Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Every Mile A Memory

Wow, four weeks down. I can’t even believe time has gone this fast. It’s so sad because there is so much I want to do and see here that I know I just won’t have time for. I also can’t imagine not living in this beautiful country. I also can’t imagine school and the grocery store being close enough to walk to, it’s just so much more convenient than having a car. Here’s an update on my week was:

Last Saturday morning was pretty uneventful, I took about 3 naps before noon. I definitely think whatever all the kids have at school they so kindly shared with me. It could be because they all pick their nose and wipe their boogers EVERYWHERE as if no one is watching. As gross as that is, it’s nice to know that kids are kids no matter where you go. Saturday night, our South African friends in our apartment complex drove us to a really cool restaurant just outside of town. It had a beautiful view of the ocean and the atmosphere was so relaxed since it’s a spot locals go to, and not one of the touristy restaurants in town that we’re used to. The highlight of my day though was a phone call from my little brother. As cool as everything is here, I miss talking to my best friend everyday like crazy.

Sunday morning we made a traditional American breakfast (chocolate chip pancakes and bacon, YUM) and took it outside to the picnic tables to eat. We shared some of our leftovers with all the little kids who live in our building and they were so excited. It’s such a small thing, but waving and saying hello to them always makes my day. After that, we packed up and headed out to spend the day at the beach. You can tell classes at NMMU have started here because the population at the beach has changed and expanded to more people our age. Sunday night we went to a new church called Father’s House. It was really different from the one we went to in Walmer, but it was still really cool and it was nice that the crowd was closer to our age and not all high schoolers.

Monday was field trip day! The day I anticipated since the sign up sheet went home. We went to a museum called Bayworld which is about a five minute drive from the school (and about a 20/30 minute walk from our apartment, depending on how lazy we feel). It was cool to see inside the museum. It was really similar to the Natural History Museum in Cleveland, but obviously this museum included a lot more marine life. I’m so glad I decided to help out at after care at Beachwood because it is turning into such a great bonding experience with the kids. Some of the kid’s complain all day about wanting to leave school, but as soon as the final bell rings they are practically dragging me over to Beachwood and begging to do homework. It’s nice to get to know some of the children from the other grade 1 classes and the grade R (kindergarten/preschool) students as well.

The heat has been pretty intense the last few days here. The high speed winds I just started to get used to have seem to come to a screeching halt as the percent of humidity has increased along with the temperatures. The only bad part about it is your clothes just sticking to you all day long, not a fun feeling. Honestly, I’m more than happy to deal with this than the snowpacolypse back home. You can tell it’s brutal on the kids just sitting in a hot classroom all day long because they are all much more emotional  and exhausted. On Wednesday,  a child was so exhausted that he fell asleep in the middle of storytime at the carpet. Today is Friday and it has rained for most of the day, which has helped cool it down . It’s also Valentine’s Day which has definitely lifted the spirit of the children. Today was definitely a day filled with love. This morning one of our roommates surprised us with a set up of scones, muffins and juice for breakfast, they were delicious! At school I was instantly greeted by cards, chocolate sweeties, and flowers picked from the schoolyard by students. It was cute to know that they had thought of me when planning their gifts for Miss Brough. For a few Rand, the students were allowed to wear their ‘civis’ (street clothes since they usually wear uniforms) if they had red on them. It was so cute to see then all dressed like little kids, instead of the mini adults they usually looked like. They were extra funny today too. One little boy told me, “Teacher Lesticks, daddy said I must save some of this chocolate bar for teacher for myself” and then proceeded to eat the entire bar. Another little boy excitedly gave me the bow off of a candy bar… but kept the candy bar for himself. My favorite laughable moment of the day was when a little boy found a pin that said, “I’m an extraordinary woman!” and proudly wore it on his shirt all day despite the fact that he knew what it said and he was very well aware he was not a woman. I’ve never seen a happier child before in my life. Even though I love a good laugh as much as the next person, my all time favorite moment of the day happened two hours after I passed out my Valentine’s. Valentine’s Day here is definitely not a big deal like it is at home, the only person that gets Valentine’s is the teacher. I was so excited I bought a box of Toy Story Valentine’s to bring with me on this trip, until I started to hand them out. I was a little crushed to realize that none of the kids understood what they were, what they said, how to open them, and the worst part was that some of them didn’t even know what Toy Story was! It was a little after break time when I looked up and realized one little girl was walking around carrying my valentine around the room. As the rest of the afternoon passed, I realized most of the class was carrying their valentine around with them anywhere they went in the room. It made me so happy to realize that it wasn’t a fail and that the children did understand them.

It’s strange thinking my time here is more than halfway done. It’s very bittersweet. I can’t wait to be that much closer to going back home to Brunswick, but every morning when I walk into school and see all the first grade faces I’ve come to love, I am heartbroken thinking that I’ll have to leave them. They’ve each hold such a special place in my heart, and I can’t imagine not seeing them every week. It’s also weird using the word home about America. In the short time I’ve been here, it’s snuck up on me that I now consider this my home. I even had a nightmare about leaving the other night. I woke up in a sweat thinking I was going to miss my flight back to America and I had to rush around the apartment to pack up my things. I was sobbing so hard that I couldn’t bring myself to leave the apartment. That dream is so the opposite of everything I was feeling 4 short weeks ago, and I almost wish the next 3 weeks could last forever.

(I don't know why I can't figure out how to rotate this picture, but since I can't I'm instead telling you to just rotate your head to view it. It'll still get the job done)

I have been practicing my Afrikaans with my students (especially my colors!) but here are some of the English words my students have tricked me with:
Tackies= tennis shoes
suitcase= bookbag (if you say bookbag they’ll laugh and look at you like you’re an alien not an American)
corkies= markers
costume= bathing suit
ski pants= leggings
press stick= sticky tack
robot= stop light
specs= glasses
petrol= gas
take away= food orders to go
passages=hallway (if you tell children to be quiet in the hallway they’ll never understand what you’re       talking about)
bum= butt (clearly I’m too immature not to include this one)
A hat is almost always referred to as a cap.
Instead of getting a ride somewhere, you get a lift.
You don’t get things, you fetch them. How charming does that sound?
The most commonly used words in school are lovely, brilliant, charming, clever, and shame. The word shame is used quite frequently in all situations here, for example, “That poor boy tripped over his suitcase because his takkies weren’t tied” “Oh shame!”

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