Saturday, March 27, 2010

March: Classroom Inspection, New Dog, and Toru

Well, March is already almost over! I’ve had a cough for most of the month that has just started to get better with the aid of a round of antibiotics, so that hasn’t been to fun, since I haven’t been able to sleep very well as a result. Most of my free time has been taken up planning for my classes and trying to figure out their IA (Internal Assessment), which consists of a research paper, speech, listening comprehension, and an exam, and how it all fits in with their grade. It is very complicated and confusing, so I have decided to stop trying to figure out the grading system and just teach them what they’re supposed to know! So far I have been focusing on the research paper, which is due in May, but I seem to keep finding out new or conflicting information regarding how it is supposed to be done. This has been rather frustrating, as I have to keep changing the due date and the requirements for the students. I’ll be happy when it’s over. I think teaching will be a lot easier next year just because I’ll have experience with this school system.

My new (ill-gotten?) puppy, who I named Molly, has been taking up a lot of time and energy too. She’s cute but really naughty, and has been wreaking havoc on my house. She must put a lot of thought into it to, because it seems as though she is constantly coming up with new and more creative ways to destroy. So far she has both urinated and defecated multiple times in the house, chewed up rolls of toilet paper into tiny bits, torn the lining out of my bike helmet and pooped on it, pulled my jeans off the clothesline and pooped on them, chewed up the screen, vomited on the couch, peed on two blankets (that had to be taken to the Laundromat) and much, much more. She also is constantly jumping on, scratching, and biting me. I can’t wait until she outgrows this phase. The police (randomly, one day) assured me they won’t kill her, but sometimes I think I wouldn’t mind if she “disappeared.”

We also had “classroom inspection” by the Principal and Chairman of the Board last week, so all of the teachers and some students were working hard to get our classrooms decorated for it, even working past midnight the night before. However, the actual inspection was pretty anticlimactic. I never even heard how our room measured up! I also lost a bunch of my precious colored sharpies to thieving students in the process, and no one has ‘fessed up. I guess that’ll teach me to share!

At the beginning of the month we had a lady from New Zealand who is in charge of the Anglican schools come for a visit. She looked at the hurricane damage, met with the teachers (but not me!), and gave us a training session. Before she left, the school took her out to dinner as a thank-you for all she had done, and I was lucky enough to be invited for some reason. We ate at this restaurant called Sea View, and it was delicious! I had a steak with mushrooms, and it was definitely the best meal I’ve had since leaving the States. I was seriously in a trance as I was eating it.

When we were leaving, we saw this palangi who was stranded, as his taxi had never shown up, and Naite offered to give him a ride to his guesthouse. His name was Stephan and he was from France, and he ended up coming to visit the school the next day for some reason. I think he wanted to see the “real” Tonga, which I guess the school is, though not “real exciting.” Of course the principal had him make a speech at the assembly even though he had absolutely nothing to do with the school. I’m sure the kids thought he was a new teacher. Anyway, we hung out with him on Friday night as well, or I should say I did, since Kulaea decided to flake out. So I rounded up Marie and Mele (one of the teachers at our school) to entertain him. We ended up going to the Billfish, which is probably the most popular club in Nuku’alofa, to eat and hang out. Though I think I’ve seen enough of the Billfish even in the short time I have been here, it was still fun. It’s always interesting to meet different people in Tonga, not only Tongans but other random foreigners too. Since Tonga is sort of an “out of the way” place to go in the South Pacific, I always wonder how exactly they ended up here.

This month I started helping Toru, one of the JICA (like Japanese Peace Corps) volunteers, with English once a week. He has a blog that he is writing in both Japanese and English, so I’ve been helping him edit the English part of it. If anyone wants to check it out the address is: . His blog is about him being in Tonga and also about this cat character he made called “Yamaneko.” He gives little figurines to people and has them take pictures of it in different places they go and send them to him. I got one a couple weeks ago but I haven’t taken any pictures yet!

Yesterday, I went snorkeling right off the north coast of town. You have to walk in shallow water pretty far out, to the edge of the reef, but once you get there it is well worth it. The view is really awesome: tons of different types tropical fish and lots of beautiful coral. It’s good to know it’s so close too. I will definitely be taking any visitors I have over to check it out. Now I need to find an underwater camera!

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