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Tuesday, June 07, 2005


or My Weekend and My Life in 45 Minutes (which is when I have to leave to go to work)

I love when kids make leaps of reasoning or understanding to the extent that they leave you speechless, and, in some cases, with egg on your face. Yesterday I was watching the ball pool area at our school. Two of my students, both little girls, wanted to play with me instead and were draping themselves across my legs. As a way to entertain myself and them, I began tickling their sides, causing them to utter barking laughs and to twist and turn in my arms like eels trying to get away from me. They tried to tickle me, then, around my neck. This is something I don't allow, first because sometimes it tickles, and second because when it does not tickle it hurts (as they jab their fingers into my neck or scratch me, not having yet learned to completely control their motions).

Since the beginning of the year, I have stressed to the students the Golden Rule of "treat other people how you want to be treated." This rule has been at the heart of our classroom, and it is a centerpiece of our graduation show.

Yesterday, as I was telling the girls that they could not tickle me, one of them started quoting that, using the same tone that I use to insinuate the great importance of following that in life. The other girl picked up on it as well, and for the next five minutes, each time I tried to tell them not to tickle me, they started in on that.
I tried to explain that if I was a kid and sat on someone's legs I would want to be tickled, but they didn't buy it. Finally I had to agree not to tickle them again or let them do it to me, too.

More with kids:

On Saturday, my co-teacher and I were invited to lunch by the parents of one of our students (I also taught the girl's sister last year). Both my girlfriend and my co-teacher's boyfriend came as well.

The two girls are quite different from each other, one looking more like 12 than 7, and the other about half her sister's size. The one thing that is very obvious that they share is - for lack of better word here - their adoration of me. As we were eating, the older sister sat next to me and played with different things, using her English as we ate. Whenever Natalia and I went to get more food, she came with us, holding my hands as we walked around the restaurant even though she did not want any food.

The sister, the girl I teach now, stared across at me over the table and giggled. Then she looked at my girlfriend and frowned. She asked to sit next to me, and my co-teacher began explaining to Natalia how the girl often runs her hands over my arms or around my face and kisses me on the cheek at the end of each day.

"The other kids always say she wants to marry Alan," she said. "A lot of the other girls want to as well, I think. Of course, one of the boys says he want to marry Alan, too. He's really popular."

A few thoughts on this: 1)it only took 28 years to get to be popular!
2)it figures - I finally have a group of female admirers - figures they are all under 7 years old.
3) The boy who said he wants to marry me: One day while he was
brushing his teeth says "Take your girlfriend and throw her
down the drain!" He's said a few other nuggets as well, but I thought
that was the best.

And back to Saturday. We wanted to take a picture- the two girls and me. After we took one, my co-teacher suggested Natalia join the picture. The younger sister did not like this at all. I did not know jealousy existed at such a young age!

A Few Sensory Moments:

Saturday night, at a bar called Roxy 99. We thought there was going to be a going away party for a Brazilian girl that night, but it had actually been the previous night. So there we were, my girlfriend, co-teacher, and her friend, waiting to see if people would dance. And they did. They got drunk and they danced.
The smoke was overwhelming, though. My eyes were stinging, my throat started hurting, and by the time we left, my clothes were reeking. I only had one beer, but I watched as people around us poured shot after shot of tequila down their gullets. I watched guys watch my girlfriend and co-teacher. I watched unattractive foreign guys stare at Taiwanese girls and hit on them with an air of assumption. A guy flew into the bathroom as I was walking out, vomit trickling from between the fingers he held over his mouth. Another guy threw up outside.
The last time I was at this bar was almost two years ago, and then there was a big fight outside as well (at least none of that this time).
I left feeling much as I did at the bar I was at last weekend. If I was single and 24, it would have been a whole lot more fun. I'm feeling that way more and more when I go out to bars.

Sunday, walking across Da-an park to the library. People taking pictures of flowers and an old man taking a picture of his daughter. Drum music (something I have always loved listening to at Da-an on Sundays). As I approached the edge of the park, where I would exit and return to street, an ominous creaking sound. Looking up I saw a long bamboo trunk jutting out from a thick patch of bamboo, hanging over my head. The patch of bamboo was not moving much in the breeze, but the sound, as if something was about to snap, and combined with the sound of wind in leaves and something akin to the sound of wooden cowbells in an Indonesian rice field (one of the most wonderful sounds in the world) made me stop and stare at the bamboo, for perhaps two or three minutes. I began to wonder if perhaps life in Asia hasn't gotten even deeper into my soul than I thought.


Blogger les said...

nothing beats the sound of a creaking bamboo forest!

2:40 AM  

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