The title of this post means “Smiles from Ecuador” because I wanted to share some things that have happened during my time here that have made me laugh. I hope to give you a few laughs today too! Enjoy!
*The b and v sound in Spanish are the same. One night in my English class, I found myself explaining the difference between a vowel and a bowel. The students thought that the word was pronounced the same way. I tried to gently explain that they were not by teaching the students how to clearly make both the v sound and the b sound – hoping that there would be no confusion in the future.
*One evening was I was getting into a taxi I hit my head on the door. As if that wasn’t funny enough, I got into the taxi saying, “Ah, mi cabeza!” The next thing I knew, the taxi driver was asking me how tall I was. I can only assume that he thought I was tall and that is why I hit my head. Clearly at 5 feet, 2 inches, I am not breaking any height records. However, after I realized that the driver was asking me how tall I am, I realized that I didn’t know how to answer him using the metric system – in Spanish. I felt completely helpless not being able to tell someone how tall I am. Since then, I have learned that I am “uno, cincuenta y ocho.” Good to know, right?
*As I spoke with my Spanish teacher about his new contact lenses – “lentes” in Spanish- I continued to mistakenly call them lentejas, which are lentils. You know, the bean. Slightly different than that you want to put in your eyes to help you see.
*For those of you who have recently joined my blog I am going to retell a story from the cafe where I used to take Spanish lessons. This situation was so funny, I just have to retell it. As you can see in this picture, the cafe has glass doors. The door on the left is the one you are supposed to use to enter and leave the cafe. One day, while I was having my Spanish class, Cesar and I heard a loud BOOM. I soon found out that the noise was a man who was trying to leave the cafe, but walked into the window, instead of the door. Ouch! Poor guy. But . . . we couldn’t stop laughing either. Then, when I saw the man’s nose print on the door, another bout of laughter began.
*We were learning about family member names and adjectives in one of my classes. So, I had my students make a book about their family and write a sentence describing each person. Well, as you look at the picture on the left, you’ll see that while one of my students has wonderful English grammar skills, she was a little hard on her aunt. Pobre tia!
*Sometimes to break up our two-hour English classes, we play a silly game in the middle of class. One of the games has a person stand in the middle with everyone in a circle on the outside. The person in the middle quickly turns and gives a command to someone. They need to respond in three seconds or they are in the middle. One of the commands they can give is “Jello.” When this command is given, the person who is pointed to needs to start jiggling like jello, and the people on either side need to contain them with their arms . . . if this doesn’t sound funny here, give it a try and when you see people try to jiggle like jello it is sure to make you laugh.
*One day my students were taking a vocabulary quiz, and many – not just one – asked me if they could write the definition for the words in Spanish. What?!?! Um, no . . . this is English class.
*During my class with younger students, I use Spanish pretty regularly so they can understand what I am saying. My Spanish is often grammatically incorrect, but they usually understand the general idea of what I am trying to say. The other day, I was modeling how I wanted them to cut out an animal and write about it. I used a picture of a dog as an example. I taped the picture to the board and then drew a rectangle around it to pretend like it was a piece of paper. I told my students, “Este es mi papel.” They all started laughing. So, I got defensive and asked what was so funny. They explained that they thought I said, “Este es mi papa,” and they knew that the dog was not my dad. So, now I try to pronounce my words a bit more clearly so they don’t get my paper confused with my dad.
*At the right is a picture that a student drew of me after taking a test. Apparently, I dress rather formally when I teach here in Ecuador.
*Disclaimer: This story is not for young children. (Pam – don’t share this one with your class!) Next week, our school is putting on a carnival game-type event for all of the classes. One of my student’s game is the Crab Walk. (Remember the Crab Walk? You flip over with your belly toward the sky and walk with your hands and feet.) Part of her job is to teach the game participants how to play the game. When we practiced in class, many of the students were putting their butts on the ground, so I instructed them not to do so. The next day, as she was writing her instructions for the participants, she was planning to tell people to keep their ass off the ground. Eek. She didn’t remember the correct word to use! Therefore, I gently corrected her and told her that there are much more appropriate words to use for that body part, such as behind (formal) or butt (informal). Hilarious.
*So, now I want you to post a comment and share a funny story with me. I always need more laughter – since I am sometimes too serious – and would love to hear a funny story from you. Thanks!