Well, you might say it’s about time. I’m just glad the process is over.
What process, you say? The visa process. It’s official:
Lyn and I are officially permanent residents of Mexico.
After a very frustrating week, the good news came on Friday. We had been patiently waiting for notification via the INM (Mexican Immigration) website, but it never arrived. So, we did what most other impatient types might do — we went down there and asked about it. Lo, and behold! They had the cards there.
Of course, that was Friday. Earlier in the week was quite tumultuous.
My neighbor, Victor, has been more than kind to us. Besides being our personal driver most of the time, he and his wife are my students and, more importantly, my friends.
We had been talking for months now about how to get license plates for our car. Victor graciously took us down to the motor vehicles office to find out what we needed and acted as our interpreter and advocate. Turns out, for the license plates (here, “placas”) you need an official government ID, for which a Mexico driver’s license qualifies. In addition, you have to pay a tax and provide proof of residence through a recognized bill, like a utility bill.
Needless to say, our passports did not qualify us, so we decided to try getting a Mexico driver’s license.
Off we go to yet another location. After driving for 20 minutes to find a parking spot and walking about a mile back, we were told that, in order to get a Mexico driver’s license, we needed to have our permanent visa cards.
So, in frustration, we walked back to the car. I offered to buy Victor lunch at an empanada stand that he told us was “muy rico” and near where we had parked the car. That done, we headed home, determined that we were going to get our visas!
Unfortunately, when we went to pay for the food, Lyn set his phone down. Someone else picked it up. Aargh!
The nice thing about Apple products
Unfortunately, we did not notice it was missing for several hours. But, fortunately, our accounts are linked, and I was able to use the “Find My Phone” app to locate the phone. We chased it around Querétaro for about an hour, until it landed at a house not far from where we lived.
This housing development was in a lower socio-economic area behind some retail stores. Being the trusting soul that I am, I just started knocking on doors. Despite the fact that I could see the phone clearly in the app, no one admitted having it. Shortly afterward, they turned it off so I couldn’t track it anymore.
I have to say that this was the first negative experience we’ve had here. Thus far, everyone has been more than kind, honest and generous. However, losing that phone was a bit devastating. Here, you have to have a phone just to get around. And, since Lyn and I are frequently in different locations, it is important for us to have a way to stay in contact, you know, in case of emergencies.
That night, I was called to sub for an advanced English class at a company about 30 minutes from town, as the teacher was sick. Of course, I agreed, actually excited to work with an advanced class. The coursework in these classes is more conversational. The topic for the evening was Stem Cell Research.
What a disaster! There was one student in the class who just dominated everything, refused to engage on an intellectual level, and made it impossible for the other students to do so as well. I left feeling quite frustrated, which added to my building depression.
On the following day, still a bit depressed about the events of the prior one, Lyn and I went to the local iShop and bought a new phone. Of course, here, because of the tariffs on Chinese goods, the same phone (an iPhone 7) cost $15,000 pesos. That’s roughly $750 US. On the ride home, I programmed it for him, downloaded all of his information from the cloud, and that was that… for a while.
Both of us were still feeling down, but the worst was behind us. Tuesdays are busy days, with classes in the early morning and till about 9 at night. Once we had completed our shopping trip, we opted for a quick nap before heading back to work.
Once again, Wednesday, I was asked to go back to the advanced class. Despite having such a bad experience on Monday, I decided to do it. I figured that maybe, if I was better prepared, things would go more smoothly. So, I spent several hours researching the debate about stem cell research, the issues regarding embryonic stem cells versus adult stem cells, and even found a news article from that day about a couple fighting over their embryos as part of a divorce.
Surely, armed with videos, news articles and a variety of perspectives, the class would be better.
At first, only two of the students showed up. They were watching the video when the third, difficult student arrived. Once again, he took over, refusing to cooperate and enter into a thoughtful discussion about the issues. Nothing I did could get him back on track. And, to make matters worse, he even admitted he was being difficult. I asked him if he was the same with his other teacher, to which he replied, “No, he knows how to control me.”
I was so angry, that I told the HR person at Globoworld not to send me there again. I told him that the guy was a f*cking @sshole and didn’t deserve to be in the class. Never mind that he was preventing others from actually learning something.
Interestingly, Globoworld had a workshop on classroom management scheduled for Friday, which I planned to attend for the sole purpose of addressing this issue.
After all of this, Thursday came as a relief. I was beginning to think we were being cosmically punished for something we had unknowingly done. But Thursday… ahhhh.
Lyn and I headed down to immigration immediately after my early class, and, to our delight, were given our visas! Yay!
Originally, I planned to do absolutely nothing on Friday. However, after the week I had had, I decided to go to the workshop. Excuse me for saying it, but it was a waste of time.
The course was really about the complaints that the Quality people get from the students and how to address them. I brought my issue up, and what was said really didn’t apply to me. First of all, I found out that this class had been through six (6) other teachers because of this same person! The current teacher said his strategy was to intimidate him. This was seconded by other teachers as well. Well, maybe they can do that. They are big, burly men. Me, not so much. Five feet tall and 120 pounds.
It also turns out that this guy is the manager of the department where the other students work. Ah. Well, they’re not going to go against him. That might endanger their jobs. While I understand this, it isn’t our role as English teachers to enable this type of behavior. Learning this made me even more angry.
I definitely pitched a b*tch about it,too, and directly asked that they address the problem.
Everyone seems to be aware of this particular person and his issues, but no one wants to address it. I feel that is a disservice to both the other students and to the teachers. We will see if anything happens.
Now that the week was behind us, Lyn and I decided to celebrate our new visa status. We had a lovely dinner downtown and a walk around the city. Let’s hope this coming week is better.