Saturday, October 30, 2010

Long

After mile 5 you can't feel your legs anymore. And after mile 6 you don't really care to know who whistled at you from inside the tortilleria.

But all you can think about is how your best friend agreed to do a half marathon with you in January! Hooray!!

I looked up this half marathon a few months ago. It's the only one in January in Oregon. It will be our first half marathon, and I am so excited. Even more excited that Stephanie agreed to run it with me. Besties on the run!!

Also, the Bestie is running a 10k this morning!! Good luck to my Stephers!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

I gotta let someone go. That someone is one of my fantasy basketball players. I need a Center badly, and I have my eyes set on Luis Scola. This decision is not based on his looks.




But, this means I have to drop someone, and as clueless as I am, I don't think it should be Ray Allen. And as loyal and girly as I am, I really don't want it to be Rudy Fernandez.
Decisions are difficult.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Weather and Cantos

It is so incredibly warm here today. While our days in the past few weeks have gotten a little colder, it always seems colder because the buildings don't have heat. So when it's 70 degrees outside, it's cooler inside, and the wind blows and everything seems cold. I got into the habit of grabbing a blanket while sitting in the living room at night, and having 3 blankets on top of me at night while I sleep. But today! Today the weather said "Fall? Fall? I'll show you Fall in Baja!!" and right now at 3pm it's 78 degrees. With no wind. Too warm for almost my birthday.

I've enjoyed the mornings getting colder - wearing a long sleeve tech shirt while out running, cuddling under blankets, thinking of sweaters, etc. I like those things. Coming from Portland, there are times when I miss a good misting rain, a day of cloudy skies, or a crisp Fall day with bright, clear skies. You know those days? Where it's crisp and cold, but gorgeously sunny? I miss those. I also miss mountains of green trees and seeing snow on the mountaintops, but I didn't really mean to start a pity party.

In other news - I got an ipod! Now, now. Don't shake your head at me. Three and a half years ago when I lived in Korea I bought myself an ipod shuffle. It was the cheapest one, it clipped on my waistband, and I used it to motivate myself to run. I told myself I got to have it if I ran :) And I did. That February I started my fascination with running. With that little ipod by my side. Because running is better with a little rock 'n' roll in your years.

Well.... I lost that ipod this last Spring. I left it at the gym, I think, and it was never turned in. Those lying, stealing, asodifhoiehge. It was my fault. So I discovered running without music, which is actually not too bad. Who would've thought?

Then my old roommate (from last year) e-mailed me recently and asked if I had my charging station because she had an identical ipod she wanted to send me!!! OoooOoo. I am a happy camper. Somebody named "Brenda" (who loves classic rock), dropped/left their ipod in my friend's driveway. Now the ipod is mine. I am SO happy.

So I get to listen to music, and this morning i got to listen to this gem:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Making Up Stuff

You know how it is. You think of a scenario in your head. You think about how it might go. Perhaps you consider what you're going to say. Maybe, if you're crazy, you consider what the other person is going to say. You imagine all of this in your head. Maybe you do this, maybe you don't.

I do this most often when I'm thinking of how to say something in Spanish. I have some go-to phrases that I can whip out of my pocket and they just roll off my tongue. Other times, I have to think ahead of what I am going to say, or if I would say it one way in English, I try to think of another way to phrase it, using words I know in Spanish. When I don't plan ahead, I end up at the papeleria today, trying to explain to the lady that I would like a copy of a whole book, with covers, and bound, please. Yeah. Luckily she understand when I gripped the binding on the real book and made "chh chh" noises that I wanted binding on my copies. Genius.

So, it has become a habit in my every day life to plan ahead a lot of conversations. Except sometimes I go overboard. I find myself thinking of a scenario in my head, running through the whole situation, and then realize that the person I'll be talking to is American. Oh, Duh. I don't need to preplan that. That person and I speak the same language and I don't have to think about how I'm going to say anything. It will just come naturally.

Speedster

While trying to get back into running I've just run... normal. As in, not trying too hard. Just run the miles and see what happens. I've started building up my base again, but all on "normal" miles. Or "easy" miles as most runners call them. No extra exertion, no specialized runs, just running for the heck of it.

The training program I've picked out for my half-marathon starts the week of November 8th, so I'm trying to remind this tired body what means to do speedwork, to actually have to work for it. This morning I did one easy mile, two harder, faster miles, and almost a mile and a half easy on the way back. It's funny how your body gets used to easy! I'd be running those hard miles, and zone out for a little bit, and find myself telling my body "pick it up!". It was like one of those lightbulbs over your head. "Oh yeah! I'm supposed to be running fast. I forgot".

So I ran 4.4 this morning. Yes, the tenths are important to count. I did it all in 43:35 (yes, those seconds are important to count), and ended up with a pace of 9:55 or something. Which, isn't great, but considering I did my easy miles at about 10:30, that means I did my faster miles a little below 9:30 - which is actually what I ran my 10k at. So it wasn't great, but it also wasn't bad, either. Hopefully those times will improve soon.

In other news: I am horrible at fantasy basketball because I'm clueless. Having never done this before, I didn't know there was a bench status, and that you actually had to move players around every day! No wonder guys involved in fantasy leagues are so occupied all the time.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Books: Same Kind of Different as Me

Yes. I finished the Rwandan book on Saturday. And I that means I read this book in 2.5 days, even with my busy life (consisting of flamenco dancing, church, and watching the A-Team movie). It was that good. I cried a lot. I don't know if that means anything to you, but for me it means a glowing endorsement.
The book is a true story of what happens when a middle aged millionaire and older homeless man step out of their respective comfort zones and learn from each other. God does amazing things in both of their lives, but certainly not the easy way. What a comforting story to read, as two men sacrifice, listen, and share. Highly recommended.

Written by Ron Hall and Denver Moore.

Th th Th th

This week is brought to you by the color blue, the number 3, and the letter C.

Do you know how hard it is for Spanish speakers to say the "th" combo!? Yikes.

I start private tutoring today, for the same family - but one hour with a 4 year old and one hour with a 16 year old. Oh boy. We'll find out how that goes.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Grr

You want to know what's more annoying than forgetting to put vaseline on before an 8 mile run? Getting home and finding out that the run was actualy only 7.91, even though Google Earth said it was 8 before the run. Google Earth, you are seriously gettin' on my last nerve.

My pace was 10:22. Slow as molasses, but surprisingly faster than a couple runs I did this week. I actually made it to 20 miles for the week, which is happy, amazing, wonderful. I am back in the game, my friends! Now to keep pumpin' that number up, and tryin' to get faster. 'Cause I got a goal for this half-marathon, and I am going to chase down that goal and beat it into the ground. Seriously.

And let me just say, that running with aviator glasses on just makes the runner feel so baaaaad, ifyouknowwhati'msaying.

Mmmm Enchiladas

This is not a Real Meal Deal, 'cause I didn't make it. Real Meal Deals are notable because I don't usually cook. On the other hand, Cande, the cook at our daycare, cooks two wonderful meals every day. This day I actually happened to be in the kitchen during the construction of the enchiladas. I have no real recipe with these pictures. Instead, just a whole lot of yummmmm.

 You need to go down to the tortilleria and get yourself a bag of fresh corn tortillas. Fresh. Made that day.
 You need a lot of grated, white, Mexican cheese. I don't know what kind. Just Mexican.
 
You need to fry those tortillas in hot oil, just about 3 seconds on each side. You don't want them crispy, just soaked in oil. (Hey- that's me, frying the tortillas! Because Brigida stole my camera and this shot.)

 You need to cook some sauce that has tomatoes, onions, and some other stuff that I can't remember. You di[ that little tortilla in it, roll the cheese up inside, then cover it with more cheese! Yummers!

And if you got real skillz, like Cande, you make hot guayaba yumminess with milk and cinnamon. And probably some other stuff, too. 

Now you are on your way to being a real cook!

On a sidenote: my mom made Indian fry bread today for lunch. The last time I ate that, I was about 7. And I was on an actual reservation.  

Books: We Wish to Inform You...

When I was back home in Portland last month, I took a trip to Powell's. Powell's is huge and you could spend a day wandering through the shelves. This is the danger in Powell's: you begin to wander through the shelves because sheer curiosity leads you to wonder what's in the next aisle. Unfortunately, sheer curiosity is also what leads some people to buy books in the first place. So imagine a city block, three stories tall, filled with new and used books. Imagine that for a curious person.

I had originally gone in to buy a workbook on learning English for a friend, and some simple children's reading books. Oh - and book about container gardening. Then I happened to meander around and found myself next to the souvenir corner (where a lady was taking pictures of people in front of a green screen, and printing out pictures that made them look like they were standing outside Powell's. Haha.), and next to the souvenir corner was the bargain shelves. Bargain shelves are bad. You think they're good, because everyone loves a bargain. But they're bad, because you convince yourself that it's okay if you buy a book there. Or two. Or three.


So I bought this one. Written by Philip Gourevitch, We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families is a political and human history of the genocide in Rwanda. I like to keep somewhat knowledgable about current events going on in the world, but the genocide in Rwanda was something I knew nothing about. Did you know 800,000 people were killed? 800,000! For what? For being a certain race. The Hutus were commanded to kill the Tutsis. And they did - mostly with machetes. Hutu sons killed their Tutsi mothers. They massacred children. Neighbor against neighbor, Rwandan against Rwandan. And nobody did anything. The international community didn't step in, and unknowingly (or, I think, eventually knowingly) supplied and aided the killers when they fled Rwanda to refugee camps.

A general is quoted as saying "Some people even think we should not be affected. They think we are like animals, when you've lost some family, you can be consoled, given some bread and tea -- and forget about it." He chuckled. " Sometimes I think this is contempt for us. I used to quarrel with these Europeans who used to come, giving us sodas, telling us, 'You should not do this, you should do this, you don't do this, do this.' I said 'Don't you have feelings?' These feelings have affected people."

Gourevitch describes the situation well. He combines a really deep, insightful look of the history, with a discerning view of the politics, as well as giving a voice to some of the millions of stories from individuals he met along the way. We Wish to Inform You... gave me an introduction to a very shaky and very complicated Africa whose politics and decisions I will never fully understand.

"During [a group of Hutus] attack on the school in Kibuye, the students, teenage girls who had been roused from their sleep, were ordered to separate themselves -- Hutus from Tutsis. But the students had refused. At both schools, the girls said they were simple Rwandans, so they were beaten and shot indiscriminately."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sportastic

Not so much. We don't have tv here. My parents have an actual television, but we only watch movies on it. We don't have cable or any sort of other channels. Occasionally we drive to a local restaurant to watch sports, because they have a cable provider that gets every game imaginable, and we eat dinner and watch a game. It's not a busy place and we can usually watch whatever we want to watch.

Why is the baseball season so long!? Seriously - we're not into the World Series yet? I know, I know, it's close. And there are actually people who like baseball. So last night we got to watch the end of the Phillies/Giants game for nearly two hours. And when I say "got to" I mean "had to" while waiting for it to be over so we could watch the Ducks/Bruins football game. Yawn yawn yawn. Baseball is boring. I've been to a couple Mariners' games, and I'll admit that baseball live isn't so bad, but I credit that to hanging with friends, and eating stadium food. Yes. Stadium food. You know what the most exciting part of the baseball game was? When they replayed a bunch of pitches in succession. Bam bam bam. Well that was exciting, and then right back to the boring game. Giants lost, yadda yadda yadda.

By the time we tuned into the Ducks game, it was the third quarter and they were plowing over the Bruins like UCLA was a peewee football team. We tuned in right before the failed fourth attempt at about the 4 yard line, UCLA's possession at the 4 yard line that turned into a fumble, Oregon retrieved the ball. Then made a touchdown. That made it 46-6. So we headed home. And by the time we got home, the score was 53-6. Sorry Bruins!

The Trailblazers also won last night, beating the Nuggets in their last preseason game. Beating the Nuggets is fun.. Their official season begins on the 26th. I gotta spend some time studying our roster 'cause I don't know half these guys.

And a picture of Rudy, just 'cause:
Fact on the street is that Rudy doesn't want to play for the Blazers anymore, because he doesn't really like McMillan's coaching, nor does he like the atmosphere of the NBA. He wants to go back to EspaƱa. So here's a picture of Rudy being yelled at by McMillan.

I joined a fantasy basketball league. My enthusiasm for basketball will help me stay interested and on track this time around. Last time I tried a fantasy league, it was baseball. You can imagine how that went.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Real Meal Deal: Taco Salad and French Bread

Now, I shouldn't really call this a Real Meal Deal. I've made salads forever, and they're not really a specialty or anything new. The other day I had it in my head to make taco salads, so I couldn't help myself.

The best part of making a taco salad is putting on the black beans. I love black beans, and black beans love me. They're good for you, says I.
(plus the cheese was pepperjack. Yum.)

My friend over at ElktonRunner posted a french bread recipe, which I had to try. It was good, but it wasn't fluffy like French bread in the middle. It still tasted yummy. It makes two big loaves, so we ate one, and froze the other.
Stevie likes it, but I'm beginning to think Stevie will eat anything.

In the same post as the French Bread recipe, ElktonRunner talks about her registration into the Boston Marathon. In case you don't know, you have to achieve a qualifying time in another race in order to get into Boston. Then you have to beat everyone else to race registration the day it opens. The online registration for Boston closed in 7 or so hours!! Some believe it was a self-fulfilling prophesy because everyone was talking beforehand about how it was going to close so fast. At any rate, those getting into Boston are fast runners, and Elkton is one of them.

I, on the other hand, will never have to worry about the stress of qualifying and registering for a race of this caliber, as the qualifying time for my age and gender would mean I'd have to wear a jetpack in order to make it. And I don't have money for a jetpack. Congratulations, Elkton, and good luck!! I shall live vicariously through you.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Well so much for that...

So much for that morning run. I put on an old pair of running shoes, thinking that at most they would get wet and a little dirty.

Think again!

The road behind our house was fine. A few huge lakes in the middle of the road, but nothing I couldn't run around. Or nothing that Lucy couldn't just run through.

But then it got muddy. Muddy from one side of the street to the other. Not the mud I'm used to, but slick, mucky, sticky mud. The kind that you almost slip on when you walk. So I wasn't about to run on it. And then I came home. I'm from Portland, and when you're from Portland, and you run, you just run in the rain. I actually love running in the rain, but not with mud like this. So much for a speedy run today. And I guess I can kiss that 20+ mile week goodbye, 'cause it's still raining.

Why is it that Lucy loves to run through puddles, but absolutely despises getting her feet rinsed off?
just once around the block.

Lucy lounges around all day, due to the rain.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Rain Rain Rain

Rain is rare here, so when it rains, it's a big deal. Not only is its rarity remarkable, but so is its affect on this town. With sand/dirt side roads and mud in some neighborhoods, it's sometimes difficult to get around when it rains. A lot of concrete is uneven, which makes for a lot of standing water. Most buildings have no gutters. Last winter it rained an incredible amount, causing our "river" (which is usually a dry riverbed) to become an actual rushing river, and in turn caused the bridge to collapse. They're still working on the new bridge.

(As a sidenote: that makes me wonder - Since our passage from one side of the river to the other is now a road down into the riverbed, I wonder what traffic is like at this point?)

Oh - so it rained today. A lot. It was "dewing" here this morning (as my friend Christina said), and I took my dog out for a walk. It had obviously rained during the night, but a little tiny bit of dewing can't stop a morning walk. It misted and dewed on and off for a lot of the morning.

We actually went to globos (the outdoor market), and I would say it started sprinkling. All of this change in status made us Pacific Northwesterners (Stevie and me) consider all the different names for rain.

By the time my first English class ended, it was actually, really, truly raining. It rained on and off during the day. The kids were out under their covered walkway, looking at the rain, exclaiming about the rain, examining the rain, wondering at the rain. "Profe Meghan! Mira todo el agua!"

My silly dog didn't know what to do with herself. Despite her mansion of a doghouse, I found her outside, just laying in the rain. Not under a van. Not under the trailer. Not in her doghouse. Not under the cover by Mom and Dad's apartment. Just soaked, laying out in the parking lot. Good thinking, Lucy!

My run tomorrow morning will surely include dodging huge and tiny puddles. Lucy, I'm positive, will run right through them.

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's Gettin' Crazy

This week is brought to you by the number 2, the color yellow, and the letter B.

2 Yellow Bananas.

While I actually only have a small amount of time with each class, finding things to do to fill that time are a little hard. I will have to try to find some new games or something. The kids have problems sitting still, and I know it's hard as a kid to sit still, but I really don't like kids putting their feet on my wall and trying to climb their feet up the wall as they eventually make a handstand. I mean - is that too much to ask?

So we're working on sitting still. For the three older classes, I start each session with calendar ("Today is Monday, October, 18th"), weather (cold and sunny, warm and cloudy), and the alphabet song. I repeatedly say that I am looking for people who are sitting well, and listening, and I choose those kids to put the date up, the weather up, and use our monster pointer to point to each letter as we sing along with the song. What's a monster pointer? I guess I'll have to take a picture to show you sometime! I think every classroom needs a special monster pointer. It's all the rage and every kid wants to touch it.

Amanda asked a couple questions, so here goes:
How many kids do you have in each class?
I have anywhere from 7-14. There are 14 toddlers. That's an insane amount of 2-3 year olds. There are about 11 or 12 preschoolers, and the Kinder classes tend to be smaller. The numbers change every day just because of who is absent. Also, the Kinders would do a lot of resting during this period of time, before they had English class, and sometimes I lose them to sheer sleepiness and they decide to rest instead.

Are they asking you questions constantly?
Not as much as you, Amanda. They actually don't ask a lot of questions. Generally they do a lot of telling me stories. We're in the middle of a song and they want to tell me about the lollipop they ate this weekend. Well, that's great, little buddy, but I'm singing about the wheels on the bus, so get with the program! Actually, I dont' know how to say that in Spanish. Instead, I usually nod, smile, and then get back into whatever we're doing, because lets face it: I usually have no idea what they're saying to me. Understanding Spanish from grown adults is hard enough. Understanding the Spanish mutterings of a child is ten times harder.

Or are you only letting them speak english?

No. I found out by working a bilingual school where they want the kids to ONLY speak English, that telling someone they can only speak one language when everyone around them speaks another, is quite difficult. Besides - these kids don't know anything yet except for some numbers, a couple colors, and monkeys jumping on a bed. I can't keep them from talking, and I can't force them to speak English. I do a lot of my speaking in Spanish, but I'm gradually working in more English as I go. Although, I have to keep reminding myself to speak English, because my initial reaction is to say it in Spanish so that they understand. I think, all in all, this is a learning process for me as much as it is for them.

Do you like how many questions I am asking? :)
Yes, actually, I do. Because it makes me feel loved and like someone cares :)

Did you know wolves are yellow? That's what a 3 year old just told me while we listed off things that are yellow. You just have to nod and smile.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Long Runs and Guns

And I don't mean my biceps. I've been a longtime admirer of my biceps, as any of my closest friends and my mother can tell you, but this is not about those. We can save those for another day.

I ran a long run today. Probably my first real long run since June. In June I did a 10-miler (WHAT?) and lots of 9-milers, and then I had a lazy summer wherein I lost a lot of my fitness and the will to run. This included going on vacations and hating hotel gyms and not wanting to run outside in the Southern heat. This also included getting a dog who wanted to run, but couldn't run that far. I know, it's a load of excuses, but there it is.

So I've been trying to build my base of running back up because I want to run a half-marathon in January (WHAT?), and I have a training plan to start that begins the second week of November, but I have to build a solid base before then. Last week I ran 6.25 miles on Sunday, and today I was out to battle 7. I did it, which felt amazing, even despite the fact that I completely spaced on the knowledge that at about 6 or 7 miles, you begin to chafe. And it hurts.

But nevermind that, because what happened this morning is the run to end all runs (that sounds gross. Sorry.). Actually, it was at the beginning of my run, and I still busted out 7, so take that.

I ran around the big block first, knowing that I hate having to do an extra run around the block at the END of a run because then I feel tired and I just don't wanna. So I'm moseying along, like I always do, and a little black Honda starts driving by, really slowly. In fact, we're going about the same pace, although he pulls a little ahead of me. There are a few people in the car. They look nice. I'm used to slow cars because the roads here are bad and especially those low little cars, they have to go slow.

No big deal. The car is a little ahead of me on the right. I'm on the left side of the road. It stops a little ways up, in front of the church by our house and I think "oh, someone's getting dropped off at the church! How nice!" No. The guy rolls down his window..

and pulls out what looks to be a rifle. I am not even kidding. The first word that popped into my head was probably a word that I shouldn't post on this family-friendly blog. The second word that popped into my head was "Jesus" because I really wanted him to help me at that point. And I think then I seriously thought "okay. I knew this might happen someday - girl runner killed in foreign country". Then I look to where he's pointing the rifle - up at the electrical lines where there are birds.

The past few months we've heard lots of gunshots, and I even saw a guy standing out in his yard, pointing at some trees, and I assumed people were shooting at birds. It drives my dog crazy. Crazy with fear.

I had stopped running, staring at the rifle, with a terrified look on my face. The people in the car realize that I had stopped running, and start talking and motioning that I can go ahead. I ask if the gun is for the birds. He nods and smiles. I keep running, fully thinking he's gonna shoot me in my back or something. Nope. I don't ever hear the gunshot or see the car again.

Good golly. Nobody tell my grandma, kay?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Real Meal Deal: MEATLOAF

Let's start something fun! I'm starting "Real Meal Deals", which will be an inconsistent sampling of my attempts at cooking. I'd like to preface this first Real Meal Deal by saying that it's not that I can't cook, it's simply that I don't ever do it. I don't usually feel the desire to. And let's face it - cooking for one person isn't that desirable. I've survived plenty of years of singlehood living off of beautiful salads, wonderful sandwiches, bowls of soup, etc. But spending 2 hours cooking a single meal? Not my cup of tea (and I don't drink tea). So this is something exciting.

I can make a four-star, extraordinary chocolate chip cookie. I can (I just found out) make a delicious homemade chocolate cake. I can make, what others consider to be, scrumptious peanut butter chocolate bars. I can make homemade applesauce. I've been successful in making homemade cinnamon rolls. But dinner? My creativity stops right about there.

This leads us into Tuesday night's dinner, inspired by Jenna over at Eat, Live, Run. I saw her recipe for Indian naan bread. It looked incredibly easy - so I decided to go for it. Not only is it naan bread, it's Roasted Garlic Indian Naan Bread! With capital letters! That shows you its importance.

I confessed to my roommate that I've never even chopped garlic before... so that shows you a bit of my expertise. After some slight coaching from my mom, and some question answering from my roommate, I ended up with meatloaf, naan, mashed potatoes, and cantaloupe for dessert. It was... good. I know I didn't quite do the naan right. Our ovens are a little testy, so sometimes it's a matter of working with what ya got. I think I worked with what I got.

I roasted garlic!! (nevermind the fact that I burned it the first time around)


Then I made the naan bread. This is pre-baking, but it looked the same afterward. I didn't get to broil it and make crispy edges like Jenna did.


The meal (I know, starch heavy, but c'mon! It was delicious)


Stevie approves!

That is my first real meal deal! Not bad, considering I've never made any of these things before!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Books: Lord of the Flies

Oh, you know, the one you were supposed to read in high school. Sophomore year. Ms. What's-Her-Name who tried to allude to things in the book that we, as sophomores, were not quite ready for. I remember thinking, even then, that her suggestions were a little inappropriate. Isn't it sad that is what stood out to me from her class? That, and her horrible, horrible handwriting.

Back on topic! Lord of the Flies was a book I had been wanting to read again. I actually tried to read it a few years ago, and didn't make it through the book (again). I found the book at a thrift store this summer, and I think it was even in Monroeville, Alabama! (If you, for some reason, know why Monroeville is an important stop in American literature, feel free to post a comment!)

Back on topic again - This book makes me sad. Sure, it's about a bunch of British boys landing on an island and striving to survive by making their own rules and they eventually deteriorate into a group of wild animals, and that would make any feeling person sad. Instead, I'm sad that this book has such great potential, but doesn't quite get there. The characters are wonderful. The plot is intense. The allusions are timeless. The writing... isn't that great. William Golding had so many essentials right there for him, but he jumps around, is unclear about many scene changes, and could have added so much more. What I don't understand is how a story with such great characters, important moral choices, and a great plot line is so hard to keep reading. I kept reading because I wanted to finish it and because I want to know what happened in the end.

One of those reasons is not a great reason for finishing a book. A book should hold its own weight without having to be "a classic" or "a must-read" or "one of those books I had to read for high school so I feel redeemed for actually having read it" for it to be finished. It should get finished because the writing is spectacular and because the reader just can't help herself.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Routine, Routine, Routine

This week is brought to you by the number 1, the color red, and the letter A.

I started English classes with our preschoolers two and a half weeks ago and I'm in my third week of teaching these munchkins. I use the word "teach" rather loosely, as I'm not sure how much learning is happening. I have never taught preschoolers before. Sure, I had been a nanny for years and I consider my knowledge of children and their quirks pretty high (I sure hope so, considering my college level education on human development and education), but still... I've never taught preschool. I'm more of a fourth/fifth grade sort of teacher. I like students who can, you know, read to themselves. I like having conversations about the large rights and wrongs of the world. "Stop hitting her" really isn't my thing. Neither is "stop wiping your nose with your sleeve".

But it will have to be my thing! I get the joy of seeing these faces every day. We have four classes of students, and I have each for a half hour. The babies (2-3 years old), preschoolers (3-4), 1st year Kinders (4-5) and 2nd year Kinders (5-6). Every class sings songs every day (and I'm getting a little tired of Five Little Monkeys, to be completely honest), and then we are working on our subjects. Actually, the babies are mostly just playing, getting used to me. But all classes are slowly getting used to me speaking more English to them.

So I'm trying to pull out my bag of tricks. Literally, actually, as today I have a pillowcase full of red things and I am pulling them out and saying "1 red.... marker!" or "1 red .... doll!", and would you believe they actually think it's really funny if I stick my whole head in the pillowcase to look for the next thing? Easily entertained, these ones.

Tomorrow we're coloring pictures of apples. 'Cause apples start with A, and they are red, and there will be 1 on the page. See? 1, Red, Apple. These children will be bilingual geniuses in no time.

The excitement continues!!