I’m down to 30, 45-minute periods of class time left. These are with my first-year students, and most of them are showing improved confidence in speaking. Still shy, yes. But sometimes just bursting to get their ideas out in another language.
Yesterday (Sunday) evening I was invited to “a small party” with some of my first-years. They were celebrating scholarships that had been awarded to them for good grades in the first semester. We started off at one student’s house where we all sat (16 of us) on the second-floor balcony and ate. Afterwards, while some of them washed the dishes, there was a big debate of whether to go to a café or to sing karaoke. Karaoke was agreed upon because someone had already reserved a room. So we went and I listened to them sing pop songs, mainly about love. And then it was decided that we needed to go for coffee. It was during this café experience that my parents called while en route to church, and I was greatly surprised.
Today the weather seemed reasonable, but for some reason the minute I stepped into class I started sweating like a waterfall, or a glacier in the Sahara, or some other extreme simile. But I somehow got through my 1.5 hours of teaching without succumbing to dehydration. Still waiting for news about my computer; the word is that the money for the bulk order is hung up in the finance department…
Well, I certainly haven’t been updating much. Things are still pushing along down here in the Delta. The weather is hot and I’m still waiting for news concerning the purchase of a new computer so once again I can work in my room.
It’s now that time of year when the sun feels incredibly hot and doing the slightest things in the afternoon cause you to break out in sweat. And this is the time of day when I teach. I’ve taken to carrying a handkerchief to class with me for mopping.
AGU has a staggered schedule for students, therefore this is about the time when several groups of students (i.e. the second-years) are taking their final exams, while other classes (i.e. my first-years) are still only two-thirds through their semester. I guess it works out in the end, but at times it feels confusing. For example, right now I have some American literature exams to grade from the class that I mostly taught in January, while I’m writing mid-term exams for my first-year students.
For some reason the other day I was thinking as I drove through town that sometimes this place is so poetic. I wish I had the inspiration to capture it all in words; the swirling madness of the traffic, the calls from street vendors, the green of the vegetation under the hot sun, the breeze from the river… Just too much at times. I feel like it should be written down into some epic poem like the Odyssey that would somehow get 1 percent of the actual experience of being here. Sometimes even the smells of rotting fruit on the street, or the awful stench of freshly killed fish need to be written into something, that, with beauty and dexterity, gets the essence of this place.
Back to full time teaching again. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, it’s just that days seem easily consumed by it. Furthermore, I’ve heard rumors circulating that the rainy season is upon us now. The rain at this point in the year is a blessing because of the way it dispels the heat, but the other edge of the sword is that the humidity levels go up as well.
I’m pretty much the only foreigner here at AGU who is still teaching now. Tyler finishes on Friday and Steven and Sharla are done already. And I’ll be the only one who continues to teach until halfway through June. It may be a rather lonely experience, but, it’s what I signed up for. When I came here I had no idea how much I would come to depend on the other foreigners for support; with teaching, and with life in general. Now we’re all here together in this strange little unit that I like to call a dysfunctional family and somehow we get along and survive. It’s so strange. I came here not knowing who or what to expect, and now I’m to a point where life would be so very empty without these other people who speak English and live around me.