Billares and Atlantijazz

Wednesday was the final day of the English Intensivo course and my students invited me to go play pool with them. Considering that at home I go with Sarah Walker to play pool and have a few vodkas nearly every week, I figured this was a great idea. I was mistaken. Yes I had a great time. Yes I got to know my students well and find a nice pool club close to the school. No, I wasn’t good at pool at all.

Pool isn’t normally classed as a dangerous game: it is when I play. I don’t think that central Barranquilla pool room has ever seen so many balls fly across its tables between the pool players and salsa dancers. Heck. I was so bad that my students thought I had never played before. “Hey teacher, for your first time to are good!” If only they knew.

The guys are really nice. They’re friendly, great craic and have invited me to lots of places. However, even outside of class they call me teacher, and every single one of them uses the usted form when speaking to me (a register in Spanish used to show respect when speaking to somebody). Here in Colombia the usted form is used more commonly than in other hispanophone countries- however I still feel like I just want to be called Daniel and addressed the way they would any of their friends. Not it I mention that I find it too hard to use the usted form in conversation- it takes up too much thinking energy! The tu form is much easier, nicer and friendlier. It’s also strange being addressed with usted while your students are trying to teach you every swear word they know, teach you how to catch a bus without paying, and let you know that if you ever need a room for a night (read between the lines folks, there’s kids on the interwebs) that they’ll sort it for you.

Thursday we had a teachers meeting. Nothing much to tell really. Then during the night Christina and I went to Universidad Atlantico where a jazz concert, Atlantijazz, was on. Some of the bands were terrible, others were amazing. It was nice to do something different, something a bit cultural, and of course- something I wouldn’t normally do at home.

This weekend I have received numerous invitations. After a whole month of being invited somewhere by Colombians on just one occasion, suddenly everybody wants me to go places with them. I was invited to the Ecuador v Colombia world cup qualifier, on a date with a girl who loves gringo men, and to about 5 parties. However, this weekend has been booked up for a while- I am travelling to Cali to meet some of the other brilliant English language assistants to go on a whale watching excursion. As much as I would have loved to be part of the celebratory atmosphere in the football stadium, meet a hot Colombian chick and get drunk at lots of cool costeño parties- whale watching is something I’ve wanted to do for a while and the chance to see another part of this vibrant and exciting country is just too good an opportunity to pass up on.


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