08 April 2007

No, I am die, die, die Ms. Denice.

When I first arrived, my first grade class wasn't doing a very good job of using sentences or using my name, so I taught them that when I'm taking role they need to answer with 'Yes, I am here today Ms. Denice.' If they aren't present I don't require them to use a complete sentence to answer me. One of my biggest challenges in the class is Andrew. He's at a lower level than the rest of the class, and has no apparent interest in participating. Mostly he sits in class and sharpens his large collection of pencils. Lately he has taken to answering role call with, 'No, I am die, die, die Ms. Denice.' I find it interesting that the children who make me frown the most are also the ones that make me smile the most.

On Friday we took our Kindergarten classes to central park to hunt easter eggs. I've never had so much fun with my kids. We laughed and joked the whole time. Some of my kids have well developed senses of humor and catch me off guard several times a day. (I'd repeat some of the jokes for you, but I doubt I have any readers sophisticated enough to embrace the subtleties that underly Korean Kindergarten humor in translation.)

While I was hiding the eggs one old woman stopped and stared at me for a while shaking her head disapprovingly. I can't blame her. It must be hard for the natives here to deal with the influx of western school teachers overtaking the city and so deliberately littering in the parks. It must take a certain degree of audacity to balance hard-boiled eggs on tree branches in broad daylight.

After the kids finished hunting the eggs I taught them Simon says (teacher says, rather) and then we ran some foot races and played duck, duck, goose. I smiled the entire morning. Not once did I wish I was somewhere else.

On Friday evening I left for an Easter retreat with the church that sponsors the Korean classes I attend on Saturday mornings. It was great. We roasted marshmallows and sang. The spot was charming and the people were interesting. There was good conversation and worthwhile scenery in abundance.

On Saturday the pastor (Dave, a theology student from Australia who's probably my age and has great taste in books and music) gave a short sermon on the depths of the Savior's sacrifice and its implications in our lives. It was a well-delivered sermon and I was grateful for the opportunity to feel connected with Christianity outside of Mormonism. I feel that too much focus is often placed on how Latter-day Saints are different than general protestants, when in fact our similarities vastly outnumber our differences. I think it is tragic that we spend so little time interacting in the Christian community.

Anyway, now I'm back in my bright box of a room. I'm showered and I've cleaned the flat, so I'm feeling pretty good, with only one dilemma: my zipper hoodie stinks. When I was in Russia I bought a blue zipper hoodie at a street market for (if I recall correctly) the equivalent of three dollars. Despite the Adidas patch on the front of it I'm confident that the Adidas manufacturers have no knowledge of the item's existence. I don't know why I felt the need to give you a history of the hoodie, but now you know (and knowing's half the battle, Adam). The dilemma is that my hoodie stinks. Not in the, 'It's a lousy hoodie' sense of the word (and I don't mean that in the lice-infested sense of the word lousy). Wow, that was super confusing. My hoodie is neither lousy, nor lice-infested, which is redundant, but it does smell bad. It spends a number of its evenings out with smokers and this last weekend out with a campfire. It smells bad because I wear it every day and don't have a dryer. In order to get rid of the smell I have to live without the hoodie long enough for it to air dry. This is my dilemma. My hoodie stinks.

And now you know ...

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