So last Friday night, my English class decided to take Eileen and I out to dinner. We were invited, which means that the students paid for everything, including our taxi ride home. As I said in a previous post, I’m really enjoying my night class. There’s a good dynamic, great personalities; they really want to learn English; and they’re smart (we’re about three days ahead of my police class). Although they had told me we were going out for some traditional Ecuadorian food, we went to a Chinese restaurant. It was cheap and it was pretty much all the food we could eat. At some point early in the evening, Tatiana, a maid from Guayaquil, proclaimed that we wouldn’t be speaking English at all. Tatiana is hilarious. She’s this very gregarious little woman who laughs a lot and calls me “profe.” She’s probably about 25 years old or so (I’ll try to get some pictures posted later). Anyhow, she told us a story about how she was cleaning a room in the hotel and she noticed this little doll and thought, in passing, “how cute.” But then a minute later, the doll turned toward her and spoke. She screamed and ran out of the room. It was apparently some sort of new doll from Europe that has a sensor on its forehead. She called it Chucky, pronounced chooky.
At the dinner table, we talked about President Bush, music (one of my students is really into heavy metal), and bad words in Spanish. Eileen thinks I caused a scene by saying one of the bad words too loudly. But it’s funny: without years’ worth of social context, words like “verga” mean nothing. I may have caused a scene, I don’t know, but after my spiel on Bush, I had a couple students saying “Tim for president.” So it wasn’t all bad.
As we left the restaurant, Tatiana accidentally went into the kitchen thinking it was a bathroom. Good times. Once outside, we had two offers for post-dinner activities: karaoke or a pipe bar (one of those Arabic communal pipe places – what are they called?). We opted for karaoke.
I have three students in my class who are siblings: Manuel, Jessica, and Amparito. They’re all really good-looking; Eileen and I have taken to calling them “the good-looking siblings.” Anyhow, Jessica and Amparito latched right on to Eileen all night. They were great. At one point, Jessica asked Eileen how old she was. Eileen said “I’m 22,” to which Jessica replied, “oh, joven!” (young). Eileen asked her how old she was and she said 23. We laughed and then Eileen pointed out that she would be 23 in a few weeks, “so we’re the same age.” “No,” said Jessica, “soy mayor” (I’m older).
Once at the karaoke bar, we all sat at a table and browsed the catalogs of songs. There was naturally a lot of pressure for me to sing a song in English. “No one will know if you screw up,” they all explained. But I kinda held off till the opportunity was passed. Some other dude in the bar ended up singing a couple of songs in English, one of which (Phil Collins’ “Another Day in Paradise”) he dedicated to us. His rendition of “Dust in the Wind” was much better.