Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Today however, was not bad. I gave a little presentation about Halloween to my classes and a crossword puzzle and they ate it up. The teachers loved it and now I have a proven formula for Thanksgiving, Christmas, MLK, President’s Day, etc. I’m starting to feel more comfortable here; today I pulled out my ipod for the first time since I got here for my walk to my tutoring session. I don’t know, I just felt good today and I want M here so we can feel good together. You know how they say, god only gives you what you can handle? I think if things here had been even slightly more difficult, I would have already thrown in the towel. Some people might call that “quitting”, I prefer the phrase “cutting my losses”. Fortunately, a lot of things worked out really well for me, like being picked up from the train by my landlord and being driven directly to an apartment I didn’t have to find myself or being walking distance to my school, the grocery store, and the internet café. Shoot, I could even walk to IKEA if I was feeling ambitious. The coordinating teacher I work with has been amazing. It is scary how much she looks like Jennifer Aniston. I wish I could take a picture and show you all. I think I might even be ready to pick up the camera and take a few pictures of Oviedo so stay tuned.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011
Take my picture over here, he said to me.
You want a picture with the sign? Why don’t you come over on this side, closer to it.
No….over here. Hurry and take it!
But you can’t really see the sign, I said. And those guys are sitting there. Why don’t we go around to the other side?
At this point, one of the guys sitting on the low wall behind him motioned him towards them. M stuck out his hand and the guy on the left shook it and scooted over to make room for him. I quickly snapped the picture, M shook their hand again, and we walked over to the cabs. Turns out, all those yellow shirted guys are members of the Honduran national soccer team.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
There's been a lot of banking business going on. First, I had to open a bank account here in Spain in order to get paid. I also have to pay my rent at the bank so I went to that bank which is also closest to my house. Stupid bank, they charge a fee, €7.50 every three months. Oh well, guess it's not too bad. Then they give me this passport looking book. The guy tells me my transactions will be recorded in it and I put it in the ATM machine to get money out. Weird but Ok. And then I ask about an atm card. He says I can get one but it will be €16. Come on! Have I wandered into 1982?? Does anyone else remember the green MOST machines? Anyway, I had to get this form filled out and signed by the bank to get paid. So then I get to the meeting with other people in the program and everyone else has this other bank that is from this century with free checking and free atm card. I thought about changing but it's too much effort and I still have to go to this other bank to pay rent and with the account there I can transfer my rent payment online.
Let me preface this next part with 'sometimes I get carried away' and 'I'm an over-analyzer.' So yesterday I was reviewing my US bank account online when I noticed a suspicious $5 charge pending. Suspicious cause I didn't know what it was and it listed the city as Baltimore and clearly I am not in Baltimore. And, I RARELY use my checkcard. I have heard about these scammers who can make fake cards and they try small transactions first to test the card before they go for the big one. So I shot off a message to my bank through their website. Then fearing I would be stuck with no way to get money, I ran to the atm and made a withdrawal before they canceled my card. Then I ran back to the internet café and transferred all the money in my account from checking to savings. Teach those scammers to mess with me! I thought about withdrawing it all and buying a nice purse but resisted. Today the transaction posted and my bank hadn't responded to me, so I called them. They had already canceled my card and I went through a verification process and they said they can send me out a new card to here in Spain. Awesome! I'm so glad this fraudulent transaction is only five dollars. I'm patting myself on the back for catching the scammers before they wiped out my entire account. The wonderful customer service guy transferred me to the fraud claim department. Big Stuff McGruff comes on the line and his voice sounds exactly like an ex-cop or ex-marine mp. He tells me how to file the claim on the website and they would research it and get back to me. I was about to say thank you and hang up but then I asked him how do they determine whether it's fraudulent or not. I mean, I know I'm in Spain and didn't—couldn't have swiped my card—how can you all know? So he said let me ask you a few questions.
McGruff: Do you remember making any purchases around $5?
Me (indignant): I'm in Spa—
McGruff: I didn't ask you that, do you remember making any purchases around $5?
Me (aggressive): NO.
McGruff: Did you make this purchase for $60 at American Airlines?
Me (affirmative): yes on the 28th , but this charge wasn't made until….wait. WAIT! (this my friends, is the sound a light bulb makes when it suddenly clicks on and it's so bright your eyeballs are glowing.)
Me (excited to have solved the case): OMG it's not a fraudulent charge. I know what it is! I know what it is! (I suggest Julie, in the airport, with the debit card!)
Me (suddenly feeling very stupid): It was the stupid luggage cart!
McGruff: Are you sure?
Me (feeling very sheepish): yes because I remember thinking geesh it's $5 here (at BWI) but only $2 at Dulles.
I then went on to defend myself that it didn't post until 8 days later and blah blah blah. He said it was ok, you could never be too careful with your finances. He was able to restore the card we just canceled and cancel the new card before it was sent. I wish I had a better ending to this post. THE END.