Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Work and School

Just so you know what I have to deal with...

... in my grunt work life at the Consulate, this e-mail went around a few weeks ago:
Forsooth! O' ye with an excess of revocation memos...
Friday hath been declared an Admin Day, a blessed day of respite from the rampaging hordes of applicants. Therefore, I verily implore thee to render your vast mounds of memos, having been already divided by type, unto your fellow warriors whose virgin desks are like the windblown deserts. These untested but eager companions, present on the 'morrow, be Michele, D***, K***, P*** and K***. They shall be ready to slay your binded paper adversaries, as they are up to the task. As the Bard wrote...
"And gentlemen in Mumbai now-a-bed; Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here; And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks; That fought with us upon this Admin Day!"
It was from my husband. Yup, these are the days of my life.
But really, work isn't so bad. It goes by quickly, I'm only doing 4 hours each day, and it's pretty mindless. I've done enough (hundreds) of fingerprints that I can judge pretty quickly if a bad scan has any chance of getting better. Sometimes folks don't have a barcode on their passports, I know how to deal with that. Sometimes the scanned photo is terrible, I know who to pass that off to. Sometimes fingerprints are already in the database, and I know what to do with them. Is it confusing or difficult? Not at all. It's all quite mindless and I find myself on autopilot a good part of the morning. There are the folks who don't speak English and that can be a challenge, especially the older folks who will stand there repeating "Telugu" while I hold up a finger and try to get them to imitate me. Telugu is the local language of Andhra Pradesh, but I'm not asking for a conversation, just a finger on a red light. I even have an instruction sheet facing out that shows exactly what needs to be done. Yet I still hear "Telugu" and several times have had to ask the next person in line to assist.
Along with the relative drudgery, I get to see some fabulous saris and mehendi art. It's wedding season in Chennai, there are loads of newlyweds coming through.
School wise, we've already had our ups and downs in the first month. An e-mail came home about Nicholas. He was throwing rocks into the school pool. While there was a class in the pool. He said he was bored, so we gave him a book to read if there's no one to play with on the playground. He's doing well with the first Harry Potter book. It's slow but he's into the second chapter. Katherine has had some issues with the other girls in 6th grade. That ebbs and flows with the day though. I've had a miniconference with Jonathon's teacher. She likes him but some of his reactions need fine-tuning. Even if he doesn't want to sing "Down by the Bay" he can't make a huge deal of it and act nutty. Easier said than done for that boy.
And SAISA. We made the decision for Katherine that she won't go to Colombo. I watched her time trials on Saturday and she had a difficult time, just with her own teammates in her own pool. She's not ready to take on the pressure of an international meet. She became teary when we told her, but there was no anger and I definitely felt her disappointment and relief. If she wants to do this, she'll continue training the rest of the year and give it another go next fall. But then she says she wants to do volleyball which is in the fall too. We'll see what really happens.

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