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Chapter 1 – excerpt

A big red sun is climbing the sky, shining through a thin layer of clouds. The rain drops of last night are still covering the streets like a wet film, reflecting the sunbeams in all colors of the rainbow. Morning had come and I was smoking my first cigarette of the day, looking through the garage window. Later that day I would be having an interview at a school in the south of the city, for a position as an English teacher. I looked into the cup of fresh made coffee and took a sip. These two things were the main part of my daily routine of waking up; coffee and a cigarette. It’s a nasty habit, I know. The cigarette, I mean.

Natasha’s parents wanted to make me believe that drinking coffee is also bad for my health, because it damages the bone structure. I admit that drinking too much coffee is indeed bad for my health, but her parents wanted to make me believe that drinking any amount of coffee is bad.

After smoking my cigarette I went back inside, up the stairs to get ready for the interview. Natasha was lying naked and half asleep, listening to some music on her tablet. So I told her to hurry and get ready, since she knew where the school was located and for that reason had to join me. The school was located in the utter southeast of the city, near a metro station on line twelve, but I did not know how to get there; Natasha had looked it up for me.

More than an hour later, she was finally ready and we left her parents’ house where she and I lived – without her parents knowing because we hardly had any contact with them. Natasha did not want that contact anymore, and I did not care that much about it. As long as we had a roof over our heads and enough to eat, I was satisfied with what little we had. That little bit consisted of a large dining table, six chairs, a small side table, a plastic table and two mattresses; one single and one double, of considerable thickness.

We walked to the main road where we could take a bus to the metro station. From there we first had to travel to the city to then move on to another metro line that would bring us to the south. Almost at the end of the second metro line we had to move again to the southeast, where we had to get off about half way. From there it was only a few minutes walk to the office of the school where we needed to be.

Natasha would be waiting outside until I finished the conversation. I went to the office and asked for the training coordinator who would be conducting the interview. Of course I brought my CV, which I handed to him at the beginning of the interview. Initially he started to talk to me in Spanish, but when I said I was still learning Spanish, he switched almost effortlessly to English, with a heavy American accent. Volatile he studied the CV, and noticed that I spoke quite a lot of languages. Why I necessarily had chosen to teach in this school, he wanted to know; after all there were schools everywhere in the city, all of which would have a a good use of a teacher so eloquently as me. I replied that this school was one of the few who had placed an advertisement and actively looking for new teachers. He asked me if I wanted to work there rather in the southeast or rather closer to home. Indeed there were at least two or three branches of the same school almost around the corner of my home. I replied that it did not matter as much to me as long as I could share my knowledge. Then he told me that the function in this branch was designed for beginning teachers, and that he could give only six hours a week, on Saturdays. Again I responded in an – in my view – appropriate manner by stating that six hours was better than no hours at all. After talking about a few general matters, he said that the interview had come to an end. He had to discuss my application with the manager, after which a second interview with the manager would follow, then a psychological test and some general formalities. I would get notice within two weeks. Then he said goodbye and wished me a good trip home.

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