy and want to make part of my life forever, but I just don’t want it to be the only thing I do. I’d like to start writing fiction and perhaps also creative non-fiction but I don’t know if I have it in me. I mean, if I want to write, why the fuck haven’t I written anything before now?! I’m fucking thirty-two years old, for Christ’s sake! Surely I’d have started years ago if I truly had something to write about. Maybe I also want to write for all the wrong reasons…you know, just so I can say “Oh, I’m a writer” and think of myself as a creative person. Maybe I don’t have a creative bone in my body, and I should just accept the fact that I’m going to be a teacher, have kids, retire and then die, just like everybody fucking else in the world.

By 5:30 a.m., I was still wide awake, trying to come up with a short story idea (I thought about writing one which incorporates a Scottish myth) but still listening to the little voice deep inside me whispering “You can’t do it! You can’t do it! Who do you think you are?!” Eventually I remembered a woman in my book group who is a published novelist…but, well, her book is awful. I don’t want to be mean (ultimately I admire her for having the determination, will-power and work ethic to get the damn thing written…and she did also pace it well) but, oh my God, I just know I can write something better than a completely unrealistic, “feel good”, happy ending type novel. This calmed me down a wee bit and I was eventually able to fall asleep. Now, I know it isn’t very nice to use somebody else’s literary deficiences as a sleep aid or as a boost to my own creativity, but, hell, give me a damn break. I needed to get to sleep somehow.

Unfortunately, I was then re-awakened at 6:30 a.m. by a text from a friend of mine in Berlin, a painter. It was strange that she should text me just after I’d been agonizing about being creative. I have always really envied her life and creativity because she’s devoted herself to her art since a very young age, and moves in bohemian, artistic circles. I wouldn’t say that I want to be her, but I have always wanted to live my life more like her. Her text said that a friend of hers (an annoying, pretentious, rich English girl whom I’ve never liked) accused her of stealing her painting ideas. I’ve never really understood why my friend likes this girl so much (I suppose they must just have some sort of connection through painting), but their frienship has always been so fraught with stress and drama, so it seems like far too much effort to me. God, there is enough pain in the world without having friends who add to it! My friend also told me that a famous gallery owner had come to see her show, had wined, dined and bedded her, all while promising her the world…and, then…neglected to get back in touch again.

I don’t know if there’s any significance in receiving a text from my “creative friend” just after I’d been agonizing about my own creativity. Probably not. Probably it means nothing. Or maybe the text was to remind me that writing, and being creative, isn’t going to be a panacea for all that it is wrong with my life. Who knows.

I finally fell asleep again and had the weirdest dream. I won’t go into too much detail (reading about other people’s dreams is kinda boring, huh?) but suffice it to say that I was a trainee teacher in a school that was being taken over by strange, evil orange tabby cats (in the vein of Garfield). They kept appearing, then vanishing, and turning up somewhere else in the classroom. I was drawing a picture of a leaf-less tree in winter on the blackboard when one turned up and knocked over all my belongings. Next, all the teachers were out in the car park, discussing, quite nonchalantly where they were going to be transferred (as if it were normal for evil Garfield-like cats to destroy your previous school!). “MM” was there, too (he was a trainee teacher also, apparently) and a very young teacher came up and whispered something to him, so it was obvious that they’d had sex at some point. I asked “MM” if they’d had sex before he met me, but he never answered, so I took that to mean he had had an affair with the teacher. She was still around, gloating, so I kicked the crap out of her, and then started to beat up “MM”, too in the hope that he would finally admit the truth. He never did, and the dream ended with us standing in my living room with “MM” looking away from me.

The strange thing is that I then sent “MM” a text about this dream (it felt so real!) and I got the following message back:

“Oh baby. I also dreamt you were having an affair. I was breaking everything around me and woke up very sad”.

What does it all mean, Sigmund?!

Things Fall Apart

So, I’ve finally worked out the “Mystery of the Chipmunk” i.e. why hundreds of people are being directed to my blog every day when they do a search with the word “chipmunk”. I don’t know if this will work on your computer, but if I do a google image search for “chipmunk”, the second picture that comes up is on my blog – the day I wrote about having an infected wisdom tooth and looking like said rodent.

It’s quite heart-warming really. Even on my old blog when I wrote more about sex work and just sex, in general, I never got so many hits.

So, are you all having a very merry Christmas? My Christmas hasn’t gone, um, exactly to plan.

I was – as you will know if you have been following my posts – supposed to have taken off yesterday for the Midwest with “MM” but, shortly after my blog post two days ago, things fell disastrously apart. I am currently sitting at home and “MM” is with his family over a thousand miles away. It’s not as bad as it seems, though. I have spent more Christmasses alone than I care to remember, and it doesn’t bother me all that much. The worst thing about spending Christmas by yourself is telling people you’re going to spend Christmas by yourself. You get so many pitying glances, and then people feel obligated to invite you to their house because they feel sorry for you…when all you really want is to be left alone! Mercifully this year I was spared that because I didn’t know I would be spending Christmas by myself up until the very last moment.

Of course you will all want to know what happened. Well, the short answer is that I was just too stressed and too broke to be able to leave town for ten days. Of course, it wasn’t like my emotional and financial state was a surprise to me or anything. I mean, I knew I was fucking broke and almost at breaking point but I had decided just to take off anyway even though I hadn’t managed to save a single penny of my rent money. There were also several other bills I would have had to have left unpaid and then, of course, there was the matter of the road trip home. I had no money for that – for gas, and motels etc. – and I also had no money to spend in the Midwest either. Of course, “MM”, as my husband, could have given me some money but as he’s also broke, I would have never heard the end of it. Over the course of our relationship, he’s lent me $3000 (a lot of it is my share of our wedding expenses) and, whenever he’s strapped for cash, he bitches about how his life is so hard because he gave me that money.

I knew, knew, knew all of the above, and I knew even more that I would be horribly stressed out upon my return, scrambing somehow to get money together. It wouldn’t have been a good way to start of 2010 at all, but I thought that it would be worth it because the road trip would be so fun…

And then…something happened…which pushed me over the edge, and I freaked out, and realized I just couldn’t go. I had reached my breaking point, and if I left town I knew all I would do would be worry, worry, worry about money and have a horrible time.

The “something” that happened wasn’t that much of a big deal in itself. It involved my pit bull dog whom I was going to be taking with me for the first time ever (my chihuahua came with me last year, and this was the first time for me to take both my dogs). If I had known how much time, effort, money and hassle it was going to cost me to bring her with me on the plane, I would just have left her in kennels, as I usually do, but, well, hindsight doesn’t help you at the fucking time, does it?

Let me describe to you the saga of the pit bull…

(1) “MM’s” parents agree to allow me to bring my pit bull with me. They weren’t too keen at first, but “MM” persuaded them, and they also remembered how they weren’t keen at all on my bringing my chihuahua last year, but really enjoyed having her around in the end.

(2) Our flights to the Midwest were on Continental, and Continental has banned all pit bulls over six months of age and/or over twenty pounds. Like a small detail like that would deter me, though! I did some research and found out that Staffordshire Bull Terriers were NOT banned, so I decided to pass my dog off as a Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix. (Indeed, for all I or anyone else knows she fucking could be exactly that). A Continental employee confirmed, on the phone, that my dog would be allowed to fly.

(3) Take my dog to the vet for an exam, and to get a health certificate to allow her to fly. Cost – around $150.

(4) Buy a crate and accessories for the crate on Petco’s online website. Cost $150.

(5) Despite buying the crate on November 22nd so that my dog could get acclimatised to it in plenty time before the flight, the fucking thing doesn’t turn up. Fedex said they delivered it on December 1st, but it never arrived.

(6) Spend countless hours on the phone to Petco’s customer service in the Philippines (!!) who are fucking useless. They re-order the crate, and this one is “delivered”, too although it is nowhere to be found.

(7) Spend ages on the phone to Fedex, and finally establish that both crates (the original order and the re-order) had been delivered to the wrong address up the street. And this despite having verified my address with Petco on numerous occasions!

(8) Go to the neighbours’ house where my crate has been delivered, and find it sitting on the lawn. The neighbours appear, looking gormless, and say they sent the first delivery back because they didn’t know who it belonged to. Didn’t it fucking occur to them to ask around their neighbours to find out? I mean, jesus, my house is just diagonally across from theirs. Stupid fucking white Americans. I know nearly all of my African-American neighbours but these white cunts prefer to isolate themselves instead of getting to know those around them. Ugh! I tried talking to them once when they first moved in, and they thought I was a weirdo.

(9) Joyously carry the long-awaited crate home, only to find that it is far too fucking small (not to mention a flimsy piece of shit) for my 39 lb dog – despite being advertised as being good for dogs up to 55 lbs. So what do I do now? Spend around $40 on a taxi taking the damn thing back to store for an exchange? Or call a friend in the hope they won’t mind giving me a ride? Choose the latter option. Thank you, friend!

(10) Finally get the new, better and bigger crate home, and call Continental to book my dog as cargo on the 24th, but now, according to the customer service agent, Staffordshire Bull Terriers ARE banned! I explain, patiently, that they are not, and she must be thinking of “American Staffordshire Terriers” (an entirely different breed) but she refuses to book my dog. She even goes off to check with somebody else, and comes back still insisting they are banned. I ask why the fuck Continental couldn’t have told me this ages ago before I went through all of the above hassle and expense.

(11) Call Continental back the next day to make sure Staffordshire Bull Terriers are truly banned. This time I speak to a manager who tells me the last person told me a load of crap, and that I can indeed bring my dog as long as it says she’s a “Staffordshire Bull Terrier” on her health certificate (it does). Hurrah! Book my dog on the flight.

(12) Minutes after booking the flight, receive a phone call from “MM’s” parents who have just received my Christmas card telling them that I, their son, and my two dogs are looking forward to seeing them. “Two dogs?!”, they say. “We didn’t know you were bringing your pit bull!”. What the fuck do they mean they didn’t know I was bringing it?! I was sitting right beside “MM” several weeks ago when he persuaded them on the phone it would be OK if my dog came. “Oh”, they say, “we’d rather she didn’t come…because we’re scared she’ll hurt our little grand-daughter”. I fucking hate this prejudice against pit bulls but, if they had a problem with my dog, why the fuck couldn’t they just have told me, definitively, that she couldn’t come?!

(13) “MM” answers that question by telling me (as he often does these days) that I am so pushy and aggressive and that I “forced” his parents to let my dog come – all of this despite the fact that I never even once spoke to his parents about my dog coming! He was the one who mentioned it to them. He says I’m selfish and that I make people do things they don’t want to do, and that his parents are so lovely and accommodating that they just wanted to make me happy. Make me fucking happy?! Happy?! I would have been sad if they’d told me my pit bull couldn’t come but I would have accepted that (it’s their goddamn house, after all). How is it making me happy agreeing to something, and then backing out at the last minute after I’ve gone through so much trouble to get my dog on the plane?

(14) Realize now more clearly than ever where “MM” has learned his atrocious communication skills and passive agressive habits. It’s clearly the MO of his family to “make people happy” (because they’re so “lovely” and “accommodating”) when it would be far better not to do something if they’re going to be all resentful all about it, and guilt-trip me.

(15) His parents agree to let my pit bull come after I tell them that I’ve spent so much money and time on her travel arrangements.

(16) On December 23rd (one day before we are due to leave), I get a call from “MM” telling me that his parents have just mentioned to their son, “MM’s younger brother, that my two dogs are coming. He had just informed them that his little daughter, who has bad asthma, and will be spending a lot of time at her grandparents’s house, is horribly allergic to dogs. Whether my pit bulls comes or not, “MM’s” brother knew that I brought my chihuahua last year, and could have assumed I’d be bringing her again this year. Why it didn’t occur to him to mention her allergies to me? Why am I only finding out one day before I am due to leave.

(17) Realize where “MM” got his horribly annoying flaky and thoughtless personality from.

(18) Finally have some sort of mini-nervous breakdown due to stress and decide not to go.

(19) “MM” calls me a selfish bitch (as he often does these days), and says I’ve ruined Christmas for him and his family.

(20) “MM’s” mother tells “MM” that I’m a very selfish person, and “MM” tells me what she said.

(21) I call “MM’s” mother and tell her, in no uncertain terms, that I will not tolerate being called selfish especially when I’ve nearly worked myself into an early grave to be able to afford to come to visit her and her family for the third time in eighteen months (when I haven’t been able to afford to go home to Scotland for 4.5 years!).

(22) Crying! Drama! More crying! Drama! Crying! Crying! Crying! Everybody wants me to come, tells me the dogs can come too, but don’t they realize it’s not about the fucking dogs?! The dog situation was just the last straw. It pushed me over the edge after weeks and weeks of stress and worry. I don’t want to go because, quite simply, I just can’t afford it. “MM” tells me that family is the most important thing in the world to him, and that it breaks his heart, and his mother’s, that I’m not going, but I just don’t get why people who claim to care for me would want me to fall into an emotional and financial abyss just so I can come for Christmas.

Maybe I am selfish. I don’t have a family, so it’s hard for me to understand why people are so attached to theirs, and events like Christmas. However, if being part of a family means going somewhere, being miserable, and spending money I just don’t have to be there, I’d rather be by myself, thank you very much. Anyway, didn’t “MM” tell me it was wrong of me to “force” his parents into letting my pit bull come? If this is the case, then why isn’t it wrong for them to force me to come home when I just don’t want to?

Maybe it’s wrong, but I am so fucking relieved to be at home with my cats and dogs. I love them (they’re my family) and I just can’t describe how wonderful it feels to know that I won’t start off 2010 with a lot of financial stress and money.

Why is this so wrong of me? Is it? I tried my hardest to come, I really did. I worked on my birthday; when I was sick and on many other occasions when I didn’t want to, or was just plain exhausted. Why doesn’t anybody get angry at “MM”, too? I mean, part of this is his “fault”. If he would just finally wake up and smell the coffee and get a fucking proper job instead of working in a café, barely making ends meet (so he can write this graphic novel he never gets around to finishing!), maybe we would have had enough money for this trip. I’m tired of him always harping on about the money I owe him. I don’t want him to support me financially, but it would be good if he could help me out a little bit financially without holding it against me.

A couple of days ago, I got an email from a new Mexican friend of mine who also married an American, and she told me how envious she was of me because I didn’t yet have a work permit. She said that for her those days in the immigration process were a bit boring but that, ultimately, she enjoyed just hanging around all day, watching morning TV, doing yoga, going to cafés etc. Well, lucky bloody her! How nice that she had a husband who could support her!

I’m getting rather tired of “MM’s” constant blaming attitude towards me. I’m always the one at fault; I’m always the “selfish” one. When it suits him, he invokes the ideals of marriage to show how bad I am at compromising (and he may have a point), but I just don’t see why his actions can’t also be described as selfish. Even if he does finish his graphic novel, there’s no guaranntee he’ll make any money at it. He has all these “brilliant ideas” for making money as a visual artist, but I never see him put an effort into any of them. As soon as he’s had one idea, he gets a new one, and then forgets all about the first one.

Why the fuck can’t he just be a teacher? Why the fuck can’t he just get a real job and work on his art in the spare time? That doesn’t mean he couldn’t still be a successful artist, and then give up teaching. “Teaching would take up too much time”, he says. He’d have no time to work on his precious “art” (the art he doesn’t really work on anyway….all he does is obsess over pointless details, and re-draw things again and again, getting nowhere and finishing nothing). Maybe a real fucking job would force him to manage his time better and would teaching really take up too much time? I don’t see how being broke, and being constantly worried about money, frees up much time for creativity. It certainly doesn’t for me.

As for my teaching dreams, according to “MM”, it’s OK for me to be a teacher apparently because I’m more passionate about teaching than him. This is true, but there is also this tacit assumption that I’m the least creative one in this relationship. He doesn’t seem to realize that I don’t really want to be a full-time high school teacher. My ideal life would be to teach, yes, but I would much rather do it part-time, and have the rest of the time for myself, to write and do other creative projects. Maybe one day I’ll get myself into that position but, in the meantime, I will be a full-time teacher because I just don’t see any other way to pay the bills. Why do I have to be the sensible one?

I sometimes wonder if “MM” would be better off single or with a much younger woman who still finds “artistic poverty” romantic and exciting. It’s lucky that I have got no desire whatsoever to have kids for a long time because where would he be if I wanted them soon, even in the next couple of years?! There’s no way in hell we could ever afford kids on his wages. And, oh yeah, a child would be too “time-consuming” and he wouldn’t be able to devote himself to his “art”.

Well, fuck, it’s nearly 4:00 p.m., and I’m tired of ranting. I’m going to go walk my dogs, and then I’ll come home, tuck into my “Tofurky” and watch “Barbarella”.

Hope your Christmas has been merrier than mine!

Is Arekino actually “Belle de Jour”?

Is it just me or do you also find it suspicious that Arekino (see the comments on my last blog post) returned to the blogosphere exactly one day before Belle de Jour finally outed herself? Could they be the same person? You never know. Anyway, whatever your story is, welcome back, Arekino.

Ooh, I have been naughty, haven’t I? I’ve stayed away for such a long time. I don’t know what happened really. I just got out of the habit of blogging. Also, I have been really sick with allergies, and too tired to do anything but the very bare minimum.

I don’t exactly have very much to write about either. The higlight of this month so far was finally saving up the $1600 I needed to file my immigration paperwork so I can adjust my status from a student visa to become a permanent resident in the US. I have no idea why it should cost so fucking much to send off four forms, but it does. It’s outrageous. If all goes to plan, I should receive my work permit by the end of December/early January. The next stage will be the interview for the green card in which Midwestern Man and I have to prove that we didn’t just get married for immigration purposes. Shouldn’t be too difficult to prove that, as it is a real marriage. Mind you, we definitely wouldn’t have got married so quickly if my visa hadn’t been about to run out.

There are times when I think we made a huge mistake getting married only a year (almost to the day) after going on our first date. No matter which way you look at it, we weren’t ready for it. Almost as soon as I’d fedexed my immigration paperwork off, we startred having huge fights. I don’t know if that was just a coincidence or if things suddenly seemed more serious now that we were making our marriage “official” (at least in the eyes of the USCIS – United States Citizen and Immigration Services). Things have calmed down a lot since then because I actually emailed Midwestern Man’s mother telling her how unhappy we were. Perhaps it sounds weird that I did that, but I just wanted somebody else to know about what we were going through. I think it helped us a lot not to have to struggle all by ourselves. We’re going to get counselling, too. We both have such horrible tempers and are incredibly stubborn, so we often end up in a stalemate with neither one of us wanting to back down.

I think things will work themselves out. We’re both going back to Midwestern Man’s parents’ place for Christmas in (surprise!) a Midwestern City. I can’t say I’m exactly thrilled about going there again (it’s hardly a top holiday destination) but his family are quite adorable, and it’s lovely to see what a healthy family dynamic looks like. There’s just so much love to go around, and a total lack of judgement. My own family was exactly the opposite. We will also be buying Midwestern Man’s stepdad’s mother’s car, and we’ll be driving it all the way back down south! I’ve never been on a road trip in the US before (although I did go from Coast to Coast all by myself by Amtrak when I was eighteen), and the romance of it really excites me. I’m pretty obsessed with road trip movies and if I could somehow get by being on a permanent road trip, I would! The idea of constantly moving and never staying in one place appeals to me a lot.

The good news is that I will be able to post every day from the road with my iPhone, so hopefully there will be some more interesting posts coming up soon! Hurrah!

Hmmm, what else is new? Oh, I’ve been applying to alternative teacher certification programs again – I reapplied to the one I was in before (although the idea of actually being accepted and having to deal with that Southern Belle Bitch fills me with dread) and a different one, which might suit me better because it’s run by a non-profit organisation and is actually geared towards putting teachers in high-need schools. I’m also planning on applying to New York City Teaching Fellows and Teach for America. I don’t know how I feel about these programs, however, as I’d have to relocate if I got accepted, and I’m not sure I can handle moving to a brand new place right at the moment and having to deal with being a first-year teacher in a challenging school. Both Midwestern Man and I are totally broke so, even though we’re both tired of this city and want a change, it might make more sense for us to stay here, and build up some savings before taking off for somewhere new.

Well, I’ll let you know what happens as regards my teaching career.

Shall I meet you all back here tomorow night then, eh? Just a suggestion…trying to keep myself accountable.