I have been rotting in bed with this tropical malady for seven long days now. I am not even a little bit better and my self-pity is becoming unmanageable. I had a Skype chat earlier with a London friend and, rather embarrassingly, it ended in tears. She said “Ok well I’d better go, Robinson,” and I promptly started crying and said in a tiny, pathetic voice, “No, please don’t leave me, I’m so lonely, can’t we talk a bit longer?”
Oh dear. C’mon now, Robinson, things really aren’t that bad. This is the problem with being ill: too much time in your own company. It’s not my strong point. I’m a pack animal. Me and my pack don’t have to be white water rafting or deconstructing the Middle East, we just need to be in a room together and I’m, like, blissed out man. (I am often heard shouting “I’M SO HAPPY, I LOVE YOU GUYS” in these circumstances – before so much as looking at a glass of wine. Fool!)
Left to my own devices – or to my small bedroom in Buenos Aires – I don’t fare so well. Apart from the odd essential trip out to discuss a job or look at an apartment I’ve spent my time staring disconsolately at the ceiling or at my empty inbox, feeling increasingly like the world is ending.
I think the real problem is that I’ve been here for six weeks now and I still haven’t had a chance to actually do anything, see anything or meet anyone. My first ten days were spent running around looking for an apartment/mobile phone/supply of winter clothes and cramming in as many Spanish lessons as I possibly could with beautiful Alfredo. Socialising did happen but it was minimal.
Then I started a teaching course and my life went down the bog completely. Have any of you done a tefl? Christ alive, those courses are a NIGHTMARE! I don’t think I went to bed before 2am once in the whole four weeks. I had an English Grammar book stapled to my face and dreamed of phrasal verbs and the third conditional. It was rather hilarious really; I went into it thinking they’d be lucky to have me – me, with my first in literature; me, the writer with perfect grammar, me, the cheerful girl brimful of confidence… Surely I’d be the best student they’d ever had!
Er, not so much. Having decent grammar and understanding how it works are two very different things. Appreciating 17th century poetry means jack. Being able to talk confidently in public generally leads to rubbish, didactic teaching. Nope, I was right down at the bottom of the pile where I belonged. Clueless; stressed, incapable. On the rare occasions when I was able to enjoy a drink with my coursemates (so rare that I think I documented all of them in this blog) I got wasted after only a tiny amount and behaved like a total knob. It was a brilliant learning experience and I’m glad I did it but it wasn’t very compatible with my plans for romance, steak, wine and general backpackerish abandon.
And as soon as the course ended I promptly got flu. I have been in bed ever since. I am a qualified English Teacher and festering vegetable. I am an intrepid traveller and self-pitying moron who can’t even leave her bedroom without a taxi.
This is not what I had planned for this trip, readers! Where is my passionate affair with a porteno? Where is my friendship with a crinkly old local who I meet with to drink mate and play cards? What happened to tangoing and volunteering and sitting at pavement cafe tables with a cigar and a robust volume of Borges essays?
Oh God, shut up Robinson. Get better, stop being so bloody impatient and maybe try enjoying the fact that you are at least ill in Argentina rather than ill in London where you’ve spent the last ten years. This too shall pass, you self-pitying idiot.
Er, right. Ok then. Pity party over.*