Sunday, March 25, 2012

Then and Now 32 - Amy

Then and Now 32 - Amy
Time: Late 2007, single and at my apartment.

I had finished up a shift of work one day, and had taught my final student for the evening: this whip-smart young girl who easily rivalled native English speakers in skill. She was one of my best students, in terms of not only skill and study ethic, but cheery and funny personality, as well. When she had left, my boss came in the classroom with two locals I didn't know. One was a beautiful girl in her twenties, and the other was a guy who was a decade or two older.

I soon learned that the girl, Amy, was a somewhat known (now semi-famous) model who had appeared in magazines, at store openings and at several charity events in this country and a few others. The man was her manager, and spoke mostly in the local language with my boss while I listened in. They had come to the school looking for a foreigner to teach Amy English so she could better communicate as she worked around the world. I was going to be paid thirty dollars an hour for a class or two every week, if I accepted.

I agreed, and introduced myself to both of them. Almost immediately, I acted like a complete idiot when I heard Amy's working name, which sounded like something in another language I had learned, and I told her this. I was trying to show my language skill to provide examples of how I could help her learn, but it turned out that Amy knew about the slightly suggestive double meaning from dozens of other people. I saw a flash of annoyance as she told me, but I didn't know she was really bothered about it until later, when I apologized for my comment. But at that point, we were getting along very well. I got to know about her and the work she did modeling clothes, the places she had been and her experiences abroad, and I shared some of my own stories traveling around. She and her manager left shortly after, and Amy and I met up in the middle of town, just outside the main station, a few days later.

The restaurant where we got something to eat was a great place. There were two floors, and the walls were large glass windows that provided looks to the tree-lined streets outside. There were many pieces of local art and pictures hanging all over the walls, including vases, landscape pictures, local flora, and much more. It was a fancy place, one that I never really ate at because I wanted to save money for charity later, but there I was with a beautiful model that day. And not only that, but Amy had a minority, but substantial, stake in the restaurant, so she and I got to eat for free. We ate on the second floor a little ways away from a wide window that looked out onto a couple of apartment buildings and a little park down the road. She had some vegetables and a little spaghetti, while I had some incredibly delicious breaded soup.

Our tutoring session was a pretty simple affair: I shared a couple of English idioms with her based on some common themes (Hammer of God, drop the hammer, etc...), and used them as a springboard to let her practice her speaking skills on other topics. About half an hour later, some friends of hers came over and sat at a table nearby, and she talked with them in the local language about what they were up to. After a short while, I waved hello to everyone, then Amy and I went back to our lesson. When lunch and our class was done, we went outside, and I took a picture with her so I could brag to my friends about knowing a model. She and I set up another time to meet up, then I started down the road back to the main station.

It was either a Sunday or a Tuesday that day, because I didn't have work in the afternoon and the sun was still shining brightly after that lunch class. The roads were pretty clear of traffic, but there was still quite a bit of bustle from other pedestrians and a couple of cars zooming by. I walked down the hot streets for a while, until I came by a freeway underpass where I sought shelter from the sun for a bit. A little bit later, I found myself in front of a museum or office building of some sort, and there was a strange sculpture out front: it was a little tower, maybe twenty feet high, and made of metal. The metal wound around itself like a double helix, then met up at a colored, metallic circle on the top. It hit me there, as it hit me many other times before I got married, that I was a stranger in a strange land and seeing little sights like this every day, when every other person I had ever known was back home and going through the same routine day in and day out. I felt blessed.

As if on cue, when I was starting to near the main station, I saw a very large temple across the street on my right, so I decided it would be nice to have a look. I don't remember what the outside looked like, but inside, it was spacious, tall and very clean. The ceiling was at least twenty or thirty feet high, the floors were sparkling white, and there were several white columns in a square pattern holding the building up. A balcony ran in a circle around the top of the building on the second floor, and behind it were several little offices and a library where the caretakers studied and slept, but I didn't want to intrude by going up to look around more closely.

Across from the entrance was the very best sight of all, though: there were three golden statues of famous religious figures, each serenly looking out on the peaceful, but empty, temple. I was the only one there at that time, and it seemed like I was the only one being looked after by the local deities. If that was the case, I wouldn't have been surprised: I was still a single man, I just had lunch with a beautiful model, and I was enjoying every minute of my fun life. Who wouldn't feel blessed at that point?

As for today...

I woke up at 10:00.
I played video games.
My wife and son woke up, so I turned off the computer.
I ate lunch.
I watched TV.
I played cars with my son.
My wife took him to his grandma's house.
I played video games.
I went out to tutor a student.
I came home to an empty house.
I played video games.
My wife and son came home, so I turned off the computer.
I ate dinner.
I started a load of laundry.
I folded and put away dry clothes.
I cleaned up the floor and table.
I slept.

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