I always find myself writing at this time. Everyone's asleep and I’m on the balcony looking out onto our lovely view.
It reminds me again how you just can’t see in London. By that I mean you can’t see beyond the next high rise building. Every time I leave London I remember that land actually goes on. That you exhale in a slightly different way when looking out over hills, water, forests, trees, or whatever it is.
Today was our first day of class. A disorganized few hours to be sure. But then the first day of class often is. Levels need to be ascertained, kids shuffled, re-registered or registered for the first time while others can no longer attend and must be taken off the class lists.
It’s a mass of teenage mayhem. Excited about their new foreign teachers, full of the energy they had repressed during the school day and raring to go the students milled around shouting and laughing.
The yelling and fooling around was impressive. No amount of ‘get to class’, ‘stand over here if you can’t find your name on the lists’ or ‘give me back that soccer ball’ was going to work.
Also unhelpful was that the location for the girls’ classes had fallen through, meaning that the boys and girls were in the same building. I give credit to the girls – but some of the boys lost their heads a little.
My class today was made up of six girls ranging from the ages of 14 to 16. Talented young students who were looking to expand their horizons both on a linguistic and social level. Kids with an eye on their future.
A late start and reduced hours meant the original lesson plan would have to be cut down. Many of the girls had not spoken English since the year before so we kept it conversational. We asked and modeled personal information questions then each girl had a turn in the ‘hot seat’ where the other girls could ask her any questions they liked.
They asked each other fairly generic questions at first. Favorite colors, best friends and things like that. Then as they began to feel more fluent and comfortable, the questions became a little more probing.
‘What are your hopes for the future?’ was the first, fairly timid departure from the routine.
Then the questions got more interesting.
‘If you had to choose between someone you loved or someone who loved you – what would you do?’asked Hana, a sweet giggly girl with a bright smile who spoke a mile a minute when given half a chance.
Questions with cultural relevance: ‘if your parents disapproved of the boy you loved, would you respect their decision or go against them.’
With the exception of one girl, who liked to think of herself as being the craziest one around, all said they would acquiesce to their parents’ wishes.
Sana, wearing a pink veil and blue top whose favorite color was black, said she would choose education over love. She wanted to become an astronaut.
It became clear quite quickly that love was a popular theme with the girls.
When asked which celebrity they would most like to meet the top two answers were Edward from Twilight and Rihanna.
Actually it was just 'Edward'. It was my ignorance that prompted the reproachful clarification 'from Twilight'.
Questions about travel and living abroad came up. The girls showed a strong sense of family with one saying that furthest she would go was Amman so as to stay close to her loved ones.
Based on our conversations today, I feel like these girls have a lot to say.
As they should, and I look forward to hearing it.