Okay . . . so my office hours have changed already. Here are my new and offical office hours:
Tuesdays 2:30 - 3:30
Thursdays 3:30 - 4:30
I promise I won't be changing them any more!
Last Friday I gave all of the students the day off because I had to go to the memorial service (funeral) for my grandmother. Gosh, I think I would have rather have taught. It was a really hard day. I was pretty okay until I got to the church and I had to sign the card that went with the flowers I bought for my Nana's (that's what I called my Grandmother) service. I started to write "Dear Nana . . . " and then I just lost it and started crying. It was also hard when my Dad delivered the eulogy. He talked to each person at the funeral individually during his eulogy, and pretty much got all of us crying a lot. My aunt especially was weeping the whole time. She tried to read a poem by William Wordsworth, but she couldn't go on and my Mum had to get up and help her to read the poem. They had asked me to read a Psalm during the service, but I declined. I just felt that I couldn't. It all felt a little bit weird for me anyway, because my Grandmother had requested an Anglican (a form of protestant christianity from English) service for her funeral, and there was a lot of talking about Jesus, etc. It was also weird because this was the first funeral I had ever been to. Isn't it amazing that I made it to the age of 37 without having ever gone to a funeral. When I was a kid, my parents didn't let me go to my grandfather's or uncle's funerals because they felt I was too young. Anyway, the last part of the service consisted of a piper playing "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes. The bagpipes always send a shiver through me. I guess they are touching something deep and ancestral in my soul as if thousands of years of history suddenly are welling up inside of me. However, for me, the hardest part of the funeral for me was after the church. After the church, we went to the cemetary, and suddenly my Dad gave me my Nana's ashes to hold. It freaked me out a little to be standing there with a small box containing the ashes of my grandmother. By this time, the weather had turned cold and cloudy and it was lightly raining. It was exactly like a funeral in the movies, with people dressed in black, huddled around a hole in the ground in the rain. I also had to put the ashes into the hole in the ground, and I had to get down on my knees to put it in. I got dirt all over the knees of my black suit, but I didn't care, I just wanted to put the box into the grave. Then the minister threw some dirt on the box and said a prayer. Finally, we put roses on the gravestone while a piper played a lament on the bagpipes. Once again, it was eerie hearing the bagpipes playing in the cold wind while we all stood there around the grave.
Anyway, after the funeral we went back to the church and there was a tea with little sandwhiches with the crusts cut off. It was all very English (My Nana was from English, as are my parents). I ended up sitting beside my high school physics teacher from grades 10 and 11, trying to make polite conversation, when all I really wanted to do was go home. It was strange being surrounded by so many people that I hadn't seen for so many years. After the tea, we all went back to my parents house where my Dad opened up a bottle of expensive Scotch. You see, my Nana used to like to have a Scotch now and then, we we were drinking it in memory of her. In fact, I remember being a little kid and mixing my Nana a Scotch and water. Anyway, it was 16 year old Scotch and supposedly very expensive, but I couldn't finish mine. It tasted like burnt wood and it made my lips numb. I guess it was wasted on me.
After that, we went out for dinner, just the family. There were 10 of us, and we went out for Chinese food. My Nana always liked Chinese food, so we went to a local restaurant in Olds. After that, I went home. It was a very strange day.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Here's a picture of me playing my guitar at the EAP barbecue just before the microphone broke and I couldn't play anymore. Hmmm, I wonder if someone broke the microphone on purpose . . .
Just about two weeks have gone by since the barbecue, and now we are entering the second week of classes. I'm really looking forward to this semester. I think I have a really good bunch of students in my class, and they all have a huge amount of potential. I'm sure that we are going to see a lot of language growth. The thing that excites me most about this semester, is that everyone seems really eager to learn. Some years I have been quite challenged by apathetic students who didn't really want to be in the EAP program, and couldn't care less about learning English, but this year, I think everyone is really motivated to learn. We did an activity in class where everyone had to write down their motiviations for learning English, and it seemed like the students were, in fact, actually motivated.
Here's to hoping this is the best semester ever!!