Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Life Matters

Brain dump. For me, mostly.

* The whole tax business in El Salvador is pretty funny to me. To start, we have a sidewalk tax. It's about $3.95 a year, and (I think) it means that you are allowed to use the sidewalk for the next 12 months. Then, when April comes around, you have to go in person to turn in your income tax forms. They don't accept it by mail or by internet. (But they do accept other people turning it in on your behalf. Strange.) And then, about 6 months later, you go pick up your refund -- in cash!! -- at any branch of Banco Agricola. At that point, the bank teller will tell you that they cannot issue you a check. So, if you're like me, you lug hundreds of dollars in cash while walking back from the bank -- an extra exciting experience in this country. It's strangeness all around.

* New York State Department of Ed is also pretty funny. A while ago, I was trying to get a duplicate copy of my teaching certificate, for job-searching purposes and also in case my current school gets audited. I went online, logged into the TEACH system, paid my $25 dollars, and then only afterwards saw a fine print somewhere on a totally separate FAQ page that they have, in fact, stopped the service of printing paper certificates for "time-limited teaching certificates!" In fact, they have completely eliminated the job of the person who used to print the paper certificates! Well, at this point, my options were to A.) pay another 50 bucks to upgrade my certification, still 3 years before the current one is going to expire, or B.) forget the paper copy. My potential employers and the Salvadorean Ministry of Education are going to just have to make do with my print-screen version of the "teaching certificate."

I was pretty mad (and almost equally amused). But, I am pretty stingy as well, so I decided to wait it out. --What do you know? Two or three weeks later, I get my duplicate certificate in the mail. :)

* I am about 85% sure I will be going to London in January for a job fair. I was waiting for days on a confirmation from my recruiters that my application and recommendations and payment all checked out, before I made travel arrangements. I had to follow up with them, because I noticed that the airfare had dropped $140 over the weekend (from $1100 to about $950). So, finally, I heard back from them this morning, and I rushed to log in to Kayak to buy the tickets. --Guess what? They're back up to $1100. And that's not including paying the recruiters, or hotel or food. So, that's all very expensive, and I'm back to being in a limbo about whether this is the right move. There is a good chance I won't get a job at this fair (for various reasons, timing and my lack of IB experience being the key ones), but if I don't go, I know I will regret it when I am stuck still looking for a job in April........

* Incredibly (as though I don't already have enough to do in the middle of job-searching and preparing kids for midterms), I am also working on applying to a summer program. I've already written my personal statement, put in orders for my transcripts (both undergrad and grad), and given the recommendation forms to my supervisors. I am feeling like this is not going to all pan out, but I feel OK about it. In case you can't tell, I am practicing being more of a go-getter, and my backup plan for the summer is to go to Herrang (in Sweden) during their month-long swing dance camp, and to dance until my legs break into pieces.

So, that's it. All of the things floating around in my head!

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