Monday, March 17, 2008

Tales From The Trenches

Just one crazy part of my job is to make sure that my students' arrivals and departures at the airport go fine. So I'm often dealing with the intricacies of international travel without actually getting to internationally travel. I also attend to just about their every need for the nine weeks that they are here. I have done everything from take students to the hospital to explain how a bank account works to scrub out the pubic hairs in the showers of their apartments. I often feel like a mother of 15 special-needs children....who don't speak the language. But it makes for some good stories. For instance:
This past Sunday morning I'd already taken one group of students to the airport at 4:00am and had to double back to pick up another group at 5:45am. This was a group of five Russians. That's a lot of bags, a lot of people to check in at once, and a whole lot of opportunities for things to go awry, in case you were wondering. So we've loaded up the big van and we're all ready to go except for one guy who is nowhere to be found. I knock and knock on his door and finally just go up into his room.....where he is fast asleep, on the floor, under his desk and desk chair. This is a man who is married and father to an eighteen year-old son. He is older than I am and yet I must stand over him and yell into his boozy ear, "WAKE UP! We are late for the airport!" We're nearly to the airport when he informs me that he's made a mistake. "Oh no," I think, "If he's forgotten his passport I will kill him." But instead he's forgotten his sweater. I am so relieved that I forget to treat it like the serious loss he implies it is.

Then there's the time that a student from Palestine was on his way to the airport to return home and asked if he could STOP AT BEST BUY BECAUSE HE NEEDED TO BUY A COMPUTER FOR HIS FAMILY. You know, just make a little computer purchase pit stop on the way to the airport.

I usually miss the students when they leave but I'd by lying if I said I'm not always a little relieved when I see they've made it safely through security and are on their way to the gate.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

P acts like it's some huge inconvenience if I ask him to stop for tampons on our way to someplace local. I'm thinking I'll tell him I must buy a computer for my family on our way to dinner some Friday night. Let's see what happens!