Monday, September 13, 2010

Back into the English Teaching Game

Well, I'm doing it...I'm making the transition back to teaching English (sob!). I know I said I would never do it again, but...it really seems to be the best decision for me fornow. I finish my internship at the end of this month and that only leaves me a couple months to find a job before getting married. However, starting a new job 2.5 months before my wedding seems a little crazy when I could simply teach English, a job that would allow me to have more free time and flexibility for the busy months ahead. Plus I would probably end up making more teaching English 3 times a week than starting any new job working full time. I thought that the amazing flexibility of an English teacher would give me extra time to spend wedding planning and with my family when they get here...a big bonus! A girl only gets married once right? So why stress out over a new job right when I'm supposed to be planning my wedding and enjoying time with friends and family who will make the journey here. I think it makes more sense this way.

So here I am, getting back into the English teaching routine. I still do my internship on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays and have Monday and Friday off this month. I requested this so that I could start picking up English classes again. So far I only have one class but I'm in the process of getting another one and by October, I should hopefully have a busier schedule. Thank goodness my old English Institution excepts me as a teacher whenever I need it. And to tell you the truth, I kind of miss Teaching English. I think I was pretty good at it and I always liked getting to know such a diverse group of students and talking about so many interesting topics. I've never had a bad experience with a student so far...hopefully it stays that way! (Knock on wood!) So next year, right after the wedding, I will officially be out job hunting for a stable, permanant job where I actually have prospects for a good future. But that's a worry for another time. For now I'm happy with things and happy to get back into the relaxed schedule of an English teacher.

Last night E and I FINALLY sat down to make a list of the things we need to get done for our wedding...something we have been planning ever since I got here! I am really starting to feel like anti-bride! So, we finally made a list. One of the things on that list was to make a photo/video presentation for our guests. We want to kind of make a story of our relationship and show people what we've been through to get to this moment using old photos and parts of videos. During our long distance relationship, we sent a ton of videos to each other telling each other how much we loved each other etc. We both hadn't seen those videos for years...until we pulled them out last night...and almost peed our pants laughing!!! Most of these videos were taken about 5 years ago when we were still in that beginning "desperate crazy in love phase" and our videos documented it very well. I could not bring myself to listen or watch myself in some of them! I was such a cheeseball! And E couldn't even breathe he was laughing so hard when we watched the video of him breaking out into a song and dance. He recorded himself singing this romantic Ricky Martin song (I forget what it was called) and he didn't quite hit all the high notes. There were parts where he switched it up and went into Barry White mode and kind of half whispered half talked some romantic nothings while the music was playing. Oh man it was priceless! We were both thinking the same thing: boy we were rediculous! It's amazing how at the time, we both thought these videos were the most romantic and amazing things ever. I still think they're pretty amazing. But now watching some of the videos I sent to E, I can't understand how I ever thought E would have been able to watch them with a straight face! Ha ha ha! Oh my...the things love does to you...I can't wait to show our future children those videos and show them what a superstar their dad is ha ha! How lucky am I!?

So now I sit in Starbucks, pondering life and looking forward to the road ahead. I'm trying to get some wedding related things done so I can cross them off the neverending list of things to do. Hope everyone's having a good week!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Chileans and Marriage

Why is it that though this country professes to be so Catholic and family oriented, unofficially, everybody hates the underlying principles of these values? One thing that is really starting to get to me is how negative everybody seems to be about marriage. I kid you not, almost every person we've told we're getting married, they have some kind of negative response that generally falls under the following categories: "Are you sure? But you're so young? Maybe you should think about this. What's the rush?". A colleague at work the other day told me that when he got married was when all his problems in life started. He said he was completely happy until he tied the knot, and then proceeded to tell me that maybe I need to think about this a little more. Another person told me I should get a prenuptual agreement and was practically giving me advice on how to prepare for my eventual divorce. When I mentioned I was getting married to this random lady working at a clothing store, she have me a god awful cringe of the face and looked at me like I was this poor little girl about to go ruin her life as she sarcastically said, "Good luck". The things E's friends and colleagues have told him have been even worse, something along the lines of: Once you get married, the wife turns into a bitch and screws up your life. Things will never be the same. She'll boss you around and you'll never enjoy life again. You know how guys can be. The other day he told me that one colleague at work was walking him through the series of steps one needs to proceed through to get separated. Imagine! People giving us advice about divorce and separation even before we've walked down the aisle!!!

At first I just igored these comments, but it's getting kind of annoying when I hear these sorts of things every day, with my wedding only 3 months away, a time when I'm supposed to be happy and excited about getting married! I don't know if this just happens to be my personal experience, or if this really is some kind of phenomenon down here in Chile but what's the deal people?!?! Getting married should be a joyous occasion so why is everybody trying to steal our thunder and make it into a doomsday scenario?! I want to feel happy and excited to be getting married and it would be nice to hear people's support and approval instead of constant negative feedback. Why does everyone seem to be so miserable about marriage?! I don't know if this is strictly related to Chile or not but I do know that never did I hear one peep of negativity when I told someone I was getting married in Canada.

I have a theory...I think that my blogger buddy here was onto something when she talked about marriage in this post. I think that here in Chile, as well as in many Latin American countries where family and religion are supposidly the top priorities, people have it so ingrained in their heads that they have to get married and start a family that many do so without thinking. I've noticed that many people here got married during or right after university and then had kids shortly after that. It seems like it's the general rule here and so many people follow it without thinking that it might be better to wait a while, get to know oneself and the world a bit more, and just enjoy their youth for a while. For so many, jumping into marriage and having kids right away is the next obvious step in a relationship and everyone seems to follow the pattern: find a girlfriend/boyfriend, get married, have kids, asap. This is understandable in a country that has family and religion as their number one priorities but I think that this CAN be a recipe for an unhappy marriage.

Note that I said CAN. I know there are many people who get married young and have kids right away and are happier than anyone I've ever seen. I'm just giving my my point of view which I think might account for many unhappy marriages here. When you're so young, you still have a lot to learn about yourself, your partner, and the world and its the prime time to dream, explore, and discover. When you have kids, much of your freedom and ability to do these things is taken away. Your relationship with your partner also changes and so for many, this change might be pretty hard on a marriage, especially if it's so early on in the game and if you don't have a stable foundation together on which to build a family. Here, because people are so family oriented, women seem to take their roles as mothers way too seriously. According to E's friends and colleagues, many women turn into a maternal nightmare once having kids because they tend to ignore their husbands and focus too much on their children...which would obviously make men unhappy with their marriages. And again, if this change occurs so early on in the marriage, you may have a recipe for disaster.

I'm no psychologist or anthropologist and I don't know if I'm on the right track or not but I can't really think of another explanation and I refuse to believe that marriage in general just sucks. I feel like I might expload and rage at the next person that tells me to really think about our decision to get married. I feel like yelling at them, "Okay, we've been dating almost 6 years, we've travelled the world together, something we plan to continue doing, we know each other inside and out, we've been engaged for a year now, we've had plenty of time to think about it...I THINK we know what we're doing!!!!" Not only that, we don't plan on having kids any time soon which will give us a lot more time to be together and enjoy our lives together before we settle down. We're actually thinking of doing a year long packpacking trip around Latin America in a year or two. My point is that right now, marriage is NOT going to change our way of life in any way. Having kids might but that won't happen for quite a while and when it does, we'll be satisfied with our lives and relationship and ready to take on that new challenge.

Is this just me? Am I crazy or does anyone else have a similar experience?