So, quite suddenly and with very little warning, I find myself playing host to an 18 year old girl from Argentina for the rest of the week.
This girl worked with the Artistic Director of my company a while back and he suggested that she come work here- apparently she's got some mad skills and the boss man thought we could use a little Latin Flavor (its true- for such a diverse group of kids we work with, no one can actually speak legit Spanish on the entire staff).
So like three months ago I started working on this girl's visa application (after getting one in a mere 24 hours, the powers that be could tell I had a serious skill when it comes to visas) she was just this hard-to-remember-how-to-pronounce name, an e-mail address, and a little bit of job security.
Now, after a surprising amount of work and a gajillion e-mails, she is finally here. In America. For the very first time. Currently the number of people she knows in this country can be counted on one hand. And I'm the one who has known her the longest. I picked her up from the airport, took her to the grocery store, the bank, gave her a map, packed her a lunch, started explaining essential things like public transit, the bike path on Lake Shore, what a Jewel Osco Preferred Card is and how she has to keep the door to her room a little bit open so the cat doesn't pee everywhere.
She seems to understand what I'm saying for the most part which I find surprising, only because I know how fast I talk and while I have been making a concerted effort to slow it down, when I get going, I see a very glazed look come over her face.
I have started to think back to when I was 18, while I was a very mature 18, if I had gone to a new country where I knew no one, had a very tenuous grasp on the language and was relying on the kindness of people I had never even spoken on the phone with, I would have been terrified. Which she must be, and she's doing a really good job of rolling with the punches.
I feel kind of like I have an unannounced foreign exchange student and no one really told me what to do with her...Its only for a few days, but they're pretty critical first days...I keep worrying that I'm going to mess up some how, that I'm not going to give her some piece of very critical information and she's like, going to get lost, or stranded or mugged...
Luckily its only for a few days.