Today I was proud to inform my group that we had moved to the 4th stage of group work. We seem to have passed through most of our storming stage, and are now hitting the "performing" stage...and just in time too! However, it has been a while, so I am going to back this post up and start a bit earlier...
So I am Kind of a Teacher Now..
I don't feel as though I have remotely earned that title, and am sure it will take trial by fire and much stress and survival-mindset to ever feel as though I can actually call myself a teacher! I team-taught with Hugo, and things went quite smoothly...although we kind of ran out of material. We had plan for this contingency, but it was an awkward happening where we had only 3 minutes of extra time at the end. Certainly not enough time to really get anything achieved, but a long time to perseverate. When we approached the teacher after class, and (cringing a little inwardly, in my case) asked how she thought it went, it was hardly the most reassuring comment - "We'll, it was only your first lesson." Very true, and honestly, I thought we did pretty well. We had some good and focused moments, and I am a pretty good patroller, and picked up on the class clown pretty fast. When he answered that he wanted to go to a city to shop (prompting a cascade of tittering from the female population, and some hearty guffaws from the guys...), I fixed him with a grin and asked "shop for what?" This prompted furious muttering as classmates raced to provide him with ideas, although he got stuck on trying to remember how to say "jeans", which, rather amusingly, is a complete cognate. We will teach them again on Wednesday, and also took on teaching a class of 7th form on Monday....which was probably pretty idiotic, as we have not see the class but decided to jump at the opportunity to teach grammar!! Oh boy. Luckily Hugo is incredibly smart (and has a knack for punditry that proves detrimental to our homework at times...) and has a fairly strong grasp it seems on grammar. Which is fortunate, as I definitely took MUCH more literature, and seemed to have repressed most memories of my sole grammar class in college. However, we at least did not have a student proudly present the tooth that they lost during class - that honor went to Curly and Zim.
Oh, and I am Sick
I won't even mention the mucus. I don't even want to think of it myself, which has become impossible as it seems to have taken over my life. It started with sinus pressure, and has kept on with a vengeance. Not taking me completely down, but definitely been a wearing factor. It also seems to be developing into a nice hacking cough, which I simply do NOT have time for. Unfortunately, I doubt my cold is a native English speaker, and Sparta has refused to teach us any particularly naughty words...probably with pretty good reason. The poor man starts off most day with a good measure of vim and vigor, but I think he is just as tired as all of us by the day's end. And his patience is astounding. However, I think he might actually enjoy us, for the most part, as he allowed me to make pizza today after class, and then suggested we all watch a movie too! All without the slightest indicator that he would rather simply crawl into bed and pretend we didn't exist for a few hours! So, onward to pizza!
Well Actually, I am kind of Scared of the Oven...
This statement came straight from Sparta's mouth as four of us sat crouched around the gas oven, named Greta, and attempted to discover exactly where the gas should be lit from. This ,rant adjusting the heat was tricky, and I had it going pretty darn hot, according to the incredibly un-helpful temperature arrow that sits on the surface of the door. Luckily, I like to bake my crusts at a high temp, so this was ideal. We did get it figured out eventually, and I think Zim has photo documentation. I had had a slight meltdown the previous evening - between a sorely chapped nose, my attempt at being proactive and making a verb list failing due to conflicting resources, the pressure of two class preps, feeling inadequately qualified to have a community project be grammar resource development, and simply not being able to get away from everyone for a while to do some processing. This, added to the fact my shower would have to wait because laundry got put in, which then screwed up my shopping plan for pizza and just mad me grumpy in general.
But then I had a dream. And, it wasn't that my teeth fell out, which has been a reoccurring theme in other stressful time. Instead, I was at my cousin's wedding (who really is getting married this weekend!), and kept running into people who knew me and kept professing their confidence in me. So I woke up Ina very positive mindset, and then was ver successful in working up the nerve And vocabulary to ask a rather harried (and therefore slightly intimidating) Leanne if I could borrow her garlic press. I blurted out a quick stream of Ukrainian...and got a quick nod and smile of comprehension and permission! This was wonderful.
My groupmates were all very enthusiastic about pizza, and were a lean, clean, kitchen crew machine! Everyone pitched in, and it was very smooth sailing. The results were very scrumptious, with the homemade sauce being incredibly tasty, and the toppings being all vegetables. The nearest butcher only carries whole chickens (although I did learn the word for breast today, oddly while learning about the names of months....) and we have some other dietary restrictions that just made that the easier choice. Next time I hope to have the gumption and energy to actually make it into the town proper, and get some more specialized ingredients!
Everyone's favorites!! Those charming little tidbits of Ukrainian culture that make you cocky our head and make you aware of your current placement on the culture shock curve. Such as: scented Kleenex. Even the brand is here, but I swear I have never seen nectarine or strawberry scented ones before. I can't tell if I am ridiculously out of touch with Kleenex subculture, or if this is just as abnormal for America as I think it is. Nevertheless, I am Not a fan, as it makes me acutely aware of the fact that this is practically ALL I can currently smell! Another fun fact: dropped money becomes dead to you...at least if it is a coin. You see them quite often...on the floor of the minibuses, on the streets or in the parks, here and there. Yet no one seems to pick them up. Sparta expressed confusion over why we would even ask about them, and shocked we would think of picking them up. I'm guessing they probably don't have the 5 second rule here either... Finally, a misunderstanding of something I read online had me cautioning Hugo about accepting pumpkins from women. The actual tradition is linked to if a young man has made a proposal to the woman he is courting, she would signal her acceptance by presenting him with a pumpkin. Still probably not a good idea to accept pumpkins from strange women, although you could them,are a tasty pie!
Anyhow, that is it for me...
Hope all is well,