Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Left behind 

Day ten of our Sauerkraut training

It's twelve minutes after ten o'clock in the evening--our Minnesota bedtime, ya know--and Noodles is attempting to teach Poodlepums how to sing the alto line of a song. The reason for this was because Poodles was lamenting the fact that she would not be able to participate in the kids choir this year and was annoyed that adult choirs don't sing in unison. Noodles is attempting to show her the joys of singing in harmony.

So what does this have to do with Sauerkraut training? Nothing. I was digressing. Today was the day when I ended my training. Sort of. The three TEFL instructors happened to sit at our table at breakfast, so I tendered my resignation. None of them seemed bothered in the least. So after breakfast I went to the library and checked my e-mail and browsed a few blogs. I didn't post on my own blog, because I'm going to time travel and post this entry in a couple of weeks from now. But it was quite enjoyable to do some relaxed surfing. After that I dug into some of last week's handouts I had yet to read.

When lunch time came, I felt rather odd. A whole mass of the English teachers came bursting out of class and heading to the cafeteria. (Noodles wasn't with them as she had gone to observe an actual ESL class.) I felt a bit alienated, as if I was no longer part of the group. Yeah, I know I had ditched out of the class, so I technically wasn't part of that group. But it was more like I had let down the team or something. Obviously my childhood alienations were bubbling to the surface.

Anyway, that didn't matter so much. You see there's two tracks going on this week. One for the TEFL students and one for the folks who are going out on long term assignments. (I don't know if these are open ended or four year terms.) The long term folks get extra cultural training and sessions specifically geared towards the country to which they're going. Anyway, at lunch time I met the guy running the long term programs. I mentioned to him my change in status and he gave me an open invitation to sit in on the long termer's sessions. So for a couple of hours after lunch I sat in on what was essentially a private question and answer session. So I got some extra tidbits of advice on how to adapt to a new culture and how to help the kids deal with culture shock. (The big advice for the former: Get your butt out of your apartment and get out amongst the people from day one.)

In a sense, I was getting trained for China today. A big part of my life will be finding something to do while Noodles is at work.