Tuesday, October 06, 2009

My Cousin Carol

Let's take a break and have some fun. My cousin Carol drove up from Atlanta on Sunday. She took me out to dinner at a great joint called Public House.

But listen to this: She just got a patent! For a credit card that releases an aroma (or distinctive smell) when swiped.

And on top of her full-time job she volunteers as an English teacher. I received this e-mail from her today:

From: Carol
Subject: My English classes
Date: October 6, 2009 2:48:22 PM EDT
To: Linda

Linda... as I sit here on a conference call, planning my next class, I
thought I'd share the experience from last week's English class...

I had one of the most challenging English classes...ever. When
I got there, my relatively low-language student from Bangladesh was
there, then came my higher student from Mali, and then the Iranian
couple, then a new student from Mali...we got started and then in walked in the Somali contingent! Five women, their children ranging from ten-ish to babies, and a man I think is their grandfather...who speaks and understands no English...but smiles a lot...all gums.

We started with "tell me about your first job"...that was a treat. One man insisted he had his first job at 51, another said he had been a babysitter all his life, many women never worked...

After that we had a debate, "Is it better to have a job you love, or to make a lot of money?" I assigned teams so they could work together, but that concept didn't go too well since people kept switching sides! "Yah! He is right! I change to him!" Noooooo. Finally, the astute woman from Mali decided that she wanted both and wouldn't make a choice.

Several women had interesting observations that women marry for money so what is the difference in that and a job... (hmmmmm....) They went on to explain that if a man has no money, you should leave him. Then the Iranian man accused the Africans of only caring about money because look how they sold out to Rus-sa.

This was all above the chorus of whiny, tired children, and my constant fear of stepping on the two babies crawling on the floor. (Their moms gave them small, hard round balls to suck on to keep them quiet...my heart! I about had a stroke.)

Anyway, at the end of a looooong class, the Somalis swore that they had a great time and would be back; the other students said they would return, but wanted a class w/o the Somalians..."too many children!" and the Iranians stayed to ask if I would give them private classes without anyone else. And I volunteer for this??? My plan is to request two separate levels of classes. I think I mentioned that I have invited all the teachers and staff over for "festive beverages" this weekend to get to know them better (and to increase my chances of getting substitutes)!