My Time in Latvia (Part 8)

I learned to drink one shot to be polite and then leave any other shots full so they would not refill.  There is no way I could have taught classes with many shots of vodka.  At the time I thought of how strange that would seem to Amveerican teachers, and maybe some would like it.

My students were well behaved, respectful and for the most part I did not have any trouble with students misbehaving.  The only trouble I had was with a student in the 9th grade.  Every day he would interrupt class and get his friends to do so as well.  I decided I had to do something about their behavior.  I went home and thought about some solutions and decided I would give them a try.  I was the mean teacher who implemented a boy/girl seating chart, much to the dismay of the class.  It broke up the group of boys from disrupting the class but one student continued to be a problem.  I called on him to answer a question and he did not understand.  I went on to another student and at the end of the class I asked the student to stay after.  I asked him if he was having a hard time understanding the lessons.  He told me yes.  I told him I would be happy to work with him outside of class if he needed some tutoring.  I did not have trouble with any students after that.

Once I started teaching I had to set up a bank account.  The town had one bank and one afternoon I went in to start an account.  The woman asked me my name and I told her Wendy.  I saw she wrote down Vendija, the Latvian version of my name.  I told her the Peace Corps would send my checks to Wendy B…  She told me I could not have two names on my account.  I agreed.  She handed me my bank book with the name Vendija printed on it.  I decided it was’t worth the fight and let it be.  Most Latvians did call me Vendija, but on legal documents I was hoping to have my actual name.

One afternoon I was walking down the dirt street to the school after eating lunch at home.  As I walked maybe a quarter of a mile I saw a bull standing in a field close to the side of the road.  He had horns and stared at me as I approached.  My heart stopped when I realized there was no fence around the field.



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I am a freelance writer and artist living in southern California.

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