02 July 2011

when it's hot, the crazies come out to play

So. . . sometimes things get worse before they get better. Or they get a little better, and then worse, and then better again. Either way, there was no obvious change in camp come Monday. I will say that I had a pretty good weekend, largely filled with procrastination of the 'let's plan to go to the swimming pool/park all day and then not actually leave until 5 in the afternoon' variety, and--here's the best part--I got to see part of an Italian baseball game when we finally made it to the park on Sunday afternoon! The pitching could not have been any faster than 60 or 70, and I could easily start in the outfield for the teams we watched, but it was still really cool.

But back to camp.

The children came back on Monday with just as much unharnessed energy. I pushed for no water games, worried that it would get out of hand, but in the end we decided to keep the pace of the games slow and make sure that the children had no access to the balloons. In the end, I think we were able to manage it well.

As it became more and more obvious that the kids weren't going to change their attitudes (even though we thought they needed to), we decided that we would have to change ours instead. I instituted a policy based on a philosophy of a friend of mine: we, the tutors, were only allowed to have good days or great days, and that choice was up to us.

A large part of our will to survive came from our after-work excursions to the brewery around the corner. It became something to look forward to, and it also encouraged team bonding and good communication. And the drinks were top notch (two words: free pour).

It was on our way to this brewery Thursday afternoon, sans Will, that Cat, Kelly, and I got a huge (not literally) and completely unwelcome surprise. We were walking down the sidewalk, discussing the day that had been. The graffiti around us was beautiful, we were in the shade, a man on a bike wearing blue spandex did a double take in our direction as he swerved off the street and onto the sidewalk, before vanishing into the distance--everything was as it should have been. We walked and talked and were off in our own world.

But Kelly's panicked voice brought us back. "Um, WHAT?! What was that man doing?" We had just passed the cyclist in blue spandex.

"Was he doing something weird?" I asked, as we stopped. I already had an idea of what she was going to say, even though I hadn't seen anything. And according to Kelly, the unfortunate eyewitness, I was correct.

By this time, we were about ten feet past him. I turned around, stared him down, and said, "What the [swear word here] do you think you're doing?" He looked back for a second, decided we were too much trouble, and rode off on his bike.

There was no one else on the block for us to shout to or get help from, so we just watched helplessly. We were kind of in shock. I felt all of this adrenaline inside of me as I grabbed Kelly's arm and asked her if she was all right. Then I insisted she let me buy her a strong drink when we got to the bar.

In hindsight, I'm really annoyed that I didn't act immediately. I've been looking for a valid reason to get in a real, live, prison rules fight for a long time, and I think I could have taken this guy. Or at least gotten a couple good swings in, or scared him off with my crazy lady vibes and lots of shouting. I'm pretty sure I can handle a 40-something in bike shorts (consider that your warning, Lance Armstrong).

A couple rounds of Long Island Iced Teas helped to numb the pain, but we decided that maybe some days can't be good, or even great, and Thursday just couldn't be salvaged. We didn't get a lot of support from the Italians around us, either. "It's very hot out; he was probably out of his head," was one excuse that we heard from multiple people. Someone else even asked us if it was just too urgent for him to wait and that's why he had to do that right there, in front of us, on the sidewalk. There is no excuse for this, but at least this article helped me feel like we're not alone in being victims of harrassment/sexism in this country.

Saw a rat on the way to school on Friday. Yum. The final show went off very well, however, besides the parents talking all through it and babies crawling across our stage. The kiddos gave us very sweet cards they'd made. (Mine said, 'You are the best!')

To sum up Milan: there are parts of this city I'll miss. I've had a great host family, with a host mother who's agreed to share the newly single George Clooney with me, and I've worked with some wonderful people. Overall, however, I'm so excited to head east to Treviso today.

Pictures soon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i am appalled.