I Don’t Like

I’ve had a song stuck in my head for the past few days where the artist colorfully declares multiple things he does no care for. It’s funny because there was barely anything the past week or 2 that I didn’t enjoy. Let’s start with the field trips for class.

On Tuesday and Wednesday the class was split in half, with one half going to the Gettysburg Hospital to shadow different jobs and the other half doing community service. The service group was again divided in half, with half the kids going to the SPCA to help out with the animal shelter and the other half aiding the Lutheran Village retirement home. On Tuesday I went with the SPCA group in hope of playing with cute animals for 2 hours. Turns out the staff wanted the males of the group to weed to garden and the females to do office work for them. While I understand the importance of keeping up appearances and getting paperwork done, this isn’t what I expected at all. Because of this, I was totally unprepared, wearing grey to the field trip and having no change of clothing available. I didn’t want to go back to school in the afternoon with sweat stains on my shirt, so I had to strip down to my undershirt to get to work. Weeding was nothing new to me, as my grandmother had made me do it every spring/summer of my childhood in her tomato garden, but I still had no desire to do it. And the make things even better, I had 4 high school boys helping out. Needless to say, I heard more “Mr. Mauricio, I’m tired” and “I’m gonna take a 2 minute break now” and “it’s hot” than I saw undistracted work. Nonetheless, we pulled through and got it done 2 hours later. As a reward for our hard work and sweat, the director of the SPCA let us play with dogs. First she brought out a black lab named bear, followed by a white pit bull named Pandora, then brought out brown sister pit bulls whose names I can’t remember. They were the most adorable dogs I’ve ever seen. We also played with some cats that were a lot of fun.

The following day the Hospital and community service groups switched and I went with the hospital goers. I can’t remember the exact job titles that could shadowed, but things the kids got to see included surgery, physical therapy, wherever it is they put babies/take them out of the mother, and MRIs. I went my student Gonzalo to the MRI where they were at the end of procedure using the open MRI for patients who are claustrophobic. The doctor explained to us how the procedure worked (obviously none of that medical stuff stuck in my head) and how the machine ran. He gave us a really cool example of how strong the magnet is by taking a wrench tied to string near the machine and letting it lift it into the air. The doctor also put a quarter in the machine and the quarter stood upright by itself. I had to take pictures from he doorway since the magnet could rip the expensive LIU camera right out of my broke hands and smash it into multiple paycheck draining pieces. Afterwards, Gonzalo and I went down to the emergency department where we witnessed no emergencies. Of all the days people decide to not hurt themselves, it was field trip day. But we did get to see the room where the put people who have overdosed on alcohol or drugs, namely synthetic marijuana, to detox and calm down. It was very strange knowing what kind of crazy things happened in that room.

On Thursday we went to S & S Customz, an auto shop near the school. There the kids learned the steps to a paint job, how to change a tire, and how to change your own oil. Everyone got really into it and at the end, the mechanic thanked us for visiting by showing us a burn out (in case you don’t know, a burn out is when the driver spins the wheels of the car without moving, causing a lot of smoke). He kept going until the tire popped, which was really fun to watch. The mechanic made a joke about the possibility of attracting the fire department with all the smoke, to which a student responded with the possibility of the officials being upset about a bunch of Mexicans popping tires and making smoke.

Aside from the field trips, I’m really enjoying my time with the kids. Although they refer to me as Mr. Mauricio, I often get confused for a student and they don’t let me forget it. I may have let a few no-no words go by without repercussions, but eventually I had to dish out punishments like a teacher. It’s a strange spot to be in, being in a position of authority while only being 2 or 3 years removed from the age group of the children. Sometimes I feel bad for reprimanding them as I’m usually the one doing the exact same things they’re getting in trouble for. But in the end the kids and I get along and we have a good time.

The Hestons still tutor together at the LIU adult classes, with the lessons getting more advanced and interactive. Last class, I came in wearing my hospital jumpsuit that I got from the field trip and had the students practice making an appointment and telling the doctor what was wrong with them. I think they enjoyed it very much.

To end my latest post, I will share an unrelated but relevant experience I had a week ago. I use the weekends to play basketball so as not to have a heart attack before I’m 30, but Gettysburg College is really bad at having courts available on campus for me to play on. Therefore, I go to the rec park in town in hopes of playing pick up games with non-white people to sort of have a little bit of home with me. During this one particular game, a man approached me with 4 13-year-old boys from China asking to play a pick up game. Of course I agreed and we had a nice, high-energy game. The man in charge told me they were here learning about Jesus Christ (of course) and they really wanted to play basketball and they were happy to have found me there. It was great for me to get a chance to play with people from the other side of the world and really feel like I am getting integrated into this community and the world around me. But my team lost. Twice.

I kind of went overboard with the photos this week but I usually avoid pictures as much as possible so consider this a once-in-a-lifetime thing. The photos include me weeding, the kids and I playing with dogs, the MRI machine, the burnt out tire, oil changing, the detox room, and a class picture so you know I’m not lying about my job.

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