Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Talk about my room

The kids that we were teaching English to in Siem Reap were the most entertaining after the class was over. Our last class of the evening ran from 6-7pm. I had a beginner class and Jonathan had an intermediate class. Although most of the kids in my other classes were older and in grade 12 or so, half of the kids in my last class were young. The Life and Hope Organization houses kids from the countryside who otherwise wouldn't have access to education and so the kids live in the Wat compound. I think they mostly just register for English classes to entertain themselves for an hour each night with a foreigner flapping their arms around trying to act out or draw the English words I was trying to convey to these beginners.

After class, one of the older boys would lock up the classroom for me and I would sit on an old desk on the open air hallway and wait for Jonathan's class upstairs to finish. Jonathan didn't have a watch or a clock in his upstairs classroom so I would send two of the young girls on the mission of letting him know that time was up. They loved their little responsibility and took it very seriously, running immediately upstairs when I let them go, to deliver the news. They would then wait for Jonathan to make his way down the dark stairwell and perform a dramatic 'drumroll' before presenting to me, 'your husband!' While those two little girls were on the husband retrieving mission the rest of the kids like to crowd around me, keeping me company so I wouldn't have to wait alone. First, they discovered that if they pressed their fingers into my reddish skin that it would leave a momentary white mark. This, was very, very entertaining for them. Having darker skin, their arms didn't create the same show as mine. It began with just a dozen boney little fingers pressing into my skin, but it soon turned into whole tiny hands gripping hand fulls of my skin and squeezing as hard as possible and then laughing hysterically when my skin turned white for a brief moment before returning to its 'natural' red... it would also later turn a 'natural' black and blue... but the kids didn't stick around long enough for that show.

When I finally convinced them that their poking did, indeed hurt, the resorted to sneaking up behind me and then reaching around to grab handfuls of my stomach. Jonathan thought it was absolutely hilarious. I suggested they go back to just jabbing me instead. Jonathan declared them 'Jenny Jumblers' as a group, as they so enjoyed 'jumbling my fat' and they quickly moved up the ranks to his favourite students.

In more acceptable behaviour, they would often run off as we were collecting our books and bags at the end of the class and return with fistfuls of wild flowers for us that they would then painstakingly arrange in our hair, only to fall out the second we moved. It was very cute ,though; and super thoughtful.

As we made our way out of the Wat complex the kids would all hop on their bicycles to escort us to the gate. Well, mostly they liked when we pulled them along like a bike train, but, either way, we always felt like the most important people on the street when we walked away to a deafning chorus of 'Goodbyeeeeeee! Thank YOUuuuuuu! See you when I see youuuuuuuu!' accompanied by what I'm sure was NOT traditional Khmer dancing.

One of the assignments that the kids from my intermediate class completed while we were there was to write a paragraph about their favourite room in their house. Most of the kids try so hard for their assignments and often wanted us to correct them over and over again until the sentences were just perfect. We were so impressed by their commitment, especially considering that their marks in the class, in the grand scheme really weren't that important as the program is not part of their actual schooling. One teenage boy in particular was disappointed that we weren't staying longer, as he was hoping to 'become fluent' from our daily before class chats.

Anyways, we want to share with you a couple of our favourite assignments. We love their vocabulary and how creative they are in describing their favourite rooms. Having attempted to learn a second language ourselves, we know how daunting writing paragraphs can be and think that these kids, having only taken a couple English classes previously are pretty great, and kinda funny:

Talk about my room

'In my house i like my room too much. Because it's so large that can contain a lot of thing in it. Especially it have veranda that almost of many flowers and brightly coloure. Inside room I have desk for studying, chair for sitting. So many books that I have. I can save or put it in the drawers under the table. And then have a lot of flower's pictures around it. either my family photo or friend's photos on the wall. So it make hapy to study. serch. read. and draw the picture that i need. So then I can look over the landscape outside the window around my room. And have a good fresh air too. So I love it and happy with it so much!'

My Favourite Room

'My favourite rom is that i like is a long room. It has a lot of everything like books, a computer, a fan, a bed, along pe, a branket, a rideo, a TV and a mobile phone. Because they make me easyer than each time. Whe I have free time i like tye my computer lessons, play music, play game on my computer and listen to rideo about currency of news.'

PS: Facebook is blocked in Vietnam, so if I am ignoring you-that's (probably) why.

Also: We've posted a bunch of pics from Angkor and Cambodia as well as Vietnam in our 'Flickr Photostream' which is the badge of rotating photos on the right of the blog ------------------------------------------------------------------------------->

Most important PS: Congrats Amanda and Shawn! Welcome to the world, Jack!!!

PPS. J, here. My personal apologies for that devilishly sarcastic arrow up there. I told Kristen that it is an insult to you, our family and friends, to point out which way is to the right. I just couldn't overpower her here. I'm sorry. I have let you down. Over and out.

PPPS. Blah, Blah, blah. I think its aesthetically pleasing and in no way was meant to be an 'insult.' I am just impressed that I managed to make a keyboard graphic all on my own!

PPPPS. keyboard graphic? I wasn't aware that we were using MS DOS here.

PPPPPS: Jonathan = boring, graphic-less blogs.

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