A Lesson in W and a Last Minute Concert
Hello all!! Alright, so jumping right into things, I think I’m going to write about a few random things that happened, give a few updates on projects I’ve been involved with here, and then see where things go!
To start, how about an update on our little Shakespeare production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”?? In case you want some sort of a timeline to help you follow better, the day I’m referring to at the moment is December 8th. After a jump-rope filled workout in Gym class, Michelle and I had our Drama class with our 7th grade buddies. They are continuing to work on staging the show and also on emphasis/inflection with their lines. But Michelle and I have noticed that the kids have some trouble with “w” and “v”... seeing as the letters are pronounced almost oppositely, so instead of “wonderful,” they say “vonderful,” making them sound a bit like they’re attempting a Dracula imitation. So we took matters into our own hands and pointed out the difference to the entire cast before they started rehearsing. We also decided to tackle the challenge of the “th” sound, which, if you’re unfamiliar with other languages, is a sound found only in English and is the most difficult for non-native speakers to learn. We went around the room and made each kid say the words “wonderful,” “they,” and “Theseus.” (one of the characters in the play) There were quite a few students who found the sounds, but a lot of them had difficulties. I think we need to practice with them again though because they seemed to have forgotten about the “w” / “v” rule. But while the teachers worked with through the show on the stage one act at a time, Michelle and I pulled a few kids to the back at a time and worked with them on the pronunciation of their lines. Later that Thursday night, at belly dancing class, we had a substitute teacher who taught us some very... interesting things. First and foremost, she taught us, that before we expect ourselves to dance, no matter what style of dance, we must love ourselves. Now, this is very touching, meaningful advice, but the way she said it made Hannah, Diana and I laugh. She struck a kind of tango or salsa pose, back straight, arms rigid, and said, “I love myself, and I am ready to dance.” In a way, it’s a good lesson to remember, because after you know you love and accept yourself the way you are, you can release yourself out onto the world and dance your one-of-a-kind dance without being afraid of what others might think of it.
December 9th brought me to my 3 month anniversary, and I celebrated it in a very memorable way. I went to music class 2nd period as always, but there weren’t many people there. The teacher had me singing something when a girl from the 12th grade came in and heard me. She is originally from Australia, so she spoke to me in English. She complimented me on my voice and said we should sing together. I said it would be fun, thinking she meant at some point in the future. Well, there’s no time like the present! The music teacher left for a few minutes, came back to the room and grabbed me, and walked me to the “auditorium” where the Australian girl was standing on stage with another teacher playing the guitar and trying to sing “Hallelujah”, the song from Shrek that I love to sing and play. Seeing as the music teacher knew that, and seeing as the girl was having trouble finding the melody herself, he decided it would be good for us to sing it together. I didn’t know what the occasion was, but I agreed. So I jumped up on stage and we practiced the song a few times over, and I even helped out the teacher with the guitar chords based on how I play the song myself. Anyways! After we had practiced a few times, the bell rang, and since Michelle wasn’t in school that day, I went to the library to write. But I was interrupted when a teacher walked in at the start of 4th hour and asked if I was singing with Merve, the Australian girl. I said yes, but didn’t get why she was so frantic to know... until she told me that I was supposed to be singing in like 5 minutes! I jumped up and ran to meet Merve by the door that lead to the stage and apologized. No one had informed me that whatever program we were practicing for was happening the same day. But, as I said before, no time like the present! Turns out that December 9th is Human Rights Day, so the school had put together some videos and little speeches about human rights, and we were to sing during one of the slideshows of pictures. It went well, except that the girl I asked to film it with my camera thought I said take pictures instead of a video, so I have nothing but a few 10 second videos and a couple pictures from the performance. Oh well...
This takes me to the following week on Wednesday, the 14th. This was the first day that Michelle and I decided to attend a Turkish folklore dance class that a few of the other students had been attending for a few weeks already. We took a school bus to Kipa, a large grocery store/mall/food court and met with the other kids. After eating some dinner, we all walked to Cristina’s host mom’s office nearby and she gave us all a ride to where the lessons were. Turns out, the place isn’t too far from my house, so any other week that Michelle and I have gone, we’ve gone to my house, eaten dinner there, and then walked to dance class. Turkish folklore dancing is... well it’s hard to explain exactly what it looks like. The movements are relatively simple; mostly they’re just different combinations/variations of stepping, bending, tapping, and so forth. The arms usually go from your sides to a 90 degree angle so your elbow are bent and your hands are above your body... oh and there’s snapping with the rhythm, but I haven’t gotten the hang of it really. The difficulty comes in remembering the sequence of steps and the different variations of the steps and when to change, and some people just have trouble controlling their fingers, arms, and legs all at the same time... but it’s a fun learning experience!!
But the real fun times of the week started on Thursday. On Wednesday, my friend Denizcan told me that the class would be going to Istanbul on Thursday and wouldn’t be back until Sunday, so there wasn’t much point in us coming to school for the next two days. No one had mentioned the trip to us- at least not in a language we could understand- until it was too late to ask if we could come too, which upset both Michelle and I, but there wasn’t anything we could do. But, instead of not coming to school, we decided to show up anyways just to see what would happen. Turns out, I had one of the best days I’ve had in school here so far. Here’s what I wrote in my journal about Thursday and Friday’s events:
~~Our class went college visiting in Istanbul without us, so it was just the two of us int eh room all day. THe warm, quiet room. The first period and maybe second, we studied Turkish. We quizzed each other on opposites and verbs, then got called into the hallway by Susan and she told us to decorate a Christmas tree for the school. There were a few other teachers watching us try to fill the artificial tree with strange tinsel, ornaments, and strands of beads with plastic bells on them. Then we tied paper hearts with ribbons attached onto the branches. They have wist lists written on them for children with leukemia that are in a hospital here. They want us to go with them to deliver the presents. We were just excited to do something productive.. AND Christmas-y. Then we decided to bring out our traced man that we made in art class with the 7th graders and put a santa hat on his head. Michelle made snowflakes, I made the hat, an angel for the tree, and a sign saying “Happy Holidays” in as many languages as we could think of. We worked more with the drama kids and played a charades game for the first few minutes. It was a great day.~~
~~Today (Friday) however, wasn’t like yesterday I practiced some Christmas songs with the music teacher for one period (He said we could have a Christmas concert, but it never happened.) and 3rd period we sat in the library waiting for our meeting with Susan, but she never came. 4th period, we had a Turkish lesson. Like... a REAL lesson for us to learn from in school, instead of just sitting there during our class’ . We just worked on letters and sounds, but it’s going to help us with our pronunciation and writing/reading. The teacher used the same techniques with us as she uses with her 5-year olds in her classroom... that’s a little degrading... But who cares, we’re learning!!~~