What does a typical week for me look like in Buenos Aires?
Well, when you are a freelance ESL teacher in the so called Paris of South America, there are no typical weeks.
Mondays are mostly a day off for me. At the moment, I only teach one 1 hour class and it’s in the late afternoon, so Mondays have become a planning day for me. It is a day to buy some groceries, catch up on sleep, straighten the apartment, and plan lessons for the week. There are often some hours spent writing at a cafe as well. For those who don’t know, I am in the very early stages of writing a novel. Come back in a year or two, (or three) and I’ll have a finished novel. Monday nights I try to go to bed early to start my working week on a well rested note, but in a city that doesn’t eat dinner until 10pm, that can be hard to do.
Tuesdays start early, my alarm blaring before the sun rises so I can get up for work. Twice a week I work at a U.S. originated company located outside the city. My first class is at 9am, so with an hour to get ready, an hour and a half of travel time and a fifteen minute walk from the station to the office, I’ve already been awake for three hours by the time I start teaching. Although awake may be a bit of strong word to use. Eyes open, clinging to my mug of coffee may be a better description. I’m home again in the late afternoon and I currently don’t have any other classes on Tuesdays, so *hint hint* if you know anyone that is looking for a once a week and after work English lesson in Buenos Aires, send them my way. As for dinner, sometimes I cook, sometimes I order take out, and sometimes I’ll meet up with friends, it all depends on how the week is going.
On Wednesdays I am up once again before the sun to make it downtown by 8:20am to start teaching. I spend two mornings a week teaching at a language school by the name of Elebaires. This is the school I became certified at, more information on them later. Wednesday afternoons are sometimes free, depending on the week, though that time is filling up quickly. Sometimes I meet with my various bosses but often I have a couple free hours to run home for lunch and errands. On my most recent Wednesday, my favorite pair of jeans were hanging out the window to dry when I suddenly smelled smoke. My jeans had a hole burning in them after my upstairs neighbor so nicely dropped his still burning cigarette out his window and it landed on my pants. They were perfect jeans suitable for everything from work to going out on the weekends. I am hoping to patch them as clothes are quite expensive in this city, however, sewing is not one of my skills. It’s been almost a week and I am still bitter about the cigarette burning my favorite jeans incident.
Wednesday evenings I have a Spanish lesson with a good friend of mine. She’s Argentine and we met through our ESL certification class (she’s bilingual). I am trying to continue to improve my vocabulary and speaking fluidity with Spanish. I have learned over time that language is not something that comes natural to me, Spanish is something I have spent a lot of time and effort learning. It’s been a marathon, and I still have a ways to go. No matter though, I’m in the right place to be learning.
Thursdays are my longest days as I start by working five hours outside the city, and I end with two more hours downtown. Seven hours itself is not very many hours for one day, but I end up being away from my house for about twelve given all the commute time in the middle. Though tedious, the commutes allow for time to read and take naps, which I greatly appreciate. Last Thursday the bus I usually take to work was on strike so I had to take an alternative, which was much slower. Strikes are so common here that people don’t even ask why they’re happening. The answer would always just be “because Argentina.” The woman who hired me for the position suggested I have an alternate bus in mind to take in the event of strike because in Argentina they aren’t a question of “if” but rather “when.”
Either way, life stays interesting. Freelance teaching has a lot of unpaid time put in and it’s not something I want to do my whole life, but I’m 21, making a life for myself abroad, and figuring out what I want to do longterm, so for now, it’s perfect.
Usually by Thursday nights, my roommate and I are exhausted by the early mornings and rush hour commutes. We’ve started a habit of going out for dinner on Thursdays and treating ourselves to a couple glasses of wine. It’s that little boost to Friday we often need.
Fridays are busy, so they pass quickly. I spend the day going from class to class, leaving my apartment in Recoleta at 7:45 bound for Downtown, then to Palermo, and then back to Downtown. But by 18:30 I am free and the weekend can start, which I usually start by laying on my couch bed in the living room watching Netflix until proper Buenos Aires dinner time begins.
Argentines are inherently social people and weekends are for friends and family. Though I have no family here, so my weekends are for friends exclusively. My most recent Saturday was spent with my roommate. We started the day with a noon brunch, followed by some (window) shopping, book store browsing, and afternoon beers. We caught the extreme end of the Madrid game while getting pizza for a late lunch/early dinner at a bar around the corner from our apartment, we had arrived just as it ended and fans either rejoiced or lamented, depending on where their loyalties lie. We went home to relax and change before going out to meet up with other friends for a rooftop birthday party in Palermo.
Sundays are often my favorite days in Buenos Aires. They are often lazy days spent watching movies and football games with cups of tea. Traditionally, Argentines spend Sundays with their families, so I follow tradition and usually call home. My roommate and I often order delivery (which 90% of the time is sushi) and watch Netflix until our eyelids are heavy and we’re falling asleep, ready for yet another week of madness in the city I have made my home, Buenos Aires.