Compared to my college years, my life in Chile has been pretty stress free. Yes, occasionally I have what I like to call “emotional stress” regarding interpersonal relationships, but my job is pretty painless. On a daily basis the most stressful thing I have to worry about is if I have enough photocopies for my next class, or (only occasionally) if I actually know what I’m going to teach that day. In general I plan and prepare because it makes teaching so much easier.
I was talking to a student today about talking while sleeping. I have always been a HUGE sleep talker, just ask anyone who has shared a bedroom with me. When we were little, my best friend and I used to have”conversations” while we were both asleep, so much so that her mother used to think we were still awake and would come in to scold us, only to find us both fast asleep and “talking” to each other. Once I yelled at my room mate for making too much noise and she got offended, only to find out that I had no recollection of that the next morning. I was asleep. I also used to wake myself up from the sound of my own voice.
However, ever since graduating college, I don’t think I’ve talked in my sleep. Granted, I haven’t shared a room with very often since then (except for a few nights here or there), but I also haven’t woken myself up talking which used to happen a lot. My student today seemed to think that perhaps it was because I’m not as stressed as I used to be. I think he might be onto something.
That being said, I still have very stressful dreams. In fact, I call them nightmares. Last night I had a doozy. Here it is:
It was a few days before I was leaving for the United States. For some reason, in order to be able to enter the U.S., I needed to get a form stamped by the Ministerio del Exterior (not sure if that even exists). I was so busy that I kept putting it off, until it was one day before I was leaving and I realized I hadn’t gotten the stupid form stamped. However, I had to teach a class that day and the Ministerio del Exterior closed before my class would be over. So my genius idea was to assign a really long task to my students, skip out of class, take a taxi, go to the Ministerio del Exterior, get my paper signed and come back to class (all within a half hour and without the Institute “catching” me). So, I made my class write a poem, but not just any poem, a poem using about 50 words I wrote on the board and that had to rhyme. Then I ran out of class and got into the first taxi. I told him to take me to the Ministerio and he started driving. so. slowly. I told him to hurry up, but he said he didn’t want to go over the speed limit. It took what seemed like hours to get there. As soon as we arrived, I told the taxi to wait for me and he replied that he would wait only 15 minutes. I figured that would be enough time and zoomed into the building. I asked the Atención al Cliente (Customer Service) booth where I needed to go and they told me the 5th floor. I went to the elevators and pushed the button, and noticed that the elevators were on the 26th and 17th floor. They took forever to get down to the first floor, and when an elevator arrived it was the size of a small broom closet and about 10 people tried to squeeze in. It was more crowded than the metro at hora peak. So I pushed my way onto the elevator and then off again on the fifth floor. It was a huge place with lots of different cubicles, kind of what a newspaper office looks like in the movies. There was a guard and she asked what I wanted. I told her I needed to get my form stamped. She asked to see the form. So I started digging through my backpack to get the form out.
I. Couldn’t. Find. The Form. I looked and looked. I took everything out of my backpack as the guard stared over me, tapping her foot. I looked at my watch and realized I had two minutes until the taxi left me and that no way was I going to get back to the Institute before class was over. I kept fruitlessly searching through my backpack as the minutes ticked by until finally…
I woke up.
Thank God it was just a dream.