February 27, 2009, 8:25AM: For the third Friday in a row I find myself sitting alone in room G on the 13th floor of the Cargill building, waiting for my three students to come, knowing they never will. I’ve stopped slamming my head against the table long enough to share a few thoughts with you, but will probably recommence this practice once I remember that I’ve risen at 7:00AM three consecutive Fridays to sit in a conference room without any company for an hour and a half. The worst part is that I've truly gotten used to my students not showing up. If I were to call attendence as if I were a grade school teacher, 1/4 of the time this month I would have heard crickets. That's right, out of 12 classes I offered in February, on 4 occassions no one came, including an imressive 2 consecuative session streak two weeks ago. Granted, I’m still getting paid, but as if I didn’t have enough qualms with waking up so early to work for just an hour and a half, now I’m doing the same thing without ever working. To boot, I have to suffer through another hour and twenty minutes of people walking by my open door and giving me the “what are you doing all alone?” looks that suggest I must have driven off my students with boring lessons, which is obviously (or rather, hopefully) not the case. My self-worth is at an all time low. But hey, at least now I can listen to my podcasts and update the blog without ostracizing myself from my roommates! Thank you, Cargill, for making all my dreams come true.
On a more positive note, Zach and Evelyn’s visit has been even better than expected. Obviously they are both great company and have given us an excuse to walk extraordinary distances around the city again, but more than anything, they’ve been our most independent visitors to date. After so many visitors who received our full attention from the time we got off work until we went to sleep, it’s a nice change of pace to have Zach and Evelyn tell us they are going to go off on their own adventures for the day and that they’ll see us the next day. And this has happened twice in five days. Don’t get me wrong, we wholeheartedly enjoyed dedicating so much time to our previous visitors and it even allowed us to get to know the city even better in the process. But there is something to be said for not having to switch up our routine to accommodate visitors, however much we have enjoyed doing it.
Status update, 8:50AM: this one guy just walked by my room three times in two minutes, each time giving me a more disbelieving glance. I have since closed my door and used it to hide my presence. My students aren’t coming, there’s no reason to keep fooling myself.
At the time of publishing Evelyn’s caught some sort of traveling sickness that has rendered this fine young lass who is normally brimming with energy to be a shadow of her former self. We delved into the pharmacy in our nightstand and delivered some drugs, and we desperately hope for her return to fitness, for tomorrow we venture off to Gualeguaychú for the best that Argentina has to offer for Carnaval. Sure, it’s no Rio or New Orleans in terms of pre-Lent madness, but it’s a wonderful alternative for two reasons: first, it’s only 3-4 hours by bus and in Argentina so we don’t have to pay any tourist visas; second, it’s relatively cheap. Our bus tickets cost around 25 USD round trip, we’re bringing sandwiches and libations so we don’t have to buy as much there, and instead of staying the night in a hostel we decided to take advantage of our youth and simply stay out all night and take the first bus back to Buenos Aires at 6;00AM Sunday morning. There will be a large group of us even if Zach and Evelyn have to cancel, so we will all be each other’s biggest cheerleaders to make it through the night. But seriously, it’s only 6AM, nothing a bunch of transplants in Buenos Aires can’t handle.
Status update, 9:38AM: One of my fellow teachers, the very person who showed around the building before we started working here, just left her class and headed towards the elevators without so much as a nod of acknowledgment. Maybe her class also failed to show up and she didn’t want to make eye contact with me out of fear that I may judge her. Or, maybe she’s the one judging me, and is simply disappointed that I’ve chosen to continue occupying the room even though it’s obvious my attendance will be 0 once again. I’m guessing it’s the latter. Clearly I have too much time on my hands, it may be time to seek alternative employment. Luckily, at this point, it would seem appropriate to pack up my things and call it a day (of work). We’ll be sure to offer words and pictures about Carnaval, it should be a great time. Until then, have a great weekend, I’ll be spending the next one with you all in the States!