Suitcase and guitar in hand

“I’m sitting in railway station got a ticket for my destination mm-mm…”

(Simon and Garfunkel; Homeward Bound)

Actually it’s a bus station (for the literary and musical pedants) to be strictly accurate.  In Rio Cuarto, six hours by bus from home.  We go in for imaginative names in Cordoba Province.  The most important river in Cordoba is Rio Primero (First River) and the city that strings along its southern bank is also named Rio Primero.  The second most important river is Rio Segundo, and the city that strings along its bank is also named Rio Segundo.   So Rio Cuarto…. took me by surprise.  I was idly staring out of the window when we crossed the bridge and found myself thinking “oh that’s nice, they have a river…” Doh.   In my defence I did have to crawl out of my bed at four in the morning in order to catch the bus.

The secretary at the entrance to the surprisingly-large-for-a-small-city university campus (think Warwick) might have been short of a few hours’ sleep too.  She started trying to explain where I should go, realised that she had lost both of us, dug out a map, realised she couldn’t pinpoint her own office on the map, handed me the map and said “good luck” as she pointed me out of the door.  I thought this inauspicious introduction might not bode so well for an establishment purporting to work with intelligent people.  However, once I had tracked down the Academic Secretary, courtesy of the map, some signposts and a helpful passer-by, I found him more than helpful.  He now has photocopies of the whole heap of every document that might be relevant to making any progress with my academic qualifications in Argentina.  And I have been collecting papers for a few years now; that was one heavy rucksack.  They will be considered by a committee, and he thinks I should get a basic general response on a possibly/not level within a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile I am still waiting for a decision from Buenos Aires on whether they might be willing to give me a secondary school certificate.  That was a whole other story last week.  I was about to write that the secretary at the gate this morning would maybe find herself at home there, but I’m wrong; they would have her for breakfast.  Having been made to wait for four hours, then put through a grinder and spat out the other end, including one staff member complaining that it was so long after my appointment time(!), I was told I should hear in three days.  That was a week last Friday.  Fortunately I have kept in good contact with the friend I made in the education ministry in Cordoba, and he says he will intervene if too many more days go by.

The municipal nursery where Baby goes in the mornings have been on strike (along with most other municipal services) for the last two weeks, so getting anything done at home has been a challenge, but I have just had a message saying that they are back to normal as of tomorrow morning.  Hooray.  And starting yesterday we have put up a new colourful family job rota with everyone on it (apart from Baby) which we are hoping will increase the level of participation and decrease the level of whining at being asked to participate.  It got off to a fine start yesterday with both Joni and Teen tidying and cleaning their rooms –the first time in months that we have seen all her floor at once.   So I am waiting with hopeful anticipation to see whether there are more good surprises when I get home today…

Home where my thought’s escaping,
Home where my music’s playing,
Home where my loves are waiting (probably not very) silently for me…

The week after the camp before

I left Danny’s coat on the bathroom shelf and had got as far as trying to hang the toilet roll in his wardrobe before realising that I have finally lost the plot.  Something to do with two consecutive weekend Scout camps sandwiching a busy week in the middle.

The first camp was for the patrol leaders from the three groups in our district, which was very good for my kids whose lack of self esteem means that they struggle to integrate outside their own neighbourhood.  And the following weekend we took seven of our own group by bike to Monte Redondo about fifteen kilometres away from here.

monte redondo

Following global trends, all our kids are overweight – where the rich do sports and have access to a decent diet, poor kids have neither, and it would be pushing a limit to describe some of their bent and brake-less contraptions as “bicycles”.  All seven have significant issues in their own lives, disability, economic disadvantage, family situations, and several are subjected to judicial orders as victims of abuse.  It was a fairly relaxed programme, they explored the woods, and cooked on fires, including demonstrating that it is possible to boil water in the plastic coke bottle without it melting, but be careful when you take the lid off!  Maybe should have written a risk assessment for that bit.  Or not mention it at all.  Ho hum…

Luckily this week isn’t proving to be too heavy so far, although I am going to Buenos Aires on the night bus on Thursday because I have an appointment in the Ministry of silly walks Education on Friday now I have finally (hopefully) managed to collect enough pieces of paper to prove that I did complete secondary school a million years ago in my country of origin.  At the moment I am thinking about the whole bureaucratic paper chasing thing in terms of an acted parable.  So far I think we have been called to act three parables, the first when the ex-prisoner and wife stayed with us for a year, the second in fostering Teen and then her Baby, and now this would be another.  Except that I think I kind of understand the first two, but I haven’t yet figured out what this one would be about.