Monday, February 20, 2012

Forensics Trip AKA Speech & Debate

The week before last February 8-12 I traveled with a group of 6 students to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to participate in the S.E.A. (South East Asia) Forensics tournament. Now in the US we call Forensics Speech & Debate. Forensics is what the police use to figure out the who committed a crime.
I was stepping in for the Coach as she had a baby 2 months ago and since only one teacher could go with such a small group it didn't really work for her to go. It was an interesting trip.
International School of Kuala Lumpur
We left on Wednesday about 9:30. Two of the girls with with their Mom's on a different bus. One of the girls went with her Mom on the same bus as me and 3 students I was chaperoning. We stopped for our break about halfway and then after we got started back up the air con wasn't working well. When we got a little ways down the road we stopped at another rest stop and some of the people got off the bus to change buses. We weren't sure what was going on since none of us speak Malay. We got off the bus and went to grab our luggage and the driver was yelling at us in Malay and motioning us to leave our bags there, but we didn't know how we would get them back. Finally we got on a different bus and made it to the correct bus stop. We arrived in KL and checked in at the Flamingo. One of the female students shared a room with me as she didn't want to stay with a host family and the other girls were staying with their Moms. First, they couldn't find the reservation of the coach and I didn't have her passport. When we finally got a room it was a double bed. So, I had to go back down and request two single beds. We got put in another room that wasn't that great. The toilet looked gross and had issues flushing. The sheets weren't that great either & the air con didn't work well. The shower leaked all over the toilet and floor. Anyway after we got checked in then we walked to ISKL to get the boys dropped off to meet their host family. I was told it would be easy to cross at the lights but it was not. I think I lost a year off my life every time I had to cross that street as it was so stressful. We got the boys dropped off and then the one student I was watching out for and I went to dinner at KLCC. We had subway. I had a meeting that I was supposed to attend at 7p.m. and I figured leaving at 6:45 would give us enough time. It took us over an hour to get back to the hotel. I couldn't go straight to the school because I realized I had left the scripts in the room, so as not to lose them. The taxi driver didn't get over 20kmh even when there was plenty of space to do so. He had a horrible hacking cold and his eyes where all bloodshot. It cost us about RM50.00 to get to the hotel. I ran inside and left the student in our room, grabbed the scripts and went to the meeting. It was over by the time I got there. I went to submit the scripts and the cover sheet hadn't been completely filled out so then I was trying to call the coach and the students but didn't have their numbers yet and she wasn't answering. I got them in with 30 seconds to spare. After that I went to the judges' meeting and learned about how to do the judging as I had to do that since I was the only teacher from our school. After that I walked back to the hotel in the dark.

The next day, Thursday, I got up and we went to the opening ceremony. We were going to get a cab and the guy was late. When he did show up then he would not let the 5 of us females all take one cab, so I got out and walked again, almost getting run over. I made it to school just before the opening ceremony started. After the opening ceremony the students went to the gym and I went to the part of the cafeteria I was told the coaches would hang out at. No one was around. Finally, I went into the Multipurpose Room 1 where there was supposed to be food, but it was almost gone. I hung out in there all day and read. Every once in awhile another coach or judge would come in for more coffee. I was a standby judge for 1:45 but was not needed. After we got done for the day the one student and I went to KLCC again, as I had bought two DVDs from this shop and they were the wrong zone.  I had bought some DVDs from that shop in July when I was there and they were zone 1 which works on my laptop. I didn't check the zones as I thought they would be zone 1 again in the section I got them from. Well, the manager wasn't nice to me (I talked to her on the phone) and called me a liar saying I didn't get the zone 1 DVDs from that store. I still have the DVDs and receipts but they weren't with me because I didn't know it was going to be a problem. I told her I didn't know why I would them come back and give her more business if I had not been happy in the first place. That would make no sense. I told her it wouldn't make sense to spend my money with the store and then not have DVDs that I could play. Anyway I got tired of her being nasty to me and thanked her and hung up. Her solution was I could exchange them for other DVDs from the store (that obviously wouldn't work). After that fiasco we walked to Pavilion Mall. I stopped at Ms. Read and bought some new tops that fit me. Then we went to TGIFriday's for dinner.

On Friday, I woke up and I had a nasty cold from the stress. Luckily one of the Dad's had come and so he drove us to school. We only had to walk back to the hotel. Since I was with the students I couldn't leave and go get myself throat lozenges or anything.  I had two sessions I had to judge in the morning and then I hoped that I would be done, but I ended up judging two semifinal sessions in the afternoon. It was ok though. My nose ran like crazy, but not much I could do about that. Two of our students made it to the semifinals. After we got done for the day we went back to KLCC and went to Chili's for a Forensic's dinner. One of the students had already gone back with her Mom since she didn't make it to semifinals but the rest were there. I thought it would be nice if I treated them to a team dinner. After that I wanted to call it an early night since I had to be up and to the school early to judge finals.
Speaker at Awards ceremony

On Saturday I judged the finals. They were all in the theater and the theater and tons of students there. Some of the lines were hard to hear if the students were clapping or laughing but we did our best. After the finals then there was a small break and then the closing ceremony with awards.  The student who was staying with me left with her parents after that. They decided to come get her early instead of her coming back with us on the bus on Sunday. So, they drove all the way there and picked her up and then turned around and drove all the way back. It didn't matter much to me as long as she fulfilled all her obligations, which she did.  The other two female students left with their parents too, but they didn't stay for the awards ceremony. Their parents didn't see any point since they hadn't won. I feel differently about that. So then one of our former students had come to judge that day but they didn't need him. He wanted to hang out with the guys. I had to tag along as chaperone. So we went to KLCC again and we went to a movie. They wanted to go to a gaming place but none were close and they didn't know what I would do while they were doing that. We all like going to the movies though. After that we went back to our respective places.

The next morning, Sunday, the host Dad picked me up at the hotel and then dropped us off at ISKL, but there was no one there. So, he ended up taking us to the bus station. The plan was to leave ISKL an hour early  in case of trafffic (I didn't want to miss the bus) and he had picked me up half an hour before that. So, we ended up being to the bus station about an hour and forty minutes early. We just hung out there until it was time to go. We made it back with no problems. It took longer than normal as we were at the stop much longer than the 20 minutes and then we stopped for gas. They resold the seat of the student who went back early with her parents, and the bus was completely full. Her brother or relative sat in the spare seat on the stairs. After one of student's Mom gave me a ride back to where I stay I took a nap and just rested so that I would be ready for school the next day.