Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"María, la noche y el día"

The text on the wall reads,
“María, la noche y el día”
“María, the night and the day”

I have class every Tuesday at 8:30 in the morning. The night before, I set my alarm for 7 knowing that I won’t get out of bed until 7:30. It’s always cold when I finally do; I don’t get a lot of sunlight in my room, so it’s constantly cool. Then, I wash my face and brush my teeth. After that’s done, I go to the kitchen for some cornflakes. I eat in my room on Tuesdays since no one in my house is awake at that hour. I listen to my Family Business Playlist (which features Kanye, Common, Usher, Trey Songz, etc.) while I eat, and after I finish, I get dressed. Then, I check my emails and log on to Facebook (obviously), and at about 8:20, I leave for class.

I take the same way to school that I always take. It may sound monotonous, but I don’t mind. I’m not really awake that early in the morning since I usually haven’t spoken a word to anyone at that point. So, I just let my body go through the motions inscribed in its muscle memory. If I don’t, I’d never get to where I need to be.

I usually arrive at la Facultad around 8:27. I take my seat in the 4th row in Aula XIII, and here, the waiting game begins. The professor is always late. And since the professor is always late, the majority of the class is also always late. I feel kind of lame arriving on time, but for some reason, I can’t force myself to walk in at 8:35 like everyone else. I was always told that you’re on time if you’re early, and if you’re on time you’re late. I guess it stuck with me.

I suppose one reason why professors are always late here is the class schedule. They schedule classes back to back--8:30-10:30, 10:30-12:30, etc.-- so they don’t factor in the time it takes to pass from one class to another. Therefore, class doesn’t REALLY start at 10:30. But 8:30 is the first class of the day, so I’m still a little confused as to why my professor is always late. I guess I shouldn’t be complaining. 10 minutes less of a 2-hour class is a significant amount. Actually, it’s an extremely significant amount, especially when you have that 2-hour class and a second 2-hour class directly after (both of which are in Spanish).

My professor for Latin American Literature (Literatura Hispanoamericana) is a very poetic man. He’s also a very plump man who holds all of his weight in his very round stomach. And he always, always, always reeks of cigarettes. He reminds me of an old mouse, or maybe an old rat. But not a beady-eyed rat. A rat with a very long, very wise nose whose eyes are hidden behind Harry Potter-esque glasses.

He’s very expressive with his face and his hands, and honestly, I have never encountered any professor who is better at “the pause”. As a matter of fact, he has perfected “the pause”. Let me explain. He’ll begin a sentence but won’t finish it. He usually cuts off right at the point where he is to deliver the “big picture point”, or the point that we are all waiting to write down in our notebooks. But instead of immediately continuing, he’ll pause, look around the room, and then finally, after about 20 seconds, he’ll blurt out the rest of the sentence in rapid, muffled Spanish, grinning with self-satisfaction. I think it’s a way to keep our attention, but I also think he just likes being a little dramatic.

I do appreciate, however, the way he lectures. He doesn’t just talk at us. I wish I could share with you some of what he says, but a) I can’t remember word for word b) it would be in Spanish and c) if I tried to recreate a piece of a lecture, I’d probably ruin it or the translation wouldn’t sound as poetic. Spanish phrases don’t usually translate into English with the same feeling and meaning. They usually translate into really simplistic English phrases, but when you say them in Spanish, they aren’t simple at all. My professor is really good at proving that every Tuesday and Thursday. He’s a very captivating man.

My professor for Medieval Spanish Literature, however, isn’t quite as captivating. She’s a very nice woman who has been increasingly accommodating and understanding. But when I look at her, she kind of reminds me of a circus clown. Again, let me explain. I think that if she just learns how to apply her make-up correctly, I wouldn’t be having these thoughts. She wears extremely heavy, pewter eye shadow on her eyelids, along with heavy mascara and eyeliner (I’m guessing a pencil). In the crease where your eyelid meets right under your eyebrow, she then applies a line of even darker (if that’s possible) pewter eye shadow. Finally, she finishes her look by applying a very heavy layer of light silver eye shadow right under her eyebrows all the way down to the crease of dark pewter. Essentially, it looks like her eyes are a bit sunken due to the stark contrast of dark and light. However, she wears glasses, so the glasses detract slightly from her make-up faux pas.

Unfortunately, her lecture style isn’t any more attractive. She sits at her desk in the front of the classroom, and for two hours, she talks. She doesn’t get up, she doesn’t shift in her chair, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she doesn’t breathe. She clearly knows what she’s talking about; you can tell from the very insightful things she says. But she just talks. And hands out photocopies. And talks. It’s a very tiresome 2-hours, I’m afraid, and by the end I am exhausted FOR her. She must need to drink copious amounts of water before and after class because let me tell you, her mouth moves a mile a minute. Sometimes she speaks so fast that the words smush together, and I lose her completely. But again, she’s a very nice woman.

The text on the desk sits within a poorly drawn heart.
It reads,
“Paqui y Antonio. Together forever.”
It’s very peculiar that it’s written in English…


  1. I think the late start for the first class is just a bit of the Spanish culture. Some cultures believe that being a few minutes late is just customary and OK. I have noticed this by attending meetings with someone different cultures present. Strange to be a part of but just the way it works. But anyway...I don't ever recall you be early for anything in your life. HAHA

  2. School is DIFFERENT SABRINA! haha :P miss you!!!

  3. school may not be so different. cultural differences are prominent in all areas of life.
    i miss you

  4. so i was late today, and guess what. she was on time. that's totally my luck.