Monday, February 18, 2002

Ode to Having Much Boink Airplanes

Greetings from Prague. It's been a while since I've felt up to writing, so I figured I had better get around to it now. It's not that I've been depressed, but writing for a lot of people is somewhat exhausting and has begun to take me awhile to motivate myself to do so. I've also been more absorbed in my life here, as well as dedicating more time to the study of Czech and the practice of guitar.

At any rate, things here are going very well. Teaching is great most of the time, and I am really enjoying seeing my classes improve, especially my beginners. I'll relate one humorous story from a class that took place a while back. We were studying a lesson about airports and flying, and I was going around the room asking each person if they had flown before, and if so, then where had they gone, and had they been nervous about flying there. When I asked this to one of my students named Lenka (who is a portly blond-haired lady in her mid 30's), she said she had recently been to Turkey. I asked if she had been nervous about flying, and she said, "No, airline has much boink airplanes." I was naturally somewhat confused by that statement, so I asked if she meant that the airline she had flown on hasn't had many plane crashes. She said, "No, I mean they have a lot of boink airplanes." I asked if she knew what boink meant. She gave me a puzzled look, so I spelled it on the board, and she said, "No, it's American firm what makes many big airplanes." Of course, then I realized that she meant Boeing, and broke down laughing from my visions of hundreds of boink airplanes slowly ricocheting off of the ground and each other in an aerial jumbo-jet ballet. I literally had to step into the corner of the room and regain my composure, while 10 Czechs stared at me, not quite sure what to think.

I finally managed to explain the difference between boink and Boeing, and when they understood, the whole class began laughing. There's never a dull moment when teaching that class.

Anyway, Spring break is coming up, which I'm greatly looking forward to. My plans involve a lot of relaxation. It would be nice to be able to travel more throughout Europe, but that sort of break is not relaxing in the least, and any chance to rest has to be taken seriously. Amy, Sissel, Marsha, and I plan on spending a week in a cottage or pension in the High Tatra mountains of Slovakia. This is a small mountain range, covering only 13 square miles, but the peaks are almost 10,000 feet, so it's impressive to look at.

On a side note, one interesting thing about this year is the fact that Jerry and I are the only males here, not that I would ever complain about that. Since Jerry spends a lot of his time writing emails and practicing for various concerts and other events, this leads to a lot of "girl-time with Marty". These times are always fascinating, and I'm gaining incredible insights into the lives and minds of the female of our species. I always feel as though I'm observing some exotic life-form in it's native habitat. Well, not really, but it's an enlightening perspective none-the-less.


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