Lots and lots to say. I'm at Mike's place stealing his stolen internet. I won't have internet until after I get my alien registration card. I also meant to take photos to post but I've been so busy actually doing things. We decided that we've been good sports about everything all week long so tonight we're eating sandwiches from 7-11 and speaking fluent English.
It's been really good so far, minus some slightly panicked moments every now and then. The food is amazing, even though I don't know what it is and the smokes and booze are cheap. I found a small grocery store near my apartment, but I don't recognize anything in it. Which would be fine, except I can't read the instructions for how to cook it. But my coteacher took me to a proper market near the subway station last night and I got some decent stuff. I love grocery shopping.
My neighborhood is great, except for the massive hills that I'm too fat/nicotine addicted to be climbing. I'll climb miles of stairs, no problem, but hills do me in pretty quickly. I guess I'll get used to that though.
I have a fake coteacher -- I'm not really sure of exactly who he is -- who has sort of adopted me a bit. He told me his apartment is near mine so he can help me "all the time so much." And he actually did save my ass earlier this week, after they drove me to my apartment and told me to show up at 8:30 the next morning. I had no idea where I was or where my school was, and although I wandered around for hours trying to find it, I had no luck. I had finally given up and returned to my apartment, and my doorbell rang at 8 -- Fake Coteacher had come to drive me to work -- "my service to you." Thank God for that.
I'm still waking up at 4 and 5 in the morning. I don't mind too much though -- it's nice to have some quiet time before work.
I work at an all boys middle school, which is amazing. I love boys, as everyone knows. They are loud and rowdy and horrible, and it's fantastic. I haven't had a class yet, so I'm still a bit of a celebrity around the school -- the boys crowd around the office door between periods and gawk and shout, "Oh nice! Nice!" and "Hi!" and then they run away when I look up. I was introduced to one class and it transformed into a football stadium as soon as I walked in, hooting and hollering, boys standing on chairs cheering. I don't have a clue how I'm going to keep these kiddos under control, but I better sort it out soon, because I'm walking into a full schedule next week with no coteacher in the classroom.
I had a parents class today, which my coteachers totally threw me under the bus for. They told me yesterday I wouldn't need to prepare anything because I would just introduce myself and watch the coteacher teach the class. Then, thirty minutes before it started, Fake Coteacher told me I would be on my own, but chose a lesson from the book for me to teach. The lesson, I might add, was entirely in Korean. Which I don't speak. Luckily, only three mothers showed up. When I was introducing myself, I noticed their English was fair, so I started to teach the stupid "What are you doing/Do you like....?" lesson and then stopped about thirty seconds in.
"This is slow for you, yes?"
"Do you want to talk instead?"
Yes. So I just pulled up a chair and chatted with them for the full hour, which is my forte -- conversation was more than 50% of what I did toward the end in New York. It terrified me when they first started giving me conversation sessions at Pratt, because I'm so shy and awkward with people at first, but as with most other things, I was perfectly fine after I saw that I was capable of it. And in fact find it the most preferable (and effective) form of teaching now. So it was a good "class". And I was happy to make a good impression on the parents. And it gave me a good chance to ask a ton of questions I haven't wanted to bother my coteachers with.
If I'm going to be good for anything in the classroom, it's going to be dealing with loud groups of rowdy boys, so we'll see. I'm trying desperately to think of ways to fix up the totally pointless and lame textbook I've been given to teach. I don't know how much freedom I have to stray from it, though. Mike and I have worked out a plan to incorporate our love of music by bringing in mixed cds and printed lyrics for the kids to work on pronunciation. We're not sure exactly how we want to work it yet, though.
Loads more to say, but I'm exhausted and Mike's just put on his PJs and climbed into bed, so I think it's time to stop typing.
No internet at my apartment until I get an alien registration card, so a couple of weeks at least. I'll try to use Mike's every now and then. Overall, things are going really well. And Mike and I found each other despite all cell phoneless foreigner odds -- the subway was a cinch. So, good things. Take care, my darlings.