- 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?"
"When do we need to use a capital letter?"