Saturday, November 29, 2008

The week that never ends

Ohhhhhhh, this really has been the week that never ends and it’s quickly becoming the weeks, plural, that never end. Monday and Tuesday Ann, the director of the school, was sick and out-of-commission, so I had to step in and make sure the school kept running. Things were going OK until two of the teachers got sick and I was left teaching both Level 3 and Level 4 together. Even that would have been OK except that my Level 3 students who are more quiet and studious do not like the Level 4 students who are wild and crazy and loud. So the Level 4 students got offended because they felt that the Level 3 students were too unfriendly to them. What a mess! By Thursday morning, I was absolutely fed-up with their complaining about each other and not getting along, so I gave a lecture on the word “complain” and about being thankful for where they are. You could have heard a pin drop in the room. They are always stunned when I get so serious with them.

On Wednesday, I took a group of 11 students to Cape Town for the day to visit the University of Cape Town campus and to speak with an international adviser because some of our students are interested in applying there. On the way there, we got so extremely lost you can’t even imagine. I can’t drive, so here I was on South African roads reading the directions in English to one of the Brazilians who was trying to explain to the Angolan who insisted he knew the way and was absolutely not going to take instructions from a little white American girl. The only other person who knew how to get there was a Korean which only complicated the language problem. Then the Zimbabwean and the South African decided we should stop and ask for directions and ended up picking-up a local who got in the combi with us to direct us. The whole time, I’m sitting in the back seat clutching my pepper spray going, “Guys, should we really let him get in the vehicle with us?” After proceeding to only get us more lost, he hopped out at the next intersection. I have never done so many U-turns in my life. But eventually we got there and only 30 minutes late at that.

I felt like a mom taking her teenagers to visit universities. “Dress nicely.” “Ask lots of questions.” “Please, do not speak when the lady is speaking.” “I know you’re tired, but yes, you must still go on the tour.” “No, we’re not eating at McDonalds.” “Because I said so. This is not a democracy.” But all the stress was worth it. It was fun to be in a university environment again. It brought back lots of memories. Although it can’t even compare with THE University, there’s still something about brick walls and ivy and the snobby elite that just makes me feel at home.

Sometime between Wednesday and Thursday, I marked papers and wrote a test and got a few hours of sleep. Thursday was Thanksgiving and I woke up so homesick I was actually sick to the stomach. It was another long day of classes though with Level 3 and 4 together again and a field trip to the mall. By lunch time, I was missing home so much I just curled up on my bed and cried. In the afternoon, I sat for three hours while my students had their test and I gave the test orally to one of my less-literate students. Over dinner, I talked with the family and cried again listening to the Macy’s day parade in the background. *sigh*. After dinner I skipped community meeting and spent the evening baking pies instead which turned out absolutely beautiful and delicious. I invited up some friends and we had a little Thanksgiving celebration together. It was really precious.

Friday morning it was back to teaching. I had a meeting over lunch and then quickly baked a birthday cake for the ELS birthday party. Unfortunately the oven was crooked which meant the cakes turned out completely lopsided, so instead of two cakes, I put one on top of the other and we had a layer cake. Problem solved.

After wards, I had a meeting in the kitchen, went jogging for an hour with Beth, my student and personal-trainer, did ab-exercises, swam, showered, made icing for the cake, went to the ELS party, attempted to dance with the Brazilians, and finally crashed in my bed.

Today and tomorrow, it’s my team’s turn to lead kitchen duty. But today, one of the students’ locked the keys in the kitchen. So we didn’t get started cooking until an hour later. And two people were sick, so that left three of us to cook for 80 people. Thankfully a few others helped out. Rushing to get supper ready, I was having flashbacks of half-time in the concession stand at football games. So many memories.

Tomorrow is another day of cooking, marking papers, and hopefully going to an evening Christmas service at my church. Before you know it, it’ll be Monday, and it all starts again.

P.S. An addendum to an earlier post - the guy in the lake just drowned and wasn't murdered as we thought.

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