Today’s post is brought to you from Glenn’s studio. The power is out at home. Again. Almost every day now, we experience outages. It started early this morning with brown-outs, where the power is on, but reduced; only our lamps, coffee maker, and laptop chargers worked. Everything else wouldn’t work. I’ve gotten used to living without AC, but working in an unventilated room in 85+ degrees without a fan? Well, that feels like hell on Earth.
The Internet was still working, mind you. That is, until literally one minute before I had to teach a lesson. I had to use my phone to send an email to my managers asking them to call my student and let her know that I had to cancel our lesson. Having to email my managers like that once or twice is fine. Having to do it once a week–or more–is embarrassing. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if I get fired because I’m “unreliable.”
Oh, and we didn’t have any water on Monday and Tuesday.
Yeah; the rose-colored glasses have come off. Puerto Rico is a beautiful island, but it’s riddled with corruption, nepotism, and incompetence. My classmates, most of whom are public school teachers, complain about not having books, Internet, or any materials for their classrooms (the Department of Education no longer allows textbooks in order to “save trees,” yet doesn’t equip classrooms with computers and Internet). The teaching salary here is barely above minimum wage. Yet Puerto Rico’s budget for education is roughly 12% of its entire budget. So where does the money go? Nobody knows! (Read more about it in this blog: http://blog.panampost.com/frank-worley-lopez/2014/08/19/the-myth-of-underfunded-education-in-puerto-rico/).
On Tuesdays, Glenn and I eat out after I come home from class. He works late and I’m at school until 9pm, so I come back, pick him up, and we go out to dinner. This week, we went to a Chinese restaurant here in town. Our server was fluent in English as he had lived in New York and then in Florida for many years. He came back to Puerto Rico because he got a job working at Johnson & Johnson here on the west side of the island. He was awarded “Employee of the Month” on several occasions, yet was fired after 11 months of employment since he hadn’t made “any close friends with anyone in the company.” Now, he waits on tables and cleans toilets at a Chinese restaurant. We wonder why Glenn couldn’t get a job at any of the 5 gyms in the area? Nepotism. If you don’t have family or a very close friend, you will NOT get hired–even if you are the most qualified candidate for the job. 100% guaranteed.
It makes sense, though; it explains why there are so many incompetent idiots working in the government offices! There are 3 ways to make a living here: 1) Be born into money and inherit a cushy government position, 2) Work really, really hard every minute of every day and don’t spend a penny of what you make, or 3) get on welfare. They don’t call Puerto Rico a “welfare state” for nothing, you know.
My other gripe is the monopolies: there is one electric company, one water company, and two Internet conglomerates in the entire island. We don’t get to choose the company that provides the best service, because there are no choices. Because these companies control everything, they do as they please, which is mostly charging us up the wazoo for extremely poor service. I don’t know how the Puerto Rican government gets so much money from the US, is in debt and can’t support the island’s infrastructure, but manages to give the president of the water company a 10% raise.
Welcome to Puerto Rico!
The daily frustrations are starting to get to me. It adds a lot of stress to my life, which I really don’t need right now considering I have a presentation in class tonight worth 30% of my grade and 3 midterms next week.
I think I’m going crazy!