Wednesday, October 8, 2008
With our TEFL diplomas signed, sealed, and delivered, Nick and I are officially certified English teachers. Looking for work in Buenos Aires is an informal connecting of the dots, a hop-scotch across the city from one arrow to the next. These arrows come in the form of emails, newspaper advertisements, and good old word-of-mouth. Our first interviews were at a company where we interviewed together in a joint meeting led by one woman wearing tight jeans and converse sneakers and another woman wearing skin-tight white pants who laughed in her gravelly voice and tossed her Shakira-style mane between each and every question. We left the office laughing, and our interviewers kissed us both on the cheek before we got out the door. Since that interview, a few more emails have trickled into our inboxes, and Nick began his first job today and I began my first job on Saturday. Nick is currently on the number 33 bus headed to an IT company where he will teach employees about how to communicate with their American and British co-workers and clients. On Saturday and on Tuesday I headed out to privately tutor a young woman who needs assistance creating a presentation she must show to the American directors of her company. It is funny, our loopy schedules that have us teaching on Saturday mornings or Thursday evenings and for random chunks in the middle of the days. But it is nice to have free gaps where we can make a big lunch, or sit with coffee for some stolen morning hours, or take a bike ride through the park on a two hour break in-between lessons and interviews.
Without having impending class deadlines looming over our heads, I feel as though our minds have been freed to focus on the moment, and I have noticed so much more of what is in front of me now that class is over. I have since taken note of the woman who gets on the subte by our apartment, the woman who always stops to kiss the mosaic of the Virgin Mary that protects the descending stairwell. I have noticed the graffiti tattooed onto the wall of my tutee´s apartment building, an image of a rockstar lifting an electric guitar over his head, with none-other than the name MAXWELL spray-painted in block letters above the hailed instrument. I have time to chat with the grocer across the street, who likes to practice the one English poem he knows--roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet, and so are you--as I pay for the milk and chocolate I buy from him. Without having to stay cooped up in our apartment, head bent over our keyboards pounding out lessons and essays, Nick and I sometimes get to go to the Ecological Reserve during the day and take note of the wildlife that flocks there at noon versus the wildlife present at dusk. Along the way we get to take note of the laughter from the school children who race down the slide at their recess, a sea of blue-and-white uniform clad kids running in mini converse high-tops.
Perhaps most importantly, now there is time to get down to learning Spanish. This afternoon we are going to our first free Spanish class, at a language school in Palermo, and I think it will become a weekly endeavor. Cecilia has left for Spain to spend a month there with her boyfriend, and our goal is to be able to speak to her in a much more fluid way when she returns. Espanol, here we come.