I have been teaching English for a year and a half, and on here, besides from a few impressionistic scribbles, I have never described what my day-to-day life is like. Rather than try to explain everything I do in my life, I will explain my current day, which I am in the middle of.

Today, I woke up at 7:15 AM. Its spring here, so its already light out. My alarm isn't set to go off until 7:40, because today class starts at 9:00. Yesterday, my first class was at 5 PM. Classes are usually outside of work hours: before work has really started, during lunch break, or in the evening. Today, on my schedule, I had one of each.

After a cup of tea, and a little bit of yogurt and chocolate, I am ready to leave. I walk to the nearest Metro station, three blocks from my house. Its already warm. Santiago usually has very moderate and predictable weather, and even in the summer, a temperature in the 90s is considered hot. But moving around and riding public transit can make a warm day hot. I ride one station before transferring on to another line, at the busiest Metro station in the city, Baquedano. When I get to the Line 1 platform, it is crowded with people---but over the past few days, I've noticed that they bring a totally empty train to the station, usually at 8:30 AM precisely. I get into a comfortably uncrowded car, but I still can't find a seat. I stand up, poking at my phone, for the ten minutes it takes to reach the station in the rich eastern business district where I am working. I enter a building that looks like an upside down pyramid. Although some of it is an optical illusion, the building flares out from the bottom, becoming wider as it reaches the 20th floor, where I will be teaching. Or where I am supposed to be: last week, my students told me that they had meetings this week, but the class is still on my schedule. Its a candy company, which isn't always apparent from the stressful situation there. I wait in the classroom for 20 minutes, before a student comes in and tells me everyone is busy. During this time, my work also sends me a WhatsApp message (the preferred form of communication here), to tell me my afternoon class is likewise cancelled. This is not unusual, although it is frustrating.

I leave and get on a bus: each additional reboarding of the Metro costs about a dollar off of my card, but I can still use it for free on the bus for another hour or so. My work is about a kilometer away, and I need to pick up some books there. I am starting three classes tomorrow, and will need over a dozen books to give to my students. Most of my work is at the companies themselves, so I can often go weeks without actually stopping by my work. But today, I need to pick up these books. I stop by the office and have office chat, catch up on a few things. Classes starting, and classes ending. I go home with 16 books in my bag. I will be returning to work soon, in the role of a student, for a Spanish class in the afternoon, before I have to leave for another class.

This brings me to where I am now: on my computer in the middle of the day, lying in bed. I've just eaten some invention, halfway between a pizza and a quesadilla. In about an hour, I will leave for my Spanish class. Which I will leave 10 minutes before it ends so that I can take the subway and then the bus to another class. This class, like many of my classes, will be one-on-one. The student is a departmental director at their company, a subsidiary of a large American telecommunications company. It is spring, and we have been working since autumn, and we are now in the middle of senioritis. At the end of the day, its easy for classes to turn into teatime and general chat about the world, which is, of course, a great way to practice talking. After that, I will have a private class that involves a very fast bus ride and a run to my students apartment. Private students pay more, I don't have to (even pretend to) follow a set curriculum, and they are often more casual and fun, but I have to keep track of records and negotiate for myself. Tonight it will just be a discussion of newspaper articles, and perhaps some vocabulary talk. At 8:30 PM, I will head out, taking my 7th public transit trip of the day. I will get home a little after 9, and will have about an hour to prepare for tomorrow if I wanted to get the hypothetical eight hours of sleep.

It is a mixed life. I will be paid for four and a half hours of work, plus some transit time. Of those 4.5 hours, I will work 1.5 hours of them. Plus my one hour of private class time. For working 5.5 hours, I will be paid a wage that is quite good, in a country where the minimum wage works out to be around 500 United States dollars a month. However, despite the good hourly wage, and despite the fact that I am lying naked on my bed digesting a pizza at 2 PM, I still have an entire day blocked out from 8 AM to 9 PM: a 13 hour day feels pretty long. Tomorrow will be similar.

On a larger scale, I can think about the opportunity I have been given: I get to live in a foreign country, have an adventurous career, build my marketable skills and job experience, meet people from different backgrounds, learn from people how I have helped them, feel I am making a difference...and at times, it does occur to me how many amazing aspects there are to this life. But on a day to day level, I am worried about getting enough sleep, about whether my transit card is charged, whether my mobile phone has data added, whether I am out of bread, why I can't find pants that fit, and all the other details of life.

There are many other questions, but for now, I will let this daily record speak for itself.

The other day my daughter remarked that we are half way through November. It struck me as odd since I had the feeling that it had just begun. After dropping her off at school I drove to the spring, and then back to my apartment. There was an ambulance and a fire truck parked in front of the building so I parked along side the garages. I took a very short walk, went upstairs, and crashed. I don't know what time I went to sleep or when I woke up, but I remember asking myself if I was well rested, thinking not, and going back to sleep for several hours. I'm still having trouble with the doctor visit. It felt cold, heartless, and ineffective. I want to be told to do this or stop doing that, but it doesn't seem as if I am likely to get that sort of guidance from the woman I saw.

I could go back to physical therapy and probably will. I can ask for more medication and will probably get it. A friend of mine and I were talking about writing and depression, it's not like me to burst into tears for no reason this often. I may have a stray outburst here and there, but to go for a short walk and have the bridges blur before me is new. One part of me is terrified that this signifies a very deep depression. Another wonders if I've blocked and submerged my feelings for so long that they are finally welling up and I'm making up for lost grieving. It isn't really any better to cry like this than to be anxious or numb. I'm fearful that this will be a perpetual state, yet I can see progress has been made and realize that how I feel may have very little relation to how my life actually is or how others perceive me.

Today I am at a new library. When the girls were little I met friends at the park across the street. It felt haunted by the ghosts of poor parenting in the past, but parks were generally positive moments in our past. I remember being angry that I as the mother was given park duty. It was loads of work to pack up the girls, get a snack ready, track down sunscreen, hats, light jackets in case the weather turned, and to try and keep track of them once we had arrived. Retrospectively I can see that my own perfection kept me from enjoying the great outdoors. It felt like a chore, I wanted the perfect outing, and there is no such thing. I've let a lot of things go as I've aged, but there's still that part of me that longs for the view of my mind to match the one I see in front of me.

The Having Sex and Wanting Intimacy book is still a hard, yet good read. My emotions weren't validated when I was a child. I was expected to be sugar, spice, and all things nice, and being labeled a drama queen and a trouble maker didn't help me either. I like how the book goes into what creates a drama queen. How often these people are in fact suppressing emotions that are socially unacceptable and then they come out all at once in ways that their owner doesn't intend and may not understand. The book explains that women such as myself truly don't know what to call their feelings since an authority figure in their past denied them healthy and positive self expression.

I'm still listening to my sales CD, I picked up Jane Austen's Emma and have gotten to the part where Harriet is ill and unable to attend the party. I remember my dad trying to convert me into a Jane Austen fan years ago. I tried, but could never make sense of the characters. Listening to the books on CD helps as does watching the videos. It's kind of funny because I remember feeling particularly stupid when the books didn't make sense to me. I believe I tried Pride and Prejudice first, I dislike leaving books unread, but also can't stand pretending I enjoy a work that I don't. I've decided that British authors should be read by the British and there's something about my American brain that needs the accents in my head before the books make sense to me.

I don't intend to spend a long time dwelling on this, but I've been reading some romance novels from my past and I'm struck by how poorly they portray men. I haven't gotten very far and already the cowboy has pulled the heroine of the story up against him, basically stalked her, and in general acted in a thoroughly reprehensible and grotesque manner. He's an architect from Harvard if that gives you any idea of what kind of story this is. The family fortune is an emerald necklace, a friend of his is engaged to be married to a sister, and naturally this woman is tall, well built, stubborn, and melts the minute the cowboy assaults her against her will. Normally I use a bookmark, this time I closed the book and dropped it back into the bag I use for items that need to go back to the library.

A goal of mine is to save up for a computer. I want a new car, but that will have to wait. Years ago we were car shopping as a family. We test drove a new car that I hated, I never had a chance to get behind the wheel of a silver vehicle I saw in the corner of the lot. The last time I went shopping I saw what could have been the twin of that car. One of the great freedoms that accompanies divorce is the knowledge that while money may limit what I purchase, never again will I have to sit in a vehicle I would never buy simply because someone else's wishes are given greater consideration than my own. It's silly to hold that against him, but it's an injury I feel every time I open the broken door on my own vehicle.

He robbed me of a great many things, I should be over it, I tried dating too soon upon my therapist's recommendation, I am lonely, but prefer that to trying to explain to someone else that this is the way that I am and by now, not a lot is going to change. Sometimes I think I will go on a dating site or try to meet people another way. But for now, I need to keep working in myself. It feels like a backward step and perhaps it is, but I also feel like for once in my life I'm getting the kind of sleep I've needed for the past forty some years. It's so overwhelming to be a single parent and I don't really do much in the manner of taking care of my children as they are fairly independent and I've given up on them in many ways.

I don't care about a lot of the things I did in the past. It isn't worth it to me to try and earn the approval of others anymore. I used to own a red shirt that I wore to work at random. A friend of mine had a red shirt and for a while we wore the shirts on Mondays. Mine was old, with a small hole in it. The shade of red was wrong and one day I tossed it. My friend's feelings were hurt, but I felt good about the removal. Yesterday I went to the store to pay my bill. I found a bright red shirt in a shade of cherry that I liked, I bought myself the same pair of jeans I already own and now I wish I would have picked up a couple more of the long sleeved shirts I saw which were on sale.

It's pathetic to me that this seems like a treat, replacing clothing, or purchasing what one needs isn't a treat, it should be a given that clothes wear out and require replacing. But it feels liberating to be able to walk into a store and buy what I want without someone else, either a parent or a spouse or a well meaning friend, being critical about what I've selected. I should have challenged some of the behaviors and patterns long ago. I didn't and now it seems too late. But perhaps it isn't. Maybe there is still time to pull someone aside and say, hey, the job you were hired to do, have you considered doing it? I can say it in a manner that is factual without being emotional, but deep inside I know that nothing will change. Yet it is still the right thing to do, isn't it?

I'm in a mood and hate feeling this way. I want all the cozy blankets, comfort food, phone calls from friends, easy days at work, and none of the paperwork, stress, mess, and daily blah that comes with being a grown up. Last night I took Jill to the coffee shop for a pumpkin spiced drink before we went to the bookstore. She didn't deserve it, but I am more interested in relationship repair than I am ultra nutritious beverages at this point in time. It was a break for both of us and I'm glad I took the time and invested a couple of dollars in her. I felt like tea would be warming, but neither of the flavors interested me so I said no. I can't tell if I was being snobbish or wise, and really don't care as the moment has passed.

It feels like a victory to sit here. I've put off visiting this library for some time now. It was on my list, but I put it off for reasons that seem stupid now. It was further away than other libraries, there was construction, I didn't know exactly how to get there, it was dark and late and I couldn't remember how late it was open. Fear was the reason I avoided it. Now I can see that it is an ordinary library near a small park and will probably add it to my list of places to go in the summer when I can pack a quilt, bring my books, a notebook, some snacks, a bottle of wine, and take myself on the kind of date I used to have with myself when I lived at a house where there was a large tree and the sun was still shining after my work day was finished.

Soon that house will be sold and I think that is bothering me a great deal. Unfinished projects, shattered dreams, ideals and projections of what could have been, meals eaten there, the rise and fall of relationships, soon I will drive past and other owners will live there. They will open my cupboards, tread on my stairs, leaves from my trees will crunch under their feet, their eyes will view the copse of trees the neighbors own and my dream home will belong to someone else. It wasn't really a dream home, but it could have been and that weighs heavily on my soul as well. If only I had been a stronger person sooner. But I was young and I think allowances must be made for someone who was dropped into a place they couldn't afford and couldn't romanticize after seeing the mortgage tear down any hopes I had for future investmets. The past is the past and I have the future. That should count for something, right?

Until next time,


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