Friday, September 12, 2008

Street Crossing and Scallop Dating

I could write about motorbikes every single day. I just spent an hour trying to upload a video of me crossing a street, but the video would not load. Actually, pictures just barely load, so I was thinking positively. If you had been able to watch me cross the street, you would have said, "That is the most amazing thing I have ever seen Marjie do."

So I will just have to talk about motorbikes a little more: parents wear helmets and kids do not. Sometimes you see three kids on the back of a bike. Or one really little kid standing on the baseboard in the front. Or a mother driving with one hand and holding her child with the other. Or someone text messaging or smoking with a free hand.

Oh! I just found two YouTube videos that will help you understand my not pass up this opportunity to click (the first is 12 seconds and the second is two minutes):
Still, I want you to see MY intersection.

This past summer, Dennis made me buy a scooter. Here they are (mine is the cute little one, a 125 Yamaha Vino, his is the big mean Bergman 650):
Every time we rode somewhere together, he would advise me on how to ride more safely. He was of the opinion that I turned in front of oncoming traffic in a risky way, or that I didn't use my peripheral vision when crossing intersections. Here the kids are not taught to look both ways before crossing the street. They just look the way they are going, which is what drivers do, too. You are in front, you have the power. Turn in front of anyone if there is room. Dennis, like Jaci regarding bathroom napping, did not understand that I was connecting with my future culture.

Now, about school, today is better. The jackhammer is quiet for a few hours, and I make some decisions that I feel pretty good about, which I will get to in a second. But the highlight of my day is when four of my cute girl students come in during their lunch and say, "We want to have English ALL day long. We don't want to have math or social studies or science, just English." Well, it's not because I am following the IB protocol, that is for sure. It's because we played "Around the World" with their vocabulary words. At one point, two boys were competing against each other and the word was "revolting." One kid, Tommy, wanting so badly to win, points at me and says, "Disgusting!" I say, "I have never had a student point at me and yell "disgusting" before!" Now THAT is an example of sixth grade humor. They love it. They get so wound up I have them practice "silent cheering." Then I make up a tongue twister out of the story. They must stand and say it twice, quickly, without messing up. "Some silly people slurp soup and some silly people slurp shakes" (from "The All-American Slurp"). There are four groups of tables and tables get points. All I have to say is, "The first table to have books and notebooks out gets a point!" and it's chaos to make it happen. "Anyone who can say this tongue twister twice quickly without messing up will win a point for his/her group" and the hands all go up and they whine to be chosen. Such enthusiasm. That never happened at Scriber.

As for Decisions to Make My Life Better: My first priority for next week is to find a gym. I need endorphin released. Secondly, I'm having my mom send my pants. I did not bring any of my professional pants from home and I hate wearing skirts and dresses every single day. Pants are hard to come by in my giant size and I'm not too excited about having pants made. Can't tell you what a relief this is. It's not too hot to wear them, either, because of the air conditioning. Another decision: I'm going to keep a low profile, not complain or draw attention to myself, but I'm also not going to post things every day on that awful site (until they make it more user friendly) and I'm not going to worry too much about my weekly plans. If the kids are learning, then I will be happy. If the admin is really worried about it (and they have a lot keeping them busy right now), then they will come to me I guess. But like I said, I'm not heading toward IB, so I have no one to impress. How does that sound, principal Kathy?

Now, about that date with the scallops...Katherine and I go to Rug Street after school today. It's not just me that names these streets thematically, the Vietnamese women in the copy room that I have befriended also call it Rug Street. They also tell me where to find Lamp Street and Plant Street. So we find a rug after visting about ten rug shops, one after another, all with the same product but with different prices. I do feel like I am in college again because nothing in the castle matches. We have pink curtains, baby blue design below the curtains, rainbow colored pillows, a Mexian tablecloth that Tarn contributed, and now a traditional blue flowery livingroom rug. Who cares?
After rug street, we return to our grid and stop at the seafood place that caught our attention last night. All kinds of mollusks sit outside the restaurant in a cart, and the cheery waitress brings us a "Photo Album" of all the ways you can have them prepared. We choose four: scallops on the half shell with peanuts and green onions, mussels in tamarind sauce, clams dipped in lime, salt and chili and another kind of clams I have never seen that come with a side of spicy fish sauce. They put a big waste basket under the table and you just chuck your shells into it. All of it=delicious. The whole meal costs us three dollars a piece, and our waitress is so passionate about showing us how to eat them.
As we wander the few blocks home, we gaze into the lives of our neighbors. Everyone has open doors on the bottom floors of the Lego stacks. We can see what they are eating and what they are watching on TV. We see them playing cards or badminton right outside. We see their shrines and pictures of their relatives. I want this kind of community in America.
And guess what? It didn't rain today, so we take beer to the roof and I get to swing in my hammock. That's all I ask, really, is for four good plates of seafood, a beer and a hammock. And possibly the return of my TRCL. And for four girls to say they want to be in English ALL day long, and for a 12 year old boy to point at me and say "Disgusting!"


Brian Bowker said...

The only thing that's truly disgusting is how fun your blog is to read.

"Are you worried about your sister going all the way to Vietnam? What if it rains all the time or she can't hardly cross the street for all the motorcycles?"

"No, I'm not worried. It will be entertaining either way."

I wish I could have blog all day long.

The Norris Clan said...

Oh, alright. I guess I am being pushy asking you to blog EVERY day. I can accept every couple days... I think. My mom used to tell me that boys who said mean things to me actually LIKED me. Looks like the girls AND boys like you best! As they should...

Megan said...

What a traffic jam! There are so many people who are trying to cross the street!!! Our roads look nothing like that and mom still gets anxious when we can not cross the road right away.

I love reading your blog!


(P.S. Jason "the bear" is doing great! But he still misses you!)

marjie said...

Hi Megan,
It's good you are taking care of Jason because I don't think this is a safe place for a bear.

marjie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kumma said...

I miss that kind of community, too... seems like we had it more when we were kids in the 70's, at least from a kid's perspective...