On Friday Buck and I went to the ATM to withdraw money. We did a transaction and didn’t receive an error message, but no money came out either. It was 5:20pm so the bank was closed, but I asked the security guard to call someone from inside, because I had heard voices inside the building when I was at the ATM. Both the guard and my colleague who happened to be there told me to just do the withdrawal again. Repeatedly. I told them I wasn’t doing anything again until I knew for sure that the first transaction hadn’t gone through. I went over to the window of the lobby and started knocking on the glass until I got someone’s attention. He gave me a look like “stupid tourist” and indicated that the bank was closed. I indicated that I understood, and then pointed to the ATM. Rather than coming over to me he just stood there, so I started yelling my problem to him through the glass. He gave me an exasperated look and walked outside to talk to me. I explained what had happened and he explained that since we had asked for an amount that ended in 50, rather than 100, it hadn’t worked because the machine didn’t give in 50s. I asked him why the machine gave the option if it wasn’t possible. He just stared at me. He promised me that the first transaction hadn’t gone through and to just try it again. Then I asked his name. He laughed. No really, I told him, I wanted to know his name. He laughed again and then told me his name and asked why. “Because I am going to check my bank statement, and if there are two transactions on July 8th—even though you promised me there wouldn’t be—then I will come back here Mr. ----- and we will need to chat.” He laughed, but when I smiled an assured him I wasn’t kidding he looked a little nervous.
This afternoon my pedagogical director knocked on my door which was strange since it was a Sunday afternoon. “Do you have any of those things your girls’ group makes?” he asked me. Apparently there was an exhibition for the schools in the province and they wanted to send the earrings my REDES group makes and sells to represent our school. His timing was bad; my dad has bought every single pair to take back to America as gifts or to sell for us. But moments like this frustrate me. Our REDES group gets ZERO support from our school, and in fact I face a certain amount of opposition when it comes to REDES (though some of that is more to do with my administrative position than my group). We meet outside my house or in the library after it’s closed because our school has no space to give us. We receive no materials, funding, any other type of support from the school, or barely any recognition—everyone still refers to it as “professor Anata’s group” which drives me crazy. And the REDES conferences, which happen during school breaks, are difficult—if you remember last year I couldn’t go until the second-to-last-day, and this year is still up in the air. But despite this lack of support for our group, when something like this happens when it makes the school looks good, suddenly the school is a huge fan. At one point last trimester I was called in because the provincial direction of education wanted to know what kind of extra-curricular activities our school had. I run every single extra-curricular activity at our school outside of athletics. Again, I receive no support whatsoever from the school, and we are rarely even recognized. Until it is beneficial for the school.