Because the internet hates me, I am even later posting this than I thought. Fingers crossed that I actually get internet today! (I didn’t. It is now the sixth of December and while I did get internet the computer at the café rejected my usb so it’s going to be even longer before this gets posted. Oh how sorry I feel for you! And now it's the 11th and I'm using the internet in a government office, with their permission, because all the cafes are closed. Sigh)
I have just over a month left and so I am freaking out slightly. The exams start a week today and I worried that some of my students still haven’t noticed that the summer break is over. Some children are displaying their mastery of manipulation and are guilt-tripping me every time they get. I expect to be an utter mess on the 18th of December which will be my final day of school.
But since I haven’t written a blog in ages, I shall stop thinking about my last month-and-a-bit and instead talk about other things have been going on. First of all, my parents visited! They were here for just under 2 weeks and we managed to get to 6 Dzongkhags during that time. I didn’t make dad give a lesson this time but I did make both of them mark books given that their English grammar is much better than mine. They arrived on the last Sunday in September and I told them that I couldn’t meet them as I had school the next day and they had to stay in Thimphu till Tuesday to get travel permits. While it was true that I had school and they had to stay, I lied when I said that I couldn’t meet them. I had my camera all ready to take pictures of their surprised faces but when they appeared I decided that hugs were much more important so I don’t have any photos of their arrival.
When they finally arrived at school (a day late because Monday was a public holiday in Thimphu so they couldn’t get any permits until Tuesday) they were greeted by students who sometimes enthusiastically answered my parents’ questions and sometimes just looked shyly around. Mom took about ten million photographs, almost all of which I forgot to copy but I did get some.
In the afternoon, because it was club day, I got the kids to put on a mini variety show for my parents and they were very sad that they had just missed the house cultural competition and were sadly about a month early for the actual variety show. Each house performed a Zhungdra (very tradional and older style of dance), a Buedra (slightly more modern but still quite traditional) or a Rigser (very modern danced to pop music). I apologise if I have misspelled any of those dances. They also got to see possibly the first performance of the Dashing White Sergeant ever performed into Bhutan. Some of the steps were slightly improvised and I had to call them out but the kids looked so happy doing the dance that I defy any Scottish Country Dancer to disapprove of their effort. The other item was my choir who performed Lily Marlene and We Are the Champions. They didn’t quite get Marlene Dietrich’s accent or strut like Freddie but they still did a beautiful job. Dad, however, thought I was cruel because I wrote a little introductory speech for each song and had a couple of students read them. The Lily speech had lines like ‘This song was translated from the original German into a language with fewer articles’ and ‘It is appropriate to sing this song as this year it is a hundred years since the start of WWI and seventy-five years since the start of WWII so it is a good year for war buffs.’ I don’t think there’s anything cruel about those statements!
On the Friday after Mom and Dad arrived, it was Dassain so we got a holiday we spent going on a picnic with some of my students. They treated us to a lovely day which included more Scottish Country Dancing but in a forest this time, renditions of Yellow Submarine and Frisbees getting turned into fashion accessories.
|I expect to see this on Milan catwalks tomorrow|
|Bold, daring designs by Namgay!|
|Dad with his adoring fans|
|Me with guilt-trippers. I have to give them points for making me feel as miserable as possible about leaving!|
Very quickly, I have to tell you about a terrifying experience that I had ages ago and forgot to blog about. Often kids come and ask for help with their homework or studies or something. This is normally code for ‘Can you help me with one math or English program and then can I look at your photos or watch a cartoon.’ Well, one day kids actually came to study while I was watching a David Attenborough documentary. I just paused it and helped the kids with past participles or whatever it was they wanted help with and then one of them asked if they could watch the documentary. I was thrilled to show it to them especially since it had a diplodocus and archaeopteryx in it. Hopefully you’ve seen Alive which is the documentary where various creatures come alive in the Natural History Museum. If you haven’t, I feel very sorry for you. I can’t quite remember where I was up to, possibly the smilodon part, but after a little while one of the kids asked if I had any Barbie cartoons. Barbie cartoons?! I had never been so insulted in my life. Here was a documentary which had a giant pre-historic serpent and they wanted to watch a bottle-blond, anorexic freak talk about make-up or whatever she’s interested in. I love my students very much and this is a totally unfair comparison but I did feel like it was a pearls before swine (which I would like to point out are super intelligent) moment. I did show them a My Little Pony episode instead and if you think that My Little Pony:FiM is anything like Barbie then you are a seriously unenlightened individual and I feel sorry for you.