Libraries and Teeth

April 14, 2010

Welcome, friends, to a speedy and cheerful post.

I just wanted to upload a few pictures of our recent Annual Fifth Grade English Alphabet Celebration, of our new library in progress, and of some satisfying cosmetic dentistry.

To give you a little background, many primary schools around the country choose a random day in the Spring to celebrate the English alphabet. I’m not quite sure how it’s done in other places, but the kids at my school were each assigned a letter of the alphabet to use in a group recital. After all saying a phrase with alliteration corresponding to their letters, they sang songs and performed short skits. My counterpart handled most of the assigning and rehearsing. She chose to take lines straight from a Mongolian-written kindergarten alphabet workbook, so the kids were made to recite strange things like,”‘A’ is for ‘apple.’ Draw an amazing apple,” or  “‘B’ is for ‘boys’ and ‘balls.’ Boys play balls. Draw a boy and balls.” [And the latter is a direct quote.] I explained to her why this wouldn’t make sense, but she said the audience wouldn’t speak English so it didn’t matter.

The kids sang the ABC song, “London Bridges,” “You Are My Sunshine,” and a few other notable nursery rhymes. When rehearsing, my counterpart had the kids practice “Ten Little Indian Boys.” I explained to her that it’s not necessarily an appropriate song and has been left out of the nursery rhyme scheme for a long time due to its insensitivity to Native Americans. She said she would take it out of the lineup. When it was showtime, however, she had the boys line up, sing the song, and then tap their open palms against their mouths while making stereotypical Native American sounds and dancing in a circle. Afterward, they sang a song about” The Lord,” which never happened during rehearsal. I point the finger at the temporary volunteers, whose nationality and umbrella organization will remain unspecified, who came here last summer and left some pretty questionable song books in a local library. Thanks guys. ❤

Anyway, the kids were adorable. I had them perform three-kid acts from a hypercondensed ESL version of Aesop’s Fables that I found on the internet. They all dressed up as foxes and crows and rabbits and delivered adorable performances. As I don’t have any pictures of their skits, I’ll leave you with some photos of the chaos leading up to the show:

The kids lined up at the top of the stairs, which is our makeshift stage.

I was surprise-forced to announce awards and superlatives to the fifth grade class in front of our Mongolian audience without any preparation. Completely in Formal-Announcer-Mongolian, which can be slightly different. It was pretty funny. Sorry I don’t have better pictures. I did, however, manage to catch a glimpse of this magical Chinese copyright infringement during the show:

Onto other things! Our library is finally under way. They moved the fitness room to another location and stripped the nasty carpet up, put a bunch of huge wooden tables in, and commissioned a glass partition to be put up to separate the stacks from the English Corner. The room is about half the size of the primary school’s first floor! It’s already attracting students and faculty who are tired of failing to carve out some semblance of concentration in the insanely loud classrooms and hallways. Take a look at the room in progress:

Some kids already using the space!

So, shameless plug time. As you may know, getting stateside bookstores and organizations to pledge books to projects like this is easy as pie. Shipping them, however, is something that most parties seem to be terrified of. I can’t really put my mailing address here… so some of you will get it in a reminder email about my updated post. If other readers are interested, leave a comment and I’ll see if I can privately send you the address.

And now, for a dental update. Last year I chipped my right front tooth on a pint glass. I finally had it sanded and fixed this past week in UB. (I also used the opportunity to grab a whiteboard and several hundred Mongolian-to-foreign-language dictionaries for the library.) Peep my new look!

Before:

After:

See? Glory. It was a five minute procedure. I’m a happy boy. More later.

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2 Responses to “Libraries and Teeth”

  1. Sarah (Your cousin) said

    I guess I have been out of the loop for a while…my fault I see. I just did some catch up reading here on your blog and I must say that you never cease to impress me with your detail and expression here. I really enjoyed reading all you have written over the past few months. I really miss talking with you, Patrick. I am glad you are well! I’m still at gmail if you want to drop a message sometime.

  2. steph said

    Glad to see everything is finally working out with the library and teeth! Those kids look cute

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