16 things I've learned (plus a gecko note)
by Lauren Ebersole '07
- Patience really is a virtue and one I do not have in abundant quantities. However, I do think I am getting better. For example, last Saturday I had planned to give a test but was then told school was cancelled at 10am, right before my class. One of the teachers' fathers had passed away so we were all going to pay our respects. Then on Tuesday, the day I rescheduled my exam for, we started the day with a mock flag ceremony to videotape it for a school profile. This cut about 30 minutes out of my class. And with all that I didn't even hit anyone; definite progress I think.
- Teaching is hard- figuring out what material to cover, how to present the material, making it interesting, making tests, grading, managing students. And while many of these things I have difficulty with, I've also learned that teaching is rather rewarding.
- My life generally requires order and schedules. I like knowing when things are happening, hopefully with more than 30 minutes of notice. When I was told the last week of school before exams was effectively cancelled I almost had a heart attack. Obviously you can see I felt much better when I was told no, it's just Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday that we are not having classes.
- Teachers are more difficult to teach than students. The past month I taught teacher English three times a week. The groups were divided on English ability level. It was fun, but teachers are rowdy and for me, utterly impossible to control.
- When watermelons are the equivalent of $2 one should buy them as frequently as possible.
- Peace Corps has not been the eye-opening path to my future that I had hoped. I am still accepting suggestions for my future life plans. Seriously people. When I finish my PC service I will be 27 with a bachelor's degree in political science and a diverse, yet unimpressive work background, lacking in any actual skills. I'll need all the help and advice I can get.
- I will not be a motivational speaker. I went to speak at another school last week, the usual topics of American culture, education, and motivating students to speak English. The up side was that not everyone fell asleep. And of the questions asked by students, two were actually in English. Mission accomplished.
- Catholic guilt sticks around even after you no longer consider yourself Catholic.
- It takes longer than a year to adapt to oppressive heat. I initially assumed the sweating would stop, or at least slow down. Turns out to not be the case. My mind has adapted so it now accepts I will be sweaty and gross on a consistent basis.
- Kraft singles should not be BBQ chicken flavored.
- I will live most of the rest of my life in a place that has copious amounts of cheese.
- Independence is nice. Feeling like a 12 year old and an 80 year old are not exactly great things when you are 26. I am once again getting rides to school or getting picked up if I'm out past 6pm. And when 8:30 or 9pm comes around I start thinking, "Boy it's getting pretty late. I better get to bed."
- Graduation ceremonies are pretty much the same wherever, although in Indonesia the outfits are much better. Robes and funny hats got nothing on kabayas. (please see facebook photos)
- Traffic laws are an exceptional idea. However for all the crazy driving here, Indonesians are professional turn signal users.
- Mosquitoes are the worst animal/insect/bug to ever exist. They have no purpose except to spread disease and cause seemingly never-ending itching. I don't know what their complete eradication would do to the ecosystem, but I'm willing to take the chance.
- I am not as cross-culturally sensitive as I had imagined. Frequently I have thoughts of "Why are you doing that?" or "That makes no sense" or "That's kind of stupid."
I have recently been tracking the progress of a certain shower gecko's tail re-growth. I can only assume the tail was lost in an all out battle for peeping gecko supremacy.
My parents will be here in two weeks, so as you can expect I am rather excited. Hope everyone is ready for summer and has great vacation plans.
Much love, Lauren