Wednesday, December 3, 2008

taking the good with the bad

(Tuesday December 2, 2008)

Todays classes were much better, I wasn't as frustrated as the other days. I finally did a class exercise in the past tense with ease. (yeah! it's sinking in) After class today they gave us (the students from last week) the level 1 exam. We started taking it in a room and then we were kicked out. I went up to the roof top, but was uncomfortable because there weren't any tables, so I took the exam home. I'm not trying to receive a certificate, so the test is for me and the school to know how much I learned.

I headed home to find a cafe. I ventured two more blocks than I normally do and found a place to sit outside and take the test. At first I didn't want to take it, but once I started, I was glad I did. It made me realize how much I learned. Level 1 seems easy now. For how frustrated I get, I must keep reminding myself that in just one week I've come so far with my spanish. I'm still terrible, but I'm much better than I was when I arrived.

Sitting at the cafe today I was thinking about how lucky I am.... in a cafe, in Buenos Aires, drinking red wine and studying spanish. What a dream...

I sat at the cafe for about an hour and a half. During this time two boys selling small calendars and one boy selling a small pack of tissues came to my table. They walked up to my table, put their merchandise down, and did the same to other tables, then they walk back, stare at you and collect what they were trying to sell. All three boys were between 6-8 years old. Also, a man with a dirty dirty 3 year old child went to every table asking for money. Many people gave the man food (rolls, bread, quesadillas). He walked away and sat on a set of stairs one building down. An hour and a half later he came back to hit up more people. When I left the cafe I walked past the building where he was sitting, and on the step lie ALL the food he was given for him and his child...still there, just sitting on the step and he was gone.

I returned to the house. The maid was still here. It's very common to have a maid here. I didn't want to be in her way so I grabbed my dirty clothes to go to the laundromat. The laundromat is just a couple doors down. You hand over your clothes and people wash your clothes for's inexpensively too!!!! Tomorrow I'll see how much it costs. My roommate said around 10 pesos.

When I returned back to the house I crashed. I took a long nap.

Finally something bad happened, I was waiting... things were too perfect.
The german girl came home and knocked on my door. We started talking and went into the kitchen. A little while later Alejandro walked in. I yelled out "Hola!" when the door opened and he (only speaking spanish) said something like who didn't lock the door? I pointed to the German girl and smiled big, then Alejandro starting yelling. Oh crap....I had to really listen to what he was saying because he was talking so fast in Spanish, then i remembered.

this morning i wrote him a note telling him that the wooden blinds on the outside of my window were stuck in the up position. (the wooden blinds keep the sun out in the summer). I didn't understand much of what he was saying, but I understood he was pissed off. I understood "you need to be more careful" "they're broken" "we have to pay"...I responded with my limited spanish "I'm sorry" "I'll pay". He kept going and going and going. I eventually walked in my room and he went to follow. I made the hand gesture "shoo / go" and closed my door. Yes, I was the one who pulled on the fabric strap in the inside of the window to make the wooden curtains go up, but I did not break them on purpose. They are old, wooden and rotting, but I take responsibility and I want to pay.

Mirta came home and knocked on my door. She had a kinder approach. I told her in english that I was sorry and I wanted to pay to have them fixed. THEN she said I broke the toilet too!!!! I got so mad and frustrated I burst into tears. How could I have broken the toilet, especially when other people use it. You can't break plumbing, it breaks over time or with ware. I told her that wasn't fair, especially when other people use it. She disagreed and said that it's just my bathroom, no one else uses it. But several times I went in and toilet paper was gone, the seat was up, my soap was moved. I didn't care people used it, but now I'm getting blamed.

She then agreed that the bathroom wasn't my fault and said she understood the wooden curtain was an accident. I said I wanted to pay for the curtain, but not the toilet.

She said Alejandro was sorry, he got upset when two things I use were broken. He made an 'I'm sorry face" and came towards me to kiss my cheek and I put my hands up. I except his apology but no kisses are needed. No gracias.

Later tonight after things settled, the German girl came into my room. She asked what happened. Then she said Mirta told the Chinese girl earlier today that she (Mirta) needed to call one of our schools to ask for more money....shit, I bet that's me.

Yes, I pulled up the wooden outside curtain when it broke. I should pay for that, but how are they going to try to get money for a toilet that won't flush? If I did break the toilet just how did I go about doing that? I pushed the button on the wall... This really angers me.

I plan on talking with my school tomorrow.

money spent today
2 pesos subway
5 pesos pastries for me and classmates
19 pesos for a glass of red wine and 3 empanadas