Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Children Sing, Priests Chant

Remember how I wanted to go to Africa? How I was all dead-set on it, this time it was going to happen, I need to go?

I've had qualms. Financial ones, specifically. Although I was prepared emotionally/spiritually to spend practically all of my savings on this trip, I just can't squelch that practical side of me. It goes against all of my instincts and upbringing to spend my savings like that.

I spent some time researching other options, and I think I've come up with one. If it comes together, I'll give you more details. Essentially, I'm thinking Thailand (I just keep flip-flopping between those two T-countries!). But this is with a different company. It's a little precarious, since unlike CCS and Pueblo Ingles, I don't know anyone who's worked with this particular company before. But I like their structure, the options they're offering, and I like that I can do at least a month's program for $500 less than 3 weeks with CCS. Plus, plane tickets to Bangkok are a heck of a lot cheaper than tickets to Dar Es Salaam. Go figure.

There's two options I'm looking at with this company. One is a "Volunteer Vacation" - a week of cultural orientation (language classes, history lectures, see the sights, visit a market, take a cooking class, etc.), then a week or more of volunteering (probably teaching English either to monks or at orphanages). The second option is a "Buddhist Immersion Experience". I would go live in a Buddhist temple, spending part of my day teaching English to the monks in the university there and part of it learning how to meditate/chant.

I think I want to do both. The first one is more what I was looking for originally - a way to get to know the culture through tourism and volunteering. But, oh! The thought of doing something as wild as "I'm going to live in a Buddhist monastery and meditate for three hours a day" - it scares me in that way that makes me want to make myself do it. Like a Turkish bath (Man, I'd do that again in a heartbeat!).

I want to discuss this more with my advisers (i.e.: my parents). I'll keep you posted, of course.

A run-down of other news:

- We're in day 6 of 8 for CSAPs right now. Aside from the political, philosophical, and pedagogical problems with state tests, they're FREAKIN' BORING!

Seriously. The students complain, and I point out that at least they get to take tests. I have to WATCH them take tests. We're not allowed to grade papers or read or do anything other than watch the students take the tests. I mean, seriously.

- My drama class is performing on Thursday. Today's run through was rather awful, and I'm still very lassiez-faire about the whole thing. Props not found, posters not made, no sound effects, many lines forgotten/unlearned, and I walk away from class each day with a general "Meh." They can do it and be awesome or they can do it and suck. Or somewhere in between. Whatever. It's their call.

- The musical on the other hand I care more about, although I'm not near panic time yet. That'll be after spring break. I worked with the soloists today. The kid playing Agwe has this amazing, deep, resonate voice. Deep as in he hits a D two octaves below middle C. And holds it all dramatically. It's really cool.

Another cast member quit this week, though. Well, quit as in stopped showing up and his friends say he's not going to do it because he wants to play rugby instead.

I told the friends to tell him he's being an irresponsible coward by not coming to tell me to my face.

Do you see why I would not make a good elementary school teacher?

- My sister's baby shower is Saturday. If the invitations are any indication, it's going to be a remarkably adorable event. I had all kinds of awesome plans for handmade gifts. Probably isn't going to happen this week. I also have awesome plans for homemade lemon squares. They will probably be from a box, if not store-bought (Oh! I can feel the female crafty-baking-bloggers wincing at those words, judging me just for typing that. The guilt! It's palpable, I tell you!).

No worries - I'll make it up to the kid by chanting at him in Thai.

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