Velociraptors, Constipation and the BBC


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South America » Argentina » San Luis » San Luis
April 7th 2011
Published: April 7th 2011EDIT THIS ENTRY

"ARGGGHHHH!" I´m running barefooted, as quickly as I can, down a largely deserted street in the provincial border town of La Punta. The sand, grit and little pieces of glass cut into my soles. " OW, GOD!" An obese man observes me whizzing past from his rusty chair outside one of the houses with a huge grin on his face- like Jabba the Hut he wobbles, laughing at the sight of me. I hear little pockets of chuckling residents as I speed back down the road towards Marissio´s English Institute. Twenty seconds ago I was stroking a friendly-looking dog -it looked as though it would be the last one to have any mental illness... What happened? I hear it snarling and nipping at my feet. I lost my sandals about thirty metres back. My feet hurt like hell. I´m running on sheer fear. I jump onto the grass in front of Marissio´s, and get an additional smattering of spikey plant in my toes. Nahuel is painting the window shutters, and asks me what´s wrong. "I just got chased down the bloody street by another dog. That´s what..." The dog comes around the corner in front of the house.
"What that one? Oh come on!"
"What?"
"It's tiny..." (It was quite small, but that wasn´t the point.)
"It's ferocious! It came at my feet! (By this time the dog had completely changed personality, and was now flicking it´s ear up and down- trying to appear innocent. I just thought, That little b***ard... It´s playing games with me. I bet it has friends that are smart like him too, like those velociraptors off Jurassic Park.
So, on that fine sunday afternoon, I spent most of my time weening needles out of my foot. At the same time, the kids there wanted me to play football with them. And, as my Spanish is not yet good enough to articulate, "Not right now guys, an attack of mini-Cerberus has resulted in foot death", I thought I better just play. Nahuel and I were helping his best friend Marissio decorate his new institute in La Punta, something of a side project for Nahuel aswell. I´ve begun helping Marissio´s institute out with the English teaching of the IT staff at the building that governs and maintains the wifi connection for the entire province, so I like to think that I´m aiding the province as a whole. Plus I can eventually carole them into making sure I have unlimited access.

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My BBC "Get By" in Spanish phrasebook may well be the worst phrasebook in the world. Single-handedly, this phrasebook has gotten me into worse misunderstandings than when God´s mother told him to ´make something useful for once´. Take this example: A couple of days ago, I had an awful cold. Tiao, always concerned with my well-being, asked whether I was OK. In my phrasebook, the word "cold" was translated as "constipado"- something I found highly suspicious. But, hey this is the BBC right, they wouldn´t make such a mistake, so I went with it. Well, Tiao, "Estoy constipado..." I was rewarded simply with the haunted look of a five year-old, and the terrible realisation that I had just told a toddler that I was constipated. He gave a sympathetic, acknowledging kind of look, and went back to playing with his hot wheels. I bowed my head in shame.
I once trusted the BBC, and their commitment to the truth, but if they´re making up segments of the Spanish language, what else has been fabricated by the BBC to sell books, hmm? Rising food prices, the 2008 reccession; did people even check that these things really existed? IT´S A CONSPIRACY DAMMIT! WE´RE DREAMING, WE´RE ALL DREAMING! No, but in all seriousness, I am displeased with the suitability and function of this phrasebook.

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In general, I have sunk into the teaching regime; you know, the general "winging it" that most classes deem necessary. If you come up with a lesson plan, the most likely thing to happen, especially with more advanced students, is that you deviate so radically that lesson plans are of little or no use. With younger classes, or those that know little English, the lesson plan should be treated like the freaking Bible, and no less. It is the one thing that stays constant, and indeed, quiet, during your one hour experience, and it will sustain you, like a beacon of hope in the enveloping darkness and confusion that has become your life. Like a messiah, it will guide you towards a disappointingly mediocre result- but you will survive to teach again, and that is the important thing.
Through Nahuel, I´ve become an avid fan of a man called Mr. Duncan, a man so hilariously ignorant of his own hilarity that it´s hilarious. Either that or he´s just a funny guy. Like me, he teaches English as a Foreign Langauge, but he posts videos on youtube for other teachers. If you have time, check them out, search "Mr. Duncan, english teaching" or something. You´ll see what I mean. ;)
Nahuel and Silvana are adament (in a jokey, but serious way) that I cook an English meal for them within the next week. I´d like help with this, what should I do?! My staple is spag-bol or nachos (of which they have none here, so how I have survived thus far is a mystery) or a pint of beer and some mini chedders, so I have no idea what would be an "English" meal... I have semi-persuaded Nahuel that the technological advancement in Britain is so great that people rarely cook, instead prefering to have "meal pills" and often buy dishes that heat themselves through contact with water. One day it won´t be a lie... One day.
Once again, sorry that I haven´t been able to get any photos up... yet. But it will be done. I forgot to bring with me a power adapter for this region, so it may be the case that I just buy a new camera, which are pretty cheap here and start shooting. For the time being, you´ll just have to use your imaginations. And you know what they say about imagination: "That using it is the first step to becoming a crazy person", so have fun with that.

Until next time, much love,

Faraway Frank



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13th April 2011

Hi there Mikey
Lovely blog!!! (Nan said Blob but what the hell...auntie Pat typing here:) ) Enjoyed reading it very much..watch your toes and the dogs!!! Looking forward to seeing your photos when you sort it out. You write a good letter and made me laugh. Lots of love and kisses, Nan...Look after yourself and keep up the blogging xxxxx

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