Tuesday, April 13, 2010


We may have paid no heed to the Teacher Exchange Program's advice not to swap houses, but we did draw the line at exchanging cars.  It wasn't so much that we were concerned about what could happen--though I am sure Mark had run through all types of scenarios in his head--but more because we did not want to drive while we were in Spain.  Neither of us like to drive, and part of the draw of living in Europe was the accessibility of public transportation.
At first we thought that since we would not exchange vehicles that the swap might not happen, especially, since Lily would pretty much need a car to make the 8 mile commute to the school where I taught.  There was the possibility of taking a public bus, but that involved several transfers and leaving the house at 6 am.  We pointed this out, but Lily had a bit of a lackadaisical attitude.  I don't think she any idea of how spread out everything is in New Mexico.  Fortunately, some of my co-workers agreed to give hear a ride to and from work--which was my main concern.  Eventually, someone leant her an old beater that would get her around town--this  kindness was repaid with several hundred dollars of unpaid parking tickets.
So with Lily's transportation solved, I just had to worry about myself.  This proved to be a bit difficult because I would be working in a small pueblo about 50 minutes outside of Murcia where Lily's house was located.  It was possible to take a bus, but that would mean a 30 minute walk to the bus station.  Like Lily, luck was on my side and the people with whom Lily carpooled agreed to take me along.  This was a bit of a burden for them, since normally each participant would drive one week out of the month.  Being car-less, I was not included in the rotation.  Instead, I would contribute money for gas and expenses.
Of course, I was never provided with the phone numbers for the people in the carpool.  I was told to wait for them outside of the apartment, on the 1st of September, the first day we were to report to school.  The pickup was supposed to occur at 8:00, and I headed downstairs early.  At 8:30 I was still standing and waiting.  As we didn't have students for the first couple of weeks  I wasn't too stressed.  At 9:00, I finally went back upstairs to call the School Director.    While he had me on the land line, he called up the others who were in the carpool.  It turns out since the 1st was on a Friday, they had decided not to report to school until Monday.  So It would be a long weekend before I was to meet the people with whom I would be spending about 10 hours a week over the next 9 months.

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