Monday, November 23, 2009

Sacapuntas and Scorpions....and the multi-purpose knife!

So it's been a crazy last month finishing up the school year, going on two different MCC retreats, getting by without the Internet for over a month because paperwork never got processed and fighting off scorpions in my bedroom!

It's hard to believe, but I already finished my first year of teaching. Everyone says first year is the hardest, but it's not so bad when you only have about 3 months to begin with and then those get cut short by three day long Children's Day celebrations, country-wide curfews, Independence Day week-long vacations, random days off because Honduras made it into the 2010 World Cup, and a plethora of other interruptions. Although we finished the regular school year the students will continue to come for daily activities until mid-December. I am currently instructing Pilates three times a week, which has been an interesting but mostly successful experience so far. On Friday I'm going to give the class to 4th, 5th and 6th grade boys and girls so I'm not really sure what to expect. Since we don't have mats the students have been squeezing on area rugs that we found in the market that will also be of use later in the day care and kindergarten rooms. Even though I still see my students at AFE, I really miss them. They are such a special group of kids.

I had to laugh at myself the other week when I asked one of my students, "Jose Luis, did you bring your knife to school today?" And I was hoping his answer would be "yes." For awhile when I first started, only one of my students had a pencil sharpener so they were always interrupting class asking for a pencil sharpener. Jose Luis started bringing a knife to school (and I'm not talking about a pocket knife, but a big hand knife) and chiseling his pencil to a point whenever he needed. That concerned me slightly so that's the day I decided it was urgent to find a pencil sharpener for the whole class. It had worked well for several weeks, but then one of my student's pencils had lost the majority of its lead somehow and I knew it would take him forever to sharpen it with that tiny little "sacapuntas." I knew Jose Luis' knife would have done a much better job but unfortunately/fortunately?? he didn't bring his knife to school...

So the other day I came home from school SOOO tired that the yarn-like shape on the wall near the top of my ceiling that looked like it could be a scorpion didn't even phase me and I took an 1 1/2 nap on my bed instead of bothering to find out what it was. When I woke up the figure was still on my wall, but it had moved slightly. I kept my eye on it and it was no longer moving, so I ignored it. A little while later Michele, the 12 year old niece of the family I live with came to my room and I pointed out the figure on the wall. She started screaming that it was a scorpion and ran to call the dad to "HURRY" up to the house to kill it. Then she told me I better get out of my room because those things are dangerous!! The dad came up with a big hand knife and I knew it was trouble when he poked it in the butt and it just scurried up to the ceiling into the hole between my cinder block walls and the tin roof. He insisted that he poked a hole in its tail and that it would dry up and die, but I was still a bit nervous. He later told me that scorpions normally travel in pairs so then I was really nervous since I had a vengeful scorpion still hanging around my room. I was thankful to have my mosquito net in that moment, but I wasn't convinced it was going to protect me from the other scorpion. Fortunately, that night right before I went to bed I saw the other scorpion, which was a bit smaller start B-lining down my wall. I knew it was coming to attack me because the other scorpion had hardly moved the several hours it was in my room before being poked in the butt by Eduardo. I was in the house alone, but fortunately I thought quick enough to go running to Eduardo and Chuchi's room for the knife and I grabbed my rain boot from under my bed. I realized in that moment that I had no clue how to kill a scorpion, but I was thankful for the brief although incomplete lesson that Eduardo gave me hours earlier. I smacked the little scorpion with my rain boot which stunned it and made it fall to the ground, then I chopped it into two to make sure that I was dead. YUCK..... but at least I slept peacefully that night.

I haven't had another encounter with a scorpion since that night, which was probably about a month ago. HOWEVER, I was sitting here in the living room writing this blog out of the corner of my eye I saw one scurry across the floor. I felt prepared and capable to handle this challenge since I had done so well in the first battle. I grabbed my shoe and had the knife in hand, just in case the shoe stunt didn't work. This scorpion had a will to live because it survived two powerful smacks with the rainboot and continued to scurry towards the wall. When I poked it the first time with the knife it just scurried along the wall behind the kitchen oven. I moved the oven away and cut off its tail with the knife. The little sucker kept going and strategically placed himself between the wall and a glass bookcase filled with ceramic collectibles. I had no choice but to poke the knife around in the crack between the wall and the glass shelves and it was forced to scurry out. When it revealed itself I chopped it in half again only for it to continue scurrying towards its haven behind the oven. I made one final chop and left it in several pieces, but somehow there must have been a few legs left on the part with the head because it continued to crawl, but I knew I had won. Disgusting, huh???