Retiro Train Station
I successfully completed my first week of work! Please keep in mind that this means I worked a grand total of 1 hour hahah... But that's only because the rest of my classes start this week so I will be up to 6 hours a week with my one job and hopefully I'll have something else lined up by the end of the week. The first class I taught was a private lesson with an executive for Chubb Insurance. We basically just chatted and drank coffee for an hour. He doesn't want formal English lessons with books and homework, he just wants to practice speaking and have me correct his pronunciation. So I think I can handle that no problem. My class tomorrow is a bit more difficult because it is a group of beginners who haven't had an English lesson in about 5 months.
On Boat to Tres Bocas
Also their previous teacher was Argentine so most of their classes were conducted in Spanish... so this will be quite a change for them. I think I will have to spend most of the class just trying to figure out their level and then I'll be able to design a more concrete plan next week.
Aside from this intensive work schedule, I went on a really nice day trip yesterday to a town called El Tigre. It's about an hours train ride outside the city and completely different than Buenos Aires. It was so nice to get out of the city and just relax in this much quieter town. The town itself was fairly touristy with all sorts of artists stands set up selling various crafts and souveneirs, but it's situated right next to the river so we also took a boat ride.
The boat was more like a water taxi with people constantly getting on and off as this was the only way to get to some of their houses. We ended up getting off at Tres Bocas which is a neighborhood with many vacation homes and houses for rent, but also has a few restaurants and a nice hike through the woods. After walking through the forest for a while, we had lunch at this little parilla (bbq) on the water. I think it is important for everyone to know that I have FINALLY eaten meat. I tried some steak and was extremely surprised to find I actually liked it! I thought it would be super chewy and gamey, but it had a really delicious grilled flavor and was very tender. Don't get too excited, I don't think Argentina will turn me into a huge carnivore, but I think I would definitely try it again.
Only took 23 years for me to finally eat some real meat, and Argentina is definitely the perfect place for it! El Tigre is also home to this super ghetto amusement park. Most of it looked abandoned and falling apart but they did seem to have a functioning farriswheel... We just barely made the train back and ended up essentially in steerage, in the last traincar that had no seats. Everyone was just sprawled out on the ground and people were walking through the piles of people trying to sell all sorts of random stuff like chocolate bars, nail files, rubber duckies, paper hats... etc. It made for quite the entertaining ride back.
Last week I also went to this Brazilian drum show with my roommates which was really cool. It was in this huge warehouse-like place and there were about a dozen percusionists on stage all with different instruments.
First bite of steak
They were fantastic musicians and played some really great music. They even brought on a guitarist at one point who sang along for a few songs.
Things are still good at my apartment and two more girls have moved in. They are also from France and are spending the semester here in an exchange program. The other day I finally managed to figure out the laundry situation in my house too. It was quite ridiculous-- took me about 3 days to finish 2 loads... but after figuring out the mysterious buttons on the washer and laying out every piece of clothing I brought with on the patio, everything is finally dried and clean!
I've continued to explore Buenos Aires and have gone to a few museums with interesting exhibitions. Today I went to this library downtown that is in a converted theatre. The building still looks exactly like an old oriental theatre with ornate decorations, painted ceiling, and a stage, but where once stood seats and balconies, now are rows upon rows of books. It was really cool to walk around and they even had a few English books!
Well, I am going to try to finish up my lesson plan for tomorrow.