Monday, June 11, 2012

Centipede Surgery and a Samaritan

Ugh, I’m the worst. I keep thinking about updating this but I get distracted easily. The weather is getting warmer here now, which only means two things – 1) I am under the constant companionship of a sweat rag and 2) there are ginormous insects out and about. Last night I went to take my garbage out and as I opened my door, a giant grasshopper fell on my arm. I just herded it outside and went on my way, but there’s nothing more disgusting than feeling a large insect fall on you. I take that back. I had a lizard fall on me from the ceiling when I lived with my homestay family in Mozambique. I was also doing yard work with the other teachers in my apartment building and it almost convinced me never to spend very much time outside. The worms were the size of baby snakes and there were mukade (poisonous centipedes) all over the place. Mukade are really difficult to kill - kind of like a woodtick in the U.S. But the centipedes can become very large and are known for crawling into shoes and biting unsuspecting victims. My English teacher co-worker and neighbor, who had been hard at work trying to decapitate the mukade with a shovel, told me that she once took a scissors and cut a mukade up into three pieces to kill it and it was still moving!

The other week, almost all the students went to Sasebo for the prefecture sports competition, leaving the members of the brass band club and the baseball team to stay at school to do some independent study, participate in club activities and the grand prize, clean the high school gym. It was kind of fun cleaning the gym though because it gives us a chance to chat in a non-classroom setting. I am always impressed/shocked by some of the phrases that come out of my students' mouths that I am 100% certain they learned from watching movies. It ranges from "what are you talking about?!" to "damn you to hell." I was with another English teacher when they said that last one and when they said that wasn`t a good thing to say, the student revised the phrase to "damn you to heaven!" I guess that works?

I am on a good samaritan spree. Every day, I have to try to find one good thing to do for someone else. There is nothing that bothers me more than when I go to the grocery store and there is a big line of people and customers refuse to help the clerk by bagging their own groceries. So I always do it for the ladies in the shop because it just seems fair. I think they are surprised that I know how to bag - like it`s advanced calculus or something. The logic is clear - heavy things on the bottom and light things on top. I guess working at Mega Pick 'N Save when I was 16 really paid off. I was walking home from the store the other day and I was walking past the park near my house and I saw one of my second grade students had scaled the chain link fence and was looking up at the pavillion roof. The kids had been shooting plastic arrows with bows and one of the arrows had gotten stuck on the roof, with no way to get it down. I stood there and assessed the situation with the 7-year olds and then told them "chotto matte, kudasai!" Please wait a second! And then I hurried up to my apartment, set my groceries inside and grabbed one of my laundry poles. The kids were all waiting at the end of my driveway with their bows and arrows and when they saw me coming, they jumped up and down and cheered. I am sure I looked ridiculous knocking that arrow down, especially since the pole still had laundry clips on it, but it made the kids happy.

My ticket has been purchased to come home! I will be back in the states July 28th and then I will head to grad school in Massachusetts in the middle of August. I am really excited to be starting the next chapter – not so much about the being a poor student again. I have already started doing some of the recommended reading for my courses though and I am chomping at the bit to get started and soak up all the information I can before the school year starts. The highlighters are out in full force! Ganbatte! (Japanese for "Do your best!")

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