My work schedule is back in full swing, more or less, which means that Crazy Boss is back to his old antics. Not paying me on time, double-booking me for classes, being his generally stupid self.
I currently have 7:00am classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I generally avoid morning classes because I have so many night classes (I teach until 10:30 or 11:00 every night), but this girl is really advanced and busy and it was only 2 days, so I agreed to it. But then Crazy Boss decided that he wanted me to teach another possible class on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 7:00am at a company on the edge of town. I agreed to it only if he agreed not to give me other morning classes so that I could take naps. But my morning schedule, too, has since filled up, and the company classes haven't even started yet.
So, after Alexandre's encouragement, I told Crazy Boss to give the company classes to another teacher. The conversation went a little something like this:
Me: Hey, so, I'd like to change my schedule. I think it would be better if you offered that class at the company to another teacher. I'm telling you now, since the class hasn't even been confirmed or anything.
Crazy Boss: No, no, no. That's not possible. I already promised them the American teacher. They're 'counting on you [his favorite phrase].
Me: Okay, but you promised ME that my schedule would be more compacted to make up for me working until 11pm and then at 7am the next day, but it's not. I have class with student A at 10:30am, class with student B at 11:30, and then class with group C at 3:00pm, plus the translations. I am telling you my limits. I can't be a morning person AND a night person.
Crazy Boss: Oh, well you can just tell all of your new students that they have to come at different times.
Me: Well, I don't think that'd work...those students chose those classes to fit around their schedules...also, I mean, YOU confirmed it with them, and they've already started with me, so... I'm just a little confused. When you gave me all those other classes, I assumed that the company class hadn't worked out, or that you didn't want me to teach it anymore.
Crazy Boss: Well, Gee. [the word he uses when he's pissed off or disappointed]. You know, I was really counting on you, Danielle. I just really hope the company still wants the class. [basically ignoring all of my logical arguments and trying with the guilt trip]
Me: Um, they will. Just tell them I don't speak enough Portuguese to teach an intro class, and that maybe I'll start with them next semester. They really can have any teacher when they're just learning "hi, my name is..." and the numbers and stuff.
Crazy Boss: Fine, well, I guess I can't do anything else.
This went relatively well, despite his frustration-- he didn't make any dramatic ultimatums, and didn't keep pressing me like he usually does. Dare I say he's starting to respect me, even a little?
Plus, he can't keep whoring me out as the American teacher, promising me to every student without my permission just to get them to sign up. He has to hire teachers that he respects enough, and he has to promote a school in which ALL of the teachers are high-quality, and not reinforce the idea that just because you're a native speaker, you can teach the language better than a non-native.
Oh, and he hired a new teacher whose English is really bad. He often asks me to give a short interview to potential teachers to check their English. When I asked her about her studies, she said "I form-ed in tranduction." (If you're a Portuguese speaker reading this, you know how bad that is for an answer!!!) She was trying to stay that she majored in translation. She didn't even study English-- she studied French, hadn't seen an English text book since high school, and said she wanted to teach English to improve her English! Sorry honey, that's not how it works.
I told Crazy Boss that her English was bad, and he hired her anyway. When I asked why, he said, "oh, well, she's really cute!"
In other news, the cat's in heat, which proves for a MOST annoying living environment. She meows CONSTANTLY. She follows us around sticking her butt in the air. It's all very reminiscent of the South Park episode, Cat Orgy, when Cartman's cat is in heat and throws a party at the house and they use catnip as cocaine. The poor baby Garbage. She just wants some hot kitty action. We're taking her to the vet next week to get fixed.
Alexandre has started his 12-hour, overnight hospital shifts this semester (on top of his 8:30-5:30 hospital schedule). He was totally excited and gung-ho about it at first-- plantões are kind of a rite of passage for med school students, and he "got to stitch up a guy's head all by [him]self!"-- but after 3 nights of it in one week, he's totally over it. Luckily, it's typically only once or twice a week at most.
In good news, I'm actually kind of sort of making friends, maybe. On Saturday night, my student-friend Carol (the one who watched the cat) invited me out to a bar with her girl friends. I hummed and hawed because the bar was kind of expensive and I would need a ride and I didn't want to be difficult and I generally shy away from big groups of girls. But I talked myself out of being the recluse I can sometimes be, and decided to go.
I had such a great time! The girls were REALLY nice and fun. They're all doing a PhD program in genetics at the public (better than private) university here. It was a really good mix of silly fun girl conversation ("my hair is SO thin!" "I need to lose 4 kilos!") and actual intelligent conversation (Barack Obama's plans to help improve the American economy and its effects on Brazil; the double standard on women with regards to education in Brazil... get a degree, but don't be smarter than your man). Some of the girls spoke English, but the Portuguese really wasn't a problem. That's because the girls were smart enough and nice enough to try to speak a little slower for me, not to spend the night gossiping about people I didn't know, and not to use too much slang.
Nobody got too drunk or dramatic, no one ran away with strange men, and a good time was had by all. Here's a pic to prove it:
Carol invited me out with them again tomorrow night, so I'll probably go for a bit. :)
I guess that's it for now. We're going to Alexandre's parents' house this weekend, so I'll try to update from there.
I'll leave you with a wonderful video of the inauguration coverage at UC Berkeley... go bears! You can check it out here. (Thanks, Alejandro, my Spanish brother!)