Thursday, August 5, 2010

Me and The Micro

I've been telling myself that this adventure will not always be comfortable and yesterday I definitely started to put myself to the test.  It was my first day of school (more on that later) and it was my turn to navigate the bus system, micro, to school by myself.  Already being nervous for my first day, I left pretty early and kept my eye on each bus number that passed by.  Valpo seems to be different because there are not technically bus stops, you just wave them down.  Flash to 45 minutes later with no buses, getting on the wrong bus in a moment of panic, telling the bus driver where I'm going with a return blank stare and a nice kid coming to the rescue to help me get on the right bus, I finally arrive at my school - albeit late.   Ack, FAIL!

My school is interesting.  From what I saw, it's about 95 percent boys and discipline is an ongoing challenge.  My first two classes, seniors, were hilarious.  They are certainly jokesters and would yell out "Hannah Montana," "You are beautiful," bust out occasional moonwalks and say things in Spanish that I'm glad I don't know.  On a bright note, they were fun, my co-teacher is highly motivated to have them speak English and I think I can help with that.  The teachers and school seem very dedicated to the students.  They said that because of my lack of Spanish, they want to have another teacher present in the beginning and see how things go.  I think the teaching part will be my biggest challenge in this whole experience.   

Once school was over, I was faced with the daunting micro again.  I hopped on the right bus and thought I was home free.  Only one slight problem, I forgot where I was supposed to get off.  Suddenly I felt carefree and decided that the best idea was to ride the entire route back to my stop and get a glimpse of the city from the safety of a bus, since I'm not familiar with the different areas yet.  Valpo is beautiful, gritty and huge.  An hour later, at the point of no return, I was the last person on the bus deep into the hills.  The bus pulled into a station and the driver looked back to see me sitting there.  Not knowing what to say, I said "surpriso."  He laughed and glorious day started speaking to me in English.  He lived in New York for seven years and learned English from his boss.  I had to sit at the bus stop for about an hour with him but he gave me the scoop on Valpo, the glory days of being a bus driver and learning English in New York.  I was then ushered up to the VIP seat next to him for the way back, which is sort of like a folding chair right next to the door.  Half the time the door was open with my arm hanging outside of the bus and my face was six inches from the windshield but it was all part of the experience.  He told me about great sites, the restaurant with the best seafood in town and where not to go.  I don't know how I ended up with the one bus driver that spoke English but somehow the bus driver gods decided to smile on me yesterday.

A Micro


  1. Best one-liner ever. That made me giggle out loud at work.

  2. What a great story! I want to find that bus driver . . .

  3. I can totally picture you saying "Surpriso" to the driver! If only you had said "Big Trouble, Little Valpo!"