Thursday, February 25, 2010

RIP, my beautiful baby sister Lynn Marie Culberson Mota

Yesterday afternoon my sister Lynn was driving home from nursing school.  We suspect she fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into the back of a school bus. None of the children were hurt.  My sister was killed instantly.  My dad and I drove to Iowa in 22 1/2 hours and we arrived tonight.

To my beautiful baby sister... I will miss our chats. I will miss your wicked sense of humor. Most of all, I can't imagine a family gathering without you. I love you. RIP Lynnie the Pooh.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rumors and Reality - Mexican Drug Wars

Mostly what I've been hearing are rumors.  The following statements are true.  It is true that this morning I started with 4 out of 33 students although 2 showed up really late for a total of 6.  It is true that today is somewhat beautiful so I took my 6 students outside to study.  It is true that a secretary came running at us and yelled to get inside.  It is also true that a caravan of trucks carrying face-covered, gun-wielding thugs drove by the school followed by face-covered, gun-wielding soldiers.  I didn't see them but the PE teacher did and so did the security guard at another high school next door to us.  Tell me again, what the hell I am doing here in Reynosa?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Balaceras, Bitching and Blah, Blah, Blah

UPDATE to my previous UPDATE - Today only 4 of my 33 students showed up for class.  Below is a noteworthy sign.  It says, ''Reynosa is a secure city.  Nothing will happen nor nothing will happen. Return to your normal life. We are a part of Tamaulipas (the state) and we are not going to mess with the citizens.  Signed by the C.D.G.''  (the Golf Cartel aka one of the gangs that is causing this mess).  I thought this was a joke.  But my coworker says it is probably not a joke because no one messes with the drug cartel and signs their name.  What the hell am I doing here especially since I have barely any students to teach?

If you don't like bitching, then you might as well quit reading now.  Lately it's not been fun to be in Reynosa.  OK, it's been less fun than the usual not so much fun.  Last Thursday at 11 AM one of the office ladies came to collect a student. I thought he must have a doctor appointment or something. Then I started hearing the loudspeaker calling student names.  Uh-oh!  That only happens at the end of the day when parents come to get their children.  I had just started grammar lessons when all of this started.  I stepped outside the door to ask what's going on when I was informed that parents are coming to get children because of a threat.  Long story short, by the end of the day I only had 2 students left. And the grammar lesson?  Yeah, right. On Friday only 4 of 33 showed up. The federal schools closed but not us. Supposedly there was a threat directed at students by the drug cartels if the soldiers didn't get out of town.  Other rumors involved a middle school and hostages being taken.  We never know what is the truth because NOTHING is reported in the newspaper or the television news.  In fact, the best news source is Twitter.  After a week of nervous waiting behind locked doors and keeping our heads low, nothing really happened. 

Next bitch is about McDonald's salads. Last night I went to the drive-up window at McDonalds to order an ensalada crispy. In the United States, you would get a salad with lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, carrots and cheese topped with chicken.  And ranch dressing.  In Mexico, the salad includes wilty lettuce with a couple of sad tomatoes with a chintzy bit of chicken.  And no ranch dressing.  WTF?  I paid $50 pesos for that crap!  Now if I could only learn to effectively complain in Spanish. 

And the last blah, blah, blah has nothing to do with Reynosa or Mexico.  It's about my Mastercard.  Last November the fraud department called me wanting to know if I charged like $700 to Home Depot in Florida. No, I did not.  At that point it goes to fraud investigations and the credit card is cancelled. They sent me a new card.  I've rarely used the old card in Mexico but I decided I will no longer use the Mastercard in Mexico in case someone is stealing my information.  I get the new card and everything is going along swimmingly when I get another phone call last Thursday wanting to know if I charged like $700 to Home Depot in Florida.  Double WTF?  The same amount from the same store but on my new card.  My card is in my possession and no one else has access to it.  Again, they cancel it to issue me a new one.  And I never, ever used this last one in Mexico. Ever.  But today tops all.  In the middle of class time, the fraud investigator calls me and tells me he has put my new card on hold.  Then he proceeds to treat me like the criminal.  He told me I would have to send picture ID's of everyone in my household.  Uh, that would be ME. He said someone I know has used the card. He tells me that I've been issued a new card 5 times in the past year and that raised a red flag.  I have not been issued a new card 5 times in the past  year so I don't know how he is getting his information. When I questioned him about this he refused to answer me. When I asked what is his name and ID, he refused to supply.  In final frustration, I asked to speak to his supervisor and he refused that and hung up on me.  So now I am thinking, FRAUD, FRAUD!!   When I got home, I called Mastercard and was put through to the fraud department.  Yes, some dickhead named Don did call me from their fraud department that morning.  I put in a formal complaint about him and told them I refuse to deal with him so they better transfer the case to another investigator.  I was promised a supervisor would call me.  Stay tuned for updates. 

UPDATE:  Only 9 of 16 students showed up for the morning class and 12 of 17 for the afternoon class.  Another gun battle last night. This afternoon my students were being pulled out of classes because supposedly 2 university students and 3 teachers have been kidnapped.  As always we only hear rumors.  When will the madness all end?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Best Friends Forever

I have the best friends. I really do.  These are the kind of friends that I can count on for anything.  I want to thank them very much for the "cleaning" they did at my house tonight.  Hey, guys, the candle is still burning. But, dang it, we forgot the tarot cards!  Oh, well, maybe we can get together this weekend and finish what we started. I hope they know if they need ANYTHING, I will be there for them.

Great lyrics from the great movie, Austin Powers.....

Call me.
Don't be afraid, you can
Call me.
Maybe it's late, but just
Call me.
Tell me and I'll be around.

**UPDATE**  That candle was still burning at 6:30 this morning.  What does that mean?  Too much evil to burn away??