lunedì 25 gennaio 2010

Our families

Today in my 4th year class with Ms. B (finally I get to return to her class), we improvised. I had thought that it was my first time with the class, so I thought I would do my usual introduction, my life story, ask them their life story sort of deal. I told this to Ms. B as we were running in opposite directions down the hall, and she gave the okay over her shoulder. In the next period though, she stopped me and said, "You've already seen this class before!" Oops. I had thought my schedule had changed, but it was the same class I had alternated seeing the last section. I was just confused. So we decided to talk about our families. Luckily, by this point I am pretty good at improvising.

I told them about my family, how my great-grandfather had named my grandmother, one of four girls, Benny Jean because he wanted a boy. How my grandfather traveled Alabama as a pastor, moving from parish to parish ("What? I don't understand. He works with sheep? Like in Sardegna?"). How when they got divorced, my grandmother went to college and became a social worker. How my mother left Alabama, became a professor, and traveled to South Carolina. How my father was raised by his mother, after his father died of a heart attack, in the heart of Minnesota. How he traveled the northeast and then to South Carolina, also as a professor. My brother, a half brother whole feels like a whole one. Me. But we had already been over me.

These are the stories of two of my students...

N is Rwandan. His parents fell in love while on a school trip to San Francisco, and when they got back they got married. They had three children, including N. the youngest, before they moved to Italy "because there was a war." They stayed together for a little while before they divorced. His father went to London, where he remarried and had other children. His mother stayed in Milan, where she worked for a firm, and raised the children. I asked N if he went to London often, and he said never, he didn't know his father. His oldest sister works in a bank and wants to be "an important manager." His other sister studies at Politecnico with his brother. I said, "Oh, so you're the baby of the family," and he replied, "Yes, but I'm the tallest. I beat my brother at basketball."

A is Italian. He claims his parents met while working together in the United States, fell in love, and got married in Las Vegas. Ms. B and I didn't believe him, "Are you kidding?" but he swore it was true. I asked him how his parents met in the U.S. and he said, "I don't want to know, I don't want to think about it!" I asked him if he had any pets, and he said a big dog named Timmy, but don't blame him for the name because it's his mom's fault.

The stories you hear...

P.S. Today as my regular reward candy, Ms. R gave me truffle-flavored white chocolate. I found it pretty gross, I don't dig truffles. I fear offending her, but I also fear the replacement of the usual chocolate-covered cherry or PocketCoffee with mushroom chocolate. Dilemma.

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