One thing that I have noticed in the schools here is that respect for authority is a very important cultural value. This was confirmed last night in a way I did not expect. We went over to a family's house last night, and every night, the dad tells a story or sings a song to his daughter. I was priveleged enough to be invited to hear the bedtime story last night. It was a very popular children's story- familiar to everyone in the house but me. I was surprised to find that the story did not bring me the happy ending that I am so used to hearing. In fact, it was quite sad!
It was about a goat who did not listen to her "father" (owner) and strayed from the green pasture where he had placed her for the day. She wanted to wander and eat flowers and grass from the neighboring pasture. So as soon as her owner left, she wandered to the other pasture. Although she was happy at first, soon the evening came and she found that she was cold and lost. Although I expected for the goat and master to reunite, this never happened, and they did not live happily ever after.
After the story, the dad emphasized to all of us in the room how important it is to listen to your parents and obey them, because they want the very best for you. Although what they say to us doesn't always seem fair, they know more about the bigger picture than we can see.
On a happier note, my students will be quite content to hear that I discovered a new version of "Am stram gram" called "La queue de cochon" (the pig's tail). I can't wait to teach it to you and play it with you! In fact, one of the teachers at the Lower School gave me a whole stack of poems, songs and hand games to play in class next year!
Also, the principal, who is a teacher too, asked me if my students would be interested in writing to (and getting letters from) her class. "Absolutely," I said!
Time to answer a few questions:
- Mrs. Choren asked about English classes. The children here do indeed take English as a foreign language, just like we might take French or Spanish. Usually students start learning either English or German in second grade, but because this town is not as wealthy as most, they start in third grade. Most students take English.
- Senor Schlenker asked what students usually do on Wednesdays, their day off. From what I gather, it is more or less a day for students to do extracurricular activities like sports and music lessons. I will keep my eyes and ears open for this particularly this Wednesday, when I will be in another town.
-Nathan asked what the most popular instruments are here. From people I have talked to, some common instruments are organ, flute, accordion and guitar.
Before signing off for the day, I should mention that at this very moment, I am sitting in a McDonald's, the only place with internet that is open on Sundays. Fancy Nancy would approve, though- it has wooden tables, decorative hanging light fixtures, jazz music and espresso. (Unfortunately, I am having trouble again uploading pictures. I'll have to try again tomorrow.)