martes, 19 de mayo de 2009

This is an honest country...whether you like it or not

So, haven't been having the best week of my life. It was definitely interesting, but the result has left me with the need to sleep for at least 18 of the last 24 hours:

In an effort to combat my weeks-worth of stomach pain, I decided to make a Friday comeback. I forced myself to wake up early, and yank my ass over to Tucuman's public university for an event pairing groups of English students with native American speakers. We talked romance, clubbing, British vs. American English and roller coaster obsessions before quickly resolving to cute photo ops and Facebook exchanges. And after a long string of goodbyes, I headed out to lunch with my new American friend Sheeva. YES! There is a super-cool Iranian Sheeva HERE in Tucuman! Sometimes I must concede that I am lucky.

Sheeva explained that she'd come to Argentina to 1)shadow a famous photographer 2) develop personal development programs for children and 3) TRAVEL! Girl is sweet, and she reminded me to refocus. The days are passing too fast here, and I haven't done all that I wanted. What am I waiting for??!

I took this new resolve into the rest of the day. Still feeling stomach yuckiness, I pushed through puppetry class, yoga class, and a super-sweet play about two reality show stars fighting to become waitresses in Dubai. I even allowed myself to go against my "I feel ill" instinct and go out dancing with a few friends! And not just to any club, to an actual tiny-town Tucuman GAY CLUB! Trust me, it is just as you are imagining. Big-voiced electronica divas belting out "sexy pride" tunes amidst over-active strobe lights and under-age cruisers. Still not feeling well, I pushed myself to stay at least as long as the drag queens' Christina Aquilera "Beautiful" lament, but quickly decided to head home.

The next day, I woke up with a sore throat that has persisted into today's chest-cold horribleness. Once again committed to making the most of my time here, I pulled myself out of bed, and headed into town. There, I waited for two hours while my new Argentinean pals pleaded for forgiveness and tardily prepared to take me on a tour of the nearby mountain. The experience was mixed: 1)The scenery was incredible, but rather than taking the sick American up the actual route, my friends decided to take a difficult side trail up the river. 2) We passed the time coming up with "Troop Beverly Hills" -style chants that forced me to rhyme in Spanish, but the songs were often interrupted as I continued to fall in the river (BOO, WET FEET!) 3) Near the end of the trail, I summoned up the courage to follow my friends out onto a suspended train rail high in the mountains for lunch, a rail so high that a mis-placed foot could have cost me a fall of hundreds of feet.

While I left the mountain trip with a smile, I also felt like SHIT! I went home to recover. But after a passive aggressive text message made me realize that I was no longer welcome in the house, I spent Sunday pushing back snot, and packing my shit. I got to the new apartment Sunday night, and have spent most of the time sleeping. When not getting comforting words from my awesome new roomies, I have earned these gems of honesty from my students:

1)While going over an exercise:

me: Do you understand the assignment?
student: (pointing to my feverish forehead) Hey, nice pimples!

2)During a break, while chatting with students

student: How old are you?
me: I'm 22.
student: Wow! I thought you were older because of your...(points to my balding spot). If you're only 22, why are you losing your hair?

3) After a really cool class where my students cooked American sweets!

Students: Where do you live?
Me: Off of Calle Alem and Lavalle. Close. Well, a lot closer than before. I just moved from a house far from here. America Avenue, way out there!
Students: Oh, I like that area much better than where you are now. It's nice, and the area you are in now is very dangerous. Be careful there. You're not going to walk back are you?

Until next time...

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