Sunday, 25 July 2010

Thats Miss Wonderland to You

Ladies and Gentleman: Would you allow this woman to be in responsible for the education of your children?

Could you trust her to instill in them a sense of responsibility and wisdom?

Lets hope so, otherwise this blog really is going to become a pre-life meltdown. Tomorrow, instead of donning my lovely pink tshirt and wandering around cities I've never visited pretending to 70 children I know exactly where we are, I will be teaching.
The whole point of all of this, the jobs, the course, the obssesive compulsive need to futher peoples knowledge about things they don't really care about points to one eventual goal. The noble profession of teaching.
Like my eventual attendance of university, teaching has been the assumed goal since I was about 14 and realised I wasn't very good at anything else. At least not anything that was a legitimate career choice. So far I've been a Guide Leader, a babysitter, a book club leader, a careers advisor, an undefined adult prescence/voluntary slave at my old school and of course, my prized position as geekiest/saddest of the Jane Austen Centre guiding staff.
However, no one has actually yet left me in charge of a class for much more than twenty minutes. Tomorrow I will be giving an entire two hour lesson to about 15 I.talian students and all joking aside, this is a big deal. This is the make it or break it moment- if I totally bomb the whole thing or realise in fact I despise children and would much rather be a pig farmer, my entire life plan will go up in flames.
Flames I say!
With all that said it would probably be wise to actually sleep now...

Friday, 23 July 2010

Mueve la calita, mamita rica!

Despite being undisputed Queen of the Disco, the kids have taught me a new dance.

It's to a Spanish song called Mueve la Calita, and as I had guessed when they told me the name of the song, the main dance move is to shake yo thang. Mueve la calita is basically a command to shake your butt, and the dance is pretty fun. However, as they were teaching it to me I began to realize that the lyrics we're not exactly wholesome. Sadly my out of practice Spanish meant that I couldn't quite translate it- though it seemed they don't know what it means, because they didn't know to go right when they said derecha and left on izquierda.

It turns out it might be a good thing if they don't get it.

So, on 'mueve la calita, mamita rica'- shake that ass cute mamma, basically, you'll do a little wiggle. But then there's this bit:

Adónde le gusta a las mujeres? Ahí, ahí! Y cómo es que le hacen los hombres? Así, así!

Which means:

Where do like it girls? There, there! And how do the men do it? Like this, like this!

As one might imagine, the move here of course is a hip thrust. Not quite as wholesome as Whigfield's Saturday Night then....

Saturday, 17 July 2010

'I'm come home: I'd lost my way on the moor!

She might not have been too kind towards our Jane, but Charlotte Brontë has always been my favourite of the three. Emily might have the Gothic edge and I've always had a place for the underrated Anne, but it's Jane Eyre that always calls me back. That is until to we arrive in Haworth, and from the coach, walk down a windy path past an extensive graveyard and across some cobbled streets and up to the little cottage.

(Photos thanks to my Italian comrade Ilaria)

I won't lie to you, as we walked along I thought I'd see Cathy begging at the windows. The wind was raging like it only can in Yorkshire and despite it being July, we were freezing cold- not that any other weather could have set the scene better.

It was, apart from the 60 Italian students I was herding, perfect. It was everything I imagined that it would be. The first time I read any Brontë was in Yorkshire, so to an extent I've always known the landscape, the people, the sounds and the smells that I was being taken to. But at Haworth it seemed even more alive. The graveyard is almost as large as the village is and you do feel like there is no world outside what you can see in front of you.

You can't help but think of Wuthering Heights. Luckily I had put my geeks intuition to use and remembered to take my copy along with me and though I did resist the urge to gather the children round for an atmospheric reading, I did have a quick moment to read over the passage in which Cathy appears to Lockwood:

'I must stop it, nevertheless!' I muttered, knocking my knuckles through the glass, and stretching an arm out to seize the importunate branch; instead of which, my fingers closed on the fingers of a little, ice-cold hand! The intense horror of nightmare came over me: I tried to draw back my arm, but the hand clung to it, and a most melancholy voice sobbed, 'Let me in - let me in!' 'Who are you?' I asked, struggling, meanwhile, to disengage myself. 'Catherine Linton,' it replied, shiveringly (why did I think of LINTON? I had read EARNSHAW twenty times for Linton) - 'I'm come home: I'd lost my way on the moor!' As it spoke, I discerned, obscurely, a child's face looking through the window. Terror made me cruel; and, finding it useless to attempt shaking the creature off, I pulled its wrist on to the broken pane, and rubbed it to and fro till the blood ran down and soaked the bedclothes: still it wailed, 'Let me in!' and maintained its tenacious gripe, almost maddening me with fear. 'How can I!' I said at length. 'Let ME go, if you want me to let you in!' The fingers relaxed, I snatched mine through the hole, hurriedly piled the books up in a pyramid against it, and stopped my ears to exclude the lamentable prayer. I seemed to keep them closed above a quarter of an hour; yet, the instant I listened again, there was the doleful cry moaning on! 'Begone!' I shouted. 'I'll never let you in, not if you beg for twenty years.' 'It is twenty years,' mourned the voice: 'twenty years. I've been a waif for twenty years!' Thereat began a feeble scratching outside, and the pile of books moved as if thrust forward. I tried to jump up; but could not stir a limb; and so yelled aloud, in a frenzy of fright.

I'm ashamed to admit that I had forgotten how chilling that novel is. And stood there looking at that scene it wasn't hard to imagine how Emily thought it up, alone in that house while she listened to the wind.

So though my students probably came away still not entirely sure what they'd been doing there in the first place, I can surely say that I'll be glad to go back.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Eight Days a Week

I love my job.

Today I got paid to go to Liverpool, on actual day devoted to The Beatles.

We saw the Cavern Club. I resisted the tourist inside me, mainly because I broke my camera before my job started, but I'll leave that out when I tell the story. I also resisted screaming outside 'The Beatles Story' despite my thinking that everyone would appreciate my reconstruction of Beatlemania. After all, I was trying to look responsible in front of 50 Italian children. Then again, considering a built my relationship with them on my not so secret love of Twilight and shameless moves on the dancefloor, they probably wouldn't have been to surprised.

I'm not going to lie, it could have been crap and I'd have loved it. But it wasn't. It was amazing. Honestly, I adored the entire thing- apart from the slightly odd looking models of them in recording studio it was all very well done. Even though I hold a long standing dislike for the entire Yellow Submarine bag, the fact they'd got one you could walk through impressed both me and the thirteen year olds.

As of course, did the gift shop. I couldn't help myself, I had to do it- I told myself I would only buy things for Gavin, my Beatles guru, but of course then realised I had already bought him a Beatles mug the other Christmas and Revolver is my favourite album, so maybe I ought to keep the huge postcard I bought...

And if you think this is bad, wait until I blog after my visit to the Bronte house.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

You are the case to my heart!

I take it all back. I love the Italian children, I never want them to leave. I may steal my favourites and buy a big house where I can live happily ever after, pretending they are my own.

Honestly, they may walk slowly, play 'Waka Waka' too often and speak unthinkably loud but I LOVE them.

Now that they have been here a few days and gotten to know us, they are all pretty talkative. They say hello to us when they see us, they come over to talk to us- one group even came up to me and asked if I could make sure I would be leading them in the afternoon activity. Most of them are around thirteen, which I suppose is the age in which you think a 20 year old lunatic is the coolest person ever.

We threw them a rave disco, which resulted in my fellow activity monitor Megan and I decked out in uv paint, pink legwarmers and green marker up are arms. Instead of being embarrassed, they all wanted paint like ours- and they copy our dance moves. It may be possible that my affection for them results primarily from the fact that unlike the majority of my acquaintance they think I'm hella cool but it warms the cynical depths of my heart to know that they're having a good time because of my efforts/ridiculous behaviour.

The older boys however are hilarious. They constantly joke with us and though on occasion they are the biggest pains in the arse known to existence, they can be very good fun at things like the disco. For example, picking me up and making me dance with them on a table, which resulted in the whole of the kids cheering and clapping.

Obviously they love my dancing.

But the funniest thing is their flirting- if they weren't Italian I'd be very worried by it, but it seems to be a trait of their male species. To us it's so over the top, telling us we are 'so beauty' and kissing our hands- one boy keeps telling me I am 'the case to his heart', which is rather amusing.

So despite their numerous annoying habits, they've won me over. Keep your eye on the news, I'm considering mass kidnap.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

'And chaos shall fall, and he shalt be named Waka Waka!'

Solve the below equation:

Add 6 optimistic university students with 200 Italian under sixteens, multiply it by 1 disco, 3 bus journeys and two footballs. Multiply the sum by one very large and mostly unsupervised campus- what would be the product?

Chaos. Sheer, and utter chaos. Chaos with it's own theme tune even- chaos constantly accompnied by Shakira singing 'Waka Waka' over and over.

(Don't get me wrong, I totally LOVE Shakira, but even I can't handle it)

In three days we have had one child lost, one group claming to be another, not enough rooms, a teacher turning up two weeks early and demanding to be housed, failed attempts at maintaing curfew and one child in an ambulance with a broken leg.

To top it off, we're living in an 'eco-house'. Now, the house should be like a Thermos- hot when it needs to be, cold when it needs to be. BUT NO. IT IS ALWAYS, ALWAYS HOT. We're having some very hot days yet somehow, it is cooler outside in the glaring sun than inside our state of the art rooms.

What... the.... eff?

Side note- I'm enjoying it really. It's not a bad job, looking after all these kids. They are for the most part pretty sweet, and they're all quite nice. Last night at the disco I found it was my job to start the dancing. Que total humilation as I taught them the Cha Cha Slide, the Macarena and of course Saturday Night.

It was beautiful.