This two weeks is almost up. Probably a good thing, I’m coming apart. Various biological valves that’ve been dormant for a long time are opening up, and I’m losing gradually to sleep deprivation and the sheer weight of numbers — there’s 12 of them and one of of me. Multiply that 12 by 40 and the amount of noise, light, smell etc. can be enough to erase a human adult mind entirely. What is normal for them is abominable chaos for us.
But there are also moments when the caffiene is just kicking, or a little more serotonin dumps in (is that the way it werks, or is it the other way around?) and I can cope with it. There are a couple of moments perma-etched in memory, like where we were waiting outside the museum and the girls found an almost dead ladybug on the ground. They crowded around, prodded it a bit and spoke native. I said, “Ladybug” and one of them kind of looks up and mirrors my pronunciation in this wicked ocker accent, “LayeedeeBuhg” with the hint of a question mark to ensure she’d said it properly. You could say a new word to an adult and they’d factor in the defaultish N.american accent, that I can’t tell if it’s TV-caused, or natural linguistics because they do stuff like really hit n’ roll the RRRs here. But kids, don’t always do that so I hear how I sound, and it’s shocken.
When calling out letters in the alphabet for things like playing hangman, I have to do the pirate “Arrgh” to get them to understand that I’m saying R.
The camp food is challenging – I get these trays with nothing that I recognise on them. Thankfully there’s cereal (net even corn flakes, but krusty sugar-coated flakes) in the morning. I don’t think I’d be here writing this if I’d been served tenticles for breakky. There only so much AM ‘brother of squid’ a lad can take before flicking to certifiable.
There is no cheese here. There is no potato here. The other night one of the tray sections was filled with a thing consisting of: chopped apple, can-corn kernels, and the afore-mentioned krusty flakes … in mayonaise. I’m fairly sure that’s not a traditional dish – and that I’m not being a cultural insensitive clod for dissing it. The troubling thing was that the Pedros sitting near me went and got an extra bowl of it. Si senor.
Mostly it’s chaos. I can’t read anything. The only thing I’ve seen of substance was an english-translated newspaper; the main run article being about how bums were bivouacking at the main train station too much. They really said bivouac. I keep nearly getting run over. Some of the 10yo boys in the dead-hed class next door look like demons. The few words I’ve learnt to say still sound like a bunch of mumbling.
But the structure of the two weeks has been geared to extreme distraction. I give spelling tests, play UNO, eat tentacles, flop out for ten minutes nap, drink filter coffee, flirt, then get back on the disco-bus for the ten minute shuttle back to Love Hotel. Now it’s done, it’s back to reality and I’ve got to a) arrange somewhere to bivvy-up for a month b)buy a fone c) get a job, and figure out how to mumble some more.