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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer Job, 2nd edition, vol. IX (Washington, DC)

I don't even remember what has happened in the full week since I posted last because my brain is full and my ears are ringing with Spanish children's accents.

Let me explain.

Early last week, in fact, on the worst day I've had here thus far, I found out I had been assigned to chaperone the 2 1/2 day weekend trip to DC. This trip involves an 8-hour bus ride each way, a full 16-hour day of touring the city, two nights in a hotel, and 49 children.

It also meant that I wouldn't be getting a full day off until July 23rd, because this coming weekend is departure day for first session kids and arrival day for second session kids.

I was pissed.

And stressed.

But found some solace in the fact that a few of my favorite staff members would be suffering with me.

Later in the week, the staffs got switched, but I was still assigned to the trip. So, suddenly, not only was I still going to DC for 2 1/2 days, but I also would be leading a staff of three that I didn't know.


And stressed.

Everyone I talked to didn't understand what had happened, or why I still had to go.

I shuffled through the rest of the week, dreading the weekend.

I cried to the Programming Director about my concerns that I'd be the only one working hard all weekend, and that it just seemed unfair and unsafe. Got some fairly encouraging words about my ability to lead them...

Got some serious pep talks from some colleagues and braced myself for impact.

Really, the weekend was too packed to go into detail here, but here are a few vital stats of the weekend:

Number of students on trip: 49
Number of staff: 4
Number of staff over 21: 1
Number of staff under 20: 1
Number of indispensable tour guides who joined us for whole weekend: 1
Number of indispensable bus drivers who suffered us gladly all weekend: 1
Number of hours spent in bus going South: 7
Number of hours spent in bus going North: 8
Number of hours spent working/touring/walking on Saturday: 16
Number of hours I slept Friday night: maybe 1
Number of memorials we saw in 2 1/2 days: 6
Number of museums we saw in 2 1/2 days: 2
Number of times I called the nurse on call on Saturday: 4
Number of security guards hired to watch the hotel corridor overnight: 1
Number of times I got stuck outside the Capitol in the rain with a sick kid: 1
Number of times he asserted he should go back to the hotel and that he'd call his dad: Many
Number of times I had to go through the security line at the Capitol: 2
Number of hours the staff and I hid in the Bedding section of Macy's: 2
Number of times the Spanish students asked if we'd watch the World Cup on the ride home: In the hundreds
Number of times they asked to stop on the bus heading North, so they could watch the World Cup: In the hundreds
Number of times I had to ask them to sit down on the bus: In the hundreds
Number of staff who stayed awake to help me during this part of the bus ride: 0
Number of hours I slept on the bus ride home: 0

When I walked through the gate on campus before 10 PM Sunday, I felt like I was coming back from a war. My head was pounding, my body hurt, and I was so happy that I don't live with kids this year.

I slept almost 10 hours last night and woke up feeling pretty OK.

Before I left on Friday, I was sure I'd either come back with strep throat or with everyone on the trip thinking I was a raging bitch.

Neither happened, so I feel pretty much like I triumphed.