Workshop, Days 2 and 3

by lifeonaxis1

Day 2 was slightly better than Day 1, but started out like shit.  Linda and I woke up, and she told me I didn’t need to go downstairs to meet with Thor since I wasn’t involved in the data analysis.  Fine with me.  I knew the tasks I had to do with the workshop materials were relatively simple.  Time consuming, but simple.

This was clearly an error, however, because I got down stairs about 30 minutes after 10a and Thor was fucking pissed.  He gave me this whole big to-do about being on time.  I blinked, and said, that’s fine.  I was actually surprised at how well I kept my composure at this verbal attack so early in the morning, but clearly after the day before, my bullshit threshold had increased and I was unfazed.  Of course, I didn’t need his help *at all* to work on the materials, and it was really just annoying to be there because their conversation interrupted my train of thought.

Somewhere in there, Linda started saying that she wasn’t feeling well.  She had some kind of scab on her leg that looked to me like an ingrown hair.  Suddenly, she was convinced that she had a staph infection.  At one point, she said she was absolutely positive about it.  Although I was highly doubtful, she said she’d had it twice before so she knew 100% that it was.  Then, she started feeling sick and was convinced she had the flu.  She was freaking out.  Then, she was freaking out and saying she was going to fly home.  Then *I* was freaking out that my genius plan was all for nothing.  See, I knew my spanish was weak, so I reconciled all of the work and prep I did for the class with the fact that I would have Linda teach it in Spanish.  Therefore, I did not have to teach in Spanish, which would have been very stressful given my level of fluency.  Now, I had done all the work, and was looking at also having to teach the class.  In Spanish.  Dear god.

By the end of Day 2, Linda decided she was going straight to bed.  Moreover, she would be staying in bed all day the next day.  I would be teaching the class.  Still, having her stay in bed while I did the work was still a net gain over listening to her have a freaking panic attack and complaining all the time about how much Mexico sucked and she hated being there.  I was ready to stab myself in the eye with a fork at one point.

The morning of Day 3, I grabbed a notebook and began writing down key words.  It’s kind of difficult to anticipate all of the words you will need in an advanced statistics course being taught to graduate students and professors, but I did my best.  I was dizzy and shaking from fear.  I already have a tremendous fear of speaking, but add the stress of teaching in another language (in which you are decidedly NOT fluent) to other grads and faculty, and I was just doomed.  I spent the morning trying not to throw up.  I kept thinking of words last minute.  I assigned Thor the role of answering questions, because I just couldn’t envision myself being able to compute questions on the spot with all of my anxiety at peak levels.

I stood in front of the class, trembling.  My voice shook as I introduced myself and then the topic.  I got a question, which I had to direct to Thor because my mind was completely blank.

Then…something fucking magical happened.

The whole culmination of my preparation of materials and understanding the material and teaching experience and writing down key words had apparently percolated sufficiently and suddenly, I was teaching the course in Spanish.  With almost no help from Thor.  I felt like Forest Gump in that scene where he realizes he could run fast as shit.  That was me.  The chick version of Forest Gump and instead of running, I was teaching in Spanish.

I saw the change reflected in the attendees too.  Suddenly, they were looking at me with big round eyes and big smiles on their faces.  Marisa was in the back of the room, *beaming* at me.  We were all thinking the same thing.

This fucking gringa can speak Spanish.