21 January 2014

On rain, memory, and the one-track mind of students

Our tea supplies were running low, so we three Expatovi headed back to Old Blighty for the weekend.

Also, it was my graduation and yours truly will hereafter demand to be addressed Dr. Expatová.

Armed and ready for England
Memory is a funny old thing and my memory is especially leaky. (L.'s is perhaps even worse than mine, which means that we've had to move any of our Marital Discussions much closer to the first instance of the offence lest we be reduced to something along the lines of: 'You've made me really angry!' 'Oh, I'm sorry. What did I do?' 'I'm....not sure.'). 

Anyway, it hasn't been snowing here in the Czech Republic and in the last few days before our trip, we even had quite a lot of rain. This has lead to much general complaining, and I must admit to making quite a few comments about how we moved out of England to get away from all this rain.

Oh, foolish memory! As England proved, Czech rain is in no way comparable to British rain. Duration, strength, volume, and sheer bloody determination are all categories which are solidly won by English rain. As my fellow graduates and I madly dashed in all of our ridiculous finery (something else the British excel at), with the organisers of the graduation gaily ordering us about ('Quickly now! A jolly good run to next building, my lovelies.'), I was thoroughly reminded of the true nature of the British downpour. 

Point Prague.

The next morning, the rain was gone and everything was sparkling in the sun. England in the sunshine is a beautiful, beautiful thing and just as breathtaking as I remembered it. 

Ach jo. 

So, it seems, there is still a residue of homesickness, but I must admit to feeling surprised at how crowded everything seemed. The Czech Republic is nearly half as densely populated as the UK in terms of people per square kilometre (a bit of geography trivia for you to know and share), and the sight of nearly twenty resigned fisherman clustered around a man-made pond a few metres from a very busy motorway was a sobering and depressing image indeed. 

And finally, an unrelated teaching note: my most recent day at work was very, very strange. It started off with a student, when asked to use the word 'bare' in a sentence (I think the book was looking for something like 'bare walls' or a 'bare table') loudly announced to the class: 'My sentence is: I prefer bare-back sex'. I'm not sure if my official job description includes Safe Sex Educator, but apparently it should. 

The next class was comprised of student presentations on the English-speaking country of their choice and included a hand-drawn map of Europe that had an Italy that looked not so much like a boot as a little willy dangling into the Mediterranean. I was, apparently, not the only who thought this as titters rippled through the class. Laughter and snorts continued throughout the presentation, presumably as individual students glanced at the map again. I think we were all relieved when it was finally erased.

The day ended on a more serious note when one of the students presented a very heartfelt and exceptionally graphic lecture on female genital mutilation in Sudan. I was really impressed with how well he - and the rest of the class, for that matter - dealt with the issue. Although, truth be told, as the handout detailing all of the types of female genital mutilation was passed around, I did briefly - and admittedly, unfairly - consider never letting students talk ever again.

No comments:

Post a Comment