Thursday, April 28, 2011

I'm normal. Right?

Today is my 35th birthday. And by 'today' I mean the day that started 51 minutes ago.*hiccup*

The circle of life is on my mind. Not in it, as in I'm humming Elton John's 'Circle of Life', but definitely in my peripheral. Life and death is literally at my doorstep today. For a start, a capsized cockroach met me at the door this morning. Ghastly. Not that I'm a fan of said vermin, but still.....ghastly way to die. I had jokingly asked the girls once:

'...and whose cockroach is this here in the hallway....? Hmm? I SAID CLEAN UP YOUR MESS! '

That totally made it into the rotation, regrettably. After changing course this morning so as to avoid the big ugly beast, the tiny BFF traveling in my wake ratted me out to everyone....

' Whose cockroach is this?, '  she demanded  ' it's not Mummy's, 'cause she didn't pick it up, and she saw it! ' loyalty in this joint! I swept it up. Sad...ish.

Later this afternoon, the quirky little Korean that I have the privilege of teaching 3 times a week announced that the family cat had had 5 kittens of her own. One of those kittens is bound for Beth's house, and Jorgie of course thinks it should be called Blanca Nieves. But then, she's obsessed. I vote Fleabag, or as Phoebe suggested, Dirtbag.

Circle of of life. These 35 years have been all that they should have been. I have my kids, and I have my health. I used to have Ghost Whisperer, but with the time change, it's just not the same in the bright of day. Sorry Melinda, I miss you too...Call me!

As another year passes, I realize that they aren't really about me anymore, they're about them. That's normal, right? Right?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Yogurt Seeds

It's not 40º or even close today. But it's hot. There's a bit of a fresh breeze. I can't smell the ocean today, but I can smell the coconut with a fluorescent pink straw stuck in it that is sitting next to my laptop on my patio table this afternoon. We're almost midway through semana santa a.k.a. Spring break. While it would be nice to walk down to the beaches, our beaches are unrecognizable right now. That is to say, they're packed.

No bother. I've been keeping busy here at home. The girls bought seeds and planted a container garden. In 30 days I'm promised radishes. 60 days until my basil harvest, and 90 days wait for the beets. Phoebe drew pictures of her veggies on cardstock, glued them to chopsticks then stuck them into the pots to identify the plants. There's also a pot whose card has a question mark on it, this will be the mystery plant. The seeds came free with Phoebe's yogurt. There was a little paper packet inside the packaging of her tiny snack cups. We're all a little excited to see what the seeds produce. But that wasn't so in the beginning.....

Look Mum! Seeds! Now I can have my own garden!


Later that day....

Look Papi! Seeds! I'm going to grow them with water and sun! I'm going to have my own garden!


Later that week at breakfast, while studying the empty little yogurt cup...

After we plant the yogurt seeds, you're not going to have to buy yogurt from Soriana anymore. I'll have my own yogurt tree!


It's gonna be so cool Mum! I can share them with all my friends at school! 

But Honey, the seeds that came with your yogurt are going to grow a plant, or a flower. Yogurt doesn't come from seeds Babe. Yogurt comes from cow's milk, then people do something special to it to turn it into yogurt. Yogurt doesn't grow on trees Sweetheart.

( painful pause as colour drains from daughter's four year old face, which then drops it's jaw agape and twists itself  in preparation for....FULL. ON. MELTDOWN. )

It was not a typical reaction. Certainly not for Phoebe, but in retrospect, I think she must have been silently imagining the entire yogurt harvest from start to finish for the whole week. Perhaps when she had lined up all of her school bag options the day before, she wasn't just playing around, but rather deciding which bag would be the most appropriate for transporting her harvest to school to share with all of her classmates when the yogurt seeds finally produced their bounty. She had probably daydreamed about which flavours would grow from her tree. Maybe even secretly hoping that the peach yogurts she loathes wouldn't grow at all! Or maybe she had already planned on giving those ones to Alejandro. (He's rotten)

However it played out in her beautiful little four year old brain, she was quick to recover from her meltdown. And now we all excitedly wait to see what will grow from the mystery seeds.......

Friday, April 15, 2011

My world tour begins Monday


In the spirit of the staycation, We've carefully planned a week of theme nights. Baulk if you will, but this week is going to be rad. Think Russia...with borscht and vodka! Italy with homemade pasta, red wine and classic Italian ballads! Japan with homemade sushi, saki and Hayao Miyazaki! Greek night with souvlaki, falafels, tzatziki, more wine and 'Dogtooth'! I just can't wait for Hawaiian night... Piña coladas, grass skirts and season 1 of Hawaii 5-0!  

Theme week! Theme week! 

The teacher in me longs to work a lesson into each night...and I just might do it. I'm thinking flags. Simple, but important. The kids are just 2 and 4 after all. 

This year's staycation is going to be a good one. As long as we don't go anywhere near our normally vacant beaches, which promise to be packed with tourists for the next two weeks. Asi es.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wild Card

Here's the deal: Students can't work, so they get a break / reward for bettering themselves through education in the form of a government issued ID card that gets them on the bus for half off. Teachers, who work but earn almost nothing (me) labouring tirelessly in the name of education are also entitled to the same card, same discount. Bus drivers hate this. And they make sure you know it. I don't know exactly why, but I have a few theories.

1) They think you are a student, thus, you are admitting that you are in NEED of an education, or in other words, you're dumb. Because you're dumb, the bus driver can't miss an opportunity to snicker or out and out laugh at you for your stupidity.

What an idiot! Pfft...Had to go and ask someone to teach her! What a sad sack of stupid! Sure glad I got me some smarts natural like, and didn't have to go looking for it!

2) They think you paid someone to issue you a card, and don't really study or teach and just want a discount on the bus. (this is especially infuriating to bus drivers when it's a Gringo, because everyone knows they're loaded.....and cheap)

Look at this....It's not enough that she comes here showing off all her money, now she wants to go taking it right from my pockets....Gringos!

3) They believe you to be a teacher (you get on their bus everyday at the same time, carrying books, wearing a flash drive around your neck.... in a uniform) but are labouring under the misinformation that teachers earn a good living. Lie.

Here we go again. Great paying job and she still wants a freakin' discount on the bus! Like she can't afford 6 pesos?....sheesh!

Whatever the case is, it sucks. It's at the least: uncomfortable. At the most: dangerous.
Let me paint you a picture. I had gotten on the bus at our usual stop, while Beth had walked on ahead a few minutes earlier to grab a coffee. Heavy school bag, bus fare, bus pass and hot coffee in hand, she gets on and flashes her card. Bus driver reaches out to take her fare, sees her bus pass and before she can pay,  looks away with an 'Oh come you believe this crap?' sneer on his face. She is left standing there beside him as he slams the bus into gear and hits the gas, sending her into the pole beside her and splashing hot coffee onto her own outstretched hand which still holds her bus fare. Dangerous.

Maybe I get a sneer, maybe I get a comment, maybe I get thrown into the isle ass over teakettle, or maybe he just says buenos dias back to me, and accepts my discounted fare. It's a wildcard, but whatever the case, I'm getting a 50% discount on the bus because I deserve it, and couldn't do my job without it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Who, What, When, Where, Why, HOW?!

It takes a lot of effort to speak their second language 'naturally', ie:without the help of a translator or dictionary, but despite their hard work, students can sometimes find themselves staring confusedly at their teacher as she doubles over in an uncontrollable fit of laughter.

Case in point: A homework activity. My mixed level ESL students had to record a current event in their notebooks twice a week. Using the W5 format. Great practice with question words. Now...skip ahead to the part where Miss checks the assignments.

I read the first current event assignment which was about the tragic death of soccer player Antonio De Nigris. I then commence uncontrollable fit of laughter coupled with unsuccessful attempts at composing myself so as not to make for an awkward situation. I fail.

After a brief apology, and a brisk 'MISS.APRIL' stamp on the assignment, I move on. Quickly discovering that the death of Antonio De Nigris is actually quite big news among my students, as it appeared in almost each of their notebooks. I address the masses, and try to figure out what caused this man's death. Through a quick charade I deduce the cause of death of the famous Mexican soccer player. A tragic loss, and certainly no cause for the side splitting laughter coming from their Canadian teacher. I wipe my tears, straighten my skirt and consider my explanation. I begin by saying that I am sorry for the death of Antonio De Nigris, and that I find nothing funny about it. I watch as their newly relieved faces return to those of confusion:

Why did you laugh then, Miss?

Well, I laughed because 'infarto massivo' translates to 'massive heart attack'....

Who: Antonio De Nigris
What: Dead at age 31
When: November 16th
Where: Larissa, Greece
Why: It was his time to go
How: He died of a massive fart 

And not....'massive fart'.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Exam Week

The jokes from my 4 year old are moderately more amusing, not surprisingly. So as not to be outdone by her little sister, she delivered this one in Spanish:

Un ratoncito subio al elevador.
El operador le pregunto: ¿Que piso? 
El ratoncito le dije: Pues...mi colita!

I retold this joke this morning to my highschool English class, and they laughed. I think though, that since they've never heard me speak in Spanish before, that part of their amusement was just listening to me do that.

Exam weeks differ from regular weeks though. Once you've administered yours, you can relax some, and let your kids relax some a movie, study for exams in other subjects, and sometimes, speak a little of the L1 without anybody getting upset about it. =)

Monday, April 11, 2011

'Knock knock!'

Let me hit you with this hilarious ditty my 2 year old threw at me in the shower this afternoon:  

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Knock knock!
Who's there?
Knock knock!
Who's there?.....

Hilarious. Though she hasn't quite mastered the knock knock joke, the rolling guttural laughter spilling out of her dimpled face when she 'tells' it is, all by itself, hilarious. I'm going to have to brush up on my knock knock jokes before we can take our show on the road. The one with Aw....don't cry, it's only a joke! as it's punchline is the only one I know. My tiny BFFs believe it to be the funniest joke on the planet. So naturally, I do too.