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Mexicans are amazing. No wonder Donald Trump asks them to make a lot of his merchandise. I need a job while I’m here and I don’t speak Spanish so I’m pretty limited on what I can do and how I can find work. most job postings are in Spanish and google translate is not the most reliable resource so I was starting to worry about how I’m going to figure this out.

As a long shot I searched for English Monterrey on Facebook and found a group for teachers of English in my city. I joined the group and posted this:

Hello/hola,

I’m new to Monterrey, from England, and I’m hoping to start teaching independently. I want to teach individual students but I’m having trouble connecting with people that want to learn. Can anyone here give me any advice, or pass on my details to people they know who could help. I’m a native speaker with a degree in English. Sorry if this seems like spam.

I included my email address and then forgot about it. I probably started watching Bob’s Burgers and making a quesadilla. But then my phone exploded! And no, it’s not a Note 7. I got emails, Facebook messages, friend requests, messages from a creep with an English fetish, likes, and comments with advice and email addresses asking for my CV. Later that day I taught my first English lesson over Skype, and the next day I interviewed for a regular teaching job. I’ve had two more interviews and have more scheduled for next week.

It was the most response I’ve received to a Facebook post since 2010 when I got over 100 comments arguing about my status, “Fact of the day: penicillin is made from pencils.”

It took one Facebook post and those listless, lazy, drug smuggling gangbangers found me a job in less than 24 hours.

Gracias, amigos.

 

Also, this has nothing to do with this post, but the picture is the view from our bedroom.

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Uber

We’ve moved! We have our own place and it is awesome. A pool, a gym, round the clock security and maintanance. It’s fantastic. I spend my days applying for jobs, wondering around in the sun, working out in the air-conditioned gym, and watching netflix.

Yesterday we needed groceries so, instead of Cesia coming all the way back here from work, we decided to meet at the supermarket. I put on my shades and stood on the pavement and ordered an uber.

The guy arrived later than the app said and, after checking that I was his customer, he said he tried to call me but couldn’t connect. I haven’t registered my Mexican phone number with uber yet. I tried to explain that the problem was my fault and that my number is no good.

‘Mi nombre es no bueno.’ I said, in perfect Spanish.

‘Uh?’ He said, in perfect Spanish.

‘Mi nombre,’ I said, ‘es no bueno.’ Again, in perfect Spanish.

‘O.K.’ he said.

While I had been speaking Spanish, and speaking it perfectly, I had not said that my number was no good. Number is Número. I had said Nombre, or name. I had stepped into this man’s car, and told him my name is bad. He had said ‘Uh?’ and I said it again.

The car ride passed in silence, and in the silence, I realised my mistake. It was like he had checked I was his customer by saying ‘Joe?’ and I had said ‘Yes, but my middle name is danger.’ He replied, ‘O.K.’ which is probably the best response I could have hoped for.

I wanted to say something else, not to correct myself, but to let the guy know that I’m not a total moron. I wanted to appear comfortable, as though there was a chance that what I had said was normal, and that he had misunderstood. I wanted to gaslight him.

I could go casual (Gracias, mi amigo) or formal (Gracias, señor) or, even better, I could extend it (Gracias, señor. Buenos tardes) and be both formal and polite.

We were at the supermarket and Cesia messaged me to say where I could find her. I typed a reply and sent it and saw that she had started typing back.

‘Está bien.’ I said, and the driver stopped. I opened the door and, before closing I fired my parting shot.

‘Gracias, mi amor.’

And then, after accidentally saying ‘Thank you, my love,’ to a complete stranger, I put my sunglasses in my bag, entered the supermarket, and considered that interaction one more success on my slow journey to fluency.