Monday, December 13, 2010

This Time of Year

>> So this is difficult. In case I gave you the impression that the Peace Corps was easy, it was really hard for my parents to call on Thanksgiving and not be present. For some families, I know that Thanksgiving is an excuse to drink, but in my family it's been the same since I can remember. Waking up early, watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, helping cook, watching the football game, engorging in some amazing meal, then either watching football or "A Christmas Carol" preferably with Scrooge being played by Alistair Sim. (Alastair Sims?)(Alistar Sim?) If I had google, I could check that. My point is that it was difficult to hear from home. BUT. We made our own Thanksgiving. At Andre's residence, we killed a duck, cooked breadfruit (?) and a variety of other items and made a feast. We said the Pledge of Allegiance and sang the Sierra Leone National Anthem before we ate, which I thought was pretty amusing, given the amount of children staring at the copious amounts of food we made. And then devoured. Such is Africa. // The end of my first term teaching has brought a lot of reflection. A new plicy meant that students were broken up and spread out and enabled me to see a lot more of the cheating, stop them from cheating. The grades on my test were way down. Depressing. But, some kids continue to genuinely shine- one student aced my exam and many others did well. It is exceptionally encouraging to see students that not only understand the material but are passionate about it. I can only hope that they have the opportunity to *do* something with this desire to learn although in many cases, it's simply not the case. Again, such is Africa. // I'm at IST now, (In-Service Training) in Makeni which is great because we get to see all the volunteers again! and sucks because we get to see all the volunteers again! and is annoying for the same reason. We shall see. It is hard for me to believe that as of December 14th I will have spent four months living in Gbendembu and will have been in Africa for six-and-a-half months. I hear that winter has hit my home of Chicago and that Chicago sports organizations have decided to become awesome in my absence. Thanks, guys. Really. I was the one cheering on the Bears regardless of the record (usually 4-12) and now that you're 9-3 (10-3?) I'm not there. Harumpf. // I will not be able to post again before the New Year or Christmas so I will wish you all a very happy holiday season and a prosperous new year. I implore you to focus on what is IMPORTANT this time of year, not gifts, not bargains, not alcohol (although I'll approve celebratory champagne) but spending time with your loved ones. I am not looking forward to Christmas (I'll be in my village! :) but I know I'll be thinking about all my loved ones at home. I will be coming home in mid-July 2011 and I continue to look forward to (but not too much) to seeing you all again. Again, a shout-out to Jimmy, Jessie, and Andre's parents- We had a great Thanksgiving although I was feeling under the weather and we continue to be close. Finally, in closing, I have not had diahhrea in three weeks! Three WHOLE weeks! If that's not a Christmas present from Africa, I don't know what is :) I love and miss you all :)

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