getting settled in mérida

I woke up in the middle of the night with something biting my ass. I felt around and realized that a spring was coming through the mattress. There was no box spring on the bed, and the entire mattress sagged towards the point in the center where the deadly spring waited for unsuspecting victims.

I got up and used a towel from the bathroom to blunt the spring’s teeth. Unfortunately, the towel wasn’t very comfortable to sleep upon. (Try it sometime. Terrycloth is nice for robes but horrible for sheets.) I scooted to one side of the bed and held myself there all night against the forces of gravity.

Today I’ve switched to a new room on the third floor. It’s definitely a little nicer, and the bed doesn’t appear to have bite. There’s no kerosene stovepipe outside my window (though there is no view, either), so it’s safe to keep the window open.

Shay, Tyler, and I went to the Iowa Institute to sign up for a week of Spanish class. Classes are four hours per day (2 hours on Monday) for a total of 18 hours during the week. It’s always intimidating to get started on a language, and this will give Shay a kick start, as well as some groundwork in the basics of the grammar. Shay has a 15-year-old conversation partner, Nicholas. Nicholas is a native Spanish speaker learning English. Starting Wednesday, they’ll get together for an extra hour of conversation, with the first half hour in English and the second in Spanish.

I haven’t been able to find an Internet cafe that will allow me to use their network. Kathy, the director of the Institute, is trying to get me a connection at the local university. If this doesn’t work, I may move to a hotel that has a phone in the room which I can connect through. If all else fails, I can send outgoing dispatches through my AOL account, but I won’t be able to read the mail going to my normal email address.

This evening Tyler taught me how to play ‘shithead’, a card game with a bunch of bizarre rules. We drank fruit juices in the restaurant and played cards. While playing we reminisced about the comfortable beds in our vans. (I have linen sheets, Jeanne has high thread-count cotton, and Tyler has his blanky that he’s had since he was 7.) The restaurant staff finally kicked us out at 9:30 because they were closing.

I’ve decided to try to not care about these delays. Dan and my parents can change their plans if necessary, though I’m hoping that it won’t be necessary for Christmas. (I just feel funny about moving Christmas. Call me a romantic.)


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