I sometimes work at an international school as supply or substitute teacher. Because my son is so young and we have limited childcare services, the generally school offers me work in advance. Sometimes, albeit rarely because of my situation the school will phone me up on the day of for coverage. Thursday was one of those days, of the last minute call. I fully enjoy working for the school, so when needs must, so must my adventures in transportation.
Normally, I only need to take one bus to get to the school, a ride which on a good day should roughly take an hour allowing me to arrive bright eyed and bushy tailed at the start of the school day. When I am called on the day, I know arriving before ten o’clock is a miracle. Today is was next to impossible.
Firstly there was a hellacious accident on the motorway causing for a long back-up of cars and buses barely moving impeding my timely arrival. (I heard from another teacher at lunchtime that the accident was quite nasty, so I hope that all parties involved are safe and alive.) Add to this my blind faith that the bus would terminate somewhere near or around the train station, but it did not. Instead by the time I realized the bus was traveling away from the city center, into another part of town, I hopped off to hail an (expensive) cab.
At least that was immediate.
I told the driver, in English, the suburb or part of town I needed to get to and then the school and we were off, rather causally as if we out driving for fun on Sunday. Unfortunately the driver took me to the wrong international school.
“My daughter goes here. It is a pretty good school.” He mentions in pretty decent English.” Although he didn’t say much else. I don’t speak French, Luxembourgish, Portuguese, or really even Spanish anymore. My language choices are basically English or German if I need to pull it out.
By the time the driver said this about his daughter, I had already tried to tell him twice more that I needed to go to a different part of town, to an entirely different international school. He just kept repeating, “Yeah, Yeah.” And waving his hand at me dismissively. When we were at the front door of the school, I had to finally show him the [correct] schools letterhead with the school name and address on it.
Suddenly, with great hast we were on our way again. We were suddenly moving swiftly and with great purpose. Now as we sped down side streets and abruptly and repeatedly had to stop for pedestrians. Every time the cars in front of the cab didn’t begin moving quickly enough after a light had turned from red to green, the cab driver would honk his horn and nudged his car what seemed mere centimeters from the car in front of him. We anxiously passed other vehicles, luckily legally – I think, almost missing the turn to the [correct] school.
No worries though, I arrived in one piece and with just enough time to pick up my classroom assignment from the Assistant Head Teacher and be off to class – never mind my white knuckling along the way. And because the mix-up of schools was all the cab drivers fault he charged me far, far less for the distance we covered. In the end we exchanged money and he apologized profusely adding, “I am so sorry. The English I learn, I learn from TV.”
Apparently, this type of school mix up happens all too often and sometimes, the head lady at the front desk said, in the opposite direction. Oh well, it made for an interesting morning!
After school, while I was waiting for the bus to take me to the city center. I smelled marijuana. It was clear and distinct as day. When I was a kid, I always thought the odor wasn’t as noticeable. Today I know there is a reason it is sometimes called “skunk weed”, it stinks. It permeates the area around the person either smoking it or who has it in their possession. Normally, this would not be a big deal. I don’t care who smokes, it is their life and lungs. However, this time there was cause for concern because there were students from the school waiting at the bus stop too and that would be very, very bad if it was one of them who happened to have the marijuana on them because that would mean, among other things, that they had it on them when they were in school. Myself and another staff member of the school were on the case scoping out all the students. Luckily, none of them were smoking. Yay! There was a slightly older looking Luxembourgish kid opposite the students who was the one smoking. It made me feel like I was being a good teacher though, for a moment.
When I arrived at the next bus stop, the one that would take me home. I saw this God-awful poster and wondered who in their right mind thought this would be good for marketing a Luxembourgish Octoberfest party. Or alternatively, what the hell is actually going to happen at this party!
From the looks of it, ladies if you attend this party – you will be manhandled so if you go, expect it. Or ladies that go to this party like to be manhandled and welcome it, duh. Either way, it is really awful and there was little input from women on the making of this promotional material. Clearly.
However, as soon as I could look at that poster any further I turned and saw this:
The graffiti reads: “If you want me, let me know!”
While not altogether too original or artistic, it does make a clear statement and was a welcome difference from the paid-for promotional poster for “men who freely like to grope women and expect them to like it”.
In all, it was quite a day of adventures in transportation!