May 20, 2011
My departure looms. The sense of “be here now” is being replaced by “get this done.” Additional gifts to buy. Airport transport to arrange. Beginning to pack all the stuff into my suitcases. I thought I’d left enough room… sigh.
Wednesday we were at the Trewhela school. Once more I was struck by the class differences between the schools. Chile does not have a very good public education system, so I’m told. So there are lots of private schools. The difference between the rich and the poor here is big. But no bigger than in the United States. I will leave this country with a profound sense that we ought to be doing better.
Of course the name “Trewhela” imparts a definite sense of English aristocracy. There are pictures of the founders on the wall, two women, English blue bloods both. This is a British School, modeling its education on the British System. I’ve been in several British Schools here, as well as German Schools and North American Schools. The German Schools obviously teach German, but other than that it’s not clear to me exactly what the differences are.
Trewhela has a pretty strong sense of discipline, the teachers were actively engaged in keeping the kids in some kind of order. The shows went well. I got to meet the male headmaster, a very pleasant New Zealander who stayed after and had a long chat with me. Carol had to leave mid show to get some errands done for Dream On, so I was on my own to get back. Trewhela is actually pretty close to our apartment so I decided to walk to the metro rather than take a taxi. I came back to the apartment hoping to get some additional gift shopping done. I was able to find a bookstore that could sell me a dictionary and I picked up a couple of Spanish Language editions of some Agatha Christie novels. Carol doesn’t like sushi, so I left her to her own devices and had a final meal at Akbar.
Thursday was an early rise day. We took a long taxi ride to an even wealthier neighborhood and I did a couple of very fun shows at San Benito. Somebody told us that there had been a fire at Los Dominios that morning. I’d been thinking about going back there for a couple of purchases. The English levels at Trewhela and San Benito were definitely higher than what I’d encountered in Antofagasta. It was nice to be able to communicate with words. The students here are very affectionate. Aside from the charming kiss on the cheek stuff, there’s just much less inhibition about touching here. It’s really nice. I signed more autographs, on paper this time, and answered a bunch of good questions. One of the girls called out as she was leaving, “Your wife is really lucky!” It’s just the kind of lift that a sensitive artistic ego like mine needs.
I came back to the apartment and crashed. I wasn’t feeling very well so I took a hot bath. Carol, not realizing how I was feeling, went to considerable effort to make a nice farewell dinner for me. I managed to make my way through it, but I could feel the chills setting in. I took another hot bath while Carol got some aspirin for me. I took some and went to bed.
My final school was Nido de Aguilas (Eagle’s Nest) International School. It’s an expat school, with lots of ambassador’s kids. The compound is enormous. Lots of money and high security. The English level is very high so I was able to do some sophisticated stories. I woke up that morning feeling horrible, but as usual, I was able to rally myself for the actual performances. The middle school headmaster tried to recruit me to their string department. What an adventure that would be, leaving everything familiar that we know and spending a year or two in a different country. Perhaps it will bear more thought later, but right now the thought of staying here just makes me tired. I’m ready to be in some clean air, out of the city, and back with my friends and family.
This afternoon I did some more packing and lots of napping. I’ve surrendered my local cell phone and hotel keys. In a few hours we’ll take a transport to the airport and I’ll be on my way home. I’m feeling a bit better after the naps. But I’ll be taking the aspirin with me just in case.