Sunday, October 31, 2010
Last night I was invited by a lady in the book club I am a part of to a movie night at another lady's house. It was a girl's night in. We were supposed to come in our pj's or sweat clothes and bring drinks and snacks. I wore my clean workout pants and top. We were going to watch Eat, Pray, Love. Several of the ladies have read the book and really like it, and were excited to watch the movie. I was the only one who had seen the movie since I got to see it back in the US a few days before I moved over here. We ended up visiting the whole night. I would have been happy to see the movie again, but I didn't mind just visiting. It gets lonely sometimes. The other teachers keep to themselves. I visit sometimes with the housekeeper and driver but they both speak little English. I visit sometimes with the owner and his wife, but they are busy people. Even though school is done in English, like when I am in the office they speak Malay, and so although I can listen I can't get to know the people. I don't know what is going on most of the time and if students ask me I can only say I don't know. Even with other people that I know here that have lived here for years when they have other people over they talk in Malay so again I am left out. It was nice to have everyone speak English and be able to understand what they were saying and get to know them better. I didn't talk a whole lot but it was just nice to listen to get to know about them and their families. It was a different mixture of ladies-so there was one from Germany, one from Wales, one from Australia, one from New Zealand, one from Canada, one from England, and one from Switzerland but is married to a Malay and has lived here for several years now. It was interesting to hear about things from different countries. We talked about how names in different countries mean different things and how in one country it might be a normal name in another it has a bad meaning. Or different words mean different things and sometimes it can be a bad word in another language. I think I will refrain from examples since many of them are bad words or not appropriate things. It was funny though, but I could see at the time when they learned it it would be embarrassing.
We had parent/teacher conferences on Tuesday. The students went home at noon and then the conferences started at 1:00 and went to 3:00 and then from 5:00 to 7:00p.m. It makes for a long day. We didn't have school Monday since it was the Sultan's birthday, so having the Tuesday be the first day and then having to go the rest of the week. I was very tired the rest of the week. The parent's signed up for 10 minute slots. None of my parents came during the slot they had signed up for. I did not care. I stayed during the break too because there was no point in getting a cab back home and then back to school. I would have spent most of my break time waiting for the cab. Plus, I had parents come during the break too. Conferences went well. I wish I could speak several languages and not just English. I had to have another teacher translate for one, and she was supposed to translate for another but she had a parent come at the same time. So we did it without her. This was a Korean parent who also spoke Mandarin. Then there was a translator with the parent that spoke Mandarin and Malay, but very little English. I spoke very slowly and tried to use simple words and gestures to get my point across. It seemed like I was understood. The very next day I decided to start using Malay though, so hopefully by next conference time I can converse somewhat better in their language. There is no way though, I don't think, that while I am here I can become proficient in every language that all my students use.