So on Tuesday I wrote this glorious blog post about not having class. As it turns out, I, along with the rest of my class, was wrong about the professor not showing up.
She sent out an e-mail the day before telling us the hours for tutorial on our projects that we have to present. I read the e-mail and thought, "Great! I'll definitely go to the tutorial after class." We all went to class and the professor wasn't there. We assumed she was sick and didn't tell us or had some kind of emergency. So we left after 25 minutes of her not being there.
The same class meets the following day. The professor came in and asked us if we had gotten her e-mail. We all had gotten the one about the tutoring hours and told her this. As it turns out, the tutoring hours were DURING class, not after. I've never had a professor cancel class to do tutoring, or if they do, they're very explicit about the plans. She just sent us an e-mail saying, "Tutoring hours are 9-10:30" which is our class time.
She got frustrated with us because we didn't ask her to clarify her meaning. This reminds me of when I was having rent issues. Carmen got frustrated because I didn't ask her to clarify. I always ask to clarify if I don't understand, but you can't ask to clarify if you think you understand. I thought that we were going to have class and then she had open office hours for us to come in and talk to her. That's what it sounded like she said in the class before and in the e-mail. Luckily, I wasn't the only one who thought they understood so she scheduled another tutorial. I will read e-mails with more care in the future.
During my free time on Tuesday, I went downtown to look for Valentine's Day cards to send to friends back home. I thought they might like to see some Spanish ones. The only ones I found were these Hallmark Cards for lovers. I'm really confused as to why they don't have Valentine's Day cards. I understand that it's a cultural difference, but the gift-giving aspect of Valentine's Day has worked its way here. Do they give gifts without cards? Guess so. I seriously looked everywhere. I went in candy shops, stores for kids, little shops selling Valentine's gifts, and the giant department store here. Absolutely nothing. I thought about buying Christmas cards or party invitations, but I decided against it.
While I was shopping, I had my first experience of being hit on by a foreigner. It was really uncomfortable because he invited me over to his house and kept trying to get my number. I ended up lying about my age, name, where I live, made up a friend that I was going to meet, and finally made up a boyfriend just to get him to go away. Not going to lie, it kind of put me on edge for the rest of the day. There's a fine line between being cautious and paranoid.
I honestly felt like I was targeted because I'm foreign. It probably wasn't the case, but with the media being what it is today I hear so many stories. I have to admit, while I'm out alone, I'm afraid of a lot of things. I'm afraid of being cornered on the street. I'm afraid to give money to
performers or beggars for fear of being harassed for more. I'm afraid of the
vendors on the street who sell things because they get really persistent. I'm afraid of strange men
inviting me to their houses. I'm afraid of men who come up to talk to me
when I'm alone. It's probably irrational, but nonetheless, these things go through my mind. I'm a very non-confrontational person and I don't like to be mean/forceful with people. But I have to learn how to be more assertive, I suppose.
I don't think that this is a magic solution by any means, but I'm thinking about buying a large purse here that's in fashion here. I was walking around with my backpack and American purse, and it made me look like a traveler. Another guy stopped me to ask me where I was from. I don't like standing out. I've always been a behind-the-scenes person. Maybe this is good for me. Whatever the case, this experience definitely frazzled me. I found a park with Wi-Fi and skyped my mom on my phone, which calmed me down a lot. It made me realize how irrational I was being. However, as a woman, I do have to take precautions that men don't
necessarily have to take. It's not fair, but that's the way it's been
since the dawn of time. I have to walk the tightrope that separates paranoia with being smart.
To clarify, I am certainly not afraid all of the time. Most of the time I'm fine. It's just sometimes when I'm downtown, I get wary when people approach me and I'll get edgy. Especially when they come up from behind me. Plus, I have a very overactive imagination. However, I'm going to follow the British slogan: keep calm and carry on.