Workaholism, comics and cartoons, and Gypsy Amy

Comic and pic.jpg

“Life happens wherever you are, whether you make it or not,” says Uncle Iroh, my favourite character from Avatar; The Last Airbender.

It is only recently that I have started watching the show properly, on Netflix, but I have been doing so in Spanish in an effort to try and learn through my own interests. I think it is helping. Everyone has been noticing some improvement; colleagues, friends, and my girlfriend.

Uncle Iroh.jpg

Yes, I have a girlfriend now, and she is Peruvian. We have basically been in a relationship since our  first date months ago  which I wrote about – but it took a while to become official. Mainly because I never intended to be in a relationship with anyone here. If anything, I wanted to gain more stories experimenting more with dating, but also…deep down, there is the inevitability of returning home to Australia, or to continue travelling the world. All things change or adapt, I suppose, but I suppose it’s just as important to let them in their own time.

I am much better a person to have someone in my life who cares for me, and vice versa.

Sometimes we speak in Spanish, but it’s mainly been through eating dinner at her family’s house and conversing with them without using English. Sometimes I have no choice given her father doesn’t know English (and yes! Meeting a traditional Peruvian father who has never met his daughter’s partner before should be its own blog post). At first I was getting really frustrated and exhausted easily, as I always was, but I am relaxing more now, and with that, enjoying it.

The other day I bought a Thor comic in Spanish…and that has increased my desire to learn (I better learn. It cost me bloody 98 soles). Now I try to learn one phrase a day if I can. Today, I wrestle with ‘No Se’ and ‘No Lo Se’ and their differences (I don’t know, and I think No Lo Se is more like…. I don’t know everything about the subject’. As in; is that true? No lo se.).

My life has mostly focused on preparing lessons for the history classes I teach, and to do so I need to learn more about the subjects. For three of the four grades the subjects have been about the Incas, and old Peruvian presidents. Learning about old political history of a foreign country in a continent across the world is fascinating, but rather difficult to gather as well given old news and facts are mainly in Spanish. I obsess other ways to improve my classes. I consider how I can improve things for my students. Ask my girlfriend how often I talk about work.

It’s sad really, given I left Australia to give up my workaholism. I thought that it was the nature of journalism that did it. But I think it’s just me. I remember ‘Gypsy Amy’ (my housemate) who gave me a tarot reading on the beach of Zorritos more than six months ago. One of the cards she picked up was ‘workaholism’. I can’t remember what she said about it though.

Gypsy Amy.jpg

I want Gypsy Amy to give me another reading. But Gypsy Amy lost her cards. I don’t know if there’s irony in this, or if this just tells us everything we need to know about Gypsy Amy’s free spirit 😉

I don’t need Gypsy Amy to tell me this though. Life seems so much easier for me when I focus all my energy on work.  Life seems so much easier feeling good about my work. And I know that’s not quite healthy.


Nuestra casa

The entrance of the apartment. 

Peru has a lot of culture.

I’m sure that it does anyway.

Yesterday I ate KFC and binge watched Gossip Girl. Today I watched movies and ran to buy ice-cream. Tonight I’m finishing this draft listening to Friends.

Yes. All this culture is incredible.

I’ve been in the mountains over the Christmas season and when I returned to the beach town Huanchaco (where I intend on staying while teaching) my housemates (introduced here) had secured an apartment to live in.

And it is great. My room is near the garage out the back, and I love being the recluse. Living the dream would be for a sibling to be rich and successful with a mansion and a huge family. I’d be the cool uncle living under the pool table.

The lounge room and kitchen is huge, and we have a large TV to watch Netflix on (courtesy of housemate Amy. And it’s Canadian Netflix. Not that piece of crap Netflix they gave Australians in the hope they would pirate less).

While I rested in my room for the first time I realised that I was more relaxed than I had been in…a while. It’s the first bedroom I’ve really felt at home in for three years (how many bedrooms have I had in in that time? I count five, but it could actually be more). I had my own space and the apartment was a safe space. The outside world was Peru, with its cultural differences and language barrier.

What I wouldn’t give right now for a book in English. Even an e-book.

clownns pic.jpg
Clown decorations in the house. 

A few days ago I realised I felt a type of restriction in the world around me, and a big part of that is the language. I need to know more Spanish because without it the conversations can’t move beyond a ‘I will have fries with that’ or ‘another coffee please’. Even asking how much those fries and coffee is has their limitations when I fumble with the change. It’s embarrassing and sometimes stressful.

And so…for a moment, I feel safe in the apartment with my housemates (who either don’t drink much or are cutting out for a month. To be honest, I am relieved as I consider doing the same).

I have moved around a lot and often my mind reflects on the past and on the future and so I never quite settle into where I am. It’s occurred to me that I can stop living from a suitcase for once, if I allow myself to. I can actually make a life for myself in Peru, and not use it as a travel holiday or a transition to avoid living. I can create hobbies not for self-improvement or to prove how much of an adventure I am on. I could do things that extend on who I am like learning to cook rice (ha ha ha, I already bought a pack), or learn Spanish with commitment, or work at a nearby bar. I already have a membership at a gym although I have slacked off lately. In fact, I can go right now, if I allow myself to (I won’t because I’ve never quite recovered from eating guinea pig nine days ago).

e book.jpg

When I wrote that I wished I could read an e-book it occurred to me that I could. It’s actually news to me that I can download e-reader programs on my Iphone until I realised that is what housemates were doing (Housemates. Holy crap my life is a Big Brother episode). It only took a minute to download the program and find old books I had on file from almost three years ago. I have my entire Princess of Mars series (a collection by the author of Tarzan. They made the first book into a Disney film called John Carter and it’s about aliens on Mars, and flying ships).

There’s my embarrassing books as well, such as ‘the shy man’s guide to personal and dating success’, and Holly Madison’s memoir of life in the Playboy Mansion.

But yes! I also have a modern Sherlock  Holmes adventure (The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz. I recommend this), Gone Girl, and (alright!) Charles Bukowski’s Post Office. That’s getting another read tonight because I miss his beautiful meanings hidden among the angry, bitter cynicism of the lower class American working life.

Life is grand. XOXO.