I have a variation of the same conversation every day with my doorman. We exchange hellos, then we say how we’re feeling. Given I usually see him at 6:25 am and then again when I return from work, my response is usually “Estoy muy cansada.” I am tired.
Depending on the day of the week, he replies with (in Spanish), “Yes, very tired, of course. It’s Monday.” Or, “Yes, very tired, but it’s almost Friday.”
Today, he responded, “It’s okay because it’s Juernes!”
Juernes is a combination of the words Thursday (Jueves) and Friday (Viernes). At first I thought it was a Colombian saying similar to our “TGIF,” but after living here for two months, I’ve realized it’s just another excuse to party.
It starts on Wednesday. Every hump day, my upstairs neighbor has her girlfriends over. At 8pm the salsa music begins. At 8:30, I hear the clacking of heels on my ceiling. And from about 9pm to one in the morning, I hear them “woooooing” out on the terrace.
Thursday, before class starts, I hear my students talking about all the parties that are happening over the weekend. The boys talk about who they want to make out with and how drunk they’re going to get, and the girls talk about how they’re going to get their hair done and what they’re going to wear. Teaching is difficult.
Then there’s Friday. Reggaeton music pounds through outdoor speakers at lunch time and kids from all grades swarm the cafeteria, shoveling food into their mouths as quickly as possible so they can go dance with friends. The music continues to blast until school lets out at 3:10. If you have class after lunch, you’re screwed.
When I get home at 3:45, my doorman already has the door open, and is salsa dancing with an imaginary woman. A smile takes over his face as he shouts, “Señorita Jennifer! Es Viernes! Que rumba?” He tells me he hopes I’m going out dancing and drinking lots of beer. He also tells me I’ll have a hangover on Saturday and Sunday.
This Friday (tomorrow) will be extra crazy—student council is throwing an “end of the summer picnic party,” complete with hotdogs and hamburgers for lunch. Students won’t have to wear uniforms, and there’s even a mango stand outside the cafeteria (think snow cones but with shredded mango instead of ice).
At the beginning of the school year, I would have fought the kids and tried to teach them something. But tomorrow I plan on showing funny YouTube videos.
I also plan on dancing with my doorman at 3:45, and living my weekend like the Colombians do.
Then Monday will come, and the dialogue with my portero will start all over again.