Friday saw me back in the physics lab. I had Martin review my tutoring advertisement, and we made quite a few revisions, though the Spanish translation would need to be reviewed by Rodrigo.
Martin and I also went on a mission to scan a document but we had no luck at several of the administrative hot spots for students on campus.
I joined Martin for lunch in the food court, and then left campus briefly to use a shop across the street for the scanning task.
At the shop, which due to its proximity to the university was clearly popular with students, I noticed a bulletin board filled with advertisements of rooms for rent and calculus tutors, among other things.
I made a mental note to put my ad up there once it was completed.
Returning to campus, I spent a little time reading through some of Rodrigo’s English learning books. At 4pm, we had our first 2-hour tutoring session.
The day before, we had scheduled time together through the following week. I would help him with his English, which he wanted to improve in advance of a TOEFL test, and he would help me with my Spanish.
In addition to helping him, I would also be helping myself as I would gain some real experience tutoring a friend before I began to seek money for the time and effort.
The first hour was dedicated to Spanish, and while he wanted to review the alphabet and numbers, we focused on revising the tutoring advertisement.
Much of what Martin and I had previously done, was undone, however Rodrigo was my target audience, and he knew better than any foreigner what students would respond to and what they would be willing to pay for my services.
My homework for the weekend was to read 15 pages of a Spanish novel and write a little about it.
It was a real relief to return to my native language after an hour of trying to keep up with Rodrigo. I asked him about his goals for our time together, and his previous experiences learning English.
Through some of my questioning, the conversation then turned to the strong sense of family in Colombia (ie. why children continue to live with their parents and family into adulthood).
He talked about the day-to-day dangers of living in Medellin 15 years ago when Pablo Escobar and the drug cartels were at war, and how people came to appreciate the safety and security offered by their families as a result.
I could tell it wasn´t easy for him to think back to those times, however I really appreciated his willingness to share.
I have a feeling tutoring students will be more than just helping them to speak better English while allowing me to earn a living. It is another way to dig deeper into the culture of Colombia.
Friday night was spent at the apartment, getting to know Maira a little better.