Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Three Cool Things

When Nam drops me off at school this morning, Helen translates a few things for us about some errands after school. "Can you pick me up at 4:00?" "OK, 4:00." Helen and I turn to walk toward the building and he calls after her again. She turns to me and smiles, "He want (sic) to know your name."

It's funny that he would choose today to ask. Katherine asked on Sunday if Nam called me "Marjie" or "Marjorie" and she was shocked when I told her that, despite the meet and greet with his entire family and the six weeks we have been in each others' lives, that he has never asked my name. "Well, he must know it, somehow," she said. I tried to tell her that there was no way he could know it, that it just didn't seem important to him, but she would not accept that. And then today, out of nowhere, "What is your name?" I go back and tell him, "Marjorie." (I'm getting used to using my formal name here.) He repeats "Marjorie" a few times. When he drops me off tonight, he says, "7 o'clock (tomorrow morning), Marjorie?" It was really, really sweet, the way he grinned when he said it.

Perhaps I got back into his good graces this morning when I asked if we could stop for breakfast at his #1 place. That made him so happy. He negotiated that line as if he had the most important job in Saigon.

Then, this evening, K and I are walking out toward the main street when the slight drizzle turns to rain. K left her poncho at home, but I had grabbed mine at the last second. Just as I say to K, "Do you want to go back and get yours?" we hear "Marjorie!" from behind us. It's Nam, The Omnipresent. He points to K and then to the sky; he is concerned. She waves it off, but next thing we know, he is taking off his "Vietnamese American Trade School" blue and silver poncho and handing it to K. He tells her to give it to me and I can give it to him at "7 o'clock." Nam is the best mother ever! K gets such a kick out of him, too. She says, "He's a character, not just a Vietnamese character, but a person character." She is right.

Another cool thing: I bought a "thank you" card for Thuy last night and all three of us signed it. I wrote something in very bad Vietnamese..."The dinner was very very very very delicious!" This morning I drop by her booth to give it to her and she is visibly touched by the gesture. She laughs at my Vietnamese "very very very." She has a great sense of humor. Still wondering what to do about her generosity. Alice says I must simply accept it.

Another cool thing: We receive an email yesterday at about noon ~ it says that all homeroom teachers are in charge of facilitating decoration of homeroom classes for Halloween. Many things at this school are just thrown together like this...all for the right reasons, but then we teachers must scramble to do everything asked of us. Since I received the email after I saw my homeroom class, 6E, on Monday morning, I was planning to come up with a plan with them after lunch today ~ I have them at noon on Tuesdays. Tuesdays we have staff meetings at lunch, so all through the meeting I am trying to brainstorm something creative for the contest. A pizza party is the prize. It's going to require a lot of energy.

When I climb the fourth floor staircase, I see one of my students outside my very dark classroom. She ducks in quickly and says something in Vietnamese. As I walk in, they are all still trying to hide. Things are hanging from the ceiling. Suddenly, the lights go on and everyone jumps out from under the desks. "Happy Halloween, Ms. Marjorie!!" they yell. I am dumbfounded. These kids found out yesterday about the competition and planned everything overnight; they know I have meetings on Tuesdays at lunch and they all met and decorated for the entire hour. They made cute little ghosts that they hung from the ceiling and put strips of black cobwebs everywhere. It looks so great...all I could do was just laugh. As I laughed they clapped, they were so happy with themselves. We spent another 20 minutes of class time planning our attack. My oh my do they want that pizza party. We will decorate for two more hours after school on Thursday rather than have club day. When I left today at 4 pm, they were in there decorating some more, so who knows what I will find in the morning.

We are "encouraged" to dress up on Friday. I am in a group of three teachers planning to wear the AIS yellow and blue school uniform. I think the kids will like that...any other ideas?? Shannon, K's friend at the elementary school, is using a seamstress for the first time this week. What is she having made? A beaver costume (she's Canadian). The sky is the limit!


Amy T said...

Costume ideas:
King Cobra in a jar
Michael Jackson
King Tut
(by the way, have you played "Walk Like an Egyptian" yet?
Lady Di
Dancing Kim
Sweet!Salty!Crunchy!and Chewy!

Brian Bowker said...

That is the coolest story, Marjie! The other teachers must be racked with jealousy!

Having your own, personal, affordable seamstress does expand the possibilities...

I think dressing up as a student is a great idea and the kids will love it! (But I personally hope you dress up as Dancing Kim...)

Carol said...

So, the fact that kids and pizza go together is universal!

kumma said...

I think you should dress up as the EE Fish.

The Norris Clan said...

Wow... I love that they surprised you! I feel so lost from being so busy the last 1.5 weeks... my apologies! Looking forward to catching up on your life.