Typical Behavior

7 Jul

This week is kind of tough in the sense that I need to find ways to keep myself busy in between doing nothing. Yesterday I only had one final to attend to at 7 pm, so I had an entire day beforehand to work with. In the morning I went for a long run and then started watching a movie until lunch. Afterward, I met up with my friend Jamie and her sister who is visiting. We took her sister to Spanish lessons and then walked around Cuenca for a couple of hours until the class had ended. By that point, I had to go home for dinner and to get ready to go to the university.

So it wound up being OK. I was outside for a good part of the day and kept busy. But when I got to the university I was told that I didn’t really need to be there for the final because none of my students were taking it. This was a make up final for students who’d failed the first one, and none of mine had failed. So, in typical fashion, a day was wasted and no one had bothered to tell me that I didn’t need to come down. However, there were two changes that I needed to take note of.

For the next day, today, I was supposed to have two finals at 1 pm and 7 pm. But there were two notes in my locker saying otherwise. The first note said that my final at 1 pm was now switched to be with a different professor. Basically, we all have to sit in on another professors’ final exam and help with the oral section. But now I was supposed to help a different teacher. The second note said that I didn’t have to go to any of the finals at 1 pm, and instead of the final I had at 7 pm, I was supposed to help another teacher at 7 pm. I was a little confused.

To double check I went to the secretary and asked her about 5 times to make sure that I had nothing at 1 pm and only at 7 pm with the newly assigned professor. She confirmed this, and I went home happy, knowing that again I would only have one thing to do at the university the next day. I watched another movie at night and then went to bed.

Today I woke up a bit later than usual, went for a run, and then hung around my room until lunch. Right as we were sitting down to eat, around 1:15 pm, I started getting calls from numbers I didn’t recognize, but I already had an idea what it was. I didn’t answer the first three calls until a fellow professor called. He said that I was supposed to be at a final at 1 pm and that everyone was looking for me. I told him quite frankly that, no, I did not have a final because there was a change. Not only did I have a note with proof of this, but the secretary confirmed this last night. But he continued that I was supposed to be there. Too bad, I said, I’m eating lunch and not going down to the university.

After lunch I went back to my room and got another call from a different secretary asking me where I was, and I told her the same thing. All she could say was that no, I was supposed to be there, and asked if I could come down to the university. I told her that I couldn’t, and that the other secretary had already told me I had no exam. It’s not my fault that they messed up, and I wasn’t about to rush down there and fix their mistake. Especially since by the time I got there most of the students would probably be done with their exams.

So, in more typical Ecuadorian behavior, nothing made sense and no one took responsibility for what happened. I need to go down to the university for the 7 o’clock final shortly, and I’m sure someone is going to try to blame me for this. But I will not take responsibility for childish behavior by adults. And since I’m at the end of my service here, I feel no need to bend over backwards for the university. For an institution that has so much prestige, not just in Cuenca but in Ecuador, it’s amazing how inefficient and unorganized it is. Yet again, I’m hardly surprised by any of this 10 months into living here. To take a line from Bob Marley, “Don’t worry, cuz every little thing is gonna be alright.” There’s always another thing you can do here.


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