Tuesday, March 16, 2010

charming anecdotes

  • There are some students and professors visiting from a college in Canada. On Friday, I led two students and one professor on a small trip to a neighboring town vis public transportation. The price for the bus is 35 pesos (about $1 US). Upon exiting the bus, I handed the driver exactly enough pesos for four passengers. He looked shocked and handed the pesos back. "I can't take your pesos," he said. "You're in the mafia!"
    "What?" I said.
    "Mafia," he said. "I need dollars from you. Twenty dollars. Each."
    "I'm not in the mafia. I'm a teacher. I live here, and I don't have any dollars. You have to take these pesos."
    "No, no. Too dangerous. I need dollars."
    "Don't try to trick me! I know it costs 35 pesos. I live here."
    "I wouldn't try to trick you! I would be in trouble with God if I did that. Twenty dollars."
    I ended up just shoving the pesos at him and walking away briskly. But seriously, if he thought we were in the mafia, shouldn't we have gotten to ride for free? Lest I send my mafia henchmen out after the bus driver? I mean, really.
  • In English class yesterday, the kids were filling out a sheet about their preferences. A twelve-year-old girl showed me the sentence, "My favorite movie is Yanblo Bandan" and asked me if it was right. It took me a second to figure it out, but then I helped her write "My favorite movie is Jean-Claude Van Damme." (I didn't even want to get into explaining that Jean-Claude Van Damme is not, strictly speaking, a movie.)
  • When I ask a question, my youngest computer class has a tendency to just repeat things they remember from previous classes, regardless of whether or not their answers actually make any sense. Our class has pretty much focused on three things to date: the proper use of Google, Wikipedia, and capital letters. A few examples, translated from Spanish:
    "So, who can tell me what Google does?"
    "Press the shift key at the same time as a letter?"

    "OK, what is Google?"
    "Wikipedia."

    "When do we need to use a capital letter?"
    "Google."

    Sigh!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

cute kid story

It seems like I spend too much time on this blog talking about "development" and "poverty" on this blog. Whatever, that stuff is boringgg.

So here's a story from this class this morning. I was co-teaching a class of rambunctious 9-to-11-year-old kids. And Dominican ideas about classroom management are different from American ideas about classroom management, so basically Dominican kids tend not to learn about things like "raise your hand," "line up," "don't yell," "don't yell the teacher's name while she's talking to another student right next to you," and "seriously stop yelling at me." Thus, at DREAM we spend a lot of time trying to get the kids to settle down so we can maybe, like, teach something?

This morning, I decided to try a little yoga. I taught the kids a few basic poses like mountain pose (basically just standing still), tree pose (standing with one foot on your knee and your hands touching over your head), and a modified version of warrior II pose (standing with feet far apart and arms stretched out to the side).

And then I learned that my Spanish has progressed to the point where I can do some BS meditation guidance-type stuff. ("Close your eyes... we're in a forest... we can feel the warm sun on our skins, helping us grow... helping us grow to be tall, strong, trees... we are quiet and peaceful...")

It was moderately successful, although I had to banish little David to the back corner of the forest because "It is QUIET in the forest! No one in the forest should be talking!" After class, all the kids lined up and were starting to get a little restless as we waited for the next classroom to be ready. I started asking them to do yoga poses in line. Mountain and tree were fine, but when I asked for fake warrior pose, there was trouble. One of the first few kids in line somehow fell over backwards and knocked over the entire line of warrior-ing children, like little yoga dominos. No one was hurt; everyone was delighted. It was probably their favorite part of yoga class.

FACT: this entry would be better if I had a photo--or better, a video-- of children falling down.
FACT: it's an imperfect world.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

a day in the life!

I just posted a day in my life in photos! Check it out, if you are so inclined.

Monday, March 1, 2010

mi fin de semana chulo

Oh, hello there! I haven’t been blogging much of late. I suppose since I’ve gotten Internet in my apartment, I’ve been updating Facebook and the like much more often. Mainly I have been up to The Usual: teaching classes, hanging out at the beach, and keeping up with the demands of the cutest and most ferocious kitten on the North Coast.

This weekend was a little more eventful, though! On Friday, we had the day off at DREAM. I spent the morning giving a workshop to some Dominican pre-school teachers who got some subsidized laptops. Most of them had very little experience with computers and were sooo excited to get laptops. I was nearly as excited to have the afternoon off and visit friends at their friend’s swank condo. They had fast Internet and cable TV, so we spent nine hours watching the Olympics and reading Wikipedia articles about winter Olympic events. Curling raised many questions, all of which we were happily able to answer, thanks to the power of the Internet. By the end of the women's curling gold medal match, we were all rooting for Canada, half in-love with Canada's skip, and tossing around curling lingo like we were actually Canadian. ("Wow, I thought she was going to burn that stone, but it's in the house!")

Saturday--February 27--marked the DR's Independence Day! We made a day trip down to La Vega to celebrate in style at the country's largest Carnaval. I wrote about this in more detail last year, but it was fun to see all the elaborate costumes. Less fun: constant fear of getting hit in the butt. I only got one hard hit and few playful taps, but still: ouch! On the way home, we stopped at Kentucky Fried Chicken in Santiago and I made an excellent discovery: Dominican KFC has biscuits! Legit biscuits! I haven't eaten a biscuit in months and months, and it was delicious.

Sunday morning I got up and went surfing with a few friends, but the waves were too big and crowded with real surfers for the likes of me, and I got out after about 45 minutes. I am pretty sure that I have maintained the exact same skill level (extremely low) since I started surfing in August. Whatever. I'm definitely not going pro any time soon, but it's still fun. And something I definitely won't be able to do once I return to the landlocked states, so I need to aprovecharlo (take advantage of it)!