I think "cold weather...hot soups" is an appropriate title for this blog post. The days are turning colder and darker, and I'm back at school. :) But I have found things to keep myself busy, warm and entertained.
Monday I made wild rice soup with wild rice exported from MN with me...it was delicious, especially for my first time. My roommates were all there (except the Dutch girl, who's never there) and our friend Arnaud joined us. Good start to the week.
Tuesday I met up with the British guy who is also teaching at one of my schools. We saw Ang Lee's new film, "Lust, Caution." So good (German dubbing, not so good). Lee is the director who did "Brokeback Mountain" and "The Wedding Banquet" (the latter I made my parents watch with me, maybe they remember it?).
Wednesday was rather a rough day at school. I was there from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and did five lessons, which I don't usually do, but I volunteered to do an extra one since one teacher was sick. I had one class that was really disrespectful, and I had to yell at them, which I'm still getting used to. Then I had a class full of rowdy boys who were asking tons of questions. Which I like, because it means that they are interested and curious, but some of the questions they were asking were pretty rude. The worst: "Do Americans know that everyone hates them?" This student was French, by the way, in case you want to judge him differently. To which I replied, If someone tells me "I hate the US" or "I hate Americans," I don't think that's a very wise comment. You can say you don't approve of our current politics, but to hate a whole people or a whole country...sounds like a pretty uneducated comment.
I like how their questions often reflect their (lack of) information about the US, or the sources of their information. Main source: films. "Is it true that when the bell rings you all run to class? Like in the movies?" YES!!! I liked that question, because it highlights a real difference. German students trickle into their classroom after the bell rings, and the teacher is usually 2-5 minutes late. This is because in the US, the teachers have their own classrooms and are therefore waiting for you to get into the room. In Germany, teachers have to move rooms. And in the US attendance is all electronic and tardies/unexcused absences are strictly recorded. In Germany they can walk in 10 minutes late and tell the teacher their bus was late or their parents were in a traffic jam. And this is accepted. They are also allowed to write their own excused absence notes after they're 18. They were shocked when I told them a computer calls your house in the US if you miss an hour at school.
Wednesday night I went to a talk at the German-American Institute. It was great. The topic was American Poetry, and the professor who led the discussion was really knowledgeable and enthusiastic. There were four other Germans and me.
Today was a great day at school. I did one lesson in the morning on high school schedules and one lesson in the afternoon on Halloween. I'm excited because all next week I get to do Halloween lessons! It's so easy when you have a topic like that. My mom photocopied and mailed me pictures from when I was younger, dressed up for trick-or-treating. So I showed them the pictures and they said "Aww...cute!" I explained to them all the different traditions and symbols, and then we listened to the song "This is Halloween" from the movie "Nightmare Before Christmas." It was a really fun hour...brings back lots of good childhood memories!
So, thinking ahead...let me know if you have any good ideas for Thanksgiving lessons!