Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Midsummer Night's Dialogue Reading With Pasta Salad and Strange Little Girls

Yup, the title says it all. It was just a really good day.

It started with me going to Natasha's school. I've been showing up there about once a week to interact with different English classes, usually Natasha's. The first few times I went, I gave presentations. Now, I read out loud and do dialogues with the kids so they can hear a native speaker. It's always interesting times. Today however, I was invited specially.

The 8th grade English class was putting on a short version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Alla Vasilevna, one of the English teachers called me over the weekend to invite me. I said I would come and was so glad I did. You could tell the kids put a lot of effort into memorizing their English lines and practicing the emotions and things. Although sometimes they smashed the English words together so they were hard to understand, they did an amazing job. It was hilarious and I really enjoyed myself.

After the play, I had tea with Natasha and then I attended her 5th grade class. We read about "My Favorite Town" they were really excited to get to read with me. The best part about class today was that the classroom we were in is one of the math classes and the math teacher was sitting in the back grading papers. Afterwards, she came up and was talking to Natasha and I, asking about me. The woman wasn't sure why I wasn't properly interacting with the students and things. Natasha explained that I was a guest. The woman didn't get it. Finally Natasha explained that I wasn't a teacher. I was a guest and friend from America who was helping in class today. The woman thought this was interesting. She said that she thought I might be foreign but then she wasn't sure because I said a few things in Russian. So that made me feel good.

The day was also good because I successfully made an interesting sort of macaroni salad. I've been experimenting with cooking since coming here and am surprised how much I enjoy it. I think because if I were cooking at home, I'd follow recipes all the time. Here, I don't so it gives me a chance to be creative and see what does and doesn't work. My salad was macaroni, cucumber, crab and mayo. I was pretty proud of it.

Finally, the day was good because of this evening. On Tuesday nights a group of Christian Businessmen meet in our church building. Generally, they meet in the room that's my "office" so I have to be out before they come at 6:30. Today on my way out, I forgot to take the tupperware with me to put salad in to take home to eat tomorrow. So I was waiting for the meeting to get done so I could get salad and go home. The thing is, they were taking forever. There was a little girl there this evening with her mom and she was wandering up and down the halls and playing in the nursery. At one point I was like "Hi!" but she didn't say anything. So I went about my business.

The next thing I know, I'm in the kitchen playing Bejeweled on my iPod and I feel these eyes on me.  The little girl is literally standing in the doorway just staring at me. And Staring. So I look up and smile. She smiles back, I go back to my game, but I can feel her continuing to stare at me. It was really awkward. I was finally like "Can I help you?" She didn't respond.

So then I smiled at her a few more times and went about my business. At one point she was kind of following me around and so I turned around and teasingly scared her. Then I felt bad. I wasn't trying to make her go away, I was just playing.

Eventually, I asked her if she'd found the toys in the nursery. She said yes. I asked her if she wanted a cookie. She said no. Finally, she got up the nerve to ask me what my name was. I told her. I then asked her grade and name. She told me. Then she ran off. I continued getting my stuff together. A few minutes later, she was back asking me to repeat my name. I did and she ran off again. By this time I was pretty much ready to go and had successfully gotten my salad packed up. As I was walking past the business men, the little girl was talking to her mom and was like "That's Abigail"

So I stopped to talk to the mom and she remarked on the uniqueness of my name. I explained it was a Bible name and then she must've heard my accent because she was like "Oh, you're not Russian?" "No, I'm American. I work in the church." "Oh, I see. Your Russian is really good." "Thank you." We said it was nice to meet each other and then off I went to find Luka and Natasha with whom I usually walk home.

On our way home, we found ourselves behind a group of the businessmen including the woman and the little girl. The woman again complemented my Russian and asked how I knew it so well. I explained that I had lived in Yakutia. "Oh. Wow." Yeah. Saying that usually gets interesting comments.

But in any case, all of these things combined put me in a really good mood. I felt the need to share it because I feel like I'd been kind of "blah" of late. I'm also kind of excited because I'm working from home tomorrow. I have to do a presentation about Christmas for the American Corners on Saturday and I'm using Prezi which doesn't seem to like the wi-fi connection at the church. So am going to do it here. This also gives me an excuse to continue to rest my bruised knee which I hurt on Sunday. But anyway, life is good.

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