Thursday, 27 March 2014

Teaching, paint, sea water and dancing!

Life continues to be lovely in Miri. The temperature is climbing a bit of late so have been ramping up the daily shower ratio. Luckily our monthly water bill is only 6 MYR (about £1.20) so it doesn't cost much to smell nice. We have just finished our stint of teaching for ELC (Early Leaning Centre!!!). Rachel's "Creative Writing in English" course has produced some stunning results from her class of brilliant 14 to 16 year old children. She not only taught the course but designed it as well. It included exploration of different writing styles, writing techniques, essay composition, idioms, homonyms, slang, grammar and lots of 'akademicky' stuff. I have to say i have been absolutely blown away by her lessons and the complete ease with which she assumed the role. From the feedback of her students and parents they have been pretty impressed to. I feel very proud and glad she loved it so much.  She is also teaching 4 to 6 year olds at another school which presents different challenges but once again she puts together and delivers well considered lessons.  
Rachel's 'Understanding English' class

Chris' small private class of 7 - 10 year olds
For me the whole teaching thing at ELC has been more of a social experiment in god worship rather than careful planning. I nearly groomed the children I taught to genuflect before me but didn't quite manage it before the contract ended. I had to settle for absolute, unbridled joy and mayhem when i walked into the school from the two classes I teach as well from children i don't. Rachel even found two kids singing a 'We love uncle Chris' song and i wasn't even teaching them that day. Seriously! It's a little embarrassing with the quietly jealous, hard working and probably far more effective native teachers looking on. I too teach a some private lessons at the school but the structure of my course "Understanding English" is a little more fluid due to the age and capability of the children. Our last day was really nice with us being presented a card signed by all the teachers and kids. We were given presents and received goodbye meal, along with the staff, of Rendang, Bario rice, noodles and salad. We were very touched. 

Our NZ friends Mandy and Gary introduced us to various Indian friends of theirs a while back. Subsequently we have been out with them, collectively, a couple of times and went to a party at Anand and Barathi's house. Barathi is part of an Indian Social Club here and last Saturday, my 53rd birthday coincidently, she invited us to celebrate the Holi Festival with about 200 Indians at the local boat club. An absolutely brilliant day in the company of some very interesting, funny and boisterous people. The day started sedately with a lovely buffet of mild 

curry flavored delicacies and ridiculously sweet deserts but soon deteriorated into a free for all with paint powder and buckets of sea water being liberally thrown about. We were alternately 

Bridget Jones moment with Indian Dessert
daubed in reds, yellow and purple powdered paint then soaked, daubed then soaked. Later after being taxi'd a round by Mandy and Gary we returned to a lovely curry meal and dancing Bollywood style (stroke the dog, change the light bulb) in the club house and around a large bonfire on the beach. I even had the entire congregation singing Happy Birthday to me and between shots of whiskey and slaps on the back by strangers had a lovely time. We finished my birthday weekend beach combing on Hawaii Beach and going to the pictures.

We have also made a new friend in an Australian lady called Jean who is great fun and lives on her yacht in the marina (afloat for 4 years now!!!). the other day we went to a Salsa class that she had found. Her and Rachel enjoyed it but the pressure of having to lead, my inability to remember steps and the copious amounts of sweat i produced spoiled it for me. Not sure if we will go back too quickly. We will see if i grow any balls and can somehow stem the sweat. Jean, as i mentioned, lives on her yacht in the marina here and has offered to take us on a jaunt to Labuan (an island off the coast of northern Malaysia) shortly. I really hope this happens as it will be stunning to be sailing out in the blue waters up the coast and past Brunei to the Sabah province of Borneo.

Roger the dog continues to be a really lovely and easy dog to look after. He still loves to scrap with other dogs but is gentle as can be with bitches, humans, kittens, crabs and gecko's - weird. He also continues to shit in the strangest places on our walks

That's it for now. In case i haven't mentioned it before we have booked our onward journey from here and will be going to Japan for a while on May 3rd.

1 comment:

  1. Love catching up with your 'stuff' x Anita, Mike Buster & Boudica XXX