Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Fall is in the air

Fall is finally showing its face today.

"It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life."--P. D. James

Isn't that quote just too true? Fall is my favorite season, and yet it really is mostly miserable. Cold and wet, the ever-encroaching darkness of winter. But when I think of fall, I remember the good times: changing into my marching band uniform behind a bus, choking on diesel exhaust and making jokes about dickies; crisp evenings at football games, not caring much who was winning, just enjoying clarinet conversation; going to the apple orchard, the pumpkin patch, and with freezing fingers picking out a perfect pumpkin that somehow went lopsided by the time we got it home; raking leaves as a youth, and jumping into the piles, right before coming inside for mom's homemade hot chocolate.

The foreign teachers here have been positively itching for fall to start. Up until today, we've been enjoying temperatures in the low 70s, walking around with no coats until all hours. For the first time, I had to wear a coat to and from work today, and I was wishing I had a scarf on the way home! The leaves are slowly starting to change, mostly to red and orange. We are sitting at the base of a tree-covered mountain, so I'm hoping that one day I'll walk out of my room to find the mountain fiery with fall colors.

We have a new set of kids today, about 400 of them. This is almost twice as many as we've had in the weeks of last month. We've all gotten spoiled, enjoying days where we only teach 2 classes. This week is a wakeup call to the fact that we're actually supposed to be working here! It's depressing. :-(

Of course, this melancholy might not be affecting those teachers who are teaching "Basketball", "Ultimate Frisbee", or "HackeySack". Yes, I said hackeysack. The vocab list for the "class" actually includes the word "dude". I don't know whether to applaud the realism, or cry a small tear...

I found a further dose of realism today in reviewing the lesson plan for "Medical Center" that was put together by our head teacher, Braden. (He's from California, and about my age.) In talking about how to get the kids to discuss symptoms, he recommended walking over to a kid and pretending to vomit on them, and to elicit the word "diarrhea", to walk around the corner into the pharmacy and make "violent pooping noises". I just have to say, every lesson plan here--without exception--would be improved by a recommendation to make "violent pooping noises" at some point during class. We could just blame it on the kimchi... :-)

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