Saturday, January 31, 2015

So on Fridays I teach two brothers who have a family resemblance and one of the brother's girlfriends. The brother with the girlfriend is one of my favorite people on planet earth. I had prepared a lesson analyzing the lyrics to songs by Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and David Bowie just for him. When only two people entered my apartment and explained in Italian that one of the brothers couldn't make it because of exams, I had a weird reaction. I kind of blacked out. I decided that the brother with the girlfriend didn't make it because that was so disappointing given the lesson I had prepared specifically for him. Lately I've had to live through a lot of worst case scenarios so I guess I just assume the worst now? Actually both brothers sing and play guitar and love music, but I digress. I referred to my students by name so that they could take turns reading. They looked at me strangely. At the end of the lesson, I told them to send my regards to the brother who took the exam. It turns out that I had mistakenly superimposed the identity and face of the one brother on the other one and had wrongly referred to him the whole time. The brother and his girlfriend looked at each other and then at me before leaving. I can only hope they thought that it was just a name confusion and not full on dementia. Kill me now. What in the world has happened to my brain?

In my defense, I am still poisoned by the burdock tea I drank for a month before I realized I was deathly allergic to it. I still have rashes, nausea, dizziness, and sleep disturbances and I can't wait for this stuff to wear off.

Please enjoy my friend Ian's 3D printing self portrait just because it is AWESOME.
Outrageousness is in the air it seems. While the Cat Lady of all Cat Ladies, who is T's English teacher, was out of the room some kids put one of the tallest boys into the paper recycling bin on a dare; and then when he tried to walk in there, he tipped over flat on his face causing all of the kids to start roaring with laughter.  Two visiting academics were walking by at the time and could be overheard saying, "This school just isn't what it used to be." And they couldn't even see inside the room from where they were!

When the professor finally did commence with the lesson she asked T to read aloud and then proceeded to speak over her as if she could vicariously claim T's native speaker skills. To hear T tell it, it was beyond bizarre. Among other things, she claimed that American English should be learned outside of classroom because the Americans are everywhere, that Scottish people's accents are insane, that the Irish all have last names that begin with Mac or O like the actor "See-an" O'Connery. She also announced that there is a very fun! name for parties in American English which T had to persuade the class was not, in fact, happy hour. She also made some over-generalization about the Welsh which spurred the kid behind T to ask her, ironically, if those were the people who mated with sheep.

The level of misinformation, prejudice, and general ignorance at T's school as regards other cultures can be overwhelming as when at last week's assembly one professor made the one African student with dark brown skin get up in front of everyone so that the teacher could praise her complexion and explain to the others that she had the same blood and bones as everyone else. I suppose she meant well. This was the same meeting in which a Religion professor told all of the students that Muslims have a close minded religion hence, as T put it, calling others closeminded while being close minded about her own closemindedness. Or something like that.

At one point, the English professor talked about a woman named Nellie who she used to speak English with when she was young student herself, but pointed out in her repetetive like the goose from Charlotte's Web kind of way that this woman was dead, dead, dead. And not only that, but her whole family would by dead, dead, dead by now. T was just barely keeping back the laughter when her desk mate Camilla wrote on her desk RIP Nellie. Tears started spraying out of T's eyes from the long witheld giggle attack. The professor noticed T's hilarity and began laughing right along with her. Needless to say, that didn't help matters.

Among the other mortifying moves I have made this week, I wrote to a couple on Homeexchange to see if they wanted to trade us for their lovely home in Corsica this summer and they wrote back to tell me that they lived in Lucca around the corner for us so they weren't really interested. I panicked and went back to the listing to make sure that it wasn't all my fault, but it turns out that they just have a summer house and that I couldn't have known. They also invited us to have a bottle of wine with them at their spectacular apartment. You can't make this stuff up, people.

TWIN PEAKS UPDATE: Oy yoy. I hope I wasn't the reason that the other brother showed up today with my favorite couple and he had shaven his head into a fade with a modified mohawk rendering him completely different than his sibling! 

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