Even the simplest things that I take for granted, now, are part of a routine that I take for granted. I figured I may as well share some of it:
On Friday mornings I wake up at 5 AM. Some mornings I’m rushing out to door to stop at an internet café to print out some worksheets for class, but since none of those places is open that early, I have to prepare all that the day before LIKE A RESPONSIBLE PERSON. Ugh! Fortunately, I prepared myself pretty well the night before, prepping the lesson plans, my breakfast, and my clothes for the day, so I could afford to hit the snooze multiple times. The sun doesn’t come up until about 5:50, so it can be really hard to get out bed that early. I got ready and was out the door by 6 AM. At this time, one of my neighbors a block down lets his roosters (about 10) roam around the tremendously cracked, concrete street. The move out of the way as I walk past, looking down, carefully, trying not to trip on the rubble and holes that are all too common throughout the city. Most of the little shops along Calle 57, the major avenue I always walk up to get to the Transmilenio, are still closed; except for a few bakeries. The street is considerably emptier than it is during the late morning or afternoon, but there is still action. As you approach Las Caracas, a major avenue that the Transmilenio runs on, you’ll begin to find coffee and fresh-squeezed orange and mandarin juice venders; usually they’re women with latex cloves and strong arms. When you pay them, they will often respond, “A la orden, Reina.” — At your service, queen. If you smile, they often will refill your cup. I never order these things when I’m on the way to class, though, because the Transmilenio would cause any drink to spill and one never knows when the car you need will be completely full.
I usually take the B18 to get to this class, which is at the end of one of the lines, at a station called Centro Commercial Santa Fe. It’s often packed by the time you board, but empty half-way through the trip and it makes the fewest stops between my station and the last one. The station I always use, conveniently called, Estacion Calle 57, runs in the middle of the avenue, like all the Transmilenios do, and the platform spans two, long, city blocks– one entrance is at the 57th block and the other at 55. The B18 is at the WAY other end of the platform, closer to the 55th street. The rickety metal platform always shakes and makes this unstable, metallic sound when you speed walk (or run) across it. I would walk down the sidewalk to the 55, but that WHOLE stretch– from 57 to 53– is a pet-shop district; full of adorable puppies in tiny, glass cases. They are adorable and it is super duper depressing. I do my best to avoid that whole strip.
For some reason, this morning the B18 was just NOT coming. Other Transmilenio buses do go to the end, but many of them don’t and some of them stop at every single stop in between– about 10! I opted to take a series of buses, transferring when necessary, rather than waiting. It turned out fine. There are maps at each station that show which buses stop at which stations. Not so hard!
This class is with a Mercedez Benz dealership. I got there right on time. The class is a basic level and made up of two women and one man. The class was mostly grammar oriented today: we talked about subject and object pronouns. It’s not the most exciting topic, but the students are always fun to be around and I it often comes with a coffee! We go up to a conference room and I write on a whiteboard. It’s great. I love whiteboards. Today, it was like 65 degrees and I KID YOU NOT, these students were shivering and complaining about how cold it was about every five minutes. I was in a long sleeve shirt and FINE: they were in coats and scarves and SHIVERING. So silly. I stayed after class for an extra 20 minutes, drinking coffee and chatting with the students. I bought a banana from a little fruit and vegetable shop and headed back to the Transmilenio. About four of five stops later, I got to the station Pepe Sierra, and walked the few blocks along a narrow stream and a park to my next student’s house.
As usual, I ring the bell, the doorman lets me in, greetings are exchanged, etc. etc. My student is the principal of a bilingual middle school and trying to learn English for her profession, like the majority of Colombian English students. We sit in her sun-lit study, filled with pictures of her children and grandchildren and husband. Most of the pictures are of them riding horses or near horses or at some equestrian event. We’ve been practicing a lot of grammar on paper lately, so today we talked for the whole class, instead. Apparently, one of her sons is a veterinarian and she asked me how to say pacientes que son caballos. “Ugh…. ‘Horse Patients,’ I guess?” I replied, at a loss, never in my life having had the need to combine those two words. Now that I think of it, though, Horse Patients would be a great name for a band, don’t ya think? ….. Eh, I’ll sleep on it.
It being holiday right now, I don’t have that many classes, so these days I only have one or two a day. Once the second week of January rolls around, work should pick up a bit. I left class, took the TM back home and made some lunch: I had prepared a typical caldo last night– a broth– with potatoes, onions, green beans, carrots, garlic, celery and fresh cilantro. I heated it up and cracked two eggs into it– also, very common!
I knew since yesterday that I wasn’t going to be in the mood to go out tonight, especially since the city is still pretty darn quiet with many people out of town, so I’m probably going to spend the rest of the day making lesson plans and doing some art. Also, my students at Mercedes Benz asked if could teach class tomorrow and that gave me just one more excuse to stay in tonight! I’m such a nerd! Fortunately, my form of hibernation doesn’t involve frostbite! The internet at the house isn’t working, so I’ve been sitting outside at a café for the past hour or so, taking care of internet business. Oh right! And here’s a picture!
Walking home from the Transmilenio at about 5:45/6 in the evening. This is a block and a half away from my house. I love my neighborhood!
OK, that’s enough for now. OVER AND OUT!