(I apologize for the interruption of your regularly scheduled blogging. A Thanksgiving post will resume shortly.)
OK, I have had it up to here (theoretically indicating a spot well above my head) with the copying fascism here. It is literally impossible to just go somewhere and make your own damn copies. (Or wash your own clothes, or serve your own food at a salad bar, or pump your own gas, or do ANYTHING yourself.) Yes, there are plenty of copy places for relatively cheap, but you still have to go in, talk to someone, and explain how you want your copies (enlargement, cropping, dark/light, front back, etc etc etc) and wait for them to figure it out. Why do I even need to make copies you ask? I have to make copies every single day for my various classes. Why can't I make work-related copies at my place of employment you ask? Well, I can if I want to a) use the really old copier that has about 2 settings and makes illegible copies no matter how much toner you add. No to mention that it is sitting on Juan Carlos' desk and that you are in his way the whole time you use it. At least he's super goodnatured and always chats with me and remembers to ask me stuff like how our thanksgiving went. Or b) Fill out a detailed copy request form, get it signed by my boss, and wait a day for the part-time woman to make the copies. Which is incredibly typical of Ecuador.
But, ok, I can adjust. BUT today I got a call from my BOSS (at the behest of part-time woman)asking "Do you really need 20 copies of such and such page?" !!!!!!!!!! For the love of god. This is the first time I've even requested copies, since usually such bureacracy does not mesh with my lesson planning timing. (And in my defense, I'm not just lazy, it's just usually counterproductive to plan much in advance for one on one or small groups, since you really want to adapt your lessons around how it went the day before)And yes, my biggest class is 5 people, so no, I don't need to hand out 20 pages tomorrow. But it is a reference page with much useful information on it and I didn't feel it necessary to wait a week and find the book again and fill out another form the next time I want to use it!!! Cultural differences be damned! Are they trying to save paper? That argument goes out the window since they don't make any attempt to recycle anything in the whole country. Trying to save money? How about the salary they have to pay part-time woman, all the fancy carbon copy forms they have to have printed up, and all the phone calls to check if I really need that many copies. But that's how it is here... all those jobs that we replace with some combination of technology/efficiency/self-service at the first opportunity in the US, here there are more than enough people willing to work for as little as it takes. Vending machines? No need... there are thousands of men, women, and children who make their living combing the streets, buses, etc selling every refreshment you could ever want. And so it goes.
I swear, I'm going to spend my time in the US doing nothing but making my own copies and using free internet at the library, washing my own clothes in a laundromat, and serving myself heaping plates at Old Country Buffet. Just because I can.