OKAY, so the llama’s name is … DOLLY! get it, DOLLY LLAMA!!! ha ha ha ha …
a military coup in thailand? how strange … military coups seem so archaic (and by archaic, i mean pre-Silliman’s blog). my prayers to all the citizens.
i’m almost finished with the two reviews i’m doing for galatea resurrects. and i have one more to finish for Jacket. besides that, i have a bunch of new poems (almost 30!) that are new and exciting – i will post about those soon!
strange days being back to work. i had three weeks off (unpaid) in the summer and have only gotten just now finished two weeks and finally a paycheck! for those who don’t know, i work at an afterschool center for immigrant children where i teach writing, reading, and ESL. it is wonderfully rewarding work, and my grading only consists of reading through their paragraphs … which is nice that i get to be surrounded by language even at work …
had a nice breakthrough today with one student who was very uncomfortable with his writing skills. i always have the students read aloud and he wrote a wonderful narrative essay that the other students loved … one of the other students even asked if he could borrow the essay to read at home (these are seventh graders!). the student left the class with a wonderful smile and a new confidence.
there was a sad moment though … i was grading another student’s paragraph – was a descriptive paragraph about his father. the first sentence was “My father was very kind to me.” I immediately corrected the sentence to “My father is very kind to me.” The paragraph continued to describe his father and the things they did together, like baseball and golf. Then, the last sentence read “I am still very sad that my father died last december.” it was strange, nothing else in the paragraph gives the sense that his father had died, except in that one “was”. he is a very quiet, respectful kid. he likes the oakland A’s so i try to talk to him about baseball. He is only the second student i’ve had whose father died … i am extra conscious around both these students to be more fatherly around them and it seems to affect them in a positive way.
i used to teach at a last chance school for kids who got kicked out of the public school system, and many of the students’ fathers were either in jail or had abandoned their families. those students seemed to hang out after class just to talk.
i watched one of my favorite shows late last night, The Contender (my other favorite show being Project Runway). it is a boxing reality show where a bunch of struggling boxers live together and fight elimination matches. the final winner receives $500,000. the fighter i was rooting for, Norberto Bravo, lost. he wasn’t the greatest fighter – altho he has a strong left hook, his combinations were way too slow – but in every interview, he made it clear how he was only doing this for his money, to buy a house and to give his family a better life. he also made it clear how proud he is of his culture (he’s mexican) and how he tries to instill a love for family and culture in his kids. His father had also passed away recently and everytime he talked about how his father had taught him to “keep fighting” and “have pride” and “believe” — he is also quite religious — he would choke up and break and only recover himself by repeating the phrase “viva la raza.”
after his fight, his two sons climbed into the ring and hugged him. he cried. and his oldest son said, “we’re proud of you dad.” when they interviewed him later, he felt so regretful not that he wasnt “the champion”, but that he wasnt able to earn the money for his family. it broke my heart.