Reading back through my recent posts, I realize that I sound nearly as ungrounded as my pre-adolescent former self. I move from complaint to appreciation with a smooth disregard for anything approaching maturity. Having very little to emotionally stabilize me at the moment, this blog has become my tool of choice. You are welcome to skip over this post- be warned that it has very little to do with teaching or Romania.
I started the weekend with a pretty positive outlook concerning my stolen car. I had an awful night, dealt with the hassle of everything, and then moved on. I got some perspective on the issue, and realized that it could actually benefit me next year.
The person who is also going to be teaching in Romania next year, D~, came into town on Friday for a certification class in Skokie for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. It was actually a well-run class for the most part, and we had a wonderful time making fun of people together. Already being certified in Teaching English as a New Language, this class was more of a resource-gatherer for me. I didn't realize until I was sitting there how incredibly brave D~ and the other people in the class were. I had four years to learn and practice my teaching skills, and they literally had 20 hours in one weekend. The nervousness I feel about moving to Romania has little to do with the actual teaching, and I cannot imagine the feelings of anxiety that my classmates must be feeling. Regardless, I think we had a great, if exhausting, weekend filled with a lot of laughter.
Today was a completely different kind of day, and I want to send up a prayer of thankfulness that the weekend was good. Because I am not sure I could have made it. I got a call on Sunday morning that my car had been found, and was being towed to an impound lot on the VERY far South Side of the city. I planned to go after work today to pick it up, which I did. I took a bus all the way south, and found myself in the kind of environment a CSI Miami episode opens with. I could see the cars in the impound, surrounded by a barbed wire fence, but no entrance. The lot was at least a square mile in size. There were tall weeds everywhere, it was a completely deserted area other than a few cars on the highway nearby, and no sidewalks. I have lived in this city for a year, witnessed a strangling, been followed on a bus, and hassled on the street. I experience city life with all of the rough edges every day, but have never been so nervous about a location or situation. I finally find the entrance to the pound nearly 45 minutes after getting off the bus, in a state of panic and in tears. (Warning: this story is filled with tears.) After waiting another 45 minutes, I am instructed to go to my vehicle, from which the plates have been stolen, and get my registration.
Throughout this entire situation, my biggest concern was the hassle. I was annoyed at the inconvenience it caused, the obstacle in my life. I had not prepared emotionally at all- I didn't anticipate the need. I opened my car door, and got physically ill when I saw what was there. Whoever stole it left stuff in there, and it appeared they had lived in it for a while. There were dirty clothes and an umbrella and a razor and other things. The smell was terrible, but I think it was the sense of intrusion that knocked me backward. I know that this sounds ridiculous (believe me, I KNOW), but I feel like it is no longer mine. Like I have no right to be in that car again, as if another presence has taken ownership. All my personal stuff was strewn all over the car- my mail was everywhere and the stuff was out of the glove box and the trunk was a mess. Someone stole my car and went through my stuff and decided what to take and what to leave. And one of the things they took was my registration.
Which, unfortunately, is necessary to take the car off of the lot. Oh, and so are license plates. Nothing that I could have been informed about ahead of time, of course.
So I walked away, crying again, and made my way back to the bus station. I need to find a way to get to Indiana, get new plates, come back to the lot, with a copy of my title (currently living in a lock box in Michigan), and get into a car that I am physically sick about. All while working a full time job. Right.
Literally two blocks into the bus route to get back home, we break down. More crying ensues. So at this point in the evening I am talking to friends and spilling my tears and eating leftover Thai food and grapes. And writing, which is an incredible relief.